Darren Nix is the Founder of Steadily, an InsurTech startup that built a full-stack insurance service for landlords. Steadily is fast, affordable, and amazing at customer service. In the fall of 2020, the company raised a $3.8M seed investment. Before founding Steadily he successfully sold his startup ‘Interviewed’ to Indeed. He is also an alumnus of Y Combinator and went to MIT.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Darren Nix: My name is Darren Nix, founder of Steadily Landlord Insurance. There are two particular services we provide at Steadily. The first is landlord insurance where everything is handled online. The second is providing IoT devices and services to landlords to minimize repairs by assisting in preventative maintenance. In the future, I hope not only landlords, but many businesses utilize IoT to minimize overhead so they can reinvest as much as they can to grow their business.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Darren Nix: While I agree with you that no child said they wanted to be a CEO, I believe every child said they wanted to make something that was their own. I wanted to come up with something that was my own when I was a child and I saw the potential for that in business tech. I was not entirely sure how, but I did learn more about the importance of data during my education and decided to try that out.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Darren Nix: Some people may be surprised to know that I have tried to make a company in the mid-2000s. The financial crisis struck and suddenly I faced many issues. Sometimes I look back on that moment as a failure, but I realized how it is critical to understand that when you hit a wall, you need to turn in a different direction. For instance, when I first founded Steadily, I thought we would just provide landlord insurance online, a disruptive, but still limiting mission. Then I realized I could also provide services to assist landlords during times of crisis like a global pandemic that forces landlords to stop collecting rent. That’s how I also started providing IoT services to minimize a landlord’s overhead.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Darren Nix: I would define an entrepreneur as someone who sets out to solve a problem by either using or obtaining resources to find out how to solve this problem. If that sounds broad, that’s because it is. Most people utilize resources to solve a problem by themselves. I know many jobs in startups, particularly that require this mindset because they want entrepreneurial minds to solve a problem. And for larger businesses, this mindset certainly helps.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Darren Nix: In a startup, everyone has ideas of how to improve the company. If an entrepreneur limits what demographics work for them, they limit solutions they can find to reach out to those demographics. For instance, a company that is all men will have little to no idea of how to market to women.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Darren Nix: A leader can be disruptive by finding a problem and implementing a new solution. I do that with IoT to minimize maintenance costs, however, a leader does not need revolutionary technology to solve these problems, they just need to find a new way to solve a problem that can be easily implemented.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Darren Nix: I would tell them that I help people who provide homes by helping them deal with issues that may come up. I would explain how if they made a lemonade stand and they wanted my services, I would explain how I would protect their stand from issues that come up such as storms. The IoT would be a little harder to explain, but I would tell them that IoT would detect the quality of the lemonade they serve and how quickly it starts to spoil so they would know when to make lemonade and how large of a pitcher they should make at certain times so they would throw out as little lemonade as possible.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Darren Nix: One of the most difficult decisions I needed to make for the company was to set up a PR team using freelance platforms instead of a direct hire. In many, situations I see freelance as risky for employment. So far, traffic has increased considerably and the freelance employees I have hired provide quality work.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Darren Nix: My most useless talent in graphic design. I have learned some of the ways to use graphic design to improve businesses, but I found that practically everyone with graphic design is far more experienced than I am. I feel like people should focus on only a few of their talents because it is impossible to as Covey says “sharpen your saw” if you have too many saws to maintain.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Darren Nix: Slow And Steady Wins It All
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Darren Nix for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Darren Nix or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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