Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dylan Brownstein, Co-Founder of Prosper, located in Redwood City, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My company, Prosper, is a first-of-its-kind ad platform that allows companies to use and track word-of-mouth marketing. We do this by offering a widget that makes it easy for consumers to share products and lets brands place rewards and incentives on different sharing actions. We are serving B2C retail companies that sell products online and in stores.
While Prosper is very industry agnostic, so far, we have been focusing on companies in the fashion and wellness space. We have also seen a good amount of interest from D2C e-commerce in general, as well as the entertainment and cannabis industries. Using word-of-mouth marketing, our customers can see a 30% increase in conversions, a 20% lift in overall sales, and a 17% higher customer LTV. If you work in any of those industries I mentioned or another that you think could benefit from our solution, please get in touch!
Tell us about yourself
I've always been interested in the world of startups and attempted to start my first business when I was only 12 years old. That opened the doors for me at a young age, and a few years later, I was working with other startups and entrepreneurs. From there, I eventually went to college in the Bay Area, where I studied management and economics and found myself working in the startup world as a venture capitalist. During my time on the investing side of the table, I focused on mobility, AI, robotics, and IoT investments into early-stage companies, and while that was both fun and educational, I still had the desire to start my own business.
Fast forward to the end of 2021, and my co-founder and I began talking, throwing around different ideas for our business, and by March of 2022, we had started Prosper. Now, almost six months later, I am more motivated than ever to deliver a great product so that our customers are happy and successful, to be a better leader so that our team can continue to grow, and to keep building our vision so the future of digital marketing as we see it can be realized.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think the thing I am most proud of at this point is the team we've put together to work on Prosper at such an early stage. Most startups only have one to two people who have to do everything at the beginning, but we already have a slightly larger team of very bright people who are all experts in their own domain. This allows everyone to focus on what they do best and gives us access to true expertise in all crucial areas of the business, from product design to sales. Any company is only as good as the team behind it!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things about having your own company, and one that has the largest determinant of success, is discipline. Everyone is motivated, but when it comes to actually waking up early every day and taking the meetings even when you don't want to, and redesigning something you've already done ten times, it's a different story. Most people can work well when someone else gives them directions, but being self-driven and able to do the work even when you're tired or don't want to is super important.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
While this is nothing new, I'd say start by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter or more passionate than you and get them to believe in what you're building so that they want to be a part of it.
Secondly, stay as focused as possible and keep moving forward toward one central idea, and sooner or later, you will find something that works.
Lastly, always be looking for feedback and be open to it. Feedback and data on your product is the best way to improve and grow it, and as a business owner, you need to be able to understand what to do with the feedback you get. Whether it's from family members, customers, or a data platform, it's important to be open to criticism and excited about successes, as that is what will eventually determine what your business does.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you're debating starting your own business right now, I highly encourage you to start. I know it's not an easy thing to do as it can take a lot of time and money and is a high-risk endeavor, but it is also very rewarding. While I know many people say just start, and that is valid, I also think there is a lot to be said for being strategic around when and how you start your company.
Making sure that as a founder, you are mentally prepared, as well as financially, is very important, and I'd encourage others to take time and plan out how exactly they will start their business, from the amount of money needed to the people you want on your team, and what KPIs can be set to benchmark your own success. Doing this will help you transition to being a business owner much more easily and will increase your chances of success for you.
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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