Kevin Hillman’s company Restflix launched in July, and it’s already gaining traction with more and more sleep-challenged people.
Hillman is CEO of Lakewood Ranch-based streaming service Restflix, which offers relaxing, sleep-inducing video content through an app and on Google Play, Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV. Users watch calming visuals of subjects such as the ocean or rain set to music, and little ones use the service for bedtime stories to help them drift off to sleep.
Since launching the service, the three-person Restflix team has been hard at work growing the user base. “I set expectations and let the team actually do their job,” says Hillman. “That kind of leadership style worked for me significantly. It really empowers people to take ownership of what they’re doing. It lets them become their own boss and take pride in their work.”
In a startup, CEOs often wear many hats, and it’s no different for Hillman. To get everything done, he starts his days early, around 6 a.m. He uses those morning hours — when he’s not getting bombarded with messages and phone calls — to brainstorm creative ideas for marketing, partnerships and content. “What I really like the most is being creative and also providing a service and value to people they actually love and actually use,” he says. “Combining those is any creative person’s dream.”
Hillman grew up in Ohio with his mom and siblings, living in poverty. He says his upbringing and the obstacles he had to overcome help motivate him. “If I can survive this and make it out of this, the sky is the limit — I had that mindset since I was 15,” says Hillman. “I think I have an unfair advantage, to be honest with you. You don’t really worry about failure if you’re used to not having things. Failure doesn’t really scare you because you’ve been there before. Therefore, you just move past that pressure. I just kind of give everything my all.”
In the business world, Hillman has learned from a mentor and through experiences at a few Sarasota-based companies: internet marketing firm Clickbooth (now Perform[cb]), internet marketing company Revcontent and video syndication and monetization platform Powr. He also launched a digital advertising company called Onzic.io, the success of which allowed him to fund Restflix.
Hillman has ambitious goals for Restflix that he plans to accomplish through strategic marketing initiatives. The No. 1 goal on the list? Turn Restflix into a household name. “I think it goes back to determination and being relentless,” says Hillman. “I always see things positively. If someone says we can’t do this, I go to the next person. It’s determination to get things done. You only have a few chances to create something that’s bigger than you.”
City of Residence
Onzic, LLC DBA Restflix
Years on the Gulf Coast
Married with 2 Children
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
Big Brothers Big Sisters
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
Head of French Fries at Arby's. The smell is still in my clothes.
What's your top tip for being productive?
Break the day up with mini-tasks. This allows you to focus on each task individually. This will allow you to have greater focus and results instead of running all your tasks together and not fully focusing on any of them.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
Getting paid to write the world’s most awful but hilarious dad jokes for TV. They’re so bad you have to laugh at how bad they are.
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?