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

Welcome to our newest podcast format, video interviews! You can expect more of this format in the coming months. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here to be notified when we publish new videos.

Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with the co-founders of Quad Lock, a mounting device to securely attach your smartphone to your bike, car, motorcycle, arm or in any situation where you need a hands-free moment. These guys are killing it with $9 million in yearly earnings in only four years!

This was a phenomenal interview, as Peters and Ward gave us 45 minutes of pure gold on how they built a strong brand reputation and high-quality product, how they manufacture their products in China, how they got started as a simple Kickstarter project, and so much more.

They also discuss brand longevity, how to become trendsetters, and how they overcame their biggest scaling challenges. If you want to learn how to build a long-lasting brand and scale your physical-products business, this is an interview you don’t want to miss!

Key Takeaways

  • What you need to build a physical-products brand with a strong reputation
  • Why Kickstarter is a good way to introduce your brand to the market, as long as you do it right
  • How to get started and maintain manufacturing out of China
  • Quad Lock's biggest challenges around scaling, and how they have overcome them
  • Quad Lock’s philosophy on hiring A-players
Direct download: FP221_Quad_Lock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:37am AEDT

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg started their business as good friends on a couch, with nothing but their laptops and a healthy dose of hustle. Today, their millennial women-focused media company theSkimm serves seven million daily subscribers, employs 70 people, and boasts more than 30,000 enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

The company also just closed a round of Series C funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and a group of mainly female investors—including the likes of Shonda Rhimes, Tyra Banks, and Spanx founder Sara Blakely.

Weisberg and Zakin have maintained a close friendship and strong collaboration throughout their six years in business. This dynamic forms the backbone of their company and sets the tone for daily operations, which is largely focused on supporting and empowering women.

In this interview, learn about the early days of theSkimm, the power of community and connection, and how the brand monetizes its content to build a sustainable media business.

The company publishes news that fits into the daily routines of its members, continually nodding to its mission statement of making it easier for people to live smarter, more connected lives. But if you ask us, these powerful founders are the smart ones, effectively proving the mantra, “We are all stronger when we work together.”

Key Takeaways

  • How and why they waited two and a half years to monetize their community of loyal followers
  • How they monetize their content with multiple income streams to build a sustainable, well-rounded business
  • Details of the Skimm’bassadors program and why it has grown so rapidly
  • Zakin and Weisberg’s top tips for growing a content-based business
Direct download: FP220_The_Skimm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15am AEDT

Mike Michalowicz appeared to have everything an entrepreneur could want—big companies and lots of revenue coming in. But things aren’t always as they seem. As Michalowicz was high on fleeting indicators of success, his businesses were leaking profits. “I got caught up in the vanity metrics…how big my business was revenue-wise and how big my business was people-wise,” Michalowicz says.

After feeling the sting of and two failed investments and losing millions, Michalowicz found himself struggling with depression—along with a realization that ignorance and arrogance were a deadly combination. Thankfully, with support from friends and a rekindling of his love of writing, Michalowicz was able to pull himself out of the ashes and rebuild his career—this time with heart and soul.

Michalowicz used writing as a way to find solutions to all of the biggest challenges he faced as a founder. His books Profit First, Pumpkin Plan, and Clockwork tackle managing cash, business growth, and automating a company, respectively. His next book will focus on how entrepreneurs can serve a greater purpose and make an impact on the world.

Listen in and get inspired as Michalowicz gets brutally honest about his own struggles, and shares years of lessons learned to empower other entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways

  • The actions that led Michalowicz to lose millions and hit rock bottom
  • How Michalowicz found his niche and rebuilt his career after 10 failed companies
  • Why working too hard can signal a lack of efficiency
  • How to manage cash and avoid spending money you don’t have
Direct download: FP219_Mike_Michalowicz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28am AEDT

“It took me 10 years [to create my own business], because I didn’t have the courage to start. But I still had this belief that one day I would start it.”

Fortunately for Aytekin Tank and 3.7 million happy users, he ultimately did start that business—JotForm, a profitable online form builder that houses 12 million forms; integrates with Paypal, Salesforce, and Dropbox; and spans two continents.

It took Tank a decade to build that business, but he couldn't care less. In an entrepreneurial climate where rapid growth and risk-taking are worn as badges of honor, Tank considers his slow growth the reason for his strong company culture and long-term success.

Concerned that your wariness or risk aversion hinders your ability to become an entrepreneur? Listen in and get inspired by Tank’s journey. Anything is possible if you just take the plunge and then keep moving forward—no matter the pace.

Key Takeaways

  • How Tank has been able to grow consistently even though he started with zero management experience
  • The friendly company culture Tank built and why it has become so successful
  • Why Tank believes his slow and steady approach to growth has led to so much success
  • Tank’s three steps to slow and sustainable growth
Direct download: FP218_Aytekin_Tank.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49am AEDT

Scott Belsky, Behance founder, investor, and author of the new book The Messy Middle, is a strong believer in putting in the hard work and then finishing strong. His nine-figure exit from Behance is a testament to this tenacity and determination.

Behance came with its own set of challenges, but Belsky learned over the years that when it seems like things are falling apart, it could mean victory is right around the corner. Your near-meltdown might just be your “messy middle," and sometimes being successful simply means sticking together as a team long enough to figure it out. A labor of love will often work out in the end, even if it's not how you expect.

In this thought-provoking interview, Belsky shares his own “messy middle" from his time with Behance, and some of his best wisdom on product-market fit, perseverance, and startup culture. We were thrilled to get the chance to talk to Scott. There’s a ton of gold in this interview, so don’t miss it!

Key Takeaways

  • Two guiding principles on whether to stick it out or shut it down
  • Why Belsky is wary of the MVP craze, and how to balance perfectionism with action
  • Three tips for finding true product-market fit
  • How to create a startup culture that attracts and retains the right people
  • Why Belsky started Behance and what inspired his progress
Direct download: FP217_Scott_Belsky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58am AEDT

“Ninety-eight percent of landing pages suck.”

This is exactly what Unbounce founder Oli Gardner declared when he began his public speaking circuit four years ago. A bold statement, but he would know.

As co-founder of the landing page software builder, which pulls in $20 million in annual revenue, Gardner confidently claims he has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet—nearly 100,000 to be exact. These days, he's leveraging his immense knowledge on the topic to help businesses drive more leads and revenue, through Unbounce and as a speaker.

In this interview, learn about the history of Unbounce, Gardner’s top tips for becoming a better marketer, and his golden advice on how to create a landing page that gets his seal of approval.

ATTENTION: We are excited to announce that Oli has partnered with the Foundr School of Entrepreneurship to teach a powerful course, Landing Page Formula. If you want to learn the principles of conversion-center design and get a step-by-step blueprint on how to construct a high-converting landing page (templates included), Oli reveals his proven framework in this in-depth course.  We only offer open enrollment a couple of times a year, for a limited time. Get on the FREE VIP waitlist here to be one of the first we notify when we open.

Key Takeaways

  • The history of Unbounce and how the company rose to prominence
  • How to make a landing page that impresses Oli Gardner
  • Gardner’s top three tips to becoming a better marketer
Direct download: FP216_Oli_Gardner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58am AEDT

Stuart McKeown started his entrepreneurial career as a college dropout, had a short-lived stint as a DJ, and then lost thousands of dollars on his first startup attempt. But he's nothing if not persistent. McKeown is now a growth marketing and list-building master and the co-founder of Gleam.io, a growth-focused platform used by more than 20,000 brands a month.

The secret to Mckeown’s success? He never believed failure was something to be feared, but rather a means to gather the information he needed to grow.

In this interview, learn how McKeown overcame his setbacks to build a powerful platform and brand, how he establishes work/life balance for himself and his employees, and his top four tips for running a viral competition.

