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Interview with Jaime Nacach, Founder and CEO of Virtual Latinos

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Interview with Jaime Nacach, Founder and CEO of Virtual Latinos

Jaime Nacach is the founder and CEO of Virtual Latinos and the digital marketing agency Bloominari. He is a marketing strategist with a passion for technology and automation, the perfect combination to boost the growth of his companies.

So far, Virtual Latinos, a recruitment agency, has helped 400+ companies expand and has assisted 600+ professionals in finding their dream remote jobs.

Where did the idea for Virtual Latinos come from?

Before coming up with Virtual Latinos, I actually wanted to hire a Virtual Assistant for my digital marketing agency, Bloominari but failed. I signed up on the website of a virtual assistance company from the Philippines and the experience was terrible; the person I paid and hired ended up ghosting me.
After that, I started thinking about the immense professional potential there is in Latin America and that’s when the brilliant idea came up to me! I decided to build from scratch a community of professionals from Latin America (I’m from Mexico) that could be interested in working with companies from the US and Canada.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Today my role in Virtual Latinos is more of an Operations Manager even though my official title is CEO; this is because we still have plenty of operational tasks that need to be taken care of. One of my short-term goals is to outsource or delegate these responsibilities to a member of my team so I can fully focus on strategic decisions and brainstorming; that’s what I’d like to be doing as CEO.

With that in mind, currently, my typical day is a combination of meetings, mostly with the directors or leaders of each department of VL. These meetings take probably two to three hours per day. For the rest of my day, I go through our project management software; we use Infinity, to check what tasks haven’t been completed yet or check the progress based on our Project Managers’ reports.

In conclusion, my day consists of meetings and operational tasks.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Our company is constantly changing, probably like most companies should be, and we work as a team to come up with new ideas and innovate.
There’s a variety of sources where ideas come from. We hold biweekly team meetings, with every single member of our organization, and we discuss new projects openly so anyone can give their opinion. Once we decide and agree on what we’re going to do or implement, the directors of each department organize and assign the tasks to its members and our Project Manager is in charge of following up on the progress of the task.
At the end of the day, plenty of the ideas we implement come from our team based on things that we discuss or they think that we should implement to improve our processes.

Another way we come up with ideas is by reading the news about what is happening around the world or in our specific industry.
We’re very happy and proud that we have encouraged our team members to have a lot of proactivity!

What’s one trend that excites you?

This trend known as remote work is something that really excites me! And I’ll tell you why…
First, I’d like to mention that our company was not born during COVID like many companies in our space or industry. We had established our company before COVID happened and remote work was sort of the new nature of how the business worked out. To this day, working remotely became such an accepted work dynamic and this, of course, has opened the doors for us to work with lots more companies, big or small. The same happens with our Virtual Professionals, they are from Latin America and remote work was definitely not popular at all, in fact, I’d say it was unimaginable.
With remote work being more accepted now in Latin America, which is a culture that tends to be less progressive overall compared to other cultures where things are usually faster, this new trend of working from home is really helping, not only our company but all the professionals that have applied to join our community.
I’m sure there’s a lot of growth in the future for us as a company because clients are now more open to hiring people from Latin America to work with remotely and Virtual Assistants will have more job opportunities to apply to.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I like to make things as organized as possible because I believe that usually if you’re organized, you can access things that you need faster and get things done faster as well. I tend to have a pretty good organization method, both on Google Drive and Dropbox or internally in my folders, on my computer, which is where I do most of my work.
I’d say that a habit that’s connected to that is digitizing as much as possible. I try not to have anything on paper and whatever I get on email, I scan it, organize it digitally and then get rid of it. In general, that has helped me be more productive at work.
Another specific habit I can share is that I try to finish and take care of small and achievable tasks faster first. When I go to my inbox or my project management system, I initially look at those and complete them as soon as I can. This way, I have more free time for those tasks that require more of me since they often include a creative process.

What advice would you give your younger self?

