Ep. 109

Email + Quizzes for List Growth with Flodesk CBO Rebecca Shostak with Rebecca Shostak

Welcome to the first episode of our new series, Founder Insights. In this series, we delve into the unique aspects that make businesses special, by speaking to the founders of some truly remarkable businesses. In this episode, we’re joined by Rebecca Shostak, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Flodesk, a rapidly rising star in the world of email marketing.

Rebecca shares her insights on what makes a great brand, the importance of storytelling in branding, and the challenges of transitioning from a designer to an executive. We’ll also be discussing the exciting new integration between Interact and Flodesk, making it easier than ever for small businesses to generate leads and manage their email marketing!

Whether you’re a small business owner or just curious about the inner workings of successful startups, this episode is packed with valuable insights. Tune in to learn from Rebecca’s journey and discover how you can leverage these tools for your own business.

Learn How to Create a Quiz for Your Existing Flodesk Workflow here!

Hi everybody. This is Josh, co-founder and CEO at Interact. And today we’re kicking off a new series here on the podcast. And this series is going to be called Founder Insights. And this comes from a curiosity that we have over here at Interact, which is what is it that makes small businesses special and one of the ways to get insights into that, that I think is really interesting is talking to the founders of really special businesses, cater to small businesses and have worked with small businesses for years and years.

So here to kick off our first episode of Founder Insights, we have Rebecca Shostak. And I was trying not to mess up the last name, so then I messed up your first name, just to make that special. First episode, Rebecca Shostak, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Flodesk. 

And Flodesk is, if you’re not familiar, which I think a lot of you listening probably are familiar with them because they have a great brand. It’s… It’s newer on the scene to email marketing, but rising very quickly and known for their impressive design. So Rebecca, thank you for coming on and being the first guest on the founder insights. I’m so excited to be here, Josh, and thank you for that glowing introduction. I’m excited to dig in. Yeah, for sure.

So, I was doing sleuthing on the Flodesk brand, and I went to your brand page, and I was really surprised at how much thought went into it. Like, you guys did a rebrand fairly recently, right? And it was cool. I was like, this is a very nice rebrand, but then I was reading through it and there’s so much there and going from that leads into kind of the first thing that I am curious about from your perspective, which is what is it that makes Great brand, because it sounds like from that page, you do a lot of research.

Like you have, you’re pulling from all these different inspirations for the Flodesk brand itself. But from your perspective, both for Flodesk and for customers of yours, what is it that defines like a brand that stands out and is different and is like its own thing. Oh, I love talking about this stuff.

So that’s wonderful that you visited our brand page in it. I’m glad that some of the story came through on our efforts to refresh our visual identity. And I think that’s just the thing, right? I mean, from my perspective, when I think about brand, I actually consider that a little bit of a separate identity, a separate entity from a visual identity.

So we did recently refresh. You could say we refreshed our brand, but in my view, we sort of refreshed our visuals. But what makes our brand, I think, super special. And what I hope came across a little bit in that page is actually the core of, of what we’re trying to give out into the world. So I think a great brand is almost like a universe that you create that helps people feel a certain way or takes them on a journey or tells us.

And then from there, you can use elements like amazing fonts, colors, visuals, illustrations, and graphics to help you tell that story and create those feelings that you want for people. But at its essence, I think a great brand is really about taking someone on a journey somewhere exciting. Right? And I, I hope that that the, the float us visual identity really makes people feel something when they see it.

And I can’t exactly say what that something is, but it, it, it makes you. Actually sit up and pay attention and want to follow the story that we’re telling and listen to the messages that we’re Putting out there in the world. And I think for a lot of small businesses, we’re entering an era where having a really great brand is one of the most important investments you could make, and one of the biggest differentiators that you’re going to have in your industry.

And so I would challenge small businesses to ask themselves, like, what is the essence? Of their brand and for Flodesk, as we described in the, our refreshed identity, it really was going back to what those core principles were that we adhered to. And we started the company and it was sort of, it was almost like a combination of myself and my co founder Martha.

And Martha is really community, community oriented. She’s a people person. She’s. It’s so exciting to talk to and charismatic and engaging. And from that, I think we developed this incredible community that lifted us up when we first launched. So that was one part of the brand. And then the other part of the brand, I would say it’s more like me, which is a little bit more.

