Pop Quiz, Monday with Thomas Young

Thomas Young

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?
Thomas Young

What is your job role?
I am the CMO. I oversee all of our various marketing initiatives, from branding to digital media, to working with our multiple partners. However, since we are a young company, there are always times when it is necessary to roll up your shirt sleeves and do whatever it is that needs to be done. Sometimes that is answering customer service tickets, helping with customer onboarding, or working with our engineering team to QA test new features.

Tell us about your company?
Rocket Dollar allows our clients to use their retirement funds to invest in any asset class allowed by the IRS. We set up self-directed IRA and 401(k) accounts, that gives investors checkbook control of their retirement savings to invest in real estate, startups, private equity, tax liens, or anything else that is not on the prohibited list of investments, as defined by the IRS.

What do you love most about your job?
My team. It sounds cliche, but when my co-founders and I started Rocket Dollar, I knew that the product we were selling was incredibly powerful but new to the majority of folks in the country. It would be impossible to build the company we envision without the amazing team we’ve assembled in the past year.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Continuing the build the company that I know Rocket Dollar can become. As a young company, we did not inherit anything, and every new initiative we take on is being built from scratch, which is incredibly rewarding. The one thing I am confident in is that every day, I will learn something new from one of my colleagues, customers, or partners.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
By being incredibly good at their respective roles. Across all departments of our company, from engineering, sales, operations, and my marketing team, it is incredibly inspiring to work with people at the absolute top of their game.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We spend more time in the office than I think any one of us would care to admit, which leads to a lot of great bonding opportunities. We’re also a bunch of self-proclaimed foodies, which means there’s always a group willing to take a mid-day break to try out the latest and greatest food around town.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Being a new B2C company in the financial space, especially the retirement space comes with a host of challenges. Retirement is a sensitive topic to many people, and rightfully so.

For us at Rocket Dollar, we find ways to build trust with our customers continually. We are asking them to think about their retirement savings in a new light, and that takes overcoming many years of being told what to do with their money from parents, colleagues, as well as big players in the retirement space.

On a separate note, the retirement space has a few giants, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and others. Marketing against them on a startup budget means we can’t outspend them. We get to come up with creative ways to reach people, and educate them, without spending a fortune. It’s challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
That execution is everything. It is easy to come up with grand ideas, and get excited about them, but without executing the idea, nothing ever happens.
I’ve worked with incredibly bright, creative people who came up with outstanding initiatives, that never happened. Coming with an idea is only about 5% of the work. The rest is execution, and continuing to do something even when the fun part has passed, and all that is left to do is the work that it will take to see the original idea come to fruition.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
To read and follow those in the industry you admire. The nice thing about the finance industry is that there is no shortage of thought leaders. However, that also leaves a lot of room for noise, and cutting through that noise, and focusing on whom you want to become is incredibly important.

Spend your time studying, reading, and learning, and you’ll accelerate the achievement of your goals. There is some debate as to who actually said the following quote, but it is one of my absolute favorites, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

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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