Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in branding and marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alessandro Fard, Founder of Create Ape, located in Irvine, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is a full-service, creative digital agency called Create Ape. Our core services are user experience, design, user interface, design, web development, and optimization. While we do provide other services, we try to focus on our core wheelhouse.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a digital designer for over 22 years. I got into the tech space early on in my life as my mom worked at a start-up when I was in high school. My interest in video games was the initial prompt, but over time, I gravitated toward Webb and never really looked back. I had a pretty decent part-time job during college with a company called crave online.com, which was bought by fox atomic. I was making really good money at that stage and decided to pursue it as a career.
As soon as I was out of college, I got a job working for GSN and Sony; from that point, I worked with a lot of different companies such as lynda.com, LinkedIn, true car, Zynga, etc. I've been fortunate enough to work on a lot of different brands in my career, which really helped lay the foundation for success with my agency.
About seven years ago, I transferred the consulting business that I had started early on in my career to become more of an agency format. Thus Create Ape was born. What motivates me is the challenge. I think that's why I love user experience design. I love the challenges of marrying business goals to use her goals and finding intelligent and impactful ways to accomplish and execute the vision of our clients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Since officially launching the agency, what has truly helped us stand out from our competitors and helped us attract and retain customers is our almost reckless embrace of the idea that we are partners with our clients: their success is our success, and we are aggressive to make sure our clients are successful not just for the duration of a project, but setting them up for success for months and years down the road. This has allowed us to not only retain clients but have a very significant word-of-mouth referral network. The output of this is the year-over-year growth that we've had and the rave reviews we receive through third-party platforms like clutch.co.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is growing sustainably. Not enough growth is bad, and too much growth too fast is also bad. Sustainable growth doesn't happen accidentally. It takes planning and purpose to identify upcoming trends and compare them to current metrics in order to identify the right processes and patterns for hiring and retention.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Three types that I would give to anyone who's looking to start a business today or grown an existing business is:
- Planning: don't just focus on high-level planning or long-term planning, but every day, what goals you want to accomplish. You may not always get them done, but you will be massively surprised at how much it helps structure your journey and impacts your success.
- Flexible: if you don't bend, you break. Learning how to bend is how you can find success. This is actually true in other parts of life, but when I think about some clients that we've had that needed to pivot quickly, if we had stayed rigid in our processes or our rules, we would not have been able to make the pivot with them, and they would have been unsuccessful and by extension, so would we. By bending, we've allowed ourselves the room to Be creative in solutions that not only help our clients but all of us as well.
- Stay positive! There is always a silver lining. Always. Focus on it, and let that motivate you to keep going. Life is a game of inches, and every inch gets closer to the goal. By focusing on the good, you are able to find the motivation to continue down Roads that sometimes are bumpy and hard.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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