New and experienced entrepreneurs alike can benefit from the experiences of Ryan Andreas. He began as an entrepreneur at the tender age of 13, going on to run numerous online companies during his college years at the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
This practical experience, combined with the theoretical knowledge he gained by studying entrepreneurship in school, gives Andreas a unique understanding of what it takes to successfully market digital companies using the most advanced tools available. Today, he applies this know-how as the managing partner of Quantified Media, an advertising agency specializing in the marriage of data and creativity in the marketing vertical.
We recently sat down with Mr. Andreas to discuss what has made him such a successful entrepreneur. He also provided some valuable tips to those interested in following in his footsteps.
What inspired you to start Quantified Media?
I love to learn, but I also enjoy teaching what I have learned to younger entrepreneurs who may not have learned the same lessons yet. My position at Quantified Media allows me to share the lessons that I had to discover on my own.
How does Quantified Media make money?
We generate revenue by creating products for people. Our approach is very straight forward. We’ll test the waters to see if there’s a market first before getting started on the manufacturing process. If there’s a hungry market, we will start scaling in that area and build a full brand and product line around it.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
At first, I didn’t think that I needed a mentor to help me along the way. That changed when I started working with my business partner. Together, we have been able to scale Quantified Media to 140 employees across three different countries – growth I could never have achieved on my own.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
It was the idea that I didn’t need a mentor to consult before making difficult decisions. I have since discovered that most successful entrepreneurs have at least one expert they can call at any time, making it a little easier to make a tough decision when needed.
How did you get your first customer?
You mean at the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey? (Laughs) I was just a kid at the time, and I’m not going to lie and say that I remember all the specifics. I will tell you that an enterprising youth can succeed in the business world before they graduate high school if they work for it hard enough.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using to generate new business?
I’m always looking to hire intellectually curious individuals who are willing to keep up with our dynamic industry. In fact, we’re in the process of hiring at Quantified Media. If we all research the latest trends and time it right, we are sure to be able to help every customer who walks through our proverbial door. The result is a positive customer experience that keeps them coming back for more.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
You mean I can only pick one? (Laughs) I face challenging decisions every day in my role as Managing Partner at Quantified Media, so it’s nearly impossible to single one out.
What makes you successful?
Research! Digital marketing is an ever-changing field. There is no such thing as an ideal strategy, you need to be constantly adapting both to industry trends and the needs of the market. Constant research and being aware of ever changing trends ensures that our team is set up for success.
What has been your most satisfying business moment?
Every time we create a product that hits home with a consumer and achieves the results they’re looking for, is a satisfying moment for me.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I love the growth of video content, especially live video content, because it helps digital marketing feel more personal than just static image banners. Prospective customers can get the instant gratification previously possible only with a face-to-face meeting, helping online ads resonate more than they used to be able to.
What business books have inspired you?
Grit, the New York Times bestseller penned by Angela Duckworth. She argues persuasively that success is the result of equal parts passion and perseverance, a combination she calls grit. I have faced numerous challenges over my professional lifetime, but managed to overcome them all to become what I am today.
What recent purchase helped your business?
This might sound weird, but I treated myself to a nice dinner the other night. I firmly believe that entrepreneurs need regular rest intervals to come up with the ideas that fuel their enterprises; you cannot be working 24/7 and expect to perform well.
What is one piece of advice you feel prospective entrepreneurs need to know?
Stay focused! Too many entrepreneurs pursue every opportunity they see, instead of focusing on one. They end up with 10 failed businesses under one umbrella instead of a successful one as a result.