GE 195: How Crew President Michael Sacca Grew A Startup By Leveraging His Podcast (podcast)

Michael Sacca

Hey everyone, in today’s episode, I share the mic with Michael Sacca. Michael is the president of Crew, a website that connects people with writers or designers for hire.

Listen as Michael delves into the reasons why relationships are key to building your startup, how starting a podcast (Rocketship.fm) helped him successfully grow his new business, how he grew Unsplash by 30% MoM, and the challenges of building a marketplace.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Crew President Michael Sacca Grew A Startup By Leveraging His Podcast TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:42 – If you enjoy the content, leave a rating, review and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:02 – Eric introduces Michael Sacca
  • 01:30 – Crew connects freelancers with vetted projects and builds trust between project donors and freelancers
  • 01:45 – Michael used to work in San Diego and Crew was a natural fit for him
  • 02:11 – Michael became the president when Crew and Unsplash split up
    • 02:12 – Unsplash is a free, stock photography website
  • 02:37 – The idea for Unsplash came from a photo shoot that they were doing to boost Crew
    • 03:03 – They had over 10,000 downloads of the images and people wanted to get featured
    • 03:28 – Unsplash grew by 30%, month over month, and that’s when they decided to have different CEOs for the two companies
  • 04:00 – Crew had 4.3 gross merchandise volume
  • 04:23 – Crew and Unsplash had two different business models and funding sources
  • 08:23 – The agency used to make half a million a year and invested a 150,000 in their flagship project
    • 08:40 – The project did not work out the way they wanted it to
    • 09:08 – Michael decided to have a podcast because he wanted to ask for advice for their startup, Brandisty
  • 10:02 – Michael had 167 customer interviews to learn from and inform their product when they launched Brandisty
  • 10:31 – They got their first thousand customers through cold reach outs
  • 11:23 – Michael learned what needs to be done through the podcasts
  • 12:07 – They learned that people struggled with brand distribution and addressed that need
  • 12:16 – The price was too low and this might have contributed to the first thousand customers
  • 12:38 – They always had beer for the people who came to their office
  • 13:17 – People do want to help others especially when they feel they are valuable
  • 13:55 – Businesses always hit plateaus
  • 14:16 – Crew is now piggybacking on the content they have in SEO and search engine marketing
    • 15:19 – Paid ads can be used to learn the strategies for SEO
  • 16:10What’s one big struggle you faced while growing Crew? – The hardest thing with Crew is hiring the right people and they struggled with remote teams
    • 17:30 – Remote working is for people who are proactive
    • 18:10 – Michael does a one-month trial before having someone join the team
  • 19:21 – What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your 24-year old self? – “To worry a lot less”
    • 20:08 – Amazing things do happen when you take steps
  • 20:26 – What’s one new tool you’ve added in the last year that has added a lot of value – Klipfolio
  • 21:31 – What’s one tool you can’t live without everyday? – Slack and Excel Spreadsheets
  • 22:32 – What’s one must-read book you recommend? – The History of the Machine Gun
  • 23:50 – The problem is not automation, but how do get people to eat
  • 24:07 – Find Michael on Twitter or shoot him an e-mail or go to his podcast

3 Key Points:

  1. Look for mentors and find a way to make it a win-win situation for the both of you.
  2. Make people feel valuable and they will gladly help you out.
  3. It is the responsibility of tech people to address the problems of other people.

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