McKeown may not have become a world famous DJ, but by staying true to himself and striking out fearlessly despite unforeseen obstacles, he has built a brand to be proud of—a gleaming beacon of success.

ATTENTION: We are also excited to announce that Stuart has partnered with Foundr to teach an epic course, List-Building Mastery. If you want a step-by-step strategy on how to explode your email list from scratch, get your first 10,000+ subscribers, and scale to 60,000 and more, Stuart reveals all of his proven strategies in this in-depth, tactical course. We only open enrollment a couple of times a year for a limited time. Get on the FREE VIP waitlist here to be one of the first we notify when we open.

Key Takeaways:

  • Four tips for running a viral competition
  • Why building a product that relies on someone else’s infrastructure can spell disaster
  • McKeown’s low-key and casual philosophy on work/life balance
  • How and why failure is necessary for success
Direct download: FP215_Stuart_McKeown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22am AEDT

Andy Rachleff is not just a product expert; he literally coined the term “product-market fit.”

Wealthfront CEO, former VC backing companies such as eBay, Uber, and Twitter, and technology entrepreneurship instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Rachleff has a wealth of knowledge on creating and scaling powerful companies. I was excited to have the chance to pick his brain on everything from product-market fit, to how he started his company Wealthfront, to how he hires the best of the best to join his team.

In this interview, you will gain access to a true master, who has enjoyed a long career of investing in legendary companies and now gives back to today’s entrepreneurs and investors. Rachleff started his company Wealthfront, an automated investment service that manages $11 billion in assets, as a way to perform a social good by democratizing sophisticated financial advice. In our discussion, he was kind enough to divulge some of his wins and losses and top lessons learned in his storied entrepreneurial career. Enjoy!


Key Takeaways

  • How to know when you’ve reached product-market fit
  • The process Rachleff follows every time he builds a new product
  • How to know when it’s the right time to launch a new product (or let go of a failing one)
  • How to maintain a close-knit startup culture as the company grows
  • Why perseverance does not lead to success in technology (and what does)
  • What type of people he looks for and the three biggest things that make people to want to join his team

Key Resources From Our Interview With Andy Rachleff

  • Follow Andy on Twitter
  • Learn more about Wealthfront here
Direct download: FP214_Andy_Rachleff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm AEDT

You may know former Moz CEO Rand Fishkin from his characteristic curly mustache, Whiteboard Friday videos, or his SEO mastery. But this interview isn’t about linking, Google rankings, or gray-hat practices. Or mustaches.

In our chat with Fishkin, he opens up about his battle with depression and how it has shaped his past decisions and guided his current ventures. He sympathizes with the many entrepreneurs who have also succumbed to loneliness and wondered why their business success wasn’t enough to make them happy.

Fishkin also talks about his new book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World. In it, he shares the conversations entrepreneurs have about their challenges and hardships, whether personal or in their businesses. Fishkin also shares details on his new software project and why he decided to venture into another startup.

If you want to be inspired, encouraged, and take away some great advice from a long-time founder, don’t miss this interview. We hope you find it as moving as we did!

Key Takeaways

  • Why striving to emulate Silicon Valley startup culture can negatively affect your business growth
  • How and why Moz’s customer acquisition costs went down after laying off half of his marketing team
  • How to know when to sacrifice profit for growth
  • The dark side of entrepreneurial leadership
Direct download: FP213_Rand_Fishkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:26am AEDT

We are always blown away by the success stories within the Foundr community, and we take every opportunity we can to shine the spotlight on them.

In today's podcast, I am thrilled to present to you three of our Start & Scale ecommerce course students who are absolutely crushing it! I got to sit down with each one and ask them how they got started with their businesses, what challenges they faced, and what successes they are now enjoying.

You will hear from:

Adam Hendle

Adam is the founder of men’s personal care product line, Ball Wash. Adam started his ecommerce journey only eight short months ago and has already made more than $1 million in revenue.

Shamanth Pereira

Shamanth is a busy mother who created a new leggings product, and put it to the test with a pre-sale Kickstarter campaign. In a short time, she received nearly £50,000 from more than 1,500 backers. Shamanth is in the process of fulfilling those orders and putting her shop online full time.

Monique and Chevalo Wilsondebriano

Monique and Chevalo run Charleston Gourmet Burger, which was already a $200,000-per-month business, but had yet to reach its potential in online sales. Their goal was turn their website into an online store so they could generate more sales. In two months, they earned nearly $22,000 and attracted 9,110 visits to their website.

We couldn’t be happier for these guys and are proud to be part of their journeys. Please join me in congratulating them. Way to go!


Key Takeaways

  • Go behind the scenes to learn how three ecommerce stores became successful
  • Discover the two primary marketing channels Ball Wash leveraged that allowed them to scale so fast
  • How Shamanth conceptualized and developed her winning product idea
  • The learning curve for Chevalo and Monique as they transitioned their product to sell online
Direct download: FP212_SS_Student_Spotlight.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am AEDT

While he always had a passion for entrepreneurship, Shane Snow started his career as a freelance journalist, and during that time noticed how many of his peers were struggling to market themselves and find work. This frustration fueled his desire to develop the global content marketing platform, Contently. Contently is a unified content marketing solution for the world’s biggest enterprise brands, and it’s also a tremendous source of income for creative freelancers. By Snow’s best estimates, Contently has paid out more than $46 million (and counting) to freelancers around the globe.

As successful as his time at Contently has been, Snow never stopped being a writer at heart, and now he's back at it. He recently hired a CMO for Contently and became “founder-at-large,” relieving himself of the day-to-day management and freeing up his time to reunite with his first career love.

Today, you can find Snow promoting his soon-to-be-published book, Dream Teams, and otherwise sharing his expertise on team building and storytelling for founders. In this interview, Snow shares his journey to the top of the entrepreneurial mountain and back home again, along with his best advice learned from a seven-year reign at Contently.


Key Takeaways

  • The two realizations Snow had that sparked the idea for Contently
  • How Snow transitioned out of his role as founder and returned back to his former love of journalism
  • Snow's counterintuitive advice on team building and how it relates to innovation
  • One of the most important things we can do as leaders and team members to build relationships

Key Resources From Our Interview With Shane Snow

Direct download: FP211_Shane_Snow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm AEDT

Hiten Shah has a killer track record when comes to creating software products. He and his co-founders have built several multimillion-dollar releases, including Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, and many of their features were the first of their kind to hit the industry.

It might seem like Shah has stumbled onto a secret formula for software-building success. But to him, it’s simply a matter of creating what his audience wants. Solving a problem is the biggest determinant of a software’s success, and Shah builds this methodology into every new piece he creates.

In this informative interview, Shah shares the details behind his process, from planning the software build and ensuring a market fit, to hiring the right people to bring it to life. As an avid mentor and advisor, Shah also answers our own, real world questions about future software builds for Foundr. Listen in and get inspired!


Key Takeaways

  • Learn about Shah’s newest software products to hit the market
  • The secret to building a profitable software product (it starts long before the first line of code is written)
  • How to avoid building something nobody wants
  • When to hire internally and when to outsource when building a SaaS product
  • Where most product managers go wrong during development
  • How to prevent your software tool from getting too bloated and overcomplicated

Key Resources

  • Sign up for Shah's newsletter here
Direct download: FP210_Hiten_Shah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am AEDT

It only took six hours for Asher Tan and Ryan Zhou to put together the incubator pitch for CoinJar, a vision for a next-gen personal finance account that would capitalize on the growing interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Five years later, CoinJar is a leading digital currency platform in Australia and the self-proclaimed “fastest way to access your money from anywhere in the world.” CoinJar’s users can spend, send, and trade their bitcoins, dollars, and pounds globally.

