[quote style=”boxed”]Brute force. Ideas don’t happen unless you make them happen. If you want an idea to come to life, then it’s your responsibility to figure it out and make it happen.[/quote]
Will has been an internet entrepreneur since he started skipping school to build businesses in sixth grade. By 16, he had built a legitimate importing business. Will dropped out of college at 19 to help launch Affluence.org, a social network for the wealthy. After the IPO of Affluence he began consulting with local businesses, which eventually transformed into marketing agency Clear Presence Media. At 22, Will launched StartupBros, a popular community for aspiring entrepreneurs. Will has a deep understanding of what is working in marketing and entrepreneurship, and is constantly working to keep his knowledge on the bleeding edge. To learn more about Will and what makes him tick, visit www.StartupBros.com
What are you working on right now?
Right now my focus is to grow StartupBros. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs conquer the daunting learning curve of entrepreneurship. While most of our value has been delivered through blog posts in the past, I’m now focusing on ways to expand StartupBros into different mediums.
The hope is that we can communicate with more entrepreneurs in more places, so that we can deliver more value to the demographic as a whole. So the most urgent things in our pipeline right now are launching our full-length book (Self Made U), launching our Podcast/Web Show, setting up new ways for our members to interact with us more efficiently, and thinking about how we can expand into live events.
These are long term plans of course, but it’s what were working on 🙂
Where did the idea for StartupBros come from?
I launched so many failed companies in the years before StartupBros that it would make your head spin. I was young and just jumped around from idea to idea, seeing if something would hit. Of course, nothing did.
Eventually I decided that I need to focus on providing value to a group of people. I thought about what I could provide, and decided that I liked helping people grow their businesses. So I launched my marketing agency, Clear Presence Media.
It took me less than a year of growing my marketing agency to realize that it wouldn’t scale. I was essentially selling my time for money, no different than a job. So I started to focus on automating, outsourcing, and delegating everything I could. But it still wasn’t enough.
I still run my marketing agency, but now I’m focusing on helping people grow their businesses in a new way with StartupBros.
When thinking of something to start that would hopefully replace Clear Presence Media, I thought deeply about what I could have fun doing for a long period of time. That was more important to me during the creation of StartupBros than in any previous business. I thought about what matched up with my skills, what aligned with my hobbies, what I enjoyed doing, and what would make me happy.
So I launched StartupBros. It’s essentially a content marketing driven business that provides it’s community with custom tailored solutions to laser-targeted problems. It’s built with my strengths and weaknesses in mind, and I’ve structured it so I can deliver the most value possible to as many entrepreneurs as possible.
It’s been going great so far, and growing faster than we could ever imagine. StartupBros has already helped more entrepreneurs than my marketing agency could have ever hoped to. We even relieved one “thank-you” from a reader who just bought his dream car 🙂
How do you make money?
We provide custom tailored solutions to our community based on their exact needs. Whether this be through our print book or through our custom software solutions, our goal is to make life easier for entrepreneurs.
What does your typical day look like?
My work day starts when I get to the office, usually before 11:00 a.m. I’m there working until 3-4pm, at which point I usually go and grab some lunch and visit some local marketing clients. After that I’m back at the office until 7pm, then I go home. I usually take a short break after that, playing guitar and doing random things for an hour. Then it’s back to work.
After 8pm, I get in the zone and work like a machine until I force myself to sleep. I usually get to bed around 2:30-5:00 a.m. and re-energize to do it all over again 🙂
How do you bring ideas to life?
Brute force. Ideas don’t happen unless you make them happen. If you want an idea to come to life, then it’s your responsibility to figure it out and make it happen.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying and failing at not only bringing ideas to life, but bringing them to life in the right way. I’ve launched more businesses than I could ever remember, and got better with each one.
