Entrepreneurship

November 20, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Left A Fortune 50 Company To Join A Startup & Become An Entrepreneur

Not long ago I found myself in a conference room, accompanied by a handful of individuals, as well as the Vice President of finance and other high ranking executives from a Fortune 50 company.  Now, you’re probably thinking, what an incredible opportunity right?  Well, not quite.  

You see, I always knew I wanted to get involved in business and one day start my own.   Throughout my life I played basketball and worked out tirelessly, to the point of an obsession I will admit.  I remember having anxiety on my days off and never felt accomplished until I had multiple workouts completed.  NBA star for the Cleveland Cavaliers Isiah Thomas has this montra “stay paranoid,” and I lived by this; working out as hard as I could imagining someone was coming to steal my spot.  So, I have an inkling that the inception of my desire to build a business came from that competitive, obsessive nature of proving myself on the court.

entrepreneur

Therefore, upon graduating from college, I believed a fantastic way to learn how to build a business was to get involved with an extremely successful company, and in my case that company was United Parcel Service (UPS).  My thought process was working in finance with a Fortune 50 company would be the opportunity of a lifetime to learn how a business fiscally operates and how they manage their funds for continued success.  Money is the oxygen that allows a business to breath, so a finance position at a Fortune 50 company seemed like a no-brainer.  Quickly, I learned quite the opposite.

Now, before I get into why I decided to quit I want to make clear that the people I worked with everyday were truly amazing people.  I am extremely thankful for the relationships I have built and can honestly say I have life long friendships that were constructed during my time there.

Working with such a large corporation, as you can imagine, there was a ton of bureaucracy.  UPS employs roughly 400,000 people which in itself is amazing and the work they do is top notch.  Getting a package from Europe delivered right to your doorstep on time, still fascinates me.  But, the size of the company created a situation where being innovative was difficult.  

I wanted to learn how to build a business, how to improve as an entrepreneur, be a part of innovation and learn how a business operates fiscally, yet I found myself in almost a secretary type position.  I sat at my desk staring at two computer screens, doing the same thing each and every single day, often having the feeling of dejavu.  I had to dress a particular way, had to keep clean shaven, was held accountable to a 30 minute lunch break which often led me to eating at my desk while working, my ideas were not heard because I was not one of those “higher-ups,”, I was never once asked what my long-term life goals were, the monotony of it all was eating at my soul.  I felt like a robot who was programmed to do the same thing everyday and keep quiet while doing so.

I could not stop reminding myself of the Henry David Thoreau quote where he so famously stated “most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  I knew I could not grow into one of those men, and then it finally hit me, I needed a change.  I needed a spark in my life.  

I recently spoke with entrepreneur Jon Vogel Co-Founder of 215 Marketing on my podcast and he said something that resonated with me.  Jon, when speaking about sparking a change in life, stated “it’s about looking in the mirror and fundamentally challenging yourself and sacrificing who and where you are, for who, and where you want to be.” After speaking with Jon, some family and friends, I knew what I needed to do.  And that was the day I put my two weeks.  What a liberating feeling that was.   

And so, I decided to reach out to a few startups in the Philadelphia area where I knew I could grow and learn.  Thankfully, I was able to connect with Mac Frederick at Momentum Digital.  Below are my five top reasons why I knew leaving the security of my well paying finance position at a Fortune 50 company and joining a startup would be worth the “risk”.

  1. Mentorship & the Ability to Learn Directly From A CEO

This one is pretty simple, if you want to get good at basketball who would you rather consult, LeBron James or Mick Jagger?  At a startup you are fortunate to work directly next to the startup’s CEO in most cases.  This was the leading factor in me joining Momentum Digital because Mac Frederick is a proven entrepreneur who values mentorship.  Having the ability to work closely with an individual who is building a business or for Mac’s case, has built multiple, is an education that you truly cannot put a price tag on.  Therefore, if you have the inkling that you are an entrepreneur or want to build a business, working for a startup is the perfect place to do so because you will see how a CEO operates on a daily basis and understand their vision and what goes in to their decision making process.  Working for a large corporation you may never have the opportunity to work closely with their CEO or even meet the CEO.  I’ve learned over the years how crucial mentorship is for success and this was a huge factor in me deciding to work for a startup.

