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Interviewing College Entrepreneurs Evolves into a Business: Start It Up TV

Interviewing College Entrepreneurs Evolves into a Business: Start It Up TVName of your company and URL?

Start It Up TV (http://startitup.tv)

Date started?

Beta: July 19th, 2011

Official Launch: September 2nd, 2011

What is your product or service?

Start It Up TV provides current and aspiring entrepreneurs with valuable resources and information on how to create, launch, and run a business in college.

The site features Skype interviews with college entrepreneurs from all over the world where they share their knowledge, inspiration, and professional experiences. SIU TV is a forum for current college entrepreneurs to promote their businesses to like-minded people and improve their entrepreneurial concepts.

To date, we have interviewed student entrepreneurs who are in every phase of the business lifecycle. We have found that college entrepreneurs of all backgrounds are extremely interesting and can provide valuable advice to other aspiring college entrepreneurs.

Why did you start your company?

Ultimately, I launched Start It Up TV because I wanted to inspire and educate college students about entrepreneurship so they can reach their full potential.

I believe every college student can benefit greatly by getting involved in entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship is the key to creating and owning your own destiny instead of relying on others to create it for you.

I have always been passionate about the idea of entrepreneurship and find that the collegiate atmosphere is ideal for true innovation. Colleges and universities are full of creative students who are looking to make their mark on the world. These students have plenty of free time, little to no “real world” responsibilities, and are armed with professors and alumni at their disposals. The amount of free resources available to college students is infinite, providing an enormous advantage over non-university entrepreneurs.

What benefits are there to a college student starting a business?

As a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, I can speak firsthand on the benefits that I accrued through starting a part-time healthy cookie business during my sophomore year of college.

  • I was able to apply what I learned in my classes to my business, which allowed the real-world experience necessary to grow as a young entrepreneur.
  • Through the creation of my business, my network grew enormously. I encountered, business professionals, university students, other college entrepreneurs, and professors that shared the same vision of entrepreneurship.
  • My junior year, I got involved in the Entrepreneurship Club at UD and became President during my senior year
  • I also received a scholarship for my entrepreneurial endeavors during my senior year.

How was SIUTV financed?

I financed my business solely on my own accord. I had saved money each year while I was at the University of Delaware and utilized my savings to get the project rolling.

Here is a breakdown of my original startup costs:

  • WPZoom Premium WordPress Theme: $79
  • Web Developer: $200
  • Logo Design from Logonerds.com: $27
  • Web Hosting with Host Gator: $5/month
  • Domain from GoDaddy.com: $10
  • Vimeo Premium Account: $5/month
  • Screenflow for Mac: $100
  • Skype Ecamm Call Recorder: $20
  • Total: ~$500

What free online or offline tools do you use?

I use a lot of free online tools to help me manage, grow, and automate my business.

Manage

  • Skype: I use Skype to conduct all of my interviews. It is free, dependable, and best of all I do not have to physically be in the same location as the person I am interviewing.
  • Google Keyword Tool: For every post I write, I make sure to optimize my content for the search engines.
  • All In One SEO WordPress Plugin: This free plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs is amazing. It allows you to customize your Page Title, add a meta description for each post, and add keywords for search engines.
  • SEO For Firefox Addon: If you don’t use Firefox, you should consider it. Firefox has a lot of great addons you can install, one of them being SEO For Firefox. This addon is extremely powerful. You can get it at: http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html
  • Google Analytics: Great for analyzing the metrics of your website

Grow

  • Mail Chimp: I use Mail Chimp to manage email-marketing campaigns and create list-building forms.
  • Help A Reporter Out (HARO): If you are trying to connect with reporters looking to write articles about your industry…for free…this is the website for you. I also use Blogger Linkup – it is smaller and I’ve actually had more success with it than HARO.
  • LinkOrbit: Link Orbit is a new online service that helps link bloggers with people who need content.

