Balloonary: Build ads that take off

About: Balloonary, an online generative AI tool that makes the process of creating and launching high quality online adverts fast and simple for solopreneurs, side hustlers and business owners, who often don’t have the time to learn to do it themselves, or the budget to pay someone else.

Location: Luxembourg

Creating a positive work culture 

At Balloonary, though we work remotely most of the time, we retain and believe in creating a positive work culture built around mutual trust and respect – not just in each other as colleagues and for the unique skill sets we bring to the business, but in prioritising and understanding each others’ ways of working.

We are equally invested and committed to Balloonary,  as a start-up, we recognize the need for flexibility and adaptability, and we strive to foster an atmosphere that promotes these values. Our team consists of four individuals with varying backgrounds, needs and skill sets, and trust, open communication and collaboration is essential, not just for our wellbeing or that sense of freedom, entrepreneurship allows, but  to enable each of us to thrive, innovate and grow.

As the foursome that make up Balloonary, we are neither strangers to entrepreneurship nor working together. Two of our co-founders, Marc and Bob, left the rat race some time ago to work on a trusted travel guide app called Spoticle. Shortly after this, Dylan Thompson and myself joined the team and together we founded the business that brought the Spoticle app to life. A few years later after brainstorming our next venture, Balloonary was born.

Prioritising the well-being of our co-founders

All four of us are equally committed to, and understand the importance of prioritising the well-being of our co-founders. We prioritise trust, transparency, and a family-first approach. We believe in checking in with each other regularly and – frankly – treating our working relationships with the same work, commitment and care as you would your life partner. You don’t always agree, open communication and trust are essential and you might want to pick your battles.

We encourage co-founders to take time off when needed, and encourage benefitting from a work-life balance that will allow activities – be it family events, hobbies or additional projects where time allows – outside of work. There may not be the same structure in place as a big business with a corporate wellbeing strategy, but it’s no less valued at Balloonary and is essential to our success and productivity.

How smaller businesses can use AI

For lots of people ‘AI’ can sound a bit sci-fi, but actually it’s really just a new tool. Think about it like a really capable personal assistant who knows the entire internet. The goal should be to outsource 80% of a task to AI and use your founder’s creativity and know-how on the 20% where you can add real value.  

AI can add tremendous value to small businesses and start-ups, by automating routine tasks and providing valuable insights that can help businesses make data-driven decisions. AI-powered tools can help small businesses optimise their operations and streamline their processes, saving time and money.

For example in Balloonary’s case, you aren’t spending time (or money on someone else’s time) to research, sign up, find images, draft multiple examples and concepts. You’re giving this job to AI and spending your valuable time picking the best one based on your inherent founder knowledge of your customer.

Smaller businesses can use AI to better understand their customers, personalise their marketing, and improve customer experiences. Additionally, AI can help small businesses compete with larger corporations by levelling the playing field and providing access to cutting-edge technology. 

For example we know there are founders and side hustlers out there who want to give online marketing a go but perhaps think their business is too small, that ad campaigns are for big brands, with big budgets and big agencies to help them. But we’ve made it so much more accessible, so there’s no reason not to get started. 

Understanding how to harness AI and tech tools at your disposal gives smaller businesses the edge they need to compete, succeed, and even enjoy a better work-life balance.

Collaboration and teamwork 

Despite working remotely, there are numerous ways to efficiently collaborate as colleagues. It’s a way we’ve been used to working for years with three of us based in Luxembourg and one in Germany, but since the pandemic it has become more prevalent.

We use Slack and G-drive daily as a means of sharing files. Of course Google Meet facilitates communication and collaboration with external partners as well as. We hold two team meetings a week, which everyone attends as a bit of a non-negotiable for us all, to ensure everyone is up to date on company progress. We encourage co-founders to share their ideas and feedback openly and believe in providing a safe space for constructive feedback.

Advice for entrepreneurs

If you have an idea that is keeping you up at night, or an urge and the courage to start-out on your own, then just do it! The older you get, the less inclined you will be to start and you have a choice to do it now and trust that you will figure it out, because you have to.

Play the long term game with it though, because you don’t know what you will have to navigate along the way. There’s no one rulebook really. You will write your own personal startup journey, but keep curious and educate yourself on the topics at hand.

Spend more time asking questions than thinking up solutions. Stay focused on your mission and values, stay agile, and be adaptable to change. Starting a business is not easy, but perseverance and dedication will pay off in the long run. 

Always be open to learning and seek advice from mentors and industry experts. Use technology and automation to your advantage to streamline processes and save time. Finally, prioritise your well-being and seek work-life balance. Remember, success is not just about profits but also about creating a positive impact on the world around you.