Category Archives: Strategy

Why I fired my best designer

Why I fired my best designer

Three years ago, in my college dorm room, I decided to start a design firm. Since then, we’ve grown to become boogie, a design-driven social media agency with a team of eight working out of two offices in Albany NY and Brooklyn NY.

As with any business, we’ve had our ups and downs, but one of the most memorable moments of my career was when I had to fire my company’s best designer.

He was our lead designer and he did some really amazing work. He has led most of our design projects and is the type of employee who seems irreplaceable– he was personable when interacting with clients, he was obsessive about design details, and he dedicated so much time to his work for the company. But- my lead designer was stubborn, he was a perfectionist and spent obsessive amounts of time on most projects which wound up costing the company tons. He was well aware that his work was better than most because clients asked for him by name to work on their projects.

But, his work was ALWAYS late. And in our industry no matter how amazing the work is- lateness is unacceptable!

So although he was a great designer, he wasn’t the best person to lead our design team. I spent a few days thinking about this and I decided to take him out one evening and have a chat. We spoke about the growth of the business and talked about his role. After what seemed like hours of back and forth conversation, we agreed that he could and would do better at his job by prioritizing and managing his time better.

I took his word and moved on from the situation because I did not want to even think about firing my best designer.

A few weeks later I found that we were losing clients because work was still being submitted late.

I lost sleep for a few nights wracking my brain to figure out what to do with my designer. I had a real dilemma on my hands. Having him here was hurting us more than it was benefiting us.

A few days later, after consulting a few people that I trust, my wife and the other members on our team, I decided to fire my best designer…

Over the next few weeks, I saw an increase in our delivery time, and project completion rate– the quality wasn’t 110% as it was when he was with us but it was still up there. Best of all? I was finally able to get some sleep at night.

So why did firing my best designer help grow boogie’s revenue by almost 50%?

Because that personable, obsessive, dedicated, stubborn, perfectionist was ME.

fired designer Why I fired my best designer 1ee0520

When I started boogie, I was your typical one-man-band. I had to learn and then take care of everything from business development, accounting, project management, design, and coding. Over the years, I’ve been able to relieve these other responsibilities by hiring employees but it was most difficult for me to let go of being a designer.

And our team suffered because of it.

While the hardest working, I was arguably the worst employee that my company has had. I was so busy being a designer that I forgot about the most important job-being the CEO. From business development, developing relationships, overseeing projects, etc. Firing myself as a designer allowed me to really focus on Boogie’s bottom-line and continue working towards our goals.

The outcome? We hired a few other people to take over the design position. I’ve been able to focus on bringing our team exciting and high quality projects that we all play a major part in.

So if you’re like me, think about letting go of the technician that’s inside you. He or she may be a great writer, a web developer, a video producer, or a designer, but that person won’t be able to balance the technical work while focusing on growing the business. Failing to hire someone to replace you may be the one thing hindering your growth and success.

Have you had to fire yourself before? Do you think you need to fire yourself? I’d love to hear all about it, tweet me @jacqueshbastien

10 ways to raise money to fund your business [video]

Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or you’ve already started a business, money is extremely important. In this video, I share 10 ways you can  raise money to  fund your business.

Resources

  1. Traditional Banks
    • Advantage: Well trusted  source of funding that’s been around the longest.
    • Disadvantage: Approval is hard. You need to have good credit and good profits.
    • Timeline: Takes MAD long (preparing a business plan, presentations, meetings, more meetings, etc.)

  2. Friends & Family
    • Advantage: They care about you and seeing you follow your passion.
    • Disadvantage: It’s a dangerous game when you’re putting relationships on the line.
    • Timeline: From a few days to a couple of months.

  3. Credit Card
    • Advantage: It’s pretty easy to get a credit card. Sometimes even if you have bad credit.
    • Disadvantage: Using majority (or all) of your balance will hurt your credit score.
    • Timeline: Instantly, if approved. It does, however, take 5-7 days for your credit card to come in the mail.

  4. Venture Capital / Angel Investors
    • Advantage: Invests in people and not credit scores. Great if you need to raise a lot of money. Even better for access to their networks.
    • Disadvantage: The more you borrow, the more you’ll owe. Also, VC/Angels tend to take control over the business decisions.
    • Timeline: From 4 weeks to 12 weeks

  5. Crowdfunding
    • Advantage: Get REAL customers to buy your product or support your cause. You retain 100% ownership of your company.
    • Disadvantage: Not the best when it comes to ‘typical’ products. Also, be careful as bigger companies may use those platforms to find their next idea and with their resources, build it!
    • Timeline: 45 days (15 days after the 30-day campaign ends)
    • Platforms: Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com, GoFundMe.com, & more.