Automation

  • If This Then That: I use If This Then That (IFTTT) to automate a lot of my social media accounts. IFTTT is simply an If Function: If this happens, then that happens. You can get it here: http://ifttt.com

Bonus:

  • Fiverr: People are willing to write content for your blog, create videos for you, bring visitors to your website or social accounts, generate backlinks, and much more – all for $5. http://fiver.com

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or? Provide exact URL of each

I use all of the main Social Media tools to help promote my brand.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/startituptv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/StartItUpTV

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/2336298

Youtube:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHt7sYdGM24&feature=channel_video_title

Vimeo:

The Hoot App: Turning Facebook into a College Study Tool from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

I also utilize Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious to help promote my content and create backlinks.

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvEay-yLABA

What are some of your favorite quotes or principals you live by?

  1. “There are no boundaries to life, only self limitations”
  2. “Follow Your Bliss”
  3. Thoughts become reality – set goals, work towards them, think positively, and enjoy your successes

What is the one thing that you did right?

Performing research and benchmarking my business were both extremely important tactics in the beginning. I had this idea to interview college entrepreneurs, but I was not entirely sure how I was going to pull it off. I found a few people who were already doing this with big time entrepreneurs, such as David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top and Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com. By researching their methods, I was able to drastically diminish the learning curve and have the comfort that there is already a working model for this type of business.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

The biggest transition I had to make in order to run Start It Up TV successfully was embracing experiences out of my comfort zone. Hosting a web show forced me to work on my public speaking skills and interviewing skills – both of which I had little to no experience in prior to launching the site. I had to learn quickly and efficiently.

I also had to develop my time management skills. There are millions of things that need to get done while working on an entrepreneurial project. Managing your time and making sure the most important things get done – as well as ensuring the small things don’t get overlooked – is paramount.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

With respect to marketing and increasing the traffic to my blog, backlinks are most important. I focus on marketing SIU TV by asking my interviewees to create a backlink to my site on their website – thus increasing my website value in terms of SEO. I also comment on heavy traffic websites related to my niche and leave a backlink.

Another extremely important marketing initiative I focus on is writing guest posts. Guest posts are a great way to reach a large and targeted audience for free. If you are looking to increase the traffic to your blog or website, write high quality guest posts for related websites.

I also ran a Google Adwords campaign for about 2-3 weeks. Although it can cost a lot of money to run a campaign, Google Adwords is a highly effective way of bringing targeted traffic to your site consistently. I recommend running a small campaign at the very least so you can familiarize yourself with the process of discovering great keywords, creating copy write, and managing a campaign. It is a very valuable and worthwhile subject to have basic knowledge in.

Lastly, I rely on building relationships on college entrepreneur forums and young entrepreneur forums. I have built many relationships with extremely interesting college entrepreneurs and have even generated leads for interviews. Do not underestimate the power of reaching out to forum members and adding value to threads. The Internet makes it easier than ever to build relationships with people from all around the world. Take advantage of it!

Interviewing College Entrepreneurs Evolves into a Business: Start It Up TV

Matthew Racz

What would make your business more “Successful”?

To be honest, I think I am on a pretty good path to success for SIU TV. Naturally, I have a lot of work to do to get it to where I want it to be. I think I need to continue focusing on writing guest posts and increasing my marketing initiatives. Likewise, I need to really focus on generating some high quality PR for my site to bring the awareness of SIU TV to the next level.

How do you plan to monetize your website?

I get this question a lot and to be honest, I am not focusing on money at all at this phase of the business. My website is still extremely young and needs to grow substantially before I can worry about monetization. I want to make sure I provide the highest quality content, build organic traffic to my website, and then look to make some income from it.

My current plan to monetize the site in the future is to establish a corporate sponsorship program. I have seen similar websites monetize their site through this process and I believe it would be the best way to make money. I also plan on selling my own information products through the website and promote affiliate products I have personal experience with and knowledge of. Another route I may consider is speaking engagements and small business consulting. Again, this is not a short-term goal but rather a long-term goal for the site.

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