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LS05 - What to do when your pricing structure doesn't support scale, with Marcus Rader of Host Away

Launch and Scale

Release Date: 06/05/2019

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Transcript: 

Hey everyone, welcome to the Launch and Scale podcast. This is episode five, and I'm Khierstyn Ross. This episode is brought to you by the Launch and Scale program, which if you are looking for a done with you program that is a proven step by step system and support that we have put together to get you the support that you need throughout your product launch, be sure to head over to khierstyn.com/schedule and book a strategy session with myself, or my team where we're going to be able to help you map out your roadmap for your campaign and ultimately see if the program is a right fit to get you the support you need to smash your product launch goals.

Khierstyn Ross:
In this episode, we are taking a look at ... Essentially this is really the first interview that we're doing for launch and scale, and I've been friends with Marcus for the last four years. Marcus Rader is the CEO and co-founder of Hostaway, which is an enterprise solution in the travel space. We'll get into that a little bit more. But really what this interview focuses on is how they were able to go into a market, property managers and assess where the solution is and ultimately create an MVP around customer needs and customer interviews. And so, we're going to talk about that process of how he went from the conception of an idea to an MVP and really how he was able to scale that very quickly over the last two years to a company that has raised multiple millions of dollars through VC and angel funding. But they're now, they work out of five different countries with over 38 employees and growing.

Khierstyn Ross:
Hostaway, is now one of the fastest growing enterprise tech solutions in the travel space, and really stoked to cover this interview because it does really cover that fast growth period and how he was able to iterate based on customer feedback in the field. And so we have a lot of juicy tidbits to go into it. So I'm really stoked to launch and kick off our official first interview of the podcast.

Khierstyn Ross:
If you've been a listener for a while, you will know that this show has evolved from Crowdfunding Uncut where that was primarily interview focused, and what I'm looking to do with this show is have a range of teach you the stuff, answer your questions, but also bringing on valuable guests from different niches that have either a great results or they're doing great things. And I have Marcus Rader from Hostaway, which I'll get into what Hostaway is in a second. But Marcus and I have known each other for about four years now, I think. And we met when mutual friends brought us to a baseball game, and ever since then, we've just been friends hanging out in the startup space.

Khierstyn Ross:
What's been really amazing about Marcus is I've seen him move to Toronto from Finland and start Hostaway from nothing to over a two year period, maybe two and a half, bring Hostaway from nothing to one of the fastest growing tech travel on enterprise solution software on the internet and in the world, which is just fascinating to see his journey. And I thought, what better way to kick off our first interview of this show than get into the mind of someone who has taken something from nothing to 38 employees in five different spots over the last two years. So, Marcus, I'm really stoked to have an officially recorded conversation with you and instead of just over beer. So welcome.

Marcus Rader:
Well, thank you. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be on the show.

Khierstyn Ross:
Yeah, we're still good. So, let's give some context, what is Hostaway?

Marcus Rader:
So, Hostaway is a software service platform for vacation rental property managers. So software as a service is a concept where you buy a piece of software as a subscription model. Typical examples include Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, even Stripe. What our software does, it allows vacation rental property managers to grow faster, so through our one in all solution that's completely cloud-based, we connect to their partners, Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and within our platform, they manage all their stakeholders. So they manage their guests, they manage their cleaners, they manage their real estate investors. They manage their staff, they make sure their response times and ratings are good. And they, of course, do financial reporting as well. So pretty much everything needed to run a vacation rental business can be done through our platform.

Khierstyn Ross:
So I used to host on Airbnb, but it was my living room. So I wouldn't be a prime customer for you, but just to do context, if I were someone that had multiple properties and multiple listings on Airbnb, I want to maximize my listings by posting on Expedia, a ton like Booking.com, a ton of other platforms. But imagine trying to manage five or six different booking platforms for five-plus listings, it gets to be a freaking nightmare. It's like managing multiple calendars. So your solution to be able to manage that all on one platform is phenomenal. So, I know when you first started with this, you weren't so heavy on the enterprise, but you were trying to do more like smaller property managers and that that evolved. Who would you say is your ideal customer now that uses Hostaway?

