Mehak Vohra & Stacey Ferreira

CEO of Jamocha Media, YouTuber & Growth Hacker. + Founder & CEO of Forge & co-author 2 Billion Under 20

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 28, 2017

Discussion

Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
Hi! I’m Mehak Vohra, founder and CEO of a growth hacking agency called Jamocha Media. I work with early stage startups in user acquisition and social growth. I also run a YouTube channel called watthemehak (“What-the-Ma-heck”) where I document my time as a young startup founder and my decision to leave school and try things on my own. I'm joined by my friend Stacey Ferreira, she is the founder and CEO of Forge, which builds flexible scheduling software for retail/restaurant employees to chose when and where they work. Her previous co-founders and her sold MySocialCloud to Reputation.com when she was 20 years old and she co-authored a book called 2 Billion Under 20. Ask us anything!
Shriyash Jalukar@shriyash · Associate at Techstars | Detroit Hustle
What was the best lesson you learned while you were in college?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@shriyash_jalukar Thanks for the question Shriyash! :) You can't take life too seriously. You're allowed to make mistakes and grow from them. Not everything is going to work out the way you wanted it to and that's okay. It's just important that you constantly move forward.
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@shriyash_jalukar I learned that not everyone has the same metric of success as me, and my metric isn't better or more worthy than someone else's. For some people, happiness and success means raising a successful family and working a part-time job. For others, it means coming home and watching TV every night at 6pm. For others, it means building a unicorn company. And still for others, it means eating Doritos and playing video games. All of that is 100% okay, if thats what truly makes those people happy. The world needs it all.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Have you faced any stigma or prejudice from clients / employees / investors because of your age?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@ems_hodge There have definitely been people I've interacted with who have been ageist (some even have said it straight to my face). I think of this in the same way I think about people's personalities. Some people are more pessimistic than others; some are more optimistic. Some people are ageist, some are not. You can spend time trying to change their mind, but the best way I've found to do this is to keep pushing forward either with or without them. You don't need people's approval to be baller anyway. If it's a client, you have a few options. You can: 1. Chose not to do work with that client (plenty of fish in the sea) 2. Identify someone else to be your champion internally at the client company. 3. Identify someone else to be your champion internally at the client company & bring someone else from your team (maybe with a little bit more gray hair) onto your deal team. If its an employee, you can: 1. If you're running the company, you probably shouldn't hire them. 2. If you're a peer, have an open and honest conversation around your strengths and weaknesses and your experience and lack-thereof so that they understand where you're coming from. You can also take this as an opportunity to learn from them (and turn them into a mentor/friend). 3. Ask to be moved to a new department or ask HR the best plan of action. Investors: 1. Onto the next.
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@ems_hodge Thanks Emily! I have multiple times. Usually when a potential client comes to me, and questions my agency's services because of my age, I've always had the argument that it's because of my age that I understand the market so much better than people older than me that have had to learn it. I understand that my age won't be an asset forever, but I have chosen to use it as a way to springboard my career, and after I can use hard data to back up what my agency can do for our clients.
Rahul Srivastava@rahulistic
Would you suggest any online course I can take to expand my social media expertise?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@rahulistic I personally wouldn't. I haven't taken an online course ever. Experience and psychology is the best way to learn how to hack social media. From my experience I've learned so much more from other people, than I have ever learned online. I have a group of friends in the growth hacking world that I talk to regularly and bounce new ideas off of. Also try joining growth hacking Facebook groups. It's a great way to connect with new people that are interested in social media marketing. I specifically help run a growth marketing group called Marketers and Founders: https://www.facebook.com/groups/...
Rahul Srivastava@rahulistic
@watthemehak Great! Thanks for the wise words Mehak. Will surely join the aforementioned group.
Varun Joshi@va3unjoshi
Hi Stacey, Mahek. Hope you guys are doing well. What are your work hours like? I imagine since this is something you like, work + fun would go hand in hand? P.S Just wanted to say, I have known Stacey for almost 4 years now since the mysocialcloud days and I am so glad to see the progress that you have made!
