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Podcast #58 - Tom Hunt Discusses Outsourcing Your Assistant With Virtual Valley

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Tom Hunt is the founder and CEO of Virtual Valley, the online platform that connects business owners with a virtual assistant that can take over repeatable tasks. Tom joins us to discuss his roller-coaster journey as an entrepreneur and how he created a service that will help you save time and money. 


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Adam: Welcome to episode 58 of The Crowd. I’m talking to Tom Hunt, founder of virtualvalley.io.

 

Welcome to Near Me’s podcast, The Crowd, bringing you interviews from thought leaders in the collaborative economy who’ll be sharing their knowledge, diverse real world experiences and stuff you need to know to help build a successful marketplace. If this is your first time joining us, thanks and welcome. I’m your host, Adam Broadway.

 

Today’s guest is Tom Hunt. He spent years working in the high-end corporate world but once bitten by the startup bug has turned himself into learning to build his own businesses. Over the past three years, he started a number of online businesses, the latest being a marketplace for connecting entrepreneurs and business owners with a virtual assistant who can take over repeatable tasks, freeing you up on focusing in on the unique expertise that can’t be outsourced. This is a candid conversation about his journey so far and some lessons he’s learned to share with you.

 

I’m with Tom Hunt who is the founder of virtualvalley.io. That’s virtualvalley.io. And Tom, you’re based in England, right?

 

Tom: I am based in England. That’s correct.

 

Adam: Excellent. What I’d love to talk to you about is just your journey as an entrepreneur and how you’ve come to build virtualvalley.io. It’s not your first business that you’ve built, is it?

 

Tom: Correct. It’s not the first business but it is the first marketplace which has been a very eye opening experience. And I’m looking forward to getting into it and sharing all the learnings with everybody.

 

Adam: That’s going to be awesome. I think everybody is going to be very excited to hear your story, your journey, the travels that you’ve done through Europe while you’ve been building this business but let’s go back a little bit further. You’re obviously an entrepreneurial spirit and you’ve done other things. What got you started on the journey of being your own business owner?

 

Tom: I think I’m like maybe an adventurous or disobedient spirit but I sort of went through the conventional life from somebody like that lived in my area in England. So I studied and got good grades at school. I went to study Chemistry in London. And then after Chemistry, I went to work in management consulting companies in the city of London. And then one day on a bus on the way back from a Halloween party in London in 2012, Halloween 2012 –

 

Adam: Now, this is one of those double-decker buses, right? It’s really cool. Everyone’s –

 

Tom: Exactly, top level, front seats. And I and my friend were on the way back. We’d actually worn tights to this party because it’s fancy dress. And I don’t know if you’ve ever worn leggings or tights but they’re comfortable and really, really good. So as a joke, I think I said to my friend we should start a business with this. So you fast forward one week and we had 22 pairs of female leggings that we purchased from eBay and then marked on a logo just above left knee. I’m actually wearing a pair now so I have to check. And we are selling these leggings on a trendy East London market store. And this was in December 2012. By now, it was very cold and we stood there for eight hours and we sold zero pairs.

 

Adam: Oh no.

 

Tom: Oh no. But we got some good feedback. And probably most importantly, another friend had joined us by then. So there were three of us and we had a good time. So as we sort of trudged back from the marketplace to our house, we decided to set up an e-commerce store, start a brand and start selling these leggings. And the reason I brought up that story is because that whole process, from going from nothing to this market store in this website and making the first sale from someone that we didn’t know which occurred I think in February 2013, it was that rush, maybe it’s not a rush, it’s that feeling of excitement that hasn’t left me since. And it’s the reason that most of my spare time over the past three years I’ve invested into building businesses.

 

Adam: There is nothing quite like the sale, isn’t it? It’s an adrenaline rush.

 

Tom: Yes.

 

Adam: Three months from December 2012 on a street corner trying to sell leggings. You said that you had some feedback. What was the feedback that you got during that time?

