Joe Karasin on What I Learned From My Solopreneur Journey
Joe Karasin is CMO & Founder of Karasin PPC
Could you begin by telling us about your background, what led you to become a solopreneur, and what specific industry or niche you've carved out for yourself?"
I got into marketing the way a lot of marketers do, that is, not intentionally. I was grieving the loss of my mother and not really focusing on my career. A friend from college contacted me and said his father's business needed help. I researched SEO and started working for him. From there, I learned paid search and continued to expand my skillset. I took a full-time position and was tasked with building a marketing agency from the ground up. After some internal issues, we decided to mutually part ways, and I began building my own digital marketing business from there. I have taken some detours for various opportunities, which all came from my solo work, and have maintained good, lasting client relationships for the better part of 7 years.
Starting a business is often a leap into the unknown. In your early days as a solopreneur, what were some unexpected challenges you faced, and what strategies did you develop to overcome them?
A lot of the struggles or roadblocks I ran into were around the creation and managing of the business itself. I understand my work and services, but business management wasn't my forte. I leaned on books and websites to learn as much as I could so I would be prepared for things like taxes and business registration, as well as business growth.
Can you share a pivotal moment where you realized that your unique approach was actually working? What did you learn from that experience, and how did it shape your journey?
I don't know if it was a singular moment. I kept getting variations of the same feedback about my approach in comparison to the traditional marketing agency. Clients that I work with tend to come to me feeling jaded about digital marketing, feeling that they were not given the attention they needed or the results they wanted. Over time, I saw this as a major issue and worked hard to resolve it.
Your success hasn't come overnight. Could you delve into the key principles and practices that you've found most critical in building your business as a solopreneur? What differentiates your method from others?
A client-first approach has always served me well. I could spend a lot of time on my own business goals and development, but that is how you get higher customer churn. By focusing on clients and meeting their needs, it helps me to establish and strengthen the relationships I have with them.
Running a business solo requires a blend of skills. How have you balanced the demands of various roles like marketing, product development, and customer service? Can you share any tools or strategies that have been particularly effective?
Upskilling is the name of the game in marketing. By learning new tools and skills, it helps to ladder up your business and create new lines of business. Recently I have added PR, specifically rapid response as a service and it has been good for my growth but also my clients' growth. I've also taken on a new project that I think will be very effective for my B2C clients, but I'm not 100% ready to announce it yet as it is still in testing.
Reflecting on your journey, what's one lesson you learned the hard way that you wish you had known when you first started? How would you advise other aspiring solopreneurs?
One thing I wish I had known, but hasn't really been a hard-learned lesson has been that nearly everyone you connect with as a business owner is attempting to sell you something. At first, I would meet with people that seemed like prospective clients, but ended up being another service provider attempting to sell some new product or service. I like to use my time to work on my clients' behalf, so anything that takes away from that is a non-starter for me.
Innovation is often key in entrepreneurship. How have you fostered creativity and innovation in your business? What tips can you offer to those seeking to continually innovate in a rapidly changing market?
Innovation in marketing is always good. I have been using AI tools and newer platforms to help my clients, and it has been really good. Being on top of new trends and deciphering which are going to help grow your business and which ones are going to slow your business is a skill unto itself.
Looking forward, what are your plans for the future of your business, and how do you see the landscape for solopreneurs evolving in the next five years?
As I mentioned earlier, expanding my offerings to clients will be priority one in the coming year. Being able to provide truly exceptional service and deliver results is what I pride myself on. Sadly, I think in marketing, the days of the successful solopreneur are coming to an end. With the proliferation of agencies and in-house preferences, many of us are fading out and taking 9-5 jobs at various companies. I focus on developing and maintaining my client relationships which has always served me well.
For those who want to know more about you, your work, or perhaps even become a client or collaborator, how can they best get in touch or follow your journey?
I use LinkedIn quite often, so I can be found there. https://linkedin.com/in/joe-karasin.I am less often on X (Twitter) but @trippyjoe75 is my handle.