Rahul Alim – Founder of Custom Creatives

Stay focused. We all have hopes and dreams, those will come true but you have to remain focused on your goals.

Rahul Alim is a successful entrepreneur with practical sales and marketing expertise. He founded Success Marketing Solutions, Inc. (SMS) in 2004 and Custom Creatives in 2006 to provide top quality Graphic Design, Web Design, Web Development, and Internet Marketing solutions for clients like you. Together with his team, they embody a strong work ethic, deliver high quality products and stellar service, and don’t stop until you love the end result.

Custom Creatives has become a top provider of Inbound Marketing and Design Solutions for small to medium sized businesses across the United States. Custom Creatives also serves as a strategic partner for large companies, as well as public companies to outsource their design and online marketing needs to meet fluctuating demands and scale without the worry of paying for overhead or finding the right expertise.

Rahul has built his company around a customer-centric model that truly puts clients first, as evidenced by the results they drive that have led to repeat business and referrals, making them a name brand in the industry.

Where did the idea for Custom Creatives come from?

I launched Success Marketing Solutions, Inc. in 2004 and subsequently Custom Creatives to fill a void I saw while working for a large real estate company. It all started at Realtor.com where I was hired to consult on Sales and Advertising services for Real Estate Agents on the East Coast. While working with the top-producing agents in the country, I noticed there was a major disconnect between what I offered and how they used my marketing system. After learning that a majority of my clients were digitally and technologically challenged, I would suggest they hire someone even a virtual consultant to manage their technology for them for a monthly fee. Client reactions were unanimous, “I didn’t know I could do that.” While my idea was brewing, it now became clear. I thought to myself, “I am a top producer at my company, yet I don’t see a long-term future career ahead of me. I’ve got a solid idea to provide digital marketing and graphic design services and a built-in community that needs it. I’m 24 years old, with limited monthly expenses, no debt and I’ve saved all my earnings – I am going to go for it!”

What does your typical day look like?

My day starts at the gym, then fueling up with Starbucks. This gives me the mental and physical strength to stay focused… skip to answer #4 below for the rest of my day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

To bring the idea to life, it all starts with writing it down. If you have the next big thing, write it down, plan it out, ask for help and bounce it around. The point is, if it’s in your head, it will not happen. My personal criteria is: can I do it better than someone else, can I bring value in my product or service to my customers, clients, patients etc., can I make a profit, and can I scale?

Now it’s execution time. Make sure you work extremely hard and give it your all. Sleep comes second. If you have a family, spend time, then go back to work. If you have a dog, walk it, go back to work. The point is, work hard, be passionate, try your best and you will succeed.

Stay focused. We all have hopes and dreams, those will come true but you have to remain focused on your goals.

Fail and succeed. Of course if you can avoid failure by all means. Business is NOT easy, and it will never be easy. Learn from mistakes and move forward, there’s no time to dwell on what could have been. Go forward and stay focused.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Content Curation. I love seeing quality content. There are several forms that I personally plan to focus on. Blogging and Email Marketing top the list. Other forms such as micro-posts on social, promotion marketing are downlines of my execution. But for now, I am all about content curation.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Scheduling. Stick to a schedule. The first 4-6 hours is about new clients and partners. The rest of my day is following up on existing campaigns, ensuring our clients are happy, reporting with my team, and strategy for our own marketing and execution.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I actually enjoyed this job but I made the least amount of money doing it. When I was 16 years old in high school, I was the ice cream guy at Thrifty’s (now Right Aid). I learned that employees like me, like to be recognized for a job well done regardless of the job description. Mine included scooping ice cream, plus cleaning floors, organizing the aisles, and even keeping our toilets clean!

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

Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am if I had done things differently, I tend not to look back, just ahead.

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

Work hard every single day, maintain your passion and stay humble. Take care of your customers, care about them and listen to them. If you get complacent you will get run over.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Hiring the right team. This is not always that easy. You have to post positions for hire online, network, get recommendations from colleagues and staff, and tap all other channels you have available. I learned early on to hire slow, fire fast.

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

I lost a big account, one that really impacted our business. I was super determined not to lose momentum, so within days, I signed a big account. Boom!

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I tore my ACL going up for a layup by myself. ☹

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

We use basecamp for project management. It makes communication, organization and collaboration a breeze. And, we use Pipeline Deals for CRM. It’s simple, easy to implement, affordable and keeps our appointments and contacts, and follow-up process extremely organized.

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

Anything by Gary Vaynerchuk – he writes about business and marketing and is spot on.

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

My family is full of entrepreneurs, and I’ve learned a lot by hearing, seeing, breathing business strategy. As a kid, I’d wake up to business deals being closed at the breakfast table. Oh, and Mark Cuban. He’s an inspiration because he‘s always learning, growing and evolving as he goes.


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