 

Tom: Feedback on the market store, I think it was just a few people saying yeah, they look cool but no one actually bought. Now, looking back, I think the actual motivation for starting a market store was to we said we could talk to girls. So we weren’t very good with girls and we thought there were really attractive girls in this market and there were, right? But we obviously couldn’t talk to them normally because we’re too shy. So if we had a market store selling male leggings, the girls would find that really funny, right? So that was actually the motivation but it sort of got me and my partners hooked on the business thing as well.

 

Adam: Look, irrespective of the motive, you’ve learned some awesome lessons and you’re out doing market research. And you’re selling, you’re selling yourselves. And that’s what people are buying ultimately. Of course, personal branding’s important but then you’ve gone on now. And you’re building your own brand around Virtual Valley. What was the next phase in that learning process that you went from to get to the marketplace?

 

Tom: Okay. So from Stitch leggings, which is still a business now that sells leggings, to Virtual Valley, there has been, I don’t know for sure, I should probably write a list, but at least 10 online ventures that I mean, you could say have failed like in Speech Marks or you could say I’ve learned something from each one.

 

Adam: That’s how I look at it.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: Failure to me is not giving it a go. So you’ve learned something. What were some of the valuable lessons that really resonate with you in terms of those experiences, building those 10 online ventures?

 

Tom: I think the biggest one is, the majority of those, maybe all of them, I was building something that I didn’t know people wanted. Even with the leggings, I think we read one newspaper article that showed people, men wearing leggings in the US. We then sort of dove into the small MVP test I guess you could say with our market store. We didn’t really get validation. We got some people say they were cool but no one bought. So even with the leggings, we jumped into a business that we didn’t know people wanted. And then a number of small things I’ve tried since, there were a couple of other things I built that I wasn’t sure people actually wanted. And so when I was considering Virtual Valley before even starting to design anything or starting to build out the marketplace, I spoke to I think 20 people who were potential target customers just asking about their outsourcing or whether they’ve tried outsourcing.

 

Adam: And this is a really good lesson. I think the idea of build it they will come is something that many of us make that assumption and learn from experience that it doesn’t really work. Sometimes, some people fluke on to it. It’s like wow, I built this. In fact, people build things and don’t expect it to work at all. I do it as a joke. An example is the Dogecoin. Jackson Palmer came up with that. Let’s put the dog face on a bit coin and overnight, boom, a joke turned into a real business.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: StartupBus. I don’t know if you’ve heard of StartupBus. Elias Bizannes is an Australian guy here in the Silicon Valley who as a joke said we’re going to do an entrepreneurial journey between San Francisco and South by Southwest. And we’re going to pack a bunch of people that don’t know each other and they’re going to start a business in the trip between San Francisco and Texas. We’re going to have teams. They’re going to build a business and pitch it and launch it by the time they get to Texas.

 

Tom: That’s awesome.

 

Adam: That was a joke. And I called him out on it and so we did it. And it was a huge success and continues to be a huge success going global. So sometimes build it they will come accidentally happens. But I think when you’re really serious about the idea you’ll learn that the research is important first. Who were the people that you then targeted? What was the hypothesis that you started with?

 

Tom: So I think I’d have to – Virtual Valley was actually sort of a second iteration of an outsourcing business that I’ve started. The company that I used to replace my salary to enable me to leave my corporate role with Accenture was and what I’d like to call an outsourced service company. So I would link startups in London that couldn’t afford to employ people in London to do that say admin or marketing support work with people that I knew in the Philippines. And I would more or less be the middle man helping them start up with what they should outsource and how they should outsource as I’ve just been doing that for three years in the corporate world and then helping the team member in the Philippines to sort of make sure everything was okay which was fine. And we’re able to charge like a significant uplift on the salary of the team member for my service. But once we got to six clients, I was spending all of my time with these clients and not on the business so –

 

Adam: So not scaling?

