Lauren Doan

Did you graduate from college?

“I graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree.  My core classes were in interdisciplinary studies, which taught me how to think creatively and critically, working across many different disciplines.  This way of teaching and thinking has helped me grow as an entrepreneur.”

When did you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Was this a particular moment or idea over time?

“After completing internships in interior design and fashion I was left with the feeling that I didn’t know which path to pursue wholeheartedly.  I was back on the job search, this time for an entry-level position, trying to find something that incorporated my interests in design into multiple areas.  This is where my interdisciplinary studies kicked in: my desire to harness many fields of business into one job.  I was having a hard time finding the right fit for me and realized I am certainly not alone in this process.  I have always dreamed of owning my own business and creating something uniquely my own.  I am always thinking outside of the box and incorporating creative elements into my life both personally and professionally.”

At what age did you have this idea? How long did it take for you to finally start up?

“I formulated the concept of Bond Twenty in the fall of 2013.  I am currently 23 years old.  I was really excited about it right away as I felt it would provide a solution for so many people in my generation.  The idea evolved some and the tools to start began to fall into place one at a time.  It took four months to fine tune my vision, write a business plan, find the right web developer and secure funding.  I am in the early phases of design and production and aiming to launch the website by July 2014.”

What has been the most difficult part of starting your own business? Have you had to face any obstacles?

It is extremely intimidating to start a business from the ground up.  Technology has exploded just in my lifetime and given way to so many opportunities for so many people that it can feel like you’re just one in a million.  The fear of failure is hard to ignore but I refuse to let it hinder me from achieving success.  The biggest obstacle so far has been explaining my business without the actual website made yet.  People, especially those with less knowledge of the internet, have a hard time visualizing and comprehending what Bond Twenty is and how it can be successful.  To combat this problem I designed templates, which gives a good visual of the website and its functions.  When people see them, a light bulb goes off and they start to get it.  Being young is an obstacle in some ways, due to a lack of professional experience. However, I am looking at my age as an advantage.  I am my target consumer so I know what people are looking for and how to present it to them in an efficient way.

Have you had to make sacrifices in order to follow your dreams? How so?

The time I have invested into Bond Twenty so far has been unbelievable and as I get further into development, I am learning that it’s going to be a lot of hours of work around the clock.  Being my own boss has its perks, but at the same time there is no one else to pass work off to.  If something is not completed on time or a decision has not been made, it’s all on me.  To make sure everything is finished on time, correctly, and to the level of perfection I strive for, it will require a lot of time and energy.  For a lot of 9-5 jobs, people have the advantage of leaving every day and being able to turn off work and focus on the next thing.  For me, it never stops.  The biggest sacrifice is having less personal time because there are simply not enough hours in the day.

Where did your initial finances come from to start up your business?

I have invested my own funds to start Bond Twenty.  I have money saved and set aside for a personal business and I have been waiting for the right idea to come along so I can use it to its full potential.

Do you have a partner in the business with you?  

At this point, it’s just me!  I am hoping to grow into an office with employees but that won’t be until things get rolling.  Other than that, I am the sole owner, operator, decision maker and dreamer behind Bond Twenty.

I know you are still in the “start-up” phase, but has this been a rewarding experience thus far?  

Every aspect of my business so far has been unbelievably rewarding.  I am learning as I go and covering every area from graphic design, website development, accounting, legal, public relations, advertising, the list goes on. Every time I hear positive feedback, especially from potential users, it feels wonderful.  My mission is to provide a place for people to find jobs and internships that are exciting and innovative, living situations that are better than your average find but still affordable and events in different cities to bring the community together from online to in person.  To sum it up, Bond Twenty will provide opportunities for young women and men in their twenties in one cool place.

Interview by Natalie Scott, SMU Student, Advertising 

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