Despite the major challenges that come with scaling in a global market, the company has been profitable for the past three years. In this insightful interview, these brave founders share how they overcome scaling challenges, their next products to hit the market, and their top tips for entrepreneurs interested in creating fintech startups. Enjoy!


Key Takeaways

  • The specific challenges that come with scaling in a volatile market
  • Why prioritizing word-of-mouth marketing wins over other advertising channels in this industry
  • The duo's next products to hit the market
  • Tan and Zhou’s top tips for fintech startups
Direct download: FP209_Tan_Zhou.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17am AEDT

For Pura Vida co-founders Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, a chance meeting with two Native jewelry artisans on a beach in Costa Rica sparked an idea that would forever change their lives. They're now running a rapidly growing brand that not only inspires tremendous customer loyalty, but also promotes products that give back in a big way.

Pura Vida (which means “pure life” in Spanish) has grown rapidly since its inception, but this isn’t the brand’s most appealing aspect. Customers also love the company, because it has provided sustainable jobs to 350+ jewelry artisans worldwide, and donated more than $1.5 million to charities using proceeds from its products.

In this inspiring interview, learn how Pura Vida has leveraged influencer marketing and social media to spread its brand message and create a global movement of loyal customers. Matching creative social strategies with a passionate mission has made this brand a massive success and we are proud to feature them. Way to go Pura Vida!

Key Takeaways

  • The company's unique micro-infuencer marketing program that forms the backbone of their promotional marketing campaigns
  • The monthly subscription club that is the fastest-growing part of the business
  • The strategies behind the company’s high customer engagement
  • How Pura Vida creates a culture and lasting experiences that contribute to customer loyalty
Direct download: FP208_Griffin_Thall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am AEDT

I’m excited to share a very special interview with you today! Mitchell Harper has been my long-time mentor and coach and a driving force behind Foundr’s success. I’m thrilled to share his story with you so you can glean some entrepreneurial gold from his experience.

Harper started his entrepreneurial journey as a software developer, building games as early as 12 years old. He built his first businesses in his teens and sold his first company around the time he graduated high school.

Partnering with another developer in 2003, Harper created Interspire, a suite of software tools for businesses, and grew it to $10 million in revenue in four years. The company eventually became BigCommerce, now one of the web's premier shopping cart platforms. BigCommerce has raised $250 million in its short lifetime, recently hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue, and the company is still growing.

While his big career wins might suggest otherwise, Harper says he is risk-averse and doesn’t believe entrepreneurs need to be big risk takers to achieve high levels of success. He prefers taking the safe route and reveals his strategies for building high impact, low-risk businesses. In this inspiring interview, Harper also shares how he battled with depression and what his journey to wholeness taught him about work/life balance.

I’m so privileged and lucky to have Mitch as a mentor and to introduce him to our Foundr family. Please listen in and get inspired by the man who has been an integral part of Foundr’s success!

Key Takeaways

  • Why timing is critical when securing investors, from seizing the opportunity early on to waiting long enough to mitigate risk
  • Mitch’s top book recommendation for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital
  • Why entrepreneurs don’t need to “risk it all” to become successful.
  • Mitch’s battle with depression and how he altered his life to avoid burnout and achieve work/life balance
  • The power of an A-player team to grow companies
Direct download: FP207_Mitch_Harper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am AEDT

Lynda Weinman sold her 20-year company Lynda.com to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. What is she doing now? She is reinventing herself and enjoying her new role as a champion of independent film.

Weinman is no stranger to the concept of reinvention. In fact, it's that very spirit of constant evolution that led her to become a trailblazer in the online education space, and to ultimately make a massive exit.

Her journey started with a career in animation and special effects, of all things, and even included running a punk store on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. She continued to pivot, until her creative endeavors eventually led her to education, and a business model that allowed her to teach thousands of laypeople about complex tech topics.

The company started as a brick-and-mortar classroom, but after the economic decline that followed the tragic terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Weinman was forced to take Lynda in a new direction. To weather the economic storm, she transitioned to the online subscription business model of Lynda.com.

Lynda.com’s growth was slow going until social media gained ground in 2006, a movement that helped catapult her company's revenue to $40 million and beyond. Even though Weinman never thought about selling, when the offer came in, she knew she had to pull the trigger

Working relentlessly on Lynda for the past 20 years and now in her early 60s, Weinman has set her sights on a new course. She's now the president of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and invests in independent filmmakers using charitable grants. In this interview, Weinman shares the journey that led to her $1.5 billion exit, how and why she has continued reinventing herself, and her top advice for entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways

  • The emotions that accompany the process of letting go of a 20-year company in three short months
  • Why it may not be wise to focus on churn rate and what to focus on instead
  • Why getting investors can be a wise choice if you are planning on selling your company
  • Lynda Weinman’s three top tips for entrepreneurs
Direct download: FP206_Lynda_Weinman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:41pm AEDT

A health crisis that landed Munjal Shah in the ER turned out to be the catalyst for his next mission: making the world a healthier place.
On the day Munjal Shah started running a 10K race back in 2010, he was on top of the world. Just the day before, he had sold his company to Google, marking his second successful exit.

Then the chest pains started. Shah wound up in the ER, and while it didn’t end up being a heart attack, the incident was a sobering reminder that his own father had had one while in his 40s. It was a wake-up call for Shah, who was 37 at the time. He started focusing on his health, lost 40 pounds, and decided his next entrepreneurial endeavor would make the world a healthier place.

“People always say, ‘Go find your mission,’” Shah says. He’s now the founder of a new and growing insurance startup called Health IQ, which encourages healthy behavior by taking a data-driven approach to its coverage. “I would say my mission found me.”

Key Takeaways

  • The journey that led to two successful exits (one was with Google)
  • The unconventional, non-scalable hiring methods that led Shah to build A-player teams
  • How Shah discovered his mission and how this fuels his startup’s success
  • Shah’s top advice for founders looking to raise a round of financing
  • When and how to pivot: the key to Shah’s successful track record
  • Shah’s top tips for busy entrepreneurs (it has nothing to do with meetings, investors, or customers)
Direct download: FP205_Munjal_Shah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm AEDT

In business, in life, and even behind the wheel of his actual race car, Mike Dillard goes from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye.

In stark contrast to his calm voice and introverted nature, Dillard is a pioneer willing to crash through boundaries and challenge common wisdom. He just prefers to do it through the written word, rather than grand speeches or face-to-face encounters.

The core principle driving Dillard’s pedal-to-the-metal attitude? He deeply believes in the power of one person to change their community, their industry, and maybe even the world. “I approach life with a core belief that anyone can accomplish anything,” his website bio reads. “That not only can one man or woman make a difference, but that it’s one man or woman who always makes the difference.”

Key Takeaways

  • How Dillard leveraged his introverted nature to find success in an extrovert-driven world
  • The biggest crash of Dillard’s career, which cost him $12 million in revenue overnight
  • The one thing Dillard needs to build a business (it has nothing to do with money)
  • The mission and purpose that has guided Dillard (through the bad times) to build the business of his dreams
Direct download: FP204_Mike_Dillard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03pm AEDT

Dmitry Dragilev has a typical entrepreneurial story, but maybe a little more extreme. Bored in his dead-end, corporate job, he was fearful of ending up like his older, unsatisfied peers. One day, Dragilev read in a magazine about what was going on in Silicon Valley, and up and quit.