Like design centric and focused on perfectionism and getting every part of the pixel perfect and that super sans serif clean minimalism that, that comes from my design background. And so when you put these two elements together, it creates this really interesting dynamic. And that’s what we wanted to lean into for the new Flodesk identity.

And similarly for small businesses, I would ask like, What is the core of what you’re doing? What is the message that you want to put out there? And how do you want people to feel when they engage with your brand? And then take that, that idea, it could be even like a written brief or some kind of a, a bullet list or any way that you want to capture that and then start to think about how that can be expressed visually.

So that’s sort of my view on how. What like a great brand is, and I think obviously a very classic and almost cliche example of a great brand is Apple, right? But every piece of the Apple experience is designed to make you feel a certain way. When you get a new laptop, you get this beautiful, clean box and you open it up and then you open up your laptop and it takes you through the onboarding wizard.

And it’s just this incredibly clean Quiet, calming, seamless experience and you can tell that every moment of it has been thought out and then you have a brand like Starbucks, right? That another brand that everybody loves. It’s a completely different experience. And when you go to Starbucks, you think about almost like going there with your friends and participating in the wider culture because everyone’s Talking about pumpkin spice lattes, you know that you’re going to be able to go into a Starbucks and get a coffee that’s made exactly the way you want it customized perfectly to you.

So that’s another example of a great brand experience that goes beyond just the visual identity. Yeah, that’s, I like that. I’m so I have two things that I want to dive deeper on because there’s so much there that I’m like, Oh, I want to know about that and I want to know about that. But one thing is, so I like what you were talking about with the Flodesk brand where it’s like an amalgamation of the co founders.

And that’s sounds awesome to me. And then my next question is like, how do you do that? Cause I mean, for a lot of our shared customers, right? They’re solopreneurs, they are small businesses and they are the branding person for their company. So do you have any like practical exercises that you put people through where it’s like, Hey, here’s how you connect up who you are and what you want your customers to feel.

To creating a visual identity and a brand. Yeah, I think that’s a great question. One of the things that maybe I didn’t touch on in my response, but that I feel really strongly about is that the Flodesk brand almost isn’t something that I created or Martha created. It was almost like. That’s how what we were doing being put out in the world was perceived by others.

And then we sort of pulled in their feedback to craft the refreshed visual identity, which we hoped would get us back to our original vision. And so, obviously, we went through an incredible process, right? Not everybody is able to spend a year on their branding, rebranding process, and they shouldn’t, right?

Because it really should be an iterative process, especially when you’re just starting out. But I think one of the things you can do is actually go and collect the verbiage and the wording that people, your customers, or your fans are saying about you on social media. And that’s actually one thing we did.

We went and pulled comments and feedback that we had in our inbox and blog posts that were talking about Flodesk and YouTube videos. And we took the actual language that people were using to describe us. And then we brought that back into our rebranding process and presented it to Avdia Studio, whom we collaborated with for the rebranding, and we actually formed the foundation of our brand refresh on what others were saying about us and how they perceived us.

And so, in a way. Our new brand or our new brand identity is almost like a reflection of the community around us rather than about us deciding what we are. Because I mean, what is identity? Right? Like, it’s, it’s especially when, when you are your own brand, it’s like, yes, a part of it is personal. And I think you have to understand.

a bit about yourself and really get to know who you are and what makes you differentiated in the market and lean into that for your brand. But on the other hand, you also want to make sure that what you’re putting out there is resonant with the people that you’re trying to communicate with. And what better way to do that than to take the words that they’re using to describe you and bring that back into your brand.

That’s so cool because… It’s so similar to what we are always telling people at interact with creating quizzes is like whatever it is that your customers are saying, however they communicate, whatever resonates with them. That’s what’s going to make the best possible quiz. And it sounds like you’re saying something very similar visual.

So here’s my hot take, if you will. I’m curious your reaction to this. Do you think that. In your experience, seeing businesses grow over quite a long time, do you think there’s a strong correlation between showing up genuinely, authentically, like as who you are as a person and continuing to grow in that is that correlated to overall success monetarily and otherwise?

Ooh, that is a hot take. I think that in general, yes, but you also have to be smart about it. And I think, now this is my hot take, but I’ve seen, I’ve been on a lot of I’ve spoken at events and conferences and I’ve seen other Talks being given, especially advice to people who are more personal or lifestyle brands and their face is their business saying that the most important thing is to show up authentically and that through that you’ll become successful.

