Interview With Patrick McCarthy
Describe your product or service:
“Fully automated sales commission software that saves you time and money, eliminates errors, and improves your productivity.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our goal is to rid the world of complex spreadsheets, to simplify and automate sales commission calculation and free time for business to focus on selling, [and the] motivation and encouragement of sales teams.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Eight full-time [team members]. Mix of UK and US and growing. India- and Ukraine-based outsourced development teams.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“[I] have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and several failed projects. Commissionly is actually a pivot of another failed project that resulted in success. The moral of the story here is never give up.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“I have been a sales director for over a decade and found the administrative side of managing commissions time-consuming and counterproductive for sales teams. Sales want to know how much they have earned and how much they can earn if they make simple adjustments to their sales processes.
I had created a spreadsheet-based solution that optimised the process but eventually decided to turn this into an app. We created a product called Getscorecard back in 2015, which gained no traction. From 2015 to 2018, I returned to the city doing a 9 to 5, but we left Getscorecard running. During all those years, we had regular people register but never pay for the service. This was unsurprising as it no longer functioned at 100%.
In 2018, I decided I would give it another go and try and market the product better. I contacted a number of the registrants, and they pointed out that Getscorecard was one of the only CRMs that had commissions baked in. From April 2018 to August 2018 (I am a hobbyist coder), I rebuilt the software to focus purely on commissions.
I hit the launch button the morning before flying off for a vacation in Tenerife, and by the time I landed, I had my first demo booked. I did my first demo on the balcony of our hotel at 1 a.m. in the morning to a prospect in the United States.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I wanted the word Commission in the name, and after many days of searching domains, came up with Commissionly (.com was taken, but .io is a commission app name).”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Realising just how complex commissions are. It has taken at least two years to build a product that has meant we can say yes to 95% of prospects without having to customise a solution.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“Any company with a sales team larger than five people.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Mixed digital marketing.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Sales demos, quoted deals, closed deals.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“You often feel like successful entrepreneur[s] made it overnight. This is seldom the case. It takes grit and hard work to be successful. Surround yourself with people with mixed skills and committed to the same vision you have.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I enjoy exercise and am a member of running and poker clubs. These ensure there is more to life than only work.”
How do you stay motivated?
I love what I do and don't need any encouragement.
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Do your research upfront. I have started too many projects without knowing what I am getting into. Make sure you follow through and don't be afraid to change an idea.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“I have failed many times. To have raised over $3 million and have a team and business that is growing fills me with pride.”
More on Commissionly
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Patrick McCarthy of Commissionly that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.