  1. Culture By Design

Company culture is one of those cliche sounding topics but from firsthand experience, I can see how it creates problems when not done properly.  I was exposed to working in an environment where there was no emphasis on culture, but more about doing things how they have always been done.  Company culture, when done right, allows employees to feel like they are cared for as a person first and an employee second.  This is huge for productivity and an overall vibe in your workspace.  Something that I craved was to be apart of creating that culture, to create a positive workplace and not an environment of “this is how it has always been done.”  I love what John Tabis CEO of The Bouqs said about the importance of company culture when he stated “when employees feel cared about as people, I’ve found they do their best work. They also stay longer, work harder, and produce more, which makes caring an amazing rate of increase.”  I can attest to this because if the person I am working for is willing to create a strong relationship with me not solely based on work, then I know they care about my success and in turn I will go above and beyond because of that relationship.  It’s a win win.

entrepreneur in philly

  1. Size Does Matter

Who doesn’t like to have their voice be heard?  I would assume not many, just like myself.  Working for such a large corporation there are tons of employees and layers of management which can create a situation where your voice is drowned out and this is quite the opposite at a startup, hence, size does matter.  When working for a startup something that is always present is continuing to generate new leads, sales and ultimately, to make more money.  Therefore, this creates an environment where ideas need to be valued and listened to.  Mac Frederick preaches this concept.  He believes, as many other startup CEOs do, if you have an idea please speak up.  If you hire smart, driven and talented people then those people will most likely be constantly thinking of how to better contribute to the team and grow the business.  It is in everyone’s interest, especially if the startup offers equity, to make sure the business continues to grow.  I wanted to be a part of an environment where I could not only learn but one where my ideas and voice would be valued.

  1. Be A Part of Disruption

I have alluded to this earlier, but when working for a large corporation there is a lot of bureaucracy and levels of management.  When a company operates at such a scale and also one that is publicly traded, innovation and implementing new strategies can be quite sluggish.  We all have seen firsthand how Uber disrupted the taxi industry and how Netflix put Blockbuster out of business.  Whether it is my background in sports or the social media generation I’ve grown up in, I love that fast-paced mentality. I love innovation, new ideas and disruption.   

When speaking with serial entrepreneur Rob Monster, CEO of Digital Town, he stated he left P&G after nine years because he wanted to build something that would disrupt the e-commerce giants in the world and help empower local communities and small businesses. Working for a startup I have that ability to be apart of building a business that does things differently and potentially disrupt the digital marketing industry.  Startups have more freedom to take risks, try new things and lead the way for disruption.  When Momentum Digital laid out some of their plans moving forward to do things differently and disrupt the digital marketing industry, I had to be a part of that.

  1. Create Your Own Lifestyle

This last reason encompasses a little bit of the prior four points in the sense that they all contribute to growing as a person and as an entrepreneur.  When working for a startup you absolutely need to be entrepreneurial in finding solutions to problems and be a self motivated person.  Working at a startup you will be able to learn directly from the CEO how they are building their business for you to one day do the same.  And, in doing so, as an entrepreneur, create your own lifestyle.  I love the way serial entrepreneur Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner and VP of Technology & Innovation for The Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures phrased it when she stated to me ”Work tirelessly to build your own adventure.  Be patient, take big swings, and surround yourself with peer mentors along the way. Make your life an iterative, passionate journey of doing what you love.”  This summarizes my thoughts on working for a startup beautifully; I wanted to surround myself with other like-minded individuals and receive that mentorship to one day build something of meaning and be passionate about what I am doing with my life.  I want to create my own lifestyle and being apart of Momentum Digital and the startup scene, I know I will be equipped with the necessary tools to do so.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I wanted to write this article because of how passionate I feel about this topic.  I have plenty of friends and family members who work for large corporations and have had similar experiences that I had.  One thing that I want to state loud and clear is, you have control of your life.  Please do not allow the facade of a well-known brand name and consistent paycheck chain you down from chasing a life with more meaning and more purpose.  I knew I wanted something more.  I knew I wanted my voice to be heard.  I knew I wanted more responsibility.  And I knew I wanted to be apart of building a company that has an emphasis on people first and developing their people as entrepreneurs.  I ask of everyone reading this to not be that person leading a life of quiet desperation, but one that constantly seeks to improve theirs and others lives.  Do your due diligence in researching the startup or new company before joining, but please do not be afraid to take that leap of faith and take that less traveled path that Robert Frost stated because you never know, it could make all the difference.  If you found any value from my story please share this so others can hopefully gain something from it as well and I would like to challenge anyone else who had a similar experience to write about it.  Design the life that you would love to lead, not the one that is designed for you, but by you.

entrepreneur lifestyle

By admin
October 10, 2017

Local Entrepreneur Explodes His Businesses Overnight in Philly

Imagine what it would take to grow a company 5000%. Most business owners can’t accomplish that in their life, let alone a year. What’s the secret sauce? Well, let’s ask local entrepreneur, Mac Frederick, owner of Phone Repair Philly. Not only was Mac able to grow his company 5000% in 18 months, but did so while focusing on his main company, Momentum Digital, which he grew 2000% in the same time frame.

