Libby is the Founder CEO of Beer2Buds and PromoBomb. Beer2Buds is a marketplace where friends can send beer to friends anywhere. PromoBomb is a SaaS product that enables businesses to efficiently create, track, and distribute promotions and analyze promotion effectiveness over time.
While building businesses Libby finds time to travel and live abroad. She has lived in countries like Hungary, Nicaragua, Argentina, just to name a few.
Success Harbor: Hi everyone this is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have Libby Tucker with me, Libby created two location independent startups. Beer2Buds and PromoBomb. She started these businesses while traveling. She has lived in countries like Hungary, Nicaragua, Argentina, to name a few, while building product, running online & offline marketing, and acquiring paying customers. If you ever wondered about how to build a location independent business you will love this interview. Welcome.
Libby Tucker: Thanks George, what a great introduction, thanks for having me,
Success Harbor: Thank you very much for being here Libby, on one of your websites, live work anywhere you start out by saying I have built the life creating and managing start ups while traveling the world. When did you start travelling and building businesses?
Libby Tucker: Well I started…, I hadn’t left the country till I was 20 years old, so I was kind of a late bloomer and that’s when my entire travel experience started, my eyes were opening to traveling the world and that’s when I was 20 but when I actually came back from my trip and I started into my general life routine and I didn’t leave the corporate world until 2005. That’s when I started working. First, just trying to grow a consulting business, web consulting, trying to build websites and then I realized around 2008/2009, that the reason I was doing that was so that I can have location freedom and so that I could travel more and I wasn’t doing enough, so in 2009, in March, actually in St. Patrick’s day, I had bought a ticket and completely packed and condensed my entire life and digitized everything that I could and I narrowed my life actually down to four boxes. I put everything I could into 4 boxes, got rid of the CDs and I put everything in a backup drive, pre-dropbox and then I went to start Beer2Buds prior to leaving in 2009 and then I just packed up and went to figure that there’s one way, only way I could figure how to do it, is only by doing it, so I started in 2009…
Success Harbor: So these four boxes, so what was that process like to put everything into four boxes, because I feel like we want to hang on to a lot of things and we collect things, I think human beings are collectors of stuff. What was the process like to purge all that stuff that you collected over the years?
Libby Tucker: Purge is a great word because it was a great purge and a great cleansing. Yeah I had a couple of houses, I had cars, I had tons of stuff and it was a really great experience trying to figure out what I really needed first of all and what was most important to me. So the things I really needed to survive, I still live this way, in terms of what do I just need the basics to survive, a place to lay my head, a place for work, you know the basic needs, food, shelter and that sort of stuff. But in terms of what I needed to keep, again I got rid of all the CDs, I took all my music and made it all digital, so I still like to hang on to some of that, but really my photo albums were really important because they meant a lot to me, people and experiences, things that I couldn’t replace, things like somebody had given me a very special gift and I wanted to hang on to that, so I made a list of things that really mattered to me, and those were my basic needs that really mattered and I got rid of everything that didn’t matter including old clothes, I did several trips to goodwill, I got rid of anything that was material. I sold of a ton of things like TVs and radios and …
Success Harbor: Is it liberating to get rid of your stuff?
Libby Tucker: Amazing, everybody should do it, it’s incredible.
Success Harbor: It’s funny because we just sold our house and we rent a place now, a much smaller place and it felt so good to get rid of stuff, I don’t know why people collect so much junk.
Libby Tucker: Right, we do and it ads up quickly and It is a good idea to purge as often as possible. And challenge yourself not to have a ton of stuff. It really frees you and it allows you to think more clearly and it allows you to have more freedom.
Success Harbor: Yeah, so what was the reaction of your environment, your friends, family, did they think you were crazy or…
Libby Tucker: My mom held on to my clothes because she was like ok I don’t know what she is doing, this is just a phase, and she is gonna come back for these. So, she thought I was absolutely nuts and then my Aunt sent me a book. What was the book she sent me? But she was really worried that I was going to go off trying to find myself and never come back, oh yeah they had all these different worries and fears. And, it was clearly new.