This is what I’d say to a 20-year-old Jaime: try not to perfect every aspect of a project before you launch it.
I’m convinced that one of the principal reasons for the failure of my marketing agency, Bloominari, was that I invested a lot of time in making sure that everything regarding the back end of how the services would be performed and the website was absolutely perfect.
Instead of promoting the agency to clients, testing the waters, and seeing what would happen, I wasted too much time making everything “right”.
On the bright side, I tried this different approach when I created Virtual Latinos! I didn’t have anything figured out, I just launched one landing page and waited. Now, we have helped 400+ companies grow and 600+ professionals find their dream job.
It’s definitely a much better approach being less of a perfectionist!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I don’t really have an answer to this question. I’m always open to other people’s opinions and I have no problem accepting when I’m wrong.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I’m not saying this just to encourage people to become our clients, but because I genuinely believe in this. I’m constantly telling whomever I talk with that the only way to grow is to not do everything themselves; they have to learn how to delegate.
This was something that was very hard for me because I thought that I was the best option to do every single thing related to my business and that’s not the best way to be an entrepreneur, at all!
Now, instead of being on top of what everybody is doing and making sure that all is going smoothly, I trust that the people that I hired will do the best job possible.
So every now and then, take a break and think about how delegating and outsourcing a piece of what you do to others, is the best way to grow a company!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Since day one, we’ve used the inbound marketing methodology as our marketing and customer attraction strategy. I worked for many years as a digital marketer so when I decided to create Virtual Latinos I gathered all the knowledge from my previous experiences to help this new project succeed online through natural organic rankings on Google.
In case you are not familiar with SEO, ranking on Google is not easy at all! It takes a lot of time and patience. Thus, we decided to focus on creating content of value about, for example, tips on hiring Virtual Assistants (VAs) from Latin America –especially for those who were already looking for VAs. We created many valuable blog entries on our website, and naturally, have them rank on Google.
At the time, there were plenty of virtual assistance companies but they weren’t focused in Latin America, so our focal point was to share the advantages of hiring in LATAM. Because of the lack of competitors, we knew it wouldn’t be too hard to rank organically on Google if we created the right content.
Additionally, we decided to run small advertising campaigns or paid ads on Facebook and Google. We thought this would be good, especially for recruiting candidates.
Then, we started doing some groundwork. We began having important conversations with people, in real life, just to learn more about business dynamics. Also, we received a lot of feedback about our project.
Currently, at Virtual Latinos the majority of our efforts and marketing budget it’s used on creating original content to attract leads using specific keywords related to our specific industry and service.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Okay, I will tell you the whole story! As mentioned before, prior to Virtual Latinos I had a marketing agency known as Bloominari. This project failed; I realized that regardless of what I did, paid ads and SEO, the agency just wasn’t growing as I wanted. I’ve come to realize that one of the biggest problems was that I wasted too much time on designing the services and hiring the right people for each role, instead of on what mattered the most, the clients or exposure. Also, I noticed that there was A LOT of competition and that this was directly affecting my business.
To put an end to Bloominari, personally, was a very difficult decision! But I don’t regret it. After saying goodbye to my agency, I decided to take a risk and start building a completely different business which now you know as Virtual Latinos.
The main idea for VL came up put of my own need of hiring a professional but at the same time I needed to lower my costs and I thought that other entrepreneurs from the United States and Canada would face the same issue.
That’s how I managed to turn a failure into something positive!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’d like to share something I once read in a book… In order to be successful in tomorrow’s businesses, rather than trying to come up with a super unique idea for a product or a service, why don’t you take something that already works, become an expert and focus on helping other people learn how to use it or adapt it for themselves. This way you can become a coach to tell people how to use any existing software or tool or you can work towards being a consultant.
The idea is you don’t necessarily have to build a completely unique business, you can just take something that already works and become the best at it.
I believe there’s a lot of value in that idea!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’ll tell you both, personal and professional.
From a personal point of view, a few days ago I reapplied to Global Entry. This program allows you to enter the United States and avoid the long and slow immigration process. It consists of a card that’s valid for five years and allows you to cross the border quickly! This is very useful for me since I live in San Diego and thanks to this program it’s a lot easier to go, for example, to Tijuana, Mexico (I love it there!).
From a professional perspective, recently we spent around $100 on a Zoom webinar subscription. We were using another webinar software and it just wasn’t good enough, that’s why we decided to change. In April, we held a webinar with our clients and it went amazing, so thank you Zoom! This was definitely money well spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I have a huge passion for technology! That’s why I’m always searching for better tools and software to automate those tasks that are very time-consuming; I love anything that can save my team and me time.
I have to recommend Zapier, it’s one of my favorite tools. I became an expert on Zapier a few years ago. This tool allows you to automate and link almost ANY software. CRMs with Google Docs, Email Marketing tools with forms, and project management tools. I’m proud to say that almost my entire business has been built with Zapier along with other tools.
Jotform is another software I’d recommend! We use it to gather candidates’ applications, to get lead’s information, for internal team requests, and more.
I think it’s important, always, to be open to trying new software and tools and something I try to get into my team’s minds is that it probably already exists a tool you can use to automate a task that takes you a lot of time. I tell them: “Before you start a task at least think or ask on our team group chat if there’s a faster way to do it using a software”. And, since I’m an Appsumo lover, we probably already have the subscription!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Last year we discovered a book called “Traction” by Gino Wickman. We talked about it at our latest leadership summit, we read it and now we’re going to implement the learnings into our community in order to improve our processes.
Traction is a book that helps CEOs, leaders, and directors get a grip on their business to be able to make it grow to its full potential. Also, it introduces a system known as the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that optimizes the recruiting procedure and the implementation of new ideas.
I strongly believe that anybody looking to grow their business should read this book!