Marcus Rader:
So right now we only target what we consider professional property managers. But, like a lot of real estate business, the term professional is a bit vague. For example, there's a lot of real estate brokers who actually have another job on the side or maybe they're real estate brokers on weekends only. So, the way I define it is those who consider their time valuable. So let's say they spend an hour or 10 hours, they have an actual price on that because that's what businesses have. When you take in employees, and you ask them to spend 10 hours on something that's actual money away from your bank accounts. And if our software lowers that 10 hours into just 30 minutes, that's nine, and a half hours saved time.

Marcus Rader:
And that's why, you when you were renting out your spare room, probably the 15 minutes a week you spent on it, you didn't consider yourself losing a single dollar on that 15 minutes. But if you had to pay someone or even a team of 10 people their salaries for a full-time job, that would be a substantial amount of money. And if you can save them time and focus on growing your businesses then that's where the value of the software like ours really come in.

Khierstyn Ross:
So, taking this back, how did you get the idea for Hostaway to begin with?

Marcus Rader:
I'm not really a strong believer in business ideas. First of all, there are not many success stories of someone who had a great idea and then decided to implement it then it became a massive business. Usually, those ideas go through a lot of iterations. And on the other hand, some of the most brilliant ideas I've ever heard when it comes to business, they never become a success at all, or they don't even try. They're just an idea. Unfortunately, I knew that when I was starting out, I knew that ideas are worthless. I had a couple of different ideas, but what I really focused on before fully committing to this, what I considered a project back then was doing extensive research, checking overall business trends, macro trends, and then doing very in-depth interviews with actual property management companies in the industry. Asking them everything from, what do they first do when they wake up to what are their biggest challenges?

Marcus Rader:
And, it wasn't very solutions-oriented, it was more focused on what area do we want to be in, and then we started looking at the industry as a whole, what is Airbnb doing? What do we expect to happen? Can we find any proof on this? Can we find any scientific papers proving that our theory is right, and we had enough evidence, and we had enough research done, we decided to do an MVP. And eventually, that led us on to a couple of iterations and funding rounds, and to get where we are today.

Khierstyn Ross:
So, when you focused on interviewing property management companies, even taking it a step back, did it start with you deciding you wanted to start your own company and then looking for trends and then narrowing down on the property management company type, or did you just know that you wanted to go after property managers?

Marcus Rader:
I gave it a lot of thought. I think it was more about me wanting to start a company that actually finding an opportunity. So, I knew there were a million opportunities out there, I just wanted to choose the right one. So, it wasn't that an opportunity presented itself and then I evaluated whether I take it or not. No, I was actively looking for opportunities, and the markets that I found was big enough, growing fast enough, going through a lot of changes and consolidation, and that's why I decided to start the company and exactly this industry in this part.

Khierstyn Ross:
So how did you know that this was the right direction for you?

Marcus Rader:
It came actually from personal interest. A lot of the trends that we're seeing in the world are very similar to my own experience. For example, one of the trends is remote work. People like to work in different locations and if I'm not wrong Khierstyn you have also ... You don't spend all your days at the same office, you tend to work from different locations around the world. I have moved around, lived in many countries, and I know that you need flexible living solutions. If you go somewhere for a couple of months, you can't rent the place for a full year.

Marcus Rader:
Another major trend is travel. There's a massive middle class growing, even though people always say the middle class is dying out, but actually, globally it's growing at a massive pace. There's a huge amount of people, especially in populous countries like China and India that are traveling, and that is a trend that's not going anywhere anytime soon. And, back when we started out a couple of years ago, it was also not going anywhere, and it turns out that all the predictions are correct, people are traveling more and more. So, those were the trends that we found evidence off, and we believed in. But yeah, it came out of personal interest. I like to travel, I like living in different places.

Khierstyn Ross:
Honestly, I think that's so important because if you are going to devote so much of your time to build something, it has to be something you have a personal interest in or else you may not be driven as hard to do the thing.

Marcus Rader:
That's very true on one hand, and some of the most successful founders that I've met today always have a personal interest. If you can align that with somehow making the world a better place, that's usually really nice touch as well. Unfortunately, I haven't found that alignment. I don't know how making business operations more efficient will, for example, reduce child poverty. But, having somewhat of an interest, whether it's an interest in technology or finances, that definitely helps. So, if you don't care about money then just don't start an accounting software company.

