If you listen to 100 opinions, together with yours… take it into account to make a good decision.
Dmitry began his career in the world of advertising, working at one of the largest digital ad agencies in Ukraine. After becoming an account director at 28 Dmitry pivoted his career into the mobile and shared economy spaces. Dmitry is the co-founder and CEO of JetMe, the world’s only internationally available, membership-free, name-your-price private jet brokering service. With 10,000 brokers and over 200,000 jets available internationally, JetMe boasts the biggest network in the luxury shared economy space.
Where did the idea for JetMe come from?
Back in the summer of 2013, I had a lot of business meetings with partners and clients in a variety of international cities. It was always a great challenge to spend two days traveling for one-meeting-trip, it’s not always as simple as jumping on the next flight from Kiev to St. Petersburg to have a meeting and then fly back. The reality is that you arrive in the city a day before the meeting, stay in the hotel and go to the meeting next morning. A lot of time spent waiting out the travel schedule. I’ve started looking for a solution and noticed the industry was still working on the rules and methods created 40 years ago and using phone calls and e-mail to order luxury jets. Having met with several market insiders, I decided to build a new product to be able to search, book and pay for the private jet flight right on your phone, creating JetMe.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It starts at 7 am in the morning (PST).
7 – 8 am: quick status with CTO/Technical Team
8 am – 12 pm: communication with private jet partners under terms of condition for the next flights for our clients, rescheduling flights, checking quotes from clients (part 1)
1 – 3 pm: meeting with current and potential clients (personal and Skype conferences), business development
3 – 6 pm: communication with private jet partners under terms of condition for the next flights for our clients, rescheduling flights, checking quotes from clients (part 2)
6 – 7 pm: working with a project management tool (Asana) and coordinate the to-do-list for the technical team. If it’s Sunday evening (it’s Monday morning in Ukraine, where my technical team is located) – we have a weekly status call with my CTO and all the developers
7 pm – 9 pm: Evening checks on administrator panel and planning the next day.
Planning and coordinating business processes and my calendar – is my instrument to make me more productive, as well as TeuxDeux (the simple to-do-list I’m using for about three years already) together with Asana (to-do-list to manage the technical team)
How do you bring your ideas to life?
Our ideas come up from Board of Directors meetings, when we are talking about our current clients and their needs, sharing target audience insights. Usually, we have 1-2 good ideas (marketing, product, research) to test each month. That’s why during 2014 we gathered 22 frequent private jet flyers, creating JetMe’s private focus group. I can’t share users benefits publicly, but only if we have more than 70% confirmation of approval from the focus group – we will launch development and start writing code.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The Shared economy, obviously. I think that this century could be named the Sharing Century! It has enter nearly every industry: medicine, cars, dog walker, etc. I’m waiting on new Federal Aviation Administration regulations ending the ban on sharing business jets in the near future; then we will see even more comfortable quotes from our partners.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m Ukrainian, if you know people from our country – you can understand how many workaholics are among us. Early morning exercise is a must! If you got up early in the morning and have a warm up workout – you’ll have plenty of energy to work and do amazing things even before the rest of the world wakes up.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst is not always that bad. My most demanding job was the sales person at an advertising agency, back in Ukraine. I was responsible for making cold phone calls and selling ad space in the magazine. As simple as it sounds. I learned how to deal with different (and sometimes difficult) customers and companies. Most importantly, I learned to understand how to deal with myself when I get into unexpected situations, like getting angry, or yelling, or in generally confusing situations.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Do it faster. We were testing our product for eight months till we launched in California between two cities (Los Angeles and San Francisco). In that time, we could have launched an international version of JetMe’s Service – JetMe.aero, which provides the possibility to fly almost everywhere, where there is an airport to land on.
As an entrepreneur what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be aware of criticism. Criticism of your product or your person – doesn’t matter. An entrepreneur can’t react with emotions when he/she hears something bad about their product. I recommend each and every entrepreneur to start listening to their customers and their feedback, their friends, and their family, with honor. I’m not telling you to accept all the suggestion from each and every person in the world, but if you listen to 100 opinions, together with yours… take it into account to make a good decision.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please Explain how
Always keeping our clients, partners and possible investors in the loop. It’s very important to the business to keep the client’s database of contact e-mails updated with new features. They must know the latest news, info about new possibilities, features or the new version of website with the special offer from the brand just launching. Each and every modern marketer will agree with me, I assure you.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
I think that all my biggest failures are still upfront, we are already had the cancelation of jet, just 4 hours before our Client need to be on his flight. We were able to scramble and make everything work in the end however it was incredibly stressful at the time.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s not an idea but more of an opportunity, I think. There are huge opportunities to build new businesses and startups for older people. Our grandparents are using phones, the internet, and Amazon and Uber. I still don’t know why startups always keep focusing only on the younger audience with no awareness of older, baby boomer age group.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and Why?
Personally – flowers for my wife
Professional – FoundersNetwork. It’s a closed founders club for private members, led by amazing CEO and my good friend – Kevin Holmes. Personally and professionally – this is the best place to get knowledge about startup community, rules, make introductions, get recommendation, ask advice of participate in discussion, get legal or finance advice, when all the members are executive level businessman and businesswoman. I seriously recommend joining this network, or a similar network, to all the entrepreneurs, especially at the beginning phases of building a business. And of course, please feel free to mention my name as the reference person.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Asana. It’s a very simple project management tool, created by ex-facebook employees. It was a great shift from Basecamp (another project management tool, created by 37signals), and, basically, Asana is Dropbox-user experience software that focus on managing on-going task and to-do-list. I’ve started using Asana back in 2013 in Ukraine, and I still preferred this software to any other.
What is one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
ReWork by 37signals.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you don’t know this book or the guys from 37signals, who are the founders of Basecamp (still one of the best to-do-lists in the world). The book makes it simple to understand all the ways you must perfect your working process. I also recommend reading “The Way of Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman, right after ReWork. They are just meant to be read one-after-another.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss and my Father.
Dmitry Romanyukha on Twitter: @Romanyukha
JetMe on Twitter: @JetMeAero
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.