Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021: The Call List
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Amanda Patterson — CEO and Co-Founder of The Call List. The Call List was selected to work with one of our American partners and is a live streaming platform intended to share and host content. The platform allows users to experience one-to-one video from brands.
Tell us about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey?
At the time, I was living between New York and New Orleans. I thought I had a few lifestyle things figured out and was proud of my management consulting gig paying for the weekly commute, butI was unfulfilled at work and feeling uninspired. My friends seemed fully engaged in their careers and we were often celebrating their accomplishments. I wanted a reason to celebrate milestones in my own career.
I started thinking deeply about what I knew about my talents and what fulfilled me. I sought intellectual frameworks for my path forward. I read books that helped me know my soul, books that helped me harness my aptitude, and those that exercised my critical thinking and resourcefulness.
I also got curious about the persuasions of others — tangential conversation is my best friend. This discovery became habitual. I eventually found the inspiration for The Call List in a friend and performance artist in New Orleans.
How did your idea of (business) come to you?
My friends in NOLA are folks of varied persuasions. I found inspiration in one of them who is an anthropologist and performance artist with a large fan-base spread across the globe. He would give taste bites of his performances via FaceTime calls. He might make over 30 short calls when he got into character or together with other recording artists. I wanted to help him make fewer calls to more people at once, while maintaining the collective energy of his digital audience and monetising events — thus, the genesis of The Call List.
As your company grew, what were the primary challenges?
Fund-raising too early was a challenge – as a first-time founder I didn’t yet have a sound perspective on the milestones necessary for a woman to raise. Mentors I connected with via accelerators and female founder networks were instrumental in organising around our value proposition, financial modeling and connecting with customers. We’d struggle through with a skeleton crew and grew by reinvesting our revenue (super inspired by Sara Blakely in this regard).
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
There has been real magic in sharing what we’ve built. Everyone has a unique application for exclusive interactive access. Through listening to feedback from mentors and potential partners across industries early in development, we’ve been able to build a flexible platform and plug-and-play solution. This means brands and individuals can easily and reliably host virtual shoppable events powered by The Call List on their brand’s site. I feel rewarded in collaborating with creatives on the forefront of digital engagement, knowing our tool genuinely helps cultivate brand communities, and positively impacts our partners’ bottom-line.
What advice would you give to other women entering the entrepreneurial world?
Developing thick skin, active listening skills and community are key. People are going to say some jaw-dropping things to you. Breathe and think about what they’ve just told you about themselves and/or their organisation. You have an opportunity to learn a lot more and make a positive impression, if you keep your composure. Never allow yourself to be abused – it’s habit forming. Networking with other entrepreneurs and mentors will turn you on to valuable resources to get you off the ground, and networking within your industry will help you develop products and services organically. Be flexible and don’t be too precious about the initial vision – if it isn’t evolving you’re not listening closely enough to your customers’ needs.
What’s been the most rewarding moment of your journey as a founder/entrepreneur?
There isn’t one moment that stands out, rather sharing the whole journey with my co-founder, Doug Mackay. He’s never met defeat – just interesting problems. We occasionally take a moment to say “wow, we created something brands like and want to use” when Priyanka Chopra Jonas or Rebel Wilson are at an event powered by The Call List or we catch a glimpse of the conversion rate from events hosted via a brand on Shopify. Mostly, I’m grateful to have a cool-headed, solution-oriented partner. We certainly learn the most from our stumblings and have a really solid product because of all the lessons over the years!
Where do you see your business in the next 12 months?
We’ve just released The Call List site generator tool, which allows brands and individuals to create a branded site and host virtual events in minutes. Think Square Space for virtual events. This will open our services up to brands without the technical resources to integrate our plug-in. We are in the approval process to release our Shopify app to their store. Current brand partners have a managed Shopify app, which requires a few more steps to use than one accessed via their app store. We’ll continue to listen to our customers for feature additions, as well as partner with emerging experiential tech to offer innovative digital experiences.