Samantha Fong is cofounder and lead business developer of Front Door, a Memphis-based startup that is disrupting the real estate industry by providing home sellers with full-service agents for a flat fee of $1,500. Front Door completed Start Co.’s women-led Upstart accelerator program last year.
Being Type A, I was never big on taking chances or surprises. If I took a chance, I usually had at least one back-up plan, possibly even five, ready to go. In high school, I had the ultimate 10-year plan that included school, love, marriage and kids. About two years into college, I learned to accept that a majority of things in life are out of my control. You can’t really predict your life, let alone your career. I did do the usual, though: I graduated college, went to grad school and found a job in my respective field. But about two weeks into my first “big girl” job, I felt stuck. It was as if everyone around me was moving, advancing, while I stood still.
We started Front Door on a very small budget compared to most companies—we’re talking $25,000. But in just three short months, we were able to validate our market, obtain customers and even establish partnerships within our space. Right now, it is still just the two of us (Jessica Buffington is cofounder and CEO), but as we begin to expand, we want to seek out employees with values that are aligned with ours. I grew up playing sports and studying the sciences, not business, but the lessons I’ve learned since creating Front Door simply could not have been obtained in any classroom.
I’m often asked about my story and leveraged for some sought-after advice, and to be honest, I think the biggest one is to establish trust. I know what you’re thinking: Is this advice for a startup or a relationship? But hear me out. If I didn’t trust Jessica to start this journey or the process of our accelerator, I don’t think Front Door would be the company it is today. Of course this isn’t for the faint of heart and you will experience your fair share of highs and lows, but the reward at the end when you take a step back is completely worth it.
I think for me, realizing every day was a new adventure was the hardest adjustment in starting a company. But I’ve come to enjoy the roller coaster that is life and have welcomed each day as an opportunity to learn and grow.