Khierstyn Ross:
For sure. And there's something I want to clarify. I know you don't believe in business ideas, but when you narrowed it down to property management companies, something in flexible living space and solutions, did you have the idea for Hostaway, like you knew in your mind it was this hosting platform for property managers? Or did you just decide to go talk to property managers and figure out what was the one thing they really needed the most help with and then the solution was born out of their feedback? Which of those were you?

Marcus Rader:
Actually neither. We did want to do exactly what they were asking for, they had multiple problems, and we had a couple of different solutions for that. But, those solutions were pretty difficult to build and when we did more research and found out that every single company on earth that has tried, has failed in building those solutions. And by failed, meaning that they only had done a couple of iterations and maybe in a few years they'll have a good solution in place. So, we decided to simplify it as much as possible and go very heavy on marketing and sales first while building the MVP, because a lot of people think they need a product in order to sell it. But well as you know in our crowdfunding space, it can be the exact opposite. First, you sell it, then you see if we can make the product. And that's what we did, and we were actually quite successful with our first iteration. We got a bunch of customers.

Marcus Rader:
One of the common breaking points of young software startups is when you talk to customers, and they're willing to pay for a solution and then you provide the solution and suddenly they're not willing to give you any money. For us actually, we did not have that problem. Our first customer suggested to us, that how about they start paying us so that we can afford to improve the software. Which was a nice thing because we didn't plan at that point to charge money for it. When we did start charging money for it, we quickly got up to about a hundred customers and found out that the target audience that we have they're way too demanding, and they're not tech savvy enough to, for example, read the documentation for a fairly complex solution. And at the price that they're paying that we were charging, we just didn't see any way this business could scale.

Marcus Rader:
But, what we did find out is that there's a lot of companies out there with much higher demands, but they're also willing to pay for it. And that comes back to what I said earlier if you value one hour of your time as $0 probably any software is going to be expensive. But if you have to pay a $20 salary to someone else, suddenly one hour's worth exactly $20. And, that's when we started targeting those customers.

Khierstyn Ross:
Okay. I want to clarify something. Did you build an MVP and then focus on sales?

Marcus Rader:
Well, I think-

Khierstyn Ross:
Or sale and then MVP?

Marcus Rader:
I think a lot of companies say, well, Facebook is a good example, if you launch a product, and it doesn't work, just launch it again. And I think Facebook did seven launches and that's a fairly common story, but it's not actually the truth. The truth is that it's somewhere in between. There's not an exact launch. You constantly do sales, marketing, product development, market research, and at the pace that you're going where you basically reinvent the company every single day, you can't really define lines. Sometimes you find that you're pitching an idea that's already two days old and sometimes you find that you've sold a solution that's only going to be available tomorrow. But by doing quick iterations, you can't really draw any lines. But if you do enough of them eventually, you'll find a recipe that scales, which is all that matters when you're dealing with software.

Khierstyn Ross:
Because something that it's not very clear to me is that you mentioned before that most, actually every software solution in your space that has tried to do what you guys are doing has failed. So you focused on sales and marketing, but then you go on to say that you actually had to have a customer offer to pay you and then you got a hundred people. So, where's the line with that?

Marcus Rader:
That's what I was trying to say. The line is very, very thin, and I wouldn't say that our competitors have failed. It was more that we found one niche within niche markets that were completely uncatered to. And that's the first one we attacked, and then found out exactly the reason why it's uncatered to. A bit like you'll find a hundred dollar bill lying on the streets, and you wonder why nobody picked it up. Then you pick it up and find out it's fake.

Khierstyn Ross:
Yeah. I think what you're getting at is you focused on developing a very, very, very basic and simple MVP that did the job instead of focusing on building this amazing, beautiful product right away, you did bare minimum to do the job and then focused on sales and then used sales to gradually improve it as opposed to the bloat of having like product devs to design something amazing and not focus on sales right away.