And I think it’s a yes, and because on the 1 hand, you do need to make sure that you’re authentic. Because people now, they’re very sensitive to BS, right? Like they know when you’re coming across as being inauthentic or you’re selling them something or you’re being adsy, people are very sensitive to that.

But on the other hand, you have to be intelligent about the decisions that you make and you have to make sure that you follow what people actually want from you. So you need to be able to show up authentically. Yes, but you also need to be able to iterate. And make sure that you’re offering something of true value to other people.

You can’t just come and start talking on Instagram and expect to start selling things. You need to understand the messaging that comes from you authentically that is most resonant and then double down on that. And constantly be iterating, asking people what they’re interested in hearing about from you.

Right. And you need to be constantly testing new messaging, testing new products, testing new courses, ideas, whatever you’re selling. And seeing what people react to and honestly, if you are showing up as yourself, but you’re saying, giving out a message that isn’t resonant with your intended audience, then chances are, it’s probably not going to work.

So you need to pivot and try new things and that doesn’t mean you’re not being authentic. It just means that you’re also being a scientist while showing up authentically as a personal brand. Oh, that’s, that’s a good one right there. I’m gonna take that line. You gotta be a scientist while you’re showing up authentically.

And my interpretation of that, maybe this is… This is what you mean is, scientist is constantly running experiments where you’re following a scientific method, we have hypothesis, whatever the other ones are, I’m not that good at science, but you are basically like, trying to figure out if something is gonna work, and you pair that with your authenticity and showing up as who you are, and it almost sounds like what you’re saying is, You have to do both.

Like you can’t just show up and start blabbing about whatever TV show you watched last night and expect that to always work. Maybe sometimes that will work, but if that’s not resonating with audiences and leading to something that can actually purchase from you, that’s not necessarily going to lead to a successful business monetarily, even if it is like authentically you.

Does that sound right? Yeah, for sure. And I think that the most successful influencers really understand this. Pairing this duality of understanding what it is about their persona, their personality, their charisma, the people get excited about and pairing that with messaging that they know people really want to hear about so and and selling products to write that really speak to people.

So you need, you need to. Almost see yourself as a product in a way, right? Which you’re constantly testing and iterating on while being super true to yourself so that you stand out in the marketplace Mm hmm. It sounds easy

So that leads into my next question that I was thinking about which is email in general so Imagine that I’m brand new to email and my question for you as the chief brand officer at Flodesk is how do I show up with my brand and be authentic in email? And also have that lead to sales because I need my business to make money.

I need to, you know, have some monetary exchange here. How do I do those two things? And, and from your perspective, what is. A good model for what that actually looks like. Well, I that’s a great question. Right. And I think there are so many resources out there that will offer a lot of different tactics and advice for how to make money in the inbox.

I think as far as branding is concerned one thing that, that I, I know people love about Flodesk in particular, not to make a shameless plug or anything is that. Our platform is entirely built to allow people to express their brands as authentically as possible in the inbox, which was quite different from legacy platforms where people felt like their brand could look beautiful on Instagram and their website, but then when they got into their.

Inbox, it would just look like a messy bit of plain text that had no charisma, no brand presence, no feeling to it. So that was really one of the main problems we wanted to address when we built Flodesk. And so I think just making sure from a brand perspective that your emails have the voice, tone logo, colors, and fonts that one would expect to see in your Instagram and your website will go a long way towards making.

Your brand presence in the inbox is seamless experience. I actually think that’s the easy part as far as sales go. I always believe that if you have a great product, it should be super easy to sell and you should never feel bad about selling it. In fact, if you have a great product, especially a lot of small business sites, I see who are selling services or education, like the world needs to get what you have to offer, right?

Like you might have some expertise or something amazing, some. Pe bit of advice or some kind of trick that you figured out that other people really wanna learn from. And there’s nothing wrong with selling it. In fact, that’s exciting. And email’s a great way to do that, right? Because it converts, as we like to say, at least 40 times better than social media.

And that’s not a made up stat. That’s, that’s very true. And so when you’re, when you’re thinking about your strategy in the inbox, a good way to think about it is like you have a bank account with your subscribers, right? So you have. A relationship with them that you want to put a lot of deposits, positive deposits into before you ask for a withdrawal, which would be for asking for a sale.

