Julianne Keu, the Vancouver-based founder of marketing agency Creative Quo, shared her entrepreneurial journey with us in our debut print issue. At the time of the interview, her Startup was named Target Tweets and focused solely on connecting people and companies directly to a mass audience through the use of Twitter. Her vision for her company has since expanded as Julianne has made Targeted Tweets one of the services offered by her third startup, Creative Quo. We’ve shared part of her magazine interview with you below.
How did you get started? What was your motivation?
Targeted Tweets by Creative Quo was born directly out of what I saw as a longstanding gap in the market. In the past, if a person wanted to communicate to a wide-scale audience, they had to do it through the media. Doing so gave power to the middleman in a communication stream that really only required two parties: the speaker and the listener. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen social media give rise to non-hierarchical networks of speakers and listeners who constantly exchange information and ideas.
Still, the limitation here is that as a speaker (unless you’re already famous), you can only communicate with a handful of listeners at any given time.
Targeted Tweets leverages the functionality of one of the largest social media platforms (Twitter) to enable individuals and organizations to communicate directly to a relevant audience on a bigger scale and in a shorter period of time. Imagine the quality of a one-on-one interaction. Now, multiply that by tens of thousands. That is the magic of Targeted Tweets. I’m no stranger to the startup scene. I launched my first startup in 2012 and sold it in 2015. In working with startups for many years, I was able to gain a thorough understanding of why some succeed while so many more fail. Small businesses have to be smarter and more creative about how they spend their money.
At one point last year, while making an ad buy for one of the startups I was working with, I asked myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if businesses could bypass the middleman and simply speak to their potential customers en masse?” That was my “lightbulb” moment.
Describe how it felt to launch. How did it feel to get paid for your work for the first time?
Targeted Tweets launched in January 2015. I was excited and optimistic, but also a little anxious. Until you’ve introduced your product or service to the market, all the revenue and sales projections in the world are just that – projections. Launch day was the day things became so much more real.
Less than a week after I officially launched, I made my first sale. I was thrilled, not for the money it brought in, but for what the transaction represented: someone out there, somewhere, had a problem and had come to me for a solution. That first sale was a sign that I was on the right track.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? How did you do it?
I’m glad you asked this question. While it seems like all we see and all people want to talk about are highlights and successes, life is seldom that way. Early entrepreneurship is challenging. I won’t sugarcoat that. In a way, a startup is like a simple machine. To the naked eye, the machine’s inner workings are conceivably straightforward. It’s not until you take it upon yourself to build the machine that you understand the intricacy of the parts involved and how they work together. If one part goes missing or falls out of place, the entire machine could shut down.
I have to admit that there are days when I have woken up and just questioned if I was doing the right thing. There have been days when I’ve doubted my competency, timing, and even my own potential. It’s one thing to take a step back every now and then to assess whether or not you’re on course. An unruly sense of self-doubt, however, can paralyze you. The entrepreneurial journey is very much an emotional one too. If you aren’t already emotionally strong going in, you’ll have to develop that strength at some point.
I don’t believe self-doubt ever permanently goes away – at least, not for me. The only difference now is that I am more aware of the fact that I have the power to prevent certain thoughts from manifesting into actions and behaviours. It helps to look at the big picture. If not you, who? If not this, what? If not now, when?
To learn more about Julianne’s journey, get your copy of issue zero here.
Photography by Ryan Alexander McDonald