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Conversations with Ross Nochumowitz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ross Nochumowitz.

Hi Ross, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Born and raised in Baltimore. I always had a passion for all things entrepreneurial and solving problems. Once I graduated college and started working regular jobs, I always had an interest in starting something on my own and on the side. My first work experiences were on a golf course as a bag boy and then caddying; from there, I went into the family bail bonds business (Big Boyz Bail Bonds), followed by real estate investing.

While working those jobs, I started many side businesses such as an online message board forum geared around Online Poker. Developed a user testing service for websites called “Beta Punch,” and then launched a breakfast food truck called “Egg & Cheese Yo,” and then finally to Baltimore in a Box.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Nothing in business is smooth. It may look as such from the outside, but from within the trenches, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. For me, everything is trial and error and learn as you go. Don’t be afraid to fail. That is key. I never really plan anything out like in a formal business plan. I have some ideas in my head and then I roll with them. Too many people get caught up in planning which restricts them from doing. For me, it’s all about putting ideas into action and executing on my visions. Once I roll something out, figure out what’s works and doesn’t work and then iterate as soon as possible.

I have passed along my “City in a Box” idea to hundreds, if not thousands, of people through the online social network Reddit and mapped out exactly what I did and the obstacles I faced to start my business here in Baltimore. Some took the idea and ran with it and made very successful goes of it. Most, however, flaked out after only a month or two and gave up. It just goes to show you that ideas are worthless and execution is everything. You still need someone with a motor behind the business to make it go or else the everyday struggles of business will overcome you.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I believe my specialty is my motor and my drive to get things done. I am certainly never the smartest person in a room but I will more than likely outwork most of the room. There is nothing I won’t do or try to take my work or business to the next level. Most are content with working a regular 9-5. For me, I work nearly every hour I am awake. In most cases, I don’t have time to answer emails during the day because I am constantly on the road for my real estate business, looking at properties, picking up items for Baltimore in a Box, and checking up on two retail stores that I am currently running. So my replies to emails come after I get home and my family is asleep. I will be sending out emails or invoices at 10 or 11 pm. I believe my willingness to go out every day and fight for my business is what sets me apart and keeps me going. I enjoy what I do, which is what makes it easier for me to do it every single day.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I am 100% a risk-taker. Everything I do in business has elements of risk to it, some parts more than others. But business is all about risk and reward. I have invested and risked a lot for my businesses – both time and money. One of my latest risks is starting a standalone Baltimore-themed Ice Cream store (during a pandemic) in Hampden 2 blocks from my Baltimore in a Box gift shop. I incurred significant start-up costs, increased my overhead, had to learn an entirely new business on the fly, and essentially launched something completely new that was largely untested and very few people knew about. But I wasn’t afraid to take the risk because that’s what I love to do. Trying new things without fear of failure is what I am passionate about.

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