The Founders Series: advice for entrepreneurs and students who are thinking of becoming entrepreneurs
In this week’s Founders Series, we caught up with Mike Calabrese, the Founder of Pioneer Web Marketing.
Tell us about Pioneer Web Marketing. What’s your vision for the company?
We’re an internet marketing company aimed at helping small businesses achieve maximum results with their marketing strategies on the web. We specialize in SEO, paid advertising management, social media, and eCommerce services. My vision is to always remain a small, agile company that consistently exceeds client expectations and to never become a large, bogged-down agency that fails to innovate and deliver results.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I’ve been entrepreneurial since I was a kid and owning my own business was always a big goal of mine. Seeing friends and colleagues succeed on their own in the web industry inspired me to strive for the same. Reading and studying the success of other web entrepreneurs also inspired me.
What was your first job after graduation? If in a different field, how did you make the transition from that to entrepreneurship? Feel free to highlight any other pertinent jobs held between your first one and now.
There was never a clear path to the web industry, at least when I was starting out. Everyone I knew got into it in a different way. For me, I started to learn about the web toward the end of college, but didn’t really know what to do with it. Upon graduating from college, I started to make money from the web by buying and selling domain names, all the while taking odd jobs to supplement my income; but after a year I realized it wasn’t enough. I took the plunge and got a job at a full service web agency, while still maintaining some side ventures. Some of my “in between” jobs including driving a car (literally through every city block) to map out coordinates for a GPS company, a stint at a local Christmas tree stand and a restaurant job.
What is the most important trait for an entrepreneur to have?
Believe in yourself, stay committed and be confident in your vision for success. There will be many roadblocks and you’ll encounter a lot of people that question what you’re doing along the way. As long as you’re committed to success, you will find a way to succeed.
What career advice would you give to current students who are considering joining a startup or starting their own company?
If you’re planning on joining a startup out of college, go in there thinking that you’re doing it for the experience, not to get rich. If you’re planning on starting your own company, I would recommend getting some industry-related on the job experience first, and work to build up a source of income on the side. It will make the transition to running your own company much easier and with income already coming in, you’re much more likely to succeed in the long term than if you were starting from scratch. One other important lesson I learned is that you can’t be afraid to let your customers and potential customers help define your company, especially in the beginning. When starting out, your number one goal is sustainability. You need to take the work you can get when you can get it and not be afraid to pivot based on the needs of your customers.
Where can people find out more about Pioneer Web Marketing?
The best way to find out more is to visit pioneerwebmarketing.com and get in touch with any questions. I’m happy to offer advice to anyone looking to start their own-web-related company.