An engineer turned startup founder, Usama is the CEO and Co-founder at SocialBu. He is working to make SocialBu the complete social media management and automation solution.
Where did the idea for SocialBu come from?
I have worked for a lot of time as a freelancer. I worked with many companies and managed multiple social media accounts myself. I wanted an easy way to manage all my social accounts and therefore, I tried a lot of tools but wasn’t satisfied with anyone because none of the tools available at that time had what I was looking for.
I also have a strong technical background so I started coding the automation workflows myself and that’s how I decided to actually build SocialBu.
So you can say the idea came by scratching my own itch.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts at about 9 am. I am usually ready to work from 10-11 am. First, I start with important emails and any pending messages from my team and once I clear those, I start doing some marketing tasks. I have made marketing part of my daily routine and so I work on it every day (about 40% part of my work hours). These are my ongoing tasks. After doing these, I start working on whatever is it that I am currently doing. It can be product development, managing the team, and/or coding sometimes.
After usually 6 pm, I focus on low-priority (but urgent) tasks if there are any. Sometimes, I am playing a game (badminton or maybe a videogame with friends). Or reading some blogs, or exploring new ideas, and things like that (things that don’t take much energy).
I also don’t have an “entrepreneurial” or “high productivity” routine and surely it can improve, but I am fine with that (and it’s slowly getting better).
How do you bring ideas to life?
First, I make sure the idea that I have is worth my time and energy. If yes, I discuss it with my relevant team members. And, with a discussion, it gets polished and ready to execute (if we decide to pursue it). If it is something that isn’t worth involving others, I will execute it myself.
We break our work into milestones and then complete the milestones. It makes it easy to bring big ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I find it very interesting and exciting to see people working on different startups and focusing on missions that would have not been possible without the internet. It excites me to see more and more people going the entrepreneurial route. Particularly, “bootstrapped startups” excite me a lot.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I divide my day into 3 parts. 1st part is for quick but urgent tasks. The second part is for tasks that need the most time and energy (usually building something or implementing a marketing campaign or similar). These are also important tasks that usually have a deadline set. The third part of my day is for low-priority tasks or the tasks that don’t require much energy/time and are not urgent.
I think it is working great for me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
– Building an audience is important even before you launch your product.
– Marketing deserves your effort and energy so you don’t have to delay it. Make it a part of your daily routine.
– Launch, improve, and repeat. Don’t wait for the “perfect” product or plan.
– Never run out of money for your startup (you should be able to sustain a few months easily)
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Criticism and “heated meetings” can be enjoyed without panic or being in stress.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read a lot. Make reading a part of your routine so that you read without even spending any energy. You can read books or even blogs.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Creating and distributing content works for almost every business. It also works for us.
The more content we create, the more content we are able to promote and distribute, and so the more growth that can happen for our business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t see failure as “failure”. I see those failures as part of the journey. We had so much trouble in finding customers initially, we tried a lot of things including paid ads, blogging, and whatnot but there was no growth. That was a failure and we learned from it.
Now, we are still doing those things but we don’t fail anymore. That failure was necessary for our journey. Without those learnings, we wouldn’t be here.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
What is the one thing you are most annoyed at in your routine? Is there any way you can fix that? That is your potential idea.
Do something that can save your (or someone’s) time or money. It can be anything:
– SMS campaign management tool
– Review management application
– CTO as a service
– Drag/drop new tab page designer for Chrome
– AI email writing assistant (plugin for Gmail, Outlook, etc)
– or whatever you find the most interesting and adventurous.
Just make sure to do your market research, make sure there are people willing to pay for it, and then go!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Bought a subscription to an automation platform for automating some workflows between our CRM, helpdesk, and project management tool.
If automation can save you time every day, it’s worth it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I have recently started being active on my Twitter and LinkedIn (this is very important if your target audience hangs out on these sites).
SocialBu (our own product) helps me a lot doing this.
An AI writing tool named Jasper is also worth mentioning (it eliminates the writer’s blog for long-form content).
And, how can I forget Basecamp? Without it, we as a team cannot function as productive as we currently are.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Shape Up by Basecamp: It shows you how can you focus on what matters for you and prevent getting caught up in distractions.
What is your favorite quote?
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
- Find a problem, solve it for yourself and others.
- Hang out with your target audience.
- Launch early, don’t fear failure, keep improving.
- Make marketing part of your daily routine.
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.