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Entrepreneur Spotlight Series: Stefan Schulz

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Stefan Schulz – Digital Marketing Agency OwnerStefan Shultz Profile Picture-modified

  • Favorite Tools & Services: Harvest, Asana (why?)
  • Where He Finds Talent: Upwork
  • You May Not Know: Stefan once did the worm (the dance move) at a client conference to entertain about 100 people. And no, it was non-billable. Anything to keep the client happy!

 

Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Stefan Schulz, a long time DDIY contributor and a partner at Orpical Group.  Stefan has plenty of experience working on complex, technical projects while running Orpical, a full-service digital marketing agency focused on web design and development for startups and fast-growth SMBs and SMEs.

We aimed to help these businesses so they could avoid having to staff their own IT department.

Stefan shared, “We had originally started out working with small, local businesses here in the Philadelphia area.  A lot of these businesses were being held hostage by third-party web companies, and couldn't make small changes to their site without it costing an arm and a leg.  Or, they just had a lot of confusion around web design and development as a whole.  We aimed to help these businesses so they could avoid having to staff their own IT department.”

Now, Orpical has grown to help entrepreneurs, SMB’s, and large companies with a national footprint with more complex software development and marketing needs.

Background: Surviving Financial Troubles

Entrepreneur Interview Background

 

Even when things are going well, nothing lasts forever.

The biggest challenge Orpical faced in the company's history was very early on (roughly ten years ago). They were working with a client that left them with around $80K in bad debt. This nearly bankrupt the business and they had to completely pivot.

“The big lesson was not having all of your eggs in one basket. Even when things are going well, nothing lasts forever.” Schulz said.

Stefan and his partner didn’t want to get caught with their pants down again.  So they decided to focus on adding new, diversified revenue streams. They expanded their sales team to bring on more clients, started their own home services lead generation business, and began joint ventures to build affiliate websites.

Approaching and Validating New Ideas

Entrepreneur Spotlight Solving Problems

Financial forecasting and mind mapping are key.

We asked how he approaches what types of new initiatives Orpical will tackle.

According to Schulz, “Financial forecasting and mind mapping are key. I can come up with ideas all day long, but if they don't fit into our hedgehog concept (see: Good to Great by Jim Collins) then the ideas usually get stuck into a folder on my Evernote account to tackle ‘some day’.”

For ideas that prove worth pursuing, Schulz takes a methodical approach to make the ideas become reality.

“If the idea does check the boxes, then typically I will create a roadmap and project plan, followed by detailed wireframes/mockups. From there, we'll move into production and work towards building an MVP as quickly as possible. Once deployed, establishing proof of concept and adoption is key. If initial KPIs are met, assess, reinvest, and scale.” Schulz said.

Stefan’s Toolkit

Entrepreneur Interview Tools and Services

Favorite Time Tracking App

Harvest

Harvest LogoOne of his favorite SaaS tools for running his business is the time-tracking app Harvest.

“I use Harvest for time and expense tracking, plus invoicing. They have integrations with Stripe and QuickBooks, which we can use to pull more detailed reports,” Schulz said.


Favorite Workflow App

Asana

Asana_logo.svg

“I use Asana pretty religiously. This is great for project planning and management. I really love Asana because we've been using it to build out SOPs and other template processes for recurring projects and work. It makes onboarding and quality control so much easier!” Schulz said of the workflow organization tool.


Favorite Communication AppSlack Logo

Slack & Zoom

Zoom Logo“We've used Teams, which is okay, but I just feel like they do a lesser job of the other tools, but just centralize it to one platform.”


Favorite Place to Find Freelancers

Upwork

Upwork Logo“I've had some really good luck with Upwork. Granted, it's 1 out of every 10. But some of those freelancers have turned into lifelong friends, colleagues, and business partners,” Schulz said.


Where to Find Him

You can reach out to Stefan Schulz through these channels:

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