What is your favorite quote?

A long time ago, my grandmother, from my father’s side, shared with me the quote: “Never say never”. It may sound cliché, but to this day the phrase it’s very important in my personal and work life.
Whenever we encounter difficult situations, it’s normal that we end up saying things like “it’s impossible” or “I don’t think this will work out”. But I’ve realized that closing yourself to new opportunities is a huge mistake.
Virtual Latinos is a company that’s not directly related to what I was doing before! But imagine if I had said, “You know what, this is not at all what I do”.
My advice is to be open to that “never”. At the end of the day, there are always going to be things in life that will surprise you.

Key Learnings:

  • Don’t close yourself to new ideas, no matter where they come from.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, don’t second guess launching your project! There’s no more perfect time than right now.
  • There are thousands of tools and software available for you to help you optimize the processes of your business!
Originally published on IdeaMensch.

Interviews

Interview with Sara Sheehan, Founder of Sara Sheehan Consulting

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Interview with Sara Sheehan, Founder of Sara Sheehan Consulting

Sara Sheehan, PCC, is a consultant and Executive Coach who works with C-Level executive leaders in designing organizations, developing business strategies, managing change, optimizing talent and leadership development, and solving complex human performance problems. Through executive coaching, Sara helps leaders sprint their way up the corporate ladder and increase their performance.

During Sara’s 25+ years in business, she has worked with leaders, teams, and organizations in Fortune 100 companies and individuals. Sara specializes in change management, talent and leadership development, executive coaching, and organization design. As a collaborative, results-orientated coach, Sara provides support and practical feedback to help clients effectively navigate change and address business challenges. She also integrates coaching techniques, methods, and approaches to help her clients develop change capabilities and learn to apply them right away. With a servant leadership mindset, she supports her clients in building new skills and customizes frameworks to her client’s project needs. Sara works with clients based on her network, referrals, and appointment.

Sara has been featured both nationally and internationally on podcasts as an expert on topics of change management, talent and leadership development, executive coaching, and organization design.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

The idea for Sara Sheehan Consulting is based on almost 30 years in management consulting and executive coaching. Through business consulting, I help businesses through complex business transformations from a human capital perspective. Through executive coaching, I help busy executives sprint their way up the corporate ladder by setting goals, increasing their performance, resolving conflict, and setting up an advisory team so they are even more successful in their current role or their next one if they are in transition.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

