January 31, 2022

How I fell into starting a Customer Research Agency?

If you are here you probably already know my name’s Yasen Stamatov. If you read on, you will find how did I start my market research journey and why I created STAM Research.

As a kid, I was always very curious about learning new skills. Since I was (and still am) a little rebel, I really didn’t like to follow established paths. I mean, where’s the fun in that? Not to mention everyone successful went into uncharted territories to pave the way. 

At the time, information on the internet was quite scarce but was still on there. You just had to look hard enough to find it. So, while my peers were busy socializing, I was learning how to use photo and video editing software, playing the guitar, discovering my spiritual side, learning new football techniques, and so on. The main takeaway was:

I got used to learning and absorbing new information.

Then I joined university (Strathclyde, based in Glasgow, the UK). There, I was given my first business assignments, having to provide my own insight into the drivers of the Financial Crisis of 2007-8. I still remember the first time I was writing that assignment. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but at least I knew what I was writing made sense. When I saw the score my professor gave me, I knew I was doing something right.

Upon graduation, I felt quite lost. Found a job at a Fintech startup as a Business Analyst. My day to day operations involved analyzing tech companies, tech verticals, business models, pricing models, firm economics, revenues… I analyzed business.

However, the entrepreneur inside me was not letting me sleep. After reading several books on mindset, I launched my first MVP. It was a platform suited to my local market where you could rate your real estate agent. I managed to sign about 40 RE agency owners, and I did it with 0 cash put towards advertising. I researched what they read and where do they spend their time online and started posting content on there. In the end, I had to freeze the project as I was running low on cash. At that time, I had realized I was already pretty good at doing market research- I didn’t need anyone to tell me what to do, I just needed a goal.

That’s where my freelance career began- I was doing market research for entrepreneurs. I still remember the excitement when I got my first “big” project. I even teared up, because to me that was a confirmation someone else values my skillset. It also made me realize where I was headed was a viable path.

Over time, I brought in more people on board that complemented my skillset. I also realized I was very good at strategy thanks to my entrepreneurial side. That’s why when we are on a call, I will ask you a bunch of questions that will help me understand what are you trying to achieve. This way I can see the world through your eyes and understand what type of information will be valuable to you based on the goals you have.

Once I understand what you need, then I am more than capable of creating a research framework, that’s designed to provide you the information needed to take your business to the next stage.

Since I really liked working with other entrepreneurs, I wanted to scale it. I slowly surrounded myself with the right individuals, built the website, and continued serving.

Also, I was always fascinated by technology. I’m not sure why, but there’s this strong pull towards it. Naturally, we work quite a lot with tech startups.

I’m a strong believer they are the next step towards living a better life. Technology just helps us automate mundane tasks and opens up the mental space to do something more meaningful. What is this meaning? I don’t think anyone knows, but nor do we need to know that. I’m certain humanity will get its closure on this question at one point in time, but when will we reach that point is another question. Until then, we can only use our imagination and search within ourselves to hopefully find our collective purpose.

I hope you enjoyed this little self-expression of mine.

Best,
Yasen Stamatov