On Friday we read Part 1 of the story of Jim Fitzgerald, entrepreneur, CEO of Taradel, and my Dad. He told us what made him realize he didn't want to work for some else anymore, the importance of decisiveness and when he feels most inspired. Today it's all about the specifics - from the culture he's built in the Taradel office, to what he looks for when hiring potential employees (they're hiring now!!) and the two criteria he seeks out when purchasing a new painting for his collection. Read along, and in the words of my father, "Sell something. Sell something. Sell something. SELL. SOMETHING" :)
How did you come up with a profitable price point for your products?
We’re a web based business. We do business in all 50 states and we generate 100 leads a day. It’s our digital lead generation process that helps us define price points. When we launch a new product we create multiple landing pages that we continuously optimize to reveal the most profitable price point over time. We use Hubspot to create landing pages.
What books, magazines or websites would you recommend to beginner artists/business owners for ideas?
The New Rules of Marketing PR by David Meerman Scott
INC Magazine & blog
Richmond BizSense Website – sends an email every morning with a local snapshot of all the business related news in Richmond
What advice do you have for those who want to start their own business? What do you wish you had known before you got started?
That I had started sooner.
Sell something. Sell something. Sell something. Sell. Something!
To me, it’s all about data points. You can’t move to the next point without an original data point.
*If you consider yourself risk averse, don’t think about going into business for yourself. You have to take risks.
When you started Taradel, how long did you wait until you hired your first employee? What did they do? What made you want to hire somebody?
June 2006 hired Allie to do bookkeeping, two months later hired Chris for marketing. I wanted to build a scalable business/ a business that can grow rapidly, and you can’t do that by yourself.
When hiring, what qualities do you look for in a potential employee?
I’m not interested in motivating people. I hire motivated people. You’re going to spend more time with the people you work with than anyone else in your life, I want ambitious created well-adjusted happy people.
So you value personality over skill?
I think you can demand both because it’s all about the culture you build. And people intuitively sense the culture when they enter an environment. Smart creative people want to be around other smart creative people.
Is Taradel hiring right meow?
Yes. Right now we’re looking for a graphic designer who’s fluent in French.
What’s the nicest or most insulting thing anyone has ever told you about your business?
Not long after I started my business, someone who I had a tremendous amount of respect for told me that I would fail.
The best was in a meeting at the USPS headquarters and one of the executives responsible for the Every Door Direct Mail program and he said that he thought I was the “Steve Jobs of Direct Mail”.
What’s your advice on how to handle criticism?
You have to have a thick skin and recognize the difference between when the thick skin needs to be Teflon or when you need to seriously consider the criticism aimed at you because it could be really helpful. But always defer to your own strategy in the midst of criticism.
What do you think is the hardest thing about being a business owner?
Recognizing and accepting the fact that 90% of the people in political office are painfully unaware of the importance of the free market and managing the frustration as a result of that.
You have two flawless daughters, two strapping sons-in-law, two genius grandsons, the prettiest wife the world ever did see, plus three successful businesses. Somehow you still have time for things like golfing and reading 17 books at once, how do you find balance?
Haha! When you do pretty much what you want to do 24 hours a day, balance finds you.
Who is your favorite artist & why?
BESIDES MANDY :) …DaVinci, because he understood and could balance his imagination with practical ideas.
You’ve collected artwork (besides mine) – as a collector, what stands out to you?
There are two criteria and they don’t necessarily have to be combined.
1) A piece can be very pleasing to my eye
2) It has to be provocative, which is why I love:
(points to painting below by local Richmond artist, Titus Marques) and it just so happens to have the Taradel colors in it!
What advice do you have for 2015 college graduates ?
I think they should spend a lot of time on objective reality and the virtue of selfishness. There’s a great line in Goodwill Hunting where the protagonist challenges a Harvard student “you dropped 150 grand on a f***in' education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!”
Kids are taught in school today to serve others.
Serve yourself and the world becomes a better place. And that’s a very difficult concept for people to understand because it goes against everything they’ve learned their whole lives. You say the “virtue of selfishness” and people give you a funny look. But think about it, what would happen if everyone took care of themselves?
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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