Ross Cohen – Co-founder and COO of

I think you just have to get started. It’s easy to procrastinate and wait for better ideas, more perfect ideas, or more perfect opportunities, but it’s never a bad time to act.

Ross Cohen is the co-founder and COO of, an online background check platform that helps people discover, understand, and use public data in their everyday lives. BeenVerified’s overriding goal is simple: to provide you with access to public info that was formerly only available to big companies and people with deep pockets in a way that is easy, affordable, and fast. As a savvy business expert, Ross educates other entrepreneurs on ways to build a brand, increase revenue and cut unnecessary costs, drive more customers, and much more.

Where did the idea for BeenVerified come from?

My cofounder and I were very entrepreneurial and always interacted with people online, be it freelancers or otherwise. It was always a struggle to verify the identities of these people and know whether they were authentic. BeenVerified was a natural offshoot of this challenge.

What does your typical day look like?

Exhausting! All kidding aside, I have my hands in every aspect of the business and I do my best to remain accessible and attentive to whatever is needed in any given day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I think you just have to get started. It’s easy to procrastinate and wait for better ideas, more perfect ideas, or more perfect opportunities, but it’s never a bad time to act.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Convenience as a service. Services like Uber and Postmates that allow you to call a car anywhere, anytime, or to order from any restaurant, regardless of whether they deliver or not. This trend inspires how we want to improve BeenVerified in the future.

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

One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is balancing the desire to do as much as possible, without trying to do too much. As a business, we make sure to prioritize projects based on the potential benefit vs. the time involved. This is a good strategy for one’s own time.

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

I was a bus boy and a lifeguard in my younger days, but I don’t think either of them were bad jobs necessarily. I think I learned a lot about people doing both jobs, which has helped me both in my personal life and when working with employees, business partners, and investors alike.

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

It’s hard to say I would do anything differently. That’s not to suggest we didn’t have many setbacks and failures along the way. I would just go back and apply the years of learning and experience that I’ve received building this one.

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

I try to apply risk and reward to every decision I make. We try and teach our entire team to take this same approach, whether it’s in marketing or engineering.

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

I think it’s extremely important, especially in the beginning, to be able to jump in and do any job at the company. This is not merely a practical reality for a startup company, but a strategy that will help you understand how to grow the business going forward. It helps you evaluate how much time tasks should take and how much personnel and resources to devote to those tasks. It also allows me to place myself in my employees’ shoes and see the work from their perspective.

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

I think we experience success and failure on a daily basis. If you’re truly pushing yourself and your company, you will fail often, but the key is not to make the same mistakes twice.

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

Better BBQ in New York City, and, of course with convenient delivery. This city is deprived of good BBQ!

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

To borrow from my previous answer, I really enjoy cooking, and particularly experimenting with BBQ.

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

The list is way too long to mention all of them. Like I mentioned earlier, I love anything that makes day–to-day life more convenient. One particular service that has really helped us streamline communication in our office is Hipchat. It was a game changer, as everyone was using twenty different methods of chat and it really help to consolidate.

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

Peter Theil’s ‘Zero to One‘ – I think it gives would-be entrepreneurs a great perspective on approaching not just their idea, but also market size and opportunity. I highly recommend it.

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

Everyone from prominent VC’s to first-time entrepreneurs have influenced me. However, one individual that really stands out is Jeff Bezos. He truly believed in his bones that Amazon would become what they are today, to the point of being almost prophetic. Some entrepreneurs just naturally see into the future, and he is one that did it unapologetically while still continuing to innovate and has yet to show the slightest bit of complacency.

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