From Chokeholds to Artificial Intelligence

by Troy Marcyes

3 min read

Influencer Relations Manager Troy Marcyes met with Dan Faggella, a small business customer based in San Francisco, to hear how QuickBooks® has helped him grow his business.

While his friends were delivering pizza or enjoying the quiet life in Rhode Island, Dan Faggella found himself falling in love with jiu-jitsu and cognitive science. Being an entrepreneur at heart, Faggella took the leap to open a self-defense academy in a small town of roughly 4,000 people. Shortly after opening the academy, he had an epiphany. He realized that some people don’t have the ability to access training resources or can’t drive to the gym for training. It was at that point when he created Science of Skill, LLC, an online resource for self-defense training, offering everything from online video lessons to safety gear such as folding knives. Boy did it pay off! Science of Skill grew to more than $2 million in revenues in just four years, and Daniel recently sold the company for seven figures.

Faggella’s success provided a stepping-stone to get involved in artificial intelligence, his true passion. Realizing the power of the Bay Area’s technology hub, he moved across the country to San Francisco to start a new venture called TechEmergence, a market research and media platform for buyers and sellers of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

“Artificial Intelligence is something a lot of people take for granted, and I am under the belief that the longer term consequences will be substantial,” said Faggella. “I created this site so others can understand the role they play in society and life.”

Currently, the research is free and the TechEmergence business model is predicated on garnering exposure and attention for AI events and innovative AI product companies who are eager to sell to an audience of tech-savvy business leaders.

“I think the most interesting part is finding out the kind of content that will make business people rant and rave about what we are doing in tech and artificial intelligence,” said Faggella. “I can talk to my subscribers through email, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social outlets to find out what kinds of research and insights they’d get the most value from.”

Hard Work Pays Off

But, with anything in life, there will always be challenges associated with running your own business – and one of the most important aspects of running a business is cash flow. Without the gym in Rhode Island and the creation of Science of Skill, TechEmergence wouldn’t be a reality.

“Being a small business owner should be fun,: said Faggella. “Thankfully, I am in a position where I can focus on the future of the company, not just short-term sales. But, it wasn’t always that easy. Money was always an issue and I would find myself teaching classes to pay rent or cover costs on business issues that would come up and punch me in the face.”

It helps to pay attention to details, and just like practicing jiu-jitsu, stay a step ahead of the game. While some challenges are easier to overcome than others, it is important to focus on balance in life.

“I put in pretty extreme hours, but generally I am good at turning off the day and stepping away from work when need be. Being a small business owner should be fun and pressure is always subjective.”

How QuickBooks Changed His Game

With the help of QuickBooks, Dan has been able to understand his business more clearly.

“QuickBooks has been great to use with the newest version and interface changes,” he said . “I can tinker with my reports and easily explore profits at any time.”

It’s no secret QuickBooks is the industry standard, but it is also extremely easy to use for most people. And, if you need help, there is a network of QuickBooks ProAdvisors® ready and willing to help you grow your business.

“I worked with a bookkeeper that would update my expenses and revenue on a weekly basis,” said Faggella. “The product and support have been so darn helpful. I can assess my business every week to check my projections and see how I am stacking up against quarterly goals.”

Advice for Future Entrepreneurs

“It’s challenging to start one [a small business], and you will be put through the ringer unless you know you have to do it or are passionate about it. There are many times where you won’t make money and life will be uncomfortable.”

The other lesson is understanding and mastering your financial numbers.

“You definitely are a math person if you are an entrepreneur,” said Faggella. “You have to make decisions on payroll and how to grow your company, and those are based on math. There is just no way around it.”

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