[quote style=”boxed”]Set small milestones and every time you hit one, pick your head up and see if you need to adjust course to reach your long-term goals.[/quote]
WAFFLE, pulls all your social networks into one feed so you can always stay-up-to-date with your social news. With Waffle’s social media management dashboard, you are able to monitor and select social media posts that enrich your brand, and embed them into your website and mobile platforms seamlessly.
My unique background is rooted in a blend of diverse studies (including a B.S. in Chemistry & Sociology, and an MBA Finance), and has given me the tools to anticipate trends in the marketplace. My passion comes from finding problematic gaps in society, and coming up with innovative solutions to fill those gaps. This is what led me to create my website Waffle.
Having lived in nine different states across the eastern United States, I finally settled on Tennessee a year ago when my wife decided to pursue her MBA at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. I was pleasantly surprised with Nashville’s entrepreneurial culture and diverse group of industries. The location could not have been more suitable for me to launch a start-up, especially with the support of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, which has now become my base of operations.
I am building my team of young and driven innovators, from the entrepreneurial, technological, and educational spaces of the Nashville community. We are a dynamic and rapidly growing company looking to leverage the skills of our expanding team in a collaborative fashion, to better suit the ever-changing environment of social media marketing.
What are you working on right now?
Right now we are working on signing up beta users for our new social media broadcast product. This a great new product where our customers can select the social media content surrounding their brand, and use that content to tell their brands story on their own website.
Where did the idea for [insert your idea, company, organization] come from?
I was struggling to find a way to organize and keep track of all my sources of online content, when I could not find what I believed to be an adequate solution, we decided to build one.
How do you make money?
The social media management dashboard of Waffle will always be free to use, but we are now offering the ability for brands to curate their social content and broadcast it to their customers through their brands website. We are currently in beta and charging early adopters $12.99 per month. When the full version is finished with the help from beta users we will have a 3 tiered subscription based model.
What does your typical day look like?
Because we are an early stage start up, there really isn’t a “typical” day. I spend most of my time, managing our development team, coaxing feedback from our customers, developing new customers, developing/managing relationships with our partners, and long- term strategic thinking.
How do you bring ideas to life?
After considering a lot of options, I try to get as much feedback as possible from a really diverse group of people that represent all different levels of consumers. Based on that I can get a better idea of what ideas might actually work. I always try to surround myself with people who can bring unique skills to the table and work as a team to actually implement the idea.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
For me, I find it very exciting to see how people change as the world becomes more, and more connected. This interconnectedness helps us make better decisions, voice our opinions as and individual or as a group. I think the more we know about each other, the greater chance we have at getting along.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have never had a bad job, so I don’t have much in the way of job horror stories. My first job was working as my dad’s assistant, (he is a performance horse veterinarian). This job taught me a lot about responsibility, and the 24/7 work schedule. My first job out of college was working as an investment analyst, I found this job to be very rewarding because it gave me the opportunity to intimately get to know a few companies a week. I also found this job very frustrating, because at the end of the day, all I could say is either to invest or not to invest, I had no opportunity to effect change in the company.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I started Waffle on my own, I would have liked to have had a co-founder.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Set small milestones and every time you hit one, pick your head up and see if you need to adjust course to reach your long-term goals.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Not vetting the organizations you work with closely enough. In the start-up phase these organizations are really more like partners, so it’s really important to choose the right ones that are the best fit with your company.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A trademarking services business that can trademark any business for you, acquire domains, and adjacent domain names, as well as petition social networks to get the rights for your specific brand name.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would like to add a World Geography course to the required curriculum for primary education. Not just locating and naming the different states and countries, but also understanding the culture, political environment, economy, etc. of each of the different areas.
Tell us a secret.
I have been boxing for about 4 years, and in one of my first fights, I broke a coworker’s nose.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Basically Google anything. Our entire office runs on Google apps, they are not the prettiest, but they sync across all devices, work almost all the time, and best of all they are free. I also use intercom.io to communicate with our users.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis, it’s a great book about tackling the big problems facing our world. It does a great job of distilling large problems down into their smaller, more manageable constituent parts. It’s a great way to think about problems. I know it only asks for one book, but I just finished a book I really like called Rework by Jason Fried, it stresses that business leaders need to focus on their strengths and basic ideas and pushing down the field. There are so many things that pop up on a leader’s radar, that sometimes it really helps to just focus on a few action items.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
When I was watching the show “Eastbound and Down” and Danny McBride’s character Kenny Powers and his minion Stevie were discussing the “fixins” for their new potato-bar business venture.
Who is your hero?
My dad for sure, but because that is such a generic answer, I am going to go with Henry Hudson. Hudson is a much underappreciated historical figure, and I admire his dedication and unidirectional focus on his mission. He died cold, marooned, and thinking his life had been a failure, but in reality he was one of those pivotal members of history who changed the direction of humanity by proving what could not be done. By showing that there was no easy route to the Indies through the new world, Europe focused on settling the Americas instead of trying to get around them.
What is the most frustrating thing about starting your own business?
When you first start you don’t have all the resources to do the things you know you should be doing. Every day you need to do three things, but you can only afford to do one of them. You learn very quickly how to become creative and efficient with limited resources.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Tricking my wife into marrying me.
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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.