In the summer of 2015, Mac left his job at Google and traveled to Philadelphia to start his own legacy. He formed both businesses that October, and with only $1000 in each account. Car-less, Mac found a local co-working space, and started building his digital presence for both companies. By minimizing startup costs on labor, technology, inventory and additional overhead, Mac was able to create a lean working environment while bootstrapping all expenses.

As phone calls, requests and customers started flowing in, Mac quickly realized he needed to scale the business with hiring and expanding the operation. Within 6 months he was at the top of Google, and started doing $20k per month within a small co-working office cubicle, netting over a 50% profit margin. However, this was not sustainable, so Mac hired a manager to basically run and control the service and operations of the business, while Mac handled the marketing and business development. Within ten months Phone Repair Philly was dominating all local searches, social media, and repair services. At that point Mac had outgrown the office space so he moved PRP to his first retail brick and mortar, hired another tech, and within 2 months, was doing $40k/month. Six months later, Mac has grown the phone repair company into 3 locations and 10 employees, while growing Momentum Digital into 2 locations and 10 employees. He credits the WeWork co-working company and their shared offices space to a lot of his success and growth.

So far Mac has been reinvesting the profits back into both companies while leveraging their strengths together by increasing his digital traffic and networking online with other local entrepreneurs. When asked “Whats next?”, Mac replied “Just keep growing and moving forward”. He’s now looking for a technical partner for Momentum Digital and a 4th location for Phone Repair Philly.

*Article originally posted on CBSlocal.com.

September 11, 2017

Interview with Lance Bachmann 1SEO

Can You Name the Top People in Your Profession?

Think for a second about one name that comes to mind when you think of the top dogs in your industry. If nobody comes to mind then you’re not setting your sights high enough. When I think of SEO (what is SEO?), I think of 1SEO and my new friend and mentor, Lance Bachmann. Maybe these names don’t ring a bell, but I bet you’ve seen one of their billboards along I-95.

Having mentors in your industry is paramount. To be the best you have to be around the best and think like the best. For the past decade Lance has been hustling in the digital marketing space to create a name and brand for himself, and boy has it worked. During my interview here you get a chance to see into the perspective of his life and how he started and grew 1SEO to the beast it is today. Just recently 1SEO was named by INC 5000 as one of the Fastest Growing companies for the 4th year in a row. Not too shabby.

Why did I interview Lance?

Well, to be honest I was truly curious as to not only how he started the company, but I also wanted to know how he was able to grow it and persevere over the past 10 years. 96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years, and that number is even higher for digital agencies. What you notice within the agency world is the amount of agencies that have trouble growing. It’s difficult to control your revenue streams and align it with a talented workforce that can help grow with you. Some of the main concerns I have going into my 3rd year into the agency world with Momentum Digital are around growth and hiring. It’s difficult to grow the business if you don’t have consistent revenue and the right people to complete your digital team. Being able to ask Lance these questions was important not only for me, but for every marketing entrepreneur. So that’s why I decided to videotape the interview, as well as go Live on our Instagram and Lance’s Facebook.

How did I get the interview?

Sometimes all you need to do in life is ask. That’s all I did. Granted, I put myself in the right position by going to a Philadelphia Internet Marketers Meetup hosted by Viral Ideas Marketing at the WeWork in Northern Liberties (where we actually have our office). My friend David Feinman puts together these awesome meetups in which I always attend to network and meet other local digital marketers. David specifically told me I needed to attend this event in July because Lance was speaking, and knowing that I run a similar digital marketing agency, he knew I would want to ask questions and meet Lance. This wasn’t my first time meeting Lance though. I actually met him a few times before, the first of which when he spoke at the Philly Tech Week in 2016. Since that day he’s been on my radar as someone to look up to and learn from. Believe it or not, I actually reached out to 1SEO as a prospective business in need of SEO using my company Phone Repair Philly as the lead ‘interested in their services’. His team member Bill reached back out to me and we chatted about SEO and what they could do for me, not knowing that I was just doing some recon on his sales and operations process. When I revealed my true angle they were cool about it and we still joke about it to this day. THIS is is the type of stuff you need to do as a small business when researching your competition.

Anyways, at this most recent marketing meetup I spoke to Lance afterwards and exchanged information. The next day I sent him a short email asking to meet and come by his office to shoot a video interview. To my surprise, Lance obliged.