So, if you start an email list, having a nurture flow, or some kind of a way to send emails, adding value, giving free advice, sharing stories, developing a relationship in the inbox for a while before you go to ask for the sale is a great way to ensure that you maintain a great relationship with their store.

Your subscribers and they feel super supported by your brand and they feel like they have a personal connection to you. And then you go ahead and make the sale after you’ve provided all that value so that you have this really wonderful, high, you know, high credit bank account with your subscribers. And then when you go to ask for a little deposit, go to make a little ask from them, Hey, check this out, go to buy this.

They’re going to feel really invested in your brand already. And chances are, if you’re selling something that is. Similar to the content that you’ve already been providing them that they’re excited about, they’re going to want to buy it. So, you know, just make sure that your email is very clear when you go to sell and always have an offer, some kind of urgency, you know, a discount code an offer that’s expiring and then make your button, your call to action super clear, like click here to get this.

And chances are, you’re going to do very well making sales. You just have to make sure that. Your product is on point and you have that great relationship established with your subscribers so they trust you and they feel supported by you and they, they’re interested in what you have to offer. That’s very specific advice, which I appreciate because I think oftentimes in the world of marketing, right?

It’s like, just do this, you know, and it’s, it’s hard to really nail down what it is you’re talking about. I know this is a cost, a customer question that we get because everybody likes even more specifics, but drilling down into that a little bit, like. What have you seen? And maybe this varies by industry, but in terms of how many times are you making deposits versus withdrawals?

Like in terms of actual email sends, like what does that ratio typically look like for successful businesses? Oh, man, you know what? We get a lot of questions like that, too. And I just, I have to be totally honest. There is no formula that is 100 percent guaranteed to give you results, right? And I think, again, that’s where being a scientist comes into play, where you want to test things out and experiment.

I would… It depends too on the type of business, because if you’re an e commerce company, so for example, I am a huge fan of anthropology. I love that their clothing and they actually send marketing emails every single day to their list, like every single day, which would most businesses, small business would be like, wow, my subscribers would all unsubscribe after that.

But I’m so entertained and delighted by their emails that I love getting feedback from them. sold to every day in the inbox and probably spend more money there than they should. But I think that’s a great example of a company where their model is e commerce. So they’re always merchandising new products, especially that come with the season and the vibe of the culture.

And they show up in your inbox every single day and make what they’re offering really exciting. And I almost perceive it as entertainment. So in a case like anthropology. Having a sale email every day is actually sort of exciting for me. But if I’m subscribed to see an astrologist or someone who’s more offering advice or coaching I would love a few emails, you know, you set up your nurture sequence, maybe having three or four that the first one that welcomes you to the list and maybe delivers a freebie if that’s your lead magnet.

And then the second and third. third are nurturing you with some tips or some advice or like, I’m a Gemini. So be like, Hey, Gemini today, you’re supposed to chill out. Don’t work too hard or this week, keep your, keep focused because you can be easily distracted or whatever. And I, I would enjoy getting a series of those emails over a few weeks, so maybe three or four.

And then if they wanted to go in and say, Hey, okay, I’m glad that you’re loving my content. Here’s a special deal for you book a one on one astrology session with me, and here’s a special coupon code. Then I would be very game to sign up for that. So I think that it really depends on your business model and your customer base, but.

Thinking of it like what kind of journey you want to take your customers on and what sort of story you’re trying to tell with your brand. Obviously, anthropology is telling the story of, hey, we’ve got all this fresh new stuff coming all the time and come, come join us. Come, come be part of the season.

Come be part of the culture with us. And then the astrologist example is more like, hey, I’m guiding you and I’m going to be like Yoda and guide you and mentor you to success. And then here’s a way that you can. Increase your engagement with me and here’s even a special code to to give you some urgency to kick your butt and get you to take action.

That works really well in a situation like that. So I think you really have to be intentional and think about the way that people want to engage with you. But 1 thing you should not do is be afraid to start sending emails to your list because I hear that all the time. And if somebody subscribes to your list.

They want to hear from you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them, right? And don’t be afraid to experiment, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. You have to try. If you’re going to be a scientist and experiment, you have to experiment. So you gotta just get in there and get over it and get going with your email list.

I think that’s a universal fear because that is the number one thing that we hear as well is like, I’m afraid to put my quiz out there. Like, what’s gonna happen? Like, are people gonna like it? You know, there’s just all this fear that comes up with launching things or sending an email or whatever it is.

