[quote style=”boxed”]If you don’t try your ideas because people think it is “crazy” or “stupid,” then you will never have the chance to prove them wrong.[/quote]
Andyshea Saberioon is 24 years old, born and raised in Houston, Texas. Andy, is a first-generation Iranian-American. He went to school at Second Baptist School in Houston, Texas – where he became best friends with Ricky Johnson, Co-Founder of PledgeCents, since the 8th grade. After high school, Andy went to Rhodes College, where he played basketball for 4 years, and received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. He then went to receive his Masters at the Conrad Hilton College at University of Houston. Andy has always been motivated to be a successful entrepreneur, like his father. He is passionate about being successful in business, but more importantly, making a difference in the community because he realizes how blessed and fortunate he was/is.
What are you working on right now?
My full-time focus is on PledgeCents. I am working everyday to spread the word throughout communities, schools, and businesses. We have a very busy summer because we are getting ready for the fall. The fall will be our real coming out party to the education world. We are working on a couple of different things that allows us to be more than just a website. Our goal is to create a movement and that is what we plan to do!
Where did the idea for PledgeCents come from?
Originally, I was watching a show on CNBC about small businesses and entrepreneurs. I learned about this new concept called “crowdfunding” on the show; immediately after the show was done, I went on my computer to look more about crowdfunding. Once I got a general sense, I contacted Ricky and we started brainstorming different ideas on how we can get involved with this new model. When we were thinking of how we can get involved, we were trying to create something that would make a social impact as well as a successful business model. With the economic situation and schools receiving budget cuts, it seemed like an opportune time to create a crowdfunding site that would help schools and educators raise funds for their basic needs. Less than a year later, PledgeCents was born.
How do you make money?
We have 2 streams of revenue:
If you meet/exceed your monetary goal within your timeline, then the website will receive 5% + 3% (CC Transaction Fee).
If you do not meet your monetary goal within your timeline, then the website will receive 8% + 3% (CC Transaction Fee).
We created unique bracelets that are our symbol for supporting a better education for our youth! The PledgeCents Bracelets come in 14 different colors and are sold for $1.99/$2.99. A portion of the proceeds from this channel go back into causes on our site as part of our Monthly Competition.
What does your typical day look like?
Everyday is different. I start and end every day answering and writing emails. What happens in between the next 12 hour gap usually includes meetings, calls, events, a brief workout in this Houston heat, and research, research, research. In order to stay ahead of the curve, we have to constantly educate ourselves to learn more. The best part about running a startup business – everyday presents a different challenge.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I do them. I am a person who likes to think outside of the box and a lot of the ideas I have may be considered “crazy” or “weird” but the only way I know if it will work or not is if I put it out there and let the market decide. If you don’t try your ideas because people think it is “crazy” or “stupid,” then you will never have the chance to prove them wrong.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I think the biggest trend that excites me is the power that little kids have. Kids in 3rd grade have more Instagram followers and Twitter Followers than a grown man in his late 20s. The power that kids have in numerous markets is scary but at the same time is exciting. Can’t be too hard to please a kid, right? I wish.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I won’t go into names or details but the worst experience I had was with a company that was very scattered from a managerial perspective. On my last day, one of the managers told me, “As you can see we don’t really worry about future things ahead, we worry about putting out fires everyday.” And that summed up my whole experience. When you get to a point where you are constantly putting out fires and making up for all the mistakes, then you will never grow. You need to make sure that you keep everything in line from day 1 so you don’t have to worry about putting fires out on a daily basis; instead, you worry about how can I grow my business and continue to be successful.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
From a strictly PledgeCents standpoint – nothing. Every experience we have gone through has been a learning lesson and has taught us a lot. Seeing as how PledgeCents is Ricky and my first startup, we have gone through a lot from day 1 but we wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. The mistakes we made help us grow and find better solutions moving forward. It’s all about moving forward.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It is very easy to sometimes hit a wall where you just get burnt out or start questioning yourself and your business. DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! If I have a moment where I start finding myself asking those questions, I find myself going to workout. I’m a big advocate on health and fitness so I find that it is my “sanctuary” where I can go and get away. I find running in the park, playing basketball, or just being outside allows me to stop thinking about the negative thoughts. I sometimes come up with new ideas while running or playing basketball; it is very therapeutic for me. Entrepreneurs need to find something that allows them to escape the everyday hustle that they have to do in order to make their business successful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Seeing as how this is our first startup, we have had many failures. We don’t dwell on our failures. We find a way to improve on them and move forward. We definitely make sure we don’t make the same mistake twice.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have a great idea that can be a very big game changer (I’m sure everyone says this), but I am being serious. But I can’t give it away yet.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Education. This is why we created PledgeCents. We know that PledgeCents will not fix all the issues with education around the world; however, we strongly believe that PledgeCents can help schools and teachers provide educational opportunities that they wouldn’t be able to because of lack of funding. Ricky and I are very passionate about education because we were fortunate and blessed to have a great education growing up. There is no reason that one child should not receive the opportunity to receive a better education. I will do whatever I can to help every young person that I can.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I love Whataburger! And by love, I mean OBSESSED!
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I love social media platforms. The amount of knowledge and communication once can receive via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is mind blowing. I still think people are still trying to understand the true power of social media. I’m still amazed at some of the connections we have made just be Tweeting someone out of the blue and hoping they would respond.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
To be honest I don’t read too many books. Ricky reads the Lean Startup and loves the book. I do more online reading and research.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud all the time. I am a very laid back person that likes to have fun and smile. I probably laugh more at myself than I do at other things. I tend to do/say things that people are too embarrassed to do/say; sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s just awkward.
Who is your hero, and why?
My dad. My dad is Iranian and came to the USA when he was 18 years old. He did not speak English, he did not have friends or family here, and he had very little money in his pocket. My dad went from Hammadan, Iran to Lafayette, Louisiana. A big change. And he worked his butt off everyday (still continues to) and has become a successful entrepreneur. I sometimes think that if I left and went to another country where I didn’t speak the language, had no money, had no contacts – what would I do? Probably cry. He inspires me everyday to work hard and every time I think I have done a lot, I remember how much harder it was for him. I have it so much easier than he did and it’s all because of his drive and motivation. He is the true definition of a hero.
How has your experience been so far with creating a startup tech business?
Awesome. This is our first startup business together and it has been an unbelievable journey. We started talking about the idea roughly 1 year ago and watching it grow from a seed into a bud has been great! Now we need to make that bud blossom into a beautiful flower. Everyday is a journey on its own and I think the best part of starting your own business is no two days are ever the same.
We are constantly educating ourselves on the tech industry and making sure we are staying current with new trends and ideas. The tech industry is one that is very fast moving and always introducing new ideas/features/functionalities. It is much less capital intensive to start your own online business than it is to start your own restaurant.
What makes you get out of bed every morning?
I feel that I have been blessed and fortunate beyond belief in my life. I wake up every morning because I want to make sure that every day I am finding a way to make a positive difference in someone’s life. Life is too short to waste time doing something that isn’t fulfilling. My goal is to change a life everyday – that’s all. There is a quote that a good friend introduced to me a little over a year ago – “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” A man by the name of Eric Thomas made that quote and I try to truly understand the message, not the words, everyday. That hunger to find out the true message behind that quote is what drives me.
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Andyshea Saberioon on Twitter: @andysheasabco
Andyshea Saberioon on Instagram: @sabco1988
Andyshea Saberioon’s Email: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.