Entrepreneurship is in the family for these Utica CEOs

Husband and wife entrepreneurs, Justin and Emily Call, competed head to head at the AFRL Commercialization Academy Spring 2018 Demo Day. Both came out on top for their ventures – GoFigure and idoolocal.  (Photo credit: Simon Eisenbach, Simon Eisenbach Productions)

Here’s an exclusive interview on how these Utica CEOs are running two high-growth ventures…while raising four children.

UVC: How do you run a family, full-time jobs, and two startups?

Emily Call: We make our family priority, and obviously our full-time jobs take most of our attention.  We spend some time in the evenings, as well as early mornings discussing current issues with idoolocal, and working on development. As for sales, I meet with prospective partners in the late afternoons after my duties at school are completed (Emily is a school teacher). Our children have been part of idoolocal from its inception. About a year and a half ago they started joining us on some sales calls, evaluating experiences and critiquing graphics and design. 

Justin Call: I wake up at 4:00am each day to work with clients in Europe, catch up with the news, and organized priorities. I suggest creating very specific tasks at certain times to enable momentum for a work rhythm. The family rule is (mostly) no technology after 10:00am Saturday. This gives us a chance to unplug, focus on each other, and stay connected to the community. I just think better when I give myself that time off-line.

UVC: What is your advice to other couples trying to both be successful as entrepreneurs?

Emily & Justin Call: To be clear and honest, idoolocal is truly in the incubator stage meaning, although we’ve made sales and received some accolades, we wouldn’t claim success at this stage.  That is probably the biggest challenge as a couple and entrepreneur – the slow pace of development and growth. We balance each other. When one is urgent, the other is patient. Bouncing ideas back and forth helps us arrive at a better solution. It is really cool to see your idea translated into a business model that has great potential. The challenges and rewards have made us a even better team – as business partners and parents.

UVC: What do you do for “down time?”

Emily & Justin Call: We both really enjoy the outdoors and exercise – we often enjoy swimming laps together at the gym and local pool. It’s our little escape from tech, work and parenting for a small respite a few times a week. We do have our own hobbies as well to have some autonomy.  We make volunteerism a priority for ourselves and our family with many weekends spent supporting the elementary school and community activities.

[end of interview]

Business partnerships are hard enough. Personal relationships are another layer of complexity. Prompted by a commitment to quality of life and family, the couple relocated to Utica from Boston to be near Emily’s parents. I’m thrilled to wish this couple all the best as they continue to grow their businesses and celebrate a 21-year anniversary this August!

Hear more stories like this on Tuesday, October 2 at the 2018 Upstate Unleashed Conference. Tickets available now. For table reservations contact Kathryn@UVC.org.*



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