Talking more about the interview …

Well, before the interview I actually got a chance to tour the 1SEO office and kick it with Lance for a bit. He’s a really laid back and humble guy, but you can tell we’re both entrepreneurs and hungry for success. He came from a humble upbringing and has been grinding it on his own since high school. Not only is 1SEO extremely successful, he has many other ventures and investments, along with a great family and team around him. This guy is a role model, not only for us marketers but for entrepreneurs in general. Okay, back to the interview ….. So as we went live I began by asking Lance how he got started. His answer was after leaving more of a corporate sales job with Yellow Pages he started 1SEO with two friends in his house with nothing. They began cold calling and learning of the fly. The first year they only made a few thousand dollars. Curious at this point, I asked, “what next, what did you do to grow past that point of difficulty?”. Lance went on to explain the importance of adversity, hard work, and vision. They knew from the beginning what they wanted and how to get there so he simply outworked everyone else. From there, as you can see, the video goes on to talk about his thoughts on the current digital landscape, digital growth, hiring people and more. Overall it was a really smooth interview as Lance is really easy to talk to and never shy to tell his story.

“My first year as an agency, I was 35 years old, I made $8700” – Lance Bachmann

Key Takeaways

Something that surprised me the most is how he knew a lot about not only digital marketing, but business and entrepreneurship as a whole. I mean, this guy gets it.  He’s also not afraid to take a chance and go all in for what he believes. Understanding how to sell something is pivotal for any business, and necessary for keeping the leads coming in to convert to residual revenue for the business. If I could stress one key point it would be to keep learning at every point in life so that you can grow and innovate your business. Lance also explains the power of people and having a good team so that everyone can focus what they’re best at.

Wrap it up!

Find a mentor! Do it today. Sometimes all you need is to learn from someone who has done it before you. Learn from their mistakes and don’t be afraid to try new things and admit when you are wrong. Nobody is perfect and most of the successful people didn’t get their on their own! They had mentors too, and people they learned from, along with team members, family and friends. Being an entrepreneur is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Take this time today to reach out to someone new, someone in your industry, and someone you look up to. Who knows, they might get back to you and soon be a mentor you can call your own.

September 11, 2017

Don’t Be Another Statistic – Why Entrepreneurs Fail

Small Business Fail Rate

You may have heard that data suggests 90% of businesses fail within the first two years they’re open. That might be a bit misleading, but we’re here to help you avoid becoming another statistic. While it may be a bit of an exaggeration to say 90% of businesses fail, there have been multiple studies that indicate around 90% of small companies are not cash flow positive within 24 months of opening. In this blog post I would like to briefly point out key concepts entrepreneurs must implicate along their road to success.

Bootstrapping

I was able to start two businesses when I moved here in April of 2015, both with under $1000 in startup capital. I sold my side business I was running in Michigan, plus I had a few pennies saved up from my time at Google, but I didn’t have the type of money to pay the highly skilled labor force I needed. So, instead of taking a small businesses loan, I rolled up my sleeves and the did the work myself. Of course this meant many 17 hour workdays and a terrible work-life balance, but I’d rather grind than suffer the consequences of loan interest rates. What I lost in sleep, I gained in revenue. I was able to grow Momentum Digital by 3000% and my other company Phone Repair Philly by 6000%. In order to maximize your profit margin and avoid falling into the red, you must be prepared to absolutely dedicate your life to your business. It doesn’t sound sexy, but when you want it as much as I do, you have to be willing to bust your hump every single day.

Pivoting Your Marketing Strategy

Unless you’ve been living in total seclusion for the past 10 years, you will have noticed that nearly everybody’s life is run by their mobile device. Whether you’re talking about a middle schooler or my grandmother, everybody’s face is buried deep in their smartphone. So deep indeed that their attention can hardly be reached through conventional advertising methods anymore. If your business doesn’t have proper digital exposure such as a visually stunning website that is also mobile compatible, you are losing my friend.  However, you may fret not. Momentum Digital is here to lead you into the new age of marketing!

Please stay tuned as we begin our weekly blog series, explaining how you can grow your small business and increase your ability to thrive in this technology-driven era.

September 11, 2017

Taking the Road Less Traveled as an Entrepreneur…

Entrepreneur

Everyone experiences ups and downs as an entrepreneur. Let me quickly explain a few recent setbacks I’ve had trying to grow my companies, in hopes that you can relate. Keep in mind, this is a long and bumpy road, so I’m thankful for all the entrepreneurs and everyone reading this. I also want to thank @garyvee for his inspiration!

For those of you who know me, like really know me, then you know how I feel about entrepreneurship and what it means to me. This past month has truly tested me as an entrepreneur and leader. Please let me explain…. as I hope some of you can relate, and if you do, please comment or share.

