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Tell us your business story to date...
Everything started in 2011 when I decided to leave my consulting career (I was working as an SEO tech guy / web developer) and created my first startup, an online platform for building mobile websites and native apps. This lead me to talk with a lot of people, customers and prospects who have problems they need to solve and opportunities they want to seize - and this led me to my current online business, an integrated system for building and reselling online marketing products such as websites, native apps, SMS marketing campaigns and - this is the latest and coolest addition - Facebook Messenger chatbots
Tell us about your products/services in more detail...
I have created an integrated platform for selling marketing products such as mobile/desktop websites, native apps for iOS and Android, SMS marketing campaigns, Facebook apps and so on. Basically with my platform a small and medium marketing agency can offer its customers a very wide range of solutions - without having to deal with tons of different providers and in a very efficient, effective and rewarding way.
Within this "framework", the main area I am focusing on right now is Messenger chatbots. I strongly believe messaging platforms are the future of digital marketing and so I created a complete system where customers can manage, build and resell bots for Facebook Messenger, adding these incredibly powerful tools to their social media marketing strategy literally in minutes and very affordably. Actually, if any fellow startupper wanted to try the platform I'd be very happy to give them a premium plan for free.
What are the best and worst things about running your own startup business?
The best thing about running your own business is that you can decide what to focus on, where to direct your energies and what challenges / problems / ventures you want to solve and pursue. That is a very exciting and exhilarating experience as it allows you to truly fulfill your "mission" and be one with your mind and spirit, aligning your goals and daily work life with your true personality.
The worst thing is... that you need to decide what to focus on! 🙂
What I mean is that while working in a corporate environment, or even as a consultant where you have clients that tell you what they want, you never have to worry about priorities and tasks as they are pretty much given to you and you can focus on doing these things right, when you are an entrepreneur you need to spend a lot of time deciding what are the right things to do - choosing the market to aim at, the pain to solve, the features to build. And all this can be a very draining exercise - especially because you always risk to discover if you were right or wrong when it's already too late...
What do you think it takes to become an entrepreneur?
Passion, discipline, curiosity, strategic vision and empathy.
Passion because being an entrepreneur goes beyond making money (most entrepreneurs I know would earn a lot more working for big companies or doing some consulting) and you need to truly love and enjoy what you do, or you would stop at the first hurdle.
Discipline because there are a ton of hurdles to overcome, it's a lot of hard work and you need to be very determined to keep grinding when everything seems to fall apart or the market doesn't "get" what you are trying to sell.
Curiosity because you always have to keep your eyes open, spotting new trends, finding new opportunities and always, ALWAYS, learning new skills and improving yourself.
Strategic vision because you cannot focus only on the day to day work but you need to integrate what you do into a wider and longer term plan, already imagining what you, your customers and your company will be in 2, 5 and 10 years.
Finally, the most important thing is empathy. As the great Zig Ziglar used to say, "to get what YOU want, you need to help others get what THEY want" - and you can do this only if you truly see, understand and feel what they are seeing, understanding and feeling.
Is there anything you can offer to help other startup businesses?
Having seen (nearly) the birth of the Internet itself and having gone through booms and busts, successes and failures, the biggest support I can offer to fellow entrepreneurs is an honest feedback on a business idea and strategy ("been there, done that").
In addition to this, I've worn many hats in my career and so I can help understand, chose and implement the most reliable technologies, the most effective marketing channels and the most successful sales tactics. In other words, I'd be happy to chat with anybody starting up as I probably have something useful to share and suggest
Is there any help that are you looking for?
I am mainly looking for business partners that want to share the products I create with their community, building bonds that produce revenues and success for all the parties involved - me, my partners and the final buyer