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Fredrick Nijm Interview | Addoway Co-Founder Reveals His Entrepreneurial Secrets

By:     Topics: Entrepreneur Interviews

Today we have a superb interview with one of the most talented young entrepreneurs I have come across in 2010 – Fredrick Nijm of Addoway.com Addoway.com is a free social marketplace that helps you buy and sell with your friends and the people they know.

Addoway’s mission is to bring the next generation of “social commerce” to the masses, where people buy and sell items with their friends and the merchants they trust. While other notable marketplaces like eBay use stranger’s experiences to create reputation, Addoway integrates directly with Facebook, giving users recommendations to reputable sellers through people they already know.

I have to say Fred and his partners have come up with something quite different in terms of ‘social purchasing’ and it will be very interesting to see just how far this business will go. Considering Fred left a Fortune 500 company managing a portfolio of $60M to launch Addoway I am sure Fred believes it will go a very long way. Reading the replies to our questions it is clear that Fred is inspired!

In particular I absolutely love Fred’s answer to our question on the biggest lessons he has learned in business:

Don’t wait to long to come out with an idea or wait to share it with others. If you are afraid someone is going to take it, then it’s probably too late. Some of your ideas are not going to work, but you can’t let that stop you. Companies like Google and Apple have come out with ideas that just didn’t go anywhere. They realized it quickly and changed course. You have to adapt and evolve to change.

Also in particular look at how Fred and partners have leveraged Social Media (Twitter, Facebook) to achieve such remarkable growth.

Enjoy the interview – and please let me have your comments and feedback on Addoway below.

To Our Success

Michael

PS: Follow Fred on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/addoway

Fredrick Nijm Interview

Addoway
Fredrick Nijm, co-founder and Corey Kossack, Managing Partner

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where you live? How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering) What motivates you? What inspires you?

I live in Arizona, but grew up in New Jersey. I came to Arizona to go to college when I was 17 and I have been here ever since. I am 30 years old now and have a B.S. in Biology and MBA in Marketing. I am inspired to change the way people think and view decisions they make. My ultimate dream is to be a motivational speaker and help people realize their true potential through positive thinking, the right attitude and patience.

Other Questions:

1) You are CEO of a new startup called Addoway.com. Tell us about Addoway, how the company formed and what made you go into this niche?

Addoway is an online marketplace for all things fashion, collectibles and much more. Our missions to bring the next generation of “social commerce” to the masses, where people buy and sell items with their friends and the merchants they trust. We recommend independent merchants that friends have purchased from in the past, merchants that friends know personally and others who are upfront about their identity and reputation.

Addoway was formed out of one idea to change the way people buy and sell online. My partner and I were upset with marketplaces at the time and knew we could create something better. So after about 5 years, multiple ideas and iterations of the platform Addoway was born. We chose social commerce because we felt that eCommerce lacks trustworthy transactions. Relationships are not being made online and leveraged to help merchants sell more and buyers feel confident in their purchase.

2) I understand you left your job at a Fortune 500 company managing a portfolio of $60M to launch Addoway with the help of co-founder Anthony Saia and Corey Kossack. That is very brave. Tell us what made you make the jump to being a Start Up Entrepreneur? What motivated you?

I always believed that I was here to do something more. I had a very professional job and had a desire to move up the corporate ladder, but something inside of me kept telling me there was something greater than this for me. What I was doing wasn’t risky enough for me and I am one to take risks. Well one Saturday, I had a vivid dream while I was in San Fran that I was sitting in a coffee shop and needed some air. I grabbed my coffee and stepped outside. I was just staring down this long road (you know what I mean if you have been to San Fran) and I suddenly starting smiling. It felt so real and so incredible. I could feel that air brush up against my face as if I wasn’t dreaming at all. At that very moment in my dream, I said to myself, “you work for yourself now.” I woke up and quit my job 2 days later. I will never forget that dream. Well all have them and I finally had mine.

3) As I understand it, Addoway is an online marketplace where people buy and sell with their friends and the merchants they trust. The site also integrates with Facebook’s social graph and recommends merchants their friends have purchased from in the past. Can you explain the concept a bit further – why do you think there is a need for a service like Addoway for example?

Other marketplaces use stranger’s experiences to create reputation. At Addoway, we don’t feel that is enough. You don’t really know who you are dealing with online by just a feedback score and a generic name. People want to trust more and they are just not able to online, so we created a platform that promotes trust – an essential element in building relationships, which is required to grow your business.

