Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danny Rubin, Founder of Rubin, located in Virginia Beach, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Rubin is a leader in the online curriculum for business communication. The company provides a robust digital learning platform called "Emerge" to 150,000+ students within middle schools, high schools, and colleges/universities.
Emerge teaches in-demand skills for college and career, such as email etiquette, phone etiquette, and how to hold meaningful conversations. Rubin is based in Virginia Beach, VA, and has clients throughout Virginia and 35+ other states.
I am the founder of Rubin, I am a former TV news journalist and national news consultant. Our motto: "Write well, open doors!"
Tell us about yourself
The company is an evolution of a personal blog I created in 2012. On the blog, I provided writing templates for topics like networking emails, thank-you notes, and LinkedIn profiles.
The collection of writing templates generated over 1 million organic views in about 18 months. I turned the templates on the blog turned into a book of writing examples called "Wait, How Do I Write This Email?" which has become a popular resource on Amazon for business writing.
I added physical lesson plans to the book, and it became a resource in the classroom. Then I turned all the resources into a digital toolkit and, ultimately, a password-protected curriculum.
Flash forward to 2022, and the online resources have become a curriculum called Emerge, which is used by school divisions nationwide, including Las Vegas, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and others.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
After several years and a lot of trial and error, I learned how to turn my passion (helping people with communication skills) into a business that can support my family and my small but growing team.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I am always focused on the bottom line and thinking 6–12 months ahead.
How can I set the company up for the greatest success? That's my mindset every day. Even as we battle through the challenges of the moment, I try never to lose sight of the bigger picture.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you expect to see your business "blow up" within the first six months, don't even bother starting. Settle in for a multi-year process. When your product finally meshes with the needs and wants of the customer, then "it" will happen.
- Learn to shove your feelings down and take criticism and losses like an adult. Let people pick apart your product or service. Don't get defensive. Shake off the missed opportunities and keep going. My company is my last name, and my product is borne out of years and years of pursuing my craft. The business is me, and I am the business. I will fight for months or years for a worthy opportunity. But if the deal doesn't work out—for whatever reason—I mope about it for about 15 seconds, and then I move on. There are too many other people out there who will appreciate what I've got.
- Never cut a corner, try to pull a fast one, go back on your word, or play games with a potential or current customer. The road is harder when you play by the rules, but it's more rewarding. You will lay your head on the pillow each night and know you gave the world all you've got, and you never sacrificed your integrity. Deals and customers come and go. Reputation is forever.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When day after day as an entrepreneur has you ground into a pulp, get back up. When you bare your soul and give the world your passion with everything you can muster, then the next great opportunity isn't only close at hand. It's inevitable.
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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