Kevin Strasser, Social Media Marketing Entrepreneur, Saw a Specific Need With His Social Media Marketing And Filled It
What Ignited the Spark in You to Start Tribeboost? How Did the Idea for Your Business Come About?
Kevin Strasser, Founder of TribeBoost and ThoughtFlame connected to Biz zealot through Twitter. It turns out, Kevin’s experience with Twitter runs deep. He is a savvy social media marketing entrepreneur who builds services to help others in their social media marketing efforts. I caught up with Kevin recently to better understand his entrepreneurial journey. He shares some great, practical advice.
What Ignited the Spark in You to Start TribeBoost? How Did the Idea for Your Business Come About?
I have always had the spark to start various side projects and that is how TribeBoost started.
Over the past years I always had something on the side going on. Sometimes [I’d do it] for extra money…but more importantly for opportunities to learn new skills and work on things that interested me.
You cannot always work on things that interest you in your day job. That is just how it goes sometimes. So side businesses have always been great for my own personal development.
The specific idea for TribeBoost came out of challenges I had with marketing my own previous businesses.
One business was an apps company. Trying to market and advertise in a cost-effective way when your product only costs $2.99 — that was tough.
I took to Twitter to help get the word out and grow targeted audiences. As the cost is only your hustle. This worked well, but I learned how time consuming it was to do everything on your own.
Eventually I looked for solutions to help save time in doing this. I bought a software package that sounded good and gave it a whirl.
At first it seemed like it was working well. My accounts were growing with a lot less time required on my end. One day, though, I realized I had followed a bunch of adult film stars (absolutely not my target audience!).
That was very scary and shocking [for me], I had to stop using that software immediately to avoid embarrassment.
Being back at square one — I realized there had to be a better way. So I built it.
Other Than Deciding to Work for Yourself, What Was the Single Most Important Decision You Made That Contributed to Your Success?
I always wanted to work for myself. That was always in the back of my mind. But I often lacked the courage, drive, or just business know-how to get going.
Listening to podcasts was actually very big for me. Learning from others and just as important, getting inspired.
I gave up time where I could, such as giving up my news and talk radio habit. I used all of that time to listen to podcasts or read books about business, startups and marketing.
I studied or worked on my business during lunch breaks and at night after tucking in the kids. You have to make the time where you can.
Looking back I see a direct correlation between taking content marketing more seriously and our sales taking off. I don’t think that was a coincidence.
What Were Some of the Biggest Lessons That Have Impacted the Way That You Work?
My last few regular jobs were so frustrating and soul killing. It drove into my skull that a great salary means little if you are not enjoying the work experience. Money by itself is not very motivating in the longer term. At least it isn’t for me.
Working on things that matter, with people you enjoy working with and for clients that you appreciate. That’s where it is at.
Even if you take a big pay cut, your happiness and energy level will make up for it. Eventually you will likely make as much or more money anyway.
What Was the Lesson, and What Was It Like Before and After?
The gift to be truly free about what you work on, with whom you work, and keeping your own schedule is more valuable than any salary.
You can always do things for more money, but more time can never be created. Outside of inventing a time machine, you are not getting lost time back.
My daughter shot a three-pointer once to win a school basketball game and I missed it because of my job. That sucks. I never ever wanted to miss another moment like that. Especially for something that was “just a job” to me.
I have not missed a ball game, play, practice, or performance from either of my children in three years now. I drive them to school and pick them up every day. It’s a blessing.
Looking Back, What’s One Thing You Wish You Understood About Entrepreneurship Before You Got Started?
I wish I had pursued my own SaaS business earlier. My failure there is pretty funny considering I was a founding employee at USinternetworking. USi was the first SaaS company in history — although we referred to ourselves as an ASP back then. That stood for Application Service Provider, which is basically an older term for Software as a Service.
SaaS is such a great business model–lower price point with lots of customers.
I had earlier businesses with very high price points but few customers. You lose one big client and it can kill your company…at least it did with mine once. I had a half a million-dollar business go to flames in the blink of an eye.
What Do You Consider to Be Success as an Entrepreneur?
That is a personal question for every entrepreneur. What is success for me may not be success for you.
Personally it was to achieve total freedom over my time, what I work on, and to be doing something that helps people.
I know others who have different goals or won’t be happy till they earn a certain amount of money. That is great if that is what makes them feel fulfilled.
Your Recent Company, ThoughtFlame Specializes in Quotes for Client’s Twitter Feed. What Is Your Favorite Quote?
It would probably have to be something from Elbert Hubbard. He has always been a favorite thinker of mine.
There are so many great ones, since we are talking about entrepreneurship I will go with this one:
“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”
What Is Your Best Takeaway Advice for Entrepreneurs or Aspiring Entrepreneurs?
You can do it! You can!
Tell yourself that. Believe that. Fight to keep believing that every day. It is true. There are plenty of people out there that started successful enterprises that are no more talented or smart than you are. If you do not believe in you and your company, nobody else will.
Takeaway # 2
Like Elbert Hubbard said, don’t ever give up. You will hit bumps in the road, of course. But if you are solving a real problem and have a great product, you will get to where you need to be. That is as long as you do not quit. Keep moving forward. Add a brick to that wall every day. Eventually you have something strong and lasting.