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@va3unjoshi Hey Varun! Thanks so much! :) My thoughts and thinking on work hours has evolved a lot over the past year. I used to think that the number of hours I put in was indicative of how successful I was going to be. And while I do think there is a correlation (I don't know anyone working 2 hours a day that I would say is "successful" by many standards), there is also an inflection point. There is such thing as working too much, getting stuck in your head and being completely unproductive while also harming your personal health. Right now, I have little to no responsibilities outside of myself. My immediate family isn't local. I don't have kids. I'm also a work-aholic. So I'm typically working 8:00am-9:00pm, 6 days a week. But there are definitely weekends where I'm taking a Friday to take a trip to Tahoe or somewhere else fun to get a little bit of balance. And there are definitely days where I've had too much for that day and just need to leave the office at 4pm. I learned that taking a few days away from work is a lot better than getting burned out and taking 3 months to recover. I work a lot, but I work flexibly. So does everyone else at Forge.
Varun Joshi@va3unjoshi
@staceyferreira That was good insight and exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
Michael Costigan@michaelcostigan
As female entrepreneurs, are there specific realities that affect you uniquely in starting, running, and growing your companies?
Kevin Wang@kevinverse · Founder, FOSSA
Who is that really awesome kevin guy in your youtube videos?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hey Mehak and Stacey thanks for joining us today. What's your advice to other young people looking to start their own business?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@ems_hodge Just start. You don't need to "prepare" to start a business. A lot of people think that business and entrepreneurship can be learned in the classroom, and that's not the case. If you're interested in doing something try to find the closest thing to real world experience.
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What life moments have helped shape the way you approach decision making?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@sethbwilliams Most of my biggest life-moments have been personal. My mom was diagnosed with Crohn's when I was in middle school. Throughout middle school and high school there were a lot of trips in and out of the hospital. This created a lot of times when my brother and I needed to simply figure out how to get to and from school and how to go get food. Luckily, my dad always had a good job and was worked long hours on planes, trains and automobiles to ensure that my mom would always have the best healthcare and that monetarily my brother and I would be able to live a middle-class life. Growing up, this taught gave me a healthy balance: every day is truly a gift, so I should make the most of it and pursue my wildest dreams, but passion doesn't make the payroll. So everyday I make decisions with those two things in mind. What would I do if I wasn't afraid? Does this decision make me financially responsible to myself and everyone working with me?
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Has there been any downside to leaving school to start your own business?
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Do you think higher education is ever necessary for launching your own company?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@jakecrump I don't think higher education is needed to launch your company, or even be successful at running it (I consider these to be two different things). However, I do think the necessity of higher education depends on what field and industry you're going into. For most industries, I don't believe that going through what we traditionally call "higher education" (an institution within four walls) is necessary to launch your own company. But I do think that if you're going into Healthcare, for example, higher education might be a necessity and also might be the difference between being successful or not. Imagine trying to start a pediatrics practice without an education.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What’s you morning routine?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@jakecrump Hey Jake thanks for your question! I like getting an early start in the morning because I have clients on the East and West Coast. I usually wake up between 4-5am and work till 7am. I then follow it up with a run, and head to meetings or whatever my work day brings at 9am.
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
Hey! Would love to know. What's one thing you've done so far in your career that's scared you the most? What was risky about it and how'd it turn out?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@mscccc Thanks Mike! Dropping out. I remember the day all of my friends went back to school and I stayed in San Francisco. I was terrified. I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't eat. The fear of the unknown was eating me up inside. When I started Jamocha Media at Purdue, I still had my education as a back up. Leaving school to take it on by it's own was scary and lonely. It's just you and your work. So far things have been going well! It's only been 8 months, but I'm incredibly excited for the future.
MANISH SHARMA@manish001992
Why a marketing firm?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@manish001992 This is a question I get asked a lot. To be successful, you don't need to have the next "unicorn" company. When I first started my agency, I was helping run a co-working space called the "Anvil", and one of the things that I noticed was that a lot of our startups were having trouble taking their product to market. It's exhilarating to help startups grow a user base and get their product out there. Growth hacking has always been an interest of mine, so it was cool to take what I'd been learning on my own and apply it to startups that need it.
