Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #60

Would you leave your $28 billion company to start an ice cream parlor?

Let’s get straight to the big news: This week’s episode of Web Masters features Chris Maguire, co-founder of Etsy.

Yup… that Etsy.

It’s not every day you get entrepreneurial wisdom from the founder of a company currently worth $28 billion. But that’s exactly what you’ll get in this issue’s article and podcast.

If that weren’t exciting enough, this issue’s Q&A is about CRMs!!!!!

OK… fine… CRMs aren’t very exciting. Certainly not five-exclamations-points worth of exciting. But they’re important, so choose carefully.

Also in this issue, I’ve dusted off an article from my archives that, honestly, I’d completely forgotten about but loved revisiting. It’s about the difference between what good entrepreneurs focus on and what great entrepreneurs focus on. For what it’s worth, I wrote the article before I started interviewing tons of successful entrepreneurs for Web Masters, and I’m even more convinced of the thesis now than I was back when I wrote it. That seems like a good thing, right?


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Why Did this Founder Quit His $28 Billion Company to Open an Ice Cream Parlor?

In my mind, the most interesting part of Chris Maguire’s story isn’t that he built Etsy. It’s that he’s much happier these days running his ice cream parlor. Here’s why.

The Ice Cream Maker Who Built a Marketplace for Crafters

If you want something homemade, custom, and unique, you don’t go to Amazon or Walmart. You go to Etsy. Hear the story of how Chris Maguire helped build it on the new episode of Web Masters.

Listen now on:

…or search “Web Masters” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


The One Thing All Great Entrepreneurs Are Obsessed With

Most entrepreneurs tend to focus on themselves and what pursuing their venture means for them. But great entrepreneurs care about something much more important.


Office Hours Q&A



In your opinion, what’s the best CRM?

My company is finally at the point where we need to get our sales process better organized. It’s time to move beyond Google Docs, but we don’t know what to use next.

We’ve looked at Salesforce, but it honestly seems really difficult. Or am I just crazy?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



I’ve got lots of opinions here. Especially opinions about Salesforce.

As far as CRMs go, Salesforce is obviously the gold standard. And, true, it is super-powerful, but its power comes at a huge cost. In order to tap into the real value and power of Salesforce, you need a dedicated Salesforce admin, and, from the way you’ve asked your question, I’m guessing that’s not something you have the resources for. Because of that, I suggest you stay away from Salesforce. You’re not crazy. It is difficult and complex. Don’t waste your time (or money).

So what are your other options?

First, before I suggest a CRM, I need to warn you that your CRM isn’t nearly as important as the process you put in place for using it and ensuring that it gets used. That’s because, in general, CRMs all do the same basic things. They’re tools for managing contacts. But they’re not magical. They won’t manage your contacts for you. You (and your team) have to use whatever CRM you choose, you have to all agree on and understand exactly how you’re going to use it, and you have to 100% commit to using it. If you don’t do this, any CRM is going to fail. Conversely, if your team does fully commit to your CRM, any CRM is going to be helpful (even a spreadsheet).

The CRM I personally like is Pipedrive. (Note: I don’t know anyone at the company and don’t get any sort of commission.) I love the way it helps visualize sales pipelines, it’s super-flexible, and the API (if you need it), is incredibly powerful. At my last company, we built tons of marketing automation on top of Pipedrive, and it helped us supercharge our customer acquisition process.

Another interesting option -- particularly for smaller companies and sales orgs -- is Streak. It’s a CRM that plugs into Gmail (so, of course, you’ll have to be using that). It’s a good transitional CRM if you’re already using Google docs.

You could also go a bit “outside the box” and use something like Trello. I’ve done this and it can work well, though it all depends on how you configure Trello and what kinds of processes you put in place.

A similar option would be something like Airtable. Again, it’s not a traditional CRM, but it has the flexibility to be used like a CRM, and it also has good project management and automation capabilities that can help make it sort of like a CRM+.

Hopefully some of those suggestions are helpful. And remember -- again -- that the software doesn’t matter as much as committing to a process. You and your team have to commit to your CRM. If you don’t, nothing is going to work.

Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!