Don’t be afraid to ask any questions and to learn from your staff. Technology is changing every day. I must learn to understand and communicate better with the team for a better direction.
As a part of my series about “Lessons From Inspirational Women Leaders in Tech”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Justine Sinclair of dreamOway.
As a single parent, Justine’s daughter and her have a unique bond. They rely on each other for motivation and support. From a young age, her daughter had dreams for the future. Justine always told her, “Tomorrow’s dream can only happen if you start today!” That’s why she started dreamOway.
As a typical teenager, her daughter loves the “mobile” life and connecting to the world around her through social media. Justine wanted a platform focused on tomorrow instead of today. A place where her daughter could chase her dreams — and find others to support her along the way.
And that’s what dreamOway is — a community of supportive individuals — daring to imagine a better tomorrow. Post a video and share how you want to change the world. Others will catch your vision and support you! If you truly believe in your goals, and you’re willing to work hard, anything is possible!
Dare to dream with them and turn your dreams into reality.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have started my own business inspired by my teenage girl. I am a single mom. I want to be with her to help her life before she is ready to be outside in the real world, so I was looking for a career at home. I was looking for a talent agency for the first time. But, I decided to make an app for dreamers. There are few stories behind this.
First, when I was young, when people would ask what your dream is. I answered that I want to be either a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, a firefighter or a teacher. My daughter’s dream used to be a writer. One day, she decided to be a YouTuber or an influencer. She thinks it is a more realistic dream. I asked my daughter why she can’t do both? I suggested she be a lawyer or an accountant. She told me that they will work for me when I am famous. Why should I do that?
The second story is.. when I picked her up in the school’s carline, my girl was coming out with friends, but they were busy with their phones. I asked her why you are not talking with friends. She said, “I do. We text.” These days, we text. I realized that’s how we communicate with each other. Thanksgiving family/friend dinner, how many people don’t look at their phone! We can’t not curtail our social media habits at this point. I have to follow the modern way to communicate and be close to her, using the way she adopted technology.
Third story… I have a teenage girl who was fighting against bullying and anxiety. She thinks she is fat and ugly because people said the words in front of her, even teachers, adults and friends. People judge others by how they look, how skinny they are, how their selfie looks, what kind of car they’re driving. Our society teaches us how to bully each other and we are beginning to see the effect. I want to help her, but I realized I have to change society to help her.
That’s why I decided to create an app for dreamers with a TV show to excite and challenge them and to discover their own happiness. The dream is you, who you are and what makes you happy.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
The first time, I started it as a crowdfunding app. It was so interesting as to why so many stolen credit cards were being used in my app. They can steal the credit card. But they want to help dreamers? It’s still a very interesting puzzle. I guess, every human inside is still innocent to help.
Another one is an own company as a single mom. It is pretty challenging. Many men want to have a piece of my company, because they think I as a single mom and a woman don’t have power like men, so that they will take over and I cannot fight back.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake is a failure to trust people easily. I hired someone referred by an old accountant. They said she finished Ivy League graduate school. I hired her without any background check. Time has passed, and I don’t get a good feeling. I found out that person only finished an online certificate program, not a degree and she is a sister-in-law. It was a disaster. The point is, be careful who you trust. It is OK to background check, even professionally. Do not trust anyone.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
As for a hard time on my journey, definitely on my English and accent. Whenever people ask me, “What did you say,” and laugh, I want to hide somewhere and be shy. Sometimes I feel I am crazy to start a business with my English. I am trying to focus on what I want to achieve with my dedication. I have learned how to manage without any fears and to make some sense of humor and try to be more confident and to learn harder.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My daughter. She helps me become stronger and a better person because I have to protect her and give her the best. It means I have to be stronger and focus to help her so she can find herself to be ready for the future.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Do not trust anyone. The lawyer’s consulting can be expensive. When you see your plans over the long term, it can be cheaper and fewer headaches.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?
dreamOway is an authentic unique community for dreamers who need cheer, support and a challenge to transform their dream into a reality.
dreamOway app is available on both iPhone and Android and it’s free to use and dream. Create an account and post your video with a length between 20 seconds to three minutes. You can also include what is your goal, too. Share with your friend, family and social media. When you have many hearts, dreamOwayTV invites you to the TV show.
If you don’t want to be in a TV show, you are welcome to do a private setting. Invited dreamers in the TV show will compete their talent to have their own show. A final winner will have their own show, which connects many smart channels including Apple TV, Hulu, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Sony and 100 other channels. But, don’t worry even if you are not a winner. We have many mentors to help your dream in the right tract with cheer and support.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
dreamOway is very positive form of social media. It is the first social media entertainment company, which I created my own words. I know dreamOway can help many dreamers to make this world a better place. My team and I are working hard with our soul and hearts..
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Soon. I want to help many dreamers who want to start their own business. Starting your own business is very challenging from creating a business plan to a financial plan. Not everybody cannot make it because they need more resources, connections and knowledge. I will plan for the next project, for sure.
Let’s zoom out a bit and talk in more broad terms. Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in Tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?
I am proud to be in the tech business as a woman. I hope I can help to improve diversity and promote empowerment. It is difficult as a woman and as a single mom. Most tech giants have a low number of women in their tech role. First, many women who have an interest in tech may not have the right education in that area. It doesn’t mean it’s too late to jump into the tech space. If we have the right attitude to learn, being a great team player and having humanity, it can determine whether women or men.
Unfortunately, women often are not confident or underestimate their skills, especially as a single mom is an extra bonus to down to under-estimate. We have to continue to challenge ourselves. I recommend using active language rather than passive language, Instead of using like, “What do you think about it?” Use active language such as,” I suggest we should do it like this.” And, be stronger, show up and stand up. Confidence with a big “C” is a myth.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in Tech that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest to address this?
Dear men: you should learn how to respect women and treat them as an equal professionally.
We are not your tool to create your success. Learn how to recognize the truth and hard work not just by yourself, but from women.
What would you advise to another tech leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and “restart their engines”?
Always get the option to drive. Don’t give up. If you can put your heart and mind, you can do anything. And, trust in your intuition.
Do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?
In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?
My customer base are the dreamers. It is not an easy journey, because people don’t care about dreams anymore because this world is crazy. We have to educate that dream is possible.
As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?
Customer service. Mostly working at home these days. We answer by email. We try to promptly and respond to their email soon about what happened and appreciate it. Using words such as: always, thank you and please.
It is hard to limit customers, but we have to do our quality plan and the right kind of customer can attract your product. We don’t have a choice , but I am trying to have faith in people. That gives them tools so they’ll do the right things. Our time is limited so don’t waste it.
I am in business with video for dreamers. I am surprised people can understand their dreams in a very negative way.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful tech company? Please share a story or an example for each.
1) Don’t be afraid to ask any questions and to learn from your staff. Technology is changing every day. I must learn to understand and communicate better with the team for a better direction.
2) Think twice before making a major decision.
3) Treat your people like your family with respect.
4) Put line in a business and a personal.
5) Read as many different articles as possible to learn. Don’t fall back on your knowledge.
Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Facilitate the process to help others discover their happiness. A dream is you, who you are, what you want to do, and what makes you happy. I hope I can help many dreamers make their dreams into a reality and make them fulfilled. So that our bullying problem can be solved and many people are more respectful.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
It would Steve Jobs. He taught us how we can dream and not to give up. But, he is in heaven. Someday. I can meet there. Otherwise, it would be John Travolta, now that’s a man who can dance.
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!