Paul Burke – CEO and Co-founder of RentHoop

The foundation for a growth strategy is to create meaningful relationships.

Paul is the CEO and Cofounder of RentHoop, a mobile app that connects renters looking for roommates. He compares the app to Tinder in which you can swipe on roommates that you may be compatible with. Paul is 24 years old and currently works a day job in sales.

He started selling candy and soda out of his backpack in junior high and went on to sell counterfeit sports jerseys in high school.

I passed out free samples of a nutritional bar at Costco twice a week and was judged on how many boxes I sold. It wasn’t bad at first, but I did not believe in the product and what I was saying. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it. I’m the kind of person who has to be all-in to be successful.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes and that is part of the game. Rarely does anybody get it right the first time. I would be more patient and realistic with the timeline of the product. I wasn’t as patient as I should have been and that caused problems with the team.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I’m always reading, listening to podcasts, picking people’s brains and working. I’m a very curious person so I always want to be learning and growing.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We haven’t launched our app yet but we have built a solid waitlist. I think the foundation for a growth strategy is to create meaningful relationships. You can do that with real people at meetups or online through Reddit, Quora or your social media. Being part of communities like that will help get your product to the right people as long as you keep at it.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In college, I worked for a semiprofessional basketball team. We did not have many fans come to our games, but I had big ideas on how to draw a crowd. One of them was a Corgi Race. Yes, you read that right.

Our promotional video got 13,000 views and the race was a ton of fun, however, I think we could have done so many things to monetize it. I don’t consider it a failure really, just an opportunity to have done something much bigger than we did.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I am a huge basketball fan so I would love an app that connects you with other people looking to play the same sport as you in real-time.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Slack is such a good communication tool for teams—I love it. WordPress was confusing at first because I have no web development experience, but once I got the hang of it, my life became a lot easier.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People is the book that sparked my interest in the people side of business.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

In general, Quora is a fantastic tool to learn about anything—from business to personal things. As far as people go, Seth Godin has a bunch of great books on marketing. The Ask Gary V show is a terrific podcast for people looking to understand marketing and hustle. My favorite is the Michael Gervais podcast called Finding Mastery. He brings on guests and they have very rich conversations on the mindset of what makes individuals great and that is something I’m fascinated with.