Draw Attention makes whiteboards, and now blackboards, for laptops.
What’s the story behind your company?
I do a lot of community building in my spare time and I wanted a way to invite people around me (coffee shop, coworking space, etc) to come over and talk, ask questions, seek advice, etc.
I love whiteboards, and thought the best place to advertise this would be on the back of my laptop. I posted my prototype on Facebook, and it got a great response. Michael S said I needed to start selling them that day – so I did. I built a site in about 10 hours and asked a buddy (my now co-founder, Eric) to write copy, and we launched.
What were you doing before you started this company?
I’ve always been a community builder and I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur. I work as a web developer in an agency, but in my spare time I work a lot on personal projects. Some involve making money, others don’t. I’ve just always been a person that builds things when I, or someone else, need something.
How do you stay organized?
We’re big fans of Slack and its integrations. We sell through Squarespace and use Stripe for payments, Xero for accounting, GMail for email, ShipStation for shipping, and then usually find interesting new tools on Product Hunt just for fun. We also integrate a number of other analytic/marketing tools as well. When we start new projects, we usually do it in the form of a static site on Github Pages.
What were some of the challenges you faced when launching your business and how did you handle them?
It was hard to keep up with production when our product went viral. Making a physical product is a bit different than making software, so that was a challenge. Shipping was a pain, but eventually we started using a startup I met in Austin during the Austin Startup Crawl 2 years ago called ShipStation. That helped us immensely. We’ve finally found a production partner to deal with our bulk orders, but it was a lenghty process to find the right company who can meet our needs.
How do you stay motivated?
We’re not a traditional company by any means. We’re still bootstrapped and we still work our day jobs, but we love using this as an experiment in growing and scaling a company. We also decided that this is a way we can give back to our community. Each month we take a portion of our profit and do something to give back – whether it be a happy hour, donating to someone in the community in need, or contributing to our local tech community in some way.
How did you delegate and build your team?
For us, it was pretty simple. I handled tech and production while Eric handled email, marketing, and social media. It’s what our backgrounds are and we trust each other to get the job done. We do share an inbox, so we’re both always aware of what’s going on.
There’s a lot of interesting insights and science behind the habits of entrepreneurs. How do you start the day?
Not particularly. Most of our work happens at night and on the weekends. I will tell you, a lot of coffee and a good Spotify playlist are involved.
How do you unplug, disconnect, and recharge?
With a night out with the tech community or a little bit of Top Golf.
How do you celebrate successes?
High fives and drinks at the bar. Then we get back to work.
If you had one piece of advice to give fellow entrepreneurs, what would it be?
For us, the most important aspect of what we do is provide the best damn customer service we can. Being responsive, attentive, and caring means so much to the customers. Even if you screw up, don’t ignore them. If you make it right, they will appreciate it and become your number 1 fan.
Success is the goal but failure teaches us a lot. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Vinyl is hard. We didn’t really know how much science was behind it until we go into it, and that was on top of an entire production and fulfillment process. It’s one thing to ship a few, but it’s another to ship hundreds.