Mark Steiner – Co-Founder & CEO, GigSalad

Mark Steiner is the co-founder and CEO of GigSalad. As chief visionary, he leads the company’s business and marketing strategy, focusing on building a strong customer-centric team and connecting with strategic partners. His career in the entertainment industry has spanned more than thirty years, including a decades-long stint booking high-level talent for performing arts centers, festivals, concerts, and corporate events through the agency he founded.

How did the concept for Gigsalad come about?
It was the early 2000. After forming my talent booking agency, and having a website created for that business, I immediately began being inundated with inquiries by way of phone calls and emails from the two separate sides/”parties” of the event market space.

How was the first year in business?
Awesome, thrilling, new. Me and my business partner/co-founder were nothing but excited about exploring and discovering a world in which we didn’t know a whole lot about.

What was your marketing strategy?
Path of least resistance. I started contacting those in my personal and professional “rolodex” that were supply-side and everyone that was buy-side, which is potentially anyone and everyone. I informed them we had this beta stage online directory we were building, and invited them to get on it.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Fast enough for us to pay the bills. As a bootstrapped company, we put in a few thousand dollars of seed money. After that, it  was self-sufficient. The real growth came after our official launch in January 2007. Just a couple years in.

How do you define success?
A profitable company, living within our means. On top of that, a culture that most everyone loves and no one wants to leave.

What is the key to success?
A bright idea, hard work, laser focus, be flexible, be present, have fun, and enjoy the ride.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
You can’t pay attention enough. Take nothing for granted. Trust your gut.

What are some quotes that you live by?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“The cream rises to the top.”

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

What are some of your favorite books?
Be Here Now, A New Earth, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, and Falling Upward.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
There are lonely days, especially when I have to make any tough decision that I know will alter another person’s life. Firing people. Even though it is the right thing to do, it’s tough.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I believe in myself.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself, but be humble, find a mentor or two, and get lots of help.

Who else should we interview? Nominate someone!

Interviews are conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.

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