He sold everything he owned, hopped in his car, and made his way to California. Equipped only with a knowledge of coding and a drive to succeed, Dragilev had made a decision that changed the rest of his life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dragilev's unique growth marketing approach for building sustainable, consistent traffic
  • How to build quality relationships with journalists to increase your brand's exposure
  • How Dragilev helped two companies skyrocket sales with two PR strategies
  • The quick website fix that resulted in a two-second improvement in user session time
Direct download: FP203_Dmitry_Dragilev.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37am AEDT

The Comeback Kid

In 2013, Eric Siu bought a failing SEO agency for two dollars. Today, he’s built it into a digital marketing powerhouse that serves giants of the tech industry.

These days, Eric Siu rubs elbows with the internet marketing elite, hosting a popular podcast with online guru Neil Patel, and leading the successful agency Single Grain, which boasts clients like Uber, Amazon, and Salesforce.

But go back about six years, and Eric Siu was just a 25-year-old new hire entrusted with the monumental task of saving a tanking company.

“A month into it, the CEO pulls me aside,” Siu recalls, “and he's like, ‘Eric, you know, 48 people, their families, they're riding on your shoulders right now, and if you can't hit numbers in the next month, we're gonna have to let you go.’”

Siu had taken a job leading the marketing for education startup Treehouse. He loved the product and the team, but he had no idea the revenues were stagnant. It hadn’t hit its numbers goals in the last two years, and when Siu came onboard, the company had only five or six months of cash left in the bank.

“I was like, ‘Oh, damn. We're gonna go down, and it's me that's kind of responsible for revenue growth because it's a subscription-based product.’”

After seeing some traction on Treehouse’s YouTube account, Siu took a gamble and put all the company’s budget into YouTube advertising. This was 2012, and Facebook ads hadn’t quite taken off. And for Treehouse, which teaches video courses on coding and web design, YouTube was a natural fit. Siu began bidding on promising keywords, and the team created an inspirational video ad inspired by Apple’s slick aesthetic.

“We just started cranking out a bunch of sign-ups that way,” Siu says. “The price point wasn't that bad, and so things started to really blow up there.”

From there, Siu fired their PR agency and started working with one that was paid for performance. By the time he left Treehouse, Siu says he’d helped take the company from about 500 new subscribers a month to between 3,500 and 4,000. Now, Treehouse sees $15 million in annual revenue, according to a March 2018 Mixergy interview with CEO Ryan Carson. “So they're fantastic now,” Siu says. “They're just building on top of everything that they're doing.”

That may sound like an exceptional comeback, but it was only the beginning for Siu. From there he embarked on a career of getting into tight spots, taking risks, sometimes failing, and then making comebacks, all culminating in the success of his digital marketing agency.

Lose Money Now, Make Much More Later

It’s important to note that, while Treehouse was bringing in more customers, it wasn’t profitable in the short term. That gets to an important concept that Siu believes isn’t talked about enough, but has been an important one in his work to breathe new life into companies—the payback period.

They payback period is the length of time required to recover the cost on an investment. According to Siu, mastering the payback period can mean the difference between a quick, small ROI, and building a company with a huge payday.

For SaaS businesses, payback period tends to be long, with some companies not breaking even on an investment until 18 months out. But if they look at the long term, they know they can make back way more than that initial investment if they’re patient, understand the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer, and know their numbers well.

In episode 551of their Marketing School podcast, Siu and Patel talk about the difference between seven-figure versus nine-figure businesses. Seven-figure businesses want a return on investment right away. Nine-figure businesses, however, are willing to lose money at first because they know the lifetime value of their customers.

Siu points to ClickFunnels as a great example of how understanding payback period can pay off in the long run. The marketing funnels software company is completely bootstrapped and reached $60 million in annual recurring revenue in 2017.

“The reason they're able to do that is because they have their numbers locked down,” he explains. “They are willing to perhaps even break even or lose money on the front end, right? So let's say when they first acquire an email or even a free trial in the beginning, they're going to lose money, but they know that their funnel in the backend is so locked down that they can upsell people on, you know, their mastermind or other bundles, things like that.”

Siu gives a hypothetical example too: Let’s say it costs you $1,200 to acquire a customer who pays $100 a month. The payback period, then, is 12 months. But if you can find a way to increase that price to $300 a month, you’re looking at a payback period that takes one-third the time. With the extra cash from the monthly recurring revenue of that customer, you can reinvest in your company to grow it faster. That’s why Siu emphasizes the importance of getting your pricing right. In fact, he says if he could go back to his Treehouse days, he would increase prices.

The Single Grain Salvage

Before he even hit the one-year mark with Treehouse, Siu set his sights on the next rescue mission: a failing SEO agency where Neil Patel was a partner. Armed with the marketing chops he honed at Treehouse, Siu was up for the challenge.

“But going to a company that I thought had a lot of problems,” he says, “that I thought was a house of cards, that I thought was going to be in big trouble—that was a different challenge.”

And even though he wasn’t thrilled to return to the agency world, the gamer in Siu saw it as a fun opportunity. “I thought the challenge of saving a stagnant company was really interesting because...I just see every challenge as, like, the game, right? It's just fun to play.”

At the time, Single Grain was an SEO agency with four partners. When Siu came onboard, he says the company was doing about $1.1 million a year, relying completely on SEO services, mainly link building for clients. But then the Google Penguin update happened, decimating Single Grain’s efforts.

“The work that the company was doing was no longer having an effect,” Siu says, “so customers just started churning left and right, and that's when we had to basically make a change. And that's when I popped in.”

But Siu had his work cut out for him. This time around, it wasn’t just marketing. He was in charge of operations too, and the company needed to get some processes in place. “Basically, when I came in, everything was on fire.”

Siu had to lay some people off because their roles were no longer relevant after the Google update. He then turned the company’s efforts to content marketing as the next logical step. Upon a recommendation, he hired a head of content marketing, which ended up being a mistake.

“This person was actually really toxic and caused four of our clients to leave,” he says. After that, two employees quit and morale was low.

Even though things had gone from bad to worse, Siu hung on.

The $2 Buyout

So let’s take stock of just where Siu was at in 2013: He was hired to resuscitate a dying company, he had to lay off employees, he hired the wrong person for a key role, his employees’ morale was low, and oh yeah, he had to take out a personal loan just to make payroll.

“I didn't know what the hell I was doing,” Siu says. “And I think a lot of times when it comes to business, or just when you're starting out, honestly, I think it's okay to say you don't know what you're doing.”

And then, leadership started to cave. One of the partners admitted to Siu that he wanted out, and the other three agreed that the company was worth nothing. While this easily could’ve been the end of Single Grain, Siu had an idea.

“I said, ‘Hey, guys, I will buy the company, I’ll take on the load, I'll put it on my shoulders, I'll see what I can do with it.’”

He offered one dollar to Neil Patel and one dollar to another partner, for 10 percent of their shares in the company. The other two partners, he offered to pay with profits from the company.

“So it's a buyout, but the contingency is if the company fails, I will owe nothing. So we signed that agreement, got it done, and it was off to the races,” Siu says.

He had his work cut out for him, as the company was in the negative when Siu took over; plus, its source of leads, Neil Patel, was now gone.

Meanwhile, as everything seemed to be falling apart, Siu continued to try to grow a podcast, Growth Everywhere,spending six hours a week recording and producing the episodes. One year into it, he was getting only nine downloads a day. But again, he powered through.

“Here's the thing,” he says, “you just keep going, right?” Now Growth Everywhere gets up to 80,000 downloads a month. Plus, it turned out to be a great lead generator for Single Grain.

Slowly but surely, Single Grain began gaining leads through organic search. Siu decided to refer those leads out and worked out referral deals with agencies, getting 25 to 30 percent of the lifetime of each customer. Siu says the referral income generated about $250,000 to $300,000 a year, but he wasn’t satisfied. “The kind of competitive spirit in me is like, ‘Okay, I wonder if we can build this thing up to be a paid advertising agency.’"

