River City Six – Renee Sobotka
Meet Renee Sobotka, founder and CEO of True North Technologies.
Tell us a little about your business.
We help small businesses develop websites and mobile apps. We also provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO), branding, and digital marketing services. By adding product lines, we are giving people the tools they need to thrive. We love what we do, and it shows! We know our industry like the back of our hands. Every customer is unique. That’s why we customize each of our plans to fit their needs exactly. We help businesses communicate clearly with effective messaging that resonates with customers. We strive to help others through technology by making the process simple. Even the least techie business owner can tackle the mobile world with our help.
How did you get started in the business?
I grew up in West Point, NE. It’s a small town with strong local business. My entire family owns small businesses, and I wanted do the same. After graduating from the UNL, I worked for some amazing companies and was given great opportunities to implement new software. I was able to see how these implementations propelled those companies to their next stage of growth. When I found an affordable way to develop websites and mobile apps to help business owners compete, True North Technologies was born.
Tell us a little about your family. – I have two kids, Morgan (14) and Mason (11); and two fur babies, Benny (5) and Carl (1).
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
In 2016, I was recovering from a surgery and going through a divorce. I read an article about Discovering Your True North. The basic premise was that if you make all of your decisions based on your values, your choices will inevitably guide you to happiness and your True North. It asked, “Are you all you want to be? Do you have a path to fulfilling your dreams?” The concept of making all of my decisions based on my values has stayed with me. Can you think of a time when you felt intensely alive? A moment when you could say with confidence, “This is the real me?” That is when you are in sync with your True North. The journey to authenticity begins with understanding yourself. As long as you are true to who you are, you can cope with the most difficult circumstances life presents.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
When my dad died three years ago, it really made me think about life. I realized, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing. I needed to start my own company to really feel fulfilled. I was selling myself short, and I knew it. It brought me back to finding my True North and living each day with my values of growth, family, and honesty.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Go to the lake or for a bike ride.
What is the most interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I also own a residential real estate business.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Jump and grow your wings on the way down.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Shoe Dog, Phil Knight’s story about building the Nike empire. I would have never guessed the number of times Nike was threatened by bankruptcy. It showed me that hiring the right people is critical, and it reassured me that you don’t have to know all of the answers.
What is your favorite TV show?
This Is Us.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Craft! Amazing burgers.