And then the thing that I’ve heard a lot from what you were saying that I really like is it’s about the story of your brand. Just like the branding, like the visual elements are about the story of your brand, so is your emails. And if the story of your brand is one that’s very, you know, there’s constantly new stuff, like the anthropology, then it makes sense to send more emails.

If your story of your brand is more slow burn, like the astrology example, then it’s more appropriate to send less emails, and that’s, that’s a very similar Approach that we have with folks making quizzes who are asking us for the same types of specifics of like, how many questions should my quiz have?

Like, how long exactly should I be? It should it be? How exactly should I write every element of this quiz? And it’s like. Well, the answer is like, what, what’s going to align with your business and how you operate, because that’s, what’s going to resonate. And we can see it in the numbers. Like it actually works better when it’s more authentically you as like the creator of quiz.

So now I want to jump over to talking about quizzes a little bit which are here. I didn’t even mention this at the top of the show, but we’re here because. Interact and Flodesk are integrating directly, which is like, I’m sure there’s much cheering happening on the other side of the internet right now.

People are going to be very happy about this and being able to just connect the two tools directly. It’s just such a great fit. And we’re very excited about it on our end as well. So, jumping into The happy dance. Yes. Just to express the other side of the internet. Yeah, I know. Representing. That’s a good thing.

It’s like a guessing game of like, guess how they’re going to react. And then they have to guess how you’re going to react. And it goes back and forth. That should be a game. Okay, so if we’re going from a quiz to an email, right? Because quizzes are all about, Not just being fun and engaging, which they do do that, and it helps you connect with your audience in terms of like the back and forth of the quiz.

But one of the big draws is that you can ask for an email at the end of the quiz. And because you’ve already had this back and forth, you have some rapport built up, you’re more likely to get opt ins at the end of your quiz. And that’s, you know, We’ve been doing forever, and that’s why our company exists.

But then you go over to the Flodesk side. If you integrate your quiz with Flodesk, what does that look like? Like what’s a good handoff look like for a business when they use a quiz to build their email list. And now they’ve got this new subscriber. Maybe they know some things about the subscriber from the quiz.

But how do you start the story from there? Because it’s kind of like the beginning of a journey with this new customer that May go on to become really high ticket client of yours in the future. But this is like the very beginnings and it’s like, you want to make sure you don’t mess that up. At least that’s what we hear a lot from our customers.

So no pressure, but how do they not mess that up and make a perfect email sequence after someone subscribes? Oh my goodness. I love quizzes. I think they’re one of the best lead magnets that you could possibly have for building your list, right? For two reasons. The first one is that if you nail your quiz.

If you know your audience really well and you get a great quiz. It’s just so exciting. Like, I love quizzes. I take them all the time. I probably sink too much time into them. I’m very busy, but yeah, I always find time to take a quiz, especially ones that will tell me something about myself, right? Like, personality or preferences or my favorite fashion style, what, you name it, right?

The second reason quizzes are fantastically magnets is because of the commitment curve. So you’re getting there. You start taking a quiz and literally, as I just said, they’re time consuming. Right? So you might be spending 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes plus on this quiz and you’ve really invested a lot of time and brainpower into.

putting in the answers that you feel most represent you because you’re invested in the answer. You want to know what your personality type should be doing or what your enneagram type is or what horoscope you have coming for your Q4 sales season. whatever, right? And, and there’s so much investment in that.

It’s almost like you, you, you paid a little bit into it. And so if you get hit with a paywall where you’re being kind of asked to pay with your email address, chances are you’re going to do it. I mean, if people are invested in a great quiz that takes them on a journey, they’re really going to want that payoff.

It’s like watching a movie where you get almost up to the climax. And then someone says, Hey, like you need to pay. to see how this story ends. And chances are, if you’re telling a good story, people are really going to want to know how it ends. So, I love the idea of using quizzes for lead magnets, and I think that you just have to think of it like that, right?

Like, with your quiz, you’re building a story where the quiz taker is the main character. And they want to know how their story ends. And then you get to… Give them that climax, that release, that, that aha moment using email, which is fantastic. You get to collect their email and then you get to give them a really spectacular experience of getting their quiz result in their inbox.

