Interview With Derrick Fetz
Describe your product or service:
“We are building a social network for the creative industry to help artists connect with each other, grow their fanbase, and monetize their creativity!”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is to empower every kind of artist to be independent by providing them with the tools they need to succeed and help them make the most of the digital world.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“Venture capital, angel investors, and crowdfunding.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“One founder, a freelance development team, and a few advisors.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“No, I never had plans of starting my own company. I just wanted to create music for a living but after realizing how difficult that would be without an app like KOLLAB, I knew I had to build it myself. I haven't stopped working on it since, and I can't wait to show the world what it can be.”
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?
“After making music myself, I started to notice all these issues artists were consistently dealing with, and I couldn't seem to find a solution for them. Being the problem-solver I am, it wasn't long before I realized a social network for the creative industry was the first step towards solving all of them. So what started as sketching simple app screens quickly turned into creating business models and legal documents, and it's been a huge learning curve, but I've had so much fun throughout the process. Studying all my competitors, successful or not, has given me so much confidence and helped me refine my idea into something I know the world will love.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I just focused on what we stood for, and at the core of it was to help artists collaborate. So I started with Collab, then CoLab, and after seeing both had been taken, I figured Kollab was a better way of expressing our creative vision anyways. Finally, I decided that KOLLAB sticks out better, and that's what we need to do in a digital world congested full of content.”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“The biggest challenge I've faced has been persistence. As an entrepreneur, it's hard to not doubt yourself and stay up at night wondering if you're wasting your time, but over and over again, I've had my idea validated by the problems I continue to see in the creative industry. I know that if I don't do it, someone else will, and I'd rather it be done right by somebody who has the artist’s best interest at heart.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“KOLLAB is built to connect every kind of artist (musicians, visual artists, etc.) from all around the world, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't confining the platform to a specific audience. With that said, our initial target market will be small/medium-sized artists in the US because that's who will benefit the most.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“I believe that the best marketing strategy is building a product so good that word of mouth alone gets you millions of users. But I also believe that using more than one strategy is the best for your business, so we'll also be running paid ads and reaching out to online communities to start bringing artists onto the app. And with artists on the app, the fans will come.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We are still pre-product, so we don't have 100 customers yet, but we are growing our community with this crowdfunding campaign with hopes that it'll bring on our first 100+ users.”
What's your favorite book on entrepreneurship?
“I never was a big reader, but quickly realized how stupid that was, so I started looking for books on entrepreneurship, and one of my favorites has been ‘Super Founders’ by Ali Tamaseb because it uses data to show what makes billion-dollar startups successful. It does a really good job of dismantling common misconceptions founders have that stop them from actually succeeding.”
What is your favorite startup or business podcast?
“I don't listen to many, but I've enjoyed listening to ‘Music Business Worldwide’ because it keeps me in the loop about the music industry.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How addicting it can truly be.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I work when I can and take time off when I need to.”
How do you stay motivated?
“I look forward to the feeling I'll get and the people I'll meet from working on KOLLAB.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“A lot. It started with a strict sleep schedule, followed by working out, eating healthy, doing less of what I want, and wanting more of what I need. Cutting out bad habits isn't easy, but you have to question what's really serving you in the long run because life is a marathon.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“My persistence and dedication to seeing this through. Whether I succeed or fail, I'll just be happy I gave it my all.”
More on KOLLAB
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Derrick Fetz of KOLLAB that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.