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
What has most surprised you about starting your business? Also what has been the biggest challenge to overcome and how did you do it?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@ayrton Everyone says that people are the most important part of your business, but until you're running one it's hard to really internalize this. The biggest surprise and the biggest challenge for me to overcome was learning the lesson that it doesn't matter how great an idea is, how hard you personally work or the effort you personally put in; success depends on the other people you hire and bring into your company. Hiring is hands-down the most important thing a founder, CEO or leader within a company will learn how to do. There isn't a magic trick. You just need to get good at identifying who is motivated, has the technical skill to do the work and who will be successful given the company culture you're building. The more you interview candidates and the more hiring mistakes you make, the better you'll get.
Giorgio Serbanescu@serbanescui · Serial Entrepreneur
As you set your working days, to get to all the goals?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@serbanescui Every morning I write a list of three things I want to accomplish for my own personal work goals. These three things should align with my overall weekly goal (and, you guessed it, that weekly goal aligns with my monthly & quarterly goals). When you're running a business (specifically before you grow and have a lot more helping hands), a lot of things pull on your time that are unexpected. People on your team have more questions than usual, you forgot that your insurance needs to be renewed so you have to call them, a pipe in the bathroom broke, someone's dog decided your office was going to be like the grass in the park down the street, etc. I try to account for this by leaving space and time to deal with these on an as-needed basis. So I find that three is a manageable number, but yet still allows me to accomplish a lot in a given day.
Adam Revetta@arrev · Founder, CollaborDate & ScareHunt
When did you first decide that you wanted to start a company, and why?
Shay Maraj@marajshay · Business Dev Exec, Pro Concept Gear
How were you able to pin point your passion?
Stacey Ferreira@staceyferreira
@marajshay After I sold my first company, I went through a period of soul-searching. I wasn't sure what I was passionate about or what I wanted to do next with my life (anything except work 9-5 in a cubicle). I went back to college (NYU) to try to expose myself to new ideas and new people to see if anything sparked my interest. While in college, a friend approached me to see if I had any interest in publishing a book. I never really had a bucket list item that said "Publish book" on it, but it was something I thought I would be able to do, so I thought why not? Two years later, we had landed a book deal with St. Martin's Press and published 2 Billion Under 20. But it wasn't until I started interviewing people for the book that I discovered I was super passionate about the changing workplace and designing the future of work -- specifically for the 58% of Americans working hourly jobs. I started thinking about the lack of flexibility that people working hourly jobs experience. It's not like uber -- you can't just get in a car and start working to make money. It's not like a freelance designer -- where you can go to any coffeeshop with an internet connection and start working to earn. Every time I walk into restaurant, a retail store, even an amusement park or the zoo, I can't help but to think about the stories of the people working there and how they, too, should be able to have work/life balance. It became the thing I thought about every waking hour until my head hit the pillow and the first thing I thought of when I woke up the next morning. That boarder-line obsession was when I knew I had to try doing something in that space; so I started Forge. TL;DR: Passions change. Keep exploring. Keep hungry. Take on new opportunities (even if you're not super passionate about that idea -- it may lead to something else). And then once you find the thing you can't stop thinking about -- pursue it until the end of the earth.
Giorgio Serbanescu@serbanescui · Serial Entrepreneur
What have been the more difficult moments for you in business growht? Thanks for your answer
Sunil Neurgaonkar@sneurgaonkar · Genius-Nerd-Entrepreneur-Philanthropist
@watthemehak I am just the same age you are. I wanted to know what inspired you to start your own thing? I am eagerly waiting for that point for myself where I can start something of my own. But hurdles keep coming over and over. What kept you from overcoming such difficulties regularly?
Mehak Vohra@watthemehak · CEO of Jamocha Media
@sneurgaonkar Thanks for the question Sunil! What's really inspiring to me is that we have SO MUCH at our disposal. Being only 20 years old we have more information at the tips of our fingers than anyone before us. That is really exciting to me. There are endless possibilities for us to choose what we pick for our career path and the internet is opening up more and more opportunities for us every single day. When I first started Jamocha Media, I was so excited about it that I couldn't wait to get going. I'm a true believer in the saying that when there's a will, there's a way :) Best of luck!
Sunil Neurgaonkar@sneurgaonkar · Genius-Nerd-Entrepreneur-Philanthropist
@watthemehak That is totally true. Where there is a will, there is a way. After seeing you at such a big stage really made me think of actually doing something of my own. Thanks for the motivation. I will definitely put in more efforts and get something started.