Hatch Tribe Hero | Belinda Hare
There’s a unique narrative inside all of us. At Hatch Tribe, one way we strive to support you on your professional journey is by sharing compelling advice from women who have done it all, seen it all, and have a story to tell. We hope these stories inspire and encourage you, and maybe one day we’ll be telling you story.
This month, my Q&A Series is focused on the path we walk, and how we come across that ‘Ah-Ha’ moment in the most unexpected of places. By ‘Ah-Ha’ moment, I mean lightbulb moment - that very instance a great idea is born into existence. After talking with Belinda Hare, it’s apparent that her ‘Ah-Ha’ was a result of trusting her instincts and allowing an ongoing infatuation with the start-up world to morph into what her career has become. We pick up the story below.
Meet Belinda, Founder & COO of Launchpeer
Fun Fact: “I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, not just for the story, but for J.K. Rowling’s level of detail. I adore antique jewelry and the story it tells about the wearer. I love politics and I hope to one day run for public office.”
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are your passions? How did you land in Charleston, SC?
A: “I was born and raised in Southern California where I met my husband and Launchpeer co-founder, Jake, during our first year at Whittier College. We married when I was 19 and had both of our children by 22. By the time I turned 25 we had 3 rental properties under our belt and had lived in 4 different states. I discovered Charleston while on vacation, like many transplants here. I fell in love with the city over a weekend and moved here three weeks later.”
Q: Has the tech industry always been a focus for you?
A: “No, tech has not always been a focus for me, far from it actually. I got my feet wet in tech by attending The Iron Yard in Charleston, where I learned software development. As I attended different tech events I fell in love with the energy in the startup world. There’s something really special about surrounding yourself with other people who are willing to take major risks to build the life they want. I love problem-solving with entrepreneurs and that’s where my development background comes in handy. Development taught me to think more creatively, and the understanding that there are always a thousand different ways to do any given task allows me to be innovative in the solutions I suggest.”
Q: What sparked the idea for your company? What market does Launchpeer serve?
A: “Launchpeer is a company that helps entrepreneurs build their startups; from idea phase all the way through launching their product, marketing, and scaling it over time. Jake and I both worked for other development agencies before creating Launchpeer and we observed a lot of process-based issues in both of our careers. On top of our own process-based observations, we noticed a hole in the market for startups unable to find dependable solutions for software development. We started Launchpeer out of a desire to solve those two problems and have continuously adjusted Launchpeer's services to accommodate the needs specific to startups.”
Q: Was it difficult going through the startup process? What was a major obstacle you faced and how did you overcome it?
A: “YES! Startups are not for the faint of heart; it takes grit, hustle and a relentless need to see your business succeed. Especially during the first year of business, entrepreneurs endure an endless internal struggle- to quit or not to quit. Every tiny speed bump feels like Mount Everest. When you feel like any little thing could destroy what you’ve worked so hard for it leaves you emotionally drained, depressed, and isolated. Those feelings alone made me want to quit. There's no easy way to overcome this. I can only suggest that you put time limits and milestones in place, and if certain conditions you've set forth aren't met, have the wisdom to know when it's time to close the doors and move on to your next idea.”
Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of being the founder of a company? The least rewarding? How does it feel being the leading lady in charge?
A: “The most rewarding thing about being the founder of a company is the power to hold my fate in my own hands. It’s scary and empowering, but it pushes me to be exactly who I want to be every day. There’s no such thing as complacency in entrepreneurship and I know that every success or failure is mine to own.
The least rewarding thing as a founder is that it seems like the ups and downs you experience in life are more pronounced. When you have a bad day in a normal job it translates to a BAD day as an owner. I think that comes from the knowledge that a 'regular' bad day is over when you go to bed, but as an entrepreneur, it’s a huge weight on your shoulders until the problem is solved. Add that to all the other things that you’re carrying around; from how much toilet paper you’ve got stocked at the office, to hiring and firing decisions, and you’ve got a whole lot of stress.
I guess those are my takeaways being in charge. You have all of this amazing freedom, and at the same time, a massive weight on your shoulders. It’s definitely not the lifestyle for everyone, but I find it incredibly rewarding.”
Q: What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs? And is there any specific advice you'd offer women in tech?
A: “ Women Entrepreneurs: Let go of the fear! Actually, don’t just let go of it- see it, examine it, debunk it, and then tell it to GTFO!! I used fear as a crutch, a shield, and an excuse for too long. I am a badass, but somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that. I let my fear get the best of me for years, and if I can push another woman to confront her fears just one day earlier, it will have been worth it.
Women in tech: Value the contributions you make to the tech industry. I hate to admit that when I started my career in tech I devalued myself long before anyone else had the chance to (see *fear above). Cut that out! Women offer unique perspective, knowledge, and backgrounds that are inherently valuable to the community. Acknowledge that you have all of this to offer to the technology sector and that’s just the start of what you bring to the table!”
Q: If you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would you say?
A: “You don’t have to stay on the same path you imagined for yourself earlier in life to consider yourself a success. We all travel on different paths to reach the place we are today, and we usually take several detours! Evaluate your goals and definition of success regularly, because you may be holding yourself to an ideal or reaching for a goal that doesn’t fall in line with who you are today and who you really want to be.”
Want to learn more about Launchpeer?
I hope you enjoyed the interview! Until next time...