Success Harbor: So hard to go against the norm. So lets talk about Beer2Buds, if someone doesn’t know what Beer2Buds is, why don’t you explain it. What is Beer2Buds?
Libby Tucker: Well let me tell you first how it came about, because it has to do with traveling and I had made that connection early on and then later on I remembered, when I studied abroad in Spain, my first experience going abroad when I was twenty, don’t need to say the year, my friend and I took nine in classes in Spanish, four in a university and five in little language schools and I couldn’t wait at end of the day just to meet my friends at the local pub, have a beer, and speak English and talk about the day, the ins and outs, the challenges or the great parts about living in another country. When you are forced to be, not forced, When you are in a place away from friends and family for an extended period of time or for a very unique period of time like when you go away to college like in this case I was away for six months studying abroad, you tend to form really strong bonds with people, even sitting on the airplane for two hours you can form a bigger bond with somebody you telling them more about your life than you would to somebody you have known for sometimes a year or several years, anyway so, here I was so, after we form great experiences I left Spain I was working at my desk one day in Milwaukee, big beer town, on a Friday afternoon and my friend who I used to hang out with in Spain and Sweden sent me an e-mail with a picture of a beer in it and he said to me Hey remember when we used to hang out in this pub and all of a sudden it opened all these memories of the experiences that we had when we were together, spending that time together a couple of years before, in that case, so I wanted to create a way, I thought it was probably the best gift, or is the best gift you can ever send somebody is an experience or something that invokes an experience, in our case it was a beer, what great way to keep in touch with somebody than to send them a beer that they could actually take down like to the local pub and redeem it, so that’s kind of a story of how it all came about, and relating it to travel but it’s just that it’s a system, it is beer commerce, say e-commerce where friends can actually send each other beer money when they can’t be there in person to share, so it’s a gift from friends a thousand miles away, we have local bars that are participating in twenty-one major metro areas, say for example George you are in San Diego and I am in New York, it’s your birthday and I can’t be there to share, I go to Beer2Buds.com and I select a twenty dollar beer card and at a local pub near you and you go down and you are able to redeem it, take cash of your tab. It works like a gift certificate.
Success Harbor: So when you came up with this idea, did you go through some kind of process to validate your idea or was the hunch kind of enough for you to pursue it?
Libby Tucker: I have gone through so many iterations and so many validations and challenges.
Success Harbor: Can you give some examples of how you tried to validate it?
Libby Tucker: Sure, and keep me on track because I might go off on tangents. But, initially when I started first with the regional concept and I draw it all out on the notepad that’s back in 2001 originally, then I drew it all out, how it’s going to launch and how it’s going work and then I ended up saying I really should include not just beer, I should include drinks, I should include this and that, I should integrate it with this, and then the idea got big and much bigger, originally even before I got to validate it, originally just from listening to people and thinking too much…
Success Harbor: So did you talk to a lot of people or did you just think about the idea a lot?
Libby Tucker: Both, later on what I did, I ended up bringing the idea back down to the very simplest core, the very simple concept, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). What do I need to accomplish from A to B, and when I figured out what A to B was, I went back and did official surveys, like survey monkey, try to ask friends, but friends are always gonna tell you either it’s terrible or awesome depending, but they’ll never really I wanted to talk to people who were actually going to use the product, so I did surveys but I also went out and I created a very simple product with five bars in West Seattle and also asked the bar owners, I spent a lot of time in the bars because the bars were my customers and the beer drinkers were my customers so I had to figure out from both side what was kind of a good balance between the two sides which were the two-sided market problems, that is which one do in serve first, who is my true customer, what would make the right balance, what would make people actually send money and what will make the bar owners happy because we are getting enough customers, so I did a lot of research, talking to bar owners talking to potential customers I created what I thought was the system that they wanted and then I launched with that, I did a lot of Google analytics, I measured all of the different Facebook ads to figure what the conversion rates were, what my conversion funnel looked like. This is kind of a pre heat maps or A/B testing, but I guess, actually A/B testing was kind of the starting, but it wasn’t as simply as it is now, trying to figure out what people want from that point on, that was how I was doing a lot of different things and still going ahead talking to people.
