Jen Portland

 

TBF Entrepreneurs

 

JEN PORTLAND

Founder, Excel Rain Man

 

BEFORE I STARTED EXCEL RAIN MAN…

I was working at an insurance company buying reinsurance protection. My colleagues would always ask me for spreadsheet help. I thought to myself, “What happens at places without a spreadsheet guru?” Identifying the
problem was the first step. That’s when I knew Excel Rain Man would make a good business.

 

A CHALLENGE I FACED WHEN STARTING MY BUSINESS…

People either thought that it was the best idea ever or that no one would ever need what I had to offer. I had to learn to believe in myself, despite what
anyone said.

 

I LOVE BEING MY OWN BOSS BECAUSE…

I get so much done. You don’t have to wait on anyone to say “yes” or “no.” You are making the decisions. The only thing holding you back is yourself.

 

MENTORSHIP IS KEY BECAUSE…

My advisors have helped me look at my business in a bigger way — not just the day-to-day but 10 to 20 steps ahead.

 

I EXPAND MY NETWORK BY…

For my birthday, asking for an introduction to a successful businessperson who can offer valuable advice. One introduction I received was to Carrie Morey, owner of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits. Carrie explained how she doesn’t advertise; instead, she gives away tastes of her biscuits at markets. Her point was that if I could show people how great our spreadsheet skills are, it would speak louder than advertising. That was extremely valuable advice and Callie’s Charleston Biscuits also became a longtime Excel Rain Man client.

 

THE BEST ADVICE I HAVE RECEIVED…

Don’t jump on every opportunity, even if it seems big. Excel Rain Man has had opportunities that could have been lucrative but would have taken us away from our core business. You have to stay true to your business — even if that means taking a pass on certain projects.