Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Interview with Entrepreneur, Vyllage’s President and Co-Founder, Laura Borland

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1- Hello Laura, can you please tell us a bit about you?
Sure. I’m a native of Jamaica, but I am a US citizen living in Florida for almost thirty years. I have an MBA from Florida International University and prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I was a high school teacher, quality engineer, and product development manager.

2- What are your focus areas and why?
Based on my background, especially in Quality and Education, I am always looking for ways to simplify and improve processes for customers. I believe strongly in the community-collective as the best way to tackle issues facing our neighborhoods, but there needs to be an incentive. Hence, why I created Vyllage: to address a glaring issue of package theft by relying on our neighbors.

3- How do you describe Vyllage in few words?
Vyllage is a package protection app that provides alternate delivery addresses from vetted, participating homeowners, called Vyllagers, who are willing to receive and safeguard your deliveries until you can get them for a nominal fee ($3.99-$5.99) per shipment/delivery.

4- Where do you think your work is making an impact?
I think the impact of Vyllage is two-fold: 1. for our users, Vyllage is providing peace of mind knowing that their purchases are housed in a secured location and not susceptible to theft and weather damage. 2. For our Vyllagers®, we are offering a true turn-key home-based business for the cost of a background check ($14.95) for thousands of homeowners across the country by operating their own Vyllage In-Home Package Receiving location. These Vyllagers make $3-$5 per delivery they receive.

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5- How did you build up a creative spirit, do you believe you were born with it or you developed it?
It’s a bit of both: nature and nurture. I’ve always had a knack of identifying when things appear unnecessarily complicated, and imagining what the ideal solution would be. What I’ve learned through my career and education, are the tools and methodologies to address those inefficiencies effectively.

6- Tell us about your style?
I am an avid learner who thinks in general terms, so I have enough knowledge on a variety of subjects to speak to it, but not the depth to be an expert. I also prefer delegating and I do not micro-manage. If you write code, which is something I have no idea how to do, I will leave you alone to do what you do best, and deliver it when you’re done.

7- Do you think your mindset has anything to do with success?
It has helped me to treat people with the respect they deserve by being able to listen and absorb their knowledge. Teaching prepares you quickly assess a person, and tailor a message in real-time so that they understand.

8- If you could turn the time, what would you love to change?
I would have loved to learn a skill (plumbing, electrical, etc.), in addition to a college education. During the recession a decade ago, the people who were minimally impacted were those who had a skill. Think about it:  even without a job, you still needed your car repaired and serviced, the broken A/C fixed, and so on.

9- What are you most excited about at the moment?
I am excited about the rise of the gig economy (Uber, AirBnB, Turo, etc.) and how that is going to impact so many lives and livelihoods. We are making decisions on how we want to earn, be our own boss, set our own hours, in order to have the quality of life that we want, and while using the assets available to us (our cars and homes) – not dictated to us by an employer.

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10- The last word or final thoughts?
Vyllage is going to impact lives positively. This is such a great opportunity to know our neighbors again while using technology as the connection. What I love most about Vyllage is the idea that anyone: wounded veterans, stay-at-home parents and caregivers, retirees, virtual workers, home schoolers, persons with disabilities – can have a small business from home. We get a chance to monetize an asset that we traditionally wouldn’t use. So, a simple bookshelf will get you started in your business.

You can also get in touch on Facebook an Twitter.

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Noelle Elia
Noelle Elia
is a Financial analyst at PSPC. Graduated from Telfer School of Management, Finance/Accounting with interest to Entrepreneurship and New Media.
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