Entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.
The road of being a business owner can be very volatile. Filled with miscommunication, firing, pivoting and overall problem-solving.
Joe Casanova is a serial entrepreneur based out of South Florida and we had the privilege to talk to him, not about his success but all about his failures.
Joe Casanova started his journey towards entrepreneurship in high school before Facebook and Instagram were a thing. It was around the time when MySpace was in starting to get out there.
Joe and his brother Jose made a website called StormCircle.biz.
At the time it was one of the first domains that had an extension outside of .com.
Joe would go to private school parties in Miami and take photos to then upload the pictures of the parties to the site.
He eventually started throwing events; the only issue was that he was in high school and clearly underage.
In Miami, that was merely a small issue that could “easily” be overlooked.
One day, at the Double Shot party at IO Lounge the police raided the party ending the life of his business.
Just like any kid who got out of high school, Joe was struggling to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
His brother, Demo Castellon, had just finished working with Timbaland on Shock Value, Nelly Furtado’s Loose, and Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex Love and Sound albums.
Joe saw the lifestyle this gave his brother and figured he would make a go at it so he went to SAE the school of audio engineers. During his time there, he was exposed to the power of accelerated learning from being educated on technical skill. He became an audio engineer and assisted his brother for the months to come. He even worked as an engineer on Madonna’s Hard Candy album.
The lifestyle he thought he wanted could not be further from the truth as he realized the glitz and glamour behind his brother’s life came from a lot of hours put in the studio. He then decided to change career paths.
It was around 2011 that Joe started off a marketing company with his best friends at the time.
Castle Group Marketing was working with hotels and nightclubs to bring attention and people to their venues and events.
He finally started making some good money and began reinvesting it to his business. He purchased a bus to try and turn it into a party bus where it would shuttle a path to all the nightclubs picking people up and dropping them off.
This venture was called ClubHopper but came to an end when Joe ran out of money and his partners refused to pay their part.
Joe separated from his partners and became a freelancer.
Being a freelancer he was able to fund a few side projects from Automate Your Date to How Do I Look?
Automate your Date was an online service that would talk on your behalf on online dating platforms and give you the transcript along with photos, date and time of your date.
How Do I Look? was a fashion app that allowed you to upload your outfits and vote whether the outfits look good or not. The more good votes you got the stronger your fashion vote would weigh.
Both those business fell under and he pivoted to White Owl Publishing.
He would use SEO skills to look up books people were searching for but not writing about.
This deemed fruitful until one day a book was flagged for plagiarism and it took down the entire network. He was also a Series 6 (still is) for PFS investments but realized that a commission based sales position was a bit too volatile of a life for him so he became a silent partner.
Joe has fallen down many times, just like any entrepreneur, but it isn’t how you fail it is how you respond to that failure. It’s about failing forward, towards your goal.
Losing money can seem detrimental at first but in the long run, it was just an exchange for education.
Joe paid for a few lessons from his young startup StormCircle.biz was to have a road map and understand what direction your business is going instead of just doing it to do it.
With his audio engineering degree, he learned how to master a specific skill with immersion and practice.
His marketing company was not to mix business with friendship.
Automate Your Date lesson gave insight on outsourcing and the cost associated while How Do I Look taught Joe the importance of having a UX/UI designer before development.
Lastly, White Owl Publishing was to not trust your employees and always check their work!
Joe realized his mistakes from Castle Group Marketing and aligned himself with his partners that are more business oriented.
They say not to work with friends because your friendship can get in the way but as long as you identify the relationship and where it stands you’re off to the races.