Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danny Gavin, Founder of Optidge Inc., located in Houston, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
ODEO Academy, a project of Optidge, provides online digital education geared toward helping creatives move into the demanding and quickly-changing world of digital marketing - without having to go back to school or give up their job. Our students range from newer creatives looking to break into digital marketing all the way up to executive-level corporate team members wanting to enhance their digital marketing skills to serve their companies better.
Tell us about yourself
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and my parents emigrated to Houston when I was an infant. Growing up in an immigrant home, I learned the value of hard work from a young age and wanted to make an impact. Although I went to Rabbinical Seminaries, I did not want to become a full-time Rabbi, so I pursued my education. I was accepted to the MBA Program at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, where I concentrated on Marketing and Business Consulting. I now teach there as an adjunct professor.
Through this experience, I learned about and wanted to help bridge the gap between companies and consumers in digital advertising. I founded Optidge with that goal in mind and quickly realized that so many people were looking to either begin or get better at digital marketing - but either didn't know where to start or didn't have the time, desire, or means to go back to school. I decided to combine my passion for teaching and digital marketing expertise to help them, and ODEO Academy was born.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm so blessed to do what I do - I love it, I get to work with a stellar team, and I get to directly impact the lives of my clients and students daily. So, for me, it's getting to love what I do while being of service and making a difference. Whether helping our client's businesses or guiding students in ODEO to gain the necessary skills to have a thriving digital marketing career, I'm truly grateful to get to do this.
I'm also really proud of our team and how well they care for our clients and students - that really sets us apart. We're able to combine a large array of digital advertising services without losing touch of the fine details. We really pay attention and walk through the process - we want our clients and students to have an understanding of what's going on - the 'why' and 'how' behind the 'what.'
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think it's being able to adapt constantly. The digital marketing and advertising landscape is constantly changing - updates, new rollouts, platform changes, you name it - what worked last year or even last month may not work now. You have to be willing and ready to change. It's something I always try to instill in my students.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First - Never stop learning. Be in constant pursuit of new knowledge. Whether it's attending conferences, taking a course like our LinkedIn ads course at ODEO Academy, or learning about changing market trends, keep striving to grow personally and professionally.
Second - Focus on the team you want to build from the start - hire the people who not only want to be with you for the long run but who YOU want to grow with. Then create a culture where they want to stay.
Third - Do your job well. Whether you're offering a product or service, make sure it's high quality and truly solves your customer's and clients' needs. It's better to have one or two service lines you do really well than to have 10 service lines that you're just okay at delivering. Don't let a lack of focus ruin your reputation.
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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