How to Get Traction as A Two-Sided Marketplace

how to get traction as a market place, ric fleisher

Ric Fleisher is the Chief Operating Officer of UpsideDoor, a real estate platform that helps you sell your house without paying high commissions. Previously he cofounded, a company that runs a mobile road-side assistance marketplace. Ric has more than 25 years of experience in business development, sales and technology and has been involved with numerous start-ups.

In this interview, Ric talks about how to assemble a founding team for a startup, how to get traction as a two-sided marketplace, how to evaluate your business ideas, and how to get early stage funding. I want you to especially pay attention to what Ric says about focus. His company, initially tried to offer lots of different kinds of on-demand services. It wasn’t until they narrowed it down to one category that they started getting traction.

“We were trying to do too much at the beginning. It was the focus that helped us get traction.”

– Ric Fleisher



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UpsideDoor | (703) 982-7696

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From Drum Teacher to Successful Music Studio Owner

Episode 9

My wonderful guest on the show today, Miles Ryan, started his business by teaching drum lessons in his living room with a make-shift website. He is now the proud owner of 7DrumCity, an amazing music studio in central DC and is inspiring people to live a creative and balanced life every day.

Miles will talk about how to find your niche by experimenting with ideas, the importance of execution, what it’s like to live a minimalist lifestyle and how that’s helped him to uncover what’s really important in life.

Just do it. That in itself sets you apart. If you wait till you’re a master, you’ll be dead.

– Miles Ryan




1506 North Capitol Street NW
Washington, DC 20002

Hours: Mon – Fri: 1pm – 10:00pm | Sat – Sun: 10am – 8pm


DC Space Finder
Four Hour Work Week
E-Myth Revisited 
Art of the Start

How to Build A Successful Business Offering A Creative Experience

how to build a business offering a creative experience

Today on the show I interview Michael Clements, who is the founder and CEO of ArtJamz, an art studio in DC that makes a viable business out of inspiring people to be artistic. In this interview, Michael talks about how he bootstrapped the business with very little capital, how he created media buzz for ArtJamz and grew the business from nothing, and how to organize and sell tickets for your events when you have no sponsors and no customers.

It’s better to be in high-traffic locations and pay more rent than to pay cheaper rent at a place that’s out of the way. A lot of the nebulous marketing questions become obsolete when you’re in a really good location.”

– Michael Clements




Dupont Studio

1728 Conneticut Ave NWWashington, DC 20009

(202) 629-3780 | 

Our arty split level 2,000 sq ft studio is located in the heart of bustling and historic Dupont Circle in the Nation’s Capital just minutes north of the metro. Dining and art gallery options abound, so make a night of it! Tour studio.

Mon: Closed

Tues: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Wed: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Thurs: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Fri: 6:30PM – 11:00PM

Sat: 12:30PM – 11:00PM

Sun: 12:30PM – 8:00PM

Brookland Studio

716 Monroe Street NE, Studio 24Washington, DC 20017

(202) 558-9859 | 

Located in The Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market in up and coming Brookland NE, this 800 sq ft public art studio is surrounded by 26 other artist studios and plenty of dining options. Lots to explore! Located steps away from Brookland/CUA Metro Station.  Tour studio.

Mon: Closed

Tues: Closed

Wed: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Thurs: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Fri: 6:30PM – 11:00PM

Sat: 12:30PM – 11:00PM

Sun: 12:30PM – 8:00PM

ArtJamz Underground Studio

2105-B Crystal Plaza Arcade, Shops at 2100 Crystal DriveArlington, VA 22202

571-312-1285 | 

1,000 sq ft studio in Arlington, Virginia represents the newest version of our retail concept. Located in the heart of Crystal City’s vibrant Gallery Underground entertainment area with numerous dining options nearby. Conveniently metro accessible via Yellow and Blue line, Crystal City Station. Tour studio.