Success Harbor: Did you kind of pre-sell anything before building anything?
Libby Tucker: I didn’t, I think it’s with some products that works really well to make a landing page and drive traffic to it and just check to see where they are going to click and what their user behaviors are. Had I tools like Unbounce spin around, I realized that you could do this kind of smoke test ahead of time before actually launching out, my impression was that you have to go as big as possible, I talked to VCs, told them about the idea and they wanted me to build a billion dollar idea and I listened to a lot of that feedback without realizing that I could do something much more simpler.
Success Harbor: Do you think it is a bad idea to try to go as big as possible?
Libby Tucker: Yeah, I do actually, because it is a failure waiting to happen, you have to start small and you have to iterate and test and iterate and test, for some products you can just make the landing page and test for conversions, for some products you do have to build an A/B with Promobomb and Beer2Buds, and particularly with Promobomb, Beer2Buds I just wanted keep building and building, and what happens is you build and build and build and if you are not doing any testing, if you are just listening to the market or VCs or whomever, you build and you build so many features and you spend all your money, now (a) you need to support all these features and (b) customers you find out aren’t going to use all those features, they say they wanted them but they don’t really want them, so you have to measure user behavior.
Success Harbor: So quickly let us explain what Promobomb is, as some people in the audience may not know, would you explain that briefly?
Libby Tucker: So while we were working on Beer2Buds we had an iPhone app that was to validate this beer card on your phone, it was such a new concept at that time, that we were having great adoption in terms of people liking it or signing up but not necessarily using it and group-on and dailydeals sites launched and they completely flooded the market, they did an awesome job like about a thousand group-ons would be bought for one location and they have a month to use it or six month to use it and they sort of negatively impacted us, everybody was daily deal crazy for a little while… it positively impacted us in the sense that the market was now been trained on how to use smart phones and validate on your phones etcetera, but what we did is we found our sales sort of decreasing instead of increasing and our sign-ups decreasing and our bar owners asking us, they wanted to run their own promotions in our particular demographic, bars and restaurants,… they weren’t huge fans of group-ons because they didn’t have a lot of control over their promotion and they weren’t able to, they were losing money in some cases and the feedback we kept getting was that we don’t want to just do beer, we are a restaurant we have not chosen we have Pizza and we also want to have control over our customers’ data, group-on takes all of our data we want to keep control over that. So that was on the bar side, and on the merchant side, on the customer side or user side we started seeing an increase in adoption, we ran a couple of test and experiment and instead of just building a feature we ran these experiments, and found out that that if we ran a promotion, testing a local promotion with beer and Beer2Buds and we found a higher conversion not just only local promotions but we did deals just to kind of test and see how the market was going, so one of the VCs we talked to said why don’t you create a groupon for beer only, so it was just daily deal craze, we thought we had tested out, but with doing a lot of customer testing, talking to our customer and user testing we found that our customers wanted a system like groupon but more control, so we found a higher conversion, so we created, essentially, Promobomb was a product inside Beer2Buds at first, and then we decided to spin it off and create it as its own product, the software is a service product that allows bars, restaurant and even retail, as we have expanded our market, to create these promotions, open-ended promotions, track them, distribute them to their own network, and partner networks, and then be able to track all of the data real-time and to keep their customer data.
Success Harbor: What are the signs that help you to make a decision to spin it off so to speak and turn it into a product?
Libby Tucker: Confusion, some people said its Beer2Buds, how come I am getting nacho promotions. So It is a very similar product except for one is gifting and ecommerce Beer2Buds and another one it is a software as a service that renders service, you pay monthly fees.
Success Harbor: So today, how would you compare the two businesses, that is, I don’t want to say more successful but which one is more widely adopted?
Libby Tucker: Beer2Buds has the cool factor, some people remember it more, Promobomb is more practical, some people are more willing to pay for it, they do not remember it as much.
Success Harbor: One is more of a utility.
Libby Tucker: Yeah, Beer2Buds opens the door, Promobomb is the one people really want.
Success Harbor: Now let us talk about building brands on a budget, at this point do you have investors for either of these businesses?
