Puno Lauren Puno Co-Founder of Map and ilovecreatives
I’m also an entrepreneur which comes with other roles like manager, community builder, customer support, marketer. I’m the Founder of ilovecreatives, PeopleMap, and MadewithMap.
This past year, I've been building PeopleMap, an Instagram Marketing Tool that Daniel and I made while building @madewithmap. I've also been vlogging on YouTube, working that travel influencer life for MadewithMap, building squarespace websites, and consulting here and there. Geez. Talk about slaaassshie. Slash slash slash!
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I tapped the internet, hard. I'm self-taught all the way. Looking back, every big step forward in my life came from a side project. My first side project was in college at University of Texas - Austin back in 2006. The path for a McCombs School of Business graduate was to work at a Microsoft or a Dell or a Deloitte. I just couldn't. I ended up finding a few developers on Craigslist and created a portfolio review website for advertising students called Smash the World. UX/UI Design wasn't even invented yet, but that's exactly what I was doing. It was a combination of having a project, curiosity and patience with learning photoshop, and being super resourceful on le google. From there, a few Creative Directors from ad agencies saw that website and I got a job. My ECD said, "You are 100% not qualified for this, but I'm going to take a chance on you because you seem smart." Ha!
From there, I worked the Ad Agency world as the "Digital Girl". Essentially, I was the young, hip kid that understood the internet. Honestly, I think it's just because I surf the internet a lot and wasn't afraid to google stuff. See a theme here?
During that time, I made a website with Daniel called WhatIWouldHaveSaid. Every week, I drew an illustration of a celebrity and you could write what you would have said to them. I think I drew about 30 or so? It made me really appreciate consistency.
I ended up getting a gig as a UX Designer at Activision's Call of Duty because my husband's boss said, "I think you would be a good UX Designer". Thanks Tim! After about three years, Daniel and I built Octofeed so that he could practice his programming chops. After that, I decided to quit my job so we could work on our own project. That's when Madewithmap was born. Because of Map, I started meeting all sorts of fun, creative people and had the idea to build ilovecreatives. And here we are! There's obviously a lot more to this story, but those side projects were the catalysts to all these unexpected paths.
Which one do you wish you could do more often?
Focus on ilovecreatives! I've been freelancing and bootstrapping for the past 2 years and we're almost to the point where I can quit freelancing. I think there's so much potential with it, but I haven't been able to give it the love it deserves. I really love, ilovecreatives. :P
Give us a specific example of how you do your job like a BOSS.
When we started ilovecreatives, the one rule was that I couldn’t ask Daniel for programming help. Eva and I wanted to test out ilovecreatives as soon as possible so I decided to use Squarespace because it's the easiest platform to quickly put together an MVP. The big hurdle was making the ads searchable. The only way to really do that on squarespace was by creating a blog. I played around with the css until I could make blog posts look like ads. Then we “launched” the next week!
For me, it was BOSS level because hacked our way into making a digital thing without technical help. :)
What are you working on right now?
Right now, Daniel and I are working on PeopleMap. We're super excited because we finally started accepting payments. I've been able to meet a lot of interesting brands because of it.
What is frustrating you right now?
My patience. I have so many ideas, but they take forever to execute on. It's just how it goes. I'm getting more patient, but it's something I have to keep in check.
What are you putting off right now?
Figuring out scalable marketing strategies for ilovecreatives and peoplemap.
If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?
Someone to help me throw events for ilovecreatives. Specifically, coming up with the concepts for events, ideas to market them, find partners, and all the logistics. If you've got event ideas, let me know!
If you could talk to an expert to gain more insight on something, what would it be about?
Ben Pieratt of Svpply. I’m really curious where he will take Very Goods. Also, someone that's a nerd with A/B Testing and Paid Ads.
What are all the tools (digital or physical) you use on a regular basis?
I have an obsession with online tools. I try new things all the time. As of late here are my favorites:
Chrome Users and Mac Desktops - I have multiple accounts to manage across social media and gmail. It’s really annoying logging in and out. I create separate users in Chrome for Map, ilovecreatives, and personal stuff. Then I make three separate desktops with branded wallpapers. Put each browser into their desktop and boom! you can easily switch without having to log out. Life changer.
Streak - Email Management. It’s basically like trello within Gmail. We do a lot of emailing for ilovecreatives and it’s great to see what stage the emails are in. Also, I love that you can track opens, create message templates, collaborate, and snooze emails.
Undo in Gmail - Cuz you know...
PeopleMap - I'm always on the hunt for people (even if it's not for growing our Instagram) and that's why we built this.
Harvest - Track time. I use it for my team, freelance work, and I attempt to use it for my personal time.
What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for right now?
For ILC, I'm looking for bad asses that know how to hunt for awesome people and businesses that should be on ilovecreatives. They need to be prolific, but still maintain quality.
For PeopleMap, I'm looking for people to use it and send me feedback. Try it out peoplemap.co.
How are you looking for these opportunities/projects right now?
Fortunately, ilovecreatives has introduced us to all sorts of people! Also, I'm literally just putting it out there. Telling everyone and anyone I can about what we're working on.
Describe your ideal collaboration. Even if it doesn’t actually exist!
Oh man, ideal is when someone comes to me with an idea. And they are ready to go (know all the steps).
For example, I LOVE working with Miki from General Assembly. When we work together it's like BOOM BAM! I swear we've planned events in 2-3 short emails.
What is your preferred style of working (remote, in-house, on-site, etc)?
Remote with amazing WIFI! Although, I really love working at home. No pants, snacks, and great light. WINNER.
Describe a client/job/partner you would rather not have. What are your deal breakers?
Working with people that complain or blame more than they do. Also, people who aren't realistic about what level they are at vs. where they want to be.
What is your rate, retainer, or salary range?
For freelance, I do UX, UI, build squarespace websites, and consulting for all sorts of random stuff.
My rate is $150/hour across the board, but projects start at $3000. I like short term projects because I have so many of my own!
How should someone approach you about working with you?
Email is the best. Try to keep it around 400 characters. If it’s really long, I tend to put in my “I’ll get to it later when I have the time” bucket. I’ll eventually get to it, but it may take some time.
Also, I looooove referrals. But! It would really help if you could add why. "You should talk to this person..." is great, but what are we going to talk about? Is there something you know that I can't google search? :)
This member profile was originally published on December 2014, updated May 2016.