It’s a combination of time blocking for specific purposes like business development, market research conversations, reaching out to ideal clients or close contacts that can refer me to ideal clients, scheduled current client meetings, a wide variety of marketing activities, and time for things that feed me like exercise, cooking, or other interests like spending time with friends and family. I am innately extremely productive so when I am at my best I am in a positive flow.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a lot of creative ideas so bringing them to life is not a chore. Typically, writing is the first step to bringing new ideas to life, then it may spread across my marketing mix into videos, presentations, new offerings, or marketing research conversations to test market viability. Once an idea has filtered through these touchpoints, I am able to put more structure around it. Two ideas that I am formalizing right now: a paid membership community on Mighty Networks called The Center for Change Leadership and a chapter in a collaborative book.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I love progression and innovation in technology that helps us be more productive at the least possible cost. To provide a little more context, I love the current trend in software that allows users to get started on a web platform at a low cost and you can increase your plan as you need to if the services fit your needs. These pay-as-you-go plans and the ability to play with new tools are fantastic. Specifically, I have a project team that uses Monday.com and it serves as a tremendous productivity hack.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I know that I am not supposed to do everything, nor should I if I want to scale a successful business. To this end, I am working with the best expert vendors that are aligned with me to amplify my business and my message.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self is that it’s ok to start thinking about how you want to use your craft as an entrepreneur. I’d express to younger me that thinking about offerings and solutions that can be commercialized is going to benefit you. You can start planning now, frame it up, and test your assumptions in market research conversations. You may find that it manifests differently than you expect and that it’s important to be open to the gifts it brings.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

One of the offerings I have done a lot of market research conversations on is my Mastering Change Management Course. The course can be delivered live via Zoom to a cohort or through self-study via Kajabi. I have had no opposition to the course to date, and I have also not found the right pilot group yet. Based on the conversations I have had, the right pilot group is out there! I understand that this is such a different way to deliver consulting work that people may not be open to it just yet. People that disagree with my approach are more likely to engage a consultant based on the project timeline, although this option will require more time with the client and be more costly. The differentiator for the course is that I am seeking qualified education provider status with the Association of Change Management Professionals so that anyone that takes the course could apply the credits toward the Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP) exam or credential renewals.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

The one thing I would do time and time again would be market research conversations on programs, solutions, and offerings. This is the best way to validate that a new offering is viable in the market, and it provides opportunities to uncover ideal clients or get referred to your ideal clients.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

One strategy that has helped me grow my business significantly has been increasing my visibility through engaging a professional marketing agency and a publicist. I was already active on LinkedIn through posting, writing, and videos weekly, however, engaging a marketing agency to support me has allowed me to get strategic in planning on a quarterly basis, as well as executing a broader plan. They also created my branding and collaborated on my website design so everything I produce visually supports my message and purpose. Engaging a publicist that I am aligned with has magically connected me with the right opportunities for increased visibility. Both my marketing team and my publicist are trusted advisors and I am looking forward to seeing how these advisors will continue to grow my business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It took me longer to attract my ideal client than I’d hoped since I spent so many years working for other firms. It’s not surprising or unexpected, it’s just a fact that it takes time to be known for your expertise. Additionally, I should have engaged a marketing agency and publicist sooner than I did on both fronts. To be honest, it took a little bit of time to come into contact with the right people to work with. I also think the patience and time allowed me to work on my own mindset which is invaluable.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

When I see questions like this one I immediately think of Peanuts, Lucy, and Charlie Brown at an advice booth with a sign that reads “Advice 5 Cents” with a dixie cup next to it. What’s the quickest way to start a business that can serve a wide customer base? Marketing and business development are two things that every entrepreneur needs to focus on to scale. If you can fit in that space and speak directly to the pain points of a differentiated ideal client, things should manifest fairly quickly.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Definitely reconnecting with friends, family, and clients over a shared meal. You can’t replace being in person and truly connecting with others following such an isolating two-year period.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

The top three online tools and resources that I am currently using to grow my business are Google Workspace, Slack, QBO, and Quickbooks Online. All three tools make work easy, support me in what I am doing, streamline all of my efforts, and keep me focused on what’s most important.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller: I believe the Story Brand is absolutely essential for entrepreneurs to incorporate as they build their business.

What is your favorite quote?

I have so many favorite quotes! Here’s one that is on my mind and heart right now: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Jack Welch

Key Learnings:

  • If you want to grow and/or scale your business, it’s important to know that you can’t do everything alone
  • Working with the best expert vendors that are aligned with you and your business will amplify your business and message
  • Strategic partner progression and the right innovation in technology can help entrepreneurs and businesses be more productive at the least possible cost
Originally published on IdeaMensch.
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Interview with Blake Kohler, CEO of Pulse For Good

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Interview with Blake Kohler, CEO of Pulse For Good

Blake is passionate about, well, everything! As the CEO of Pulse For Good, he uses that passion to help nonprofits worldwide gather feedback from vulnerable individuals more effectively. With his background in technology, Blake is helping to bring business-class survey tooling to organizations ran on shoe-string budgets.

