La Donna Higgins leaped into the Startup world over ten years ago, after being an Assistant on the Pacific Stock Exchange and managing the personal finance for a prominent fashion designer. She naturally became accustomed to high pressured tasks that required swift management skills and policy implementations. Her first job at a tech Startup Xobni in 2007 required her to manage various roles right from an Office Manager, Executive Assistant, HR Manager, Bookkeeper and Event Planner.
La Donna says “I would best describe my role as being in charge of the “Happiness Factor”. Within the first six months at Xobni, I was asked to prepare due diligence for Microsoft, Corp. As the company began to grow there was a need for tighter systems and systems that could scale easily. I was a one person show. So on any given day I would be running financial reports for the Board of Directors, on-boarding a new hire, rectifying an error in a lunch order and buying shirts for our Founders for interviews. I loved it and realized how important and helpful it was for our Founders to have an Assistant who knew everything about the Company and was willing to go the extra distance to make sure they were focused “.
She says that the Founder of Xobni, Matt Brezina respected her and the work she was doing there. Once Xobni grew and was self-sufficient, she began helping other Founders with their Companies on a range of duties that included smaller functions to crucial decisions that would benefit the company in a great way. She then went on to help Matt Brezina’s second company Sincerely as a full-time employee. At the same time she came up with the idea for the Startup Admin and began working on it simultaneously.
“Matt needed my full attention as we agreed I would work with him on all of his ventures. So I put The Startup Admin on hold and joined Matt at Sincerely full-time. I had a two-year plan. I would commit to Sincerely for two years and go back to focus on The Startup Admin. Sincerely was acquired by Provide Commerce in 2014.”, explains La Donna.
The Startup Admin team has dedicated admins who are experienced, passionate and come from having experience after working at various Startup offices.
She adds, “The one question I always ask when interviewing an Admin is “tell me what you don’t like about being an Admin”. The response will always tell me if this person is the right fit for The Startup Admin.”
The Startup Admin provides one dedicated Admin who will grow with the need of your business. The roles that they provide are Executive Assistance, Office Management, Human Resources, Bookkeeping and Event Planning. When a company is just ramping up they will need help in all of these areas. However, these roles are not full-time positions.
“We feel it is important for your early employees to see that you mean business and you are already working to establish the culture of your Company. We know that financials can be a nightmare. So we provide day-to-day bookkeeping. Our Admins can work with a CPA to close the books at the end of each month. This way a Founder can be confident in knowing where the business is financially. What the burn rate is and how healthy the business is.” La Donna Says.
What was The Startup Admin’s Challenge?
For La Donna the biggest hurdle was ” having the faith to step out on my own. I had to decide to follow my passion. I also knew that I wanted to bootstrap my Company to prove to myself that it could be a thriving business. I was already apart of a great community of Admins and I knew quite a few Entrepreneurs that would be working on Startups. Money is always the hardest part of getting started. I continued to work full-time, while saving all the money I made from consulting. This would allow me to put my first Admin on assignment.”
What is The Startup Admin in a Gist?
The Startup Admin gives the Founders of new businesses with an Operations Solution to let you run the startup without worrying about the basic policies and procedures that need to be set up. It helps you to Structure the company in an effective way and will enable you to scale the startup with the help of these experienced admins. They also have tie ups with vendors who can offer discounts to their clients on a variety of services. What makes The Startup Admin is efficient because you not only get a dedicated Admin, you get to work with our entire network of Admins.
La Donna adds that at this time Startup Admin does not have any competitors. ” The Startup Admin would like to expand globally. Wherever there is someone getting ready to launch the next big thing, we want to be there to support them. The Startup Admin is focused on growing into Co-Working spaces, Startup Incubators and Venture Capital firms.” She says.
The Startup Admin’s Target Audience?
New Founders, early stage companies and companies looking to establish policies and procedures for their business are their audience. They even work with Incubators to give their clients an extra edge than their competitors.
The Startup Admin is a service based company and their revenue model is through their clients who pay for the services they provide.
“We are also looking to monetize through partnerships. By creating these partnerships, our Admins will serve as beta-testers for companies. We want to monetize by building partnerships with Co-working spaces, Startup Incubators and VC Companies, to offer our services to their portfolio companies.” says La Donna.