 

Tom: Yeah, exactly. So early in 2015, I decided to stop investing time into our business and to try to automate and step away from as much of that as possible so I could scale obviously with a lower margin on top of the team members’ salaries but the upper limit to the amount of people I could have employed through this marketplace would be near infinite. So the people that I spoke to were all of the clients from my previous business. And so I guess the hypothesis is would you be prepared to go on to a marketplace, a website and hire and start working with a team member without having somebody in the middle? Some of the questions I would ask at the end of the conversations I was having with these startup founders and entrepreneurs is what sort of information would you want to see before you started and chose to work for someone which directly fed into building a platform. And for example, one thing that sets us apart from say Upwork is that we have videos of our team members on their profiles within the platform so you can check their English skills which is one of the things that people told me.

 

Adam: What were some of the key parts of the business that were common across all of those previous clients that could be I guess commoditized in a role that could be outsourced? Were there accounting personal assistants for scheduling meetings, customer service? What were some of the core things that were common across all that could be sort of bundled or packaged up and then scaled as far as here’s your startup package that consists of people with these skills that will allow you to focus on the things that only you can do?

 

Tom: Yeah. I think that usually like all of the tasks that we were doing with our previous outsourced service company fit into around five categories. So social media, so once a team member has the right guidance from the company, they can pretty much run in my opinion social media channels. So social media. CRM, so like I love using CRM tools. It sorts and times everything like organized in there but the data entry into CRM can sometimes take time. So that’s the second thing. Inbox and calendar management, so for the people at the top of the organization that really don’t have much time like having everything organized, then someone making their inbox kind of organized has a high leverage for them. And then I would name this as lead generation. So there are some sort of manual lead generation tasks that team members can do to find, like manually scrape the Internet for people that you could approach with to sell your startup. So that’s four, right. And the last one escapes me. But I think you can see the thought of the pattern for these four tasks.

 

Adam: Yeah. Every business has to be on top of those many things. They have marketing, social media, lead gen, data entry and general personal assistance services. That then resonated with all of those businesses. And then what happened when you got that research, you found out what they needed and then you went to the next step of building up the marketplace? How do you solve the whole supply-demand issue?

 

Tom: Yeah. So I had a lot of time to think about this. So once I set up the development of the platform, I wish I could’ve just come to you guys and actually have one really quickly, right? But once I had set up the development, I had a lot of time, so I spent a lot of time on blogs and reading books about marketplaces and marketing marketplaces. And I think the best resource for me was a blog called platform.info, I believe. You probably have heard of a guy called Sangeet, Sanjiv who’s like a thought leader on platforms in the world. He has a book called Platform Thinking. I may be getting these names wrong but you can probably find them by Goggling them. What I learned about that problem or the advice I gathered that I agreed with or that I was going to action was to build up the side of the marketplace a lot efficiently that is, that have more incentives to use as a marketplace.

 

So we chose to hand recruit the supply side of the marketplace so the virtual assistants in time for the launch. So we spent – I have a blog post that we can link below that outlines our findings from recruiting 57 virtual assistants to be on the platform for when we launched and opened up to the demand side which in this case a few entrepreneurs. So far, it seems to have worked. Once we launched the platform, like I didn’t have an amazing launch planned. So we didn’t have an avalanche of entrepreneurs. We had a few entrepreneurs trickle in and hire people. So yes, some of the supply side don’t have, like haven’t found their match. They haven’t been connected. So they’re probably – like I tried to keep everybody sort of motivated by sending regular emails. But yes, we probably have lost some of those people from the supply side but I’m not that bothered because I know exactly the cost and amount of time to recruit someone. But what we have avoided is having an entrepreneur come on to the platform and not find someone that they want.

 

Adam: That’s an excellent thing to have provided a customer promise and deliver on that. If there was ever an issue around the supply-demand, you’ve got it around the right way.

 

Tom: Yeah for sure. Yeah.

 

Adam: What would you say as being, some of the key points in your business journey that has helped you to accelerate conceptualizing, researching and then executing on this? Do you have a co-founder? Are there people that have been mentoring you along the way? Obviously, you’ve got developers in place. What are some of those things that have helped you to execute so well as you have?

