Stress of a Startup CEO

Running a Startup is stressful

Think of running a startup like preparing for a test, in which if you failed, you will get kicked out of school and end up wasting the last 3-4 years of schooling.

Now think of it as a test where if you failed it, a dozen of your friends in the same school will get kicked out and will have wasted 3-4 years of their lives too.

Finally, don’t think about it as a test you are preparing. Think about it as daily pop-quizzes that you don’t know what will be covered, and if don’t do well, you and all those friends will get kicked out of school.

That’s the stress of a Startup CEO.

When you are living for others, it’s hard to care about yourself and friends

I don’t necessarily do a super great job, but I try very hard to pass all the pop-quizzes and solve all the new problems that arise daily.

That’s why if you are my friend, I beg you to be understanding when can’t hang out very often and just have fun with you.

I’m not just doing this for myself. I am doing this for everyone who gave up high paying jobs, a more comfortable life, and better relationships for the vision that I brought them on to. I brought them onto the journey, and I have to try my best to make sure that if we one day do fail, it is not because I only put in 99% of my energy.

The ROI of Social Media

The ROI of Social Media

A lot people are diving into social media marketing but they don’t know what is the ROI. Are sales increasing?

Social Media is about being Social. It’s about Networking

When you go to an event, you are there to network and build relationships. You aren’t making any sales, but you know that if people like you and they know what you do, one day they will find you when they need you. They will also tell their friends when someone asks about similar services.

If you are at an event just trying to close sales, no one will like you. You might get 1-2 more sales, but you piss off everyone and no one wants to associate with you afterwards.

In Social Media, you are there to build brand and relationships, not to convert immediate sales.

At the end of the day, Social Media is like brand building and networking: no immediate ROI, but indispensable for business.

What’s the ROI of a Bill Board?

Companies can’t measure how much ROI their Bill Boards are generating, but they still do it anyway. You’re not supposed to put up a billboard and take it down after 2 weeks if your extra sales has not been able to cover the billboard costs.

Social Media is about building trust and relationships. And that requires patience.

Market to Win, not to Not Lose

Doing a little bit marketing is useless

If you put out 1 radio ad, 1 tv commercial, 1 tweet, 1 blog post, 1 news paper ad, your campaign will be useless and you would just be wasting money. Repeating the same message over and over again on the same platform is how you truly build your brand and market.

Social Media is about ENGAGEMENT

No money to market heavily? Use Social Media. Don’t just create accounts and leave it there. ENGAGE.

Like any social situation, there are guys who are popular, sociable and cool, and there are guys who are antisocial and awkward. Creating a Twitter Account and a blog is just to SHOW UP. Showing up doesn’t mean you are popular. Showing up and behaving like a loser is even worse than not showing up.

Join Social Media, but be prepared to brand yourself correctly, engage, care about your audiance, and create value for everyone.

Market and brand to win. Don’t market just because you want to keep up. Keeping up means you are never ahead.

Experience vs Drive: what’s more important?

Serial Entrepreneurs are favored by everyone because of their experiences and record

A lot of people talk about how important it is to have experienced entrepreneurs who have successful exits to run a startup. I definitely agree. You would not bet money on a guy who’s playing a video game for the first time ever. If he has beaten a similar game before, he has much better odds. After all, everyone of us would be better than ourselves right now 10 years later.

Unproven Entrepreneurs tend to have more drive and work more crazy hours

However, experienced entrepreneurs who have successful exits in the past may also lose their drive compared to the first time they try. After all, they now have a comfortable life and it’s subconsciously it is fine if they lose. First time entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury and have a much stronger drive just because they might be living on their savings. They have to succeed. They are also looking to prove themselves while the successful entrepreneur has already proven himself successful.

Find good mixes of both

I think a good combo would be one founder with successful startups in the past, and another founder who is unproven but has the drive to push everything over his limit. Obviously successful entrepreneurs are difficult to find, so another good combo might be people who have failed 1-2 startups. They have the experience of what works and what doesn’t work, they spend a couple years developing relationships, and they still have the eagerness and drive to push themselves to the limits. The fact that they could fail a few times and get back to it shows their commitment.

If you are a successful entrepreneur who has strong exits in the past, make sure you don’t lose your drive. Always push yourself to the max regardless of how comfortable your backup is like. After all, you are there to make a bigger impact and create a new legacy.

Personal Update + Don’t Market to Youth. BE Youth.

Personal Update

I have been crazy busy with the launch and traveling to LA lately. That explains why I haven’t been able to update my blog as often. That’s why I am starting to Vlog more now. It is not as good for SEO because there is very little text, but at least I keep you guys engaged 🙂

Viralogy has been incredibly successful though. We just launched 4 weeks ago, and we already have unique visitors in the mid five-digits, with 30% of that from direct traffic. That means people are recognizing our brand and going back to our site. I’ve also been meeting people who have heard about us at almost every single event I went to, so that’s a good sign too.

I think at this point we are still very far away from success, but we have already built a small plane, went through the runway, and took off. We’ll need better planes and better pilots to make sure we get to our destination, but we’re at a good start. Right now our company of 10 has been extraordinary, and my job is to make sure it stays that way 🙂

Lesson in the Video

If you want to market to teens, you can’t rely on market data and research. You have to be there where the teens are. Play their games, join their chat rooms, hang out with them. That’s the only way you can understand what they really like.

That’s like trying to buy a present for a kid. If you just have tons of research about the kid’s demograhic, chances are you won’t buy a birthday present for a kid that he loves. BUT if you were his uncle that plays with him often, you have a very good chance to buy that birthday present that he loves.

Be that uncle, not a marketer.