Starting any business is not an easy feat. Of all the small businesses started in 2014, only 70 percent of them made it to year three. And for tech businesses in particular, you’re entering a congested market with unknown times ahead. So how can tech entrepreneurs get into the industry and make their business known to consumers?

We reached out to some experts in the industry to offer their advice to aspiring tech entrepreneurs and to shed light on the useful and exemplary online tools their using to help grow their business.

Each were asked these three questions:

  1. What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?
  2. What is your favorite little known online tool and why?
  3. How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

Maciej Fita – Bradignity

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

Make sure you have your thumb on the pulse. I’ve seen many companies over the years scale fast only to hire people that couldn’t get the job done and eventually hinder growth. I know we all have to hire but in the early days make sure you’re hiring the right people.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

Hmm, that is a good question. I feel like I’ve found some really great over the years. I think Robly.com is one of my top favorites. It’s an email marketing software with an AI component built into it and when I started using it for myself (or my clients) open rates on emails double if not tripled.

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

What I prefer and what I drink are two very different things! I’m a milk and two sugar coffee guy.

 

Maciej Fita has always had a passion for marketing and branding. In the 6th grade, he tried to create his own skateboard brand and dreamed of starting his own company. It wasn’t until several years, ideas, and experiences later that his dreams finally became a reality. Today, he’s co-owner of a Boston based clothing line, as well as the founder of Brandignity, a digital marketing firm that specializes in bringing business dreams to life through a variety of inbound marketing efforts.

Preston Lee – Millo

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

There’s a tendency in the internet age to focus on audience first—growing an Instagram following or building an email list and then “figuring out how to monetize it” later. This is the slow, awkward, and failure-ridden path to running your own business. Instead, focus less time on non-revenue tasks (posting to Instagram) and more time on revenue generating tasks (searching freelance job sites or pitching clients). Until you have predictable revenue, you’re not running a business—you’re running a hobby.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

One tool that always surprises people when I tell them about it is TextExpander. It’s technically an app you download to your computer, but it’s an absolute time-saver and productivity super-power. With TextExpander, you can set up a bunch of words, sentences, or full emails that you type all the time (common responses to emails, for example) and then assign them to simple short acronyms. It could be anything from #tfro (Thanks for reaching out.) to #proposal (which might populate a website proposal with fill-able fields to customize for a client). It’s pure gold and I couldn’t live without it!

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

I like a giant glass of water in the morning. Then a jog. Then more water. 🙂

 

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade with their in-depth articles, free guides, podcasts, and social communities. Join nearly 120,000 freelancers who rely on Millo for support by subscribing to their weekly newsletter for freelancers.

Adam Hardingham – Rivmedia

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

I’m probably going to rinse and repeat what many have said previously, but I think the one thing I always aspire towards is to always keep an open mind, never stop learning , work hard and put the hours in. Still to this day 14 years after starting I still believe in answering emails within minutes or hours and generally going above and beyond is the route to customer retention long term.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

I’m a creature of habit, pretty much everything I use because it either saves me time, or it provides value somewhere in my process. This does tend to mean I steer clear of most of the little known stuff and most of what I use is probably widely talked about. I guess one great tool which most SEO’s and Marketers would know about would be siteliner.com, for a super quick overview of potential duplicate content issues it really does save huge amounts of time when doing manual Audits.

If I had to mention something else, and something I’ve only recently started using would be a WordPress plugin called “link whisper”. It’s probably the best internal linking tool for your wordpress blogs I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve got a blog going live in the next week which shows many of the resources I use in the Web design, Marketing so stay tuned!

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

Unfortunately coffee has the total opposite effect on me, makes me feel tired and horrible ( think I may be allergic haha ), but I’m a typical old fashion Brit who likes a good Cuppa tea, strong with 2 sugars in the morning. I then spend most of the day with water or Diet Cola soda streams 😀

 

Adam Hardingham is a proud father, husband, introvert and digital nomad. Adam is an enthusiastic entrepreneur, investor and start up enthusiast with a drive for marketing and small businesses. Having been an SEO consultant for a world renowned software brand since 2009 and now serving clients from his brand Rivmedia Digital Services.

After starting Rivmedia in 2006 he has built a business with a difference, being early adopters of “working remotely” from their home offices/buildings, breaking free from the day to day restraints that hinder brick and mortar web services companies and providing outstanding customer service has been the driving force behind their exceptional customer retention. Although the business model has come with its challenges and frowned upon by many, Adam has made it a success.

Walter Lim – Cooler Insights

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

You need to have grit, guts and gumption to stand out in the overcrowded market for tech, given that the world is truly anybody’s oyster. This means that you have to be unafraid of experimenting with new ways of doing things, constantly innovating, and pivoting when the old ways fail.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

Remove.bg is probably the best way to remove background from any image with a human or animal in them. Try it out and see how powerful it is!

The other tool that I enjoy using is the Hemingway Editor which can help simplify obtuse terms in my writing.

 

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

Definitely coffee! I love the Vietnamese style coffee, and use a filter device that we bought from Ho Chi Minh city. However, I drink my coffee (mostly robusta with some arabica beans) black without sugar!

Geek, nerd and bookworm, Walter is the founder of content marketing agency Cooler Insights. His clients include brands like Citibank, The Pan Pacific Hotels Group, and Microsoft, as well as upcoming leaders. A certified trainer and speaker, he trained close to 3,000 trainees in over 160 workshops, classes and conferences. Connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter (@coolinsights).

