In our new series #MVPtoVIP, we want to celebrate the inspirational journeys of some of the fantastic founders in our Farill.io network. This time, it's the turn of Sian Winfield of CoStartUp & Go. Get to know her better below...
1. How would you sum up the concept behind your business?
We are a ‘one-stop shop’ for startup support.
Our team gets startups up and running without having to hire full time members of staff or go to lots of different providers.
We help with everything, from setting up a new company and the systems / processes to maintain them to creative design, digital marketing, websites, all the way through to accounting, HR, recruitment and projects management / operations level VA Support - all powered by our hand-picked team of freelancers who can easily pick up and run with any of our offerings.
2. When and what made you start your company?
I started my company 2 years ago following a background in operations and having worked within a number of startup companies, including several Seattle-based tech companies.
I saw a gap in the market for proactive support that is flexible and can work alongside the ever-changing needs, demands, and budget of a growing startup.
3. When did you realise that you wanted to run your own business and what led to you achieving it?
I realised that I could bring my experience to the table for startups who didn't necessarily have the budget of a full-time member of staff to get them off the ground.
I had also got quite exhausted from finding new roles and trying to fit in to the long-term employed old hat way of thinking. Clearly, certain people have specific skills at different points of a business, be it at the start, once the processes are in place, or at the end / sale or liquidation. Unfortunately, in the traditional recruitment and hiring world, this is more often than not completely missed.
So, I started my company 2 years ago with just the thought of doing it myself to be honest. Organically it has grown, and now 2 years on we have a global client base, a team of awesome freelancers all fully committed to helping our startup clients on their journey, and some exciting collaborations with co-working spaces both in London and New York.
4. How did you find the process of launching the business?
I absolutely loved it! Having a background in operations and starting companies and helping them grow is my area of expertise, so I put all of my experience into setting myself up.
5. What is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner?
Lack of time. You think initially this is great, I can now work for myself and have lots more control over my time and earn more. The reality, as I am sure any entrepreneur would agree, is early rises, late finishes, and weekend working becomes the norm! Plus, in the early stages you are rather hand to mouth and heavily impacted on supplier payments, late payments and all the joys there, so it takes some time before you can pay yourself even a normal wage.
6. What stand-out advice for success would you give to founders and start-ups?
There are going to be big highs, exciting times, and very tough moments. However, every stage is part of the process and there is always learning to be had that will take you on to who you eventually become as a brand / company and individual.
7. What are your 3 top hiring tips for SMEs?
- Background checks - whether full time, contract, or freelancers, actually call and speak with the references you are given.
- Go on gut - if you feel there is something off, you are probably right. Don’t wait until they are on-board to discover what that was for.
- If you are struggling to find the right person for the role, you are better off not hiring at all than ‘making do’ or having someone to ‘just get on with’ . Everyone who works for you is representing your business and it is better to get it right than waste your time rehiring when the inevitable happens.
8. What did you learn from your first hire?
To be honest, what I learnt was that the nerves you feel when being interviewed are not necessary - the person interviewing you is on your side and wants to bring you in if you are right for the role.
9. What does the future hold for your business?
Ongoing growth by continuing to work with great startups and focusing on helping them on their journey. We have a number of Sydney clients so following our New York launch recently, this is the next spot we would like to hit!
Which of Sian's tips did you find most useful for your journey? Why not Tweet it using the hashtag #MVPtoVIP.