190: More poles in the water - with Jacob Carlson & Ian Buchanan

About Jacob Carlson & Ian Buchanan

Jacob Carlson graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a Business Management major with an emphasis in Marketing, along with a minor in Sustainable Business. Jacob specializes in customer life cycle marketing focusing on customer retention and brand loyalty for Concentrix as a Program Coordinator, where he is employed full-time. Jacob is also the co-founder of Helium, which is a new start-up in Milwaukee, dedicated to bringing books to readers.

Ian Buchanan learned the necessity of relationship-building to success while part-owner and operator of a budding lawn care business in high school. Now, with his long-time friend and past business partner, Jacob, Ian has launched Helium - a free book delivery service offered in his hometown of Milwaukee. Ian works full-time in a financial consultant role, spending nights and weekends developing Helium, much of his time being spent leveraging connections in an effort to grow the business.


What is Helium?

Ian: “I noticed a big inefficiency within the system. Libraries have, you know, limited books at each library. But this, the Milwaukee County system works together so they share resources and I realized if I wanted a book in my local library, it might not be there, but it might be at a library a few miles away. So, why not take that step out of it, take my travel out of it and have someone do it for me. So that's where the idea came for Helium where we deliver the books for you. We bring them from the library that they're at within the system to your desired location.”


What methods and avenues have you explored while trying to build your network and getting the message out about your company Helium?

Jacob: “Recently, it's just been reaching out to a lot of different media outlets and media mediums. I'm really just following up via email and you know, working connections that we've either had from the past, whether it be through school or even family friends, and really just making sure of, hey, this is our idea, this is helium and selling more or less right now the idea of rather than us.”


How have you, and how are you tackling this? Especially while you're working full time.

Ian: “It's tough. Obviously, you're working from nine to five and you're devoting that time to the job that's generating your income and you have to, and it's the right decision. But you know, it's really taking advantage and leveraging your nights and weekends from our opinion.”


Any advice you can offer on still having somewhat a social life and engaging with family and friends as well?

Jacob: “I think just setting priorities. And again, even just your note about time management is absolutely huge because you know, you're tied down to so many obligations outside of work just in life with hanging out with friends, family affairs, et cetera, let alone running a business on this side.”


Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

Jacob: “I would say look no further than, you know, our mutual friend and actually a family friend of ours, Martha Kerrigan. And they've just been a huge, huge blessing obviously to my family and me in general outside of Helium. But even Helium in general.”


How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

Ian: “I think we all get inundated, whether it be on LinkedIn, through email with connection requests and you know, pleads for our time and a lot of that. A lot of the time we just let that go by the wayside. We deem it non-important, but for the ones for the main connections that do stick, I think it's important to just go beyond that initial meeting.”

Jacob: “we're reaching out to local podcasters like yourself, we're reaching out to different media outlets and really just carving the time…”


What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

Jacob: “Just make a point to reach out. I did read a book a few months ago, just, I forget the title of it. The whole purpose of it was to just set aside time each and every day to reach out to people that you think could be valuable to add to your network.”

Ian: “You can essentially create an own your own roadmap from, you know, other people with a certain job title maybe that you're aspiring to have.”


Digital networking or traditional networking?

Ian: “I'm definitely more introverted personality-wise…So, I kind of tend to gravitate towards that digital, definitely. Not anything against your traditional networking. For me, it's just a little bit more intimidating.”

Jacob: “With digital networking, in today's day and age, you just have more poles in the water. It's so much easier to get a response and connect with people instead of, you know, maybe just having two or three poles in the water where you know, you're trying to follow up or meet him at a certain obligation or event.”


If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

Ian: “Just do something, because I was just so, I mean, being introverted I was just so passive and I knew, I mean I guess I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that a finance or accounting related role was in the future coming out of graduation…”

Jacob: “just taking a step back and applying some type of focus. I think especially, you know, just at the undergraduate level. In my experience, it's so easy to just get bogged down in, you know, just certain capstone classes whether you have a job or not. And one thing I wish I would've done is sticking with the American marketing association at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, something I did my junior year absolutely loved it.”


What book are you reading right now?

Ian: “The book I'm currently reading is called Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. It's kind of an exposé on Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup that was once valued at $9 billion back in 2013, I think it was. And it's gone defunct since and it really just details kind of how everything was a fraud from the get-go.”

Jacob: “I'm reading, and I actually just finished reading, gosh, want to say yesterday, maybe the day before; it's called Untethered Soul: A Journey Beyond Yourself. And it's really just focused on awareness and consciousness and really taking a step back.”


Any final words of advice for our listeners?

Jacob: “Don't be afraid to take gambles, take risks, bet on yourself.”

Ian: “You're going to deal with a lot of rejection or just no responses, if you reach out to people…just brush it off.”


You can get in contact with Jacob and Ian at:

Jacob’s Email: jacob@heliumbooks.com

Ian’s Email: ian@heliumbooks.com

Jacob’s LinkedIn: Click Here

Ian’s LinkedIn: Click Here