And I think there’s so many exciting ways that you can do that. Then the first part of it obviously is building a quiz that you know people are really curious about. Like maybe it’s your top asked question of your business. So if you’re. If you’re an interior design stylist, like it, you know, getting, taking a quiz to figure out what style you are or what colors would most fit your, your new office, I don’t know, or your fashion style or your horoscope or like my favorite Enneagram types and personality types.

I, I love a good quiz that can give me more insight into who I am and give me meaning in my life. Like, I actually think. Quizzes can be pretty profound, super philosophical about it. And when it comes to delivering that pay off in the inbox. I think You can really go crazy with making this email super exciting.

You can, email is such a dynamic medium. You can offer videos in it. You could do a write up and have a cool design in it. You could color code it based on the answer. And then you can continue the journey after the email, right? So, if I take a personality quiz and then I find out my result in the inbox, chances are, I actually want to know more.

So you could even think of your email as like a cliffhanger. It’s almost like watching a TV show and it’s leaving you hanging. And then you want to get the next email or it’s like, okay, well, here’s your result, which means blah, blah, blah. But in order to know a little bit more about your personality, stay tuned for my next email.

And so you, you just keep the story going. Starting with the quiz and then continuing it in the inbox. And the other thing that’s great here is that people are obviously going to, you’re, you’re, you’re probably gonna have a very high open rate for that quiz result email. So it’s also a great chance to merchandise all the things that your brand has to offer.

So you could send them on to different touch points. You could give them a special discount. For example, if you’re that interior designer and you give them a quiz about the colors of their new office, then you can merchandise it. 50 off your first consultation or even like a free consultation and a book now and send them off to different places.

So I don’t know, like, I think quizzes are so exciting because you generate all this energy and all this curiosity and then you get it into the inbox and then you can do something with the energy that you’ve created in the quiz. You, I mean, there’s, there’s, it’s infinite really, but, but think of it as a, An opportunity to have a captive audience that’s super curious about something that you’re writing.

And then, like, what would you like to do with that, right? Would you like to keep reengaging them over time? Do you want to send them somewhere? Do you want to give them an offer? Do you want to offer them more insight? Do you want them to go visit your YouTube channel? It just depends on your business goals.

But this is like a golden opportunity. Yeah. I like the, I like the multi part idea and analogizing, is that a word, analogizing to Making an analogy. Making an analogy. Analogizing. Yeah. Analogizing. New word, . So you’re making it like a TV show where each email is like an episode of a, of a good show, like your favorite show that comes to mind.

And each episode of that show ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. And I like what you’re saying about how it makes somebody curious to know more because. It’s about them, like the quiz is about them, they’re the main character you know, like a video game, you’re, you’re the main character in this game or a movie.

It’s about you as an individual and here’s these emails that are continuing to be about you and you know, the, the one universal interest that I think all humans have is themselves. And yes, it’s pretty easy if all these emails are about them. Like of course they’re going to open it and then you throw in that it has the great branding has the great Design from your brand so it’s visually enjoyable to look at those emails as you’re reading about yourself It’s like well, this is great.

I’m looking at a great looking email here. That’s well designed and I am reading about myself Like, what else, what could go wrong? It’s like you’re sitting, you know, looking at this beautiful landscape and, you know, watching a movie about yourself. That’s kind of the analogy that comes to mind for me. So can’t go wrong with that.

And I think it’s a great way to, you know, have people get interested in your brand and continue to be interested in your brand because it’s your brand. Talking about that individual person, which I think is really, really great. And they did this study during COVID of people on zoom and it said something like people spent 70 percent of the time on zoom meetings, looking at the little thumbnail of himself instead of the speaker.

And so I think this reminds me a little bit of that. And I love what you said, Josh, about this being. personalized to them, right? So you have like an absolutely captive audience and people love gazing at themselves in the mirror. And like, there’s nothing wrong with that, but like, I, I’m, I do it all the time, but I’m interested in, I mean, not gazing at myself in the mirror, like that’s weird, but like, I cut that out anyway.

That’ll be the YouTube clip. Rebecca, co founder of Flotask. I actually think that would be an amazing hook. No, but like, I’m turning red. No, but I… I think people love the opportunity to love, to know more about themselves and the quizzes and the emails, the follow up emails and the quizzes will feel so personal if you nail the results and really create results that that do tell someone something new or fresh or interesting based on the way that they answered the quiz.