You can watch the video below that I uploaded to YouTube. You can also read the full article and learn more about me here!

Being an entrepreneur has been popularized by the media and influencers like #GaryVee and Tai Lopez. However, they and I both know what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Just because you have a startup or great idea does not mean you’re an entrepreneur. Those people are taking away from the true meaning. To me, it’s more of a lifestyle than anything. We don’t work a 9-5. This is a 24/7 struggle. We eat, sleep and breathe our business, and much of the time without the first two. The last few weeks I’ve been in my office 18+ hours per day trying to recover from a few setbacks, and I’m fired up. You know why? Because at the end of the day, we have nobody to point fingers at except for ourselves.

A few weeks ago you might have seen my stories of Miami and Punta Cana. If you follow me on social media (mainly instagram) then you know I live a pretty ridiculous lifestyle: traveling, visiting friends, going to festivals, and just doing whatever I want. Those are some serious perks of being an entrepreneur, but that’s also what’s lead to this problem. My businesses are not self-sustaining. I can’t just pick up and leave for days on end. You see, some of my goals involve achieving this lifestyle…. but not yet, not today.

Let me list a few setbacks I’ve had over the past 3 months. Don’t mistake this transparency as vulnerability, because everything happens for a reason, and these misfortunes have been blessings in disguise that allow me to learn from my mistakes so that I can grow and prosper.

  • Having to fire my General Manager (and good friend) for Phone Repair Philly
  • My business Partner going rogue & falling off the grid for Momentum Digital
  • E-Commerce manager not only left the company, but tried to steal clients
  • Having my Moped Stolen and Phone Repair shop robbed

These are just some of the highlights. Fun right? I won’t go into details but all of this happened within a few weeks. What I can tell you is that I take all responsibility for this, because most of it was due to poor communication and lack of culture. If you’re reading then I appreciate your time, and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments of struggles you’ve had or any advice you might want to share!

So how does one rebound? Well, over the past few weeks I hope you saw me battling to recover from my time off. As much as I want to be young and have fun and go out on Wednesdays for Center City Sips, I would do so at the expense of my Momentum. That word means everything to me. I believe in Momentum wholeheartedly (I mean I have to in order to name my company that, right?). Going on vacation causes a setback, as I’m sure many of you entrepreneurs have realized. While away I become anxious, and upon return I’m overwhelmed. Recently I faced true adversity as I had plans to travel to Detroit and NYC. I had to cancel those plans last minute for the sake of my businesses that I haven’t been prioritizing, and you know what, I’m glad! Time to re-align my priorities and get back to business.

Many of you have jobs and a work-life balance. To me, to us, there is no balance. We thrive in the chaos that is work, that is life. They are two in the same. This isn’t work to me, this is life. I wake up every day getting to do what I love. For me there’s nothing else. Entrepreneurship is my oxygen. Without this I cannot breathe, I cannot live. When’s the last time you felt that way about something? If you were to lose your job tomorrow what would you do? Get another one?

Not many of you know my story, but I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Just ask my brothers how I was hustling baseball cards and Pokemon as a kid. It’s in my blood. Yet, as I matured, soccer sort of became my focus. When I transferred to Penn State I started learning more about entrepreneurship, business, and digital marketing. I joined a few startups, started a few companies, and became entranced by entrepreneurship. When I graduated I took a job with Google to refine my digital skills so that when I left I could start my own agency to help other small businesses. The story goes much deeper, but the point I want to make is how recently my growth has leveled out a bit. From September 2015 when I moved to Philly and was only making $1000 a month, to March 2017 (18 months later), I grew my revenue 8000% (you can do the math). Yet, over the last 3 months the growth has stagnated, and I take full responsibility.

Entrepreneurship

Most successful people have mentors and are always learning from others’ mistakes. It seems I might have bit off more than I can chew, but at least I’ve realized a few things…. I’ve realized what I’m good and bad at, and what I need to grow my businesses. Sometimes you need to take a step back so that you can take two steps forward.

Call me crazy, but given all the trials and tribulations over the past few weeks, I still wouldn’t have it any other way, because at the end of the day I am my own boss. We, as entrepreneurs, control our own destiny with regards to how much money we make and what we do with our most valuable asset — TIME. I can honestly tell you that I’d rather make $1000 year working for myself than $1 Million working for someone else. I hope I sound crazy. I don’t judge you for having a job, but I do judge those of you who have a job & complain.

So, what’s next? Well, Follow My Journey and stay tuned over the next few weeks! I’m planning to document a lot more with Video, Blogging, Instagram and Facebook.

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