From Freelancer To Hip Design Company Owner

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

 


BroCoLoCo

Twitter, Instagram


Reference

Soundwise

 

 

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

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Reference

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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

 


Moonlighting

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Reference

Soundwise

How to Change A Traditional Industry with New Technology

Goodshuffle

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

 


GoodShuffle

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Reference

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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

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Reference

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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

 


Netcito

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Reference

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How to Start A Serious Business in College

how to start a serious business in college

David Patou is the founder and CEO of Campus Sherpa, a student-run company that offers personalized college tours by real college students.

David started Campus Sherpa during his freshman year at Georgetown University. In this episode, he talked about the personal inspirations he had for starting this business, how to build a minimal viable product (MVP), refining and validating the business model and how to get early traction for your startup.

“There is never a convenient time to launch the business. It always comes with the opportunity cost. Starting off small as a side project is a good way to test the waters.”

– David Patou

 


Campus Sherpa

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Reference

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How to Build A Social Networking Platform

how to build a social networking platform

Ian Kaine MacGregor is the founder and CEO of Hitcher, a social media platform that allows users to build more targeted networks and have more control over their online privacy compared to the mainstream social networks.

During his time working in the design industry, Ian created tons of successful social media marketing campaigns for large enterprises. He had the idea to build a social media platform that was exclusive, and could eliminate unwanted social noise to create experiences with the people who really mattered in one’s life. In this episode, Ian talked about how he validated his idea, how he found collaborators for his project, how to deal with setbacks and acquire users, and why idea and passion do matter in this day and age when execution is emphasized over anything.

“(while execution is important) Ideas do matter. You have to trust your ideas.”

– Ian Kaine MacGregor

 


Hitcher

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Reference

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How to Juggle Multiple Businesses While Serving Your Community

Tien Wong
Tien Wong is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and super connector in the DC entrepreneurial community. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Tech2000, an IT firm that provides advanced technology training and mobile device software to the federal government and Fortune 500 companies, Chairman of Lore Systems, an IT services firm specializing in managed datacenter hosting, cloud computing, IT networking, and Chairman and CEO of Opus8, a private investment and advisory firm. Tien is also the founder and host of Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum, a community that connects entrepreneurs and investors in the Mid-Atlantic region.

In this episode, Tien talked about how to effectively manage multiple projects at the same time, what are the most important considerations when evaluating your business ideas, and how to know that your product/service really solves a customer problem. He also shared other lessons learned through years of entrepreneurial experience and explained why “your network is your net worth” for an entrepreneur.

“Be self-aware. Know your limit. But you have to have the supreme confidence that you are going to win.”

– Tien Wong

 


Lore Systems

Tech2000

Opus8

Big Idea CONNECTpreneur

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook


Reference

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

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Building an E-commerce Platform Over Text Messaging

building an e commerce platform over text messaging

 

Kate Myers and Kelly O’Malley are co-founders of Shop Or Not, an e-commerce platform that runs on text messaging.

Both ladies worked in the entertainment industry. And they started the company with the desire to build a shopping platform that feels like an intimate relationship. Shop Or Not aspires to be your good friend who texts you the good stuff. In this episode, Kate and Kelly shared their journey on developing a minimal viable product (MVP) and their testing /learning process to find the unique offering of the biz. They also talked about when is the right time to start fundraising and provided insightful tips on how to navigate the startup world as female founders.

“Set your mind to the goal that you truly believe in, and don’t worry about what other people think of you.”

– Kate Myers

 


Shop Or Not

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Reference

Twilio

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