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Q 1.    Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans:    3D Supply Guys is a 3D Printing supply company.  We work with individuals and organizations to supply them with 3D Printers, 3D Printing Supplies / Materials, and 3D Printing Accessories.  We sell these items anywhere in the USA directly through our online store, and also consult with individuals and organizations to help them determine the 3D Printer(s) best-suited to their use.  Education is of particular interest to us, and we’re always looking for opportunities to partner with educational institutions.  We’re located in Southern Connecticut, but ship from various locations throughout the country for efficient delivery.

Q 2.    Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans:    I have a degree in Video Production from Ithaca College, and started my first business in 2009.  I’m passionate about cutting edge technology & education, particularly as it relates to engineering and design.  I see 3D printing as a unique intersection of the things I’m most interested in, with huge implications across a wide variety of industries as the technology continues to develop.

Q 3.    What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans:    Given my level of interest in 3D printing technology, I knew I wanted to get involved in a hands-on manner.  I felt that the best way for me to do that was to jump into a business venture centered around 3D printing – and specifically on that would see interaction with like-minded individuals interested in engaging with the developing technology.  In this way I have the opportunity to continue learning and interacting with the technology – while helping to introduce it to others.

Q 4.    What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:    It’s a tough question to answer without sounding cliché, because the best information here tends to be universal.  Maybe I’ll just focus on one answer, and I think that piece of advice is to understand that for a business; there are no pre-set paths.  There are certainly models for business development, certain evolutions that many businesses might go through, types of positions that need to be filled, etc.  But ultimately, you can take your business in any direction you want.  I think by keeping that in mind, you can help yourself avoid getting stuck in a certain way of doing business that may not be best suited to you (or your particular business).  It’s important to be aware of standard practices, solutions that others have already found to common challenges, etc – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for everything you do.  However, if you can think of a better way of doing something, a better way of optimizing your processes – don’t discard the idea just because it’s not what others are doing.  Evolve in the direction that you want.

Q 5.    What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Time Management & prioritization is critical.  There are always going to be more things on your to-do list than you have time in the day for.  Therefor it’s important to first maximize the time that you can apply by working efficiently, and then prioritize the items that will have the biggest impact first.  Organization is key – whether it’s keeping your email inbox clean, keeping track of digital files for a digital business, or keeping a physical office / warehouse / etc organized and running smoothly.  The buildup & burden of unattended paperwork alone over a short period of time can quickly bring your business grinding to a halt – so keeping organized is critical.  Finally, dedication.  Both in terms of committing many hours to your business, and in terms of having the confidence in your business (to a point) to push through seemingly endless challenges, dedication is critical.

Q 6.    How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans:    Probably about 16 – 18.

Q 7.    To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans:    I think in my case, any success is best attributed to two items.  One is dedicating a near endless supply of time to aspects of the business that I feel are important, and two is developing a great network of colleagues that I can rely on to help cross-promote each other’s businesses & make introductions to others as appropriate.

Q 8.    How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans:    SEO (Website), Networking, and Social Media have been & continue to be critical.  I think most businesses share many of the same marketing needs, but at varying levels.  If you think about your available time and budget to commit to marketing as 100% of your marketing effort – many businesses are splitting up the same virtual “pie”, and the difference comes in how much of that 100% is allocated to each slice (or particular marketing outlet) within that pie.  Then if you can come up with a very unique way of connecting with your customers in a way that lends itself to your industry & mix that in on top of the “standard stuff”, you’re onto something.

Q 9.    What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans:    I think by continuing to learn & stay abreast of new technology.  It’s easy & normal to become complacent, once you have a process or similar system that’s working well enough.  But over time others will continue to evolve around you / your business, in effect decreasing the effectiveness to which your current system works.  In essence if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind by essence of everything around you continuing to move forward.

Q 10.    Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans:    I’d like to see the 3D Supply Guys brand & myself heavily involved in the growing community of 3D printing.  I’d like to be working alongside educational institutions to facilitate incorporating 3D printers as learning tools across various areas of study.  I’d like the 3D Supply Guys brand to be an increasingly well-known name in the world of 3D printing – in essence, one of the go-to stores for 3D Supplies and similar.

