An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Having your own business gives you the luxury to manage your own time, however, as a business owner you are supposed to be on call all the time. I’ve had clients who message me in the wee hours of the morning but I can’t help but respond if I’m awake and see it on my phone since they are my customers.

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Paolo Tanjuatco of FortifySEO.

Paolo Tanjuatco is the President and Head of Fortify SEO . A digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. A seasoned marketing strategist, he successfully transitioned from working for multinationals to starting his own business. A Masters of Science in Management graduate of the University of Asia the Pacific and a holder of a Certificate in Global Management from INSEAD ( , Paolo is also an Independent Consultant for SOFA Design Institute handling their Digital Marketing courses.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

Being the youngest of 8 siblings, everyone around you tends to treat you like a kid. As a result, family and close family friends are more inclined to belittle or at least question your life decisions. This motivated me to put in 100% effort to develop myself and do the best in mastering my passion. It motivated me to be relevant and significant in my chosen career.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Pray, Hope, Don’t Worry.”

As we all know by now, with the pandemic around, life is indeed full of uncertainties. Tomorrow may be far different from today. Given this, we shouldn’t let worries cripple us from doing our best today. Let us remember that every day is a building block and the backbone of our future. Every action or decision we make is intertwined in an unexplainable marvelous way that results in the future. We should also never lose hope in life and there’s always tomorrow to look forward to.

This life lesson quote has always been my mantra when the going gets tough and days don’t go by as planned. It gives me hope and a ray of positivity always as I hold on to my faith and trust the Almighty on His plans.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Eleven Rings “The Soul of Success” by Phil Jackson.

Being an avid basketball fan, this is one of the books that struck me where Phil Jackson is shown as being the coach with the most championships in NBA history. He needed to be a great leader to be able to manage such high profile players such as MJ (Michael Jordan), Kobe and Shaq. It required an array of skills, virtues, and loads of patience to be able to reach such success.

I believe my success in life is built on leadership. Seems cliché but as they said, no man is an island. Bringing the best out in a person is not an easy task and a good leader has a good eye on a team member’s strength and develops it for the team. This book gave me wonderful insights on how to handle different kinds of people.

Phil Jackson did not force his will on people but inspired them to change themselves. It brought out the best in each player he had in his team. He also empathized with his team players and looked at them as whole human beings not just as players who will bring the trophy to the team. Phil also understood that basketball is their livelihood and is just a fraction of their entire lives. He understood that for them work is an enabler to be successful in life.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

You will never really know if an idea will work until you try it. We all need to take risks — calculated risks. But an idea will never be something if it is not tested. It will always be just an idea. So it’s best to test it out and have tangible proof or experience.

Coming from 10 years of extensive work experience in the Food and Beverage industry, there were a lot of ideas and products that were put on the table. But upon testing and doing proper research, not all of those products and ideas actually became successful. But reality is that not everyone has the privilege of doing extensive research when translating an idea into an actual business. My advice is that you should move and must test it out. Do something about it and just never let it sit as an idea because you would never know how truly one idea is important and real until you try it. The sooner you test and do something about it, the sooner you’ll get that recipe for success.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

Compared to 20 years ago, we now have unparalleled access to information because of the Internet and Digitalization. As a marketeer, there are many ideas that are similar or the same but can still co-exist. You must look at your idea and see what makes it unique from someone else’s idea. Take for example a smartphone. What differentiates Apple from Samsung? Look at their specs. Their yearly new mobile phone models are both very similar in terms of features and capabilities. Looking closely, Apple’s entire ecosystem is the main differentiator from that of Android’s. So it all boils down to preference. But both companies are actually doing pretty well, in terms of business standards, through the years.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

Stage 1: Idea Generation.

Let your idea brew. Think about it, try to make sense out of it.

Stage 2: Idea Screening.

Check if your idea is unique or if you can make it unique in your own way. Create different scenarios and challenge your idea. You can also do online research, digital agencies such as FortifySEO can check for online trends, keyword research and other data that can help with your idea.

