Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

GoOverseas.com: ratings and reviews for programs abroad

GoOverseas.com:  A better way to choose programs abroad

Mitch Gordon

Mitch Gordon, a serial entrepreneur, founded Go Overseas just over three years ago. He previously founded Reach To Teach, which recruits hundreds of teachers each year to teach in Asia. Mitch currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is completing his MBA at Berkeley. Without future adieu, let’s jump into some questions and learn about the both the founder and the genesis of Go Overseas.

To start with, please tell us a little about Go Overseas and your inspiration for starting it:

I’m a traveler, and being a global citizen who makes a positive impact is important to me. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries, and lived in Taiwan for over four years. I’ve met people who are always asking me for feedback on different programs abroad. There are a lot of different volunteer programs, for example, all over the world. It’s very difficult to get accurate information about them before deciding whether or not to participate. We thought there must be a better way. With that in mind, we started Go Overseas with the goal of creating a “Yelp!” style website for programs abroad. Currently, we have sections for volunteer abroad, study abroad and teach abroad. Intern abroad will be arriving later this summer and we’ll launch further verticals from there. Our goal is to create a one-stop resource to help people make informed decisions when choosing programs abroad.

What date did Go Overseas officially launch?

After two long years of development, the site launched in June 2010. Over the past year there have certainly been challenges, but we’re off to a really great start. Our traffic has been rising steadily, but most importantly we’ve been getting great feedback from our users. They tell us the site has been helping them immensely. That makes it all worth it at the end of the day.

Why was this social venture created?

We wanted to make a difference in this area and saw a real gap in the market. Review sites have obviously become very popular in recent years. We thought there was a real need for a site like Go Overseas. Our users have been very excited about what we’ve created, which has been very rewarding. They have also become more and more active in our online community, which is also great.

Is there any charge to use Go Overseas? What free online or offline tools do you use?

GoOverseas.com:  A better way to choose programs abroadNot at all. The site is 100% free. We felt this was a very important component of what we wanted to do. The information on our site is 100% free to anyone and everyone in the world. We would never sacrifice that level of transparency or charge our users for access to our content.

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?

We currently have a great five person management team and about 10 additional staff which work part time or on special projects. Our staff is a dedicated and fun group- we’re very lucky to have them. Our offices in the Bay Area are great- we have a very fun and collaborative company culture. We also have about 20 writers who write for the site on a regular basis.

Do you tweet, facebook fan page, myspace friend or use any other social media to get the word out?

Absolutely. This is a requirement nowadays, would you not agree? We are extremely active on both Facebook and Twitter and strong leaders in the teach, study and volunteer abroad markets.. With that in mind, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our social media pages! Our Facebook page is Facebook/GoOverseas and our Twitter account is @GoOverseas. I also have a personal Twitter account: @MitchGordonGo.

What is the best advice you never got?
You need to love the process of entrepreneurship. I just heard this recently and it made a lot of sense to me. The odds of success are long, and you need to choose this life because you enjoy the learning process and the day to day work. Also, if you enjoy what you are doing, the odds of success will be higher. This is where social entrepreneurship is really a fantastic choice. It’s even easier to work 8am-midnight days when you’re genuinely passionate about what you do.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Focusing on our core competencies. It’s really easy to get distracted as an entrepreneur. There are literally 100 things to do every single day. Prioritizing is important and every business needs to focus on their core competency first. All the other stuff should be a distant second.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?
When I started my first company (Reach To Teach) I worked from home for a few years. I thought I would love this, but found it a real challenge. We don’t always know what is best for us! I found out that I really needed to be around people. It was also much more difficult to manage my employees. After awhile we decided to get an office and this was really the right decision. I feel much more in control of everything going on in the company.

What can you tell other potential social entrepreneurs who are deciding to make a difference?

In many ways entrepreneurship isn’t a rational choice. It’s a long, tough road, with many obstacles along the way. Social entrepreneurship can be even more difficult. It’s still a relatively new concept, and one which many outside of the field don’t entirely understand. The key is to have the guts to go after what you believe in. If you aren’t satisfied with what you’re doing with your life and you have a great idea, go for it. The alternative- living an unsatisfying life- is the biggest risk.

What book(s) have you read that others should read?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dale Carnegie (I revisit this book on a regular basis) and Influence by Cialdini. Both books have greatly influenced me.

Are you doing any type of Search Engine Optimization?

Every website nowadays needs to think about SEO. We talk about it each and every day and it affects every decision we make. We are regular followers and subscribers of SEOMOZ.org and I highly recommend them to everyone I know.

YouTube – Do you have a YouTube video URL that you can share with us, and allow us to publish with your story?

Yes, we actually just launched the Go Overseas YouTube channel. We’re very excited about it and will feature at least one great video a week. The focus will be on advice for our users. For example, our very first “Whiteboard Wednesday” focused on the topic “How to choose a country in which to Teach Abroad”

Any Famous Last Words?

We love user feedback on our site, so be in touch. Feel free to contact me directly, I interact with our users all the time. Whether you want to volunteer in Argentina, study in England, teach in Korea, or intern in Spain, Go Overseas is the place to find ratings, reviews and more for every country in the world. See you on the site!

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One Response to “GoOverseas.com: ratings and reviews for programs abroad”

  1. Louie Arndt says:

    Its an easy target and I dont agree filtering is a bad thing. Since the telegraf people has believed that the new medium would open up the world, make it a better place, more peace less war. Its just didn’t happend.

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