Today we have with us is Justin Kline, who is the founder of Markerly, which an influencer driven marketing platform where Markerly helps brands identify right influencers for their upcoming campaigns and also helps to track the campaigns done on Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Blogs and Pinterest.
Justin, please share a brief intro about yourself to our readers with your current and past entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve always been fascinated with business. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family which I think contributed to my desire to pursue business. I had various businesses throughout High School which I think also furthered my interest a bit.
How did you build up an entrepreneurial spirit and did you inherit the trait from family or it started with you?
Both my parents were entrepreneurs–as were their parents. Being immersed in business while growing up helped me become very accustomed to the mechanics behind running a successful business.
How did you come up with the idea of Markerly? What is the current status in terms of achievements, customer acquisition and turnover?
The current business model evolved from a completely different idea (e.g. it started as a highlighter for the web). We later realized (this was in 2013) that influencer marketing was gaining traction and that we were uniquely positioned to move into that burgeoning market. This year we’re are on track to have our biggest year.
In Marketing, one common question comes from brands is about conversion. If you will look at SMEs or seed stage Startups, their marketing budget is quite low as compared to other operations. How do you tackle that mindset with Markerly?
I think startups without much capital should not have large marketing budgets. Experimentation is crucial before you start dumping money into marketing and advertising. Once traction has been achieved then it increasingly makes more sense to invest in marketing/advertising. I recommend running many small experiments to determine where marketing budget should be allocated rather than trying to aim with your eyes closed.
Struggle follows an Entrepreneur throughout the life. But the initial days of acquiring customers, explaining your idea to customers and investors is a hefty challenging job. How do you keep moving forward in spite all of these challenges?
One day at a time. I also meditate and work out which helps me stay even keeled. Staying focused on long-term goals and making sure that what I’m doing on a daily basis feeds into that broader vision.
What is the usual mindset you carry as a mantra to be successful?
I have been jamming on the idea that everything is figureoutable. This was coined by Maria Forleo in her book, Everything is Figureoutable and it has been a very empowering way to look at life and business.
How important is your website for your business? It is quite evident that not every business runs upon their website or mobile app. In such cases, what other importance do you think a website or mobile app can carry which contributes to a company’s success?
The website is very important. We’re in an age that requires companies to have a website. It’s imperative so that you can properly communicate what you provide to prospective customers.
I am always eager to know how an entrepreneur maintains work-life balance. Recently I came across a blog post, which says – “there is nothing like work-life balance, you just need to blend in”. What is your point of view on work-life balance?
The degree to which work-life balance is important is a very personal concept. I try not to fixate too much on maintaining a work-life balance. As long as you’re making time for family, health, sleep, learning, etc… I think that’s what matters. When work is leading to unhealthy habit is when work-life balance should be reevaluated but I have been pretty good at maintaining a balance that I am able to thrive with.
How many people are there in Markerly? What is the figure in terms people you are trying to achieve in next 3 years? What is your approach in building the next leadership team?
Markerly has fluctuated in size over the years. Currently we’re about 9. I like to keep things lean. We’re scaling slowly, brick by brick–off of the revenue we’re generating rather than raising money like many startups in the space. I like hiring for attitude. There’s a fantastic book on the topic by Mark Murphy.
What advice you will give to those who are getting ready for their entrepreneurial journey?
Don’t wait for perfect timing because it will never be perfect timing to start a business. Nike got it right when they said “Just Do It.”