So Single Grain started experimenting with taking on its own clients and noticed retention went up, and clients were happier. Traffic was coming in from the podcast, organic search, and speaking events. Today, the company has 34 people working at an office in downtown L.A. The Single Grain website has gone from 4,000 visitors a month to about 80,000, and Siu believes it will reach half a million fairly quickly.

Content Marketing Is King

Take a look at Single Grain’s website, and you’ll see big client names such as Intuit, Amazon, and Salesforce. So what’s Siu’s secret for snagging premium clients? “Every single client that we have, whether it's a Uber or Lyft or TrustPilot, or whatever it is exactly, all came from content marketing.” In fact, up until recently, Single Grain didn’t even have an outbound team.

In the past, Siu says people from his management team have challenged him on the amount spent on content marketing, asking to see the ROI. So he did a breakdown of each client to see where they came from: podcasts, organic search, relationships Siu built up with people, and speaking opportunities. “It was all basically content marketing.”

When clients come through inbound or content marketing, Siu says, the sales cycle is much shorter than with outbound. Instead of waiting months for a deal to close, the time is cut down to weeks. In addition, the lifetime value of that client is longer, because after reading your blog posts, listening to your podcasts, and watching your videos, they feel like they know you. That leads to a longer-lasting relationship.

Another note Siu adds about client acquisition is that it pays off to specialize. At first, Single Grain focused on paid advertising for SaaS and education companies. They were able to boost their prices based on their specialty and proven framework.

“If anybody's trying to sell anything,” he explains, “when people ask you how you're different, the more you can niche down, at least in the very beginning, the more you can charge premium prices and the more you can focus in and maybe grow faster.”

Smooth Operator

Most of the employees at Treehouse were remote, so when Siu took over Single Grain, shutting down the San Francisco office and transitioning to a remote company seemed like a no-brainer. But as Siu puts it, it’s one of the “massive mistakes” he made.

Without having built up a rapport with his team and without understanding the relationships they had with each other, Siu says he shouldn’t have made an executive decision of that size, especially without asking for team input. “That totally devastated the culture, in my mind,” he says. “And I think when it comes to a services-based business, like this, where it requires a lot of creativity and collaboration, it's tough to have a completely remote atmosphere.”

So Siu shifted to a hybrid method: He and the team work in the office three days a week and remotely two days a week. “I just know that when we're in the office…we can just get so much done that way.”

To maximize productivity, Siu uses these two tools:

  • 15Five is a performance-tracking software that allows continuous feedback among your teammates. Grounded in positive psychology, it lets you see how people are feeling on a scale of one to five. It also allows employees to set priorities, report what they did for the week, and give each other high fives. “We can see how engaged people are. And that's one of the main core drivers, because 15Five allows us to see, even if you're filling out a five every single week...we can see in your answers, we can read between the lines to see how you're really feeling.”
  • Hubstaff is a time-tracking software that takes screenshots of each employee’s computer at random. “So here's the thing,” Siu says, “I don't like time tracking. But as an agency, service-based business, you kind of have to track your time to see how profitable you are per account.” And though he sees Hubstaff’s features as a bit “big brothery,” Siu says, “I personally don't like that kind of stuff, but I think it's really important, especially if we have contractors, from time to time.”

In addition to those tools, Single Grain has one-on-ones, as well as traction meetings with each team. “That's helped make us into a well-oiled machine,” Siu says, “and everyone's much happier now.”

Eric Siu’s Tips for Hiring Great Talent

When it comes to tapping into new talent for the team, Siu’s got a process worked out for that too.

  1. Establish core values. Even though people think it’s cliche, establishing what your company’s core values are before you begin hiring is essential.
  2. Assign homework. For new hires, it’s important to assign a tryout exercise. “It shows at the end of the day how serious they are about doing it.” Single Grain uses an applicant tracking system called Workable, where people can comment on it.
  3. Conduct one-way video interviews for more junior roles. Siu uses Spark Hire to conduct one-way recorded video interviews. “Because the thing is, with a lot of junior roles, you're going to get a lot of noise. Through a video interview, it's more asynchronous, so I can look at it whenever I want, or my team can. Or if it's a salesperson, we'll run them through a test called Objective Management Group, which has been fantastic.”
  4. Own the hiring decision. Siu always makes sure to be at the tail end of the interview process. “So whether it's an intern or anybody else, even if it's a remote person, I get to talk to the person,” he says. “I get to make the final call. Because then I can kind of own the decision at the end and say, ‘Hey, it's ultimately my fault if something goes wrong.’”
  5. Check those references! Yes, Single Grain does check references, and Siu judges the quality of the candidate based on this question: Are the first three references really excited about this person? Siu says he’s even been in a situation where he was about to make an offer but pulled it last minute because of the result of the reference checks. “We dig a little deeper, and we find out: can’t do it.”

Leveling Up: What’s Next for Single Grain

Never one to slow down, Siu’s already working on his next big projects. Right now, Single Grain is working on a SaaS product called ClickFlow, which helps companies get more organic traffic by boosting organic click-through rates.

On top of that, he’s writing a book, entitled Leveling Up as a nod to his competitive gaming days. “I just see this entire thing as a game,” he says. “Just plugging things together, making systems work, making it all happen.” Once the book is ready, he hopes he can use it to educate people on marketing and maybe even recruit talent to his agency or others. Siu also plans to do more live events and add an education component to his company.

“I think it all kind of plugs in together,” he says. “And I think the ultimate goal is just to give back and invest in education, because that's what I love.”

Key Takeaways:

  • What payback periods are and why understanding them is integral to scaling any business
  • How Siu bought a failing company for $2 and turned it into a powerhouse digital marketing agency
  • Siu’s most powerful strategy for snagging premium clients (it’s not a sales team)
  • The top tools remote companies can use to maximize productivity
  • Siu’s best tips for hiring great talent
Direct download: FP202_Eric_Siu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57am AEDT

To Sabri Suby, business is a jungle and only the strong survive. To be successful, you need to dominate the digital landscape and crush the competition into a fine powder. That fierce attitude has served Suby, and his clients, very well over the years.

Suby is the founder of King Kong, the fastest-growing digital marketing agency in Australia. Last year, King Kong raked in $7 million in revenue from its digital marketing campaigns, over $200 million in sales for its clients, and this year, is aiming to top that.

Hustling since he was a teen, Suby learned how to sell early on. Making a whole lot of cold calls over the course of his life, he never let up. Starting King Kong in his bedroom on his girlfriend's laptop, Suby preferred to jump into the trenches and get his hands dirty instead of wasting time reading business books and attending events. That unrelenting approach definitely paid off.

Listen in as Suby discusses why his agency scaled to millions in revenue so quickly, how to dominate direct response marketing, and why a service-based business should be the top choice for entrepreneurs.

ATTENTION: Suby has partnered with Foundr to teach an epic new course, "Consulting Empire.” If you want to learn how to start and scale a service-based business, whether you are a consultant, coach or freelancer, Suby reveals all of his golden strategies (the exact ones he used to scale from zero to $10 million) in this new course. It’s just about ready so get on the free VIP waitlist here to be one of the first we notify when it launches!

Direct download: FP201_Sabri_Suby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39am AEDT

I refuse to lose.”

It's the mantra that has guided Foundr CEO Nathan Chan through the highs and lows of becoming an entrepreneur. It helped him resist the naysayers, and confront deep insecurities and self-doubt, to build the business he fell in love with right away. That sense of determination and drive continues to fuel Foundr’s big goal of impacting tens of millions of entrepreneurs around the globe with world-class resources and training.

In this inspiring interview, Nathan gets up close and personal and takes us behind the scenes of what it was like starting Foundr—the good and not so good—and the many lessons he learned along the way. Interviewed by Dave Hobson, our head of product and business development and one of the first to join the Foundr team, the two reminisce about the early days, the first goals the company set, and the memorable moments that transformed the company from a side hustle to global presence.

Pull up a chair and a drink (Does Nathan prefer wine or beer? Find out in this interview!) and learn more about Foundr, how the company started, and where it is headed in the near future. Nathan shares it all in this special 200th podcast episode. We promise you this is an interview that will inspire you for many years to come.


Key Takeaways

  • How Nathan transitioned from his day job to full-time entrepreneur and why the timing was critical to his success
  • What separates the entrepreneurial success stories from those who never make it happen
  • How to minimize risk where you can while still making huge strides for your business
  • The importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses and getting the right advice from mentors. This is one of the keys to Foundr’s growth.
Direct download: FP200_David__Nathan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am AEDT

As a lifelong, accomplished dancer, Payal Kadakia never thought she would become an entrepreneur. But it was that very love of dance that compelled her to help others pursue or rekindle their own passions.

Driven by a strong desire to create something with potential to change people's lives, Kadakia created ClassPass, a platform that helps fitness and dance enthusiasts find and book classes in 8,500 studios in 50 cities around the world. Kadakia has appeared on prominent lists such as Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs and Marie Claire’s Most Influential Women in America, and ClassPass has been ranked among the fastest-growing technology companies in North America.

It may sound like Kadakia effortlessly glided from performing arts to business, but her seven-year journey was full of setbacks. She overcame several problems and had to pivot twice to stay afloat and then thrive.

In this interview, Kadakia explains how she turned her personal passion into a successful business, including the importance of partnerships and how being “mission-obsessed” instead of “product-obsessed” fueled her growth. She also discusses the power of purpose in entrepreneurship and the principles of real perseverance.


Key Takeaways

  • How passion and success are closely related and how entrepreneurs can connect the two
  • Why having heart and soul in business is crucial for problem-solving
  • The partnership model that made ClassPass so successful
  • Why the size of your company doesn’t matter if you follow your mission
Direct download: FP199_Payal_Kadakia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am AEDT

In today’s podcast, we are shining the spotlight on one of our successful Instagram Domination students, Zach Benson. This driven entrepreneur is in the trenches daily doing what it takes to make his startup dreams (and travel dreams) a reality. And he’s done a great job. We couldn’t be prouder!

Benson was a former professional breakdancer who suffered an injury that ended his dance career. Looking for a “plan B,” he turned to Instagram and joined the Instagram Domination course to learn how to build his personal travel pages and drive valuable traffic. He’s done so well, that in the last 18 months, 170 exotic hotels have given him free stays in exchange for exposure to his network, and he is on track to hit $1 million in revenue.

But, the real magic happened when Benson partnered with a few Instagram Domination students and started an agency to help people grow and manage their Instagram accounts. The agency, Assistagram, has worked with high-profile clients such as The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton and currently services 50 other companies.

Benson is grateful to the Instagram Domination community for allowing him to connect with like-minded people and create a thriving business fueled by his passions for travel and social media. We are so happy for him and the success he has achieved. Way to go, Zach!

Key Takeaways

  • How to build Instagram fan pages quickly to drive traffic to your company website
  • Why Instagram is still powerful even with the recent algorithm changes
  • What kind of content to post if you want to build brand awareness and grow your following
Direct download: FP198_Zach_Benson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35am AEDT

At 24 years of age Noah Kagan got tired of being fired. After getting the boot from Facebook and other companies, Kagan decided to create his own job and live life by his own rules. Those rules included posting taco-loving blogs, shooting over-the-top YouTube vids and creating Sumo, an eight-figure global company that empowers business owners to grow their brands using cool, geeky software tools.

Kagan likes to make business exciting and embraces the madness of entrepreneurial life. But aside from his contagious energy, he has a lot of knowledge and loves to help entrepreneurs. In this interview, he shares the lessons he learned building an eight-figure company and his top tips for hiring and maintaining A-player teams.

Kagan also stresses the importance of building relationships in this “era of Tinder-ization,” and teaches entrepreneurs how to set and track intentional goals to drive companies forward. Throw back a few (drinks or tacos) and listen in as Kagan shares his life and business adventures and helps entrepreneurs build and market profitable businesses.


Key Takeaways

  • The underestimated importance of relationship building in today’s market
  • How to create and keep a team of innovative employees who are team players
  • Why some vanity metrics, although exciting, can be a time and talent suck
  • How to set long and short-term goals that advance businesses
Direct download: FP197_Noah_Kagan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am AEDT

Dan Siroker has always believed in the power of data and experimentation. A former project manager at Google and director of analytics under President Barack Obama, Siroker believes that experimentation should be one of the highest-order cultural values of an organization. To that end, Siroker co-founded Optimizely, a globally adopted software tool that enables businesses to experiment and fine-tune their businesses based on data.

From product development to front-end conversions, Siroker believes that a culture of experimentation should start from the top and trickle to the bottom, fueling growth on a large scale. Otherwise, organizations that are too afraid of risk and intolerant of failure end up undermining their ability to innovate.

In this interview, Siroker shares his strong belief in the power of experimentation, and how startups can use data to their advantage, now more than ever. He also shares one of the biggest lessons he's learned in his entrepreneurial career, and how he is building a 100-year legacy with his company.

Direct download: FP196_Dan_Siroker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17am AEDT

Growing up as a fanatical skateboarder first in Ohio and then moving to California as a teen to pursue skating professionally, many of his friends and fellow skateboarders were older than him and running their own businesses.

From a very young age, he was steeped in skateboarding’s DIY culture, always on the lookout for the next frontier in the sport, or scrappy new brand to emerge from the scene. From skate shops to clothing companies, Dyrdek was exposed to a variety of entrepreneurial ventures early in life.

Key Takeaways

  • The core traits Dyrdek looks for when investing in businesses and entrepreneurs
  • What his “core to more” philosophy is and how it contributes to a company’s longevity
  • Dyrdek’s many business successes (and failures) and what he learned from each
Direct download: FP195_Rob_Dyrdek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24am AEDT

Former firefighter Steve McLeod turned his passion for helping people into a nationwide business, scaling his Fire and Safety Australia company to eight figures in 10 years. In addition to running a profitable company, McLeod also empowers entrepreneurs by teaching them how to become more courageous and run goal-focused businesses that never give up.

According to McLeod, it takes courage to protect and serve, especially when danger could be present at every turn. But it takes another kind of courage to withstand the pressures of entrepreneurship to build and scale a $20 million dollar company.

In this inspiring interview, McLeod discusses his latest book, Courage for Profit, and reveals some of the gold he has learned from his own struggles, successes, and failures. He outlines the key principles entrepreneurs need to embody if they want to scale their businesses. We salute McLeod for his passion for serving and helping people. Way to go!


Key Takeaways

  • The 4-part formula that fueled McLeod’s massive success
  • The red-green-yellow matrix system for smashing goals (you've probably never heard this before)
  • The key to being super-focused, even if you struggle with constant distractions
  • The two most important things you need to know to scale your company
  • How to hire and keep the employees who will drive your business forward
Direct download: FP194_Steve_McLeod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49am AEDT

Gary Muller’s company is thriving. His Mill House Inn in East Hampton, New York has been in business for 20 years and recognized by Travel + Leisure and the Travel Channel, highly rated by Zagat, and featured in other prominent publications. His properties have welcomed celebrities and prominent people from all over the world.

If you ask Muller the secret to his success, he'll likely tell you that his family is largely responsible. "Family" is how Muller describes his employees at the inn, and he believes all leaders should treat team members as such, displaying empathy, instilling trust, and creating an environment where going “above and beyond” is a daily occurrence.

Muller is in the people-helping business. Whether that means serving his cherished guests or connecting with his work family, his care for other people runs throughout his unique leadership style. Learn how Muller has grown such a loyal and dedicated team, and how he fosters a work culture that has led to massive business success.

Key Takeaways

  • The most important trait to look for in a potential hire (it has nothing to do with skills)
  • When it’s time to let people go, even if it pains you to do so
  • The difference between leadership and management, and how one is critical to growing a business
  • How to ensure your team is doing their best work, without micromanaging
Direct download: FP193_Gary_Muller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:08am AEDT

Welcome back to our “Best of Foundr” podcast series!

To celebrate Foundr’s 5th birthday, we put together a series of special edition podcast episodes that feature the best snippets from our most popular episodes. We pulled out the gems from each of your favorite interviews and compiled them into a three-week series of pure content gold.

This week we are focusing on hustle, motivation, mindset, and getting shit done! In this episode, we have one of my heroes and the king of hustle, Gary Vee. We also have memory and productivity wizard Jim Kwik, morning routine master Hal Elrod, and the mindset king himself, Tony Robbins!

While I have loved the releases in this special birthday series so far, I have to say, we saved some of the best for last. In this episode, you will be challenged and motivated to seriously move to the next level!

Direct download: FP192_5th_Birthday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am AEDT

Welcome to our special “Best of Foundr” edition of the podcast!

To celebrate Foundr’s 5th birthday, we put together a series of special edition podcast episodes that feature the best snippets from our most popular episodes. We pulled out the gems from each of your favorite interviews and compiled them into a three-week series of pure content gold.

This is the second week of our three-part series.  Last week, we heard from four successful entrepreneurs on how to build an epic online presence.

This week we are focusing on investing, sales, and scaling your business. You will be learning from two masters of sales, Ben Chaib and Matthew Kimberley; from the shark himself, Robert Herjavec, on investing and scaling your business; and lastly from Mr. E-Myth himself, Michael Gerber, on setting your business up to scale.

These are some of my personal favorites that have had a huge influence on how Foundr is run today! Enjoy listening to the best of the best!

Direct download: FP191_5th_Birthday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52am AEDT

Welcome to our special “Best of Foundr” edition of the podcast!

To celebrate Foundr’s 5th birthday, we put together a series of special edition podcast episodes that feature the best snippets from our most popular episodes. We pulled out the gems from each of your favorite interviews and compiled them into a three-week series of pure content gold.

This week we are focusing on how to create an online presence with content marketing and Instagram. We are featuring some serious advice from our conversations with Gretta Rose van Riel, queen of Instagram and Influencer marketing; Darren Rowse, the OG of the blogging world; Deonna Monique, Instagram millionaire; and content king Derek Flanzraich, founder of Greatist.

Enjoy listening to the best of the best!

Key Takeaways

  • The influencer marketing strategies behind Gretta van Riel’s multimillion-dollar ecommerce brands
  • How to build a successful content-based business with Darren Rowse
  • The branding and traffic strategies behind Greatist’s massive success
  • How to use Instagram to generate millions of dollars in your niche with Deonna Monique
Direct download: FP190_5th_Birthday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:29am AEDT

Welcome to Foundr's fifth birthday celebration!

Over the past five years, we’ve been blessed to interact with an awesome community of passionate entrepreneurs who are making it happen and turning their dreams into reality. We want to honor these inspiring entrepreneurs in our community by sharing their stories and highlighting their successes.

In today's special episode, we talk with Austin Peterson, a rising entrepreneur who is working in the trenches daily to build his vintage truck restoration business Black Dog Traders.

Austin reached out to me for advice in early 2017, and it's been amazing to watch him build his business to new heights. In this episode, we're airing a one-on-one coaching session with Austin and mentor David Brim, founder of Tomcar Australia, who is helping him take his business to the next level.

In this episode, get the inside scoop on the advice that is helping Peterson optimize his production, streamline his processes, and continue to scale his company in the coming year.

Well done Austin! We look forward to your continued success!


Key Takeaways:

  • David Brim’s advice on how to optimize production and streamline processes
  • How Tomcar acquires leads and funnels them through its sales process
  • Why offering too many product options can hinder a sale
  • When and how to outsource to speed up your results
Direct download: FP189_David_Brim_Austin_Peterson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:38am AEDT

“I’m not crippled with being perfect. I’m crippled with not doing,” Gary Vaynerchuk says, and that about sums up the philosophy that propels him ahead in life and business—avoiding hesitation and seizing the moment at all costs.

To many, Vaynerchuck (aka Gary Vee) needs no introduction. He’s a serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times-bestselling author, venture capitalist, popular podcast host, and sought-after public speaker serving an audience of millions. And he's showing no signs of slowing down.

How does this guy accomplish so much? Vaynerchuk doesn’t agonize or hesitate when starting something new. He dives in voraciously, working his ass off and learning as he goes. He also never aspires to "have it all." Too often, entrepreneurs strive for some lofty material goal as the finish line, but for Vaynerchuk, having it all begins on the first day we embark on our entrepreneurial journeys. The reward is in the process itself.

In this interview, Vaynerchuk shares tidbits from his new book Crushing It! (an updated version of his 2009 bestseller), unpacks epic branding and marketing tips that have led to his success, and reveals his personal philosophy on GSD.

Gary Vee wants aspiring entrepreneurs to crush it with him. Are you on board? Listen in and get inspired.


Key Takeaways

  • What it really means to “have it all,” and why you may already have it
  • Why trying instead of doing leads to stagnation
  • Why all businesses need to be media producers, regardless of their business models
  • Insights on the personal vs. professional brand debate and how to decide what's best for you
  • Why omni-channel branding draws more people to your company
Direct download: FP188_Gary_Vee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:24am AEDT

Key Takeaways

- Acumen's trailblazing vision on global poverty eradication
- Why it's better to invest in people first, then ideas
- The companies Acumen has invested in and the depth of impact they have made
- Key advice from Novogratz to anyone interested in pursuing social entrepreneurship

Direct download: FP187_Jacqueline_Novogratz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:39am AEDT

No Task Too Big

Leah Busque launched TaskRabbit and became a pioneer in the sharing economy. Now she wants to empower other founders as she transitions to venture capital.

Picture this: You’re sitting at home on a February night in Boston, where winter temperatures dip well below freezing, and it’s snowing outside—not exactly a good time to find out your hundred-pound Labrador retriever is out of dog food.

So what do you do? Do you don your boots and trek through the snow in pursuit of kibble? Do you ask your spouse to do it? To a 28-year-old Leah Busque, the solution should have been simple: Why not hire someone in the area to run that errand for you?

“[My husband and I] were certain that there was someone in our neighborhood that'd be willing to help us out,” Busque recalls. “Maybe even someone at the store at that very moment, and it was just a matter of connecting with them.”

After some geeky brainstorming with her husband, Busque grabbed her iPhone—it had come out a few months before—and bought the first domain that came to mind: RunMyErrand.com. Four months after that, she left her job as a software engineer at IBM and locked herself in her house for 10 weeks to build the first version of the site, all because a service she wanted didn’t yet exist. Thanks to Busque’s creativity and persistence, now it does—TaskRabbit.

Think Big, Start Small: From Back Bay to the Bay Area

In September 2008, RunMyErrand launched in the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown, where Busque was living at the time.

“I was very targeted,” she says. “[I] really wanted to focus on one geography and create a peer-to-peer-network in that geography that was liquid, that would have high supply and high demand … and from there it just really started to snowball.”

