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8Qs with a Silicon Prairie Founder: Leah Buller

Preparation often ignites new opportunities; Leah Buller knows that innovative recipe well.

In 2011 Leah Buller made the choice to leave the workforce and stay at home with her, then, young children.

During that time, she knew that she didn’t want to sit out completely and decided that e-commerce would allow her to stay home and keep one finger on the pulse of the working world.

Leah Buller, Co-founder of TextyPress

The learning curve was steep, but she used what little free time she had to learn all she could about online marketing and advertising, influencer marketing, blogging, and podcasting. Leah opened an Etsy store selling vintage-inspired jewelry and quickly learned that her passion was not in the items she was making, but more in the business and website building. Leah taught herself to write basic HTML and CSS and started building websites as a freelancer.

When her youngest was preparing to enter kindergarten, Leah knew it was time to branch out and dig a little deeper into entrepreneurship and explore some of the concepts that she had shelved due to lack of time. Currently, Leah is a co-founder of TextyPress, a start-up specializing in content delivery via text message.

TextyPress’s text-based apps are a new approach to app building, using their customers’ love for sending and receiving text messages with mobile responsive content that cuts through the noise and clutter of traditional marketing channels.

SPN: How did you get started in your industry?
LB:I really enjoy the startup community and the idea of building something from scratch. So when I had the opportunity to help out a couple of friends with an app they were working on I was all in. My background is in marketing and sales, so I took on the task of promoting our first product, TextyTours, and it snowballed from there. TextyTours is a self-guided tour application delivered via text message, which was ultimately the inspiration for our newest product, TextyPitch.

SPN: Is your job/career something you thought you would be doing as a child?
LB: No, but I have always been open to new experiences. I don’t know if I ever saw a true clear path for myself. I have dabbled in a lot of different things from freelance writing and web design to industrial chemical sales. Whether it’s a hobby or a career, I think each step along the way, even minor ones, are important. You never know where life will take you, but if you aren’t open to something new, you might miss a great opportunity.

SPN: What are you building right now and why is it important to you?
LB: Right now, my team and I have built a text message-based web application for sales lead generation called TextyPitch. TextyPitch provides sales professionals with a Smart Business Phone Number to capture leads through text messages. TextyPitch delivers targeted, multimedia experiences to engage and nurture leads at trade shows, events, and large group presentations.

As someone who works in sales, I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted a better way to personally connect with prospects and TextyPitch provides that connection. Many of the current ways we prospect and build our lead lists are impersonal, so we wanted a way to genuinely connect with clients and leave behind a great first impression.

We also recognized that we are living in a gig economy with a lot of competition and as freelancers ourselves, we wanted to help our fellow entrepreneurs with a simple way to connect, promote their business and work more efficiently. We built TextyPitch with the ability to track your messaging and gauge the success of each pitch so you can focus your energy on the leads that are most likely to bear fruit. Your TextyPitch number keeps track of each customer interaction and conversation so you always remember what you and your prospect where discussing.

SPN: What is your favorite thing you have built?
LB: Besides the data, my favorite feature within TextyPitch is the ability to create custom, branded pitches and text them out to prospects. When a potential client opens my message to see my pitch personalized to them, it leaves behind a “WOW” factor that helps me and my business stand out. I also find the contact storage invaluable. Instead of collecting business cards and then entering prospects’ contact information after-the-fact, I can send TextyPitch my prospects’ phone numbers and it organizes and stores the names and numbers for me so I don’t have to. It removes an entire organizational step, which is a real time saver.

SPN: If you could change one thing about your job or the place that you live, what would it be?
LB: I love Omaha. Besides maybe the weather, I wouldn’t change a thing about Omaha as a city. I do think, however, there is a slower adoption rate for new ideas. Maybe it’s the Midwest, but I feel like we are sometimes late to the party and it’s a little harder to convince people that change is good.

SPN: Was there anything looking back that you would do differently?
LB: I can’t change the year I was born and unfortunately, I grew up just on the outside of the tech boom. I have my BA in Broadcast Journalism and during my college years we were still using film. I wish someone would have told me in 2000 to focus on tech and that most of what I would learn in college would be obsolete in ten years. That might have been helpful, but who’s to say I would have listened.

SPN: What could the SPN community do to help you succeed?
LB: Right now, we are looking for beta users for TextyPress. We want to get as many people as we can using and testing TextyPitch. If you are in sales, have a business you would like to promote or maybe a unique use case we haven’t thought of, then we would love to hear from you. Text “leah” to 402-513-9334 and we will get you set up.

SPN: If you could ask these questions to anyone else in the region, who would it be?
LB: Brooke Mullen, founder of Saphan.

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