 

Tom: Good question. So there is no co-founder. It’s just me. I think I managed to build a thing. So we’ve gone from – like I had the idea to build the platform. It would’ve been in July this year. So that’s six, seven months ago. And now, I have a platform that’s up and running and people using it. So I guess you could say it’s pretty quick, right? And I’ve done it like everything, 100 percent myself obviously that like I and the company but we had the development team in Egypt and I have a manager in the Philippines. So I haven’t had anybody sort of helping with the strategy but I think – now to answer your question, I think I’ve been able to action things that quickly is because I spent the past three years building online businesses from working with people in the Philippines. I also spent three years within the corporate world project managing outsourcing projects. So this may not be very helpful to people listening but the tip that I would give is to start things, start and try things so you can sort of improve your action taking muscle. And also if you can possibly get project management experience by working in large companies or even a small startup, that could be very helpful in your future business entrepreneurial career. Like managing projects I think will be crucial as an entrepreneur full stop.

 

Adam: So your overnight success as it were took about six years.

 

Tom: Yeah. You could – yes, you could say that.

 

Adam: And that’s something that I’ve experienced with many entrepreneurs I’ve talked to. They’ve launched a business and then it really rockets. They execute it really well in a short space of time and they got – yeah, this is pivot number 10. And I hate that word pivot. This is iteration version 10. I’ve learned along the way and that’s the key to it. Also, I think – and I have to commend you. Doing this on your own is rare. I’ve generally found that most businesses without a co-founder don’t do as well. But to be able to do this as you have speaks volumes to your tenacity and your project management and vision as well as obviously the experience you’ve had in working with virtual assistants. And I’m sure you’ve leveraged that as well in building it out. So congratulations on that. That’s really good.

 

Tom: Thank you, Adam. I appreciate that.

 

Adam: Yeah. You got to be proud of yourself for that, in and of its self. Often when in dealing with marketplace clients, one of the questions is so how many are you in your team? Do you have a co-founder? And I’m always very wary with those who do not have a co-founder because it is tough. It’s really tough. But you’ve done  a sterling job. Congratulations. I’m really impressed. What would you say would be the toughest thing that you had to handle in your building of the marketplace so far?

 

Tom: Definitely the offshore development, yeah. This is for me the crucial point. It’s aligning your interests with the interests of the development team. Now, the best way to do this is to have a technical co-founder that you have a 50 percent share of the company with. Then your goals are 100 percent aligned. Now, the opposite end of the scale and actually the reason that I probably wouldn’t take again is paying a – actually, the opposite end of the spectrum would be paying to a development team per hour to complete a project. One step back towards the middle is to pay a fixed price for the project in my opinion. So I took the approach of paying a fixed price with a team in Egypt. I went through probably a two to three-week bidding war, like a bidding process on all of the large freelance marketplaces and eventually settled with this company in Egypt primarily and I sort of regret this now because the cost that they proposed was half the price of everybody else. And I had the budget to spend more and to spend double and go with other options that may have been high quality but I didn’t. And I think one of those reasons is I got on really well with the leader of the Egyptian team. And then since we sort of moved forward, there have been like a number of issues that partially were my fault or I can take full responsibility that I selected that team so I shouldn’t be negative at all.

 

Adam: Yup.

 

Tom: And so yes, the development was an absolute rollercoaster. Like we’ve come out the other side now is awesome and everybody’s happy but it was an absolute rollercoaster. And that has what kept me up at night but –

 

Adam: I totally hear you.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: No. I think in that for a nontechnical, for somebody who’s building a software as a service business as you have whether it’s a marketplace or whatever it is and to not have the background on infrastructure and DevOps and scalability and SSL issues and load balancing and databases and data mining and reporting and dot, dot, dot, it’s a minefield out there. There’s no doubt about it. And to have come out the other side, again I commend you. You’ve done a good job in pulling it together but it is a tough business to be in software development which is why I guess and this is a plug for Near Me why we have commoditized everything and make that journey of development more efficient because you get economies of scale. And if there’s a bug, well, we got to fix it. It’s just part of – there are platforms. Everyone gets affected. We got to fix that. We go to add a feature. Everybody gets it whether they need it or not. And so that economies of scale on that intellectual property that we are developing and intellectual capital I guess of ideas and learnings can feedback into it. Payment gateways, my goodness the biggest pain in the –

 

Tom: Oh my god. Yes.

