Mike Glanz was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He got into to web design and development during his junior year of college when he received an internship at Lewis Technology. He started his first company at the age of 22, YouGotComments and which became an instant success after being featured on Mashable.com. Almost a year later he left his development position at Lewis Technology to start HireAHelper.com.
Where did the idea for HireAHelper come from?
When I was little, I was always that kid with the money making schemes. Buy low, sell high. Lemonade stands. I idealized people in business. My first sales job, I got in trouble because I kept showing up too early… Oops.
So after I met Pete in college, HireAHelper’s eventual co-founder, we would work retail jobs on the weekends to supplement our business ideas during the week. One day he posed the question after reading an article about companies selling off their companies: “You don’t think we aren’t at least as smart or hardworking as the worst millionaire in the country?”
For some reason that triggered us into action. We identified one market where we weren’t happy with the current marketplace options – movers – and went from there. HireAHelper was born that year.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Wake up at 5:15 a.m., then I go for a two mile walk for an hour. I get home at 6:20 a.m. and I wake up my kids, feed them breakfast and take them to school.
The majority of my day at the office is interruption driven. Important overarching things make their need known in a hurry. It’s spent working on developing big picture things. Right now growing a company that’s over 30 employees means developing things like an HR department for healthcare and things like that.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Start big and go small. For bigger direction changes to the company and for product development, those ideas honestly are born in meetings. As much of a bad rap as meetings generally get, collectively dreaming and working on things with my team is how ideas start happening.
For smaller projects, the key to getting lots of little projects that can be really productive and successful is in hiring people who are flexible and who are doers. If all we had were naysayers and obsessed with perfection, we would never be able to get things done. Sometimes you just need to start doing.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
In the broadest sense, I’m excited that people are booking more things online without reservation. It’s not super new but it keeps growing and it’s great that people can push a button to get what they need.
With moving in general, I like seeing the change people are taking towards hybrid movers. Decoupling transportation with labor. When you hire the labor and the transportation on your own, it’s proven that that’s going to be a better experience: claims are lower and price is lower. This continues to lead towards the shrinking of the general moving industry into something that resembles something more appropriate. The average person is going to be able to find something that suits them more so than white glove boutique services.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Exercise. Weird, right? In general, if I’m not exercising and eating poorly, I just feel terrible and I’m more prone to distraction. Perhaps what’s more important about this is that what I call exercise is just going for a walk and doing it alone. I spend a lot of time thinking. That seems to be where good ideas come from.
The trait that has made me the most successful is taking advantage of how widely available knowledge is for “what to do”. I quickly learned when building a business that it’s very, very rare that you know the answer. Finding out what to do is no longer the hard part, only the decisions.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It sounds simple, but just persevere. When things get tough, keep working hard, and stay hungry.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
The income and success is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to helping others. Giving back should be part of a business’ backbone.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I question myself and come to a firm decision before I get my team on board. It’s hard to be 51% sure of a decision and then go and sell it to everyone. When leading a company, it’s important to keep an open mind, but it’s also important to be confident.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We are constantly looking at exactly where our business is coming from and we’re putting our money where we think the best opportunities will be moving forward. Last year it was SEO and content marketing. This year we pivoted to incorporate other focuses. We have to constantly be reassessing our numbers and priorities, and I know our ability to be agile in that way has really helped us.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve necessarily overcome any of my failures. I’m not detail oriented and I lack focus on things that don’t interest me, even if it’s important. That’s why I work so hard to make sure my team maintains the qualities I lack, so that HAH is balanced and effective.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A thanksgiving dinner for Syrian families and refugees at our office. We figured we’d do our little part to help bring them into our culture.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
The Google app suite – including Docs and Sheets – is truly remarkable. The collaboration, flexibility, and live-time editing makes running a team and business so much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” is my favorite book for people thinking about starting a business. If you’re in the stage that you already know about business, “Built to Sell” is super accessible and easily digestible. It should really be called “How to build a good business.”
What is your favorite quote?
“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe
Tell us about one friend or acquaintance of yours who we should interview on IdeaMensch? Who are they, how do we get a hold of them and what are they doing?
Jeff Winkler, the Co-Founder of Origin Code Academy.
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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.