Don’t look to your competition — We really believe in not studying your competition. We have had the most success when we have done our own thing and disregarded what other people do and how it has always been done.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kine and Einy Paulsen.
Kine and Einy are twinpreneurs originally from Norway. They currently head kinfizz (www.kinfizz.com), a management consulting company, that helps companies worldwide with marketing strategy for companies in chaos, typically for companies going through leadership change, restructuring or post-M&A. Their marketing expertise has been featured in Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and TechCrunch.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Thank you so much for having us! Our childhood backstory started back home in Norway, where we grew up before moving to Los Angeles. Growing up as twins, we always came up with new projects, dreams, and ambitions. One of the first goals was to move abroad to study, which we both later did. Having a twin is like having a constant sounding board and it is rare an idea is left to be just that. While still in college, we started our first ever company, INGRI:DAHL. Companies worldwide had noticed what we were up to and asked if we could help them with their marketing. That started our next and current chapter, kinfizz — an LA based management consulting company. We now work with some of the largest companies in the world and help them with marketing strategy. We always push ahead and if someone has a dream brewing we do everything to help them accomplish that goal. As quickly and cost-efficient as possible — always!
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us? It was probably not a shock for anyone that we found a way to be entrepreneurs and help companies worldwide grow. There is not one such ah ha moment where we took our passion for doing that. It has been a more gradual transition from when we started our first company in college, till today when we have our own management consulting company. But our passion is and has always been to help people around us realize their full potential. A great memory for both of us — is the first time we (as usual) started giving business management advice and the recipient asked if they could hire us. That is when we knew we had a business in our hands and not just a passion!
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
We were born with a solid dose of optimism. And that is something that comes in handy as entrepreneurs. We have been told that we can make any lemon into lemonade and that is something we always try to do. In addition to optimism, we have the ability to focus on the task at hand and at the same time be flexible if something else requires our immediate attention. Our team always jokes that two twins is better than one and in the aspect of managing a company this is definitely true.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
We would recommend anyone to always follow their own gut feeling. We once heard George Clooney said “the only failure is not to try” and that really resonated with us. Personally and professionally, we always give ourselves kudos for trying. If it doesn’t go as intended we analyze why and try something else. So if your gut feeling is telling you to pursue something — try it!
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
We focus on consistency and our long-term goals. In business, it is easy to get impatient when you don’t see results overnight. However, in our experience things can happen when you least expect it. Having lofty goals and action items to get there, helps keeping things motivating and moving forward.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
We love that we are in charge of our results and that what we put into the business we get out of it. The drawback is the same. But it is definitely more a benefit than a drawback. As twins, we have always had a sounding board and an encouraging partner in crime, so it is easy to be innovative and inject new energy into the business. We truly believe the best way is to make sure you establish the next step. Small or large, the next step is the most important.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
Given we created our dream job, it is pretty much what we expected.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
This is another great part of being a twin, because we never have these moments at the same time. So the few times we had such moments, we will pick each other up and focus on what we can do to change that.
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?
Being bilingual, humorous mistakes happened quite a lot when we started. We learned to use that aspect of ourselves to our advantage. It has improved our work in always trying to find ways things can be interpreted differently, based on where you are in the world.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
Our parents have taught us everything we know about following our dreams, integrity, and optimism. They are our biggest fans and greatest critics and make us push harder in everything we do. They have always inspired us and continue to do so every day!
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Knowing what it takes to be successful and going after your dreams — we have made it our goal to celebrate the achievements of people around us. We love celebrating our peers, employees, friends and family. No success is too small to recognize and we encourage everyone to share their “wins” with us so we can join in on the celebration.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
We are not sure there is anything we wish someone told us before we got started. But these are the five things that have been great lessons for us.
- Consistency is key — This has been proven to us countless times. Our biggest success has been because of being consistent in our work.
- No day will be the same — Early on we set out thinking we could create solid routines, but no day is the same and so it is simply not possible. Not for everyone, but we love it!
- Don’t look to your competition — We really believe in not studying your competition. We have had the most success when we have done our own thing and disregarded what other people do and how it has always been done.
- Less is more — It is easy in business to think that you need to do more. However, in our experience, it is the opposite. Focusing on a few things makes it easier to do those things better and more successfully.
- Take breaks — We learned this the hard way as an entrepreneur you just keep going. To best stay productive we encourage our entire team to work in sprints (some of us utilize Cavedays) and make sure to take breaks in between. This is much better for everyone!
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
We would love to inspire people to be kinder and more generous with others. It is free to do and has a great impact on your own self and your own happiness.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
George Clooney once said “the only failure is not to try” and that is a quote we live by. From moving from Norway to the US to starting several companies abroad, the end result of being successful has never been guaranteed. Had we focused on everything that could have gone wrong or the potential of failure, we would never have forged ahead.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Great question! We have been so lucky to have met with some of the most influential people in the world and there are too many people we want to meet to narrow it down to one person.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.