Hi! My name is Julien, I am French, have been living in Hong Kong for the past 10 years and I am the founder of myfairtool, an online solution for companies exhibiting in trade shows.
Where did the idea for myfairtool come from?
I have worked several years in manufacturing. In this environment I played in multiple industries: toys, cleaning products, electronics, medical, pet products, and so on. One of my duties was to organize my company’s booth at trade shows, attend the show and capture leads. I really loved it, but it was incredibly complex, time consuming and inefficient.
Back then, I developed my very own app to manage lead capture and follow-ups with prospects. It saved me DAYS of work.
Why did you decide to start this business?
Fast forward a few years, I am in Hong Kong, leading the marketing efforts for one of the fastest growing startup in Asia, lalamove. I am surrounded with smart, motivated, excited people working in a cool environment, creative atmosphere and I think: “I got this great idea, I am a marketing expert, I love the startup world… let’s do something with it!” And that is how myfairtool came to life!
I went through market research on my free time, interviewed potential customers, started to build a prototype… things were looking great so I decided to take it to the next step!
I had a great job, a good salary, a wonderful team… the choice wasn’t easy but I knew I had to do it. It was just… obvious!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up every day at 7.30am, week days or weekend alike. I start by crawling through my emails, look at the company’s figures, I grab a coffee and the work starts at 8.
My strategy to make it efficient is to start with my daily routine: a mix of customer management and marketing habits that take me about an hour. Once that done, I do all the things I REALLY don’t want to do, to get rid of it quickly.
Dinner around 9pm, then another couple of hours of work. I keep the fun stuff for the evening: everything I LOVE doing but that takes time without necessarily bringing much value, I keep it for that time.
How does your business differ from your competitors?
In many ways, really. We provide really quick and personal response to our customers: it may sound “normal”, unfortunately so many companies reply messages within days instead of minutes.
But our real difference lies in the breadth of our platform. Instead of using multiple tools to manage your booth, capture leads, follow-up, track your results and manage all your other tasks, you can do it ALL within myfairtool.
We truly assist the exhibitor through his entire journey, as early as 8 months before an event all the way to one year after the event!
What kind of new trends excites you?
I am very excited with the new developments in the eventTech. This industry is still very traditional because everything is about human interaction and it takes time for people to realize that technology is not an obstacle to human contact. On the opposite, it can enhance it!
Fight your way through and prove everyone your idea was right from the beginning
What part of your job do you personally find most interesting?
As a founder, you touch EVERYTHING. I talk with customers, I do marketing, I manage our finance, I keep up-to-date on trends, I write quite a bit of content, I even build some code! That is what is really exciting: being on top of it all, touching everything, talking to everyone, being part of something much bigger than myself is what really drives me every day.
Please describe one of your habit that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am completely multi-tasking and I often watch movies while working.
I have been doing this for years and instead of distracting me it actually helps me increasing productivity because I do not feel the need for taking a break. Crazy, ain’t it?
If it isn’t a secret, could you please describe one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
What has worked best for myfairtool is our content strategy. That is something I recommend any entrepreneur to do.
Write about your industry: it forces you to keep up-to-date, to think through ideas and concepts and it is very beneficial for your company. Assuming that your content is of quality, you will start building an expertise in your specific channels.
From your perspective, what are the challenges that you have to face as an entrepreneurs and how did you overcome them?
There is really ONE challenge as an entrepreneur. I call it the “rollercoaster syndrome”.
One minute your are at the top, you signed a great contract, got a new investment or simply launched a cool feature. Then the next minute you are twenty thousand leagues under the sea, thinking about quitting and going back to a more traditional career. This is very standard for entrepreneurs and that happens fifteen times a day.
The solution is to be more analytical and less emotional and to really have grit. Being an entrepreneur means falling a hundred times and always getting up again. That is the most difficult part of your journey, but you won’t make it if you can’t overcome the rollercoaster syndrome.
What am I willing to sacrifice for this business?
Do you have any advice/business idea for our readers before they decide to launch their business?
Isolate yourself for a weekend. Lock yourself in a room with a whiteboard and ask yourself: “what am I willing to sacrifice for this business?”
You will need to give up money, free time, lifestyle. You will need to accept being turned down countless times. You will need to receive negative feedback, smile and try again. Are you SURE you can do this?
If the answer is “yes”, then NOTHING should stop you! Fight your way through and prove everyone your idea was right from the beginning!
What Tools/Apps do you use to growth your business on a daily basis?
For growing the business we developed most of our tools ourselves: from CRM to business automation and marketing, almost everything was built in-house to fit our specific needs.
For Social Media, we love Buffer and HootSuite, and the free version has been sufficient so far.
What is your opinion, which book is a must to read before starting a business and why?
I don’t read much books. Instead I read lots of articles about the trade show industry, event tech, marketing, startups, etc. I try to keep myself up-to-date and I spend quite some time writing content myself, it leaves very little space for reading books.