Marcus Rader:
That's very, very true, and it's sometimes hard to ... I mean, if you want to build a very simple product, then you can take it quickly to market, and you can quickly sell it. But that also means that if it's like a fidget spinner, that's very simple to build. When it first came out, it was a big success, but suddenly you had a thousand other companies producing them, and the price plummeted and now they're worthless. If you want to build something very complex, there's a certain threshold, you need to invest a certain amount of time and money in order to make that complex solution work. But, what often happens is once you're ready with that complex solution, nobody wants it or they don't want it for the purpose you thought, or they don't want to pay what you thought.

Khierstyn Ross:
Or the other thing happens, which is exactly what happened to you is you found out very quickly that you are actually serving the wrong kind of ... Not the wrong kind of person but the person at a price point that wouldn't allow you to scale. So, the other point that I want you guys to take away from this listening is that you don't want to focus on creating this beautiful, amazing full solution product right off the bat. You need to focus on getting the job done and bringing an MVP to market because you're going to take real customer feedback, paying customer feedback, customers that are using your product, or the software that are going to help you create the iterations for that customer ahead of time. So, that you can really build onto the product as you grow as a company.

Marcus Rader:
Yeah. That's a great summary right there and something that I find a lot when I talk to people who actually want to become entrepreneurs, so have a good idea and have all the basic skills needed. They tend to do exactly the same thing that I did as well, which is set up these mental barriers. For example, if I just had $1 million or if I just had a development team or if I just had a co-founder, and they focus so much on that they bind themselves down. They can never get to the next stage, and that's actually what took us forward instead of looking at what do we want to become in the end and how do we get there? We were looking at, okay, what is the next step? Can we get a million? Can we hire 10 developers? No. Okay, well what can we do realistically? What can we do? And where would that take us?

Marcus Rader:
And that's exactly what we did. We found out that, okay, there's a hundred things that we should do, but if we just do three of them, we'll not get to the next stage. And if all three of those work out fine, then we can get enough resources to do 10 more. And if those workout fine, then we can do to 90 others. And that's a much nicer approach because that's where you actually can move forward with something more tangible and realistic.

Khierstyn Ross:
No, that makes so much sense. How did you find ... If you have a hundred things, how do you decide what those three are?

Marcus Rader:
In reality, in hindsight it's always going to be those three. But in practice you have to try 20 of them. If you're successful at the end, you can go back and say, oh, I was so good. I looked at the list of a hundred things, and I managed to pick the three that really mattered. In reality, I haven't really seen that with anyone. You have to try a little bit, and I think luck is a big factor there. Trying to do as much as possible, as many different things as possible and dismiss the opportunities, try to get any proof or this proof of concept as fast as possible so that you can move on to the next thing and constantly hope that you happen to stumble upon the right one, and that will bring you to the next stage.

Khierstyn Ross:
It sounds like when you started, you were bootstrapping to an extent, but at what point did you decide that you needed to go after investment?

Marcus Rader:
I think it was at the point when I wanted to pay for nice things in life, like rent and food, electricity and heating, they are perhaps luxuries, but especially rent and food is something that's really nice to have. Something that I definitely knew I did not want to do is have a job and then try to set up a business on the side, because I felt that then I wouldn't be committed to the job, and I wouldn't be committed to my business. I wanted to make sure I put myself in a position where I'm 100% committed because I have not seen successful side projects. I have seen people who are very determined to create a business and have managed to create it and are fully committed and people who have been determined and failed. That's a more common story, but I haven't met many people who have done a side project that turned into a massive success.

Khierstyn Ross:
So you go full time with Hostaway, did you quit your job to go full time? Did you have investment going into Hostaway?

Marcus Rader:
No, I quit my job and moved to a new country with a lot of expenses and no job. So it was very easy for me to start a company because I didn't have to give anything up because when I arrived in Canada I didn't have anything to give up.

Khierstyn Ross:
So it was just saving for a little bit, and then you looked for investment essentially, and then it worked out.

Marcus Rader:
Yes, it did work out.

Khierstyn Ross:
So coming from Finland to Toronto, Canada, where do your investors come from, is it primarily Finish investors or have you been able to tap into North American market too?