So, I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s a no brainer. Like, I… I see it as a golden opportunity to get people to engage with your brand associate of this personal touch with your brand feel like they are the hero of a story and also, like, you know, knowing that people are for sure going to open these emails.

Merchandise your best offer in them. It’s kind of a no brainer. Yeah, I, I agree. I agree. So, if you’re out there listening and you have not chosen an email software yet, definitely recommend checking out Flodesk and now you can get integrated directly with Interact if you go on to build out your quiz.

It’s a great setup. It’s really easy to do. It’s like a couple of clicks. Both of our engineering teams have done exceptional jobs getting this integration. Just be super simple. No, no go betweens required just directly between the two softwares. And, you know, it’s, it’s very easy. Like I’ve done it. A thousand times at this point, but even if it’s your very first time connecting it up, it’s, it’s click clicking on options.

There’s no, no coding or fancy stuff required. It’s just like very intuitive. So definitely recommend checking that out if you’re in the market and are still choosing. Cause we do get that question a lot from folks. So one of the ones that we definitely highly recommend moving over, cause I have questions about.

Your entrepreneurial journey first question, that’s like somewhat selfish because I like to learn who are your inspirations, who are the people that you’ve learned the most from, whether it’s about brand or building a company, because Flodesk has an impressive brand, and it’s also an impressive company, so.

Who are the folks that have, have paved the path or led the way that you would emulate? That is a great question. And I, I’m struggling to name just one because there are so many. I think I grew up in Silicon Valley during the 80s and 90s, which was a wildly exciting time. And my dad was also a founder, an inventor.

And in computer science, and he, like, just growing up, watching him do his thing, I think kind of got the whole entrepreneurial ism bug in my blood. So I feel like I’ve always had it. I know it’s very cliche, but I really, I love. What Steve jobs did in a lot of ways, because he was 1 of the 1st founders to really marry the idea of, like, design and, like, high design concept with technology.

And I, I just, I don’t, I’ve seen a lot of companies try and sort of imitate that, but he was 1 of the 1st and it was, I really think that was truly revolutionary and that, you know, that built 1 of the. Most valuable companies in the world, so just seeing the way that he brought storytelling and design into computers, which were at the time, something that were considered very geeky, clunky, ugly and completely utilitarian is extremely inspiring.

1 of the inspirations that I cite a lot for Flodesk in particular was the architect mid century architect, Richard Noitra and he was from Austria and came over to Los Angeles in the mid century and was highly influential in the architecture scene in the mid century design scene in general. You know, during the, during the 1950s, 60s, and one of the things that Neutra really pioneered was this idea that good, clean, minimal design could actually improve your health.

Like it wasn’t just about aesthetics and it wasn’t just about function. It was like something really clean and minimalist could actually improve your health if you lived in it. And so I love that concept. Right. And I took it and I was like, okay, how can we actually apply that to software? Because. That’s not something that you hear about with software.

It’s like an experience that actually makes you feel clean and encouraged to go into creative flow. A lot of times it’s just about features and functionality. I mean, I think more so companies are starting to get wise to needing really clean design experiences in order to have a successful product.

But I, you know, I, I do a lot of reading too. I, I read a lot of essays on, design and art history, and I, I love reading about just like classical proportion, color form. And I just think that all of these influences sort of go into my mind and like a product comes out, but it’s not like I looked.

Specifically to a person or someone’s journey because every single entrepreneurial journey is completely different. And the most successful companies usually make their own playbooks for how they make it or blow it up and get big. And, and so I’m, I like to look at a lot of sources that are sort of outside the tech in the business world that I bring in, which I think gives us sort of a fresh take and a fresh brand versus just trying to copy what other people are doing.

That idea of it’s like a there’s a bunch of sources that come in and then it filters through and what comes out is product that you’re creating or things that you’re creating. That’s very cool. I definitely agree with that. I feel like if you try to emulate somebody exactly like you’ll end up, it’s always going to be a copy.

Yeah. It’s like a cut rate version of whatever they were doing. And it’s like, who wants to be a cut rate version of something else? You know, it’s like better to take in all these inputs and then come up with your own thing. Last question that I have to. Relate this back to you know, we both work with small businesses, it’s hard to start a small business, it’s, you’re doing a million things at the same time, and oftentimes it feels really difficult and I’m sure you get this a lot where people look at you and where you’re at, and you’re like, ah, they’re like, ah, it must be all easy, like, everything’s totally fine, like, they’re, they’ve got this on lock, like, You know, Rebecca and Martha are just crushing it all the time, never make any mistakes.

