How to Thrive as a Multi-passionate Entrepreneur
With Jason LaBaw
Many entrepreneurs would describe themselves as multi-passionate–we feel drawn to different niches and industries, and we dislike being put in a box. Our latest guest on the podcast is proof that not only can you find success as a multi-passionate entrepreneur, but there are plenty of ways to combine your passions or use one to fuel another.
Jason LaBaw is the founder and CEO of Bonsai Media Group, a full-service Internet Marketing Firm ranked as one of the top 15 SEO companies in the world by Top SEOs. The company serves top brands such as Samsung, Amazon, Supra Boats, and CTG.
Jason holds certification in web management and web development from Western Washington University, as well as being AdWords & Google Analytics certified. His in-depth knowledge of digital marketing communications, combined with his technical experience as a certified web developer, makes him uniquely capable of driving both technology-focused and marketing-focused solutions.
Building your team
One of Jason’s biggest regrets is not taking his recruitment and hiring process seriously during the early stages of his company. As Bonsai grew, its clientele shifted from mom-and-pop shops to global enterprise clients, and it was difficult to let go of team members who no longer aligned with where the company was headed.
Over the years, Jason hired people who were either the wrong culture fit or didn’t have the skills necessary to succeed in their role, and he’s learned from those mistakes. His old strategy was to have someone put up a job posting and wait for applications to roll in.
Now Jason personally creates videos for each job posting and interviews the candidates. The job market has gotten tougher, and so have Bonsai’s recruitment standards. Jason’s goal is not only to hire top talent but also to find people who are the right fit for their company culture.
Developing an app
Jason’s latest venture is Social Bee, a travel augmented reality (AR) app that combines elements of Pokemon Go and Trip Advisor to enhance the travel experience.
The app began as a social content platform, hosting contests and digital scavenger hunts. That soon progressed to offering digital tour guide services through AR. The original plan for Social Bee was to provide tips, trivia, and interactive videos to tourists to make their travel experiences more immersive and engaging.
The business model targeted tour guides and travel influencers to create content, which users would then pay for while the app took a platform fee. Jason found that model was incredibly difficult to scale; it required too many conversations to bring new content creators on board. So he started looking for an alternative way to bring the app to market. This was right around the time AI and ChatGPT were taking off, and Jason wondered if he could leverage AI to create travel itineraries.
The new and improved Social Bee helps travelers create personalized itineraries using ratings and reviews pulled from Google. As the business grows, Jason plans to release a companion app and expand more into virtual reality. The profits from Bonsai will continue to support Social Bee until the app becomes cash flow positive, allowing Jason to use one successful business as a springboard for another.
Enjoy this episode with CEO and Founder Jason LaBaw…
“I would highly encourage people to allow the changes or the challenges in your business to inform you as to the changes you need to make.”
“My calendar rules my life. Everything is on my calendar because if it isn’t, someone else is going to book that time.”
“By not focusing on working on the business and growing the business and growing my team, I’m putting the quality of our work in jeopardy. I’m putting our clients, our team, and my family in jeopardy. There was a realization for me that this has to be a priority and I have to be a priority. Earlier in my career, I would sacrifice everything for the business.”
“Relationships in general are so important. You never know where somebody is going to land. They may be at a small yoga shop now, but three years down the road they may have a $300,000 RFP for a major enterprise.”
“Social Bee is a seven-year startup. It’s been a journey, let me tell you. But I think like anything worth having, you’ve got to pursue it. You’ve got to have a vision and be relentless in working toward that vision.”
“Just because you can work 12 hours a day doesn’t mean that you should. The person that you become on that conference call or on that one-on-one with an employee probably isn’t as good as the person who took the time to go for a walk or workout and do those things. For entrepreneurs and agency owners, it’s not the quantity of time, it’s the quality of time. So figuring out what’s necessary to maximize the quality of your time and the impact of the time you do have.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Bonsai Media Group: https://bonsaimediagroup.com/
Social Bee website: https://socialbee.ai/
Connect with Jason LaBaw on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/labaw/
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