Marcus Rader:
I haven't spoken to many US investors yet, I have a fair bit of experience in the Canadian investor landscape. It's worth noting that I moved here four years ago and most of the VC's in Toronto are only two or three years old. So, there wasn't a lot of investors living around here. But based on the conversations I had back then, I found a lot of them really want stable businesses, which I didn't want to build a stable business. I wanted to build a fast growth business, which is the opposite of stable. And it turns out that I managed at least so far to do a fairly good job at it, but it's very risky route for investors. And so far we've been relying on Finish investors through most literal networks and cold calling as well. But, they have a lot of success.

Marcus Rader:
I mean, Toronto unfortunately doesn't have a single company worth more than a billion, and that's younger than 10 years, which is a shame compared to Finland or Helsinki that's only 1 million people, and they have, what is it? Four or $5 billion companies that this VCs have managed to even cash out on.

Khierstyn Ross:
So in Finland, I know that, what I've learned from your tech tio talk that Angry Birds came from Finland. What are some other heavy hitters that have come from Finland?

Marcus Rader:
There's lots of let's say mid sized, but I think, was it three years ago? The Super Bowl, the most expensive ad was a Finnish tech startup. Unfortunately it was also in the same space as Angry Birds, it was a mobile games. It was Clash of Clans. There's many others, one of my favorite is the biggest music educator in the world, Yousician. I think they have 100 million users now. It's basically a mobile app that allows you to learn how to have to play any instrument as a game.

Khierstyn Ross:
It's awesome, I use it.

Marcus Rader:
Really?

Khierstyn Ross:
I now play guitar very badly, but I play guitar.

Marcus Rader:
That's nice. Is Yousician good to you?

Khierstyn Ross:
They are very good. Yes. I'm like, oh, I can do this.

Marcus Rader:
That's good to hear. Yeah. And, there's a lot also in the region, not specifically Finland, but for example, in Sweden and Estonia there's a couple of pretty heavy hitters like Skype and Spotify.

Khierstyn Ross:
So knowing that Canada VC is a little, they're risk adverse a little bit. They want more established companies, but Finland, because so many fast growth massive companies have come out of it, do you see a cultural difference in how investors treat your company between Finland and Canada?

Marcus Rader:
I think for most VCs, they don't really have the luxury to choose their investments. They have certain criteria they need to meet, and if they try to go with what they think is good based on numbers or something, they later on re iterate, then come up with more strict profiles. So for example, if they only invest in technology related to health, then it doesn't matter if we're the best company in the world, they can't invest in us because we're not into health. And if they only invest in US based companies, then they can't invest in us because we're based in Finland. But outside of that, I think definitely the VC landscape in Toronto has moved massively forward. I was just that coalition and all my days were filled with VC meetings most from Toronto, and the feedback was good and they also seemed to have caught up. They were very professional, asking the right questions. It felt like they were trying to sell themselves as an investor, just like it should be.

Khierstyn Ross:
Excellent. Can you tell me about how you got your first investor? It doesn't have to be VC, just first investor.

Marcus Rader:
Definitely it wasn't the VC, it was ... I remember once I asked my father ... I felt really good, and I asked my father, hey, why am I so lucky? Why does everything go right for me? And he said, "You know what? You're just fooling yourself. You're not lucky, you've been planting these seeds for so many years. And most of them died, but now some of them are giving fruit and that's not luck. That's just planting enough seeds." So, when I lived in Amsterdam, I went to online marketing conference in Germany. There I happened to see a guy, and when I saw him I thought, well, he doesn't look German or British. He looks very Finish. So I went up to him, I said, in Finnish, sorry, are you from Finland? And he said, yes, I am.

Marcus Rader:
And that's how I met one guy who later on turned out to introduce me to our angel investor who got so excited about the project that he gave us that sweet salary for paying rent and food, but more importantly he's actively working in the company and he's helping us a lot in strategic things in finances and has helped us find other investors as well.

Khierstyn Ross:
So how did that conversation happen? You meet the Finnish guy at a conference and then how does he suddenly, not suddenly, but he introduced you to someone. So tell me about that. Did you ask, were you going around your network looking for connections? Did he just know what you worked on and said it just happened organically or what?

