You don’t need experience, school, money or rich parents to start a company. It’s been never so easy to start a startup like today, all you need is a Chromebook and few dollars to start your website.

 

Vlad Calus is the co-founder at Planable, the command center of social media collaboration for marketing teams, digital agencies and freelancers to collaborate with their teammates & clients on content calendar in the most visual way used by more than 5000 brands worldwide, including Mini, BMW, Volkswagen, SkyTeam, Wendy’s and many others.

Vlad founded two non-profits at the age of 16, then dropped out of college, moved to another country with two 2 his friends and built Planable (Techstars London ’17) at 19 y.o. As a passionate marketer and blogger he’s been featured as guest writer by multiple publications including Entrepreneur, WeRSM, Freshdesk and many others. Also, he’s mentoring startup teams across the world helping them succeed.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

All of us worked with social media agencies before starting Planable. We personally struggled with collaborating in spreadsheets and Excel documents on all social media content calendars, then we had back-and-forth conversations with our clients on email to get their approval and feedback. Afterward, we had to manually copy the content to a social media tool. We hated this process and were wasting a lot of time. We looked for solutions everywhere, including Buffer, Hootsuite, Powerpoints, Trello etc. Nothing really worked for us. That’s why, we built Planable to solve our own problem, but then quickly understood there are millions of agencies having the same issues. We set up on a mission to help them. In just two years, Planable became the norm of social media content collaboration helping more than 5000 brands across the world to manage all their content calendars in one single place.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m typically writing a lot of content about Planable by writing guest posts, articles for our blog, pitching to news & media outlets, talking to influencers & bloggers and reaching out to potential partners. Also, I’m constantly connecting with social media professionals on LinkedIn to get their feedback on Planable and ask their team to give it a try. On the other side, I’m making sure that all of our customers are happy using Planable by being responsible for all the customer support. I make it more productive by settings weekly goals, agenda, and understanding what I want to achieve by next Monday with our team.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I love talking about ideas and solutions you can try to implement. I’m asking for feedback, what do you think and if it would be something useful for you. I typically start by asking my friends, community, network and then reaching out to other professionals. With Planable, I knew from the very beginning that this may grow in something big because there are more than 30M social media managers worldwide and all of them are struggling with creating content.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited to see more people choosing a healthy lifestyle. I see my friends working out more, walking to work instead of going with the public transport and cutting on meat, soda, and other sugar-based products to stay healthy. Every day I see people going to work by bike, scooter, skate or other environmental friendly solution. Our generation wants to buy an electric car, use 100% renewable energy and buy more local food.

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

I believe that going to the gym every week makes me 100% more productive as an entrepreneur. It helps me take a break from the world by leaving my phone outside the gym, connecting with myself, pushing my own limits and becoming more confident.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop overthinking, it won’t matter in a couple of years and you know what? Chill. Life’s gonna be fine.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

You don’t need experience, school, money or rich parents to start a company. It’s been never so easy to start a startup like today, all you need is a Chromebook and few dollars to start your website.

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

Take long walks, breaks, and vacations from time to time. You’re not helping anyone by working 14h or 16h a day. You’ll just break one day and will hate yourself for that. Think more about your body and mind. I recommend you to connect with your family more, call them every week, spend more time with the loved ones and ask your friends to hang out. I know it’s hard, but what’s the matter of having money if you’re all alone in this world. Right?

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

As a small startup, in the beginning, it’s hard to find your first customers and explain to them your product all the time and why it’s better than your competitors. We found that providing the best customer support is your winning strategy. Our customers love the way we speak to them and how responsive we are all the time, compared to the products they used in the past where they had to wait up to two weeks for a reply and we’re trying to reply in less than 1h.

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

I’ve lost customers because of multiple issues and bugs in the product. You’ll always have them, no matter what. Any big company has bugs. Unfortunately, our bugs were severe and created lots of problems for our clients when using the product. I tried to communicate that efficiently, give discounts and free-of-charge usage, unfortunately, our reputation was already broken in front of their eyes. Since then we became more robust and stronger product. Our engineering team is constantly testing the product to make sure it works fine for all of our users & customers across the world.

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

A marketplace between farmers and restaurants, that would help restaurants buy local products directly from farmers, instead of Walmart, Tesco etc. to support small business and the local economy. I’m thinking about this idea already for 2 years.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought plane tickets to Italy to go on vacation with my girlfriend. And I can totally say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. I had 5 beautiful days in Florence and Rome.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Dropbox Paper, as a writer I’m constantly writing pieces of content and Dropbox Paper helps me keep all of it clean. Also, Planable to manage all my social media presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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

“Promise of Pencils” by A. Braun – it’s a story of philanthropy, dedication, and entrepreneurship by helping kids in underdeveloped countries to get access to school. It will teach you a lot and I come back to this book very often.

What is your favorite quote?

Don’t forget where you come from and where are you going.

Key learnings:

  • Don’t judge other people, you never know what’s their story
  • Talk to people about your ideas, constantly ask for feedback and try to monetize the product as soon as you can, it will help you iterate on what’s really valuable for them.
  • Spend more time with your family, friends and loved ones. It will help you focus more on your professional life, be more productive and inspired for better things.
  • Buy a Kindle, it’s one of the best investments in my life
  • Go on vacation, travel and take time off

Connect:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vladcalus/
https://twitter.com/vladcalus
https://planable.io