You can’t change the past, so I focus on today and anything I can do to shape my future for the better.
Jesse Boskoff is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Status Labs, overseeing strategy for all of Status Labs’ robust digital campaigns. A decade-long veteran of understanding and working with search engines and search engine algorithms, Boskoff concocts the perfect blend of digital and traditional public relations solutions for each client based on specific need. As a direct result of Boskoff’s dynamic approach to designing customized online reputation solutions, Status Labs experienced a growth in revenue of 939% between 2012 and 2015. Previously, he served as Director of Marketing at FanDuel, where his advertising strategies were applauded in an article in Psychology Today.
Where did the idea for Status Labs come from?
Most startups have that moment where a founder comes up with an idea and then puts the idea into action. Status Labs essentially evolved out of necessity. One of my co-founders, Darius Fisher, approached me in late 2012 with a freelance opportunity to work on a reputation management project for a high-profile executive. As Darius began to recognize the demand for a service like this, more projects came my way until we realized that the opportunity was big enough to build a business around. And so we made our first hires in late 2013 and named the company Status Labs, although we’d been working together on reputation management projects for about a year at that point.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
No day is ever the same. All days are productive in that I’m spending nearly all of my time helping the team in some capacity, but making sure that I can get to the most meaningful and impactful things is always a challenge. Every day, I try to prioritize by thinking about a few broader high-value initiatives that need attention, and ideally won’t leave the office until I’ve gotten to them. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I try my best.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By taking action. Too many people sit on ideas for too long. They brainstorm, they think of all the what-ifs, but they don’t act. And usually those ideas never turn out exactly like you expected them to. No one’s going to get everything right the first time around, but that’s fine. You learn as you go, and taking action forces you to iterate as you see things playing out. .
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that really excites me is the convergence of the PR world with search and social media. Since we know these digital channels so well, we feel like we’re in a unique position at Status Labs to redefine modern day PR.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My exercise routine. I won’t start my day without a workout unless travel plans get in the way. My morning workout gives me time to reflect, puts my mind at ease, and gives me the energy to get through the rest of the day.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never had a job that I haven’t enjoyed. I’ve been through some tough experiences in business though and I’ve done my best to use each of them to make me wiser and stronger in my next endeavor. One example was RootZoo, a sports-based website startup I launched in 2007 and unfortunately had to give up on in 2010. I put everything I had into it. 70+ hour weeks for three years. I built a product that people loved and had great traffic stats, but the site’s revenue model wasn’t strong enough to pull in the funding I needed to grow. So from that experience, I lost the “just build something great and the money will come naturally” mentality that’s common in the startup world. It’s so much easier when you have a clear-cut revenue model from day one.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I try not to dwell on the past and think about the what-ifs. You can’t change the past, so I focus on today and anything I can do to shape my future for the better. That said, I was working two full-time jobs for a long time as Status Labs grew. In hindsight, I leaving a bit sooner to focus my full attention on the growth of Status Labs may have turned out to be the better move. On the other hand, I gained a ton of insight into startup growth, building a great culture, and scaling a business via acquisition marketing while I was at FanDuel. I was given marketing budgets at FanDuel that now make no Status Labs project seem too big to handle. I met so many great people there too. So maybe I wouldn’t know what I know today without having had that experience.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never get too comfortable, constantly try to improve. Evolve. Question whether what was best in the past is still the best way forward today. The world – especially the internet world – is changing so quickly. Being set in your ways and sticking to what was once best can leave you in the dust in the blink of an eye. So I’m always reading and trying to recognize what others are doing better than I am. When I find these things, I try my best to incorporate them into everything I do.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Scaling our operation. In the very beginning, just about all of the work was done by our founders. We’ve since built up departments that handle different elements of our operations and we have some incredible people on the team. Trusting and empowering them has freed up a ton of time for us to focus on big picture growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The RootZoo experience I mentioned above was a failed venture at the end. I overcame it by building up an SEO business as the ship went down. If not for RootZoo, I never would have learned SEO so I guess you could say I overcame it by taking one of the more valuable skills I learned and basing the next stage of my career around it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Augmented reality ad tech. AR will become a much bigger part of our lives within the next 5-10 years, and the location-based advertising possibilities are pretty endless.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It’s a little more than $100, but I love my Amazon Echo. Take a step back for a second and think about all the things you can do by talking to a little speaker. What a game changer.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use way too many to list here, but I’m a huge fan of Facebook ads and Google Adwords. When it comes to paid advertising, I genuinely believe they’re the best ways in the world to grow a business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m sure this book’s been mentioned before here, but this being a site about bringing ideas to life, The $100 Startup is one of the better books out there about getting something off the ground.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
A few of my favorite blogs and websites are Search Engine Land, Unbounce, Seth Godin’s blog, GrowthHackers, Inbound, and Backlinko.
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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.