Marcus Rader:
That's a really good question. I think if I would have to reproduce that now, I don't know if that even would be possible, and I don't think I can give any advice. It's exactly like you said. I think he asked me what I'm doing or maybe I posted something on Facebook, and he reached out and said, hey, this sounds interesting. I could talk to you. And then, he said, hey, I actually know someone who wants to buy the product. And, I think our meeting was even set up, so then I was supposed to sell the product, but I happen to sell the idea of the company instead. And that's what led to it.

Marcus Rader:
But how to find an angel investor, I think that's going to be very hard. I think if you go out to your network and ask, that's probably the wrong question. A bit like asking your parents if you can move back in with them. It's something that they don't want, and you don't want to do that, and it's, yeah, usually not a good outcome.

Khierstyn Ross:
So what is the right question then if you're looking for an angel investor?

Marcus Rader:
Oh, I wish I knew how to find an angel ... Actually, yeah, there's a network in Toronto, I think it's called Maple Leafs Angels.

Khierstyn Ross:
Yup Maple Leaf Angels. Yup.

Marcus Rader:
Yeah. So, there's a lot of those and of course there's things like Dragon's Den as well, but that's-

Khierstyn Ross:
Shark Tank.

Marcus Rader:
Yeah, Shark Tank. But those are more for companies, well they want to put on a good show. So usually the companies that end up there are actually not just starting out, they are, for example, seasoned entrepreneurs who have done this many times before.

Khierstyn Ross:
So maybe the question is more, if you had to go out and find an investor tomorrow, which this is your job now, how would you go and find a new investor?

Marcus Rader:
For a new company, I would definitely not go out and find an investor. I would do everything I can to set up the company for growth, and by taking the smallest steps possible. For example, if I speak to 100 people, how many have the problem that I'm trying to solve? Then let's say it's 40 out of them, how many of them would be interested in hearing and talking about my solution? And then how many of those would be in theory willing to pay something. You can find yourself 10 then see what would be the shortest way to build that solution and then test them on whether they're able to buy and pay for that. And if you're able to do those steps, you're able to move forward, and it's, yeah, I think we could have done a lot of things differently and faster and better. But on the other hand, we invested heavily into technology and into the research part, which is now paying off.

Marcus Rader:
So, it's very hard to go and say that we could have done things better, there's a million things we could have done better, but then maybe if we hadn't done those things, other things would have failed.

Khierstyn Ross:
Makes sense. My last topic I want to talk about is the pivot from, I think it was the $9 a month solo person you were going after to now enterprise solution. When you realized that your pricing structure didn't make sense for where you wanted to take this, how did you start to pivot toward the higher end solutions?

Marcus Rader:
Very good, good question. I remember we had a long hard meeting I think three or four days where we really evaluated the market size and the options. We tried to figure out can we automate certain parts of the process, what are the challenges? And eventually we decided that I think even at that stage we realized that we don't have enough time or money. We have one shot at making this happen, but if don't do it, we're probably going to fail anyway. And we made that decision, it was one of the most stressful summers, especially for the development team, which back then was three people to build all the features. And yeah, we did the decision in May and we could confirm that things looked good by September, November. But when things look good, that usually means that it feels good. It doesn't show up on the bank account yet.

Marcus Rader:
Now, feeling good doesn't pay anyone's salary either, which is a problem when people want the salary. It doesn't matter how good it feels, but sometimes that's what you have to go with. And to us it felt good and we just had to sell the idea that it feels so good that in a couple of months we'll see some money on the bank accounts and that's exactly what happened. So, we were able to scale up our product or change it in a way so that bigger companies were able to utilize it and pay more for it.

Khierstyn Ross:
Because I can't imagine that being easy conversation where you decide internally to pivot away from something that's already proven to make revenue, have to go to your VCs, or your board of directors and say this is the move we want to make. I can't imagine that was an easy conversation.

Marcus Rader:
Yeah. Fortunately we didn't have to do that at that stage. We were so early on, that there wasn't really pressure. But of course for us it was massive pressure because we knew that our current business is not going to take us to the next stage and we have to make this change, but it's going to destroy a lot of what we built. And what nobody told us at that point is that the experience that we gained in the first couple of tries is going to make everything so much easier. So we actually thought it was going to be harder than it eventually was, but it would've been nice to have an outsider to come and say, look, you built this business already a couple of times and I need to rebuild it from scratch. It's going to be much easier. But it sure didn't feel like that when we made the decision.

