This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jose “Caya” Cayasso. Caya is a serial entrepreneur who is best known for founding Slidebean and Recurring. He is a TEDx speaker, 40 under 40 recipient and has received a host of other awards for his efforts.
Slidebean is part of the Silicon Valley accelerator, 500 Startups and has grown tremendously. The company helps startups solve their pitch deck needs,
What I love most about Caya is how he has built his companies made them successful through organic efforts through content strategies. In fact, his YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers. I’m excited for him to share his strategies with you.
Caya says he made it to where he is a little bit by accident. In his first company, he didn’t really understand what a startup was. He just built a little game and put it on Kickstarter, and it got picked up. That lead to investors reaching out asking if he was raising money, etc. He didn’t know what they were talking about. He had to go through the crash course of learning the startup and investment game with the first company which didn’t end up making it. But, with Slidebean, he has learned from his mistakes and experience and has applied as well as shared with others to help them.
Talk about finding a business accelerator and how that helped you and helps startups…
- There is a big debate on whether it is worth to give up equity to an accelerator.
- Accelerators are fantastic crash courses in how to navigate a startup giving you the training and information you need to succeed. They give you guidance, teach how to pitch and better run your business and help you with their network.
- They are a great bridge for a soft landing as a startup.
Benefits and disadvantages?
- If you have the network and connections and access to investment, then you may not need one.
- Accelerators also require equity in exchange for working with them.
- It is usually about 6% equity for a 6-figure check, so it is not a bad trade off for companies that little to no revenue and no profit.
- The biggest advantage outside of capital is the resources available and that they bring to the table.
What makes a great pitch deck?
- A pitch deck is your business story.
- It doesn’t matter how many slides, but it matters how you tell you story and the data you use.
- You typically have to send your deck into investors for them to review and decide if they will meet with you.
- Investors on average will spend 4 minutes looking at your slides.
- So, you have to tell your story in essentially 4 minutes.
Any specific elements that should be in a pitch deck?
- How you are going to make money for the investor.
- A good structure is the following:
- Intro: Who you are and a little bit of a teaser.
- Status Quo: This how the market is behaving today, and this is the pain point that can be solved. Problem slide, business opportunity slide, solutions slide.
- Product/Demo: Showcases the solution and how it makes money. This where you brag.
- Market: State of the market, how big it is, competition, and how you will beat the competition.
- Why Us?: Team, why you are the best to solve the problem and maybe a why now it is needed.
- Ask for Money: How much you need, how you will use it, and how it will make vision reality.
You’ve built your companies leveraging content, tell us about the content strategies you’ve used to grow your businesses – what works, what doesn’t?
- YouTube was sort of an accident. It was to market for Slidebean but became more for people following Caya and his journey.
- You want to create that generates SEO – it’s interesting, it has good data, it is worthy of sharing and people want to share it.
- Spend time up front to really understand key words to incorporate into your content to make sure Google is associated you appropriately.
- AdWords is possible, but you need to know your metrics well to make it profitable.
Best practices for creating content and optimizing SEO?
- SEO is a science and an art. You have to understand Google scoring and need good engineers to build a website that is optimized to it.
- Creating compelling content is hard.
- You need to have consistent content at a consistent frequency.
- You also should be focused on doing good long-form content in the form of articles or white papers that is highly consumable.
- It also takes time.
- SEO is not the best first growth tactic to go after because of the time it takes to start ranking – it is the long game.
- Better growth tactics when starting out are to work closely with your clients and get referrals. You also need their feedback to make things better.
- You want to start SEO and content marketing as soon as you can, but the focus early on needs to be customers.
- To get customers, you can use outbound email, prospecting, networking, paid media and search ads – direct response that can get you customers right away.
Tell us about using video and your strategy for YouTube…
- YouTube is as long a game as SEO/content and is more expensive.
- Caya’s average video costs a couple thousand dollars to produce
- But the connection you can create with customers and prospects on YouTube is so much better and viral.
- YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.
- Long-term video is better than text for marketing and creating community and a following.
- YouTube is more art than science – but it requires both.
- One hack is targeting searches where the key word or phrase is underserved or the videos in the category or crappy.
At the 33 min mark, Caya gives his thoughts on raising capital and then stewarding it and making sure it is used in the best way. Its best to just listen.
Most important things you’ve learned to succeed as an entrepreneur?
- Prepare yourself for how long of a journey it is.
- It is easy to get distracted – prepare yourself to be at in a business for 5-7 years to make it truly successful.
Best advice for someone just starting out?
- Choosing the right time to raise money. You have to be ready and be in the right position.
- You need a product and some testing done prior.
- It is super time intensive and there is a lot of rejection.
- Be prepared to spend 2-3 months not being able to run your business – raising money is a full-time job.
- The business should be able to run without the CEO, meaning the team can continue growing it before the CEO commits to raising money.
Best Quote: A pitch deck is your business story...
Caya's Misfit 3:
- Learn when to give up. Time is the most valuable asset that you have. Give yourself a deadline for your projects and respect that deadline. Be prepared to quit.
- Start ASAP. The younger you are, the easier it is to start businesses and possibly fail. It is easier to take risks.
- Do something that you absolutely enjoy.
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