Zack Baker is a student entrepreneur, app developer and co-founder of Edupreneur. He and his friend, Pete (check out Pete's interview here), started Edupreneur mainly as a platform where they could air their thoughts about the education system. One podcast episode led to another and that's when they formally launched Edupreneur.
In this interview, Zack shares how Edupreneur evolved from just hosting on a podcast to personally interviewing teachers, students, administrators and educators. His biggest achievement as an entrepreneur was when he launched his first app, PassWhiz, and saw lots of fellow students using the app in the halls. Talk about exciting!
Check out what else we can learn in the following interview, and when you are done absorbing Zack's insights be sure to give him a shoutout on Twitter!
What motivated you to start Edupreneur? Did you see a way to serve customers better than your competitors?Pete and I were motivated to start the Edupreneur because we felt that the education podcast space was saturated with teachers and administrators. They had some amazing ideas, but it was missing the most important aspect - students!
We believed then, and still do, that we can provide an alternative and hopefully interesting viewpoint on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship from the perspective of both students AND teachers, administrators, and educators that we interview.
How have your motivations changed since you first started Edupreneur? Is there an area that you have grown most?I think our motivations have changed in a few different ways. Logistically, as we approach our podcast we now don’t always “co-host” the podcast but instead Pete and I will commonly interview our guests individually. In addition, our questions for our guests are always changing!
This can be to simply keep things fresh or more often than not to scratch our own itches about questions we have in the education space our guest is involved with! Especially as we move into Season 4 of The Edupreneur, we are staying mindful to make sure that we cover a lot of different ground in every episode which I think is something that we were missing in the beginning.
What do you consider the biggest milestone that you have hit with your business? How did you get there?I think our biggest milestone so far was hitting 6,000 downloads which we did just last month! To get there, we have focused on producing what we hope is interesting, consistent content for our listeners. It’s hard work - but we have loved doing it!
Who has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did they shape Edupreneur?I think one of my greatest influencers along my entrepreneurial journey, especially as it relates to The Edupreneur was my high school innovation teacher Don Wettrick. He always encouraged each and every one of his students to share their voice with the world! I think that is so important, and conversations with him helped give me the confidence to push forward with our podcast.
What’s your most unforgettable experience as an entrepreneur?My most unforgettable experience as an entrepreneur was when I was walking down the hallway in my high school the day after my digital hall pass app, PassWhiz, was launched. I looked around and every student was using the app. After countless hours of working on the app, it was amazing to see my fellow students using, and enjoying to use the app that I had worked so hard on!
What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as a business owner? Do you have any advice for how future entrepreneurs can overcome it?I think the biggest thing I struggle with as a business owner, at least right now, is making sure I am using my time as effectively as possible and not getting caught up doing things that feel productive, but actually are not. There is always so much to do as an entrepreneur that using your time effectively - I believe is the most important thing and also the thing that I am always trying to work on.
Are you using any Apps that help you stay on track every day?I love Google Calendar - it’s simple and it just works. In addition, Wunderlist is a great “to do list” app that helps keep me on top of things. I’ve tried a lot of to do list apps and Wunderlist is the only one that I’ve really loved. Lastly, Evernote. I use Evernote almost every day it helps keep me organized and is great for note taking of all kinds.
How does being an entrepreneur affect your relationships with your friends and family?I think the biggest way it affects my relationships, especially as a teenager, is the strange hours which I work. Usually, this is a benefit and it affords me the ability to choose when I do and do not want to work!
However, sometimes as an entrepreneur you are at the mercy of your business and have to make trade-offs that force me to choose work over friends and family. I do try to minimize that as much as possible but it's never completely avoidable. In general though, I think being an entrepreneur has positively affected these relationships!
Looking back, what’s one thing you would do differently with Edupreneur? Why would you change it?One thing I would have done differently with The Edupreneur would be to have had less scripted interview questions from the beginning. We are now realizing that the interviews are much more rich and dynamic without these questions and I only wish we would have realized this earlier!
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in Indiana? Where should they start?My advice would be to make sure that you reach out to your local entrepreneurial community for help. Every step of the way, I have been blown away by how kind, generous, and helpful everyone in the Indiana Entrepreneurial community has been. Some places to start would be Launch Indiana, Verge, and TechPoint!