As someone who likes to talk, he knows how hard it can be to listen, and along with the Pulse For Good team, he’s working towards building a more empathetic future.

Where did the idea for Pulse For Good come from?

Pulse For Good emerged from an early pilot of a partnership with the city of Seattle. The various city offices were trying to figure out how best to facilitate gathering feedback from the youth homeless population in Seattle, and our early solution, which was designed to gather employee feedback, was suggested. We quickly found that traditional survey methods left a lot to be desired when gathering feedback from vulnerable populations and set out to build something that better fits the unique concerns of serving vulnerable groups.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As a small startup, our typical days are full of adventure. Some days are dedicated to sales, other days we spend doing support, some days we are working on marketing, and other days we’re trying to improve our operations.

We find that using an agile model works well for our team. We utilize Kanban boards and team standups to keep track of everything from development tasks to customer onboarding.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As a team, we tend to be very visual-focused, so often, our ideas begin to emerge onto whiteboards before they become something a little more tangible.

Once they’ve been thoroughly debated and diagramed on a whiteboard, they make it onto one of our tasks on our kanban boards.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Our team is excited about the combination of technology and social impact. More groups are looking to do good in the world instead of maximizing profit. It is fantastic to see people use their time and talents to help those around them.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One of our core values is a default to action, which has proven time and time again to be the primary driver of our productivity. Too often, we spend hours debating something, and nothing gets done. By defaulting to act, we might at times cause some headaches, but those headaches are often quickly fixed, and the value we gain from the constant action greatly diminishes any headaches we’ve created.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Spend less time worrying about what others think of you and more time worrying about how you think of others.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Pain can be good for you. It’s a form of feedback, and the more you experience it, the more opportunities you have to make a change.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

We’ve had tremendous success posting on Linkedin. We try and do it every day, and it’s been an incredibly valuable part of our growth.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Very early on, we developed an advisory board of industry experts. This helped us gain a considerable amount of credibility and allowed us to develop tools, relationships, and techniques far beyond our abilities as just a founding team.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure we had coming out of the pandemic was a communication breakdown amongst our founding team. Previously, we had conducted in-person meetings, but with the world changing, we switched to a more remote first attitude. Over time, our perceptions and goals changed without getting together.

We had to have some serious heart-to-heart conversations and institute more formality in our processes to help bridge the gaps that this lack of communication caused us.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We’ve always thought there would be an opportunity for a crowd-sourced travel agency. We believe you could utilize people’s passion for planning vacations and natural competitiveness to offer tailored vacation plans to the masses without the expense of full-time travel agents.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

We recently conducted a series of case studies with our customers, and we paid each person who participated $100. These case studies are invaluable to us, and it is one thing for us to share how our system can help an organization. It’s entirely different for a peer of those organizations to share how we help. Case studies are worth their weight in gold.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Slack – we use it for all of our communication, and as a remote team, it helps us all stay connected and on the same page.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Outward Mindset – changing the way we think and feel about others helps all aspects of your life

What is your favorite quote?

“Listening is the first act of love.” – Paul Tilch

Key Learnings:

  • Defaulting towards action drives productivity
  • Pain can be good for you
  • The best $100 spent is the one that makes your next $1000
Originally published on IdeaMensch.
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Interview with Dayana Doncheva, Founder of EcardForest Group Ecards

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Interview with Dayana Doncheva, Founder of EcardForest Group Ecards

Dayana Doncheva is the founder of EcardForest Group Ecards – a company for greeting cards that can be signed by many people online and sent digitally. Their ecard collection includes all key occasions and features birthday, farewell, baby, wedding and many more cards. EcardForest is highly invested in environmental protection and engages in tree planting around the world.

Where did the idea for EcardForest come from?

