Marc is a passionate entrepreneur from Barcelona who’s lived in Spain, the United States, and Chile, where he felt inspired by Latin America’s fast-growing startup ecosystem and co-founded his current venture, an online resume builder that is about to release a brand-new version and has users in more than 200 countries around the world. He started his career as an online marketer working mainly in SEO, SEM, and email marketing, building skills that come in handy when bootstrapping a Saas business. He tells us that starting a company was never one of his life plans, but when he spotted a problem, found a solution, and run into two amazing co-founders, making it scalable was the only thing he could think about.
Where did the idea for cvonline.me come from?
Back in 2014, I had a friend that had been looking for a job in London for about a month and was having a hard time getting interviews. At the time, I was learning basic web development. After giving my friend’s CV a design makeover, I added a QR code linked to a landing page hosting an extended version of her CV. After using it for a week she landed several interviews and she was offered three different positions. At the moment, I told myself that whenever I could pay a developer to code a platform to automate this process I would. A few years later, we launched the MVP on cvonline.me and onlineresume.us, as a free online CV maker. After gaining some traction and finding a great team, we built a paid plan, and have now helped more than 1M users create their CV.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As most founders, I like to start early. To me, there is this feeling when smelling a fresh cup of coffee in an empty office that makes you feel productive and somehow ahead of things. We are still a small company, so I start the day by checking emails and responding to user questions that have piled up overnight. Once that’s off the table, I start with my other tasks. We are also a remote team in different time zones so we don’t do daily meetings, instead we prefer to do a weekly, one hour stand-up meeting.
Then, I work on different tasks on my pipeline (we use Trello, Notion + G Tasks to keep track of our to-do lists). Before the end of the day, I try to do another CRM “power-hour”. I try not to get too distracted checking and responding to emails throughout the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When talking about ideas for my current venture, I first run them with the team at a weekly meeting and catch their reaction to decide if it’s worth pursuing it now in the future or not at all. From there, we break the workload required to test the idea into tasks that we assign and schedule.
When talking about potential business ideas, for the most part, I keep a list of ideas that come from problems I’ve faced. And they stay there, silently, waiting for a friend to request a business idea, a huge change in my priorities, or potential downtime.
I’ve learned a couple of things. That focus is everything and that ideas are worth nothing without the right execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about personalization and chatbots. The technology in these two fields is improving at a very fast pace and I am eager to be able to implement them in various projects soon.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Feeling passionate about what I do and constantly reminding myself of our company’s mission motivates me and helps me to be more productive. Of course, drinking coffee doesn’t hurt either.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would probably advise my younger self to don’t be impatient. Things fall into place, just make sure you are passionate about what you’re doing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
QR codes rule! They are very useful and underutilized. I am confident that time will give them the place they deserve.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I keep all team members and other stakeholders updated on our recent numbers and accomplishments, immediate goals, events, and fun facts about our team and product. We do this both with automated reports and a weekly newsletter with a touch of humor.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Most of my failures as an entrepreneur have been related to product development and timing. For example, the latest challenge that my team and I faced was finding the right technology stack for the new version of our CV builder we’re launching in 2021. We changed the technologies a couple of times for various reasons. Throughout this process, my team and I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Realizing that we were hitting a wall, I decided to do something different. I organized a special work retreat week near the beach in order to bond, regain energy, and motivate ourselves. Thanks to this special week, we finally got back on track, resolving the tech issue as well as enjoying some summer activities out of the office.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Corporate translation services is an industry that, from my humble opinion, is asking for disruption. I am visualizing a marketplace where small marketing agencies or freelancers can earn money translating from a foreign language to their mother tongue. Their revenue could then be directly withdrawn or instead used to hire other translators within the same platform to translate other projects. In this way, translations that would otherwise be really expensive in the current market would become much more affordable.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently we spent $59 on getting Sendy, an email marketing software working with AWS SES. I am very happy with the tool. It’s helped us to engage with our subscribers, something we haven’t been doing consistently before, partially because of the associated costs. We now pay $1 every 10K emails we send.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Trello helps me be productive by organizing my tasks in a classical scrum board: Backlogs, To Do, In Process, Done, Deprecated.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One classic book I was recommended when building our MVP was Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup. I recommend it to every friend that is about to start a business because this book saved me time and mistakes I was for sure going to do.
What is your favorite quote?
My favourite quote from the book is “Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop is at the core of the Lean Startup model.” I find it applicable not only to the MVP, but in every single feature built later on, as well as any marketing action taken.
- Don’t focus on your fears and don’t underestimate the potential of your idea, team, and method of execution. Don’t give in to negative thoughts, wasting your time imagining all the ways in which your business could possibly fail. Focus on the practical steps of action that you can take each day.
- Team meetings are extremely important. Communicate a lot with your team members. Never assume things.
- Ask questions and listen to your first customers. They are going to tell you where to go. That being said, you will need to filter the noise that this could generate. If you have a good amount of users, as was our case, the easiest way to do this is by focusing on volume. If 20 users have requested a feature, you should probably build it.
- Test, analyze, learn, repeat.
- Never miss an email, Linkedin message, etc. You never know what’s behind that first interaction.
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.