How I Work: Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, founder of See Jane Invest - Baltimore


Apr. 7, 2014 10:15 am

How I Work: Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, founder of See Jane Invest

This is Baltimore's "How I Work" series, where we'll take a look at the tools and tips the region's startup founders and creative leaders use to get through the day.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Keenan Trumpbour.

This is Baltimore's new "How I Work" series, where we'll take a look at the tools and tips the region's startup founders and creative leaders use to get through the day. If you'd like to be a part of this series, e-mail us.

Kelly Keenan Trumpbour is the founder of See Jane Invest, which places “an emphasis on how women can become more involved as investors of women led companies,” she said via e-mail.

“I’m developing educational opportunities for anyone who wants to see companies scale up in cities like Baltimore,” said Trumpbour, 35.

On Wednesday, Trumpbour will be a panelist in the University of Baltimore event “Crowdfunding: Is It Right For You?” More details and RSVP here.

There’s no main office for See Jane Invest. As Trumpbour said, she has been working from coffee shops in several city neighborhoods — Mount Vernon, Harbor East, Mt. Washington, Charles Village — for nearly a year.

This is how she works.

What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any startup-related work?

I try to reserve about a half hour for personal reflection and meditation. I eat a light breakfast (even if it’s just a handful of cashews on my way out the door), and three to four times a week I have morning workouts.

How often do you check your e-mail, and do you use any program to get to “Inbox Zero“?
On most days, I set aside a half-hour in the morning and the afternoon to check and answer e-mails in bulk. I find I work better when I know I have a few hours to concentrate on deep-dive tasks distraction-free, and that requires overcoming the Pavlovian twitch e-mail inspires.

I used to think “Inbox Zero” was about as realistic as commuting by unicorn. Then I accepted that the point wasn’t to stare at an empty inbox as much as it was to have a quick and easy way to understand what to do next:

  • I integrated See Jane Invest’s accounts with Gmail, and one day I decided to go through my primary inbox and create a respond folder for any stragglers.
  • I archived everything else and deleted all promotions, updates and social robot mail. Now I just repeat the process if not daily, then at least several times a week.
  • This is my loose riff on Inbox Zero approaches, but I’ve enjoyed reading blogs like the naive optimist to see how other startups tackle it.
  • After talking to Dave Troy, I’m checking out Mailstrom. I like anything that takes advantage of how we process things visually.

How do you keep track of your revenues and expenses?


I began by tracking and labeling everything in Mint. Now I’m looking into cloud accounting programs. I never took to QuickBooks, but I’m intrigued by Xero, Kashoo, FreeAgent, and LessAccounting.

When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?

Cappuccinos are my caffeine drug of choice. Whether I’m making one at my home office or buying one in a shop, it stretches my legs. Even if I’m not eating or drinking anything, I think sitting for too long stagnates the brain. I try to get up and move around a little every hour or so.

If I need to reframe my thought process, I often turn to humor or vivid imagery that I find on places like Pinterest. I love discovering artists and photographers that do fun things with color. Sometimes it’s nice to just give the brain a break and give it something totally different to chew on. Let’s not forget spontaneous dance parties, even if it’s only a little chair bopping with earbuds.

Where do you turn to for founder’s inspiration when you’re feeling low?

Spring is coming and there is nothing I love more than a good run outside. With the right playlist, this can take me from a low point to content and invigorated. I’m also really fortunate to have family and friends who I can call in a moment.

What’s your gear?

I grew up on PC’s but a few years ago I changed everything over to Apple. Now I have the full spectrum of Apple products: iPhone, iPad, Mac Air, Mac Desktop.

What’s one time-saving tip you have?

Don’t believe your own hype that everything you have to do is so important. Some of it is, most of it isn’t. I consider this a time-saver because without it, the hamster wheel could spin indefinitely.

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