Interview with Spencer Fry, Founder and CEO at Coach

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The education industry has seen many significant changes in the past few decades, the most revolutionary being the introduction of online tutoring. Over the last few years, online tutorials have come up as very easy and efficient form of learning. It has offered students across the globe, knowledge about whatever and wherever they want. The reduced need for physical classrooms has given way to a much vast and influential teaching and learning experience by reducing the need for studying only what is relevant and interesting.

The immediate problem faced by tutors is that of marketing themselves and growing their business.

Coach has come up as an intermediate for those working in this field, to help them grow and reach out to the masses. It helps the tutors to connect to various students and also provides them with automatic reminders and confirmations for hassle free scheduling of lectures. Coach enables tutors to have their own free website, scheduling tools and online payments. It also helps them earn extra money on the side by selling their own content.

Behind the idea is a team of seven individuals led by Spencer Fry(Founder & CEO) , who’ve worked hard to getting coach live and running. Spencer dedicates his run with Coach to the experience at Carbonmade, where they helped artists and designers make a career and life for themselves. Founded in 2016, Coach is an incredible platform for all those looking forward to making their business grow.

Here’s a short interview with Spencer Fry, the Founder and  CEO at Coach.

1. What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

Coach helps independent professionals manage, market and grow their businesses. We do this by providing our customers with their own website, scheduling tools, online payments, and the ability to make passive income through selling content.

The biggest inspiration for me was my four years at Carbonmade. At Carbonmade, we helped artists and designers make careers and lives for themselves and it was very rewarding. As a lifelong entrepreneur, it’s an amazing feeling to help other people go out on their own and build their businesses. I’ve helped hundreds of people make the transition from employee to entrepreneur and helped guide them through the ups and downs. That’s why I built Coach: to help other people build their businesses.

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2. Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?

a. What is the current Team Size?

We’re currently 7 people. While most of us are in NYC, we also have people in LA, Ireland, and Canada.

b.  How did you hire your initial team?

Five out of the six people at Coach other than myself, I knew previously. I had either worked with them or we’ve run in similar social / work circles. It’s always great to know all of the early people as it makes building chemistry a lot easier.

c. Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

None at this time.

d. What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

The biggest factor I look for at this stage is for everyone to be able to manage themselves. I really believe in autonomy at teams under ten. You need to be able to get your own work done without needing other people to help you. I want people that feel confident to make the right decisions on their own.

3. According to you, how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the  industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

In 2016, I think competition tends to be more about getting people’s attention in such a crowded landscape that is the startup ecosystem. Every Internet user is being pitched a dozen things a day and it’s really about standing out from everyone else rather being in direct competition with any one company.

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4. What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

We’re still an early startup, so that means we’re exploring a ton of different marketing channels, everything from paid marketing to organic search. It’s still too early from us to tell what’s working best and what’s not working at all. I recommend all new startups check out Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares’ book Traction as a great starting point. The Bullseye Framework that they introduce has been very helpful to us in testing new channels.

5. What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

Paid marketing has performed pretty well for us, although the way we use it is more for research and testing messaging rather than purely as an acquisition channel. Paid marketing can be very effective, but it’s also important not to spend a ton of money on it until you’ve really got some serious product market fit.

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6. Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?

I think the main challenge for promoting Coach is the same for everyone else out there: there’s a lot of startups vying for customer’s attention, so standing out is tricky. You can have an amazing product that’s very niche, but you still need to fight through the noise.

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7. What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

We’re not currently sharing our usage or revenue numbers, but I can say that what we’re building is really resonating with people. Even though our product is fairly new, our growth has been fantastic so far in 2016. We’re hoping to continue to grow faster and faster as our product matures.

8. Based on your experience, would have any advice to new Entrepreneur / Startups?

Coach is my fourth startup in the past fifteen years and my advice for first-time entrepreneurs is always the same: sales and marketing are the most important parts of a new business. If you can’t get traction, it doesn’t matter how good your product is. The earlier you can focus on sales and marketing, the better.

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