EO Spotlight: Mike Krass

Jeff Strout

CEO, MKG Marketing  •  Digital Marketing  •  EO Member Since 2017

www.mkg.marketing


Perhaps the only thing Mike Krass dislikes more than gummy bears — which he strongly dislikes — is being told “no.” He dislikes it even more when he knows he’s really onto something.

He found himself in such a situation in 2010, when he worked at an advertising agency in Seattle. He and a coworker, who was to eventually become his business partner, shared a vision for the future of the department.

“We were told, ‘No, that is not the future of this department,’” Krass said. “So we decided to launch our digital marketing agency as a nights-and-weekends project.”

Krass said he and his partner began to quietly explore their professional networks, hoping to find the first “brave soul” to hire the pair independently. Not only would this first client receive their full attention, but they would also be the first test to determine their mettle as entrepreneurs.

“Thirty days into our outreach, we found that first brave soul, and with their support we both quit our day jobs and launched headfirst into running our own business,” Krass said.

Within 24 months, MKG Marketing was ready to hire it first employee, a pivotal moment for the business.  Krass said that was when he had to step back and reflected, "Our customers are validating the business we are building. We may be onto something!"

Eventually, Krass realized there was one thing missing from the equation: guidance. From the beginning, he had been feeling out his own path, but he found that there was no one to turn to when he found himself facing new decisions.

“As my business grew, I began to feel like I was trapped,” Krass said. “I had nobody to confide my biggest concerns with, and I was beginning to ask friends who didn't even run their own companies for advice — not recommended based on my experience.”

It was when Krass joined Entrepreneurs’ Organization that he found that support system he was longing for, and along with it came the tools he needed to further his professional development.

“Having a Forum of other business owners to discuss obstacles, challenges and victories in a confidential setting has helped me in a few really fantastic ways that were missing in my life before,” Krass said. “You're not alone going through things as a business owner, and your experience has a ton of value to other Forum members.”

This feeling of mutual trust reaffirmed in Krass that the most fundamental aspect of life — be it personal or professional — is creating and nurturing relationships that inspire positivity and confidence. EO became a prime example of the values he had always held close, and the rewards assured him that he really was on to something.

“I often ask myself ‘If I don't trust this person, why are they allowed in my life?’ The relationships in your life are important,” he said. “They are the company you keep, and in my life feeling respected and trusted and vice versa is incredibly important.”

These lessons have been invaluable to Krass, and he is just starting to realize the full potential that he and his team can reach. Along the way, he hopes to impart these lessons on others, too.

“We have a limited amount of time on this earth. That time can start to wear on people and pass you by if you aren't paying attention,” Krass said. “Focus on the big picture: How will your limited time on this earth make a difference? How will your decisions today leave a positive mark on your business, family or community tomorrow?”