Greg Fisher, founder of TripShock, launched his first startup in college at UCF. He grew it to the point he was able to successfully exit in a significant liquidity event and invest some of the proceeds in his current venture.
"When I was at UCF, I started an online dining guide," he said. "It was something some friends thought was an interesting idea. We curated thousands of restaurant listings and loaded them into a database. We were getting thousands visitors and monetized it through ads. After five years, we sold it and made a nice chunk of change. That was my first taste of starting a business."
TripShock is an activity and tour booking engine where users can find local tours and experiences in northwest Florida.
"On the consumer side, our users benefit from our buying power to get great discounts," Fisher explained. "On the business side, we include tour availability and rates on our site for a commission on each sale. You have to be very engaged in these markets to get the best product. We have local agents you can call for advice and market managers empowered to provide great service."
Fisher's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to not focus on startup or operating capital.
"It doesn’t matter if you have money or not," he said. "I thought if I didn't have money, I couldn’t do it but when you don’t have money, you really understand what it takes and you get really creative on how to drive business. When times were lean for us, I purchased hundreds of domain names relevant to what we were doing. I created a hundred websites and wrote 400 articles in one year. That saved the day for us. It was tough. It took time but you have to look at what you do have. If you can write and you have time, that doesn't cost any money. Entrepreneurs think money solves it all, but money doesn’t solve it all."