 

Adam: And seriously especially in a marketplace environment.

 

Tom: Yes.

 

Adam: You know what it’s like. Traditionally, e-commerce, no problem. API integration, money goes from buyer to seller. Marketplace, buyer, seller, marketplace owner.

 

Tom: Yes.

 

Adam: It is a nightmare. So I feel your pain. We’ve solved all those problems by the way. So version 2, come talk to us.

 

Tom: Exactly. I think one of the many reasons that I’ve been “successful” is because the barriers to entry to starting a business have come down so, so far. Like we set up the e-commerce store for the leggings with 20 pounds and it took us eight hours to set up the site. It’s so, so easy. And what you’re doing I already admire because you’re taking it even to the next level. The ease of being able to set up now, not just an e-commerce or a website or a blog but a marketplace, a marketplace that will connect to a buyer and a seller is coming down as well. Like that for me is really exciting. So I just want to say that.

 

Adam: Thank you. Yeah, I know it is tough. It’s the toughest technology problem or not we‘ve had to crack so far in my career. And I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years since the Internet was a baby. So yeah, it is really difficult but everything is getting commoditized. So let’s then take it to the next phase of the business because technology is just a tool after all and things are going to get faster, better, cheaper when it comes to technology. What do you think then beyond the technology is the most important part of the user experience when dealing with your clients?

 

Tom: I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the user flow for the entrepreneur or trying to optimize the user flow for the entrepreneur because we are getting entrepreneurs creating accounts but not – it’s actually only 20 percent of entrepreneurs that create accounts, hire a team member. So I really need to try and understand how I can make it easier for people to hire team members. So I’ve been trying to work out, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the must-have experience is for the entrepreneur. And I think that is their first interaction, like real life human interaction with a potential team member. So if through the platform you can communicate without actually hiring a team member – and when you hire, you validate your PayPal account and access of the payment. So you can communicate through the platform. And when you hire and validate your PayPal account, you can then – it releases contact details so you can communicate off the platform.

 

So what I’ve been trying to do is to shorten the time and make it as easy as possible for the entrepreneur, after they create their account, to actually have an interaction with the team member because I think once you have that, I think you’re much more likely to sort of go on and hire somebody. I actually got that by talking to one of our first entrepreneurs on the platform about their experience and their sort of not emotions but their sort of feelings and their keenness towards Virtual Valley after I went through that process. And they said when they got that first message from someone in the Philippines and they said yeah, I can do that role, it sort of made them not addicted but they felt like getting your first photo tag of you on Facebook. They’re pulling lots of that. That was good. So I think your question was what is the most important part for users when they come on to the platform? For me, for us, that is the most important.

 

Adam: And that’s that first time communication.

 

Tom: Yes.

 

Adam: With the potential – it’s the human interaction. You’re a matchmaking service and it’s ensuring that the first conversation is a positive one whether or not that follows through to actually engaging but making that easy and human.

 

Tom: Yeah, exactly.

 

Adam: And what surprised you the most about building a marketplace?

 

Tom: It was realizing after sort of jumping in and all this talking with development that you’re actually marketing to two groups of people. And I love the analogy that is given on this website platform.thinking is that in the traditional business, you see it as a pipe where the business people sort of push down this product to a service down the pipe to one group of customers at the end of the pipe. And in the marketplace, it’s different because you are actually trying to attract these two groups of people and then enabling them to interact. And it was realizing that that I had to try and attract two groups of people after I’d already started that for me that was a hard realization to make.