Stage 3: Concept Development & Testing.

Make your idea into a real concept. Create product or service prototypes. Test your concept by doing research, surveys, or focus group discussions. File a patent for your idea if it is applicable. Filing a patent varies per country, but for the US you can check online on available patents or trademarks ( After checking you need to choose type of patent you need, afterwards you can file for a provisional patent. Next is you need to gather more information or data for your patent and continue with the application process.

Stage 4: Market Strategy/Business Analysis.

Conduct competitive research for your product or service. A good and simple way would be to do a SWOT analysis. Build on your strengths and look for opportunities on how to successfully launch your product or service. Create a business plan or a GTM (Go to Market Strategy).

Stage 5: Product Development.

Start developing your product or finalize your service. If you need to manufacture source from a reputable supplier, you must request for multiple samples and test it and make sure it passes your customer requirements and standards.

Stage 6: Market Entry/Commercialization

Execute your GTM. The key to a successful entry is to ensure your product or service is found by your target market. Choose a retailer or distributor who has had experience with your product or service and make sure that they are places frequented by your target market

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?

1. Flexitime means on call all the time.

Having your own business gives you the luxury to manage your own time, however, as a business owner you are supposed to be on call all the time. I’ve had clients who message me in the wee hours of the morning but I can’t help but respond if I’m awake and see it on my phone since they are my customers.

2. Not everyone who is with you from day 1 of your business will be with you all the way.

We started Fortify SEO with 5 partners and now only 3 of us are left. In time, people’s needs change and people change. I’m lucky our team is really focused on the company’s goals and objectives to continue growing this company.

3. Your idea/s will evolve.

Did anyone predict this pandemic? When building our company, we ensured that we would be agile and resilient. So from being a Digital Marketing Agency focusing on all aspects of Marketing, we evolved and found our expertise in SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media Ads.

4. You are on your own.

There are a lot of adjustments I needed to make from working in big local and international companies to setting up my own business. In corporate, I had a lot of support when it came to different functions of the business, Finance, HR, Logistics, etc. In my own business, I had to do all these or at least be very involved but it also helped me keep tabs of everything going on.

5. It’s so fulfilling to be able to give livelihood to people.

The best feeling I’ve had since I ran my own company is that I am able to help my employees and give them a good livelihood. What keeps me motivated to continue to grow this is that people rely on the business for their livelihood. It is also a means of sharing our blessings and successes. It is very fulfilling.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

The first step is to check if their product or service is unique or has unique characteristics. Next is to analyze the industry that they would want to enter, are they going into a blue ocean (new market) or a red ocean (compete in an existing market). From there, one can develop the product and test it.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

It depends on what the situation calls for and on the level of confidence you have. But to succeed, one has to have the guts to just do it. Put your 100% heart, mind, and effort to it. So if a consultant will make you do it then that’s okay. But if you can do it on your own, why not just get it done. Remember, shortcuts are not the best path to success.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

I’ve always believed in the principle that you should never put your eggs in one basket. For starters, I would prefer bootstrapping as long as the risks are spread out. But once you have a formula on something that really works to exponentially grow something, the best way to go would be to look for venture capital.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Coming from the Philippines, I’ve seen how people, especially the underprivileged, struggle to find employment even before the pandemic. By successfully growing my company, I would be able to generate jobs and help my employees uplift their families.

You are an 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.

  • #WeAreAllGodsChildren

No matter who you are and where you come from, we are equally the same in all aspects. No racism, no gender issues, no political stands, we all should treat and love each other equally since we all come from one place and one Creator.

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, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

MKBHD (Marques Browlee) — I started watching him for his tech videos but I’m amazed how he can handle himself and interview anyone. I come from the Gen X crossing millennial generation and to see him grow himself and his brand is incredible. He worked hard making videos regularly and his work improves all the time which resulted in his really awesome videos now. And he’s a Golfer too! So I can relate!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: Paolo Tanjuatco of FortifySeo On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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