Marco Massaro is an entrepreneur and designer. He began working on the web at a young age creating logos and other branding for clients. Soon after, he got into making small websites for himself and others. This later catapulted his hobby into a full-fledged passion. Recently, he founded eBackers.com, a place for web professionals, online businesses, startups and people with ideas to connect and work better on the web. He is the founder of a design studio, www.masswerks.com, which works with a wide range of clients to deliver user interface and development services. In the past, Marco was the owner of online websites Audiolizer.com, a free music service and Fawnt.com, a font repository (both acquired). As an entrepreneur Marco aims to create products and services for the web that not only generate revenue, but also benefit users and foster communities. Marco is a full-time college student and plans to continue managing and building online businesses when he graduates.
What are you working on right now?
I focus my time on my new startup, eBackers. I work day-to-day building the community, getting people excited about our service as well as connecting and meeting other entrepreneurs, web professionals, and online business owners.
3 trends that excite you?
The first trend would most likely be the huge change that media has taken. Everything used to be controlled by the media, but now thanks to new tools and social platforms, being heard is easier than ever. The barrier to entry is slim to none as anyone can create, publish and distribute content to be heard.
Another trend that excites me is how more and more people are starting their own business in bad economic times. When job openings are at a bare minimum, I think it’s a smart idea to change gears and start a business around something you’re passionate about.
Lastly, I am excited about more and more cool and useful cloud computing services, from storage, to SAAS and even collaboration.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Usually when I have an idea for a new product or service I jot it down on a piece of paper or type it up on the computer. Then the brainstorming of domain names and branding comes along, and sooner or later I’m creating wireframes and prototypes of the idea. I always look to launch new ideas as fast as possible because I believe getting something out there and getting people excited about it is crucial.
What inspires you?
Entrepreneurs who create businesses that change our landscape – the way we communicate, work and think. The impact a business can have on a group of people is mind-blowing, like Facebook and Twitter. They changed the way we communicate on a day-to-day basis as well as the way we conduct business and think. That’s innovative and inspiring.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I made the mistake of selling a font website I had created. I sold it after a few days of launching it (the site had a lot of blog coverage and traffic). This was a bad decision, because if I had the site today I would have been able to continue growing the user base and generating revenue from it. Instead, I was in it for the short-term and took the money. What I learned: if you have a solid product that people are talking about, hold onto it. Get more people to talk about it, and keep pushing out great content and new features. Your product will be much more valuable. Patience is key – lesson learned!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Listen to your users. Its something so fundamental and should go without saying, but the fact is that so many individuals and businesses don’t do this. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve called or emailed a business or person and have gotten no response. I think customer service is such an important aspect that every business should focus on. Focus on creating customer service that doesn’t scale to learn about your users and show them you care about your business. This will speak volumes because the person who answers the emails or returns phone calls is the one who is going to get the business – not the one who ignores their customers or users.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
Anyone who creates web apps should read Getting Real by 37Signals. As far as a tool I actively use Photoshop to create wireframes and mockups of my ideas that eventually turn into products or services for the web.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
How do you know if an idea is worth pursuing?
The best advice I got from someone else was if you have a good idea that may not be out there (or even if it is but you’re changing the game), you should sleep on it. This I feel is the best way to pursue real ideas that you’re passionate about versus those random ideas that come into your head at any time – if you wake up the next day still excited about the idea from the day before, its worth pursuing.
As a freelancer, how do you balance your work schedule and personal life?
When freelancing it’s definitely easy to get distracted, sleep late and do whatever you want as you’re in control of your schedule. I treat freelancing as a regular job by waking up at the same time everyday, eating breakfast, and working until an acceptable hour (5-6PM). By following this routine, my work and personal life are balanced normally.
Marco Massaro on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marco-massaro/2a/201/2b7
Ebackers on Twitter: twitter.com/ebackers
Or email me anything at email@example.com