 

Adam: So, it’s not the traditional sales funnel.

 

Tom: Correct.

 

Adam: And what’s the future? What’s the next step for you, Tom, in taking the business to the next level?

 

Tom: So what I’m trying to do in the moment is to sort of validate. You could call it finding product-market fit. I think I sort of have that. We have entrepreneurs who’ve used it but I just want to sort of validate and optimize, to validate that product-market fit and also optimize the user flow a little bit more so you get more than 20 percent of entrepreneurs hiring people. And I’ve build up this group of entrepreneurs just through content and social. There’s been no paid acquisition. So building up to the launch of the platform three weeks ago, I went on a guest blogging spree and posted 42 guest blog posts on various marketing blogs around the world. And then, we also have to start to build up our own blog once I get a good idea about the content the target customer likes to consume. And I have recently just launched a podcast. And all this is integrated with the social media strategy.

 

And so, we’re just trying to sort of push the name of Virtual Valley out into the world, into the social world where our potential customers are. And that has provided us with this first group of entrepreneurs with no financial investment, just a lot of time but no financial investment. So that’s where we are at the moment. And I’m going to continue with this sort of content machine, posting more stuff on our blog because I’ve been focusing on guest blogs but putting more stuff on our blog just to keep this flow of entrepreneurs that are aware of us coming to the platform and hiring people so I can validate the product-market fit and improve the conversion flow.

 

Then, in order to scale once I’m happy with the platform, the technical side and everything, I’m going to leverage the connections I’ve made through that guest blogging spree. So I have around 40, well, probably more than 40 connections with influencers that have audiences in the people that I think would use Virtual Valley. So I’m going to leverage the relationships with those people to produce a piece of content, potentially a webinar where we go deep into sort of the image revisited theory and building systems and outsourcing. And then at the end, put an offer that I could potentially split the revenue with the influencer. So I think that with those strategies that once I have the conversion flow optimized it could enable us to scale fast.

 

Adam: And that referral approach definitely works.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: Great, great approach. And the whole content marketing strategy is vital because it’s always a soft sell when you’re online.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: Of course, a hard sell if you go to – you’re doing a Google search for a particular product and people have got – they Google ad words there. They’re qualified leads. But for the type of businesses that you and I are building, marketplaces, it’s – unless you’re providing high value through content, through advice, through thought leadership, before leading them to the service or product that you want them to connect to, you really do struggle. And I think you’re approaching it spot on with the content marketing. And fantastic job on getting 42 guest blog posts in a short space of time. What’s been the number one, well-read post that you’ve put out there? What was the content centered around?

 

Tom: So, the most shared post was – we have a bit of an anomaly and I wasn’t really considering the goals of the platform because the targeted blog for that post that was shared 6.4 thousand times was not really the customer I was told it was focused. It was more like I like that blog so I wanted to post on it. So that was just a list of influencers that provide media that is not an alternative. So people like Joe Rogan, Alan Watts, there were 18 people on the list. So we managed to – it got shared that many times because it had such big influencers on that list. But in terms of a post that was well received on a blog that I believe has a high concentration of target customer, it was probably on the HubSpot blog.

 

Adam: Wow.

 

Tom: I’ll say it was just a post. I just outlined how we managed to get on TV and in newspapers for that leggings company we discussed at the start. I just read that and like a step-by-step guide. And that’s obviously helpful. It was like a massive blogs. So we got great exposure but I can obviously track traffic through the author bio links and that has been awesome for us.

 

Adam: Excellent. How to do PR on a budget. That has –

 

Tom: Yeah. The title was How to Get Free Press for Your Startup with No Connections.

 

Adam: That’s fantastic. We definitely need to get people connected to that post. I think that’s a spot on approach because what you’re doing is providing high value to people who are your exact market, target audience. Entrepreneurs want to know how to do it for low or no cost. And then your name attached to that, Virtual Valley, also provides many other services. I’m guessing you probably have PR experts who could jump in and provide some assistance as well, a virtual assistant, a virtual PR assistant.

