Today, we’re talking with Nicolas Gremion, founder of Foboko, a social publishing network where members get support writing their book from peers and connect directly with readers.
1. How and where did you get the idea for your company?
Perhaps when I retell the story to my grandkids many years from now, it’ll be far more dramatic, but truth be told, research and observation were the main elements. Having found myself unemployed after selling a business I had previously co-founded, I sought my next opportunity. It had to require little start-up money and face modest competition, but with large potential for growth. In 2006, eBooks were still uncommon, but I had used several and enjoyed the benefits they provided, such as convenience, price, and ease of access. Their appeal made them a candidate, and further research in the space made eBooks a business worth pursuing.
2. Who is one person you’ve always looked up to?
In the past, I’ve said various people, ranging from my parents to Warren Buffett to Mother Teresa. I’m going to change it up this time and say “myself.” I don’t mean that in an egotistical way; in fact, there’s a lot of room for improvement here, but first, I do genuinely try to do “right” most of the time (hey, I can’t mirror Mother Teresa all the time). Second, I am proud of my accomplishments so far in life. It’s not in a heavily egotistical way, but I have a certain level of confidence that’s paramount for entrepreneurs. Third, I am constantly trying to improve, so hopefully, someone you interview in 10-20 years will refer to me!
3. What’s the most important action you took that you believe brought success to your business?
I started. I didn’t talk, wish, or dream. I simply decided this was the business I wanted to get into and dove in. All too often, I hear of people’s ambitions: “One day, I’m going to start this or that business,” and nothing, or a half-assed attempt, comes of it. Our company celebrated its sixth birthday a few months back, and it hasn’t been all roses. Let’s face it: Starting a business is hard, and it involves dedication, elbow grease, and sleepless nights. Are the advantages worth it? They certainly can be, but if you’re not fully vested in making your business a success from the beginning, you’re dead in the water. These words aren’t meant to intimidate, but rather encourage people to tackle their dreams with conviction.
4. What’s the number-one tip you would offer to a young entrepreneur?
I don’t know if this is the best tip, but it’s certainly somewhere in the top 20. I structured this company, and my role within it, like an established business. It helped tremendously. By that, I mean I gave myself a proper work schedule, a reasonable (underpaid) salary, and an appropriate environment. I don’t exactly come in every morning wearing a tie, but I don’t work from the payphone outside my local watering hole, either. Each person should set his own structure, based on an honest self-assessment of his performance requirements. If you’re calling (yourself!) in sick several times a week to catch up on morning T.V., you might want to rethink your strategy.
5. What are your 5 favorite online tools?
- Google Alerts for tracking mentions of our company and related products/services.
- Socialbakers for allowing me to see what the competition is doing – rightly or wrongly – with their social media campaigns.
- PRWeb for distributing news releases.
- Kickstarter and AngelList for extra cash to get going, and Guru.com for outsourcing to freelancers (invaluable tools for entrepreneurs!).
- And, of course, Foboko for allowing anyone to create and share the great book within.