  6. Peer-to-peer Lending:
    • Advantage: Peer-to-peer which means easier to get approved. You also get better rates.
    • Disadvantage: I’ve found more disadvantages for the investors in these transactions if the borrower defaults on the loan.
    • Timeline: Roughly 10 days.
    • Platform: Lendingclub.com
  7. Side Hustlin’
    • Advantage: You raise the money by doing work you love. You never have to owe anyone anything.
    • Disadvantage: Depends on the amount you’re trying to raise, it’ll most likely take longer to raise that amount through this method.
    • Timeline: Varies (can take a long time)
    • Resources: Read 10 Ways To Make Money Online Today

  8. Invoice Advances/Cash-flow Solution
    • Advantage: As long as you have a history of activity (based on invoices), you should qualify.
    • Disadvantage: In most cases, you repay the advance once a week. This can be a great thing for some and not so great for others.
    • Timeline: 2 – 3 Days
    • Platforms: Fundbox.com, FastPay.com

  9. Online Loan / Line of Credit
    • Advantage: Easier to get approved than traditional banks.
    • Disadvantage: Sometimes they have higher APRs than other methods.
    • Timeline: 2 – 3 Days
    • Platforms: Ondeck.com, Kabbage.com.

  10. Bootstrap / Do-it-yourself
    • Advantage: EVERYTHING! You’ll learn a lot of things along the way, and you won’t owe anyone any money.
    • Disadvantage: It’ll take longer to get to where you want to go. You’ll work A LOT more. But it’ll be worth it 🙂
    • Timeline: N/A
    • Ways to Bootstrap: Share an office or get a virtual office, hire interns from local colleges, get handy and build the things you can’t afford, get smarter about your personal spending habits.

 

Which method  from this list are you thinking about  using?  Tell me in a comment below.

The biggest risk I’ve ever taken

This month (August), 3 years ago, I made the biggest decision and took the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life; signing the lease to my first office.

I was only 22 years old and boogie, at the time, wasn’t making any more than $500 – $1250 per month. I didn’t have a savings account, I didn’t have an investor, I didn’t even have a team; just my girlfriend (now my wife) helping me out here and there.

When I considered backing down from signing the lease, a very good friend of mine offered to loan me some money to help with the down payment on the space.

After praying about whether or not this was the right move, I got the sign I needed to take the risk and sign my three year lease.

As soon as all the deposits cleared, I had about $250 left in my bank account. Not $250, plus a savings account; not $250 with a wealthy parent to fall back on; just $250 plus a brand new $1,000 monthly bill.

As I reflect on the past 3 years of hustling, I realize that my biggest risk was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. As of right now, boogie has grown to a team 10 passionate individuals, with two office locations, and we’ve NEVER been late on a payment.

whole office  The biggest risk I've ever taken whole office

So maybe you have a GREAT idea for a business you’d like to start or you’ve already started but are afraid to go all in.

Like Nike- #JustDoIt… you can figure the rest out later.

As long as you have faith and are ready to HUSTLE like you’ve never hustled in your life, things will work themselves out.

Now get out there, take risks, hustle, and do something great!

Update: There were so many follow up questions to the post above that I decided to respond with a video —

The biggest risk I've ever taken [Video Followup]

Yesterday, I shared the biggest risk I've ever taken and I got a lot of follow up questions.I decided to make a video answer #Hustlepreneur

Posted by Jacques H. Bastien on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How To Find Anyone’s Email Address in Under 5 Minutes

Email_address email address How To Find Anyone's Email Address in Under 5 Minutes Email address

Who is this post for?
– Entrepreneurs
– Account Executives
– Job Seekers
Stalkers

Okay, first off, let me start with a disclaimer: you should never email anyone without their consent or without prior interaction/conversation– it can be creepy but it also can be a violation of their privacy. This matters even more when it comes to email marketing and adding someone’s email address to your list without their consent.

Now that that’s over…

Let’s say you just read an article featuring an individual who you think would be the perfect partner for your startup, the ideal client for your company, or the hiring manager at your dream job but you just can’t find his/her contact information. If you’re an entrepreneur, CEO, or salesperson, then you know the importance of finding an email address more than anyone else– it’s usually a direct contact between you and that individual.

Try the process below to help you find verified contact information without purchasing lists or spending hours attempting Google searches.

In my research, I’ve found that most companies follow a typical email format.

For example: John Bloone works at a construction company called Mobility, Inc. Mobility Inc.’s website is mobilityinc.com with general inquiries listed on their contact page as info@mobilityinc.com. John’s email address may be in one of the following formats:

– johnbloone@mobilityinc.com
– john.bloone@mobilityinc.com
– jbloone@mobilityinc.com
– johnb@mobilityinc.com
– john@mobilityinc.com
– bloone.john@mobilityinc.com
– jb@mobilityinc.com

How do I know which email address works?

Well for one, you can try sending an email to each variation and cross your fingers in hopes that one of them works…

…….

OR…. you can do the following:

1. Go to Chrome (the Google browser that everyone loves)

2. Download the ‘Rapportive‘ extension

3. Open up Gmail in your browser (if you already have a Gmail account, then login).

4. Begin composing a new email and type in one of those email addresses into the ‘To’ field. Google’s Rapportive extension aggregates profile data from social media and attempts to find all of the information that it can from an email address once you type it in.

Take a look:

email address email address How To Find Anyone's Email Address in Under 5 Minutes rapportive pic

So, if one of the emails are valid and possibly used on a LinkedIn profile, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook account, then it is likely this person’s info will pop up.

This process has proved helpful for me and I still use it when I’m on the hunt for someone’s contact info.

Hope this helps! Any questions? Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email (good luck finding my email address). If you have additional helpful tips to share for finding contact information, share below, I’d love to hear ’em!