Question: What is the name of your business?
Your Answer: CartoonLink.com
Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does you company provide?
Your Answer: Seattle, WA. We work with many of the world's biggest marketers, but also many small and medium sized businesses. Essentially, anyone who wants to grow their marketing results, but with a twist. And its a big one. We use the magic of cartoons to boost those results. May sound silly at first, but consider the fact that readership surveys have long shown cartoons to be the best read part of magazines and newspapers. We've used them to produce countless record-breaking campaigns.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: November 1983. I started my business back then because I wanted the freedom to pursue the things that really interested me at the highest level possible. Being a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, a DMA Hall of Fame-nominated marketer and author (Drawing Attention http://amzn.to/k3xP0a) is a job description I'd never have been able to achieve working for someone else.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: I'd just been laid off and started calling on some of my former employer's competitors. In some cases, I responded to job offerings and waled in with my resume, in other cases, I was there calling on the owner as the President of my own company. I discovered I liked that role far better and that I quickly multiplied what I was earning in my last job. I never looked back again and feel that being self-employed is far more secure than having one client for my services (an employer) with far too much control over my life.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: The toughest part of keeping a company going, I believe, is producing consistent earnings across economic cycles.
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer: I've gotten to work with my heroes, I've worked many of the world's biggest marketers, invented a genre of direct marketing, changed the thinking regarding the use of humor in direct marketing, became an author and widely published cartoonist -- I got to turn my fantasies into reality.
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer: Nothing. I was meant to be my own boss.
Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
Your Answer: I've used our personalized cartoons in a lot of different kinds of campaigns and set many records for a lot of clients. But there is one version that has me utterly fascinated to this day, and that is what I call "Contact Campaigning," to reach CEOs and other VIPs and top decision makers. The ability to reach virtually anyone has transformed my business and allowed me to strike up relationships and open sales channels I never would have had otherwise. As a result, you can find my company's programs offered on USPS.com, AmazingMail.com, Posters2Prints.com, RR Donnelley, and more, all from contact campaigning. My most recent outreaches have been to Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, Patrick Dempsey, the new owner of Tully's Coffee, Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact and Rick Rudman, CEO of the parent company of iContact. The first two are to get the Wall Street Journal cartoon collection on coffee cups, the latter two will give me access to more than 2 million e-mail marketers to offer our own CartoonLink e-mail marketing solution.
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: Do what you love to do and the money will follow. When you do something you have deep passion for, you become the toughest competitor in your market.