Jess: From freelancer to founder.

“You’re always faking it until you make it.”–Tycoon CEO, Jess Perez

One thing we can always count on here at Tycoon, is for our CEO Jess Perez to speak her mind. In a recent podcast interview, More Than Model Radio captured Jess’ sincerity on the struggles of starting her own company. Jess details what it’s been like for her to make the move from freelancer to founder, why she wanted to build an app to help freelancers, and how modeling prepared her to build a tech company.

On going from shooting for Sports Illustrated to creating an app.
“A lot of technology is created by people who have experienced the problem they’re trying to solve firsthand. The more I traveled, the more I found it difficult to keep track of all my income in one place. I wasn’t staying on top of what really mattered the most, which was, collecting my money.”

How finance meets fashion.
“Finance is a common topic of conversation on set. ‘Someone owes me money, I don’t know what’s going on, I’m mad at someone for telling me the wrong information about my money.'”

Advice for starting a new project or company.
“The best thing you can do is find the people who have already done what you want to do and ask them how they did it.”

Why it’s hard to be a first time founder. 
“When you’re a first time entrepreneur, it’s hard to predict what you should be doing next, it’s hard to know what’s ahead of you, what is looming.”

On getting through the initial fear to start the company.
“Getting started, those initial months are the hardest. You have to have resilience, get over the fear, and rally your people to support you.”

How she got started.
“At first it was about breaking up my goals into a bunch of little steps and then just keeping myself honest and making sure that I accomplished them.”

Her talk isn’t cheap.
“I’ve always been the type of person that when I say I’m going to do something, I do it, and I knew that when I decided to take my savings, go ahead and push forward with making this app, that I was going to figure out the way to do it. I really didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew I was going to.”

Why building her own company has led to emotional struggles. 
“Building something you put so much energy and time into, is an extremely emotional process. Because most founders are men, often times you don’t hear about it as much in the media, about how emotionally difficult and taxing it is. Building this company has tested my emotional resilience to things.”

Whether she’s considered quitting on tough days.
“I won’t give up. If I give up it’ll be because I failed, it won’t be voluntary.”

Why she loves freelancing. 
“It’s not a repetitive job. You’re not in the same place every day, you’re not working with the same people, and there’s something about having that kind of change on a daily basis that becomes very addictive.”

Why she vets financial experts so carefully for freelancers.
“The behavior that we have to exert over our money as freelancers is different from someone who is working full-time as a W-2 employee. When it comes to savings, because freelancers don’t get paid consistently, instead of saving “x” amount of money every month, it’s better for freelancers to set aside a percentage, like 2-5% from their paychecks.”

What freelancing success looks like.
“The best case scenario is for you to feel like you’re freelancing full-time.”

Why she chose the name Tycoon. 
“It’s an aspirational name-I want people to succeed. Women are tycoons! Freelancers are tycoons! I want people to stop thinking about freelancers as a bunch of broke people who are lazy and don’t have real jobs. No, we are passionate and have careers!”

On making decisions for your company or project.
“Always go with your gut. If you don’t have good instincts people will be able to poke holes into what you are doing every step of the way.”

The key to success.
“Be humble and open. The companies that I have seen fail are the companies where the founders got money too quickly, got arrogant about it and weren’t able to admit when they were wrong.”

On getting shit done.
“Every day I just wake up and say, ‘What is my goal for the day and what do I have to do to get there?'”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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