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Meet Harrison Schaen of Issue Fixers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Harrison Schaen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the practice, why don’t you give our readers a few quick bullet points about you and your story.
-Not only am I a minority, I am also really tall.
-My Godfather was Hugh Hefner.
-I played basketball from the ages of 5-23 with Lebron James, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and other NBA superstars.
-I started my first company when I was 12 years old, and built websites and web applications for referees, coaches, and parents of friends.
-I was the lead in my high school senior musical.
-I went to Princeton University.
-I founded an Entertainment Magazine and interviewed major celebrities like JJ Abrams, David Geffen, Tavis Smiley, Michael Kors, Aaron Ryder, and others.
-Started working in the entertainment industry as an Associate Producer and contributed to projects for MGM, Sony, Pepsi, and Unilever

It wasn’t until I was in sales that I realized I had a gift for communicating complex ideas simply. 2011 I was recruited by NTN Buzztime in Carlsbad and moved to San Diego. I was promoted and quickly learned a vast array of skills and processes that I currently use and teach to clients. I built state of the art apps that dramatically affected their bottom line within months. Out of all the positions I’ve held, I enjoy the creativity of Marketing the most. Recruited as a developer for esteemed companies such as Digitaria (Mirum), BASK Digital, and Kraftiq where I became the Technical Director.

After I left Bask in 2015 I started Issue Fixers. There was an underserved market in the startup community. I partnered with established marketing and development agencies to take work off their hands. We introduced ourselves to agencies all over the country and packaged our services in a way to make it easy for people to understand and need.

By 2016 we had 20 employees. We turned a big house in Oceanside we rented into a co-working location. Each room had a different service we were offering. We were even featured on The Future of Work at Play in a Huffington Post video report about unique ways entrepreneurs are working together. We wanted to offer big agency services for freelancer prices. We pass our savings down to our clients. We can serve any size business for a fraction of the cost as any other agency.

All of our business comes from word of mouth. Referrals mean everything to us because it is our lifeblood. We are easily scalable for large projects, but cost a fraction of the price charged by other agencies. Relationships are important to us. We develop personal relationships with all of our partners and customers because we depend on them to refer us to their friends. We are the neighborhood trusted, full-service digital agency

One of our goals as a successful agency is to spread across the world, and also to help the San Diego startup community because this is where we began. I have volunteered at Startup SD in several leadership roles. I have also volunteered at respectable organizations such as Tech Starts Startup Weekend, Fokcus Mentoring Program, and the Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation (Downtown Partnership), and I have loved every second of it. I really enjoy giving back by listening to the problems and needs of founders and helping them in whatever way that I can. It is my passion, and it’s why I started and still work for Issue Fixers.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the most difficult times in my life started the summer before my senior year of college when my father passed away and a few months later I found out that I have type 1 diabetes. Being type 1 diabetic affects my everyday life, but I have learned to control it and now manage it more efficiently. In 2014 I received 3rd-degree burns, got a bad MRSA infection in my leg, and was in a bad car accident. A few months after that my co-founder had a heart attack and a stroke within days of each other.

Investing time in people, especially in California, is a gamble since people can quit (or get fired) whenever. So creating a company culture became very important to us early on as a way to attract and retain talent. Since we are a remote business, trying to create a culture remotely had its challenges. We decided to throw parties regularly, invite the team to network events, and go on cool, unique trips as often as possible which is a great way at promoting ourselves in the community, it encourages and sustains the lifestyle we all want, and allows us to enjoy life to the fullest with people we truly care about.

-We were burned by several clients.
-We had to skip payroll at one point.
-Employees/contractors would contact the client directly.
-I have had to work with teams I hated.

We decided that we were not going to work with or for people we didn’t like.

The stories are endless. However, every bad choice or misfire was a learning opportunity. Every contract we sent out was a little bit better than the last. Every process we created was refined a little bit more every day. We move fast and break things just so we know what not to do next time. I think that is the benefit of having a small, scalable team. We can scale up quickly and execute a bunch of tests while being nimble and lightweight enough to adjust on the fly and test again until we get the results we are looking for.

Things I shouldn’t have done:
-Formed my company with LegalZoom
-Got a DUNS number
-Gave away 10% of my company
-I didn’t have a mentor starting out

Issue Fixers – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are one of the only development AND marketing agencies around. Most companies do one or the other, and we believe that you need both to be successful. We’re a digital development and marketing agency that builds apps, websites, and content to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. We empower startups by making their vision a reality; we help existing businesses by elevating their game to the next level.

We believe that we win as a team, and we lose as a team. We don’t believe in politics. We get things done. We have each other’s backs. We learn together, grow together, and leave things better than we found them. Everyone should be treated like family. We take care of our clients; we wouldn’t be here without them. We deliver great work we’re proud of. We make sure they’re set up for success. Clients love us because we deliver more for less.

Kegerator at our downtown office? We don’t have one. We work hard, we party hard, but we don’t pass that overhead onto our clients. We scour the world for the top design, development, and marketing talent, and on average we deliver projects for 1/4 the cost of our competitors. Better quality, in half the time. Sounds crazy right? We have access to hundreds of developers and designers across the world, meaning 24-7 development by leveraging the different time zones. Also, our team works within the LADDER™ framework – it’s a proven system that guarantees the highest quality work. We’re partners in our clients’ success.

At our core, we’re entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs. We understand their struggle, that’s why we give them access to a full team of project managers, strategists, designers, developers, and quality assurance engineers. It’s also why we’ve created unique services like JETFUEL™, our rapid prototyping system. We make starting a business easy and affordable.

Our process is simple. It’s just 6 steps and can be explained to a five-year-old. It’s also called LADDER™.:
-Learn: Our team of savvy researchers condenses everything that makes your business unique into a powerful report that ensures the project’s success.

-Architect: We review project goals and find the best technology to use before prioritizing the top features of your product. Then we set a team of creative geniuses on a mission to create the ultimate user experience for your project.

-Design: Our team of expert designers creates stunning designs that capture the heart-and-soul of your project that we turn into an interactive prototype that lets you immediately start getting real-world feedback from users.

-Develop: Our elite team of developers starts building your product by turning your designs into functioning elements in a website or mobile application.

-Engage: We offer high-impact, competitively priced digital marketing services that help our clients get a strong foothold in their marketplace.

-Refine: We are constantly testing different parts of your website or application and looking at your data to identify trends and holes that we can fix to make your product perform better.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is setting a goal and accomplishing it, no matter how big or small. Success to me means being able to follow through with something you put your mind to. Staying honest, faithful, loyal. If you think really small, you’re probably successful more often than someone who thinks really big.

But, frequency does not outmeasure penetration when it comes to success. I’d rather be unsuccessful with the goal of having an Issue Fixer in every city across the world, than to just be another successful local agency. I don’t want to ever BE successful. well maybe just for a moment. But, I want to have successes and have lots of big goals, so that I am always striving for something, and living with purpose.

Pricing:

  • Development packages start at $1,000
  • Prototypes start at $2,000
  • Marketing packages start at $1,000
  • Consulting starts at $250

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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