I say it often, but only because it's true: our members are the best asset we have in the House. We do our best to add diversity wherever we can, but, not surprisingly, due to our niche focus and the nature of attracting a like-minded community, that isn't always an easy task. Constantin and Alina, who joined us back in June, added so much to our member mix: another male perspective (we have a lot of women in the House!), experiences gained from another country and culture, and a professional background that was a great balance for our more visually creative group.
Constantin is launching InCorporate Now, an incorporation and business services company geared towards helping those outside the US establish businesses here, and Alina assists him while also working on an online fashion and accessories boutique, and very recently, a gourmet tea company. Together, they bring positivity, confidence, fresh ideas and a true hard-working entrepreneurial spirit into our community, and we're lucky to have them. Here's Constantin's take on the crazy journey that is small business ownership.
What are you drinking?
Constantin: I drink Mate now.
Alina: I always drink coffee and tea.
Current mood in less than 3 words:
Constantin: Happy, thank you.
Alina: Comfortable and relaxed.
How did you discover that offering incorporation services was what you wanted to do?
Constantin: I didn't. Originally, it was a need for a person I worked for, as well as family and friends. We decided to make a small business that would help those close to us who needed the incorporation services, but this year we decided to take it to the next level by offering our services to the general public. This particular type of business was not necessarily "a calling", it was more of an opportunity since it's not very complicated to start your own business in the US, which is a common misconception.
How'd you take the leap from passion to full time job?
The demand for the service. The goal of the company is to allow everyone to find an easier way to start their own business. Due to the growing number of internet users, the demand will only continue to increase. Our goal is to make it easily available for anyone, anywhere to start their own business. A lot of non-US people think it's complicated to own a business in the US without residency or a visa, which is not true. I would like to help others understand the simplicity and process of creating a business in the US.
We handle all of the filing, registration and mail processing. Many foreign business owners with companies in the United States do not maintain them properly, which leads to unnecessary problems so we help to eliminate those problems so they can strictly focus on their business and not deal with the penalties associated with missed deadlines. We help established businesses in Europe looking to expand to the United States, or small business owners who live outside of the US for legal/logistical reasons. We can manage their company and maintain statuses from overseas.
What's your favorite part about what you do?
The ability to give our clients an easier way to build or expand on their business. I also like how the clients we work with and businesses that they build are both unique and interesting. I like the exposure to different business owners and understanding their perspectives.
How has Social House helped you with the way you do business?
Our goal is to provide a complete service (all-in-one package) since each company has to be registered in a state or country. Social House allowed us to offer registered agent service and business address service to our clients (mailbox now). Not having Social House would be impossible to perform those complete services for our clients. Before we joined as members, we had to outsource business addresses in order to allow the clients to open their business. Legally, we have to have a physical location, which has evolved into an essential part of our business's needs. Social House became an access point to our target market, where the members are all small business owners looking to grow, so we felt that our services could be mutually beneficial in this space.
Any productivity tips or secrets?
No secrets. I use the productivity planner everyday (productivityplanner.com) to stay on task and manage my time for the day. I also use the pomodoro technique, where I focus on work for 25 minute sessions then take a break.
Any tips for other creatives looking to start their own business?Test the business first. It's so easy to test an idea today with just a website and time to spread the word. See what the feedback brings from the target market before jumping head first into it.
Your ah-ha moment:
To START a business is very easy. You don't need a ton of money or special credentials. My ah-ha moment is that the barriers to entry are small, and getting smaller by the day. I want to help and show others that the legalities of owning your own company aren't that complicated. Actually owning a company gives access to another level by being a registered business, as opposed to freelancing.
What's the most challenging part of owning your own business?
Right now it is developing a system for the customers, but the most challenging part is gaining traction for new business. Overcoming the dip when things aren't happening, to stay patient and determined to continue forward. Knowing when to quit when you have to quit, which is the hardest part.
And the most rewarding part?
Flexibility of schedule and flexibility in general. We are very grateful that we don't have to abide by someone else's schedule.
What's the most rewarding part of your week:
It happens throughout the week, but checking the new development of our website with out customer dashboard. Whenever I get to review the updates of our new site it gives me a sense of progress and something to look forward to toward the final phase.
Something that has happened while owning your own business that you never could have planned for or expected:
One thing I've learned is that it's much harder to build a company than I thought. I try to practice focusing on one thing at a time. When we worked at home it was easy to become distracted, so separating our work and home environment was hugely beneficial. The social aspects of Social House have also been a positive and integral part of our business.
What do you wish more people knew about you?
My passion is to build efficient systems and to eliminate unnecessary tasks. This is what I "geek out" on so this is something people can approach me on - the process automation. For example, filing anything or creating a document, I would rather create a script or solution for menial tasks. Even if it can be improved by a little bit, it should and can be improved.
Your dream job:
Owning multiple businesses and being an advisor or investor in other areas. I picture myself being able to travel and be flexible while still being involved with growing ideas and successful businesses. I want to be able to solve interesting problems and help others succeed.
Your favorite piece of work:
It's not finished yet but our new website with the customer dashboard will be the most involved thing we've done so far. The journey to that point presented a lot of mistakes in order to realize what was needed to make it happen effectively. I will be most proud of the final product because of how we evolved the site and what we've learned during the process.