Just Because Your Initial Idea Didn’t Work, That Doesn’t Mean Your Startup Has Failed

YEC Member Spotlight: Amanda Barbara, VP and Co-founder of Pubslush



Amanda L. Barbara is the vice president and co-founder of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Follow her @amandababs1.


Who is your hero?

As corny as it sounds, I view my parents as the heroes in my life.


My mother is the president of Pubslush. She’s taught me so much about life and has always been there for me. She has trusted me to lead this company and has stood by me as we work to make our dreams come true.


Even though I might not work with my father in a business setting, he inspires me every day to be the best person I can be. He encourages me to think with a different kind of hat. He is a successful businessman and has so much experience and wisdom. I take everything he says to heart. Of course, you want to make your parents proud whether or not they are your business partners. If you love getting up every day and going to work, you will be more productive and successful.


What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

I live by a quote from Steve Jobs, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”


It’s easy to fall into a job with a great salary and go through the motions. It takes a specific type of person — an entrepreneur — to see a vision they believe in and make it a reality. You need to love what you do and see the importance of it. Set goals for yourself and remember what you want to achieve. Ask for advice, be realistic, and don’t give up.


What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?

When we first launched Pubslush in September 2011, our platform was a bit different. Pubslush was the publisher, and if an author reached 1,000 pre-orders in 30 days, we published the book. Ultimately, we felt that it didn’t allow us to work with many great people in the publishing industry. After realizing that the platform wasn’t the best it could be, we reworked our idea to develop a more effective Pubslush process for all.


I learned that just because the initial idea didn’t work, didn’t mean the company had failed. It meant we needed to learn and adapt to the needs of the industry. Pubslush is a stronger company today because of that change. We helped to fill a void in publishing, which was crucial to our success.


What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

Social media mornings: I spend my first hour of business before my team arrives on LinkedIn, Twitter, our blog, and some other industry blogs. I like to make sure I know what happened during the night. I coincidentally do the same thing before I close my computer each evening. There are so many great people out there on social media looking for answers to their publishing questions. It feels great when Pubslush can help.


What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?

Be very frugal. Run your business on a bare bones budget. You don’t need a huge PR firm or corporate web development team. Build an organic company and a team that believes in your mission. Be loyal to those who help you grow and stand by your side in the beginning.


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Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

I would recommend that all entrepreneurs have a clear and concise goal. At Pubslush, our original model incorporated multiple different business platforms, and we found we were unable to grow any of the facets to their full potential. Now, we have fine-tuned our focus and our company is growing and expanding more than ever before.


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Too many people try and do it all. That’s a sure way to get run-down and spread too thin. Pick one area of your business or project to really grow. Once you devote a lot of time and energy to fulfilling that one goal, other things will begin to fall into place.


What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

That is a very hard question to answer because there are always different levels of success to achieve. When I said my name and company at a conference recently, three people in line told me they read our blog everyday. That was definitely a feeling of success. Helping to bring books to life and getting thank-you notes from authors because we made their dream possible feels like success. Of course I would love for our company to be mentioned on NPR and in the Wall Street Journal. But for now, we are helping people and making steps toward our ultimate goal.



Originally published by StartupCollective.


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