One year ago, I left my last job to take some space and figure out my next steps. Between networking, conferences and the time off, I started freelancing as I built out my product ideas. Before I knew it, I’d built up an entire portfolio of clients. One thing led to another, and one day, I realized I’d maxxed out my own capacity by three times. So I hired a team of freelancers to help me tackle the rising load of projects.
These were the beginnings of the Albaloo team. At the same time, I realized how hard simply focusing on building up a product would be. So I made the decision to prioritize getting to revenue to gain as much traction and become as sustainable as possible in the long term.
I founded Albaloo with the vision to help more startups scale their marketing with a better model and get to revenue faster, while also helping minority leaders like myself in the tech space spread their wings and gain opportunities they may not have had at other companies.
Here are the top three reasons I started Albaloo:
1. I didn’t have the right opportunities as a minority in tech
As a minority in tech, I consistently saw only white men being rewarded and promoted into leadership positions. I was often chosen as the “Plan B” for when my white peers failed, or when managers weren’t able to hire others to fill my roles. On many teams, I was discouraged from planning for my own career growth, or even believing in the possibility of my progression. I was told by one VP of Marketing that I wouldn’t move forward in my career simply because “I couldn’t present well.”
I’ve been overworked and under-recognized. In one of my past jobs, I juggled a massive workload and traveled frequently for customer onsites to grow our client accounts. At the same time, I didn’t have the support I needed from my manager or my team to help manage these accounts while I was away. I remember being pushed to the brink of physical burnout and eventually being hospitalized last June.
As I interviewed for new roles at scaling companies, I was often discouraged from taking leadership roles, even when I knew I was more qualified and prepared to scale these companies than the founders themselves. I wasn’t alone. I continued to see status quo cultures at early-stage startups in which women and other minorities were rarely promoted or valued.
All of these experiences persuaded me to start my own company and to create a culture that champions minority representation and leadership in tech. Our industry needs a place where minority leaders have the right opportunities.
Albaloo’s mission is to empower our teams and clients to take risks and gain valuable industry experience, no matter where they come from–and to provide opportunities for people to further their careers without getting burned out or exhausted.
2. A new model for startup marketing needs to exist
When I first started as a digital marketer, organic growth was easy. Ads were incredibly cheap. You could launch a startup with one press article and immediately get users.
That’s no longer the case today. Competition has gotten fiercer and the field more crowded. Organic marketing takes a long time to grow, and it’s become easier to waste money on digital advertising platforms with generic messages that don’t actually speak to your audience. For startups to survive past their three to twelve month runway, they need a more targeted approach that brings users and paying customers from the start that they can then scale up as they gain revenue. Startups that scale quickly can drastically reduce costs with tighter marketing technology integrations and better segmentation.
I’m not the first person to come up with this kind of targeted growth strategy, but I did test and perfect it during my time in my last job. I’ve used this strategy to help dozens of companies achieve better growth results than they ever could have through traditional digital marketing routes. I’ve found that startups become unstoppable when they align their audience with the messaging and product features that matter most to them.
At Albaloo, integrating this growth strategy with lean startup methodology allows our team to create highly effective, targeted campaigns that align prospective customers with product and marketing for exponentially higher conversion rates and active users. Our analytics tracking allows us to determine which campaigns are most successful in bringing users and customers, and double down on them. Our campaigns connect organic with paid channels, so prospective customers experience the same messaging no matter what channel they’re most familiar with. By growing their channels together, startups can meet customers both today and in the future.
3. Startups can get to revenue faster
My philosophy is simple: you don’t need a full product to get to revenue. After spending 10 years working in the startup space—with half of this time at venture-funded startups—I learned that the road to funding can be long and delayed. A lot of people want to focus on funding early. But how can you validate an idea when you’re waiting for permission from someone else on whether it can exist? Do you have enough money saved up to gain the traction that you need?
Especially if you’ve founded your company on your own process or methodology, you have the opportunity to mix products and services together before even building out a full product. That way, you can establish both yourself and your company as a thought leader as you focus on your niche market. As you start playing in your niche, you’ll learn more organically about the sales process, start building your audience, and build out a team that can help you think through early management structures before you need to scale 10x.
Though funding is one of the most talked-about topics when it comes to building a company, the startup game is ultimately about survival. Whoever survives the longest ends up taking the market. And the best way to survive is to get to revenue as fast as possible, so that you can rest assured that you will survive in the long run.
I wholeheartedly believe any company can find their niche–and not just survive–but thrive. I’m excited to help more founders stay in the game with higher-performing campaigns that will generate revenue and truly move the needle in this industry. And I’m thrilled to see more diverse startups surviving together in our future.