Hello from Startup Grind Global

Hello from beautiful, sunny Silicon Valley — or Redwood City, California, to be exact. I’m Haley Steinhauser, director of public relations at FreeConferenceCall.com, and I am blogging straight out of the Fox Theatre here at the 2018 Startup Grind Global Conference.

I can’t think of a better place or audience for our Founder and CEO, David Erickson, to be sharing his entrepreneurial experience with. Before Dave goes on stage this afternoon — I am super excited to hear from a few other powerhouses presenting at #StartupGrind.

First up: Guy Kawasaki. Let me first just say — I am loving his message and energy on stage. It’s hard to not be fully engaged with everything that comes out of his mouth. Guy had a lot of wonderful advice for his audience and I especially liked this: “Have a mantra. Forget a business plan. A two to three word mantra that gives you reason to exist. That’s what you need.” I, personally, love a good mission statement but I am leaving this session wondering how to turn the FreeConferenceCall.com mission into three words that explains who we are and why we do what we do — more to come on that in a future blog! In the meantime, as I embark on this mantra challenge, I’ll be using these companies as inspiration:

  • FedEx: Peace of Mind
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics: Enriching Women’s Lives
  • Target: Democratize Design

I go into every conference hopeful to learn and leave more inspired than I came. Today is off to a really great start already.

As a marketer, I deeply believe in the power of influencers and I’ve been influenced in more ways than one by Katherine Powers, co-founder of Who What Wear.

Today, Who What Wear is part of Powers’ venture-backed Clique Media Group, a tech, content and commerce company that includes beauty site Byrdie, home and lifestyle site MyDomaine and its newest property, Obsessee. The latter is an entirely social brand spread across networks like Snapchat and Instagram aimed at the new holy grail demographic for marketers: women growing up in Generation Z, age 12 to 22.

Katherine said, “Influencers used to be only celebrities but now — thanks to the internet — real regular people have the power to influence the fashion industry.” Ten years ago, anything Kim Kardashian was photographed eating suddenly became the ‘it’ snack. Now, anyone can have that same impact not because of their follower count, but because of their ability to actually influence through authenticity and curation.  

Thanks for all the insight, Katherine.

Lastly, I am in theater #20 to hear my CEO’s breakout session titled: Why You Shouldn’t Raise Money. Dave started FreeConferenceCall.com by purchasing a $10 URL, and 17 years later, his company is entirely debt-free. This is not a story you hear everyday and I think that’s why this auditorium is packed from top to bottom.

His story is simple but the hard work and determination it took to be where he is today is awe-inspiring. Dave answered the customer service line non-stop — that’s right, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — for 918 days. When he said this, you could hear the gasps from the audience. Think about that… he believed in his business so much that he dedicated every hour of every day to his customers without a break.

Dave knew coming into this presentation that bootstrapping a business isn’t for everyone but his decision to not take capital and instead invest in his customers was the best business decision he had ever made.

After a long day of learning, this was a great keynote to end on. Watch Dave’s entire presentation here

Thank you StartUp Grind Global for including FreeConferenceCall.com in your conference. We had the best day!

Until next time…

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