Libby Tucker: No, they are self–funded or either self-sustaining, I have had ups and downs and I’m currently bootstrapping to kind of do some technical work on them.
Success Harbor: So basically let us talk about building your brand on a budget because I assume that’s what is the situation, so what advice do you have or what are you doing to build your brand at this point?
Libby Tucker: There is a lot of different ways you can go about building you brand, the first thing is knowing what your brand is and what it represents and having strong clarity over that, like I designed branding guides, so I know what my brand is and what it represents, so having clarity is first, and then in terms of building it, well for Beer2Buds, talking to the bars and the restaurants often and giving signage that represented the brand, and with customers we use it to throw events and parties and getting involved on a budget, the biggest things that have done a lot of stuff on the budget is networking, getting out to events, taking speaking gigs when you can, hosting events, people remember your brand, partnering with people, trying to think of any specific examples, but we did some fun and unique things like we created games, sending a beer or you have to tap on the sticker… we handed out event stickers and you had to like tap on the sticker, created drinking games still in order to make the drink an official brand, and created anything that would keep the concept in somebody’s mind, so like we also figured how can we take the action that happened at the event and get people talking about it at the water cooler afterward.
Success Harbor: So if you look at Beer2Buds and Promobomb what are the most effective marketing channels or what have been the most effective marketing channels?
Libby Tucker: In terms of Beer2Buds, partnering local events, facebook, social platforms…
Success Harbor: So you are partnering with… who are you partnering with, for example?
Libby Tucker: I am thinking more on the Promobomb side, in terms of partnering, say there is a company that’s not competing but has exactly the same demographic, Promobomb is a service adds-on, so I am not huge on partnerships because they don’t usually pan-out, but in terms of synergies, where you can do either co-events or co-promotions to similar audience, so we have the same target demographics and so we are able to kind of cross promote each other’s products, that’s one, Beer2Buds in terms of like, we would sponsor happy hours, so if in our target demographics if somebody would have a happy hour, we will say hey can we get involved in that, we would love to sponsor it… by sponsoring it, I mean just like either buying a keg or again speaking of, on a budget, something that’s not a huge, or we will buy everybody there first beer, you know 20 beers or something, and in exchange we get on the meetup list, or the flyer, hand out cards, usually like we print out a Beer2Buds card like five dollars off promotion or something, like that when we go to different events, so partnering and I’m kind of getting back to answering your brand question as well.
Success Harbor: Yeah, what does your team look like, you are in twenty one markets right now, if I remember correctly, so how do you put physical bodies in those locations, do you need to do that?
Libby Tucker: I think there is a huge advantage to that, our budget doesn’t allow for that, we did have a competitor who did raise a lot of money and put a local rep in each market, they are now out of business. I really like to keep things light and lean, it’s be smarter but a lot more expensive way to go, to have somebody in the local market. I have played around with having affiliates and partnerships in various markets, for example somebody who runs a beer blog or runs a beer event or beer magazine or something like that, I definitely explored partnerships like that in local markets with some people who are already there. But for the most part my team is completely remote. I have also experimented with and it scales up and it scales down depending on the needs that we have, I did raise some money, I did have some full time local talents, by local I mean, we had like an office, well a virtual office, never really worked in a full time office, but in the same market where we worked together but now I have kind of gone back to the remote and virtual team, focusing on team collaboration remotely, scaling and in my own case it wasn’t smart to raise a bunch of money and then try hire a lot of people, that are really expensive, when I can keep cost really low, and I can continue, if I want to launch a feature then we work on development, and if I want to focus on a blogging campaign then we work with writers, so I like to keep it kind of paced out, miles stones and on, depending on our needs.
Success Harbor: What I am thinking is the challenge of building a market place because there is always a kind of that balance, there is need for that balance, do you run into that problem at all. For example, when I was browsing through your site, I have a friend in Glendale, so I selected the Glendale tab and I got the message that this bar is not yet part of the Beer2Buds network, so then I put in my name and email, so what happens next, at that point?
