From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work

From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work Joel Holland is the founder and executive chairman of Storyblocks, a subscription-based online platform for high quality stock media.

Joel has won numerous awards for his work with StoryBlocks. His company has been listed on the Inc 5000 list six consecutive times and was named one of Washington. D.C.’s best places to work by Washingtonian magazine.

In this episode, Joel tells the story of how he started the business selling videos he made himself on eBay, gradually built up his customer base, and bootstrapped the company to what it is today—an online digital media subscription service that offers millions of royalty free videos, audios, and images.

“Until people are voting with their real dollars, you don’t know how customers are gonna behave.”


-Joel Holland




Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin

Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Lisa Wise is the founder of Nest DC, a boutique property management company that has a strong social mission.

In this episode, Lisa talked about how she started Nest with little industry experience, acquired customers through engaging with the local community and relentlessly focusing on customer service, and why investing in social mission has a positive impact on the bottomline.

“We try to position ourselves as community experts that offer property management, rather than property managers that might know a few things about the city.”


– Lisa Wise

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses with Chris Marentis, Ep 48

Chris Marentis is the founder and CEO of Surefire Local, a software platform that helps local businesses generate new customer leads by getting discovered online.

Chris originally started the company to provide consulting services to local businesses who want to strengthen their online presence. Their services got so popular that Chris decided to build software to automate their methodologies. In this episode, Chris shared many useful tips on how local small businesses can use content marketing and other organic methods to build their online reputation and attract more customers.

       “Your blog posts need to be answering questions your typical customers have.”


        -Chris Marentis


Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Youtube

How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to Scale

How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to ScaleJunaid Shams is the co-founder and CEO of Rooam, a mobile payment platform that lets users pay their bar tab or restaurant bill directly from their phone. He has received numerous national recognitions, including Businessweek’s “Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25” and Under30CEO’s “Top 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs under 30.”                  

In this episode, Junaid talked about how he started his first business while in medical school, how he obtained funding to start Rooam, and his strategies for getting early customers when his app was still in beta.

 “We were very strategic about which potential customers we were going to approach at the beta stage.”                                               

-Junaid Shams

From Freelancer To Hip Design Company Owner


Aaron Scales, owner and director of BroCoLoco, an architectural design company in DC that turns buildings into brand ambassadors.

Aaron started his entrepreneurial journey as a freelancer working on ad hoc design jobs. Through a series of serendipitous events, his hobby projects gained community attention and before long, he was running a one-of-a-kind architectural design business. In this episode, Aaron talked about his experience in starting and running BroCoLoco, and the wins and challenges along the way.

“When you call yourself unemployed, you put the responsibility on others that may hire you. When you call yourself self-employed, you put the responsibility on yourself to sort things out. I prefer the latter.”

– Aaron Scales



Twitter, Instagram





What To Do When Your Entrepreneurial Idea Didn’t Work Out First

Thomas Schneider

Thomas Schneider is the founder of Rooftop Roots, a non-profit organization that designs, builds, and maintains vegetable gardens and native landscapes in the DC area.

When Thomas first started the organization, his idea was to build vegetable gardens on rooftops of buildings in DC. But after experimenting for a while, the idea didn’t prove to be very practical economically. Thomas had to try something else while still pursuing his passion of sustainability and urban agriculture. In this episode, he talked about how he pivoted his organization and business model and what he learned along the way.

“It’s taken a long time to build the body of business knowledge. But I’m stubborn and I hate to give up on things…And I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I do.”

– Thomas Schneider


Rooftop Roots

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram



Powering the Gig Economy with Mobile Technology

powering the gig economy with mobile technology

Jeff Tennery is the founder and CEO of Moonlighting, an online marketplace connecting freelancers with potential employers.

Armed with decades of experience in mobile technology and media, Jeff was inspired to build a mobile platform enabling people to work on things they truly love, while enjoying career independence.

In this episode, Jeff talked about his idea validation process and the initial challenges he encountered, how to broaden awareness for a marketplace like Moonlighting, and some lessons he learnt in the process of building his company.

“Running a startup is like running a sprinted marathon, you have to hustle all the way.”

– Jeff Tennery



Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram



How to Change A Traditional Industry with New Technology


Erik Dreyer is the co-founder of Goodshuffle, an online event rental marketplace specializing in party and event supply rentals.

Goodshuffle was originally launched as a peer–to-peer rental marketplace, but Erik and his co-founder Andrew Garcia quickly pivoted the business to focus on the event rental segment, when they discovered that this industry was very fragmented and could be made more productive with both online ordering plus business software for rental company owners.

In this episode, Erik talked about how he started and pivoted the business, his experience of quitting a day job and focusing fully on entrepreneurship, and what he learned along the way.

“Having a killer startup advisory team will help your business achieve that extra mile with fewer hurdles.”

– Erik Dreyer



Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram



How to Turn Your Passion into A Thriving Business

Meredith Sheperd

Meredith Sheperd is the founder of Love & Carrots, a DC-based sustainable urban farming company specializing in custom vegetable garden installation and maintenance.

When Meredith decided to move back to the city after wrapping up a farm management job, she found very limited urban agricultural job openings in the DC area. Passionate about farming and environmental sustainability, she started her own service helping city residents turn their backyards into vegetable gardens. Love & Carrots was born in 2011.

In this episode, Meredith talked about how she started the business from nothing, developed a loyal customer base relying almost entirely on grassroot community outreach, and the ups and downs along the way.

“Running this business has given me confidence and realigned my life with my purpose.”

– Meredith Sheperd


Love & Carrots

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram



How to Build A Membership-Based Business

how to build a membership based business

Peter Mellen is the founder and CEO of Netcito, a network of peer advisory groups for entrepreneurs and innovators. He is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in online business and commercial real estate and is an entrepreneur in residence (EiR) at Georgetown University, where he also leads the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance.

In this episode, Peter talked about how he built Netcito from an informal gathering of entrepreneurs to a membership business. He also shared insights on why a support group is important for entrepreneurs and how to find work-life alignment as a founder.

“Your work should be aligned with who you are and what you want to create in the world.”

– Peter Mellen



Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn