I only wonder why it took me so long to step out of the corporate world.
By Yan Heim (Co-Founder & CEO, Froomz)
Launching Froomz hasn’t been an easy journey. In early 2011, I left behind a well-compensated senior management position with one of the largest telecom companies to pursue a dream.
Trading my high heels for bootstraps was a difficult decision, given the economic downturn and the fact that the job provided me with flexible hours while I was telecommuting most of the time.
Inertia tends to pull you back into the comfort zone. The choice became obvious when I started feeling fatigue from juggling my day job and night job with Froomz.
How Froomz Started
The idea behind Froomz was inspired by a dance studio. A friend who owned the studio was lamenting that he wasn’t generating revenue during off hours. It is a perfectly fine venue for all manner of events. When I thought about the scale of the problem, it struck me that this is something that cuts across many businesses and geographies. A huge amount of potential space goes unused for a wide variety of venues because there is no market to list it and no way for event planners to find it.
While restaurant, club and other venue owners struggle to increase occupancy, moms, meeting planners, meet-up groups, and others are frustrated with the time-consuming game of phone tag and email just to find pricing and availability.
In the age of self-service, customers demand instant information and pricing transparency. And yet, booking an event space still remains a manual process stuck in the prior century.
With my co-founder and CTO Mike Cody, we set out to change that.
Building Froomz The Product
More than just a venue directory or referral service, we wanted to build something that would enable customers to price out an entire event based on location, date and time, guest count as well as amenities required. Most importantly, we wanted to provide customers the ability to secure instant quotes, confirm and pay for bookings online, in real-time.
Just like Expedia and Travelocity revolutionized the travel industry, the mission of Froomz is to democratize the event planning process by providing customers direct access to spaces, enabling them to search and book venues anytime, anywhere.
On Becoming A Bootstrapping Entrepreneur
Froomz launched its public beta in September 2011, with an attempted booking on day one! We bootstrapped the web design, the complete development of back-end infrastructure with early customers and go-to-market partners.
I’ve never looked back since and only wondered why it took me so long to step out of the corporate world. If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur because of flexibility, think twice. Your 8 to 5 schedule is gone forever. Froomz has become my day job, night job and dream job.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Yan Heim is the Co-Founder and CEO of Froomz, an online venue marketplace that enables instant price quotes and booking for meeting and event spaces. Formerly, Yan served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Beijing MITEC Technology, and managed global contract negotiations for a telecom giant. Besides Froomz, her pride and joy are her two lovely daughters. Follow her on Twitter at @yanheim.