Pop Quiz, Monday with Niall Weintraub, Co-founder of MoneyCentro.com

Niall Weintraub

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?
Niall Weintraub

Niall Weintraub
Photo credit: Niall Weintraub 

What is your job role?
I’m the co-founder of MoneyCentro.com, and I focus mostly on content and partnerships.

Tell us about your company?
Money Centro is a resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow their businesses intelligently and profitably. So much time is wasted in entrepreneurship trying to solve problems that someone else has already solved. As such, we try to aggregate best-in-class advice and information across core business functions such as marketing, finance, legal, etc., so entrepreneurs can learn from the experts in these areas.

What do you love most about your job?
My partner and I are both research geeks and entrepreneurs, so we already spend a lot of time researching business best practices and innovations. MoneyCentro.com has created the space for us to centralize all that we learn and hopefully help lots of other entrepreneurs along the way.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
For me, ideas are like a drug. The rush I get from hearing a brilliant idea from someone I collaborate with or read is a pretty strong motivator.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-founder, for example, has an unusually wide range of skills, from coding to marketing to sales to analytics, so he’s been able to grow profitable businesses for very little investment and no employees. Most times I think we need to outsource some function, he finds a tool or hack that enables us to do it ourselves. This has inspired me to broaden my skills to try and become more of this type of DIY entrepreneur.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We use Slack, which is a fantastic collaboration tool but also allows you to share funny videos, GIFs, etc., easily within the message threads. Because a large group often sees these, it inspires people to step up their game and find amusing content.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
I think one of the hardest things for any startup or small business is prioritization – there are always way too many things to do and not enough time or resources to do them. We try to score potential projects across dimensions of impact and effort, so we focus our time on high impact and low to medium effort initiatives. Even so, the list requires constant revising and debating.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
We have pretty deep expertise in digital advertising, so we often start there when looking to promote a new affiliate partner on our site. So, when we launched our first comparison credit card page, we started pushing paid Facebook traffic there immediately. The problem was, the funnel was too long. To complete a transaction, a user would have to click on the Facebook ad, then go to our landing page, then go to the credit card deals page of our partner, then go to the actual Chase or Amex page and signup. We tried to battle it many different ways, improving cost or conversion rate on this or that part of the funnel. Ultimately, though, we realized that we needed to have a direct partnership with the credit card companies to make the numbers work, so we shifted focus to other verticals in the meantime. In general, that’s how we work – test rigorously and thoroughly, but get learnings fast, so you don’t continue to pour too much time and money into something that has a low probability of success.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
I think people today who go into entrepreneurship often have this “billionaire or bust” mentality, which is endemic to the venture-backed startup world. To me, the spectrum of entrepreneurial success is much wider and encompasses smaller, but significant achievements, such as being able to quit your job and be your boss or just having a small source of consistent, passive income. So, rather than trying to raise large sums of money or maxing out your credit cards to go all-in on one speculative idea, start small and test different ideas in a more limited, “proof of concept” sort of way. It’s so cheap to spin up a templated website and then use the constellation of free or inexpensive tools out there to see if an idea has legs before throwing a ton of resources at it. And even if it doesn’t become the next Uber, it could still become a nice additional income stream.

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:

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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