The Three Lessons I Learned From Starting A Multi-Million-Dollar Company

ClearMix has just hit a big milestone. We’ve gone from $0 in monthly revenue to over $100K monthly, all within the last four months. We’ve scaled our team to include 7 amazingly talented people across engineering, production, and business development (and are continuing to grow). On top of that, we’re now officially listed as a YCombinator company. As a founder I am beyond thrilled with the results we’ve seen so far, not only in terms of the company’s metrics but with the hard work and dedication we’ve all been able to put in as a team. Building a company isn’t easy, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share the top three lessons I’ve learned from the process.

Lesson One: Keep taking shots until you feel love from your customers

Although we’ve experienced explosive growth in 2021, the journey to find product-market fit wasn’t straightforward. Anyone who knows me knows this is not my first shot—it’s taken many years of iteration to land on this product. ClearMix actually started as a legal tech product, but that software didn’t land and it was really hard to come to terms with the fact that our customers just didn’t love our magic email tool. But we used that experience to try again. 

At first, ClearMix started as a quick experiment recording testimonials for friends’ companies on Zoom. It wasn’t until we started getting requests from customers for different types of videos that we realized the much broader market that was available for marketing-style videos and customer testimonials. We became obsessed with what our customers wanted and how we could use technology to make everything just… better. As we found focus, it got easier to find the right customers, and when we did, they recommended us to others. It was because we were willing to try new ideas and keep experimenting that we were able to find the best fit, even though it was far from our first idea.

Lesson Two: Acknowledge what you don’t love doing, and bring in amazing people who love those things

You’ll often hear advice that when you start a company, you need passion. While I agree, as you find your path it’ll often be different from what you expected and you might not love every detail of your day-to-day. If you trick yourself into thinking you love doing everything—you’ll burn out. I almost did.

My background is in engineering and I love working with technology. Founding a company lets me work on new technologies to help people. On top of that, founding a company also means I need to work on fundraising, finance, marketing, production, operations, recruiting and hiring, and a lot more. If I tried to do it all by myself, I would end up neglecting the things that don’t excite me—bringing my net-energy down.

As I’ve been building ClearMix, I’ve kept my own needs and the needs of my team in check. I rely on talented leadership from our CEO to manage the other aspects of the company, and have hired additional talented people for marketing, operations, production, and more. I wish I realized this earlier—I would have handed off smaller tasks to contractors and designed my work very differently.

Lesson Three: Great investors support you through the bends in the road

There are numerous guides to finding the right investor, but for me the real test of early investors is their ability to provide support even when the path forward isn’t in focus (and as a serial founder, I can tell you it rarely is). We were lucky enough to connect with some amazing people early on that helped us to explore the vision of the company and provided guidance when we weren’t sure what was coming next. When we were making the decision to move away from the legal tech idea and restructure the company, I was incredibly nervous. I was lucky that we had awesome investors offering support at these critical moments, from people that have experience and understanding of the nonlinear process of creating a new company.

Thanks for reading! If you are a startup founder or thinking of getting started, good luck, and feel free to message me, Gabe Ruttner at ClearMix. If you ever need video marketing content to tell your story, check out ClearMix and contact us today!

ClearMix is the first 100% remote video production company. We help companies produce authentic stories like customer testimonials in less than a week, at a tenth of the cost of using an on-site production crew.

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