After having struggled with Celiac Disease as a child, Craig dedicated himself to becoming a holistic entrepreneur, pairing up with like-minded individuals with products and services that aligned with his values. Today, he provides sales and marketing services for start-up food, beverage and technology businesses and thrives on the challenges he is required to consistently overcome. His interview inspires us to build a business and a life that we love.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease as a kid, my zest for life was through a food education. I knew that at one point I would dedicate my career to working with like-minded food, beverage and technology entrepreneurs like myself. It became important to me to feel satisfied in all of my work accomplishments that I’d need to pivot and find a way to be self employed and strive for businesses responsible for products and services that made a difference in some form or fashion. I previously struggled daily at work suffering from disconnected projects and people. Now I practice what I preach both in and out of the office and I feel very fulfilled and challenged on a regular basis along with peers who are in a similar mind frame.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I provide Marketing & Sales services for start-up food, beverage and technology businesses who are either in early stages or struggling through pain points to reach a new level. These services are typically within the natural products industry and not limited to gluten-free only brands to grow sales, social communities, e-commerce development, content marketing and much more. As a hybrid Sales/Marketer I smile and dial or attend trade shows delivering services/products and plan content marketing strategies that I believe can enhance an industry or consumer’s lives through a convenient and all natural product or service. These “consulting” services can overlap or serve as my single focus.
What is your current business model?
Consulting services are unique for b2b sales and marketing clients and are measurable in various aspects such as over time for strategic insights and planning, reaching agreed upon goals and other sales and digital marketing support. Often these are for pre-revenue or profitable business models and each compensate differently.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
The unique daily challenges and pivoting drives me and keeps me motivated and inspired. There is no similar day or duplicate and mundane moments as an entrepreneur working with other entrepreneurs focused on top and bottom profit lines.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Brands who are suffering from repetitive financing and budget conflicts can make impulsive and emotional decisions. It’s always important to know that forecasting, budgeting and camaraderie are essential to the day-to-day and long term success. Throughout the journey, visionaries must stay calm and able to be 2 steps ahead at all time.
How have you overcome those challenges?
Although surprises and changes in agreements are permitted, the relationships I build with each client are for the long term. I provide expertise and support to those who are respectful and keep their head forward during rocky roads.
How do you find new clients?
Brands, tech start-ups and referrals find me as often as I seek out new opportunities. Since relationships are essential to my every day, natural karma is working when and where we least expect the universe to flow. My website, social sites and trade shows tend to open doors periodically.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
Clearly communicated expectations, related experience and a similar vision are always the three top tiers for success. It’s key to speak the same language, walk the walk and talk the talk for a relationship to thrive or it won’t sustain through the predicted and un-calm waters that all businesses experience at one time or another.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
Typically, I permit slight changes in the contract to endure long term success. Since small business / start-ups tend to be small teams under 15 there can be shifts and pivoting. These moments define businesses and I welcome the journey for each small and large task at hand.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
My days are clearly defined with small and large periods of dedicated assignments. I have calendars locking time and use CRM, Project management tools both digital and pen/paper for my to do lists. If a day is slower or unexpected I’m still reading or attending webinars/learnings or blogging and doing my own research where need be.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I have no regrets, except to work in a warmer year round environment!
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Despite being encompassed with one work – life mission always keep your career in a reality. If you settle for work opportunities because you find similar values with others then you may end up reducing your monetary value. Be wary of taking on these types of risks.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
iPhone, LinkedIn and New Hope Natural Media.
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Integrity, being myself, consistently being honest despite the outcome.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for your business?
I realized after an extended period of time that I chose the wrong partnership and therefore had to leave in order to regain my sanity and continue my work mission. It dawned on me that relationships are not forever and work abuse and mistrust can exist when you’re not in tune and cannot work through it. Leaving a business that I had such significance creating was difficult to do but you shouldn’t sacrifice your work ethic and passion for the wrong people.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Guacamole or hummus with chips
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Last book you read?
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
What is your go-to breakfast?
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
Digestion – The entire process of it in, during and out is quite a game.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Meeting people who have similar passions and interests. There are a lot of people in the world who may talk it up but they don’t walk it through.
Craig Franzblau is a Sales & Marketing Entrepreneur based out of Millburn, NJ. You can find out more about him and his business, GlutenFreeG, LLC at RealGlutenFreeG.com