After graduating, Cameron Ripley (’08 BSBA Marketing and Entrepreneurship) launched CargoCabana.com, an e-commerce retailer that allowed users to create and send fully customizable care packages to college students. For more than two years he ran the eCommerce startup, but like many entrepreneurs, Cameron’s first venture didn’t pan out.
In 2011, Cameron landed a position with eBoost Consulting, a digital marketing consulting firm in San Diego that helps high potential start-ups scale into high-impact entrepreneurial success. A year later, leveraging the skills he had honed at eBoost, Cameron launched Community Boost Consulting, a digital marketing agency that exists to empower social ventures changing the world.
In 2017, the Community Boost Consulting team directly served 96 purpose-driven organizations, managed over $10 million in Google Ad Grant ad spend, and sent over 6.7 million visitors to different nonprofit websites to drive more volunteers, donors and ultimately, social impact. Learn more at communityboost.org.
5 Questions with Cameron Ripley
Q. What is most surprising about being an entrepreneur?
A. Just how much trust you have to have in the process. Inevitably, where you end up is not going to be what you initially planned. Your biggest breakthroughs will almost always come from your hardest, often almost crushing challenges.
Q. What was the most important lesson you learned in the entrepreneurship program?
A. Hmmm, it's been ten years so its tough to pinpoint exactly. Personally the program was really inspirational for me and lit a fire to always study the best of the best as well as, the program simply gave me confidence to launch a new venture right after school. Even though that venture failed, it was a stepping stone to where we are today.
Q. What impact has the Entrepreneurship Program had on your career of life?
A. Honestly, I'm not sure I would have gone the entrepreneurial route if I had not done the program. That alone made the program worth it. Also, our group in 2007 actually formed a nonprofit, today our company is a purpose-driven agency that only works with nonprofits. The program was my first deep exposure to the social sector.
Q. What do you consider your biggest entrepreneurial success?
A. Last year in 2017, Community Boost Consulting directly served 96 organizations (90 nonprofits and 6 purpose-driven startups). Our team sent over 6.7 million visitors to different nonprofit websites. We proudly serve some of the highest impact and most well know nonprofits in the social sector. It might sound quite cliche but I think my biggest success is creating a company culture where we use the word family and really mean it. Its humbling and an honor to realize we have created a platform where we can take purpose-driven individuals and take them from lower yield to higher yield. Its so cool to see our team members grow as both digital marketers and social sector leaders.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
A. In no particular order:
- Validate your idea by selling it and actually getting paid. Nothing else matters until you can sell a MVP
- Fail faster, run more high quality experiments
- Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don't have is enough customers. Find your top growth channel and go all in on it in the early days
- Be uncomfortably bold and push yourself to connect with the best of the best in your space
- Find at least one mentor that will call you on your BS
- Consume audible and/or podcasts constantly
- Study storytelling, sales and negotiation
- Success = hard work + patience
- If you are wanting a "4 hour work week" lifestyle, you're not going to win