Maurice Harary on What I Learned From My Solopreneur Journey
Maurice is the Co-Founder/CEO of The Bid Lab and is an inspirational solopreneur. We're grateful to have had the chance to sit down and share insights from their solopreneur journey on The Industry Leaders.
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?"
As a middle child in a family of six children, I draw parallels between my upbringing and my love of the bidding process: both require being an expert navigator of complex situations and contrasting personalities. I attribute this ability to the experiences I had growing up. Born and raised in New York City, I attended New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and graduated with a degree in Business and Political Economy. I knew, however, that I wanted to see, learn, and experience more than what one city had to offer. So I committed to spending semesters in both London and Shanghai. Living in foreign cities taught me about the intertwining nature of business, politics, economics, and culture, which has been invaluable in my career thus far.
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?
I made some foolish assumptions about who my first clients would be. I learned that it’s not about the size of a client, but about how much you can assist a business. One of our best clients came to us with just over $100,000 in revenue, and we have grown together to be multi-million dollar businesses!
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?
My company is remote by design, which allows me to hire the best employees. We encourage team members to take breaks and recharge and do not penalize or discourage them from using their entitled PTO. We’ve hired single mothers who need to be able to be home with sick kids, parents who homeschool, and employees who are taking care of elderly relatives. By distributing the workload and responsibilities among team members and promoting a healthy work culture, my team benefits.
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?
I started this company because I am the best at what I do - winning bids for companies. I wanted to take my talents and use them to help smaller companies win new business. Winning these bids changes the lives of the people who run these companies, their families and their communities. I love knowing that my skill set is helping change lives in impactful ways. There is nothing better than knowing that you are contributing to the overall good.
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?
We all get in our own way when it comes to listening. That’s why I put so much emphasis on being present. It’s easy to get sidetracked with the running list of to-dos in your head. It’s also incredibly easy, and common, to hear things and react to them from your perspective only. It’s important to respond rather than react. Don’t be afraid to take your time and really process what is being said so you can get the full picture and not come at communication only from your own understanding.
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?
I would strongly advise colleagues to hire people to do the aspects of the job that burn you out. That means something different to each person reading this, but for me, that meant hiring an accountant. This was by far my least favorite part of the job! Knowing you have quality people handling the aspects of the job that don’t excite you, frees you up to focus on the aspects of the job that you truly enjoy and helps maintain a sense of fulfillment and excitement about what you do.
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?
While there are many skills and talents needed to be a successful entrepreneur, one of the most valuable is being comfortable with uncertainty. You cannot take the risks necessary to start and grow your business if you need stagnancy and predictability to feel secure. From employee upsets to frustrating clients to changing markets there is no way to guarantee security. Making peace with uncertainty and even growing to enjoy the surprises that force you to think on your feet and overcome hardship will go a long way in helping you flourish as an entrepreneur.
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 the founder and manager of a strictly remote company, my firm depends on the Internet. That's by design; our niche services help small businesses win the opportunities they find on the internet. Our company's reputation depends on both our customer's experience with our company's services and the quality of those services. We write and promote our educational articles on our site; if people like what they read, they'll remember us. By including customers in our success studies, those customers are more likely to remember us the next time they need our services. Finding ways to scale while maintaining long-term relationships is easier than ever, thanks to evolving database management tools. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are increasingly intuitive; organizations should develop personalized messaging that resonates with their customers. Experiment with the tools that will most effectively sustain those long-lasting customer relationships, and you'll be rewarded with stronger loyalties that will drive long-term growth.