It’s really just about taking action and getting it done. Any idea can be brought to life, you just have to stop thinking about it and do it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
This one is a little weird, but I’m excited to see what space resource exploration will result in. Entrepreneurship is all about taking a big risk in hopes of managing your way to a big reward. These companies are trying to find resource-rich asteroids to haul back to earth and mine them. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of risk on that magnitude.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve been blessed not to have any outrageously terrible jobs. But, every job I have had has only showed me that I don’t want a job. My father taught me from an early age that entrepreneurs are the only people with unlimited upside.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start all over again, I would probably try to learn from taking action a little bit more. Looking back, I wasted many months on “crucial” research. In hindsight, I know it was analysis paralysis.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly A/B Test my business decisions. I have an extremely refined method of doing it now, after years of doing it. I test everything from business names, taglines, product feature decisions, print advertising ideas, etc. If I am unsure of it and can figure out a way to reliably test it, I do. I go into deep detail about this on the StartupBros blog, for anybody interested.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I used to be horrific at speaking in front of an audience or a camera. I used to nearly go into a panic attack, and my normal social skills just flew out the window when I got the microphone or the camera turned on. It was horrible, I looked like a fool right when I needed it least.
How did I overcome it? Practice, practice, practice. Just like any other character flaw, you have to beat it into submission! I love the feeling of being in over my head, of being slightly uncomfortable. I think that’s where the fastest growth happens. So, I wasn’t afraid to do it, per se. I was just inherently nervous when things were rolling.
I guess the key was to take every opportunity I could to get outside of my comfort zone and practice to improve my weakness. My speaking gets noticeably better with every opportunity I take. I used to be a stumbling, mono-tone mess. Now I just have issues with being enthusiastic and saying “um” a bit too much 🙂
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think it would be awesome if somebody developed a physical engagement A/B testing tool. Let me explain.
Imagine setting an iPhone up on the edge of the stage before you started your big speech, which would use eye-tracking technology to measure engagement throughout your speech. You could go through and see the exact points of your speech where the audience became extremely bored or entertained. Or, it could be used on a fashion run way to A/B test reactions to clothing. The technology is almost there, somebody please start doing this! 🙂
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I’m sure this is about the worst answer you could ever give for this, but…If I could change one thing in the world, it would probably be its’ political environment. Since I try not to get too political, I’ll leave it at that 🙂
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I used to play professional paintball for Tampa Bay Damage.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
CodeAcademy and CodeSchool are very cool, I love to see these online education resources beginning to completely dominate the Government education system. I think Mixergy and Kissmetrics are awesome companies/products if you want to step up from Google Analytics.
And of course, StartupBros 🙂
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie is probably the book that has influence me the most as an entrepreneur. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is also good, but cliché 🙂
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I’m not sure, I guess it depends on what you’re into. I don’t use twitter a whole lot for anything but messaging with the StartupBros community and watching my competition.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I watched a pretty funny movie the other day, but it was funny in the worst kind of way. It was called Movie 43, I think…
Who is your hero, and why?
I usually regard my father as my hero, as he accomplished more by my age. He has one of the more incredible rags to riches stories I’ve heard. In reality, I really have a diverse set of heroes. I read a lot of biographies, and try to incorporate great minds into my own 🙂
How have you managed to do so much at such a young age?
I think I picked up a ton from my father, honestly. My parents had me when they were age 17, so I’ve always been very close to them. I watched my father pull us from impoverished to wealthy in just a couple of years.
I would imagine that a lot of the philosophies that encouraged him to be an entrepreneur were instilled in me by him. So, even by the age of 7-8, I already knew that I was going to be an incredible entrepreneur.
By 12 or 13, I had already decided that every moment I waited to start “being” an entrepreneur was a waste. That’s when I started skipping school to build businesses, which ironically created a lot of tension between my parents.
I missed abhorrent amounts of school all throughout middle and high school. While my friends were in class, I was at home trying to build businesses, or learning what I could about it.
So long story short, I think I being exposed to advanced entrepreneurs at a young age gave me a boost. Every entrepreneur needs to go through a set of epiphanies and realizations before he becomes successful, I think I was lucky enough to hear some of them at an early age.
What will the future of StartupBros bring?
We’re hoping to help as many entrepreneurs on their road to success as we possible can. We’ll soon be launching the podcast, the show, the book, the community forums/network, the live events. We have TONS in store! We’re all about helping our community, so whatever they ask for we will give them! We’re just there to enrich their lives and help them grow as entrepreneurs.
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