[quote style=”boxed”]Meet people. Always follow up on an introduction and use the opportunity to explain yourself, polish your business idea, and see if you can be of any help to them.[/quote]
Eric Schaumburg is the founder and CEO of Eventr.io, a B2B commerce and analytics platform for the trade show industry. Eventr.io creates a marketplace of trade show-related products and services around an association’s event. This centralizes the ordering process for the exhibitors and attendees’ orders from the exhibiting companies while providing real-time analytics and reconciliation reporting back to the stakeholders.
Eric was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and attended the University of Kansas. While at KU, he competed on the cycling team, was president of the KU Meditation Group, started three different businesses, was a satire columnist for The University Daily Kansan, taught a creative writing class in a state prison, and was hired by a software entrepreneur before graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2006.
Prior to founding Eventr.io, Eric was the vice president of business development for TRAQ-IT, a trade show-management software company where he sold and consulted with a number of Fortune 100 companies. Eric was most recently with ExhibitForce, a trade show-management software company that specializes in project management suites for exhibitors and vendors, media distribution, and event analytics.
He currently resides in Kansas City with his understanding wife, Cameron, and his sidekick, a shih tzu named Simon.
Where did the idea for Eventr.io come from?
I spent eight years selling trade show-management software to corporate exhibitors and listening to their pain points. They just wanted a simple way to pay their bills and reconcile immediately. A simple consolidation shift in the industry would make their lives so much easier, and as I explored the solution, it became apparent that it would benefit everyone else in the trade-show ecosystem, as well.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
My days start the night before. I outline everything that needs to be done in a small notebook. (For a tech guy, I seem to always revert back to my little stenos and the good, flowing ink pens.) My day consists of getting calls done in the first half of the day and taking care of all the general housekeeping tasks in the evening. Most of my day entails attempting to put a drop in each of the following buckets: investors, legal, marketing, product development, sales, accounting, and strategy.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Working with creative people and a chief software architect who has a vision for the end user experience helps. It all starts with a concept that I’m usually overly excited about, followed by a set of wireframes. Then we use a feature roadmap app called Trello, which helps us get everything in order.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I love anything disruptive that makes things easy on the consumer. Right now, my favorite app is Uber for what it’s done from a problem-solving standpoint and its beautiful user experience. I’m also excited for the emergence of the 3D printing industry and the successful disruption the marijuana industry has incited.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Meditation. It helps me clear my mind, stay energized longer, read people more empathetically, and visualize goals more clearly.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
Working on a hog farm. I learned that I never want to work on a hog farm again. It was beneficial, though. I learned that there are people who work harder than you can imagine (some days do start at 4 a.m.), how to break up large amounts of work into achievable goals, and that nothing feels as good as relaxing after a hard day of work.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have stayed in touch with more of my clients from previous jobs, and I would’ve become familiar with the various startup labs and incubators to learn as much as possible.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meet people. Always follow up on an introduction and use the opportunity to explain yourself, polish your business idea, and see if you can be of any help to them. Some of the best help I ever received was from people who couldn’t help me with my company.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Formulating a great board of advisors. Meeting people who have had success in startups or are fluent in the industry you’re trying to reach becomes invaluable the further you go. We achieved this through linking up with the right people and then being able to concisely and passionately explain what we were doing. We set our egos aside and admitted that we needed guidance. It’s also good to be humble and realize how much success happens because of other people. Nobody gets to where they are all by themselves.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We’ve had many setbacks, but none that I would ever call a failure. They just lead us in a better direction. I’ve seen this system working in its finality, and holding on to that visual keeps me from getting discouraged. There’s always an answer, and I just vow never to give up until I find it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I was excited when Coin came out with its single digital credit card. My idea is for a single card or app that can store all of your shopper loyalty cards. I’m always removing certain cards from my wallet, and of course, that’s when I end up needing them. Another idea is an alarm clock that reads off everything you have to do (or want to do) for the day. Nothing gets you out of bed faster than knowing you have stuff to do.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I haven’t held a controller for a video game console since Nintendo 64, and that was maybe a few times playing “GoldenEye 007.” I also collect rare and custom-made cowboy boots.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Slack, Trello, Insightly, Gust, GoAnimate, and QuickBooks Online. If I can figure it out within a matter of minutes, I’m interested. I love that they are easy to learn, web-based, consolidated into an app, inexpensive, and allow for improvisation within the system.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. This book was given to me for Christmas in 2003, and it changed my life. I’m pretty sure it was a re-gift and, therefore, the best re-gift in the history of re-gifts. This book helps you cultivate the mental transformation that must occur and lays a foundation for your mind to comprehend what it takes to be successful.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Business-wise, I am a huge fan of the old industrialists, especially Andrew Carnegie. But most currently, I would say Bo Peabody (co-founder of Tripod and author of “Lucky or Smart?”), Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, JR Sherman (president of Lanyon), and my late mentor, Dr. Robin Potter (founder of MSAver, PulseCard and TRAQ-IT).
Eric Schaumburg on LinkedIn: