Evan Varsamis is an Entrepreneur, Founder / CEO at Gadget Flow Inc, Investor and Marketing Advisor at Qrator Ltd, Comet Core Inc and Contributor at Huffington Post, American Express Essentials. His work has been featured on Mashable, The Next Web, PCMag, Fortune, and Product Hunt.
In this interview, Evan shares how he started The Gadget Flow, his vision for his business, his attitude/traits, tips on finding customers and lessons he learned in the past.
His advice for entrepreneurs starting a business:
You should start your business where your customers are. If the majority of your customers are based in Manhattan then meet in person instead of that Skype call. It adds value to your relationship.
How did you get the idea for The Gadget Flow? Is there something you wanted to do different or better than your competitors?It started as a part-time project back in 2012, we were struggling to find a collection of high-quality curated products online and the best way to do so was to keep Googling! So one day, we decided to create a platform that helps you discover great products with new additions every day.
What are your visions for your business? Where do you see it in the next 5 years?We keep growing like crazy every year and the fact that we're self-sustained makes it even more interesting. Our goal is to become the number 1 destination for discovering awesome products for gifts but also for staying updated with the latest product releases and crowdfunding projects. In 5 years from now, I definitely see VR shopping playing a major role for our brand.
What attitude/habits helped make you successful while starting The Gadget Flow?Working 16 hours/day, not losing our focus, trying to generate revenue and be profitable as fast as possible, hiring the right people, listening to our user’s feedback.
In your experience, what is the best way to find your ideal customer? Are there any mistakes that our readers can learn from?Building your buyer personas is essential. especially when you enter the growth stage. You need to be able to evaluate your customers and focus on the ones that bring you more revenue and value. If you satisfy those customers, they instantly become your brand’s advocates and then its pretty much free advertising through word of mouth.
What was your biggest business mistake and how did you come out stronger at the end of the day?Not hiring fast enough. In the beginning as a founder, you have to wear many hats but as soon as you can afford to hire more people you should definitely do so. At the end of the day, your team is your company, you should focus on hiring the best candidates and fast, they will help you grow.
Have you faced any failures with The Gadget Flow? How did you overcome it?Our biggest concern a couple years ago was our server infrastructure, we had too many outages and down time and we have migrated our server to 3 different hosting companies in just 6 months. It was an intense period but thankfully since we switched to our current host (WP-engine) everything was smooth.
Most businesses evolve over time. Is there a way that you slowly evolved the mission of The Gadget Flow to serve your customers better?I believe that we evolve on a daily basis. One of our core values is to keep improving, we do weekly meetings with my sales and customer support department and we try to find ways that we can improve our customer’s experience.
That means that we have to listen to their feedback, learn from our mistakes and make changes in order to avoid doing that in the future. Our product, in general, does evolve as well because we have to adapt with the latest market trends and in our market you either adapt or die.
How do you stay focused on a day-to-day basis? Do you have a key motivator that keeps you going and fighting the good fight?Its simple, I love what I do. I recently wrote an article “Managing a team of 25 at 25” in which I described how I went from a regular 9-5 job to managing a team of 25 at 25. I have a vision and I’m doing my best to execute my daily/weekly/monthly plans in order to make it a reality one day.
Also, I think that you need to focus on just 1 thing and do it right. I feel that if you focus on 4 different ideas, companies, you’ll just give 25% but in order to make something great, something that you are proud of, you’ll need your 105%.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Is there something you are most proud of?I really enjoy learning new things every single day! It's challenging and inspiring at the same time. Of course, being an entrepreneur isn't easy and I always say to anyone that asks me whether they should quit their 9-5 job and work on their startup that its not going to be easy. It's a bumpy road that takes patience. The will to learn and the will to sacrifice things in order to make this work.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in New York? Where should they start?You should start your business where your customers are. If the majority of your customers are based in Manhattan then meet in person instead of that Skype call. It adds value to your relationship.