The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Robert Dates is up.
Who are you and what do you do? I am Robert Dates, an entrepreneur with a love of learning. I am the current CEO of Yaheard, LLC and also a software engineer at IBM. I am in various business partnerships in which I typically hold a technical or executive role. I have been interested in building something that can change the world since I was a freshman in college. While in college, I studied technologies I utilized everyday and realized that it only takes time and dedication to truly have an impact on the world.
What did it take / how did you get started? A lot of my current success can be attributed to my first business venture, Yaheard LLC. Around the start of my journey, I met my first business partner, Joshua Puente. In 2015 we created Yaheard, LLC and were joined by our two close friends DomiNick Downing, and Marcus Spruill. Together, we created Yaheard a social mobile app that encourages people to connect by sharing opinions. My role in this venture in its initial stages was Co-CEO. But as many entrepreneurs know, I really was more like a CEO, CTO, CFO, digital marketer, brand ambassador, and even an IG photo expert. The list goes on and on. The point here is that with each new problem, a new skill was needed and I simply had a “just learn it” mentality, so we could overcome that obstacle. The skills I acquired has now allowed me to be a valuable contributor in my other business ventures.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle? For me the future is now. I often feel like a gardener and I am watering my business plants each day. I plan to continue this until each of my venture’s goals are met. I have a goal of turning my hustle into more of a philanthropic movement where I literally provide labor to other entrepreneurs who lack the expertise I can provide. This movement may be an individual one or have others included, but as of right now the concept is still a work in progress.
What drives / motivates you?
I can summarize my motivation in three words. People. Passion. Performance. It is through people that I am motivated daily. Regardless, if they are family or friends or complete strangers, I have had the most rewarding motivational conversations that fuel my fire. The fire I am referring to is my second motivator, passion. The passion of learning new technologies and the challenges of applying them have a special place in my heart personally. Lastly, performance which is the result of converting my motivations into action and iterating until a goal is met.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Work on your craft everyday. Take your time, and learn new skills to overcome your obstacles. Trust your team and remember action is more powerful than words when it comes to leadership. Far as technical advice goes, don’t settle for anything less than best practices.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
The hardest part of the hustle is the constant battle with yourself. Overcoming personal fears or insecurities can be a tough feat. The need to almost reinvent yourself becomes a tiresome battle in your mind of personal will. Once you can refocus yourself on your goal and pull the passion from within, things typically fall into place.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
One of my personal favorite resources early on was the use of youtube.com to watch motivational videos. I'm talking about those “just do it”, Will Smith quotable, pro athlete, and muscle building motivational videos. Literally programming myself everyday to not give up. I recommend higher education courses for intro into programming concepts like algorithms and data structures. If that isn’t an option udemy.com has plenty of useful and affordable introductory courses. Ultimately you will have to read documentation and learn best practice through practice. Mentorship can help fill in the gaps with anything, because a mentor already has gone through the struggles you as an entrepreneur will face. If possible have multiple mentors.
Side or full-time hustle?
List the founders
Robert Dates, Joshua Puente
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
Initially 15 - 20 hours, currently around 5 hours
# of Employees?
4 inclusive of the founders
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
Around $300/month to cover overhead fees and tech stack resources
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
Self funded and some consulting work
Any call to action?
Be sure to download the Yaheard mobile app for iOS devices. Search “Yaheard.” on the apple store, it is the app with the orange fist. If you’re looking for a helpful voice or direction feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org