Libby Tucker: I saw that come true, we just launched a new part of the site, I used a team that I have on elance. I have gone back and forth between hiring people all individually versus hiring a kind of a project manager to run the project and they have a team, but in this case I was managing the team and we just launched this new site, and what you experienced was a new lead generation feature, so we are still kind of testing this out ,but the idea is that because we don’t have people in local markets we are trying to have our user base built on a lead list, so when you clicked on that it actually suggest that you send us an email, it goes into our system, we have a list of these leads that are warm leads or warmer they are not direct of course and then we categorize them and we start going after them either through our emails or calls, I used to have a cold calling system that I implemented when we first scaled Beer2Buds, it’s been kind of on hold for a little while we haven’t done any outbound or any active sort of marketing, it’s been just on inbound and kind of refunding. I don’t know if you have kind of heard this before, when I had raised funds and hired my CTO had passed away suddenly.
Success Harbor: I have heard this but the audience haven’t heard it, so why don’t you share it because it is an important part of your story, I think.
Libby Tucker: We had some good momentum going while making Beer2Buds, we scaled to over 200 bars, it was actually 62 cities, 7 countries, 21 major metro areas, and things were going great we had our launch party, getting some good attraction, but we did have feature creep, we were building lots of features and the next point was to raise additional funds and continue on. The CTO at a time he had an aneurysm that lead to stroke literally on a Thursday afternoon he was just gone, so that set us back quite a bit, we were in the process of re-launching Promobomb at that time, so we were low on funds, we lost our development talent and then one of the developers really kind of new to the market kind of stepped up and did some of the work. It was challenging, the team lost moral, people wanted to be part of the success, it took a big impact on the team, so we were at the point when we were on a kind of downward… Group-on was at that time, coming to market, everybody wanted daily deals… we took quite a bit of a hit, so I have been kind of, in the mean time rebuilding funds, rebuilding teams…
Success Harbor: Have you considered quitting?
Libby Tucker: Yeah, absolutely,
Success Harbor: And why not quit? I am glad you didn’t, I am just asking because it seems so easy a lot of times to quit.
Libby Tucker: I talked to two friends yesterday and I said ‘hey how is that project going’ and they said ‘I quit’ and they actually used that word, they said ‘I quit’ I think it is becoming really common, I could have quit but… (1) is that I don’t want to give up (2) is that I still think there still an idea there, the only thing, somebody challenged me and said well may be I too much invested and had to keep going with it, and some ways yes because I had money to pay back to investors, so in that case yes, and not wanting to fail and some of that. But I think what I did instead was realize that I didn’t have to quit in order to continue to, in failures you learn so much, in trying times you learn so much, and the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is picking yourself back up and being resilient, and that’s what really makes an entrepreneur, so I also have a lot of friends that have stories that they blew through 9 million dollars of funding and they didn’t get cash flow positive until year nine, a lot of friends I know stick around for nine years and they didn’t quit. So if your vision and passion is big enough and you are able to stick through the hard times and learn from them then I think it is worth pursuing.
Success Harbor: So I just want to really understand because it is such a hard question for entrepreneurs, there are times when you should quit right? but how do I know when it’s the good time to quit, was it your passion for this businesses that would not allow you to quit and keep on going?
Libby Tucker: Yeah I think there is some of that. I think there is passion and I think there is some ego,… but what I did, was that I moved it off to as a side project, I recognized that it wasn’t going to be a full time project, and instead of just saying I am going to throw in the towel and quit, I realized I was going to create something else as my primary source of revenue and moved it to the side and then I could still work on it and still learn from it, there was still so much….
Success Harbor: So you took some of the pressure off of yourself?
Libby Tucker: Right, because I think once you get to the point where you are so obsessed with something that you just want to keep working on it all the time, that you won’t accept no for an answer, you won’t accept failure, that is an admirable quality in some ways but you can also drive yourself into the ground.
Success Harbor: That’s incredibly stupid at times? So tell me what would have told you to really quit, like what would have to be different in your situation? I like want to know when do you think is a good time, like what have to happen for you to say it doesn’t just make sense to go on?
