The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
Can you please tell everyone your name?
What is your job role?
Founder of CultureOps
Tell us about your company?
CultureOps is the result of 8 years working in the startup ecosystem, overseeing office operations, real estate, and employee engagement. I’m using my experience to help early-stage startups avoid the expensive mistakes I’ve made, seen, and learned from over the years.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping ambitious startup founders who have a great product or service idea but need guidance for building a company around their concept – from a people perspective. It’s incredibly satisfying to help them accomplish their missions by designing good foundations to grow from.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The incredible missions behind the companies I’m helping. I always get to feel like I’m making a significant contribution to their success, and that excites me every day.
How do your co-workers inspire you?
I don’t have any direct co-workers. I’m a party of one, and I have partners that I work with sometimes when I need to outsource particular kinds of expertise. I’m incredibly inspired by my partners, who bring particular knowledge into my universe. They, too, are excited about contributing to the startup ecosystem with their expertise, and they often find my projects a lot more fun than some of the more corporate projects they work on.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge in my solopreneur role merely is wearing all the hats and making decisions for administrative things that aren’t directly related to my work. I’ve had to learn a lot about accounting and digital marketing – not why I got into this business, but necessary.
What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
When I joined my first startup, I was given a lot of responsibility, more and more all the time. That was GREAT for my career. But in retrospect, I was figuring everything out along the way with little experience, fueled by passion. We were trying to be very frugal, always, when it came to office operations. We were proud that we had hand-me-down furniture and a pretty outdated office. We saw other companies spending money on fancy office architecture and furniture, and we viewed it as frivolous.
As we grew fast and needed more office space, I managed the construction projects. Because we were trying to stretch every dollar, we cut some corners and didn’t hire experts that we needed, because they felt costly at the time. But as the years passed, we discovered things that should have been done differently – that were expensive to change and fix. We did things that were not scalable, essentially, and I learned a ton from that. Those kinds of experiences taught me a lot, and now I’m passionate about helping other startups avoid these kinds of mistakes altogether – to see around the corners, avoid wasting time and money, and plan from scale early on.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
My industry could be considered “startups” and/or “consulting / freelancing.” In both cases, I’d encourage anyone considering joining these fields to seek out ten people in various stages of their careers in these industries and ask them for advice, stories, warnings, woulda-shoulda-coulda’s, etc. People are happy to share experiences, about their careers, in particular. And you can get a much better snapshot of the real world by talking to people, instead of Googling!
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: