Foundr Magazine Podcast | Learn From Successful Founders & Proven Entrepreneurs, The Ultimate StartUp Podcast For Business

Greg Mercer built an entire lifestyle business without having to build his own products, distribution network, or even an online store.

Instead of creating his first business from scratch, Mercer took advantage of the tools around him and started selling products on Amazon. It worked, to the point that he and his wife were both able to quit their jobs and start traveling the world. He had achieved the dream that so many of us are working toward, all by cleverly riffing on an industry giant.

Within two weeks, though, he was bored. Fortunately for us, Mercer's next project is helping others find similar success.

Selling everything from wrist braces to cages for tomato plants, Mercer realized he had stumbled upon a proven formula. A formula he could use over and over again that allowed him to find products people wanted, sell them on Amazon, and turn a significant profit. The next step was obvious.

Mercer built a tool called Jungle Scout, which allows other ecommerce entrepreneurs to find opportunities to make money on Amazon. Despite having limited himself to a budget of only a thousand dollars, having absolutely no coding or technical experience, or any experience in the software business, Mercer hacked together Jungle Scout, his first bona fide startup.

After starting out as a complete novice, Mercer began learning on the job, and despite encountering some classic hurdles and mistakes, has found himself at the head of a fast-growing company.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Mercer's strategy that anyone can use to make a profit on Amazon
  • What every ecommerce entrepreneur should be aware of when selling online
  • How to build a SaaS from scratch, with no tech skills
  • What to watch out for in ecommerce opportunities
  • How to build and manage a remote team that actually works
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP170_Greg_Mercer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:15am AEDT

Mark Cuban is a very busy man. As one of the star judges of the hit show Shark Tank, Cuban has invested in nearly a hundred different startups that have appeared on the program. That's not even mentioning the investments he makes outside of the show, and the dozens of other businesses he's founded or manages himself.

So how does a single person manage to keep so many plates spinning at the same time?

His secret: Hiring the right people.

Cuban is always making sure he has the best people staffing the hundred-plus businesses he's involved in. And while hiring seems like a pretty basic business practice, finding the right talent is a true art, and one that Cuban has mastered.

It's a process of finding the right person, putting them in the right environment, and then continuing to build their personal growth and passion about the job they're doing. And in Cuban's case, multiplying the process for a thousand-plus employees.

That may sound hard, but Cuban says the one skill every founder and entrepreneur needs to master if they want to become a billionaire businessman, is knowing how to be a leader. If you don't know how to recruit and manage people, you're just not going to make it very far.

It can take decades of trial and error to figure out how to deal with the thousands of different personalities out there, and knowing what to prioritize at any given time. But Cuban has figured it out, and he's sharing his secrets with us here.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The art of finding and nurturing the talent in your team
  • How to deal with problem employees, without just firing them
  • Whether mentors really matter—when you need them, and when you don't
  • How Mark Cuban manages a thousand-plus employees
  • The surprising reason you shouldn't be looking for invesment
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP169_Mark_Cuban.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24am AEDT

Often as entrepreneurs, we envision success as owning more objects, like a fancy watch, a big house, or a fast car. But what if there were a more authentic, more enriching version of success? One that involves less?

That's the question that Joshua Fields Millburn seeks to answer, as one half of the duo who call themselves The Minimalists. Millburn and partner Ryan Nicodemus have built an entire brand around how to live a better life by having less.

Millburn runs a website with an annual audience of more than 4 million readers, hosts one of the most listened to podcasts in the world, has published multiple best-selling books, and has even produced and filmed a critically acclaimed documentary. In this episode of the podcast, Millburn gives us the crash course on redefining success, and otherwise decluttering and streamlining your life.

Millburn first adopted the minimalist lifestyle after spending years climbing the corporate ladder. By the time he was in his late 20s, he realized he wasn't happy, despite having everything that he thought he wanted.

"I always felt I was one promotion away in my career from being happy. But of course, I had all these other things that came with that ostensible success like stress, and anxiety, and discontent, and overwhelm, and of course a boatload of debt," Millburn says.

He says that too many entrepreneurs get caught up in the idea of constantly wanting to achieve the next goal, and the one after that, and so on so forth. But rarely do they ever take a moment to think about why they're working so hard, and to what end.

According to Millburn, the key to achieving happiness is to pursue meaning over anything else. And to do that you must first ask yourself, "How can my life be better with less?"

In this episode you'll learn:

  • What the minimalist lifestyle is and how to start living it today
  • The key to finding things that give value to your life
  • Balancing the hunger entrepreneurs have with the minimalist lifestyle
  • What it means to give yourself permission to be happy
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP168_Joshua_Fields_Millburn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am AEDT

Great entrepreneurs have that rare ability to take risks that others find crazy, coupled with a single-minded determination that allows them to bring their visions to life. But some of us want to do much more with that talent than simply create a profitable company. Some of us want to change the world for the better.

If that sounds like you, you're going to want to hear what Samasource founder Leila Janah has to say in this episode, as that's exactly what she's done during her incredible career.

Janah runs one of the most influential social enterprises around, responsible for raising over 30,000 people around the world up from poverty, and rebuilding entire communities.

Rather than the typical charity model of distributing donations to make an impact, Janah realized early on that in order to combat global poverty, she needed to come up with a more innovative solution. She decided to build a social enterprise that operates like a business, but in service of reducing poverty.

Janah focused on empowering poverty stricken communities in India, Haiti, Uganda, and more, contacting companies like Google and Microsoft that were looking to outsource their work, and training individuals with the skills they needed to complete that work.

This revolutionary business model has changed the way people think of success when it comes to social enterprises. Janah has shown what happens when you use the powers of entrepreneurship for something other than just profit, and the world is so much better of for it.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The role of the entrepreneur when it comes to social enterprises
  • Keys to leading and managing a global enterprise with thousands of employees
  • How to pitch your social enterprise to investors and secure funding
  • Why every business should be looking to make a difference in the world
  • The skills that every entrepreneur needs to succeed, no matter what industry you're in
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP167_Leila_Janah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56pm AEDT

Ask yourself, just how many hours have you sunk into that palm-sized rectangle of plastic, metal, and glass known as the smartphone?

As the co-founder of Kabam, one of the world's leading companies in mobile games, Holly Liu might be able to provide an answer to that, and it would likely be a huge number. But luckily for us, and our listeners, she's far more interested in talking about how she managed to build a billion-dollar company from scratch by giving away her products for free.

If you don't know Kabam already, you've probably heard of the company's hugely popular games, such as Kingdoms of CamelotThe Godfather, and Marvel's Contest of Champions, just to name a few. Each one operates on a "freemium" model, where users can download and play games for free.

This might sound crazy, but it's actually a ludicrously lucrative business model, with Kabam making the bulk of their revenue through in-game currency and advertising revenue. Kingdoms of Camelot alone has, to date, grossed over $250 million.

The secret behind Liu's success is simple, she just asks herself:

"Where are the people?"

That question led to Kabam's successful pivot into building a Facebook game and tapping into the power of viral marketing, to even partnering with the major studios in Hollywood to build games for upcoming movies and franchises.

For Liu, there's so much more to surviving in the mobile gaming industry than building a successful product, especially when great products exist on almost every corner. It takes an equal amount of dedication to marketing, finding the right partnerships, and, as always, understanding where your customers are.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • What opportunities lie within the mobile gaming industry
  • How to take your business where the customers are
  • How to pivot when your first, second, and even third ideas fail
  • What goes into making a product as viral as possible
  • Why you should look to grow your company through the power of partnerships
  • How to make being social your competitive advantage
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP166_Holly_Liu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00pm AEDT

After 16 years in the game, Patel has established himself as one of the most prolific marketers in the world. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs eagerly await his latest blog post, video, or product.

And yet, Patel says, more than anything, he deeply regrets building a personal brand. Pretty shocking, considering the majority of Patel's businesses have been built off the back of his personal brand and status as an influencer.

"If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't build a personal brand, it was the biggest mistake of my career. I built a personal brand by accident," Patel says.

For all the benefits and advantages Patel's personal brand has brought him, he also feels that it's seriously held him back in other areas he wants to pursue. While it's brought him more clients as a consultant, that very same notoriety has made it difficult for him to even build businesses without encountering problems.

But, like any other entrepreneur, Patel isn't stuck on what might have been. He's here to talk with us about what he's doing now, and how he manages to wield the double-edged sword of having millions of people recognize his name as an entrepreneur and a marketer.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Simple marketing hacks that anyone can use right now
  • Why building a personal brand can hold you back as much as it can provide opportunities for success
  • A behind-the-scenes look at what Patel is working on right now and his past businesses
  • The astoundingly simple way to create content that drive you traffic, qualify leads, and boost your SEO
  • What most people get wrong about content marketing according to Patel
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP165_Neil_Patel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am AEDT

What separates the companies that make millions of dollars from those that never make it?

It's not the vision, or the product, or even the founder, it's the people. You can't build a successful business, let alone grow it, without having the right people by your side.

It's a lesson that Ryan Holmes, CEO and founder of Hootsuite, is intimately familiar with. Today, Holmes finds himself at the helm of one of the fastest-growing companies around. Hootsuite is a mega-popular social media tool that boasts over 16 million customers and 5 million messages powered by its service every single day. As of 2013, Hootsuite has raised an impressive $165 million in funding from some of the biggest VC firms in the world and continued to dominate the social media landscape.

In this episode, Holmes advises founders that when it comes to finding your first batch of employees, you're looking for the "Swiss Army knives" and "paratroopers" of the world. People who have the ability to take the smallest instruction and make their own way. It can be tempting to want to hire specialists in the early days, but as Holmes explains, they're more likely to hold your business back in the early days.

Finding the right people is as much about timing as it is finding the right skillset. And according to Holmes, the number one reason Hootsuite managed to grow so fast is that he had the right people by his side from day one.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why having first-mover advantage means nothing in the startup world
  • What the number one focus of any startup should be in the early stages
  • Building virality into your product. Why, and most importantly, how.
  • Where to find and deploy the "shock troops" of your team
  • Why you should actually stay away from Silicon Valley when looking for A-players
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP164_Ryan_Holmes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43am AEDT

Change is inevitable in the startup world, and only the best entrepreneurs stay on top of the game by evolving with it. Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit, knows this all too well, and in this episode of the podcast, Huffman explains how he's ushering the social media giant to the next level.

Huffman was there in the very beginning, when he and roommate Alexis Ohanian first pitched the idea for Reddit to Y Combinator, and he's at the helm again today as the company strives to reach new heights.

On the surface, nothing much has changed about Reddit since it was first created in their college dorm room 12 years ago. The layout, font, and even the logo remain relatively the same. But over the years, it's grown into a massive and highly influential web of online communities.

Today, Reddit is one of the largest websites in the word, with over 250 million active users and 300 million visitors a month. Beyond boasting impressive traffic numbers and a $1.8 billion valuation, Reddit is home to over half a million active online communities, where users can find anything from a laugh to help with addiction or relationships. The company's now making some serious changes under the hood, even to its appearance.

How things have changed.

"It's important to realize that there was never a point in which there was an idea for Reddit the way it exists today. There was just the idea we started with, to build a place where people can find interesting stuff every day. Not anything in particular, just interesting stuff," Huffman says.

In the early days, no one really knew what they were doing, and Reddit has experienced numerous stumbles and challenges along the way. But Huffman's managed to stay on top, and he's learned a tremendous amount along the way. He shares with us what it was like to create one of the largest sensations of the internet, and how to stay ahead in an ever-changing industry.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why you should focus on content instead of marketing
  • The difference between customers and users, and why you need to know what separates the two
  • How to build an online community that rivals the population of most countries
  • Picking your battles—when to take a step back and when to step up
  • What Huffman's
Direct download: FP163_Steve_Huffman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:54am AEDT

"How can I solve a problem in the fastest way?"

It's a question that Maneesh Sethi asks himself almost every day, and it's been the main driver behind who he is as a person, and as an entrepreneur. You see, Sethi lives a life of what you might call extreme productivity, and he wants to help you do the same.

The question has manifested in a variety of ways throughout Sethi's life, including starting his own productivity blog, Hack the Systemwhere he examines how people can be more productive and focused in their lives by looking for unconventional solutions. Then there was the time he paid someone to follow him around and slap him in the face every time he was being unproductive.

Sethi's latest endeavor is par for the course in his never-ending quest to become as productive as he possibly can. As the founder and CEO of Pavlok, a wearable device designed to help you build better habits by literally shocking the bad ones out of you, Sethi is determined to help people transforms their lives. Even if it means giving them a zap every now and then.

Sethi knows a thing or two about the power of a little negative reinforcement, as evidenced by the aforementioned slapping, and the way having your back against the wall can bring out your best ideas.

"Our company has been a consistent sufferer of almost-death, followed by me figuring out something to help us survive, followed by learning a lot from that experience," Sethi says.

To save his company from bankruptcy, Sethi has turned to investors, crowdfunding, and even appeared on the hit show Shark Tank to keep his company alive. Through it all, he's developed a knack for finding the best way out, no matter what life throws at him.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Fool-proof tactics on how to become more focused and increase your overall productivity
  • How to build and successfully iterate a physical product for market
  • What to do if you find yourself on national TV
  • Where to go when you need funding for your idea, Sethi's answer might surprise you!
  • How making more sales can actually bankrupt your business, and Sethi's solution
  • Hacks to supercharge your crowdfunding gain and blow past your fundraising goal
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP162_Maneesh_Sethi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22am AEDT

Jodie Fox loves her shoes.

But unlike your average shoe lover, Fox was able to turn that love first into a living room-based passion project, and then a multimillion-dollar online business. She's the co-founder and CEO of Shoes of Prey, a popular online store that allows customers to design and customize their own shoes.

Shoes of Prey recently raised $25 million in funding as part of its Series B round, and while that's impressive enough on its own, Fox managed to validate, launch, and break even on her very first business within two months. That's mind-bogglingly fast, even by startup standards.

The former lawyer also skilfully scaled her business with a powerful mix of influencer marketing and deals with wholesale giants like Nordstrom, to the point that over 5 million shoes have been designed on the platform. Not bad for a first-time entrepreneur.

"I think a founder's job when you start a business is just to do everything that you haven't hired anyone to do just yet," Fox says.

Together with her co-founders, Fox followed her passion, validated her idea, built her first online store, and from there the wins kept on coming.

We are very lucky to have the opportunity to interview her and receive step-by-step instructions on how this first-time entrepreneur managed to build herself a worldwide business with million of customers at lightning-fast speeds.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Why you need to tap into the power of micro-influencers to quickly grow your brand
  • How to ink deals with the top brands in your niche
  • Exactly when to look for funding, and when to keep on bootstrapping
  • How to conceive, validate, and launch your idea in as fast as two months
  • What holds most online businesses back from being successful, and how to overcome them
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP161_Jodie_Fox.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48am AEDT