Blog Friday Q&A

Friday Q & A: How to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by All of the Advice on the Internet, Spending Money on Advertising, and Biggest Challenges of Remote Startups

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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Cherlyn, Chelsea Hejny and Aaron Silverman for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

How Do You Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by All of the Advice on the Internet?

This is a great question. I’ve written a lot about how important it is to me to keep learning, and I’ve posted about the blogs and books that I recommend the most.

But it’s so, so easy to go down the rabbit hole of spending too much time reading, and not enough time doing.

For me, the approach that works best is being very deliberate about reading; it’s a line item in my calendar, just like anything else I plan. I don’t do it to kill time.

What I’d recommend is to schedule blocks of time in your calendar for reading. If you see an interesting post outside of that time, bookmark it and return to it at the time you’ve blocked off.

This turns reading from a potentially endless time-suck into a carefully managed “task”, just like meetings, writing or anything else you do for your business.

As for finding the best advice, to me, this has simply come over time, with favorites emerging as I’ve read different blogs.

It’s also helpful to subscribe to curated newsletters, where somebody you trust takes the time to put together the best material out there for you. Hiten Shah’s SaaS Weekly is a favorite of mine.

Do You Spend Money on Advertising?

Paid acquisition is something we had planned to begin experimenting with last quarter, but failed.

The reality is, paid advertising works. As David Hauser said in his interview on our blog:

It just works. There’s no question. We all buy stuff because we see ads, and that’s not changing.

You’re right that it’s divisive, as many folks – startups, especially – swear by inbound marketing only. But I don’t think it needs to be divisive; both approaches work, a healthy marketing mix incorporates both, and that’s the ideal that we’re finally going to strive for this quarter.

What Are the Biggest Challenges of Starting a Company Outside of Silicon Valley?

This is a question that comes up a lot.

I started Groove from my house in Newport, Rhode Island.

Not San Francisco or Silicon Valley.

Not New York.

Not Boston.

Not really anywhere that would be considered a place with a real “startup ecosystem.”

At the time, I did find myself thinking a lot about the challenges that being “off the beaten path” came with, but in retrospect, those challenges were mostly superficial ones.

Sure, some investors are less likely to find your company interesting enough to look at because of your location. You don’t want those investors anyway.

The tech press is less likely to cover you. But tech press coverage, overall, has probably been the least valuable marketing exposure that we’ve had.

You can’t find top talent by stepping outside your front door. But you’re also not competing – and paying exorbitant prices – for that talent with hundreds of massively funded startups and huge companies.

These challenges are easy to be scared by at the start, but as you grow, you realize that they exist only on the surface.

To me, the benefits of living my life in the place I want, and building a remote team that does the same, far outweigh the challenges.

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Your Turn: Ask Groove Anything

I’d love for this new weekly segment to be successful, and provide a valuable repository of answers from our entire community for entrepreneurs everywhere.

To do that, I need your help.

Here’s what you can do to get involved:

  1. Ask questions. Post them in the comments of this post, or Tweet them to us at @Groove.
  2. Answer questions. Every Friday, we’ll post a new Q&A segment. If you have anything to add or share regarding any of the questions asked, jump in! Many of you are far more qualified than I to speak on some of the topics that people ask me about.
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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

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About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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