EcardForest was inspired by a personal use case. I was about to organize a leaving card for my colleague in early 2021 and looked for options online that would allow group signing so that the full team can share their goodbye wishes. I didn’t like the available options and realized that this could be a business idea. After doing my research and checking the competitors, I embraced my entrepreneurial spirit and thought I can give it a go.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There is not a typical-day concept for us yet. We are growing fast and our routine changes very quickly, allowing us to navigate between new feature integrations, the creation and release of new greeting card designs, as well as support tasks. Of course, every team member has devoted tasks, but we work in an agile setup and adapt quickly based on the priorities.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The process is quite funny actually. We dare to dream and think out of the box. Most of our ideas come to life as funny suggestions. If some of those suggestions still keep us wondering a couple of days later, we put them to a sense-check and see what comes out. We do proper research and talk to a couple of external people to verify the idea before putting it into our backlog.

As a next step, we deep dive into the execution. Once we launch a new feature on EcardForest.com we make sure to monitor it closely. Is everything fine? Does it work as expected? Does it generate added value for our consumers and us? If not, we remove it.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Hybrid working. Naturally, that drives our business since our online greeting cards experience higher demand when people around the globe work in a hybrid setup.

Hybrid working is an interesting trend to us in general too. We experienced first-hand how easy working in a global model could be. Our team is spread around Europe and when needed we involve freelancers from around the world, which allows us to work with the best talents no matter the location.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

People often tell me that I appear to be very well organized. In fact, I am not, and I enjoy the creative mess to the fullest. It nurtures my imagination. It’s contra intuitive but working in a messy environment has proven to help me become more productive in the long run.

If I need to focus on a bigger analytical task though, I try to get a fresh mind by going on a short walk before I start. That helps a great deal.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be braver! Today, I love to challenge myself, even though I know that some things won’t work out. I take it as a learning and grow from there. But a couple of years ago I was still quite hesitant and tended to lean towards safe bets.

Looking back, I am not sure when I changed to become braver, but I can’t help but wonder where I would have been today if I would have done it earlier.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There is always more to learn. The schedule of an entrepreneur is usually terribly busy and that’s no different in the corporate world. Often times people feel quite comfortable after completing a task or a project and turning a new page to handle the next one. I see great value in reviewing decisions and processes based on new learnings. In my mind, the “good enough” solution can always become a better one, powered up by new learnings.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Do research. I trust in data and have learned to appreciate its value a lot. Doing your research not only saves a lot of potentially unnecessary work but also helps you focus on what’s important.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Investing in advertising has certainly helped us grow EcardForest. We make sure to capture the available demand as much as possible.

When starting a business, thinking about advertising costs might be scary but advertising is usually what kickstarts your business, once the product is ready. Being brave, spending some money but also monitoring the success closely can go a long way.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Before starting EcardForest I was working on another startup. It was focused on financial investment data and most importantly it was a B2B product. That turned out to be incredibly hard to market and required a lot of sales and support efforts. Soon afterward I discovered that the idea was not worth the effort, and it was not going to work out as expected.

I learned two valuable lessons: First, bringing a B2C product to life is easier. Second, holding on to an unsuccessful business idea for too long doesn’t bring you anywhere.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Circular economy products. I am a big fan of renting and reselling and it’s great for the environment. This is applicable to so many product types – from tools to equipment, mobility, etc. Just find a new niche.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

As part of our sustainability efforts, we donate some of our revenue to tree planting organizations around the globe. Just recently we onboarded a new partner – Ecologi that allows us to not only plant trees but also offset carbon emissions by contributing to additional projects like wind power development.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We use Github for our backlog and task management. The project section is a perfect solution for agile teams like ours and keeps us focused on important and urgent tasks. It certainly increases our productivity, and I can’t recommend that enough.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Refactoring UI by Adam Wathan and Steve Schoger is a great resource for any digital business or any website for that matter. It provides an understanding and best practices of website design, UI, colors, fonts, visual hierarchies, etc.

What is your favorite quote?

A single tree doesn’t make a forest. I just came up with that one, but the key message is that even the best entrepreneur or the most knowledgeable person can only go so far on their own. Building a strong team around you is what will bring you further.

Key Learnings:

  • First, do your research before you invest too much time and resources in an idea
  • Be open to exploring and learning more
  • Invest in bringing a strong team together to drive your idea further
Originally published on IdeaMensch.
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