Eric Hansen calls himself a saviour of the world from bad websites. He is the CEO of Faketie.com which specialises in building marquee web sites among other things. He has an unusual business philosophy. As he says, if businesses would only focus on solving problems than selling a product they would get more returns and satisfaction from their efforts.
Faketie is in fact a product of the covid pandemic which, Hansen tells us, saw him without a job. He either had to start something or survive miraculously on finite assets like savings. He decided he would start something. The idea of building web sites came from the website he built for his wife for their wedding anniversary. Through some mentoring and help from other professionals in the business, he has carved a niche out for himself in his very competitive field.
His approach to the market is simple and effective. In his own words. “Instead of saying let me tell you about all the great things about my product or widget, you should be asking what are all the problems that you are having with your product or widget, because then you get to tailor your message and present a dye in the wool solution.
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How did you come up with the idea for your company? Can you share that story with us today?
You know, I came up with my idea for a company, really out of necessity, I found myself with my back against the wall in the middle of covid,, unemployed and struggling to find work. So I decided that there was something that I needed to do to help supplement my wife’s income and in 2019, I built a website for our wedding. This got me a lot of good feedback and though much of it was probably just people schmoozing and trying to make me feel nice it did occur to me that maybe I was onto something.
So I started building websites and I reached out to a lot of people and I had sort of an aha moment when in one afternoon. I got two clients and boom like that I had around $4,000 to put in the bank. So I thought this is something I should run with and I tripped and fell and then tried again to create a business that actually functioned.
So I had to think of something that would prevent my wife and I sinking in the middle of all this chaos. It was a really, really empowering situation. I found that not only was I able to acclimatize quickly and adjust on the fly, but also discovered that the absolute best thing you can do when you’re trying to start a business, is to just get started.
That’s the reason why I’m writing a book called the Seven Laws of Startups. And my intention with the book is to help people who find themselves in a position like mine or who would just more seriously try to start a business and want to get started. If they follow the guidelines in this book, from start to finish, they would have a successful business that would be.a legally represented, legally functioning business. And so It was a wild ride.
Could you tell us what excites you about your business today?
What a great question. What excites us right now? Well, I’ll tell you, what keeps us up in the middle of the night, is something that we’re calling fake university. It’ll probably change the name but not the structure. And what’s so great about this is that it flips the traditional model of universities and college on its head. Instead of paying tuition going to school and walking out with a degree, we said, what if you got paid for going to class?
What that means is that instead of paying tuition up front, you walk into school on day one and we start teaching you how to build classes by working with the clients you bring in to build websites and to design content for them.
We guide you through that process. So you’re helping your real clients with real value, and you’re making money from these clients. All we do is support you in that process.
Now, after you’re done,. you will walk away with a real skill.
You’ll be able to build websites for your clients in the future. But as a huge bonus, we’re going to make sure that you walk out with a legally recognized business, one that even the secretary of state would say, Israel one with a federal tax ID number. So, we’re so thrilled to spread this message to people that we knew had to start talking about it and we can’t wait to talk to you.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times you faced when you first started your company?
Yes, let’s talk about the hard time that we went through at the beginning of covid. I was unemployed and I was having a very challenging time finding work. I started this journey towards a business because my back was against the wall and I had decided that it was not an option to tap into our savings account. So I built this business really to help keep afloat. And I was fortunate.
As I moved through the process, I had lots of great resources and people to guide me along the way. I also was not shy about connecting to people and asking for help and though I did consider giving up a number of times. I knew that I really needed to continue to pursue this because I felt like I was onto something and I felt like generating some revenue.
A small income was enough to push me through the months. And I realized that if I maintained that idea, and I continued to build and build, and build and eventually hope to see that small revenue turn into bigger revenue and it did. And I’m so thankful for that, I’m not quite sure where I got the drive to do this. Other than I was, genuinely worried about my future, and my wife’s future. And so I had to identify the one, real reason that I did this which is that I loved my wife to death. And she was working so hard, getting herself set in the long-term care industry and advancing in her role there and I owed it to her, to make sure that we would never be in a position to suffer. So it was a very interesting year.
What are the most common mistakes that you see entrepreneurs make and what would have done in their place?
There are a lot of mistakes that new entrepreneurs make and I was one of them. In fact, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not learning and it’s unlikely, you’ll be successful. But I think if I was going to nail down the one mistake, it’s that you just don’t get started.
