Nate Vogel | Crain's Nashville

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Nate Vogel

Background:  

Launched in 2017, video mapping platform TripBlazr acts as a visual directory, helping residents and travelers alike view a place in a different way. Founder Nate Vogel had the idea for the web app while traveling, with a desire to truly see a city or town before deciding to visit it. The app recently launched in Nashville. 

The Mistake: 

When it came to this app idea, I was traveling in 2014 and into 2015, and thought it would be really great if I had this service.

I spent a lot of time looking online to see if there was a service like Tripblazr, but I couldn't find anything. I was talking to my brother and said, "We needed to make this happen." The biggest thing I would have changed is the method that I used to create the prototype of this web app.

I had the idea in 2015, but I took some time and talked to people about it. It's really hard to get people invested in an idea when it's just an idea. It's really that initial phase of taking a concept that could be an app or website and being able to translate it verbally to someone. What is always needed for someone, especially in the app business, is a prototype or a sample application.

From 2015 up until early last year, I thought that I had this great idea but that I would never be able to capitalize on it.

I found some guys on Fiverr who just graduated from school and reached out to them. They came back to me and said they could put together a very minimal concept for $150. When I got back, we had it all together in about three weeks. We started to get increasingly complex projects. I now have a great relationship with these guys and they have actually become part of the company.

When you want to start a business, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself.

The Lesson: 

I wouldn't have wasted so much time. Already just in the last calendar year, I've seen a big shift towards my concept. Snap Maps came into existence in the last calendar year. Google Maps just literally decided they would start adding videos via Local Guides in 30-second intervals. I had this idea in 2015, and if anything, we are almost two years late because I struggled to find a way to move it from paper to a stage where I could find investment.

When you want to start a business, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself. The biggest thing I would say is learn to wisely outsource some of your work where it makes sense. That's what we do now. Even to a point where if we have X amount of work for our developers to do, I will let them know that if this isn't their area of expertise, don't spend two weeks trying to figure it out – let's find an expert and it can be done in two hours.

That's the biggest key when it comes to running an efficient business. This was just a little app, but ultimately if you think like a big business does, you will be more efficient and your business will prosper. The internet has allowed people to work over long distances across cultures, and you can find an expert anywhere in the world to do what you want. 

Pictured: Nate Vogel | Photo courtesy of Tripblazr.

Follow TripBlazr on Twitter at: @TripBlazr 

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