Bryan Ruby – SocPub

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

My biggest advice to entrepreneurs is “don’t do it alone”. I think most entrepreneurs start their business with only one worker on the payroll…themselves. While it’s nice to have control through one set of eyes of the type of business you want to build, you’re inadvertently creating at the start a poor foundation for your business to grow on.

Some of my websites have been very successful, but I don’t know if I would ever call myself a successful entrepreneur. For me personally, my mistakes were that I felt I needed to not only be the website owner and editor, but also the marketer, the web designer, and the developer. I look back now and I wish I would have found the right partners to work on my projects instead of trying to do it all by myself under limited resources.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

Although it’s been around for a number of years, I find that my daily driver for keeping up with online articles is Feedly. I’m still a fan of reading blogs and articles and finding those articles through their syndicated news feeds (RSS feeds). Utilizing services like Feedly and RSS feeds are a great way to be notified of newly posted articles from my favorite websites without filling my email inbox or hoping someone else sends me the news via social media or algorithms from a search engine.

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

I take my coffee in cups of three. The first one with a little bit of sugar, the second one with a cookie on the side, and the third black.

 

Bryan Ruby is owner and editor for socPub. He founded the site originally as CMS Report in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn more about content management systems. Since then he prefers to talk and write articles on a wide-range of topics that include marketing strategy, information technology, social media, software development, and consumer technology. Bryan continues to be an an active member in the content management and information technology community.

Ian Loew – Lform

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

Do not be a general practioner. Select a niche, become an expert and limit your services. For many years I didn’t want to stifle my creativity thus I took everyone under the sun. Ultimately I grew to a certain point and then plateaued. Approximately 7 years ago I made the decision to focus on helping business to business (B2B) manufacturers with a focus on web design and development which has served us very well. Now companies across the United States are reaching out to us.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

I use a multitude of SEO online software to track my clients’ performance like SEMRush.comAHREFs.com and Alexa.com. When I need to get a true sense of how a client is performing in a specific location iSearchFrom.com is a simple and free tool to see immediate standings. For instance I might want to know how our client CAST-Lighting.com is performing for the term “perimeter lighting” on Google if I were located in Chicago. Within a matter of seconds I’m able to deduce that they are in the #1 slot.

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

I’m super sensitive to caffeine but can’t live without my Allegro’s Organic Mexican Light Roast from Whole Foods / Amazon with some milk. 

 

While receiving his degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon, Ian began his long journey to web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert. After graduating in 1999, Ian was thrown into the dot com boom and worked at Toysrus.com’s in-house web design department.

Following the dot com crash and Toyrus.com’s merger with Amazon, Ian found himself at the doors of MGT Design, a New Jersey agency known for its work with Bed, Bath & Beyond and Chubb Insurance. After four years of helping Fortune 500 companies, Ian embarked on his freelance career. He worked at agencies like Up Design and Smith Design before establishing Lform in 2005. Today—more than two decades later—Ian continues to orchestrate the creation of modern, responsive websites that reflect his clients’ core values. He leads his team of creative professionals to deliver inspired online experiences, and enjoys helping each client move the needle. When not at the helm, Ian can be found mountain biking with friends or spending time with his wife, Audrey, and two young children, Ava and Evan.

Glenn Brooks – WebWize

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

I started WebWize in 1994, long before most of my competition was out of diapers. I was knocking on doors selling websites while most businesses hadn’t a clue about the internet, let alone a website and why they should pay me to create one.  Hundreds of companies have gone under during my 26 years in business.  Most of the time, there is a common contributing factor, trying to be everything to everybody. 

My philosophy has been to stick with 3 principles. Stay focused on my direct services (stay in my lane), offer my services at a fair price and provide customer service that is unsurpassed by my competition.  Staying in my lane and not trying to be everything to everyone is probably my best decision.  If you try to offer too many services, you will be spread too thin and not do anything well.  Only when you offer great products and services at a fair price with unsurpassed customer service can you charge a sustainable rate.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

I know SEMRush is not a little know online tool, but how I use it is probably a bit different. Although SEMRush is a paid service, I keep a WebWize account active. Not only do I use the SEO tools for our site but also I use it before each possible new client’s first meeting. SEMRush provides many powerful tools for historical data, pre-keyword research, current technical issues, etc. The SEMRush system furnishes a wealth of tools for proper prepping before meeting a new client. I meet new clients with a wealth of historical data about their domain, issues with the site, and solutions that are backed up with data. This allows me to provide information my competition does not. For the monthly cost, it has paid for itself thousand times over.

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

Morning Coffe is mandatory; bold flavor with a tablespoon of Crème Brulee Coffemate.  Hmmm-hmmm-good!

 

Glenn Brooks is the founder and CEO of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has been providing web design and development services, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art. He worked in the advertising, marketing and printing industries before starting WebWize.

Varun Dubey – WBComs Designs

Q1: What’s the best advice you can offer aspiring tech entrepreneurs?

The best advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs is to make the sure day is productive. Try to learn a new thing every day. Properly balance your time for working and learning. Create a good network. And last but not least, forgive yourself for any mistakes.

Q2: What is your favorite little known online tool and why?

  1. Stack Overflow – Helpful to developers by giving them a look at their approaches. This makes the debugging process much easier. 
  2. Chrome Developers Tool – Gives you the ability to look at the whole source code. Provides deep access and fasten the overall process.

Q3: How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer another kind of morning beverage?

Coffee with a combination of daily news and a quick glance at emails.

 

Varun Dubey is the founder and CEO of WordPress Development Agency WBcom Designs. He works as a full stack web developer and WordPress based product designer. He has 10+ years of web designing experience and worked on various freelance platforms. Checkout his freelance profile Upwork and connect with him on LinkedIn.

About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.