Q 11.    Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans:    I love businesses that innovate and create products or services that are extremely ambitious and have far-reaching potential.  Companies like Tesla, SpaceX, Virgin Group’s Virgin Galactic, etc.
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Q 12.    How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans:    Good employees (or as the case may be, contractors / consultants / vendors) have been absolutely critical to any success we’ve achieved.  Whether it’s individuals doing research, compiling information, performing contract work, or similar – getting work done correctly by individuals with specialized skills has been critical to our development

Q 13.    How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans:    This is very dependent on the type of idea, and the perceived quality of the idea.  In my case, a marketing tactic might be tried for 3 months before it’s considered a success or failure.  A business idea might be pursued for anywhere from 18 – 36 months before deciding to continue pursuing it, or foregoing it for other challenges.  Other ideas might require an even longer-term evaluation by design.  The critical thing is to balance the time commitment with the duration of evaluation.  For example – it’s easier to allow a longer evaluation period / more leeway for something that requires a 2 hour daily time commitment, versus something that’s consuming 12 hours a day.  The latter needs to be evaluated more stringently, to ensure the significant amount of time dedicated to it is being well spent.

Q 14.    What motivates you?

Ans:    Certainly a number of things, and some of those change even daily.  But over the long term, it ties back to my initial goals:  Desire to put in the work up front that allows my to develop a business where I’m flexible in setting my own daily schedule in terms of time and priorities,  and simply a desire to be successful relative to the challenge of building a business.

Q 15.    How do you generate new ideas?

Ans:    I think generally by seeing potential solutions to problems (or challenges), or seeing interesting opportunities.  Taking ideas for businesses as an example – I like to look at challenges I’ve run into (or see colleagues run into), and see what a solution to that problem might be.  Is there a business that provides that solution?  If not, is the problem widespread enough that a business dedicated to solving it should exist?  And then furthermore, can it be done or developed within my particular skillset – and done so in a way that makes it worthwhile?

Q 16.    How do you define success?

Ans:    Success to me is the ability (financial flexibility) to do what you want with your time, and then being able to apply that time to something you’re passionate about.

Q 17.    How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans:    Not really applicable at this time

Q 18.    What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans:    The ability to take most days in a direction that feels important to me.  Certainly some days are customer driven & revolve around external requirements.  But on an ideal day, I’m able to select that “To Do” items that feel most important to me – and action on them appropriately.

Q 19.    What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans:    I don’t know that there’s one major difference, but perhaps many small differences in preference – the sum of which determine if someone takes more of an entrepreneurial direction, or more of a employee direction.  (e.g. preferring Stability vs Possibility.  Security vs Potential.  Money now vs Money later.  Etc).  I don’t think it’s black and white, but suspect rather that people probably have preferences in both directions – the stronger of which determine how one proceeds in that regard.

Q 20.    How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans:    There’s definitely a time cost to being an entrepreneur.  I think it requires an awareness of that, such that you force yourself to separate time for personal / family activities without letting work bleed in.  I think this is likely less of a difference from a full time employee than it may have been in the past – with many people expected to monitor email or similar communications even when they’re outside the office or off the clock.

Q 21.    Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans:    Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Simply put – he has a very clear vision of the goals he wants to accomplish, and once he has a goal – he seems to have a very focused ability to plan and execute the steps to achieve it.

Q 22.    What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans:    I don’t really have one book that inspired me the most, but Tim Ferriss’s “4 hour work week” was an important book in reaffirming my belief that I was heading for the correct path, in terms of pursuing an entrepreneurial-based career.

Q 23.    What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Ans:    Though it’s been a while, I’m a big fan of Paintball and (indoor) Rock Climbing.  I also love to read fiction and non-fiction books, as well as watch movies & documentaries.

Q 24.    What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Committing extensive amounts of time that would otherwise go towards hobbies & activities of interest.  Similarly, putting other goals on hold or on delay – to allow for the requisite time and financial flexibility to support the business.

Company Address:

Company     : 3D Supply Guys, LLC

City              : Fairfield
State             : Connecticut
Zip               : 06824
Phone          : 844-337-8775
Email           : Sales@3dsupplyguys.com

Facebook    : https://www.facebook.com/3DSupplyGuys
Twitter        : https://twitter.com/3DSupplyGuys
Google        : https://www.google.com/+3dsupplyguysworkshop