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Interview with Adrien Colombié, Founder of Flying Saucer Studio

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Founded by Adrien Colombié, Flying Saucer Studio is a Marketing Agency that specializes in helping startups make a bigger impact and grow. Flying Saucer is a New York and Paris-based company, but the creative team works remotely from around the world. This diverse, expert team creates stand-out creatives and keen marketing strategies for startups of any size.

Adrien used to work in advertising, but after getting a taste of the startup world as a mentor at TechStars, he decided he wanted to work with passionate entrepreneurs. In 2016, he founded Flying Saucer Studio to help startups grow with creative design services and marketing strategies. 

Adrien understands that branding is about much more than logos and colors: it’s a toolbox businesses use every day, both internally and externally, and it’s rooted in the company’s history, values, personality, and more.

Since 2019, Flying Saucer Studio has been focusing on Impact Startups. The agency’s main objective is to amplify and empower innovators who are solving humanity’s problems and to be good humans while doing it. Flying Saucer is about to obtain its B-Corps certification as part of its commitment to people and the planet.

Adrien and his team maximize clients’ impact by designing beautiful products and leveraging online marketing to increase sales. Flying Saucer becomes an extension of clients’ marketing teams. On top of creating eye-catching innovative designs, the team is efficient, accountable, and transparent. Flying Saucer is committed to providing scalable, affordable solutions for startups making a difference.

For more details, visit their website here.

Here we sit down with Adrien, to know a bit more about his journey as a marketer for tech startups.

Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Adrien: I have always been an entrepreneur, even when I was a kid I had entrepreneurial projects, bringing people together to achieve the impossible. I believe I sold and built my first website for a city house when I was 15. 

When in design school, I created my first company to practice my skills and was quickly able to finance my tuition and then my rent. A few years later I was in NYC freelancing for the biggest agencies before I founded my own. Besides that, I had a lot of side gigs. I was a mountain guide, renovated and rented buildings, and also built nice SAAS platforms with subscription models. I kept myself very busy!

Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?

Adrien: Building a marketing agency is hard. Being a good chef doesn’t mean you will be good at managing a restaurant. The same principle applies to design and marketing. I had to learn many new skills surrounding management, accounting, sales, basic law, and business strategy. On top of that, I had to learn in a foreign country and language. 

But I love challenges and providing quality work to my clients, which helped me overcome all the bumps along the way, including COVID. During the first couple of years, I spent a lot of time reading and learning about all these missing skills, talking with more experienced people, and simply experimenting.

That allowed me to get the agency to the perfect place and build a strong team and company culture right before COVID hit. That allowed us to thrive during and after COVID. What I learned from this is that people are the key element and recruitment is essential to success. At the end of the day, it’s okay to be unsure of where you’re going. As long as you have the right people by your side, you will land in a great place!

Q. What is the most memorable thing you’ve done since you started your business?

Adrien: A couple of months ago we gathered the European team in Annecy (French Alps), which is where I live most of the time, to spend some time together. Because we are a fully remote team and because COVID made it impossible for a while, we hadn’t had a chance to see each other. 

We had the most epic time! I’m a paragliding pilot, so I brought each member to fly with me. We also went climbing together and did rappels. We went to restaurants and relaxed near Annecy lake. We organized fun games as well and all this allowed us to bond, get to know each other better, and explore some of the most beautiful spots in France. I’m very proud of that!

Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?

Adrien: The Emperor’s Handbook. I’ve re-read this book several times and often open it at random pages. The content always resonates with me and whatever situation I’m in. It helps me look at things from a different perspective, find a new approach, and come up with a fresh strategy to tackle things. That’s my job, so this book helps me be a better multi-entrepreneur and CEO.

Q. What are your top 3 favorite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?

Adrien: Nothing, they are just tools. I think it’s better to go outside, hike, camp in the mountains, travel the world, and speak with people face to face. Everything you need to learn is out there in the world. 

Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?

Adrien: 8 years ago, creating a fully remote agency was the obvious goal to me, but it sounded crazy to most people. Though I would rarely meet my clients in person, I could still build strong relationships with them and a beautiful, strong company culture and team spirit. 

To me, being an entrepreneur means creating your own world according to what makes you happy and working hard to make it work. That’s what will make you successful. Today, I can work a reasonable amount of time to make a good living and my team can do the same. 

We can all keep our clients happy and do good work while also being able to live our lives, travel, and have side projects. Being able to enjoy my life while still doing what I love and giving my team the same opportunity is the best legacy I could think of. 

Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?

Adrien: In today’s extremely competitive and interconnected world, most businesses need to focus on creating an effective sales funnel before focusing on products. I’ve met a lot of entrepreneurs who have great products and services collecting dust because they couldn’t connect with customers. 

Some people will disagree and say that you need to perfect your product first. Once that’s done, growth will happen on its own. However, I’ve never seen that happen in reality. A great product is achieved through hundreds of interactions, which is what allows you to improve, but those iterations can’t come to life if there are no customers. 

To keep up to date with Adrien and his journey, connect with him on his Instagram.

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