Khierstyn Ross:
When did you know ... Can you go back to the moment when you realized, I think we made the right decision. When did that happen?

Marcus Rader:
I think, for me it was when ... I don't know, I had a realization one day, I don't even remember when it was at what stage, when I realized that we have gone from being an idea to being a startup, to struggling to survive, to be a company where we are in charge. We are not going to go bankrupt because we have the flexibility to make changes necessary, whatever happens. And that was one of the happiest days in my life because before that I had been constantly focusing on when are we running out of money. And the funny thing with a runway and with fast growing revenues is that things change every day, but you can also make future plans and then change them later on based on what happened yesterday when you have the actual information and that way you can adjust your own runway depending on how things are going.

Khierstyn Ross:
So, you would say this pivot gave you confidence to make massive business changes in the future where necessary.

Marcus Rader:
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. But, I would not look forward to doing a pivot any time soon because it's a lot easier when you don't have employees, when you don't have customers who rely on your product, you can make a lot of changes, and more importantly you can make mistakes. But once you have customers who rely on your product, and once you have employees who rely on either your leadership or in some cases maybe rely on getting a paycheck or I don't know what the employees appreciate more, then you can't just go around making a bunch of mistakes all the time and testing things out because it can upset a lot of people. So the changes have to be better planned and they have to be executed way better as you grow.

Khierstyn Ross:
Yeah. Well said. What's next for Hostaway then?

Marcus Rader:
Oh, that's exciting. I wish I could tell you, but we have a couple of exciting announcements coming up and you can see them on our social media on the upcoming months.

Khierstyn Ross:
Excellent. It's funny because when it's not a recorded conversation, maybe we'd go for beer, maybe over the raptors game on Friday, maybe I can find out from you. But anyway, I'll leave that for another conversation. So this has been awesome. I think I like to end this off with, do you have any famous last words or a piece of advice for your younger self?

Marcus Rader:
I've been Googling a lot on how to hire and recruit the right people and apparently that's something you're supposed to ask at a job interview. And I always thought that it's funny because nobody's asked me that question. No, I really don't have any advice for my younger self, I wish I could say be more confident or take charge and move forward at full speed, But that's pretty much what I've been doing anyway.

Khierstyn Ross:
Yeah, but still, what people need to hear.

Marcus Rader:
Yeah. I mean, I would like to give myself the advice to be more mature, but I also know that if someone from the future would come and tell me now, hey, you need to be more mature or do things in a more effective way then I wouldn't really believe them. And even if I did, I wouldn't know what that means or what to do. So, hopefully one day I'll be able to say that I can give advice to my 10 year younger self.

Khierstyn Ross:
Well, we all have lots to learn, right? So, well I'm going to wrap this here. If anyone listening wants to learn a bit more about what you guys are doing, what is a good spot to send them?

Marcus Rader:
The best spot and the best approach here, if you want to learn how to be amazing at life is to go to hostaway.com and look at the open jobs positions. Find the one you like and I guarantee you will find satisfaction.

Khierstyn Ross:
I agree. It's a fantastic company to work for and you guys are hiring for virtually every position right now.

Marcus Rader:
Yes, so every position, everywhere.

Khierstyn Ross:
That wraps up another interview. Thank you so much for listening. If you are planning a product launch on Kickstarter, I want to know if that platform is right for you for your product launch goals, whether you are just starting and this is your first product or you are a current brand and want to see how Kickstarter can help you build your audience and get your brand in front of more customers to really give you more street cred and momentum, really help you build as a brand. Then, you should head over to khierstyn.com/schedule and book a free strategy session with myself and my team to really look at what your product launch goals are and your branding needs essentially to see what we can do to help you build your audience.

Khierstyn Ross:
Apart from that, this wraps up another episode and because my name is so hard to spell, you should grab a pen and paper because how you spell it is K-H-I-E-R-S-T-Y-N. So again, to schedule a free consult with our team, please go to khierstyn.com/schedule, and there will be a link in the description in the show notes, which you can get at khierstyn.com/LS05.