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Confessions of an Entrepreneur: Brian Ouellette

Dawn Kuczwara
Dawn Kuczwara

Ouellette connects pro athletes with realtors and financial advisors.

Brian Ouellette had an epiphany, thanks to Sports Illustrated – professional athletes were in need of professional financial advisers. This light bulb moment, as he calls it, lead to the creation of Pro Athlete Direct, an education-based marketing system designed to help financial advisors and realtors reach professional athletes. Ouellette's company heavily relies on technology to reach and train members.

Q: What devices do you use daily?

A: Like most entrepreneurs, Ouellette relies on his mobile phone – a Google Pixel 2 XL – and his laptop. But he has gone a slightly different route when it comes to both hardware and software. "Several years ago," Ouellette explains, "I moved over to Google for just about everything, including our business email, docs, spreadsheets, browser, etc. The security is bulletproof. The Chromebooks run quick, smooth and, for me, just became preferred after having so many issues with Windows."

Q: What technology do you use to stay ahead of your competition?

A: With a reliance on technology tools, Ouellette has several applications that are core to what Pro Athlete Direct does. "I have some pretty cool services we use on a daily basis," he says. Many, like Screencastify, Awesome Screenshot, Fleeq, and WebinarJam help with the core business of educating members. Others, like Diigo, GMass, RingCentral, and Leadpages are for operations and marketing. "We have others," Ouellette says, "but we need to be careful about giving out too many of our special powers." Many of the tools used are web-based, making them accessible to Ouellette from anywhere, at any time.

Q: Is technology a significant enabler for your business?

A: Like other trailblazing entrepreneurs, Ouellette provides an emphatic yes to this question. "I can adapt pretty quickly when a great tool becomes available or improved. We are always on the lookout for the best gadgets that accelerate results for ourselves, members and prospects. But," Ouellette adds, "It is a bit of a Catch-22 (in a big way), because it's really easy to take your eye off the ball chasing all the latest gadgets and goodies."

Q: Has social media influenced your business at all, from internal employee policies to how you promote your company?

A: While Ouellette and Pro Athlete Direct use social media, he admits it's a moving target. "If you think about it, it didn't really exist more than 15 years ago," Ouellette says. "All the users, experts, specialists have learned on the fly. I have to remind myself of this when I grow frustrated with the learning curve."

To stay up-to-date, Ouellette turns to certain individuals whom he knows and trusts. "I have built up a network of experts I follow and listen to in this realm, and feel it helps me be most efficient with our social media endeavors while allowing me to not recreate the wheel each time."

Q: Have you had to adapt your business because of security concerns brought about by the increased use of technology?

A: "Security is an important piece of the pie chart that often gets overlooked until there is an issue," says Ouellette. One of the ways that he manages security loops back to his choice in equipment and services. "To be honest," says Ouellette, "a big reason for the move to Chromebooks over the last five years had to do with security. Google manages all updates automatically and, as of now, it is believed the Chromebook is one of the most secure laptops available."

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Brian Ouellette
Dawn Kuczwara
Dawn Kuczwara Contributing Writer
Dawn Kuczwara is a former executive with more than 17 years of experience in technology. Now, as a professional writer, Dawn uses that experience to write about business, technology and leadership. When she isn’t wordsmithing, she spends her time doing improv comedy, reading, playing video games and hanging out with her family and two dogs, Pip and Zoe.