Pop Quiz, Monday with Stephen Hockman

Stephen Hockman

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?
Stephen Hockman

Stephen Hockman
Photo credit: Stephen Hockman

What is your job role?

Tell us about your company?
I developed TrustyJoe.com as a fun way for people to find cool gadgets for their home.

The character Trusty Joe embodies the characteristics of a trustworthy friend or neighbor that you go to for advice when you need recommendations on buying certain things for your house.

Trusty Joe has bought, tested, and reviewed a wide range of products in each category and then offers his opinion on which products are best in their class at the lowest prices. He also shows you what features to look for when making a buying decision.

Trusty Joe also offers smart tips for everyday life. On the blog, you’ll find articles with new ideas, how to save money, and ways to live better at home.

What do you love most about your job?
I love helping people find great products for the most affordable prices. People often think that spending more money on a product makes it a better choice and that cheaper items are inferior.

However, that is often far from the truth. There are hundreds of inexpensive versions of things that do just a good of a job, if not better, than the competition.

Uncovering those options for consumers is a real passion of mine. Helping people save money and live better is what keeps me invested in the success of Trusty Joe.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I love researching, writing, and helping people and Trusty Joe allows me to do all of those things and more. It’s easy to get up every day and go to work on this business because it’s fun and fulfills my internal passions.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I don’t have co-workers, but I participate in a lot of online entrepreneur groups and have several friends with their own businesses. We inspire each other by offering honest critiques of our work and opinions on how we can do better. We don’t just pat each other on the back.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
I listen to music and take breaks to dance with or chase my toddler son. I work from home so there is not a lot of other things I can do.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge is finding the time to invest in social media marketing. I know it’s a good way to amplify my content, but I just can’t fit it in right now. I’ve looked in to outsourcing it but haven’t found anyone worth hiring yet.

Another challenge is narrowing down the top products in each category to five options. Sometimes I want to recommend more, but the business model behind Trusty Joe is only to suggest five products to make it easier for consumers to decide.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I tried to outsource some of the writing for my blog, however, every time a post came back for review I found myself editing it like crazy to make it sound more like the voice of Trusty Joe. Now, I just write that content myself. It’s much easier and takes up less time.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Find a way to stand out. There are tons of product review sites, but they’re all doing the same thing. Figure out how to differentiate yourself as I did with Trusty Joe.

Set a weekly goal and stick to it. When you work from home it is easy to get distracted, so set a goal to propel your business forward and stick to it no matter what. Without goals, you’ll never succeed.

Ask others for feedback. Don’t just think what you’re doing is always the best way to approach something. Have friends, family members, and colleagues critique your work and offer ways to improve it. You can’t grow unless you fix the things that are not working.

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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