Libby Tucker: I think, if I was getting a lot of negative feedback and I didn’t have a lot emotion or money invested into it, but I think it’s primarily the feedback, I mean you have to separate the emotion out at some points, and say ok this is fun but it is not working because nobody likes it, the numbers aren’t backing it up, it never makes any money or made some money but it didn’t stick around, whatever the case may be. But, it made some business sense and still does in my mind. Sometimes it’s not the right time or timing. So I am taking the pressure off, looking at from what it is. It is not the only adventure I have had, I have had lots of little trials and errors, lots of different start up ideas, and I guess a lot of it comes down to traction. A lot it comes down to passion,….. but really I guess that the smart move isn’t getting any traction and do I have the passion and energy that I want to put into even if it does get traction.
Success Harbor: So how do you look at it, are we talking about Beer2Buds now or Promobomb or are we talking about both? In terms of potential failure and the way we talked about your business now?
Libby Tucker: They both have a stage where can really put on the passion and energy behind them and go for that billion dollar….
Success Harbor: So do you set some milestones for yourself, say for the next 6 months, next 12 months , 2 years, for example for you to know that this what the business has to hit for you to pursue it any further?
Libby Tucker: Yes, there is a couple of difference, when you are in a growth mode, yes, right now have being in a kind of a sustainability mode. There is a cash flow business and there is a lifestyle business and then there is the
“I am trying to actively grow” business mode, and I haven’t been in that business mode for a little while because there was some development gaps. But when I am in that mode, yes I absolutely then it comes down to managing the bug balance on the site, so doing some product development, features and bugs, usually I refer back to minimum viable product, what do we need to have absolutely out, don’t get feature creep, figure out what you need to launch and that’s it, then you go very agile, meaning once a week you do your releases, once a week you do your updates, every single week you are on track with your development team. From a sales cycle, definitely if the product is out, it is hard to get a zero bug balance, but if the product is at low, it’s functioning and there is activity in customers are liking it, then absolutely setting up a sales team, creating funnels, having our leads, passing it back and forth amongst team members and working them to the stages, sure we have weekly …and monthly goals, 3 months, 6 months milestones, and trying to measure the business in terms of overall growth, not only growth, but like in a SaaS model I guess, I am thinking more of SaaS now, in a SaaS model, it’s more of measuring instead of just like growth and sales, like what is my churn, so in other words I may be bringing a lot of customers in the door but how quickly am I losing them and then going back and looking at that and then saying now what’s the next phase, let’s say we want to get 10000 leads, we want to bring in 100 customers so what do we need to do to get that and how long should it take and then consistently measuring that.
Success Harbor: What is your take on focusing a multiple project simultaneously?
Libby Tucker: Yeah, it’s tough…
Success Harbor: Do you recommend it, I mean for you it sound like it was a natural evolution, to have Beer2Buds and then Promobomb because they were so related and then one was kind of born out of the other, do you recommend trying to pursue two or you think one should focus on one business at a time?
Libby Tucker: I think you should know yourself and how you work best, I tend to have a hard time just focusing on one thing, it actually gives me energy to focus on something else and then usually inspires me or gives me a break on the thing that I am working and then something comes to me and then I switch back to the other one. I can’t say recommend it or don’t recommend it, I think, most people don’t recommend it because of fear of getting distracted, and I can definitely understand that but I think it’s really about knowing yourself and just overall don’t take on too much if it is making you happy and if you are really going after it and it is giving you energy, and you are able to focus on these things and be productive and great, and if you are not, you are feeling overwhelmed, tired and anxious, then it should be re-prioritized or given up. Then I have to do that process constantly.
Success Harbor: So let’s talk about your remote team, what are some of the challenges, how do you keep your team going? I don’t if you can talk about the size of your team and what people do…, I would imagine that you are in different geographical locations, so how do you stay on top of it being in different geographical locations?
