Building A Marketplace With Serial Entrepreneur Jon Lincoln

Building A Marketplace With Serial Entrepreneur Jon Lincoln

Last Updated on November 27, 2020

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About Jon Lincoln

I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for 20 years and my career has been anything but a straight line. I started my first company in college where I performed and booked stand-up comedy shows at colleges throughout New England. This led to me opening a full-time comedy club in Boston where we won “Boston’s Best Comedy Club” multiple times and were featured on NBC’s Today Show.

– Comedy Club TV Clip #1: https://vimeo.com/37327849
– Comedy Club TV Clip #2: https://vimeo.com/37329710

When I turned 30 and had my first child it was time to pivot to a more stable career. This led me into the insurance software industry where I eventually started an insurance software platform on SalesForce.com. The company has grown mightily and won the many awards including:

– “Insurance Innovation of the Year”
– “ACORD Leadership Award”
– “Top 10 InsurTech Leader”

As I turn 40 my current venture is a philanthropic one. In 2020 I launched goimagine.com: the World’s First Marketplace donating 100% Profits to Charity.

– News Clip #1 – https://youtu.be/yA-y0U_u-g4
– News Clip #2 – https://youtu.be/ujP22MB5Nig
– What is the “Caring Economy” – https://youtu.be/SiQLlC-pWP4

About goimagine

For a long time I’ve wanted to start a business that focused more on providing social good than investor profits. Like most people I’ve been frustrated watching corporate greed run rampant in the world and have had the urge to create something that does things differently.

I originally thought of this concept in 2017, but it wasn’t until November 2019 at an event in San Francisco that I decided to make it a reality. I was invited to an extravagant dinner with fairly wealthy people looking to earn my business. They were trying to impress me, but it had the opposite affect. The dinner was a 14 course meal that was $600 a person. Each dish was paired with a different expensive glass of wine that the waiter presented to me like it was the holy grail. Meanwhile, outside the restaurant were homeless people literally begging for food in the street. Eating such a lavish meal while people were hungry outside made me sick to my stomach.

That night when I got back to my hotel room I bought the domain name for goimagine.com to build a handmade marketplace like Etsy with a philanthropic mission like Newman’s Own.

I’m passionate that if people come together on a charity-driven marketplace we can do some great things in the world together.

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

We started by building awareness through social media groups. This led to eventually creating our own group where we involved our future users in some decision making. This made them feel involved along the ride and creates a strong community.

Currently we have thousands of sellers on our marketplace.

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

We are building a community of people passionate around our mission. Our goal is to be more than a marketplace, but a movement. That means informing people about our mission to help children in need through ecommerce.

This message is resonating well as more and more people realize things can be done in a better and more caring way. Most importantly, our users want to tell people about our cause!

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

Figure out what makes your initial users passionate about your product or service and build upon that. If you are passionate about it then your users will become passionate.

That said, you have to truly believe what you preach. People can sense when a company is disingenuous. Like a dog smelling fear a consumer can sense when a company is feeding them a bunch of BS.

You can’t just say the right things to convince people to believe something. You need to live it, breathe it and believe it yourself. Nobody likes to be “sold” something.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

When building a 2-sided market it’s a balancing act. You need to bring buyers and sellers at the same time. In our experience it’s important to include the sellers as partners in your mission along the way. You will need patience from them while you build the buyer side of the marketplace.

So, any perks or passion you can provide the sellers is critical to keeping them on board.

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

About 12 years ago I was invited to do an interview on a local news station. I think it was around Halloween and I thought it would be funny to do the interview wearing a fake mustache and purple velvet suit. Long story short, I got people to laugh, but not in the way I wanted. My brother still makes fun of me to this day over it.

The lesson I learned from this is don’t wear a fake mustache when doing a TV interview. So, I now only wear my fake mustache while doing written interviews like this one.

What Are Your Favorite Books?

I get inspired by biographies. Reading about successful people from the past and the challenges they had to overcome can be inspiring. In particular, I have enjoyed biographies on Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

Goimagine: The World’s First Marketplace donating 100% Profits to Charity.

We are on a mission to prove an ecommerce company can be successful focusing on social good. We believe when buyers and sellers come together on a marketplace that cares we can all do good in the world together.

Recommended posts:

Book summaries, notes, interviews, and more!

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