Ross Andrew Paquette shares his start-up story. Including tips on how he was able to turn what was meant to be a simple lifestyle business, one built from his own apartment no less, into an international multi-million-dollar business loved by thousands of marketers.
It goes without saying, but the path to success is a steep one.
For most of us, there is humongous relief to be found in even the idea of a silver bullet. One that can level the playing field a bit to create a path of lesser resistance.
Unfortunately, however, finding that once-in-a-lifetime fix is not possible for everyone. And, in some cases, what is incredibly helpful for one entrepreneur may even be completely useless to another. So, what is there for you to do? Well…
First things first, giving up now is out of the question. Consider that as step one of this guide to the stressful path to success. As for the rest, we’ll be gleaning that from the startup story of Maropost and its founder, Ross Andrew Paquette:
The “One-Man Operation” | Startup Years
It’s hard to believe, but Maropost (which Ross Andrew Paquette expects to make its way to earning $100 million in revenue by next year) actually had its start as a one-man operation developed in the comforts of Paquette’s own apartment.
To start this story, we’re going all the way back to the year 2011 — when Paquette was still working with a mid-sized email marketing company called Campaigner.
Paquette’s intention at the time, according to a recent interview he had with Only Founders, was to start a small “lifestyle business” that he expected to see a certain level of income from that would lend itself to his desired lifestyle.
He set out to do just that, thinking that he could maybe wrangle up “ten or so customers” and support them “really well” with a basic but solid solution.
However, his plans ended up falling short of the reality that was presented to him not even a couple of years down the line.
Shocking (Explosive!) Growth | The Silver Bullet
Nowadays, Maropost is known for being one of the fastest-growing tech companies in North America. It’s been featured as such on multiple occasions in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 listings — which Maropost has managed to stay on top of for years now.
You’re probably wondering right now what kind of strategy or tactic Maropost has been pulling to manage such consistent growth. But the answer might not be the one you’re looking for.
In a recent article from the Daily Hover, titled “The Lost Art of Business Building”, CEO Ross Andrew Paquette was quoted as saying the following in regards to Maropost’s growth:
“We’ve always put our efforts into building a better product—a product that delivers more value to customers.
Because we weren’t answering investor demands, we could listen to customer needs. So, we kept reinvesting into the platform, into innovation, growing based both on the initial value we provided to customers and on our future direction.”
In another article, this time from the Entrepreneur, Paquette boils down this answer further by boldly saying, that if you are a Maropost customer, then: “Your success is Maropost’s success.”
The simplicity of the statement feels a bit too obvious, doesn’t it?
Providing value to customers… Of course! Everyone knows that. But, perhaps, what makes Maropost so unique and so successful is that it has managed to perfect this philosophy down to an art form.
So much so that, after just their first 5 years of business, in 2016, they managed to grow into a $30 million revenue company. And this is despite the fact that, according to Paquette, “50% of its revenue” had come from simple “word of mouth.”
Unbelievable, right? And yet, it’s all true. Somehow, beyond what anyone (even Paquette himself) could have ever expected, Maropost made it!
But, of course, no journey is without its bumps and holdups. Let’s not forget that this is a guide about the stressful path to success. 😂
Overcoming Adversity: 10-Years of Operation
Although Maropost has proven to be incredibly adept at more than doubling its annual revenue each year, their path to success has not always been easy.
For example, one key aspect of the business that they struggled with in the beginning, was company culture and team building. Or, in Paquette’s own words: “Company culture and team have been our greatest struggle, but also really our only struggle. We’ve been lucky to avoid the typical funding, scaling, and board issues, but in place of that we’ve had the problem of people.”
The issues had stemmed from inexperience in hiring. Triggered by the fact that Maropost had managed most of its early years with only the bare minimum crew. Having even made it all the way to 2016 with less than two dozen members in their team overall.
However, it didn’t take them long to figure out that “significant upfront training and ongoing support” was able to fix this issue right up.
And now, Maropost has a team of over 250 hardworking people (and growing! According to Betakit, who reports that Maropost’s acquisition of Neto was actually done, in part, to further enhance Maropost’s “e-commerce offering” by acquiring Neto’s team of highly experienced employees.)
One other hold-up that CEO Ross Andrew Paquette talks about regularly is venture financing. In 2016, Maropost had sold 25% of the company to two venture capital firms (Elephant and Highland Europe) who—as Paquette would soon find out— “weren’t aligned” with their goals, and thus, were more liable to hold Maropost back then push them forward.
After this bad experience, Paquette has refused to take any further venture financing. And had, in August of 2019, had bought the firms back out of the company entirely.
As a side note, it should be said that Maropost now has its own venture arm, called Maropost Ventures. However, they have a strong policy to provide financing only to those companies that they could align themselves with completely.
Ultimately, the Maropost team has done everything in their power to ensure that they continue to improve internally. Building steadily as they go along and racking up more and more know-how out of even their most stressful experiences.
And so, to finish us off, and perhaps give you an idea of what a solid outlook of the future should be like, here’s a glimpse at what Paquette has in store for Maropost in the next few years:
I would like Maropost to be known as a global organization with a range of products. I’d like its legacy to focus on our goodwill and care, as well as our innovation and unique story. I’d also like part of our legacy be spent on showing other entrepreneurs that you don’t need funding to build a successful company.
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