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Whoopla by John Vo

"We don’t do boring! That’s the motto of my company @whoopla. We’re a promotional products company that prides ourselves on creating the most attention-grabbing swag possible for our clients. In an industry as competitive as this one, we’ve had to find a way to set ourselves apart.

I remember when I first started my company @whoopla, I was cold calling people to get clients. Fortunately, I haven’t had to cold call anyone in over a decade as my business is all referrals now. But I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes in a cold sweat, worrying. I don’t know if that feeling ever goes away as an entrepreneur.

The most difficult part about running your own business is that even when you take a day off, you’re never 100 percent off. You always have to be prepared for that phone call or to take care of that client. Your customers need to know that they can rely on you, otherwise there’s always a competitor waiting around the corner to swoop in and take your place.

There are other difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur that people don’t talk about, like how lonely it is in the beginning. You’re constantly isolated and working by yourself. You also have to find ways to stay motivated. One thing that has helped me is getting up in the morning and getting dressed as if I were going to an office job. I realized that if I’m dressed lackadaisical or in PJ’s, my work is going to suffer. On the other hand, when I look good, I feel good, and I'm more likely to do good work. Having a consistent routine that keeps you productive is crucial.

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. However, the upsides are that you get to make your own hours and schedule. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my kids and watch them grow up. Just let that register for a moment. I've been able to see my kids grow up! There is no greater luxury than that. It far exceeds any of the downsides I can think of.

A lot of people ask me how I've been able to stay competitive in this industry for over 20 years now. I think it's a combination of things. For one, it’s about being flexible. I’m always willing to go the extra mile for my clients and I don't get deterred by the first road block in sight. Our clients at WHOOPLA bring us their biggest marketing challenges, and we tap into every ounce of our creativity to develop solutions that get results.

We love marketing that gets people talking. Packaging makes a big impact because first impressions are crucial and the first impression is your packaging. That’s why we use Packola - they provide us with packaging that makes an entrance. In the last few years especially, we’ve really been pushing our clients to care about their packaging as well because it makes a huge difference. Gone are the days of bubble wrap envelopes if you want to set yourself apart and create a memorable experience for your customers.”

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