Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kamar-Jay Foster, Founder and CEO of Gift Match Me, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Gift Match Me enables companies to purchase gifts for their employees for any occasion through an incentivized employee program powered by data analytics, which is then optimized by machine learning technology, providing accurate and personalized gifting options. By providing employers with customized surveys for their current and future workforce, employers are able to welcome and show their current and prospective employees appreciation for the hard work they have done, will continue to do, and will do.
Tell us about yourself
Since its founding in 2018, I've bootstrapped Gift Match Me and dealt with a lot of pain, a lot of setbacks, a lot of failure and rejections, and a lot of pivots. After multiple failures and pivots and callous mental formations, I incorporated Gift Match Me as a Delaware C-corporation in 2020 to provide Artificial Intelligence software in the technology sector, focusing on developing Machine Learning and Algorithms to solve problems for mid-size and large enterprises with 50 - 1000 employees. We aim to help employers show appreciation for all the hard work that their employees do because, frankly, without them, organizations wouldn't exist. Using Data Analytics, Gift Match Me matches employees to gifts from the curated catalog of products in our database. Ensuring a perfect match based on insights gathered. After enrolling in an Artificial Intelligence program and learning how to code, my team is building off my initial idea to conceive a proprietary machine learning technology that optimizes data and fine-tunes options presented to users based on this analysis, presenting accurate gift boxes based on those insights. The personalized gift service in the gift-giving industry. Gift giving is a $131 billion dollar per year industry, of which $36 billion of that is composed of personalized gifting.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Automated an Amazon business. Founded a technology startup and committed to seeing the inception through to reality, regardless of the struggles and issues faced along the way.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Criticism from friends, family, and spouses. You become incredibly self-reliant. There comes the point where no one will believe in you but you. This is when you have to be relentless and believe in your capabilities as an individual and business owner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Initially, it will be hard. Probably the most difficult thing you will ever do. You have to make tough decisions. These are decisions that will cost you friends, opportunities, and relationships.
- Starting a business is a long-term investment. If you're impatient, don't bother. This game will humble you. Instead of a 9-5, you'll be putting in 10-15 hours a day easily. And that still doesn't guarantee results.
- Have startup capital saved up before pursuing your idea or before quitting your job. I learned that the hard way. I've had to return to my family home because I hit hard times. Couldn't pay my bills or even buy groceries. Unless you have a rich family willing to upfront your startup costs, ensure you have some resources in the bank. No one will believe in your idea the way you will.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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