I first met Samit on a remote work platform where I was applying as a content writer for the crowdfunding niche. I had newly stepped into the world of crowdfunding and it was fascinating! The dynamics of crowdfunding marketing are way different than B2B or B2C marketing. It's one of the most difficult to pull off because you're essentially asking people to play on a risk - fund your business in return for a reward, a discount or a beta experience of a product. And we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding - not just a couple of thousand bucks.
Samit Patel made all this seem easy. He didn't have fancy requirements. He didn't demand 2K word content. His only requirement - write content so easy, even a layman can get it. What I thought to be a one-time gig turned into a two-year-long work relationship where I got to learn a lot about crowdfunding, influencer marketing and Facebook ads.
Of all things though, it's his journey as an entrepreneur was what I found inspiring. I decided to ask him to share his story for this first blog post on my personal website. A fan of brevity, Samit shares his journey without much fanfare.
Here goes for you to get inspired!
1. Please tell us about yourself. Who are you and what is your journey about?
Hmm...... where do I start!
I'm Samit Patel and I run an eponymous agency that uses crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help companies launch to market. Over the years, my agency was able to raise $31 million for clients globally.
10 years ago, if you'd have told me I'd be sitting here talking about owning an agency, I'd have laughed out loud or called you crazy.
I graduated in 2009, from Queen Mary University with a degree in business management. Like every other fresh grad, my goal was to get a good job, do the 9-5, and live a happy, stress-free life. None of that was to happen. I graduated into the worst recession of our generation, faced a personal trauma involving my brother's accident, and to make it worse, couldn't find a decent enough job.
I wasn't going to get a job, so I figured, I might as well try my hands with business. What I didn't know was it would take me a decade, a fallout with people I trust, and several blows to finally land establish an agency and be known as an expert in a niche industry. I didn't know it would take me so long to finally make my first $100K in revenue.
But life has its way of working out if you took each day as it came and give it your best!
2. How did you get the idea of starting a crowdfunding agency?
I was hopping from business to business, trying to make something work. It was during one of these online ventures that I discovered how Kickstarter could be used to launch a business into the market while also securing sizeable funding.
I was helping a small tech business with its marketing campaign where I literally worked for free just to learn more and used crowdfunding to get the business $250K in its first funding round. Since then I knew that this was what I wanted to do - help tech startups get the initial funding they needed to succeed.
3. What pushed you onto the path of entrepreneurship?
Being broke! When you're broke, you really push your limits. I'm not the kind to sit and wait for opportunities to come or blame the economy for the lack of a better opportunity. I'm a big believer in being a doer.
So I set myself up to test and experiment with all kinds of business gigs. Eventually, I landed on what I thought would be a stable business, only to have my partner kick me out. At that time, I was naive and never really understood much about contracts and the legal fine print. But that's what you call growth right?
With the lessons I learned in the failed attempt, I initiated another venture, and this time I made sure those mistakes were not repeated. For instance, I would agree to every project coming my way, but now, I make sure I take on only limited projects in a month, deliver outstanding results, and develop a successful, long-term relationship with clients.
4. Now that you've achieved your entrepreneurial goal, what's the next step?
Entrepreneurship is a never-ending journey. While I may have launched a successful business, I still have miles to go. That said, my next goal is to inspire a million people to take on this journey.
It's hard, it's brutal and rewards are delayed, but if are willing to go the extra mile, it is the best thing you can do for yourself.
So my next goal - empower a million people to take on entrepreneurship by helping them with learning more about the process.
5. What advice do you have for those pursuing entrepreneurship?
Contrary to popular advice, don't quit your job to become an entrepreneur - not until you've earned the capital, built the initial infrastructure and landed a few clients.
Entrepreneurship is not a replacement to a full-time job you hate. It's a completely different journey with its own set of challenges.
I advice all aspiring entrepreneurs to start their journey as a side-hustle. Love building things? Build a product or a service as a side-hustle. Love writing or coding? Take on clients.
You can turn to it full-time when you are a 100% sure this is what you need and this is what you can rely on to make a living.
6. How has COVID impacted your business?
Like every other business, the initial few months were hard. People were reluctant to launch their products because everyone was uncertain of the situation. In the past two months though, I see a turn in events. People are beginning to accept this as a new normal and while brick and mortar businesses are finding it hard to survive, online businesses are thriving.
I could say that this is the right time for entrepreneurs to launch their products or services. With lockdowns, people are active online and are looking for solutions. If you can capture this market at this time, you're winning it!
7. One mantra you live by:
Invest in yourself. Invest in your business!
If you'd like to know more about Samit Patel and his agency please visit his website at www.samitpatel.net
You can follow him on social media where he regularly posts informative and inspirational content.