November 7, 2022
I’ve created dozens of things over the years. I think on my Twitter I say 6x founder though the number of projects I’ve either started, built, sold, or failed has been much more than six. It’s ranged in everything from online game sites, to membership sites, to blogs/communities in different niches, to SaaS products. Quite the range.
The first thing I ever built was an online game website. Even though monetarily it wasn’t a success, I was only 14 at the time so it was a huge success in feeding my entrepreneurial drive and learning more about building a website and marketing it. Everything from registering a domain, to setting up hosting, to link building and marketing, was a great first site and really put me on a great path to get more experience building online businesses.
The most successful thing I’ve built is what I’m currently working on. It’s a software called Removaly that removes your personal information from the internet. We started building it nearly 2 years ago and just launched about 5 months ago. We’ve seen a lot of early interest and significant growth over the past few months and are extremely excited to see where things go in 2022. The data privacy space is a great space to be in and we’ve been able to successfully compete with some big players who have a lot of money backing them. It’s an exciting place to be.
Great question. So ever since I built that first online game site, I always had a knack for creating online businesses. I started out as a business major in college but figured it would be good to learn to program (even though I knew basically nothing at the time and had failed at learning myself multiple times before). I ended up switching into Computer Science officially at the end of my sophomore year which kind of launched myself into the “software developer” title I guess. Before that, I was building things out via membership sites on WordPress so it was much more a “plug and play” or “drag and drop” type environment rather than needing to write any custom code to make things work.
This question could be an entire article, but the short of it is that it’s hard. Very hard. Balancing a full-time job and a startup, on top of having a family requires a lot of motivation and dedication. I’ll start with the don’ts:
DON’T work on something you don’t love. I don’t consider working on Removaly work.
DO - Work smart. As someone with limited time, you have to work smart. Do high-value tasks first. And when you’re working, you have to be focused and ready to go, not playing around on social media or being distracted with other tasks. That way you’ll be able to output a lot of work in much less time.
I’m always thinking of ideas and I have a huge virtual notebook of ideas. I get inspiration from being a problem solver at heart. In any situation I find myself in, I find myself thinking of how I can make a product/service better. Then I write that down and iterate on that idea over time. Some of the things I work on, but most I store away for later
I’d say my favorite tool right now is Slack.
I chose Removaly because it was fitting a need that I had. My co-founder and I were running into an issue with harassment at an online forum and we were removing all of our information manually from the internet. It took a lot of time and was super annoying. We thought, “We both thought, Why isn't there something to automate this process for us?" and Removaly was born.
Don’t do things just to make a quick buck. Create a product that adds value to people’s lives and truly cares about your user's over profit.
I heard about Bryan and IndieDads a few months ago. Great concept for a show. I sent this to them when I first heard about them but my question is when are they going to start bringing on guests to the podcast? Haha. That would be my suggestion of how to get continued engagement on the podcast and grow their audience. I’m guessing that’s not the hope for the question though… in that case, my question would be: Can a founder truly be a good founder if they’re not a good dad first? And what's your number one piece of advice for all the founder dads out there?"
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