We LOVE to see it!
The tech industry is still a mystery to most Black entrepreneurs with only around 5% of overall tech professionals being Black but, women like Sharonda and Vanessa, founders of UpKeep are not intimidated by that at all. These two women from the Chicago area migrated to Atlanta and identified there was a gap between women wanting to get beauty services and finding trustworthy beauty professionals.
That’s when Sharonda reeled Vanessa in with an idea to change both of their lives.
BOSSIP spoke with UpKeep’s founder Sharonda and she let us in on what inspired their business baby to be born.
How has being born and raised in the Chicagoland area inspired your career?
We were both born and raised in different parts of the Chicagoland area, but the fuel that fired us was the same. Being in that environment gave us thick skin. It toughened us up while also leaving a hunger for more. When we connected in Atlanta, it was simply magic and that missing piece was filled. We are creatives as individuals, but when we work together the outcomes are always amazing.
What pushed you to make your dream happen?
We both felt the desire to own our time. The urge to chase our goals and dreams was bigger than money and the material things that are destined to come with being successful serial entrepreneurs. We wanted the freedom to own our time. Be where we wanted to be while running and managing our businesses. Sleep in or stay up late because we could. That was and still is the push!!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Our proudest moment thus far has been overcoming obstacles and still being able to smile and praise God!! Our app should have been out over a year ago, but we were scammed by a developer. Long story short we got to the final payment in our contract and was handed nothing but a few screenshots and a bunch of lies; it was devasting!! But God!! We bounced back a few months later and were able to hire a reputable developer. It cost us three times what we gave the scammer, but the process, outcome and the partnership that came of it was well worth every dime.
What sets the UpKeep app aside from apps that provide the same service?
That’s a great question. YourUpKeep is in a space with good company and fierce competition. We looked at the leaders of the market and found a gap in all of their service offerings. From there we interviewed professionals that used tools like YourUpKeep to understand their pain points from a user perspective.
From there we fine-tuned our product and are very proud of what we’ve created.
YourUpKeep is a virtual back-office tool that allows professionals to sell their services and products while they work. Their patrons can browse their portfolios, schedule services, and purchase products as well. Long gone are the days of back and forth text messages or DMs. No need to create and maintain a website which can become costly and time-consuming. Our app is open to all service providers across all industries which expands our user base.
A few key differentiators are that YourUpKeep doesn’t charge a payment processing fee to our professionals, so you don’t have to pay us to get YOUR money. Our app also comes with built-in features such as last-minute booking fees, late fee, and 100% chargeback for no-call no-shows.
What’s the best and worst part of being an entrepreneur?
The best part is creative autonomy. When you’re an entrepreneur the sky is absolutely the limit from a creative perspective. You can trial and error all of your ideas to ultimately build the services or products of your vision. There’s so much power in that.
The worst part of being an entrepreneur is wearing most of the hats until your company is able to afford more bodies to share the workload.
The failure and the success of your company are all on your shoulders and just the thought of that could cause many to stop mid-journey. Luckily for us, we have each other. So, when we have those down moments or those urges to quit, the other is there to catch you while you’re falling and lighten the load until you catch your breath. Having each other has been the ultimate blessing during this journey thus far.
How will you impact the women that work with you?
The greatest benefit about having a journey filled with obstacles and roadblocks is not just overcoming them but being able to help others either avoid or overcome as well. Vanesia and I are all about creating a sisterhood that breaks that stigma of women not uplifting and helping each other, women not sharing information and women not creating space for one another. We fully believe that there’s room for all of us to grow and eat. If there’s not enough room for more seats at our table, we’ll build a bigger table!!
What did you experience that you want to help others prevent experiencing?
Goodness there’s so many things that we can share based on our journey thus far. The biggest thing that we’d like to help others prevent experiencing is being scammed!! What questions you should ask, how many suppliers you should ask those questions to and what should you capture in writing. The due diligence process as a whole is transferable whether you’re playing in the tech space or creating a clothing brand.
Where can everyone find you?
YourUpKeep is everywhere. You can visit our website to get more information about the company and to sign up for one of our subscriptions. Our app for patrons is on the Apple Store and Google Play. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @Yourupkeep.