Dan Rush – Co-founder and CEO of Student Loan Club

Strategy needs to be reflective of the business vertical. In a broad context, talent is the key to success: identifying the talent, persuading talented people to your vision or that of the business and then getting out of the way.

Dan is co-founder and serves as chief executive officer of Student Loan Club, where he oversees the company’s vision and growth strategies. There he manages investor and legal relations in addition to leading business development. He developed his entrepreneurial background as co-founder and co-creator of ShoutBot, a voice-to-voice communication app that allows users to share voice messages, pictures and locations with friends and the ShoutBot community. At ShoutBot, he was in charge of strategic planning, business development and investor relations. Previously, Dan was also the co-founder of Moose Labs, a 3D printing company that mass produced various cannabis related products including the germ-free smoking device, MouthPeace, that sold over 200,000 units in all 50 states.

Dan graduated cum laude from Nichols College in 2012 with a BSBA in business communications.

Where did the idea for Student Loan Club come from?

My 91-year-old father was losing sleep worrying about the quarter of a million dollars of student debt my brother and I had accumulated. After years of making fruitless payments, we sat down as a family and after conducting legal research, we founded the Student Loan Club.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Because I work from home, I start my day by going through a list of action items I predetermined the night before. I tackle the more difficult tasks in the morning and leave the easier items for the evenings. My dogs are a reminder to take a break every now and then, allowing me to focus throughout the day after taking them for a walk.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I come up with a plan and I do it. Technology has created a world where unlimited resources are a click away. I use Google and have been known to ask a lot of questions. After doing the research, I cultivate resources and execute a plan. This has been the system by which I have operated for all of my former startups.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’ve been keeping a close eye on virtual reality. Although I was never really into video games, the idea of people being able to interact in computer generated worlds while integrating social media into the experience is intriguing.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Strategy needs to be reflective of the business vertical. In a broad context, talent is the key to success: identifying the talent, persuading talented people to your vision or that of the business and then getting out of the way.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to start sooner, stick to my guns and to not let age hold me back. Several of my early ventures were slightly before their time. Had I stuck with them and pushed a bit harder, I could have had some huge successes on my hands.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Just because someone sleeps until noon, does not mean they are not productive. A few years ago, I was manufacturing products and working directly with Chinese factories. My days would often start at 1PM and I would be on Skype with China until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. From this experience I learned night time can sometimes be the best time to get work done. There are much fewer distractions and interruptions, and for people working with internal companies, after 5 PM is when real business starts.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Create your own path and follow it! There will be obstacles so be sure to just keep moving.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

We have always tried to create change and be a little disruptive. If you are doing either of those things you are on the right track. If you find yourself creating a better version of something else, take a step back and analyze what you are doing. While it is more difficult to create something completely new, the extra work does not go unrewarded.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There are a lot of legal stipulations when it comes to founding a business, especially a sweepstakes. It took a lot of research and fine tuning to get where we are today. Take the constructive criticism you receive and use it to your advantage.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone should create a rubber baby bottle nipple that fits over water bottles, allowing any bottle to be a baby bottle.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Pet insurance is an incredible investment. My pup tore both of his ACL’s within two years. He now has $10,000 dollars worth of knees and is happier than ever.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

LivePlan, a business plan software, is an extremely useful tool. Not only does it help you create an amazing business plan, but it is also great for financial forecasting. It has been our go-to software for financial planning.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Alchemist has a general self-help concept to it, but the journey and the destiny is what makes the book. While the universe might not actually conspire to help those who ask for it, it tends to unfold as it should and the book is a great motivator for those who are starting a new adventure.

What is your favorite quote?

“There is no stronger army in the world than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo