Brian Chiou is CEO of Orbose, a mobile technology company that automates simple tasks for small- to mid-sized businesses.
What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
The first thing we had to do to get into our current business is take a leap of faith to win over our first major client in the new vertical. The second step was proving that we were capable of producing a product that would be valuable to said client. That opportunity and risk are what helped flip our business from hardly paying the bills to expanding our capacity and client base.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
The scariest thing for me when starting my company at 28 was having the perception of autonomy. Autonomy is a double-edged sword. You can either carve a significant path forward or stab yourself in the foot. The best way for me to overcome autonomy was to understand which trees to cut down. Surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs really helped when it came to being more efficient with my time as well as deciding which opportunities to pursue.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
I was not told specifically to not pursue entrepreneurial dreams. However, I was faced with friends and ex-peers who scoffed at the idea of striking out on my own. I don’t remember exactly what I said to each individual who challenged my entrepreneurial dreams. I know that I remained wildly optimistic and said something along the lines of, “I’ll only find out by doing.” I never ignored these people. I listened and drew my own conclusions using information I had as well as theirs.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
Mentorship is something you should seek immediately. I learned about the value of mentorship after getting turned down by various investors and incubators. I was humbled by the amount that I did not know and still am to this day.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
Re-evaluate and focus on your objectives. One of the biggest issues I had while growing the business was always feeling like something was missing. By re-evaluating your current position and aligning it with your objectives, you are not only more efficient with your time for your business but also with your personal life.
How do you end each day and why?
I end my day by spending at least an hour hanging out with my fiancee. I love my business, but it will never be able to love me back.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
Be proud when you should be proud. Be humble by default. If you have a new launch and secure hundreds of clients, scream at the top of your lungs to everyone willing to listen. Otherwise, be grateful for the people who are listening when nothing cool happens.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
My ultimate goal is to create a business I can look back on and say, “Wow. I have solved a huge problem for millions of people.” When I get to that point, I’m sure I will attempt to solve another huge problem. I love what I do. Retirement is out of the question.