4) I understand Addoway launched in public beta in April, and since has reached over 100,000 user-generated product listings and tripled traffic to the site in the last 60 days. That is impressive growth. What strategies have you used to make people aware of your service? How have you promoted yourselves?

Believe it or not everything has been a “grassroots” effort. Everything has been established through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Our first sellers came through Twitter. We found each other. I love talking about social media and eCommerce and after I built up a following they wanted to know what I did. When you start trusting information from another person you begin to trust what they are about. We built Addoway from the ground floor with passion, determination, and our loyal fans. There is a considerable ROI in social media.

5) Can you share some of the biggest lessons you have learned personally and as a business as you have launched Addoway? If you were to start again, what might you do differently?

Don’t wait to long to come out with an idea or wait to share it with others. If you are afraid someone is going to take it, then it’s probably too late. Some of your ideas are not going to work, but you can’t let that stop you. Companies like Google and Apple have come out with ideas that just didn’t go anywhere. They realized it quickly and changed course. You have to adapt and evolve to change.

6) How has technology played it’s part in your launch? Did you have to create any custom applications / software?

Without technology, I don’t know how any of this would be possible. Addoway is 100% custom. Everything about it was created from scratch from one guy –  Anthony.

7) What was the scariest part of starting your own business?

The scariest part for me was the idea of never starting it. It is an invigorating experience to wake up every morning and know that I am doing something I absolutely love and believe in and I work with the greatest people – my friends.

8) Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs, negative experiences?

I am a firm believer in positive attitude and energy. You need to believe that you are going to have non-successful moments. I don’t call them failures unless you choose to just give up, but if you have the desire to win and succeed, then you are always going to find another way, another tool and that is success. Set-backs happen, because there are always things outside your control. Just remember to evolve and adapt to change and you will be fine.

9) How do you keep your business focus – Do you have any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?

Never lose site of the end goal. Why did you create this business? How is the world different by your creation. Don’t ever forget the reason you decided to venture off and follow your dream. There will always be challenging times. Life itself is just not easy. It is not meant to be easy. There would be no reason to live if there weren’t any challenges. Challenges make us who we are and make us great. Look for the challenges and embrace them.

10) Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one person)

My ultimate role model has and always will be my grandfather. He was an incredible father, grandfather and just an all around great man. He believed in nothing more than being humble and showing love.

11) Do you have any favourite business related or indeed any book that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

Tribes: We Need you to Lead Us by Seth Godin – people are yearning for change and a group of people connected to each other needing change need a leader to lead them through it all. Be that leader.

12) What is the best advice you have ever been given?

No one can achieve greatness without risking greatly

13) What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur starting their first business today?

People will take you seriously if look upon yourself the same. Don’t falter in the face of adversity, because it exists. You need to rise above it.

14) What do you like best about the Internet?

It’s open and ever changing. It constantly adapts and evolves with the time. Everything is online.

15) What do you like least about the Internet?

The speed. I think it should be even faster.

16) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?

Right now, I want to continue building an innovative platform with my partners that continues to change the way people perform transactions online. Social Commerce is the future and Addoway is at the forefront of this change.

My ultimate long term goal is to be a motivational speaker. I coined the term: EATING To Success. I was once 300lbs and through my own personal motivation and positive attitude, I lost all of the weight over time. E = Energy, A= Attitude, T = Time. Are you eating today?

Follow Fred on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/addoway

Comments

  1. Susan Berry says:

    … all the right ingredients to lead the way!
    The Addoway platform just keeps getting better and better. Vision, plus!

  2. Jerrel Pickens says:

    Addoway sounds like a revolutionary concept, no wonder it’s such a success.

    I also agree with the advice above. Greatness never came easy for anyone. You have to calculate the risks and then decide if it’s worth it, which it usually almost always is.

  3. Fredrick Nijm says:

    Thank you Susan for the kinds words. We couldn’t do this without our fans and supporters.

  4. Fredrick Nijm says:

    Thank you Jerrel. Calculated risks are very important, but most of the time the rewards usually out way the risks.

  5. SmartAboutThings says:

    Why don’t you post more Michael?

  6. i agree with all the above. risk is unexpected (thats why its called risk 🙂 so one has to prepare and calculate in order to decide if its all worth it

  7. If you’ve picked some pointers about that you can put into action, then by all means, do so. You won’t really be able to gain any benefits from your new knowledge if you don’t use it.

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