The question that I have is, what is something that was harder than you anticipated? Like, something that you didn’t expect to be as difficult as it was? And what was that experience like, and how did you process through that? Well, I think that’s a great question and it’s funny. I, I laughed really hard when you said, oh, like, they never make mistakes because I feel the opposite.

I feel like I’m, I’m a scientist. That’s always running experiments and half of them don’t pan out. Lucky enough to have some that did. So here we are. I also had a lot of small businesses getting to this point. So not only do I feel like I relate to our customers, but. I am one in a previous iteration of my career.

I would have actually been using Flodesk myself for the businesses that I ran. I had Photoshop templates for wedding photographers for several subscription websites. So I really get it. And I think one of the things in sort of in that vein, that’s been tricky for me in particular is going from being.

A designer, a true individual contributor designer to becoming quote unquote an executive and like, what does that even mean? It means basically becoming a manager. Someone who gives feedback and drives a vision, but who is, I’m here basically to support my team and my team now are the superstars. They’re the ones who are crafting this incredible design and all of the work that everybody gets to see and enjoy.

And I’m just sort of here to guide the vision and, and work that vision through people who are even more talented than I am. And making that transition from someone who was individual contributor, I was there in Photoshop and Figma, always sending mockups to Martha and being the designer and loving to get my hands wet and like dirty and paint splattered everywhere and wearing all the canvas overalls and doing all the fun, creative work to becoming someone who, whose job it is basically to impart vision and to grow people and have Superstar designers as almost my, my end result as the product of my work rather than my actual designs has been really tricky.

Right? And there’s a lot of ego that you have to let go of a lot of patience and a lot of of, of being willing to let other people take something that you’ve been so close to and run with it and then the joy of seeing them do it even better than you could. And. Yeah. Yeah, like, that’s been a huge challenge for me.

Like, I am an artist and a designer at heart more than anything else. And growing a team and scaling our efforts has been a very, very bumpy journey for me. Like, it’s, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I appreciate that because it is. It is opening up about something that’s difficult, right?

And it is hard when you’re really good in one area, like for you, it’s, it’s design. Like you are you know, an excellent designer. Flodesk design is incredible. And then to have to Mode switch and then go over to how do I become a people developer and that’s difficult and I think that it is at least from what I see a big reason why people don’t start companies because it requires you to constantly mode switch and do things that you’re not good at and Yeah, I think just hats off to you for, for going through that journey and modeling that to, you know, all of your customers and, and anybody who’s listening, because it is really difficult.

And especially when you like become really expert at one thing and then switch, I think it just becomes even more difficult. So that is awesome. As we’re wrapping up, is there anywhere that people can go to follow along with? Your journey or obviously they can check out Flodesk. We’ll link that in the comments and you can look at the connector between interactive Flodesk and how that all works.

But where can people go if they’re curious to kind of follow along your journey or Flodesk journey? I’m going to be on the spot. You know, to be honest, I’ve invested so much of my mind, body, spirit and soul into Flodesk that I haven’t really. Invested in a personal brand and maybe this is my call to action to do so.

I have a little Instagram feed that has a few posts on it and I plan to post a little more there. So if you want to follow me, I’m Rebecca Shostak on Instagram, but I would also encourage you to follow Flodesk on Instagram because I do feel like a lot of my energy and the team’s ideas and all of our spirit and the, the, the, the fun parts of the brand and the company are.

Come out on our Instagram feed. So between those two places, I think you’re in good hands. Well, thank you for coming on and doing an excellent job kicking off our founder insight series. I think this is going to be super insightful to people. I learned a lot. From my perspective, because I don’t get to deal with brand that much.

And I think our audience will love it as well though. So thank you for coming on. Thank you. I, this was really wonderful. I love talking about brand obviously and building companies, but I’m also so impressed with what Interact has built. I see so many members who have the quizzes embedded on their websites and I, we’re huge fans of what you’re doing and we couldn’t be more excited for this integration.

Well, thank you. Thank you. And if anybody’s listening, again, you can connect your quiz directly to Flodesk now. Very exciting. We’re all stoked on it. So yes. No excuses. Get your email list going now. Yes, that is the perfect thing to end on. Get it going. Get that email list growing. Start making some sales.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.