Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Jennie Wong of CartCentric

Dr Jennie Wong
This month I'm happy to introduce you to an inspiring and multi-talented entrepreneur. Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is a syndicated business writer, executive coach and author of "Ask the Mompreneur: Small Business Advice on Starting and Growing Your Own Company".  Her weekly writing appears in the Charlotte Observer and is distributed by McClatchy-Tribune

Jennie's latest venture, CartCentric, is a social product review start-up based in Silicon Valley. It solves a problem for online shoppers who want input before product purchase but who are wary of online reviews.  CartCentric ensures the feedback is from a reliable source- your personal network!


Tell us about your business and target market
CartCentric is a social shopping site that lets you ask your friends for product recommendations for anything you’re actively shopping for.  Your friends don’t need to login or be members.  It takes just a few seconds to specify what you’re looking for, like a coffee maker or a stroller, and then use Facebook or your contacts to pick the people that you want to ask.

Your friends will get a personal 1-to-1 email with a custom link where they can show you the one they have and let you know if they think you should buy it.  It’s a great way to save time and avoid fake reviews.

When did you decide it was the right time to take the leap into self-employment?
My husband started our first company 10 years ago, Limelight Web Development, and I joined him in growing and running that business 5 years ago.  At that time, I had been laid off from my corporate job so we decided to see if we could make it work.  We were also expecting our first child, which increased the risk, but also the potential reward.

Then, last year, we decided to try doing a tech startup, which is very different than running a service business, and required a tremendous amount of learning.

 What is the most challenging aspect about being an entrepreneur?
Keeping your priorities straight and keeping yourself focused on the right things is the challenge.  Working hard is the easy part, but managing yourself in a strategic way is a constant effort.

What is your #1 tip for balancing work and family?
Hire a great nanny and treat her like gold.  Running a household and running a business are one and the same thing.  The skills are vendor selection, hiring, supervision, leadership, project management, and strategic vision.

 What small business resource(s) can you NOT live without?

What advice would you give to a friend who was thinking about starting a business?
  1.          Can you achieve a larger goal through focused daily action?
  2.          Can you deal with lots of people and also handle the isolation of working alone?
  3.          Can you learn how to DIY a bunch of stuff, yet know when to ask for help?
  4.          Can you make a plan, follow a plan, and modify a plan based on feedback?
  5.          Can you keep selling, even in the face of rejection?
If you can honestly answer yes to all 5, go start a company!

Favorite social media site?
Facebook.  I’m an addict.

What book has been an inspiration to you as an entrepreneur?

When you’re not working, what is your favorite activity?
Fantasy football.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Harvard Business School will be writing cases about our meteoric success.

If you're a busy mom like me, I'm sure you rely heavily on girlfriends' recommendations which is why I'm excited to utilize CartCentric. Be sure and check it out and tweet Jennie your thoughts @CartCentric then visit her Facebook fan page to keep up to date on the latest!