Mon: Closed

Tues: Closed

Wed: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Thurs: 6:30PM – 10:00PM

Fri: 6:30PM – 11:00PM

Sat: 12:30PM – 11:00PM

Sun: Closed



Washington DC Economic Partnership

How to Crush Large Competitors by Building A Strong Community

Biker Barre

Jane Brodsky and Katie Geffken are the lady bosses of Biker Barre, the first-ever indoor cycling and Barre studio in Washington DC. Since opening in 2012, Biker Barre has won various awards, rave reviews, and is very much loved by its local community.

Jane and Katie left their traditional corporate careers to pursue an entrepreneurial dream in fitness. In today’s interview, they talk about co-founder relationship, competing with large national fitness chains, and their secrets for attracting and retaining customers. They especially emphasize the importance of building a community around the business. This is a very thought provoking episode no matter whether you’re in the fitness industry or not.

We don’t want to be in the coolest neighborhood. We want to be in a neighborhood where people moved there to have a sense of community.

– Katie Geffken


Biker Barre

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Barracks Row

738 7th St. SE

Washington, DC 20003

(202) 733-1009



From Home Kitchen to Whole Foods: How to Turn A Passion in Organic Food into A Growing Business

Gouter, V Orban, Raw Organic

Today on the show, I interview V Orban, who is the founder and CEO of Gouter, a DC company that produces made-to-order, raw organic tonics using alkaline water. V started the company with $3000, after being sick and discovering alkaline water, which saved her life. Today, V’s tonics are sold in major organic grocery chains in the area, including Whole Foods, home-delivered to individual households, and are helping people to live a healthier lifestyle every day. In the interview, V talks about the humble beginning of her company, how she marketed her tonics to yoga studios and grocery stores, and the importance of loving what you do.

“I had no idea if this was going to work. But the thing is when you love what you do so much, you don’t even think about if you’ll make the rent.”

– V Orban



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How to Turn $5000 into A Profitable Urban Farm

urban farm

Mary Ackley is the founder and chief veggie officer of Little Wild Things City Farm, an urban farm in Washington DC that uses biologically intensive agriculture principles to sustainably achieve high yields from very small growing space in the city. In this interview, Mary talks about how she started the farm with just $5000 investment and got her investment back within just a few months. Mary also talks about the importance of taking action and trying new things, and how she grew an audience for her farm on social media.  This is an eye-opening episode for me. I’m especially touched by the authentic passion Mary has for organic farming and for her business, which is charming and contagious, and has helped to build the brand for Little Wild Things.

“I’m the type of person who’s into doing things, instead of thinking about doing things.”

– Mary Ackley

Little Wild Things City Farm


INDOOR: 1648 N. Capitol St. NW (co-located with The Pub and The People), Washington, DC 20002

OUTDOOR: 2131 Lincoln Rd. NE, Washington DC, 20002

Phone Contact: (313) 784-0498


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The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

How 9/11 Made Josh Konowe A Serial Entrepreneur

Episode 4 large

Our distinguished guest today is Josh Konowe, who is currently the Chief Product Officer at Canvas, a mobile app company in Reston, VA. Josh is a serial entrepreneur and has successfully started and sold multiple companies, among other achievements. And Josh decided to quit his job and become an entrepreneur after being in the NYC on Sept 11, 2001 and seeing the World Trade Center crumble before his eyes. You’ll hear the story from himself in this interview. And I feel Josh is an excellent example that some face time with death can teach you how to live.

In the interview, Josh shares his experience of running three technology companies, from idea generation, to fundraising, to acquisition. He also shares his criteria for selecting business ideas, and his advices for new entrepreneurs.

Listening to others is a great quality for an entrepreneur. Take time to explore why you may be wrong.

– Josh Konowe




Josh Konowe is on Twitter at @jkonowe

Creating A Premium Retail Brand with Barth and Mary deRosa


At Founders Nextdoor, we believe that entrepreneurship is hard work, day in and day out. We believe the most amazing entrepreneurs are ordinary people living in every community. And those people, your neighbors, are the people you can learn the most from regarding how to run your business. Because just like you, they have mortgages to pay and families to feed, yet they manage to create amazing businesses that make the world a better place.

