In this interview, we learn from the experience and expertise of Matthias Mazur, an entrepreneur, and investor who has been around for about two decades. He is the founder and CEO of Zuramedia; a company that’s currently making a name for itself as one of the fastest-rising digital marketing agencies in the European continent. He responds to some questions and shares valuable insights below.
Where did the idea for Zuramedia come from?
I started selling video games online on eBay in 2000 and created my own small business in 2003. That’s when I discovered the world of paid advertising and media buying on Google AdWords and Overture in the early 2000s. After being forced to retire from professional tennis in 2007, I decided to go full-time in entrepreneurship and that’s when things really took off. In the years that followed, I built, acquired, and sold different businesses in the publishing and software space and generated millions of dollars a year in online sales.
One of my earlier companies was also focused on providing coaching and consulting to businesses to help them grow with internet marketing. By 2015 I noticed that many businesses and entrepreneurs were looking to use the internet and the power of social media, but many didn’t know what to do. There weren’t many resources, events, or guidance for small businesses, so I saw an opportunity to teach and share the internet strategies and tactics that we’d been using in my own businesses. I felt it was time to share my strategies
and experience online and help other businesses to use the power of the internet to grow their revenue, visibility, and impact and stand in the marketplace. That’s when the idea for Zuramedia was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually wake up around 6:30 am, with no alarm clock. Sleep is one of the most underrated aspects for optimal health, yet for some strange reason, society lately seems to celebrate the culture of “hustle” and “non-stop work” even though sleep is paramount for the body and the mind to regroup and recharge. I briefly check email in the morning to see any updates and reports from my managers and team leaders. After that, I usually put in a full block of work for 90 minutes straight, with no interruptions. No online access, no Skype, no Whatsapp, no incoming calls. I call it “Money Time”: this is when I focus on working on the most productive and “high-level” tasks. It could be planning marketing campaigns, coming up with new ideas for a product launch, or looking at our numbers and statistics and thinking of ways to improve efficiency.
Twice a week, I have meetings with the senior managers of my different teams, all done remotely via Skype or phone calls. These calls last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Around 11 am is when I workout. I train every day, 7 days per week, anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes. Usually a mix of running, weightlifting, yoga, and
mobility exercises. Or simply a nice hike outdoors or ice hockey session if I’m back home in Switzerland in the winter. Working out daily ensures discipline and structures your daily routine. Because being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely life, it’s crucial to have routines that give you a daily framework, focus, and an
outlet to feel physically fit and healthy.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As an entrepreneur, coming up with ideas is usually never a problem. Being an entrepreneur means that you usually are creative and come up with ideas and are able to look around and see things you can improve in other businesses. The biggest difficulty as an entrepreneur is separating average ideas from great ideas. Coming up with great ideas is difficult. And the entrepreneur’s role is to eliminate average ideas from great ideas, so as to maximize the impact of his work. Entrepreneurs are paid and grow their revenues when they come up with high-quality solutions. That’s why it’s better to have fewer ideas and to execute upon them, rather than to dream of 20 new ideas a day and be unable to focus.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’ve always been fascinated by creating. Taking an idea or concept from the start, and turning it into reality on a massive scale. The best example of this is Disney. Every entrepreneur should study Walt Disney’s story and how he created the foundation of the Disney empire. And it all came from a few characters sketched out in comic books… which then became enormous theme parks and a media company that caters to generations.
I’m fascinated by thinking of ideas on a big scale yet also being involved in the creative process and systemizing processes to make machines run smoothly. Focusing on the big long-term vision yet also being seeing the microelements – such as the font size on a publication or an article. Thinking big yet being in touch
with what is happening in the marketplace and on the ground, with staff who is in contact with your customers is crucial for every leader.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Structure. Some things are non-negotiable in my life. For example, my mornings are sacred. My workout schedule is sacred. I strongly believe in the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. It stipulates that 20% of your actions dictate 80% of your success. Working out takes me approximately one hour a day, which is 1/24 of the time you have in a day, yet provides me with the biggest impact in my productivity and health and the “biggest bang for my buck”, so to speak.
Another aspect is being deliberately unreachable. We live in a time where everyone can be reached at any given moment, and this is a big problem for strategic thinking in a high-level vision. It’s crucial for entrepreneurs and creators to be unreachable, so they can think and operate in their area of genius.
I have mechanisms in place so I don’t get interrupted and I am able to work in a creative and “proactive” mode rather than being reactive and having to put out fires every day.
If entrepreneurs could set limits and be less reachable on a daily basis by staff or colleagues, their results and revenues would grow exponentially. Try it for a few days: disconnect for a few hours a day from the internet and put your phone in flight mode, and you will most likely see tremendous results in your productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to think in longer cycles. Instead of thinking in 1-2 year cycles, think in 10-20 year cycles. As much as the internet and social media evolve and change every single day, many concepts don’t change much at all. Focusing on long-term cycles reduces your stress levels and allows you to focus on what is important rather than what is urgent.
I noticed the same thing when I was training for a professional tennis career. Everyone wants to win today. But sometimes, you need to be OK with losing a game today in order to improve certain aspects of your game and be a better player a few years down the line. Everyone wants to win and make money today, yet very few are willing to be patient and become masters of their craft in order to multiply their opportunities a few years later.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Embrace what makes you different. As an entrepreneur, you are the architect of not only your own life but are your business. For example, many new entrepreneurs think they need a shiny new office to get validation and believe that society will respect them more for it. The reality is if you don’t like to go to the office, why have one? You’d be better off working from home or in a different location if you are more productive elsewhere.
You can build your own reality, and that starts first with embracing and understanding what makes you different. Find what works for you rather than trying to emulate what other people do or what you believe society wants to see. A very close friend and mentor of mine once said that “the majority is always
wrong”. This means that in any given market or industry, most people – the majority – get suboptimal results. If you are doing things the way the majority do them, you are bound to get to the same results as others. If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, it’s time to take a step back and reflect.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Move and work out every morning! As an entrepreneur, you need to come up with good ideas and good solutions on a daily basis. The best way I’ve found to get ideas and solutions is to have a daily routine of working out, hiking, moving. It stimulates your brain. Some days, you won’t feel like you want to work out or move it all, and it’s even more important to do it on those days. If everyone moved more and spent a bit more time – just 30 minutes a day – moving, I’m convinced that they would come up with more creative solutions for their business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners focus on building a brand first and generate revenue later. What ends up happening, in reality, is that they have trouble finding revenue streams. I come from the school of thought that revenue and profits matter more than brand recognition in the early days of a business. Of course, branding is paramount in a world driven by social media, but many entrepreneurs and business owners would benefit more from being focused on numbers, revenue, and sales rather than social media likes and comments. Focus on revenue and profits first, which will then allow you to invest in branding.
Traveling and delivering keynote speeches wherever his expertise is needed, Matthias Mazur is very active on social media such as LinkedIn, Youtube, and Instagram, among others. Feel free to connect with him if you want to learn more.
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