Why she's interesting The self-described lifetime renter ditched work on a Ph.D. to start Renter's Boom in 2011. Relying on her own Web savvy, and with help from local partners such as Bizdom, Magnet, JumpStart and Tech Sprout, Sims has created a company that helps apartment managers use social media tools such as Facebook to grow their businesses and find new renters.
getting started "It's always difficult to not have money," she says of the early days of Renter's Boom. "It's scary to go into business feet first, and you don't know how deep the pool is, you don't know if you're going to swim or drown. I was there for maybe seven months before I got that first check."
Going strong A lot of her clients are relieved that someone is helping them figure out what to do with their Facebook page. "I get a lot of thank-you's. They love the fact that I'm a pool of advice for them."
renting reality "As a renter and someone who's worked in property management, I recognize that the landlord-tenant relationship is a customer-seller relationship. 'Tenant' implies that person owes you something, and they don't. They are living there voluntarily. Just because I'm renting doesn't mean I'm less than someone who bought a house."
online mishaps We all end up posting things on Facebook or Twitter we wish we could take back. "I tend to live in the land of no regrets. The good thing about social media is it's just Facebook. We're not curing cancer. If something bad happens, we can deal with it."
Crafty chick Sims cites Martha Stewart as someone who knows her social media. "Her Twitter account is her talking, not her people managing her. I was introduced to a lot of really great blogs through Martha Stewart's blog list. She does Facebook really well. She does YouTube. She's got all the networks completely saturated and not in a bad way."
Can't stop the downloads She would rather give up her smartphone for a week than her car for a year. "Only because I'm a crazy, jacked-in person." Sims is so connected she could compensate: Her living room includes three computers and a smart TV.
Social-media tip Use your own picture. "It makes it easier for people who haven't seen you in forever to connect with you."
Sales tip "When you're in business, there is no difference between sales and marketing. If you're going to get their attention it has to be through marketing, and the marketing has to be something that doesn't annoy them."