Tonya Turrell has made a career out of successful innovation.
As the founder of three different companies and currently the CEO and Chief Inspiration Officer of The Launchpad, Tonya has discovered new ways to serve clients, grow businesses, and create remarkable work environments for her employees. She has successfully guided fast-growing companies within the IT space – and in the process, she and her team have developed practices that continue to change the tech industry.
No road to success is perfectly straight, but the challenges that Tonya has faced along the way have helped to shape her career – and the insights she has gained have helped her deliver even greater IT solutions as the leader of The Launchpad.
Her first company was a cold-calling business, which Tonya admits was incredibly difficult.
“I started that business when I was 29, so I had a lot of inexperience, lots of mistakes,” Tonya says. “We never made any profit and one of our clients changed their marketing direction, which because they were a large distributor, took away 80-90% of our revenue. When they changed direction, it effectively put us out of business.”
Although the business ultimately went bankrupt, it provided valuable lessons that Tonya would quickly apply to her second business. Driven to succeed, Tonya closed her first business on a Friday, scaled back her team to six essential and high-performing members, and launched her second business on Monday.
Not content to start another cold-calling business, Tonya began Leads on Demand with a simple question: How could they give clients what they need – which are leads – but make it easier and more fun while generating more revenue and, most importantly, paying her people more?
Tonya’s first step was to pivot away from cold calling.
“Instead, we led our prospective customers down the digital path and harnessed the power of email marketing and surveys to pre-qualify prospects,” she said. “Our calling team only had to follow up with warm leads who completed surveys and told us they had initiatives going on. We still represented/branded ourselves as the client, with branded HTML emails and calls placed ‘On behalf of HP’ and ‘On behalf of IBM.’”
Success came quickly.
“Within a few weeks of making these changes, our team of 6 was outperforming our former team of 60 callers from the previous business,” Tonya explains. “Once we realized they could perform like this, the next step was figuring out how to push production and pay them very, very well.”
Tonya instituted performance bonuses, inspiring her team to reach incredible goals – and each member of the team was regularly earning $5-10k/month in bonuses alone.
“We never had a problem with retention,” Tonya says.
With her new business booming, her clients happy, and her team earning more than they ever thought possible, it would have been easy for Tonya to relax and enjoy her success. But a successful business requires time and effort to keep it growing, and Tonya realized that she was sacrificing other critical areas of her life. Specifically, she wanted to spend more time with her children.
“I am from Japan and my husband is from England, and traveling has always been a passion for us,” Tonya says. “My youngest child was having problems in school when I learned about world schooling. When I learned that there was a thing where you can travel for education, we pulled our kids out of school and I sold the business, and we spent five years traveling all over the world.”
During their five-year world schooling experience, Tonya continued to apply the principles she developed with Leads on Demand to provide consulting and coaching services to friends, entrepreneurs, and other companies. Then in late 2019, she received a phone call from a friend and former client that would once again change the trajectory of her career.
Her friend needed help completing a project after a vendor accepted payment but never completed the work. Tonya helped her friend complete a lead generation campaign within a couple of weeks, saving her friend’s job and bringing her company increased revenue and new partnerships. With her sterling reputation still circling through the industry, Tonya was asked to start a lead generation business once again. After her five-year non-compete agreement expired in February 2020, she started The Launchpad, a tech matchmaker for IT buyers and sellers.
“In February, we announced we were getting back into business, and the calls just started coming in,” Tonya says. “We said we wanted to keep it small, to grow in a manageable way, and we set a goal to do $1M in revenue for the year. Within the first two weeks, we’d sold over $1.5M in revenue.”
Since then, Tonya and her team at The Launchpad have continued to grow – and she continues to innovate exciting new services along the way. They recently announced the launch of their MQL membership program, giving clients even greater service while becoming the go-to resource for IT buyers and sellers to connect.
Now, anticipation is building for The Launchpad Matchmaking Marketplace Portal, set to be unveiled in Q1 of 2023.
“This is really what it’s all been building toward,” Tonya said.
Tonya through The Launchpad experience has set new goals – both for herself and for her company. One area where she continues to focus is on creating the best possible environment for her team to succeed and empowering them to earn enough money to make their own life dreams a reality.
“We sold our last business in 2015, which enabled us to travel and take our kids all over the world, which is amazing. But even though we gave everyone in the company nice bonuses, we couldn’t share in that lifestyle,” Tonya says. “But now, I have one team member who has talked for 20 years about wanting to remodel her kitchen, and she just finished it. Another had a dream to buy a Jeep, and she just bought it. One of them prepaid their child’s college tuition. I love those stories, and I want to help my team create more of them.”
Tonya Turrell is the founder and CEO of The Launchpad. To learn more, visit www.launchpad-tech.com.