Growing FreshBooks with Co-Founder & CEO Mike McDerment.
Launching & growing a business with Mike McDerment, the Co-Founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the software for self-employed professionals and small business owners. Mike shares inspirational stories from his early days as a business owner, and how he launched and grew FreshBooks (19:17) while living in his parent’s basement! Mike is an insightful and thoughtful entrepreneur who shares honest opinions and experiences which we can all learn from.
Mike McDerment is the Co-Founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. In January 2003, Mike was running a four-person design agency and using Microsoft Word to create invoices. One day, he accidentally saved over an old invoice, and that’s when he knew there had to be a better way. Over the next two weeks, he coded up a solution and eventually turned that side project into what is now FreshBooks. To save money, he moved into his parents’ basement for 3 and a half years and completely revamped how he ran his design firm to the point where he only worked 19 days in one year – while generating over $200,000 to bootstrap the company that would become FreshBooks. Today, Mike has grown FreshBooks to nearly 300 people serving more than 10 million users in 160+ countries. To help self-employed professionals set better rates, Mike also co-authored Breaking the Time Barrier, which has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.
Mike lives in Canada.
Growing FreshBooks with Co-Founder & CEO Mike McDerment:
- What was your initial capital investment for FreshBooks?
- How long before you were profitable? When did it become your full-time business?
- “I collect advisors.” Did you leverage advisors and mentors early on or did you learn the value of this later?
- “Not getting lost in the stuff that does not matter.” How did you determine what does and doesn’t matter in the early days of building your small business
- What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to start FreshBooks, beyond having to live with your parents.
- The “saved over the invoice” motivation I can understand with the initial motivator, but I suspect there was more that emerged to keep you focus and motivated to build FreshBooks?
- Did you know how to code?
- “Ours is a story of perseverance.” What kept you motivated to persevere? Why did you not give up?
- How did you decide NOT to pivot your business model?
- “You need determine how to measure your own success.”
- Did you have a traditional “Exit Plan” for your business early on?
- What’s your advice now for others considering starting a side hustle? Of course, it’s different when it’s a side hustle to a small business you own, compared to a corporate job where there are real or perceived conflicts of interest.
- If you were starting over, what would you do differently?
- Would you please share your thoughts on embracing Imposter Syndrome and fear as a Founder?
- What personal skill would you have liked to develop earlier? (Ability to let go or delegate?)
- Is there a question nobody has asked you yet about launching a small business?
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