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“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Co-founded Legacybox,” With Nick Macco

Prioritize, delegate and get on a good cadence. We are ruthless about prioritizing our time based on how we can make the greatest impact based on our effort. Second, you must be comfortable with delegating. It’s been hard because it’s a whole different skill set to manage other people, but we found that it’s been […]

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Prioritize, delegate and get on a good cadence. We are ruthless about prioritizing our time based on how we can make the greatest impact based on our effort. Second, you must be comfortable with delegating. It’s been hard because it’s a whole different skill set to manage other people, but we found that it’s been crucial for us to scale. Because of those changes, we’ve grown to over 200 employees and have served over a half a million customers to-date. Lastly, we don’t “sprint.” We’re in a marathon and although there may be times we have to act fast — like when we lost our first employees during the holiday season — but if you’re sprinting several weeks in a row, you most likely have a systemic problem and need change to be more efficient. We’re proud that most weeks, our team maintains a 40 hour work week.


Nick Macco is the co-founder of Legacybox, the simple, safe, “we’ve thought of everything” mail-in solution for digitally preserving your antiquated media. Originally launched in 2013, this direct-to-consumer service helps families convert their priceless aging tapes, film and pictures into digital keepsakes that are ready to watch, share and enjoy. Legacybox has been a leader in digitizing for over 10 years and has been trusted by over 600,000 families across America. Legacybox was named one of “America’s Fastest Growing Companies” by Inc. Magazine with 1,075% growth since launch.


Thank you so much for joining us Nick! Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

We started the company in 2008 right before the recession. We had been fledgling in a garage at that time when we saw sales drastically slump, but instead of retreating or considering closure, we decided to double-down on our advertising. We knew we’d be less profitable, but wanted to sell enough to continue making payroll, and it worked. We have never received funding, so we were betting with our own money as students and with little margin for error. If it hadn’t worked, we would’ve had to get “real” jobs, and we wouldn’t be here today.

In the beginning our staff was made up of a few college friends we were paying to work out of our garage. Around Christmastime during one of those first years, we were incredibly busy and found ourselves with no employees after they’d all gone home for the holidays without giving us any notice. My co-founder, Adam, and I were left to fulfill all the orders by ourselves so we had to turn off our website shopping cart and stop taking new orders in order to have a real chance at getting existing orders out the door. We worked 24 hour shifts around the clock to process and ship as many orders as possible. We completed most of the orders, but it was tough calling the few we knew we weren’t going to get to in time. Those phone calls stuck with me as we continued to scale our business and it keeps us 100 percent customer focused, 100 percent of the time.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Part of it was that we were stubborn and fixated on succeeding, but what really helped was setting goals for ourselves. If we were making progress or moving the company forward that week, we could see it through to the next week. Seeing tangible improvement helped us endure the difficulties and challenges we were facing at any given time. When you’re meeting goals week-over-week, you’re able to add them up and really keep tallies of what you’re achieving as a business owner. Five years ago, we probably couldn’t have imagined being where we are today considering we started fulfilling orders out of a garage.

