Andrew Klotz, the founder of Ontario-based LaunchListings, is one of a select few: He’s a Google Street View Trusted Photographer, providing the Business View service. Business View virtual tours are a unique offering, allowing people to discover and explore a restaurant, campus, shop and more using 360 degrees Street View technology with their smartphones, tablets or desktops.
Andrew started LaunchListings about 3 years ago when Google Street View just kicked off in Canada. He uses his unique skill-set in photography to provide interactive content for businesses that helps improve their discoverability on Google. Focusing on campus spaces, Andrew is able to give prospective students and parents a virtual tour of the facilities—a real feel for what goes on inside the doors. We asked Andrew what sets him and LaunchListings apart? Answer: His charm.
Want to find out more? Meet Andrew Klotz of LaunchListings.
What was life like before LaunchListings and what motivated you to quit your day job and start your own business?
I had a comfortable sales job that paid the bills, but it didn’t fuel my creative side. I’ve always had the urge to build products from scratch for the challenge and because, in many cases, it was a non-traditional path. The concept of taking an idea, shaping it into a product or service that now makes an impact in the world… it’s inspiring and fulfilling. Ultimately, learning to sell gave me the confidence to leave my job and start my own company.
Andrews’s 3 pearls of wisdom for entrepreneurs:
Pick a specific area or industry to differentiate yourself from competitors.
- Depth over breadth-own your niche. Pick a specific area or industry to differentiate yourself from competitors. People want to hire those who understand their domain.
- Be willing to sell your own product or service. Never assume something will sell itself.
- Understand your business model, market price and potential customer pool. How will you build a sustainable business from Day 1? Test your assumptions by interviewing prospective clients and others in the industry.
Describe the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as a small business owner and how you dealt with it.
When the business picked up in the first year, a lot of projects started to pile up and I was juggling a million different things. I couldn’t even go on a vacation with my wife without having to stop at Tim Hortons to get on WiFi and deal with launching projects. It put a lot of pressure on our shared moments, but my wife has always been supportive so I’m blessed for that.
I’m continually working to overcome these challenges. I do it by implementing more structure and having resources to support different functions. Being able to let go and having people come onboard to support has also really helped me do a lot more.
Share a story where you went above and beyond to solve a problem.
When I first quit my sales job and decided to go out on my own back in 2014, I was invited to participate in a major Request for Proposal. I spent 10–20 hours putting together a very detailed proposal including on-site walk-throughs, meeting with staff, planning, spreadsheets… the works. Even after all that work, I was aware of the possibility of losing the RFP to a competitor with more experience.
I ended up winning them over (and winning the job) by framing my experience in an effective way and establishing a strong working relationship with them early on—a relationship that has now continued for 2 years. I’ve been able to do a lot of great work for them in various locations around Ontario.
I embraced the fear with confidence. The fear of not earning money for my original work. That first positive experience is what set me up for success.
What’s a typical workday? Where would we find you?
I typically work out of my office in Toronto. It lacks all the elements of what you think of when you imagine a startup workspace (think Better Call Saul Season 1) but it’s a place where I can focus.
Inspiration or perspiration?
You’ll find that by working hard you run into more good luck than you ever expected.
Perspiration and Hard work. You’ll find that by working hard you run into more good luck than you ever expected. Of course, you also need to feel inspired, take that optimism and apply it to achieving your goals.
Who is your role model?
Without a doubt–my parents. I look back and realize that everything I’ve achieved is a result of their unfaltering support and encouragement. They have been behind me every step of the way and done everything in their power to help me.
Do you have a motivational mantra or inspirational quote that helps you get you get out of bed in the morning?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky
Work-Life balance is *tough* for a small business owner. How do you stay balanced?
I leave my laptop at the office at the end of the day.
What’s next for LaunchListings?
Scaling up with a bigger team and putting out more awesome projects for clients.
Andrew has recently found a lot of inspiration as a business owner by reading Steve Jobs: Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson.
Learn more about Andrew and LaunchListings:
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about the author
Amanda is a content editor at FreshBooks, writing and producing blog content to help small business owners achieve their goals and enjoy (yes, actually enjoy!) running their business. Amanda’s background in education and customer support makes her a natural communicator who loves empowering others to succeed. When she’s not writing and editing content, Amanda takes her dog, Jonny, on adventures searching for the best coleslaw in Toronto.