Today’s Guest is Samara Kamenecka Creator of TinyFry.com
The Entrepreneur Unveiled interview with Samara Kamenecka is the first in a series where I interview all types of entrepreneurs to learn what motivated them to start their business, the challenges they faced and the successes they’ve realized.
Today you’ll meet Samara Kamenecka, the creator of Tiny Fry.
I know Samara because we are both students of Steve Chou’s Profitable Online Store course. Samara is in the Master Mind group I’m part of through the course. Four of us have met every week for nearly a year and a half. Taking classes and joining master mind groups are fantastic ways to keep pushing forward and to surround yourself with like-minded people.
Now, on to the interview!
Tell us a bit about yourself
What’s your background?
I’ve done a lot of different things. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and I initially thought I might study law or work in something related to politics (I actually interned at the White House!), but right out of college I moved to Spain, where I’ve had lots of jobs that are unrelated to that field.
I’ve worked as an English teacher and a copywriter. I worked at a small magazine start-up and I did public relations for some nightclubs in Ibiza, just to name a few. For the last 8 years or so I’ve worked in translation.
Would you say you’ve always had an entrepreneur hiding somewhere deep inside?
Absolutely! For a long time now I’ve wanted to be my own boss and have my own business. I’m a self-starter for sure.
When did you first tune in to that?
I’m not exactly sure; it has been a long time coming I guess. I consider myself to be a very hard worker, and at some point I asked myself why I was always working so hard for other people and not for myself.
Are there any entrepreneurs in your family that showed you the ropes? If so, what were their most valuable lessons?
There are no entrepreneurs in my family, but I have always been something of a black sheep.
What was your first entrepreneurial outlet?
A few years ago some friends and I tried to launch a company called Gustology that offered translation and interpreting services to the food and wine industry, but we didn’t do very well. Even so it was fun trying to get it off the ground and we learned a lot along the way.
How many projects have you started before your current business? What happened with them?
I’ve only had experience with a handful of projects before my current one, Tiny Fry, all of which were dismal failures.
How have family and friends reacted to your entrepreneurial pursuits? If they have been negative or unsupportive, how have you overcome that?
I think I’m lucky because all of my friends and family have been incredibly supportive of everything I try to do.
Describe your current business
What is your current business and how did you end up going down this path?
I am currently building the niche website Tiny Fry. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to take part in Niche Site Project 3, organized by Spencer Haws over at Niche Pursuits. That project is ongoing, and I’m actually Spencer’s student which, so far, has been a fantastic experience.
How old is it?
The site is about 2 ½ months old at the moment.
What are your goals with respect to your business?
In terms of goals, I hope to continue learning about building niche websites, as it’s obviously an ongoing process. I also hope that, one day, this site (and any others I’m able to build) generates enough income to live off of. That’s my dream. I would love to have more freedom to travel to the States and see my family and just to have the flexibility to spend as much time as possible with my daughter and boyfriend.
Do you sell your own product(s) and if so, what are they? If not, do you plan to private label in the future?
I would love to private label in the future, absolutely. The baby and kid niche is quite big and I think there are lots of opportunities, so I definitely plan to find a product I can sell at some point in the future.
Who is your audience and is knowing that important?
I think knowing your audience is vital. I’m catering mainly to parents, of both babies and kids, but really anyone who interacts with kids, so that means aunts, uncles, teachers, etc.
How long have you been working on this before you started to see some success and how did you define that success?
I actually tried my hand at building a niche site a few years ago and it was a complete flop. I never got any real traffic and I never made any money, which is how I would have defined success at that time.
I did learn a lot though. Since then I’ve launched several projects to try to make money online, including products on Amazon and a store on Shopify, and none of them have worked either.
With my niche website, I’m just starting to see a little bit of traffic and a little money, which is beyond exciting. I think now I would define success as getting traffic, making money and also helping people by providing them with interesting and useful information.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Every project is a new challenge. There’s a learning curve for absolutely everything and, in the beginning, every task—no matter how small—takes an eternity to complete.
That being said, I think learning my way around WordPress has been the most difficult. And aside from that I think finding the time to do everything was challenging, since I can only really work in the evening.
What came easy for you?
The creative side of things generally comes pretty easy to me.
[If I may, let me interrupt to say that Samara is VERY creative! Just take a look at this clever YouTube video she did for her niche site!]
Have you ever come close to giving up? What happened and how did you muster the courage to keep going?
I have definitely come close to giving up, more than once. When you’re working really hard on something and spending all of your time on it and you don’t see results, even after a while, it’s easy to think about throwing in the towel.
I guess I just think that, at the end of the day I have nothing to lose, so I might as well hang in there and keep going. Also I believe that, sooner or later I’m going to find success, so I have to keep pushing through.
Things/people you can’t do without
Who are your mentors? How did you find them?
Spencer has been an amazing mentor during Niche Site Project 3, so that has been, unsurprisingly, an amazing experience.
I’m also part of an incredible mastermind group that meets every week, and I consider the other members to be mentors. I found them through an online course I did.
What tools do you use and what makes them great?
I’m still quite new to the scene, so I don’t have a ton of experience with different tools, but I can tell you I have been using Thrive Content Builder, which I think is an awesome tool. Once you get the hang of it it’s very easy to use, it has a ton of great features and the resulting design looks really professional, in my opinion.
I’ve also been using Long Tail Pro for keyword research and I love it. It provides you with a ton of information, from a keyword competitiveness score to the average number of Amazon reviews, which is super helpful. It saves time and it’s easy to use.
Where do you host your website?
The website is hosted on Blue Host.
What platform do you use? Why do you like them?
Tiny Fry is built in WordPress. As I mentioned earlier, there is a learning curve to overcome, but once you understand the fundamentals of using WordPress, that skill will come in handy regardless of the platform you use.
What services are you willing to pay for and why?
There are lots of services I’m willing to pay for, including article writing, email, logo design… I think there are a lot of moving parts to building a website and you have to prioritize. If it’s faster for someone else to do it, it’s worth considering paying someone to do it, depending on your budget, of course.
If you could go back and mentor yourself before you started down the entrepreneurial path, what would you say?
I would tell myself to have faith, to have a sense of humor, to remember that failures are great learning experiences, and to work towards achieving my goals at least a little bit every day. That way you feel like you’re constantly making progress.
If people want to connect, where can they find you?
Any parting advice for people who feel like they want to start a business but haven’t yet?
I would tell them to take the plunge. Whether you fail or succeed, starting your own business is a unique experience during which you learn a lot, in general and also about yourself.
I have a poster in my office with a great quote that says “Many a false step is made by standing still.” I have no doubt that if you want to live a different life, you have to go out there and build it for yourself. Don’t wait to jump in!
Entrepreneur Unveiled Interview with Samara Kamenecka Wrap Up
Samara is a perfect example of someone who knows that failure is just the stepping stone to success. Persistence, action and a willingness to pivot are critical to achieving any dream.
A Call to Action
Please let me know if you enjoyed this first Entrepreneur Unveiled interview with Samara Kamenecka and if you want me to do more of them. I’m looking for interesting people to interview at all stages of building their business so if you or someone you know would like to be featured, leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Now back to work for me!
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