You see the trick to starting a business is getting started and unfortunately people spend an inordinate amount of time on the minutiae, on the details, making sure that they’ve perfected the process. They’ve identified one thing that they want to make sure that they get it, right. And then they work to ensure it’s perfect.
I think that’s a huge mistake because It leads to paralysis by perfectionism. So if you want to start a business, just get out there and start making sure you have a viable product at the very least. Something that will work, even though it didn’t take a lot of resources and was very easy to implement. It doesn’t have to be shiny because ultimately what matters most is your ability to succeed, your ability to market yourself and sell yourself.
You may be the best bread maker in the world, but if you can’t tell the world that you make bread, nobody’s going to buy it. So remember just get started on your business path and don’t forget, you are the best salesperson your company’s ever going to have
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Well, I’ve been very fortunate because my business is an online one. It involves very little face-to-face interaction and so covid I believe has impacted me positively that said.
It’s really hard for me to say that definitively because I didn’t exist before the pandemic so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. To what I will say is that our ability to engage with people online and through computer screens certainly has changed the way that we interact and I am relieved that it exists because I wouldn’t have the business I have without it.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
You know what separates us I think is that we’re trying to help people who don’t already have overstuffed wallets. We’re trying to help people who want to start business and really aren’t sure where to begin.
We’ve created a system that we think can help anybody regardless of their socio-economic position, start a business and make money on the side without interfering with their real business. And we’ve created a model that allows for them to gain an education while actually making money. Not racking up any debt and walking out of that experience with a business. We haven’t found that anywhere else yet.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Well we’re a small company right now, in fact, just a company of two. Me and my wife, but we are growing and we are hiring in the next 6 months to year.
I see myself as the kind of person that wants to be very approachable and I have decided that I have to be obsessively open-minded. So it’s important to me that the people I work with feel like they can provide ideas, they can talk to leadership and engage in the company. And if it were up to me, I think I would model my company after organizations, like Dan Price, Paylocity
We need to do everything in our power to engage and take care of our employees and I’m willing to make sacrifices when that time comes such that the business struggles for even some short time in an attempt to prove that there are models out there that will do better for their employees. Even when things are rough for the company.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Oh absolutely. Your brand MUST reflect your values.
Our brand ultimately will be one that I think is going to show our competitors, and more importantly, our clients that we take care of our employees. I think there’s probably nothing more important than demonstrating to the world that you have a brand and values that parallel one another. And really the best way to do that aside from providing stellar customer service and taking care of the world we live in, is to take phenomenal care of your employees. I hope that we can achieve that.
How would you define “leadership”?
I think leadership is simple. I am not an effective leader if I do not make the people below me better. I want everybody to collaborate and to grow the company because we were all successful collectively.
So I am working for them as much as I am working with them. And I hope to embody the sort of leader that people want to work around and work for because I am approachable, I am obsessively pen-minded, and I am kind. If I can achieve those things and help all of my employees reach greater, and greater heights than I think, I’ve done a good job as a leader.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
I’m going to say it again and again and again, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you just have to get started. The most important thing to starting a business is starting it. Don’t get hung up on all the reasons, you’re not ready to go, don’t get hung up on all the things you have to perfect first.
You don’t have to make sure everything’s perfect. You just need to get started. You’ll be amazed at your resilience, you’ll be amazed at your ability to adapt as you work through the process and you’ll work through the kinks. I think one of the problems we encounter is that new entrepreneurs and people in general, expect their business to be wildly successful on day one. And so it puts a lot of pressure on us to be that perfect company on day one. When in reality, it takes time, you have to make sure that you have a product that people will buy that you have operations to handle your distribution and you have to make sure that you’ve got an idea in marketing to support your overall structure.
If you’ve got those, even if they don’t seem perfect, then you might just have a business. So give it a shot if you want to start a business, just get started.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
I’ll have to paraphrase this here, but I’m pretty sure that Tesla told us that he didn’t fail 10,000 times, he learned 10,000 ways not to do it. And so I want to re-emphasize the value in experimenting early and just getting started on your business path.
Instead of getting hung up in all the reasons not to go because you’re going to make mistakes anyway and you won’t be able to anticipate all of them.
So get started, build that business from the ground up and watch those mistakes make you a better business owner. You will learn from them and you will grow from them and you’ll still be able to accomplish those things that you set out to do in the first place. So, let yourself make those mistakes and don’t overwhelm yourself with the enormity of starting a business, just get started.
ValiantCEO would like to thank Eric for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Eric or his company, you can do it through her/his – Linkedin Page
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