Libby Tucker: Yeah, we are all over the place. It really depends on the project anywhere from Buffalo, New York, Arizona to El Salvador to Philippines to Hungary, I know you are from Hungary, the designer who redid the new Beer2Buds look is from Hungary, all different time zones what we do is we focus on one single time zone, when we are collaborating, if it’s piece work like I say hey Gabor – I am not sure how to pronounce that – if you can design this butterfly based on my mark-up then by the end of the week you get back to me, then we don’t have to worry about time zone it’s just communication back and forth, but if we are actually having meetings particularly for sales and development then we all agree to one time zone and work after that time zone, in our case it is Eastern Standard Time zone and regardless of where I am in the world I work in that time zone, that’s just the way we work. Communication and project management tools are incredibly important, I used everything from pivotal tracker to Trello, Trello is one of my favorite apps of late even for development which I never thought I would use it for, and what else, Google docs, Google spread sheets, all the Google apps, like right now I am doing a blog, I will write it in the blog post, I believe very much in systems, system keeps everything going, there is a little bit more of management up front but it is incredibly productive.
Success Harbor: And it is scalable, right?
Libby Tucker: It is scalable, for example, I have a Google site wiki, I’m a big fan of Google sites. People make fun of me, I do huge knowledge base, I have all my knowledge base for development, I have my knowledge base for …for example live and work anywhere, the content, the branding, the design, everything, down to how our photo should look and everything goes into one knowledge base, one wiki. And, with Trello we go through various task, and I just brought a new content …and my flow is this, I write a post, I post it up in a Google doc or Google spread sheet, I put the milestone up in elance, the editor comes in, edits the post, I go through to make sure it’s good, and then somebody else comes in, actually the VA does, and takes the post puts it into WordPress, makes sure it’s SEO checked, and make sure it’s got all the images in it and they done properly compared to the design guide in the wiki and then that’s it. So all I am doing is writing in the post which is my creative energy, it’s created in my voice and in my brand, and I do a little bit of review and edit, and that’s it, it’s a full process.
Success Harbor: Yeah, systems are so important, and I am glad you brought that up, you are also doing some consulting work for elance, I think I am correct, how did you learn that gig?
Libby Tucker: So basically I used elance to build the first iterations of Beer2Buds and I used them to build this iteration of Beer2Buds, I have always been a strong component of online work, I have being using elance since 2007, I work out of a co-working space called ‘we-work’, which is now expanding like gang buster across the country and in the very beginning we just had a lab, and I was part of the first lab of we-work, I was there one day and elance was giving a presentation on a workshop and the CMO was there and I walked up to him and I said to him hey I build up my first iteration of Beer2Buds, I think you guys should have an embedded presence inside of we-work locations to really help out all these startups. I love doing this, I’d love to help get this going and bring you guys essentially into we-work, and that’s what happened, and now we-work and elance has formed a national partnership, and I am helping build out there infrastructure, I think of elance in terms of, you could either raise money, you can go to an accelerator program or you can bootstrap your company using something like elance particularly to get small projects, MVPs, minimum valuable products, A to B of the ground, so I look at it as a great option to have to be able to bootstrap build simple products and do lots of testing up front, elance is a great option especially for micro tasks, those quick projects you want to do, I have found the content editor that I am working with, I found her through elance by creating one job to edit two article and then I hired three different people to edit that same article, and then she was the one that I jelled with most and then I selected her.
Success Harbor: So you have been travelling since 2009 regularly about building businesses, when I travel I don’t even check my email, so how do you stay focused while you are abroad?
Libby Tucker: I don’t count that as a complete lifestyle change, so I work all the time but I don’t work, so I think it is important to set times, boundaries, like what I do is that I create a list of my own personal milestones in the morning, so I say what do I absolutely have to get done today, that is what are the 4 to 5 key things I have to nail today in order to make progress in my business, I am working down from my one month goal to my one week goal to my daily goal and that’s all that matters, and if I need to hit this today, if I need to make this happen regardless of where I am at in the world, I want to be completely seamless and keep operation going, but the difference is, I was in Alaska just a couple of weeks ago, I was in this little town called Haynes, Alaska and the day before I was bike riding, I took a nice long bike ride to the mountains, by the river hoping to see a bear but I didn’t, just in this little old town area where they had anyway I was enjoying meeting local people, I was bike riding , I was enjoying the local culture and then the very next morning I went to a local coffee shop and I worked there for I don’t know may be 5 hours and then right after that I met up with some friends and we had some local food. So the difference is keeping my routine or keeping some sort of routine allows you that freedom to be anywhere, so routine is really important. Like on a weekend, like you said, you don’t want to check your email, so then I plan a weekend and say within this weekend I am going to go not check my email and I am going to have an epic adventure and I am going to do it in Alaska or wherever and then get back to work and get back to your daily routine, the most important thing is routine are milestones once you hit those then you are free to do whatever you want. The difference is instead of being in New York or Seattle I can be in anywhere in the world.
