(Photo courtesy of Joshua Davidson)
Chop Dawg is a Philadelphia-based company that helps non-technical entrepreneurs turn their ideas into actual products through a variety of services, like web development, mobile development, user interface design, branding and the like.
“For every one technical entrepreneur with a great idea, there are 10 other non-technical entrepreneurs out there with 10 great ideas,” said Chop Dawg founder and CEO Joshua Davidson. “They just don’t have the support to turn their idea into a reality.”
Davidson started Chop Dawg back in 2009, when most 16-year-olds wouldn’t even know what a startup was.
That’s when a 16-year-old Davidson decided to start his web design business. Fast-forward to 2015 and Chop Dawg has developed and consulted for more than 120 companies.
Davidson, now 22, recalled how he would go door to door in his hometown, not even knowing how to drive yet, asking people, “Hey, do you need a website?”
Then finally someone said yes.
“I work with one person and I do everything I can do to have the best possible output,” Davidson said of his company’s early momentum. “Then the client is really happy and tells two more people. This is how we grew in the first six months.”
By then, Davidson and his team had served around 20 to 30 clients. And that’s when he realized that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life; this is what he enjoyed most.
“Most entrepreneurs get that first taste, that taste of where you want to go,” Davidson said. “I just know that this is going to be successful. I love doing this. This is what I want to do. It’s like I tapped a reserve in my head of something I was passionate about.”
People were suddenly reaching out to Davidson and his Chop Dawg team. The company began getting covered in the press. Then somebody reached out and asked Davidson to build a web app.
“We took it on and we were naively optimistic,” Davidson said. “We built it, and our client loved it. He even told us, ‘You just made my idea become a reality. You made my dream come true.’”
After observing the emergence of more startups and the rise of incubators like Y Combinator, Davidson saw a serious market opportunity to go beyond just doing web design and development for clients.
That’s where the current iteration of Chop Dawg was born. The company now focuses on product development and helping companies via consultation.
“It’s Chop Dawg’s goal to help these entrepreneurs build their product that solves real-world problems, and help them scale it,” Davidson said.
Chop Dawg quickly grew bigger as Davidson started tapping the power of social media. One client led to the next. Davidson himself has a following of 699,000 on Twitter (though he also follows a ridiculous 182,000).
Before he knew it, he had to drop out of school and work full time on Chop Dawg. “I went for three semesters. Our business grew to the point that me being in school was hurting us. I was making enough revenue. I can always go back if I needed,” Davidson said. “There are certain majors and degrees where you need that formal education but technology changes too quickly. You don’t need a degree to do it.”
He added, “I’m always discovering new ways to market our product, to manage people, and to build our brand. Everyday I’m still learning.”
His advice to young, aspiring entrepreneurs: “Just get into it 100 percent. Get into something that you are passionate about. You might not know exactly what type of business but just ask yourself what are you passionate about? Are you passionate about sales? Are you passionate about a certain type of product? What do you enjoy doing?”