There is always more than one way to do any task – so find the way that works for you, not the way you are told to do it.
Elijah Masek-Kelly is the founder of Powerful Outreach, a specialized PR outreach service that is disrupting the industry by changing the way outreach is done. He is a writer at heart and has worked with large and small brands to tell stories that make a difference. He is a passionate entrepreneur and loves to help others growth hack their way to the top.
Where did the idea for Powerful Outreach come from?
The idea for Powerful Outreach came from an evident gap in the PR industry. The old dichotomy in PR used to be hire an agency for upwards of 8K/month or do all your outreach internally. However, there are so many startups, entrepreneurs, small businesses and passion projects that simply can’t afford to invest in that type of cost. (Thank you!).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is typically untypical – something that a lot of founders and entrepreneurs would probably agree with. Add in the fact that I am currently working remotely and travelling through South America – I’m never quite sure what will happen at work or outside my door.
However, if there was any routine to my day – my first step is usually to find a decent cup of coffee, a solid internet connection, and then jump in to work.
I stay productive by living and breathing on my calendar, task sheet, and email inbox. If it appears in one of those three places – then I know it will be done. It’s just as important to know what needs to be done as doing it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas typically come to life for me through conversations. Listening and sharing thoughts are usually the spawning grounds for the next big thing with my company. I talk with clients, mentors, peers, and partners and between all of us – ideas are torn down or given the energy to become something real.
Once an idea is validated – it’s all about people and resources to actually bring it to life. I think there is a tendency among entrepreneurs to try and do too much by themselves, especially in the beginning. However, I have found that the most successful ideas are only actualized when there are awesome people working towards the same goal.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that really excites me is the further blending between technology and human effort. This is not to say that I am excited for everything to become automated – but rather that as we continue to eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks, people will have a larger capacity for focusing on the creative aspects of work.
When you give a human more time and a goal to work towards – some really incredible things start to happen.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Productivity is a funny thing. There is a perception that just because you are checking items off your list – then you must be productive. However, the reality is that sometimes you can be stuck on a treadmill.
Yes – you are working hard every day.
Yes – you are moving through the motions that keep things going.
But you might not actually be as “productive” as you could be…
This is why one of my habits is to constantly check my methods. There is almost always a better way to do something and I always try to break a routine that works ‘well enough’.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Know what you want before you set out to get it. Educate yourself based on your goals. Be hungry for knowledge. There is always more than one way to do any task – so find the way that works for you, not the way you are told to do it.
Also, you should have been an engineer.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t need to go to University to be successful. Too many people get a degree just to put it on their resume and then end up doing something completely unrelated.
Education is key to success, but moving without a plan it is a waste of time and money.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You should always network and seek support from awesome people around you. Connections make the world go round and you would be surprised at how willing some people are to help and the innovation that is born from relationships.
Talking to someone new everyday will explode your network and open up new doors for your business all of the time.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped us grow is by practicing what we preach.
We help clients grow their own companies through a variety of PR strategies all the time – so it only makes sense to use the same approach for ourselves.
To be more specific, this means that we are guest posting, sharing great stories, and getting ourselves in front of the right audiences by leading with value-driven content.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure that I had in the beginning was trying to do everything myself. I had high standards and wanted things done the right way – so it was hard for me to let go. However, if you are trying to build a real company – it’s just not possible to do it by yourself.
I overcame this by building a team of people who were just as excited as me about our service offerings and worked with them to create something really cool. My vision changed a bit, but I think it was for the better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
On my travels, I have visited a lot of places and a few times I have noticed some really good opportunities for business models that could be transplanted to countries in South America.
One idea – A food delivery app in La Paz, Bolivia. The vast majority of people have a smartphone, the people love to eat (who doesn’t?), and there is an astounding lack of online options for ordering food. Many businesses offer delivery, but only take direct calls and send the food in a taxi.
This seems like a great opportunity for any app developers. If anyone takes this up – please let me know 🙂
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 that I have recently spent was on an external hard drive. Both personally and professionally, you have always got to have a backup plan.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
One web service that I love is calendly.com, which is a calendar booking tool. Simple, but super effective.
I have a personal link that I share with people, my team can use to coordinate calls, or I can embed on different pages/emails. It makes it super easy to set up calls with people and saves me at least 2 or 3 emails of going back and forth to confirm an appointment.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares —> Awesome book packed full of actionable tips and how-tos that can actually help grow your business.
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card – Forget the movie, read this book just for fun.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”
The Rolling Stones
My father used to torture me with this song, but now I get it…
- Keep track of what needs to be done using tools like your calendar, task lists, and email – then make sure you do it.
- Ideas are born in conversations, but it takes action and people to make them a reality.
- Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Surround yourself with great people who believe in the same things you do.
- Educate yourself now – no one else is going to do it for you.
- Network as often as possible and build relationships by helping others.
Elijah Masek-Kelly on Twitter:
Elijah Masek-Kelly on Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/elijah-masek-kelly-a6b4227a
Powerful Outreach on Facebook:
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.