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Pop Quiz, Monday with Brian Freema

Brian Freema
Photo credit: Brian Freema

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?
Brian Freema

Brian Freema
Photo credit: Brian Freema

What is your job role?
CEO / Founder

Tell us about your company?
Heartbeat is a platform for creating nano-influencer content at scale and managing customer experiences with your brand.

What do you love most about your job?
I love leading the team at Heartbeat and helping members of our team find fulfillment and be successful. I also LOVE working on products that make other people feel great which I think Heartbeat does.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Being able to come into the office every day and know that Heartbeat is improving the lives of thousands of people daily is incredibly rewarding.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
The people who work at Heartbeat are amazing, and we knew that when we hired them. Every day I hear new ideas, passion for their work, and a genuine sense of purpose permeates the office. I also love seeing how everyone wants the best for their co-workers, we’re a big family here, and it shows in the way we treat each other.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
There is a lot of joking, teasing, and slack antics happening all the time at Heartbeat. We should probably start playing more pranks, but in general, everyone is pretty open and willing to make a very goofy joke (Joel looking at you) or talk about the hilarious things we see happening outside of our Venice office windows every day.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Being the CEO of a fast-growing company can be pretty daunting, and I don’t always know the best course of action if I haven’t been there before. Being able to trust your gut, but also verify your instincts with trusted people around you is one of the practices that I’ve really tried to stay close to as the business has grown. I find it can be challenging to feel like there are enough hours in the day to get in personal care like gym time or breaks, but am getting better at that. Lastly, there is a relentless onslaught of stressful things coming at you all day as the CEO. It’s been challenging finding ways to manage that stress in a healthy way – working out is always a great way for me to mitigate that part of the job.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
KNOW YOUR MARKET – I had a rough experience building a dating product without really understanding what the dating market was like. Learned the hard way that building a product in that category can be extremely difficult due to incumbents being highly dominant, so now I look for growing new verticals with big untapped opportunities.
HIRE WELL – Be super deliberate and thoughtful about who you hire. Rushing this process can really hurt the growth of your company as well as that employee’s personal wellness. If you get the feeling something might be off during an interview, go with your gut and let that person find another opportunity that’s a better match. Additionally, hire experience first, then fill in the roles underneath that experienced person with employees who are newer to the workforce so they can learn from a veteran or a pseudo-veteran. This will minimize workplace conflicts and reduce your own management burden.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Get some experience before diving in. Our space is pretty established now, and if you spend some time in a company in our market, you’ll be able to identify what they’re doing right, and maybe some opportunities or gaps where you think you can provide some additional value. Also, decide early whether you want to build a better agency or a technology product it makes a huge difference how you’ll fundraise and how investors will respond to your business.

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:
getheartbeat.co@heartbeatcompany (IG)

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.  — Publisher

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Written by Ricky Singh, MBA

Founder & Editor of The Startup Growth

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