Today we’d like to introduce you to Christy Laurence.
Christy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had a successful career in digital marketing, social media, and direct response advertising for agencies and corporations, most recently finishing up as an Advertising Executive at Insurance Australia Group (IAG). The idea for Plann was born while I was illustrating and selling my artwork on Instagram, the account was doing so well, friends would ask ‘how’ I was able to do so. I knew Instagram was about implementing a specific story-selling technique and showcasing an appealing feed. I decided to cut down on my consulting time and build an app to teach this social media strategy on a greater scale. At the end of the first week of the app’s launch I had 1000 paying users- and the growth has been exponential ever since. By the end of the year, Plann won 3 awards as an innovative product and I received ‘Australiasian Startup Founder of the Year’ with StartCon as one of the only female finalists.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A few years ago, a freak brain trauma caused by the flu, rendered me extremely dizzy, nauseous and I lost most of my mobility for more than 18 months. I suffered trauma with my nervous system (including panic attacks when I left the house and falling down the stairs several times due to dizziness). My doctors told me I would need a caregiver for the rest of my life. This was when I started selling my artwork on Instagram. I noticed how the quality of my feed affected the price I could charge. I decided to start a business at home and focus on getting better. With no money to build an app, I worked for free for over 12 months at a local web and app agency to get the technology started.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Plann – what should we know?
I’m the founder and CEO of Plann, an Instagram Management app I self-funded to over 1.5M downloads in 160+ countries. Social media managers and teams use Plann to grow their online engagement using a combination of design elements and advanced metrics. Our high-profile users include Stila Cosmetics, Ivy Park Clothing (Beyoncé clothing line), HGTV, Scott Disick (Keeping Up With The Kardashians) and Dasha Polanco (Orange Is The New Black). Once I realized the power of using an Instagram strategy to grow my own brand, I created Plann with the innate passion to help people build their own business and secure their own freedom – if only they could understand how to market themselves online. After three years, we are proud to see that Plann is listed in the top 1,100 grossing apps in the world, has a passionate global team, and acquires over 15,000 people a week into the platform. I feel so lucky to be able to use my influence to support and educate others. I mentor on multiple startup accelerators to empower more female, non-technical founders build their own successful tech companies.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
It would definitely be resilience, mixed with passion and grit. There are always fires burning in a startup, and had I stopped firefighting at the first, second, or even 50th challenge, I wouldn’t have made it past the idea phase! Knowing how to take the emotion out of a situation and only focus on the solution – not catastrophize, takes mega resilience. It’s a skill I’m proud to have and I know my team respects it – they often ask for my help with mindset when they’ve got their own fires to put out.
- Free: 1 account for 1 person
- Power user: $7/month for 1 person
- Build: $15/month, 2 accounts for 2 people
- Grow: $45/month, 5 accounts for 4 people
- Play Big: $105/month, 10 accounts for 8 people
- Add additional people and accounts for just $7ea per month.
- Website: https://www.plannthat.com
- Instagram: @plannthat
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plannthat/