A word of advice for fellow entrepreneurs: if you’re doing this for money, you’ll tire quickly. It needs to be something deeper that’s driving you and for us, it was building a company and a product that we loved and wanted to constantly improve.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Now we’re the leader in our industry and we digitize thousands of home movies every day. We’re closing in our 750,000-customer mark, but the hard-earned lessons from the early years are still relevant today. Managing our finances today looks similar, just with extra zeros. After weathering the highs and lows, we’ve built confidence to know that things are never as bad as they seem.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We spent 80 percent of the cash we had on hand for a marketing test that totally bombed. We were still working out of our garage when we got a phone call from a major magazine who wanted to “feature” us in their next issue. It was an $8,000 ad and at that time we had only saved up $10,000, but I think we were so excited to be called on by a huge publication that we weren’t as discerning as we should’ve been. Our logic was that if we sell to just 1% of their total readers, we’d be rich! The lesson we learned that still holds true today is that there’s no “magic recipe.” It wasn’t funny at the time, but we’ve grown and learned since then that we can look back and laugh at our naivety. Now we always weigh opportunities against risks and rewards and test them out with realistic budgets.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We never take customers for granted. My co-founder and I were so honored to have anyone call or e-mail us, that we talked to the first 10,000 customers personally. After every call we’d discuss how to improve the customer experience and then we’d make changes on the spot. We developed a deep understanding of our customer, what they were looking for and how we could meet their expectations. You can’t put a price on people’s most valuable memories, so we were diligent from the start and continue to honor our customers and the items they send us. Our mission is to provide exceptional customer experiences and so long as we continue to do that, they’re giving us the opportunity to stay in business.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Prioritize, delegate and get on a good cadence. We are ruthless about prioritizing our time based on how we can make the greatest impact based on our effort. Second, you must be comfortable with delegating. It’s been hard because it’s a whole different skill set to manage other people, but we found that it’s been crucial for us to scale. Because of those changes, we’ve grown to over 200 employees and have served over a half a million customers to-date. Lastly, we don’t “sprint.” We’re in a marathon and although there may be times we have to act fast — like when we lost our first employees during the holiday season — but if you’re sprinting several weeks in a row, you most likely have a systemic problem and need change to be more efficient. We’re proud that most weeks, our team maintains a 40 hour work week.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are several people I’m grateful for, from my wife who always believed in me, to business advisors who’ve given us game-changing advice. One person that stands out especially is my dad. He’s an entrepreneur himself and always encouraged my crazy ideas. When I was in elementary school, I designed a line of shoes that were a cross between skate shoes and basketball shoes, which were influenced by my top interests at the time. My dad helped me find a corporate phone number for Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike, and I cold called his office for weeks trying to sell him my shoe designs. Though I never got a hold of him, I did receive a letter from his office thanking me for reaching out and politely turning me down, which was one of my prized possessions as a 9-year-old.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We’ve helped countless families preserve and reconnect with one of their most important possessions: their recorded memories. Not only have we seen the impact our business has made on nearly 750,000 families across the country but have witnessed our own employees and family members digitize their most treasured lost family memories. We’ve broken down reliving these memories with our own families are know we’re just getting started to uncover so many more.

It’s also been incredibly rewarding to provide jobs and give back to our local community. We’ve been able to restore blighted buildings in up-and-coming parts of our city and partner with local universities to help teach and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs. And of course, we’ve continually given back and supported causes both locally and around the world. The impact our business has on customers, our employees, our community, and beyond is the most humbling part of creating this business.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Be proud of small beginnings.

Early on, people thought our idea was small or didn’t see much potential in it. I was an average student and when I told one of my business professors about our company, she laughed. I’m grateful we didn’t listen to those people, even though it was distracting every so often. Later, we learned that most great companies start small, and the founder(s) fan those sparks into a bigger flame. The challenge was to get momentum going, but once we did, we started to snowball from there.

Shut up and sell something.

Nothing humbles you more than trying to sell a product. There was a lot of tactics we tried that didn’t work, including in-store displays and failed magazine ads. We even tried going door-to-door in a few neighborhoods. I designed these big beautiful flyers and we put them on doors, but not a single person ordered from us. No one is going to grow a business for you, so shut up, sell something, and show everyone how it’s done.

Embrace your limits.

Before we had sophisticated barcode tracking systems, we had to keep track of all these home movies as they were being processed. We were college students and the business couldn’t afford any special systems or software. We came up with a solution using colored paper attached to Velcro. We could assign a color to an order, and then use that color on each machine to know what tape belonged to which order. It was simple and cost 25 bucks. Your limitations are often opportunities in disguise and rather than lament that challenge you should embrace it and know that when you overcome it, you’ll have made it far.

Believe in your vision.

We had a potential investor call our business plan a nice “lifestyle” business. To us, that was code for “trendy” and something that likely wouldn’t scale or endure. You want others to validate your vision, but often it’s hard for anyone else to see it. Don’t wait for others to jump on board or you might be waiting forever. Instead, see rule #2.

Enjoy the ride.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, chances are you are often looking ahead, imagining the possibilities. The drawback is that it can be hard to celebrate your achievements in the moment. There’s a three year stretch where we grew by nearly 1,100 percent and those years feel like a blur. Now we try to be more aware of the privileged experiences we have in real-time. It’s been especially helpful when we’re feeling stressed.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would like to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs who want to build long-term companies and cultures they’re proud of. We’ve seen that a lot of people view entrepreneurship merely as vehicle to wealth or think of start-ups as something you start only to sell. As a result, we’ve seen that creativity has been jeopardized by so many companies that have come and gone. If we were committed to building things to last and endure, that could have an incredible impact on the world we live in.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Twitter and Instagram @nickmacco.

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