 

Tom: Yes. So we should probably talk about that as well as like we’re actually with Virtual Valley at the moment trying to start our niche niche just like how – you must know about the history of marketplaces. Like eBay started just selling Pez dispensers. So we are only providing what I call general virtual assistants. Some people today – there are four basic tasks that we outlined earlier in the call. But yes, definitely, in the future when like the model prove that and we’ve scaled the general virtual assistants, we could branch out to have other people providing a whole range of different services.

 

Adam: Again, you’ve done the right thing. You’re focused.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: You’re not getting diverted by the Adam Broadways of the world that say hey, what about this one and what about that one?

 

Tom: Yeah, exactly.

 

Adam: Yup, yup. That’s a great idea. We will revisit that later. You’re staying true to your core and focusing in those tried and true successful services. So that’s well done as well. Brilliant, mate. This time has gone very fast and I really enjoyed catching up with you and learning about your journey. We have to wrap it up. Final tidbit that you’d like to share and then I’ve just got one final question for you after that.

 

Tom: You left that very open. I mean, so I can actually say anything now. So in all the businesses that have been successful which is maybe three out of ten if you want a conventional definition of success, we have had excellent customer service. Now, I think it’s free, like free in terms of money, pretty much free. Like it’s not that much more time to provide awesome customer service compared to rubbish. And I know customer service, I believe, generally is getting better but there’s still, I think, a massive opportunity for small businesses to outperform these larger corporations by having personal, what I like to call legendary customer service. So it’s like going above and beyond putting a smiley in your messages, refunding whenever anything is your fault. And I think that is one of the reasons why this small number of successes I have experienced have occurred.

 

Adam: That’s brilliant. Well then, the final question I have for you. Thinking back on your life’s journey as a child, teenager, adult, entrepreneur, what was the one piece of advice that you were given that still resonates in your mind even now?

 

Tom: Very good question. Okay, I think – so I can’t think of a specific example of someone saying this to me but it’s the one that goes it’s not the things that you do that you regret; it’s the things that you don’t do. So if you’re on the verge, anybody listening, of considering like starting a marketplace or even just a business, I would say that you’ll probably regret not doing it more than you will so you should at least try.

 

Adam: Very cool. Give it a go.

 

Tom: Yeah, exactly. Like why not?

 

Adam: Tom, it’s been a pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed hearing about your journey. It’s been an awesome one. And it’s only just really beginning. I know six years might sound like a long time for some people. I mean, you have to get six years of experience to – well, it starts today.

 

Tom: Yeah.

 

Adam: So if you’re not already doing, it starts right now. And you’ve got a great huge future ahead of you. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. And I’m looking forward to revisiting in the months or the year ahead and getting a followup on how things have progressed and other lessons that you’ve learned. And I’ll certainly be encouraging everybody to connect with you. You’ve got a website of course which is virtualvalley.io.

 

Tom: Yup.

 

Adam: And people can follow you in Twitter @tomhuntio.

 

Tom: Yes.

 

Adam: And we’re going to get a transcript of this conversation in our blog post and a link out to Tom’s site. Thanks Tom. Again, fantastic to hear about your journey.

 

Tom: Yeah. Adam, I’ve also really enjoyed this. And as I said earlier, I really admire what you’re doing with marketplaces and helping people get set up with marketplaces. I also think that’s awesome. Final note, if anybody has any questions about like marketing marketplaces or marketing businesses, you can just ask me a question on Twitter. So, yeah, as Adam said @tomhuntio. I’m more than happy to provide my input.

 

Adam: Well, thanks again, Tom. I look forward to catching up soon.

 

Tom: Cheers, Adam.

 

Adam: Thanks for joining us for The Crowd, the podcast that keeps you connected. Join  us next episode for our chat with two amazing ladies who are from the small business administration office of the Advocacy. Looking forward to sharing that interview with you next week.

 

 

Topics: The Crowd Podcast Interviews

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