022: Beef Jerky Subscription?!? How Dana Severson created a Business from Home...
Entrepreneur Stories 4⃣ Inspiration
Dana Severson is Founder of StickinaBox.co, Co-founder of StartupsAnonymous.com, and Director of Marketing at Promoter.io. He is an AngelPad alum, a weekly contributor to Inc.com, and the former CEO of Wahooly. On top of all this, Dana was born with a large forehead and natural ability to develop absurd ideas. He was immediately drawn to the advertising industry at a very early age. Growing up, he’d often get caught sipping a three-finger apple juice (disguised as cognac), smoking candy cigarettes, dressed like his favorite superhero, David Ogilvy. Dana has found therapy by writing on a regular basis for Fastcompany.com, Adage.com, MN Business, and TCBmag.com. His Specialties Include: Advertising, idea-generation, branding, buzz-generation, spotting clearance racks at clothing stores, abstract writing, and mowing diagonal lines in his yard. *** For Show Notes, Key Points, Contact Info, Resources Mentioned, & the Fabulous 4 Questions on this episode with Dana Severson, visit here. ***
In this episode
- 02:26 - What was life like for Dana Severson during his startup career?
- 04:15 - Why was Startups Anonymous created?
- 07:28 - What is Stick in a Box?
- 16:08 - What’s the best way to learn something you’re unfamiliar with?
- 20:30 - What’s a hidden gem on Facebook?
- 22:11 - How does Dana Severson compare Ashley Madison to Stick in a Box?
- 31:38 - What is something that most companies don’t realize?
- 33:49 - What is a disadvantage of being a remote worker?
- 34:54 - What is an advantage of working at home?
- 35:11 - How do you establish your discipline as a stay-at-home worker?
- 36:52 - What’s some advice for wannabe entrepreneurs?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
What was life like for Dana Severson during his startup career?
Severson is based in Minnesota. His family consisted of his wife and three kids. He has started up various companies, but he tells of how he would commute every week from Minneapolis to San Francisco to work on his company located there. He rented an apartment in San Francisco and did this for four months.
Why was Startups Anonymous created?
Severson wanted to share stories and ask questions, but he didn’t want to disclose his identity. He began to generate interest from other founders so they could share their stories and insights as well. It gave founders an opportunity and a bigger stage to have their stories shared.
What is Stick in a Box?
It’s Severson's gourmet beef jerky subscription box company that began over two and a half years ago. On a monthly basis, he searches for the best jerky from batchmakers across the U.S. and ships them to customers. He refers to his boxes as the anti-Jack Links. Anything you find in a convenient store, you won’t find in Stick in a Box.
What’s the best way to learn something you’re unfamiliar with?
Severson took the approach to get jobs in the things he was curious about. For example, he wanted to startup a pool cleaning business, but didn’t know how to clean pools. So, he got a job at a pool store to learn all that he could. He did this for a few other concepts, but the main point is to not let your lack of knowledge stop you from being comfortable enough to pursue an idea.
What’s a hidden gem on Facebook?
The local communities sites are hidden gems that we should utilize. For Severson’s Minnesota community site, there are 10,000 members in it that support local businesses. He’s used this leverage to promote Stick in a Box.
How does Dana Severson compare Ashley Madison to Stick in a Box?
Like the website, Ashley Madison, which is used for men to cheat on their wives, Severson jokingly created an ad to offer his subscription box as a cheat for vegans. His intention of the vegan campaign was not used to convert vegans, but to create an uproar and gain media attention since beef jerky isn’t a common media topic.
What is something that most companies don’t realize?
You use the promoter to find out who your biggest advocates are within your customer base to leverage the advocates for growth. Between 50-80%— depending on your type of business— of your revenue comes directly from your customers.
What is a disadvantage of being a remote worker?
One disadvantage is that it’s never really off. For Severson, spending time with his kids and wife helps. Once they’re in bed, he’s back on his computer. Another disadvantage is that he craves team time.
What is an advantage of working at home?
An advantage is that Severson states he can basically walk down the steps in his pajamas all day and stay in them as he's working in his office. He enjoys not having to commute, and be able to jump into ideas and things quicker.
How do you establish your discipline as a stay-at-home worker?
For Severson, his wife stays home full-time, which helps minimize his distractions. Other than going on a run or out for lunch, he rarely leaves his office. Not getting up randomly helps his focus as well. Maintaining his work schedule helps him know his limitations. If they weren’t set, he would continue working.
What’s some advice for wannabe entrepreneurs?
Dana Severson has provided his information on his platforms for someone to give him a call and he will answer. He thinks the biggest thing to do is just actually put your idea into motion. Do not sit, overthink, and overanalyze your ideas because they won’t ever get started. Just do it and make it happen.