Today on the show, I’m interviewing two such founders. Barth and Mary deRosa, the husband-and-wife team who’re the owners of Secolari. Secolari is a retail chain of gourmet olive oil and vinegar that has four stores in Maryland and DC. Now if this is the first time you hear about them, you’re probably like…”Olive oil? Seriously? That’s basically a commodity, right? How can anybody make money selling olive oil?” At least that was my first reaction. But I’m telling you, this business is no joke. Barth and Mary started it in 2011 and since then, business has been booming. And if you look them up on the internet, you’ll also see that they are truly loved by very passionate customers. So what’s their secret for making a successful business in a product category that seems to be highly competitive and offers little differentiation? You’ll find out in this interview.

“Follow your passion. If you have a passion for something, no matter whether you’re older or younger, go for it.”

– Barth deRosa


Secolari Artisan Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room


Bethesda Row
7249 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

The Mall in Columbia
Out Door Plaza
10300 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044

Towson Town Center
3rd Floor / Nordstrom Wing
825 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson, MD 21204

Sam’s Park and Shop
(@ Cleveland Park Metro Stop/Red Line)
3501 Connecticut Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

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Thor Cheston’s Epic Story of Fundraising for His Dream Brewpub


We’re living in the renaissance age of entrepreneurship. Starting a business and being your own boss is easier than ever. But even though it’s easier, it’s still hard, especially if you want to start a business in a relatively capital intensive industry. And today on the show, I interview a founder who demonstrated, realistically, what it’s like to go out and raise money for a new venture. Thor Cheston is the co-founder of Right Proper Brewing Company, which owns a very popular brewpub in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC and a brewing facility in Brookland, DC. Thor’s entrepreneurial adventure was nothing but easy. After he quit his job as a successful restaurant manager, it took him over two years to get the necessary funding to start the brewpub, with lots of twists and turns in the process. I really like Thor’s story because it shows you that, unlike the overnight successes you often hear in the media, entrepreneurship is not glamorous. It’s a daily grind, and possibly for a very long time before you see any result. And even after you see some results, it’s still a grind.

I really appreciate how open and candid Thor is about the challenges of starting a business. He also demonstrates that patience and perseverance is your friend when you’re starting something new. I think you’ll get lots of practical lessons and inspiration from Thor’s story, no matter what type of business you’re building.

“I took my business plan and I hit the streets. I took every meeting I could get and presented the business plan to as many (investors) as I possibly could.”

– Thor Cheston


Right Proper Brewing Company

Shaw Brewpub

624 T Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.607.BEER (2337)

Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 12am
Sunday: 11:30am – 10pm

Brookland Production House

920 Girard Street NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 526-5904

Wednesday – Friday: 5pm – 10pm
Saturday: 1pm – 10pm
Sunday: 1pm – 8pm

Twitter, Facebook, Yelp


Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh

Setting the Table, by Danny Meyer

How to Start A Yoga & Wellness Business with Amanda Shipe


Amanda Shipe is the founder and CEO of Mind Your Body Oasis, a beautiful yoga studio and wellness center in Crystal City, Virginia that has a wide variety of offerings including yoga, spa services, nutrition coaching, and yoga teacher training. On this episode, Amanda offers tips on the steps you should take to open your own yoga business (hint: start small). She shares insights on business licensing/permitting, how she collaborates with other yoga teachers on Instagram to promote her studio, and what it’s like to be a business owner while holding down a full-time job. She also talks about the importance of having a good mentor and a support group when you start a new business.

“You need to tap into the social programming of our society when you own a business. You need to be aware of when people spend, when people vacation, and when people’re back in their groove.” – Amanda Shipe



Connect with Amanda:

Mind Your Body Oasis

Crystal City: 1750 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: (703) 567-1290

Primary Offerings Include:

  • Yoga, Hot Yoga and Pilates
  • Tailored Massage Offerings
  • Nutrition and Wellness Coaching
  • Infrared Heat Therapy


  • Monday-Friday 11:30 am to 7 pm
  • Saturday 9-4 by appointment
  • Sunday 9:30-6 by appointment

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