There Is Never Going To Be A Perfect Time!
Samantha Weber is the Founder of ProfilePasser, an app that aims to assist in the athletic recruitment process. She is also a keen athlete herself and an English Major at Grove City College.
Laura Greb speaks to Samantha about her first business venture and how her own experiences playing Soccer inspired her to make a change to the existing Sports Recruitment process.There is never going to be a perfect time to start a business, to pursue a dream or to change the world.
TNW: What advice would you give women entrepreneurs just starting out in this industry?
SW: My advice for women entrepreneurs just starting out in the mobile app industry is to find a mentor. I was lucky because my older sister, Alexa Andrzejewski, had already started her own mobile app company, Foodspotting, and had successfully gotten the company to a $10 Million acquisition. Without her advice and expertise, I never could have gotten past the idea stage with my own company.
TNW: How did the idea for ProfilePasser come about?
SW: My parents raised me to leave things better than how I found them. At age three, I signed up for my first soccer team and I immediately fell in love with the game. Growing up, I played for a nationally ranked club team and made the Region 1 Olympic Development Team (one step below a youth national team) when I was 14 years old.
Like many others, my dream was to play Division 1 soccer, but when I was old enough to start getting attention from college recruiters, I learned a heartbreaking lesson: it takes more than talent to play at the next level, it takes exposure. Unfortunately, there were very few tools that helped athletes advocate for themselves and get the exposure they deserved.
I watched many of my extremely talented teammates fall through the recruiting cracks. Forced to give up soccer, many went through a grieving process akin to losing a loved one; some even fell into depression.
Often, it was not because they were not good enough, but because they just could not make the right connections.
While it may seem counterintuitive, I say all of this because I founded ProfilePasser for all the talented athletes who do not get recruited. ProfilePasser will give every talented athlete the exposure they deserve and the opportunity to connect with college recruiters when it matters most: at showcase tournaments and events.
We will enable athletes to give 110% towards being recruited, and if they do not get recruited to play at the next level, they can rest assured that they gave their best effort and that they just were not good enough. It will give them the closure they need to move on and live successful and happy lives.
That’s why I started this company—not to make money (although I hope to do that too), but to change athlete’s lives and to leave the college athletic recruiting process better than how I found it three years ago.
TNW: Is this your first business venture? What was the most stressful aspect in creating ProfilePasser?
SW: Yes, this is my first business venture. I am actually a senior English major at Grove City College so the biggest challenge for me has been balancing a full academic schedule, playing a varsity sport, and starting a business all at the same time. I also was accepted into Pittsburgh’s leading accelerator program, AlphaLab, and was commuting to Pittsburgh from school (1 hour 15 minute drive) twice a week while taking five classes and playing/traveling with my college soccer team six days a week.
While it’s exciting to start a business, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. There were lots of weekends that I had to give up spending with my friends or doing “normal college” things because I had to work on investor pitches or create spreadsheets in excel. It’s also really hard to choose which is more important, school or business, since sometimes my schedules do conflict.
As someone who cares about doing well in school, it’s hard to accept that my business often must take priority over school. Fortunately, I have still been able to earn good grades, but it’s definitely not as easy as it used to be.
TNW: What number one piece of advice would you provide to women launching a start up?
SW: My advice for women entrepreneurs just starting out is to stop talking and to start doing. There is never going to be a perfect time to start a business, to pursue a dream or to change the world. At some point, we have to stop talking about doing all of these things, and actually take action to achieve our goals.
Anyone can come up with a good business idea, but few have the courage to make it happen.
TNW: What is one of your goals as a women entrepreneur?
SW: I have been very fortunate to have some incredible mentors pour into me since starting ProfilePasser. Many of them are extremely busy individuals who take a lot of time out of their schedules to give me advice without asking for much in return. All they ask is that I share what I have learned with others. So, to answer your question, my goal is to encourage young entrepreneurs who have the passion and drive to turn their ideas into reality.
The great part about entrepreneurship is that you don’t have to be a certain age to be successful – young, old – it doesn’t matter.
You just have to find a solution to a real problem and have the courage to make it happen.
TNW: What’s your current phase with ProfilePasser and what are you hoping to achieve?
SW: Currently, ProfilePasser has launched its beta and is about to launch its second version of the app and website in February. We have graduated from Pittsburgh’s leading accelerator program, AlphaLab, and are in the process of raising a second round of funding. We have 2,000 athletes who will be piloting ProfilePasser starting in February and hope to achieve “proof of concept” by the end of 2014 in the soccer market before expanding into additional sports in the near future.
Laura Greb lives in New York and founded Artmeme, investing time in emerging to mid-career creative entrepreneurs to help develop and market their professional brand effectively in order to connect with their target audience. She also provides business resources and workshops.
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