Success Harbor: So talk of may be a mistake that was a great learning experience for you, you could share with our audience. Well as being an entrepreneur what was the biggest mistake you made?
Libby Tucker: Listening to too many people, listening to people that didn’t have interest in my business. You listen to your customers and that’s it, and you only listen to your customers when there is a lot of people not even saying that they want something, but what is the user behavior that drives people to do something, so really looking at building products for your customers, the other thing is, part of the reason we scaled quickly is because we were promised a partnership with, we were working with a fantasy football league and then with Miller Coors and then we scaled really quickly to build out this network so we can have this awesome partnership and then the partnership didn’t go through. So that was another key learning that you are building for your customers, you are not building for your partners, you are not building for your friends and family, you are not building for people that say they want something. Actions back up everything.
Success Harbor: I love that, nobody ever said that, what do you think is the biggest time waster for entrepreneurs?
Libby Tucker: You can waste so much time and go in so many circles, by doing what you shouldn’t do, you want to build!!!, and you want to have this dream,….you are chasing something that is superficial just because you want to get into Techcrunch, at the end of the day if you are in it, you are in it to build a business and you are in it to serve your customers, so don’t waste time anywhere else, it just doesn’t matter, that could come later.
Success Harbor: I have one more question, you could train someone let’s say your friend or someone in your family that has a job now but say now ‘I want to be an entrepreneur, what will be the first thing you would teach that person?’
Libby Tucker: Quit your job now, I have this couple of friend who did this, they quit, they made a plan but then they quit and they started off on an adventures. But the first thing to do.
Success Harbor: What is the skill or what do they need to have to set them on the right track, one thing is not going to be enough or what is the one thing they need to do first or know first?
Libby Tucker: I guess the only thing, in this my opinion, people probably want something more concrete, but I have to honestly say a lot, this is my opinion, know that you are going to have good days and bad days, and learn how to create a balanced routine and balanced schedule, and be incredibly self-disciplined because, you are not going to know everything and you may not know anything, the best business degree you can ever get is just by starting your business, listen to interviews like these, follow people who have done it before, build a great network and association around you that are going to support you particularly on those down days, that’s incredibly important to listen to the right people, and just get started, if you are looking to slowly transition out of your job, there is another great podcast called unstockable’ I think? It is on how do you get actually unstock and take the steps to transition. There is no one answer but think about, if you are a planner make some sort of a plan, like me I just jumped and learned backwards, but I wouldn’t highly recommend that, unless you are a really big risk taker. Figure out what your greatest skill sets are, what your greatest assets are, and you get feedback from other people, like what do you think I am best at, what do I do best, a friend’s advice is …figure out what you want your daily routine to look like, like what do you want your day to look like, always begin with the ending mind and work backwards, and then take it one step at a time.
Success Harbor: Sounds good, sounded like habit number two, Steven Covey….I so appreciate your coming on Success Harbor today Libby to share your story, ups and downs, everything you have learned and done, how can people connect with you and find out more about the projects you are working on today?
Libby Tucker: I am trying to centralize everything either on libbytucker.com, I have a kind of a list of everything I am working on, or liveworkanywhere.com, just shoot me a contact or shoot me an email, connect with me on facebook at ‘libby.tucker’ or linkedIn at ‘libbtuck’, you can always find me on ‘libbtucker’ or ‘libbytucker’, and I had love to connect and I love helping entrepreneurs and I give people random feedback and ideas all the time, I am not really quick to respond because I am a little swamped but happy to help, association is so important so please connect let’s all be successful together.
Success Harbor: Thank you so much and I wish you much luck with all your adventures, travels and business.
Libby Tucker: Thank you so much, thanks for having me and I wish you luck too. Bye…