Aireka Harvell, Tech Founder of Nodat and Mother, Encourages Female Entrepeneurs to Go For It
by Cool Girls Create Staff
February 08, 2020
What is your Business Name?
What type of industry is your business in?
Local Marketing & Advertising
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Word of Mouth.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I realized that I didn’t know much about what was available in my local area due to the lack local advertising and information shared by my family and friends on Facebook and wanted to find a way to get more people excited about sharing their experiences and promoting local businesses on their social media.
Once I got started I realized that I was taking a huge step and risk in my life and it felt great! So, I wanted to inspire other African Americans to do the same and get the courage to follow their dreams.
What products or services do you sell?
Nodat is a local marketing & loyalty program
What inspires your work and what sets you apart from everyone else?
The fact that I am building something to solve a problem that everyone else thinks is a hard problem to solve and I’m excited about introducing such a new out-of-the-box concept to the local advertising industry. I have faced many challenges, some that should have made me give up by now but I have this nagging hard headed feeling in my heart that tells me to keep going. I am the Entrepreneur that won’t let a broken heel or stain on my outfit stop me from standing up in front of a room full of people and pitch my business.
I remember one day during Entrepreneur week I was invited to an investor mixer and my heel broke walking in. I mean the shoe was unwearable. I asked the front desk person if she had some super glue and she handed me a nearly empty tube. I managed to squeeze some out to glue the bottom of the shoe back together and went into the mixer.
The shoe broke again, I asked for rubber bands and tire the rubber around the front of my foot until another entrepreneur offered me a spare pair of her shoes which were two sized too big but I wore those shoes and stayed to make connections and tell potential investors about my business. Recently I spilled liquid makeup on my tan skirt before a big pitch and I turned my skirt inside out and pitched with an inside out skirt!
I actually added that to my pitch to show investors my dedication to my startup. I am a single mother of four children (17, 16, 14, and 11) and they are in this thing with me in spirit. They allow me to borrow from their faith whenever I start to feel discouraged. They are my first team and the biggest reason I keep going, growing, and learning.
What is your background and how did you develop the skills to start your business?
I have a bachelors in business and marketing but I worked in consumer sales for 10 years at At&t. I have been a member of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center since 2017 and I’m currently participating in a 12-month cohort called InFlight there where my team and I are learning more about developing our business model and concept.
What is the biggest “win” in your business’s history?
I’m pretty excited about two partnerships that we just landed. I can’t talk about it just yet but it’s pretty big for us.
Did you ever almost go out of business?
Lol, YEP! More than once. We are pre-revenue and we are completely bootstrapping everything out of pocket. The business Shower is our first fundraiser during our seed round.
Describe your typical work day.
I spend a lot of my time meeting with my team, attending classes at the EC, interviewing potential customers or strategic partners. I also offer consulting services for startups for marketing and app development.
If you could do it all over again, what one thing would you do differently, and why?
I would do a lot more research and I would start off at the Entrepreneur Center and enroll in one of the programs they have their before I spent one dime or built a product.
Tell us an interesting and fun tidbit about your business.
Lol our name! Nodat- Did You Nodat? My goal is to make our name an action word that describes when someone interacts with a business i.e, searching, reviewing, promoting, etc. Nodat is about the actions you take with a business that helps them grow locally.
If you had an extra $100,000 in your business, what would you use it for?
Hiring a marketing strategist, adding a full-time full stack developer, and increasing brand awareness and customer acquisition.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start her own creative business?
Do it. Don’t allow fear of the unknown stop you. Get involved with other female entrepreneurs who have already done what you are trying to do and soak up as much knowledge as you can then go for it.