Today we feature another award winning entrepreneur: Jared O’Toole, the Co-Founder of Under30CEO.com, and online community which provides free resources and advice for young entrepreneurs. Jared and Under30CEO have been featured in some of the top business magazines around the world, from MSNBC to Entrepreneur Magazine, Reuters, and Huffington Post. There is no doubt that Under30CEO has become one of the best resources for entrepreneurs.
Q: What is the story behind Under30CEO, and where did the idea come from?
Jared O’Toole: After college I moved back home and was in a similar situation with by now business partner Matt Wilson. We were living at home, no jobs and really no idea what we wanted to do. We started messing with business plans and reading everything we could about starting a business and people out there doing cool things. We tried some stuff that usually lasted at most a couple of weeks before we realized it was a bad idea. Eventually we decided to simply try and connect with other young people in our situation and interested in business. We called it Under30CEO and with no real plan for it we started building a network of like-minded people. After many changes and ups and downs we’re still doing it four years later.
Q: Starting out what was the biggest thing you struggled with as an entrepreneur?
Jared O’Toole: The uncertainty. Starting out everyone is pumped up and you feel amazing with what you’re doing. However, everyone hits a wall. Things don’t grow as fast as you planned and the money doesn’t show up like you thought. You have to find ways to push through and that can mean years.
Q: Do you own any other companies, and what are some of the projects you are working on right now?
Jared O’Toole: Not right now. We have multiple projects running through Under30CEO. We take entrepreneurs on trips around the world and we are working on expanding our content beyond just entrepreneurship material. We are always building and looking towards the future.
Q: What has been your most successful form of marketing and what are the key ingredients behind online marketing?
Jared O’Toole: Content. For us it’s simple even though it took a long time. We have published daily content for almost 3 years now. Many of those pieces have been mentioned all over the web and we have interviewed some amazing people who of course tell their followers. Content is not a quick fix but nothing drives more people to us.
Q: Besides the obvious social media apps out there, what are the top 3 must have apps for entrepreneurs?
Q: Who or what would you say inspired you the most to become an entrepreneur, and how do you stay motivated?
Jared O’Toole: I had a good friend to jumped into his own business about a year before I did. It was new to me but it made me really interested in owning something for myself.
Today, I stay motivated just because I love what I do. There is always opportunity around and I can’t wait to be involved in even more projects and ideas.
Q: Being an entrepreneur sometimes means doing a little bit of everything, so describe what a regular day is like for you?
Jared O’Toole: That’s exactly what it is. Everyday is different…depending on what’s in the inbox. Each day I try to spend at least some time on recruiting new business and developing pitches. I also have to focus on content as that is my main job.
Q: What is the worst mistake one can make when starting an online business?
Jared O’Toole: To not launch. You have to get going to learn anything. To many people strive for perfection or are never happy with what they are doing to give it 100%. You have to get up and running fast and then adapt as feedback and ideas come back. And don’t give up early…Nothing is fast. It will take years.
Q: Where do you see yourself and Under30CEO in the next 5 to 10 years?
Jared O’Toole: Under30CEO will continue to grow and create products and opportunities for 20-somethings. We will continue to build and branch out into other verticals to reach even more young people.
Q: What 3 advice would you offer prospective founders about knowing when they have an idea worth making a leap for?
1. Do you love the idea? You have to love it or you will never last
2. Does it have a revenue model? We hear about the few success stories that make it with no money coming in but that is the very few. The other 1000s of companies you don’t hear about because they couldn’t survive without money.
3. Are you ready to give 100%? Many startups start slow or with the founders having other jobs. However, you have to understand the commitment that comes with running a successful business. It will take over your life at times and you have to be ready to give it your all or it may not get over that hump it needs to.
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
“Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.” Anonymous