Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Assisting Consumers Can Lead to Success

Assisting Consumers Can Lead to Success

Bill Hazelton

Name of your company and URL?

Date started?

We were founded in December 2004.

What is your product or service?

A pro-consumer credit card comparison site that provides a variety of comprehensive credit-related information for users. We help consumers with everything from finding balance transfer credit cards to discovering which small business credit cards are going to work best for them – we try to cover every stage of the consumer financial lifecycle.

Why did you start your company?

I really saw an opportunity to help people. I never felt like there was enough good information to help guide me when I was shopping for a credit card. It was really frustrating. Being very much ‘pro-consumer’ and a key source of solid information for consumers has always been my goal.

How was it financed ?

I financed it out of my personal savings.

Date officially launched?

Our site officially launched one year after we were founded, in December 2005

What free online or offline tools do you use?

My iPhone is probably my greatest tool for both online and offline work. I run most of my business right through my phone and have apps that allow me to do pretty much everything remotely, wherever I am. It’s an incredibly useful tool – why run back and forth between multiple devices when I can have everything in one place?

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

You can find us on Facebook here. We also have a Twitter account, a Google+ and even a Pinterest account.

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

I’m a sole proprietor. However, I have a variety of contractors that I work with, particularly for managing my blog. I looked to hire experts that knew the field and could augment the company’s mission of providing consumers with actionable, relevant advice.

What is the best advice you never got?

Fail fast. Failure is OK, but only if you do it quickly, learn from it and move on. Failing slowly is painful and could keep you from getting to your next, successful venture.

What almost killed your business in the start?

Poor cash flow management was an issue at first, but I quickly learned the skills I needed to stay on top of things. Today, I’m much better at managing my cash flow. That’s something every new entrepreneur needs to learn right out of the gate – if you’re not keeping a close eye on your cash flow, your business won’t get very far.

What is the one thing that you did right?

I focused on helping my users with the best advice and information that I could find. That’s the common thread through the entire life of the business – even through several iterations of the site, there’s always been a very heavy focus on providing useful information to help consumers make important financial decisions.

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

I’ve really had to work on improving my time management skills. Learning how to operate a business and still have time to enjoy life was my biggest transition by far. It takes an entirely different way of looking at things to own a business. You must be a self-starter or you’re going to wind up spinning your wheels instead of getting things done. Some days, I would end the day and wonder “Where did all that time go?” Now, I’m much better at getting crucial tasks done in a timely fashion instead of spending all day checking email or “catching up” on the latest financial news.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We’re currently in the black.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

I do a variety of advertising and marketing. I do some very limited PPC advertising as well a significant amount of networking with bloggers in my industry. The networking has been my most effective avenue of marketing my business. It’s huge, because it allows everybody to build up their brand – we all become more successful in the process.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

If I could clone myself, I definitely think that would make me more successful. I’d at least get more work done in a day. There’s only so much one person can do!

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

I’m open to any scenario that would allow me to grow the business and the brand.

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be?

It’s hard to forecast revenue in this industry because it’s so volatile. Things change very quickly, but I’m on track to grow revenue over last year.

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