#sponsored #BackingYou

Sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

The path to building WYL into what it is today has not been easy. It’s been exciting, interesting, painful, tough, empowering, revealing –> fun.

One thing that’s helped me out tremendously is being able to constantly flow between working from home and our office. For the magnitude of impact, certain calls, discussions, agreements, and/or realizations can have on you, sometimes it’s super comforting and necessary to be home to fully experience these moments. For example, I recall a time where we didn’t have much capital in the bank. We had been doing everything possible to raise a bit more money. I’d been working to secure advertising deals. I’d been asking friends and family if they could further support. Nothing was coming together.

One day, I got pinged by my friend who was an investor with this group in NYC. After I met with him one on one, he insisted, he could see us receiving a $25k deal from the newly started firm. At this point, we really needed it. I prepped for the meeting, attended it, and – honestly – from the first few moments felt like it wasn’t going as planned. I felt good about my ‘performance’ but felt like it wasn’t landing with this new crew, the way I’d anticipated that it would.

This group was known for passing along quick decisions. So, I was sure I’d hear back from them soon about whether they wanted to move forward. I guess I didn’t realize how soon soon meant. After I walked out of the office, I went down the street to make a pit stop at the bank. While I was standing at the ATM, something told me to just go home and not to return to the office, which was back uptown. I left, hopped on the subway, and about 20 minutes into my 40-minute journey, I received an email. It was from them.

The answer was no. We weren’t going to receive their investment. The immediate feels of all the payments we had on the books that needed to be covered – Team salaries, overhead, etc. hit me like a wave. My throat was clenching up and my eyes began to well up with tears. Fortunately, I’m a rider, so you know…I choked back the feels and waited til I got home. I got out the train, rushed into my apartment and began balling. Like just short of a snotty nose, but my pillow case (that I buried my head into) would probably say otherwise.

As tough as this was, I let myself feel the feels, I prayed on it, I laughed at myself, and then stood back up and was ready to keep going. About 24 hours later my co-founder called and said we’d closed a $10k partnership. Honestly, if it wasn’t for some of the strong financial strategies and fundamental tools we were using to keep our books as squared away as possible, I don’t know if we would have bounced back. Having all of our bills, payments dates, and our accountant plugged into resources like our Quickbooks account helped us to put that $10k to work asap, move forward to receiving investments just a few short months later, and helped us to win big.

Our financial picture was clear because we had all the reports necessary to see how we were spending, what we were spending each month, how we could cut back – where possible, and it assisted us in explaining our financial story to investors who wanted to understand more. Because Quickbooks was linked with our bank account, we were getting a real time snapshot of how to best prepare ourselves for the following calendar year as we were looking to expand our Team and eventually expand our footprint of impact.

Long story short — my message to those of you at home, working towards building your dreams
à Work hard. When you get knocked down, taste the dirt so you know that you never want to

taste it again. Get back up, dust yourself off. Arm yourself with the right Team and Tools. Go
back out there and do it all over again.

Written By

Ofo Ezeugwu (@ofoezeugwu) is the CEO & Chieftain of WhoseYourLandlord. He graduated from Temple University (shout out to N. Philly!), where he was the VP of the student body and also the university's youngest alumni convocation speaker ever. He's a Techstars'​ Risingstar, one of BET's #30Under30, a Black Enterprise: Modern Man, and his work has been featured in Newsweek, TechCrunch, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, and more. Ofo is based in NYC/PHL and is also a professional actor and model who's walked in NYFW, been featured on the Today Show six times, and worked with Nike, ESPN, and Alfani. Ofo is also very actively plugged into the community and speaks with local high schools and middle schools on leadership, college planning, entrepreneurship, and life skills. He's a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters entrepreneurial program. And, he's also spoken on tech - entrepreneurship - and leadership at prestigious universities and institutions such as The White House, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Temple, Villanova, etc. He lives by the motto, "No steps backward; just forward progress."