Word traveled fast. People in Charlestown started telling those in Beacon Hill about this new service that let you hire locals to run your errands. Word traveled from Beacon Hill to the residents of Back Bay and Cambridge. Soon enough, Busque was recruiting Taskers from all over the city of Boston.

By the summer of 2009, Busque was invited to participate in an incubator program run by Facebook, leading her to change the name from RunMyErrand to TaskRabbit before launching in her second market—San Francisco.

A Pioneer in the Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy

Here’s how TaskRabbit works:

First, you post a task on the platform (mobile or web), such as, “I need help mounting a 32-inch flat screen TV on my wall.” Next, you get matched with vetted Taskers in your area, and you can view their ratings and hourly rates. Then, your chosen Tasker shows up, completes the task, and gets paid securely via the app. A simple enough idea for any smartphone user today, but you have to remember that TaskRabbit launched in 2008; most people were still rocking flip phones, and the term “sharing economy” hadn’t yet made it into the consumer vernacular.

“These technologies were so new and so emerging, it wasn't an obvious thing to be able to utilize your mobile device to connect with people in real time,” Busque explains.

“Certainly, no one was going to jump into a stranger's car off the street and grab a ride with Lyft or with Uber. And so the consumer mindset was completely different. Trust was a big barrier. Letting a stranger into your home to hang shelves, or hang curtains, or clean your house—these were all very big decisions that the consumer was making.”

It’s been almost a decade since TaskRabbit’s inception, and the company’s come a long way from that neighborhood in Boston.

The service has expanded to about 40 markets (including London), raised more than $50 million in venture funding, and last year was acquired by Swedish furniture giant Ikea.

According to Busque, TaskRabbit gets more than 15,000 applications every month from people who want to be Taskers. And on the buyer side of that marketplace, people have hired Taskers to do errands as varied as waiting in line at a store, rushing a passport to the airport, and even retrieving keys from the bottom of a lake.

Knowing When to Quit, and When to Keep Going

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to know when to quit. Failing to realize an idea is a dud can lead to overspending and wasted time. So we had to ask Busque, especially given the novelty of the idea when it first launched: Did she ever feel like giving up?

“I’m not someone who gives up,” Busque says. “I’m not someone who quits.”

Given the dismal economy during TaskRabbit’s early days, one would have understood if she had. When Busque launched the first version of the site in September 2008, subprime lending had tanked the housing market and the stock market was crashing, ushering in the Great Recession—not exactly the best time to be quitting a steady job, or starting a business, or seeking investors. But still, Busque pressed on, choosing to bootstrap her startup for almost a year.

“We had a mortgage on our house and we had bills to pay,” Busque recalls. “We basically did the math and thought, 'We've got about six months where I don't need to work. I don't need to take a salary to kinda make ends meet.'”

When six months came and went and TaskRabbit still didn’t have an investor, it must have been difficult not to close up shop right then and there.

“We were so close though; I felt like I was on the brink of something every day. I thought, ‘I just need 24 more hours, 48 more hours, one more week.’ And so every day was a question [of], ‘Should we keep going? Should we call it?’”

Thankfully, Busque didn’t call it quits. In December 2008, three months after she had missed her self-imposed deadline to raise funding, Busque closed her first angel round of $150,000. That funding was enough to carry her fledgling business through to the end of 2009, when she raised a seed round of $1 million.

As an entrepreneur, it’s just as important to know when to keep going as it is to know when to quit.

Before You Automate, Do it Manually

As Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham says, “Do things that don’t scale.” In his famous 2013 essay on this principle, Graham writes, “Startups take off because the founders make them take off.”

“I definitely had to do things that weren't going to scale over the long term,” Busque says.

In the early days, for example, Busque could often be found zipping around Boston on her little Honda scooter, completing tasks on her own. “I still am the master TaskRabbit,” she laughs.

That firsthand experience as a Tasker proved invaluable, as Busque got to know her customers and gained a deeper understanding of how her service fit into the marketplace. That willingness to dive in and get her hands dirty proved to be a hallmark strategy for the founder.

“Even as the company developed … I would say one strategy I used that worked pretty well was figuring out how to do things manually first, to really, really understand what to build, how to make it more efficient, and then start to automate layers on top of it over time.”

Take TaskRabbit’s application process, for example. The first version involved an online application, an in-person interview (to start the site, Busque conducted 30 interviews herself over coffee in Boston), and a background check. In total, that highly manual process took three to five days.

“But the time we spent,” Busque says, “for instance, doing in-person interviews, really helped us to understand what was important in finding the right Taskers, in the highest quality, most consistent Taskers. And so we then, from those in-person interviews, would figure out what questions we needed to ask, what the indicators were early that this Tasker was going to perform well on the platform.”

Now? Every piece of that process is automated, and a Tasker can be onboarded in a matter of hours, not days.

How to Get Comfortable With Competition

Every founder knows that sinking feeling of learning a new business similar to yours is entering the marketplace. Maybe it’s why entrepreneurs are notorious for guarding their ideas with intensity, fearing one slip-up will allow a competitor to crush everything they’ve built.

But the fact is, if you’ve got a good idea, someone else is either already doing it, or will be doing it soon.

After nearly a decade in business, TaskRabbit has seen its fair share of competitors. At first, this rattled Busque’s nerves. “I remember early on stressing out a lot about the competition, but I think what I learned over time was that I just needed to stay focused on what we were building.”

What inspired her shift from flustered to focused was seeing so many competitors rush in and then quickly fizzle out.

“I would see competitors come out of the gate, raise multi-millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars, and burn through it in 18 to 24 months. And so after that happened a couple of times, I just realized that I was going to play a long game.”

What was TaskRabbit’s competitive edge? “From day one, we were producing revenue,” Busque says. “From day one, we had positive operating margins. So for every job that went through the site, we were always making money on it. And we had to be very disciplined about how to build a platform that operated that way.”

She also thinks that too many of her competitors caved to marketplace and investor pressures, something she as a startup founder was not immune to.

“I remember getting a lot of pressure even from my investors at one point in the company's life cycle about growth, about the competitive landscape, pressure to move faster, to copy whatever it was that they were doing, but I knew my business better than anyone.”

Repeat After Her: ‘This Is Not Rocket Science’

Many aspiring entrepreneurs let what they don’t know become a stumbling block to launching their businesses. But for Busque, what she didn’t know, she knew she could figure out. She recalls a conversation she had with herself just before leaving her job at IBM to pursue TaskRabbit:

“I was thinking about all the things that I didn't know how to do. I was thinking, ‘All I know how to do is build this product. I’m a coder; I know how to code. I don't know how to raise money from investors, I don't know how to hire, I don't know how to fire, I don't know how to build a financial model.’ And then I realized that, to me it sounds funny, but I remember saying to myself: ‘This is not rocket science. … Just go figure it out.’”

Busque cites confidence as a key requirement for every successful entrepreneur. “As an entrepreneur, you're doing something that no one's ever done before, and you're going to have to innovate and build new things in new ways.”

Another key entrepreneurial quality? Adaptability. And having gone from engineer to entrepreneur to investor, Busque clearly has that in spades. Though she studied at a women’s liberal arts college, she works in the mostly male tech industry. Though she’s highly analytical and majored in math and computer science, she appreciates the arts and minored in dance.

“The appreciation of those other aspects has really aided me in being able to adapt, and learn quickly, and jump into new situations, and have the confidence that I'm going to be able to figure out and learn whatever I need to as fast as I need to.”

From Founder to Investor

In 2016, Busque stepped down as CEO of TaskRabbit, and in September 2017, the company was sold to Ikea. (Interestingly, in a TEDx Talk six years prior to the acquisition, Busque said the most popular task posted on the platform was Ikea furniture assembly.)

“TaskRabbit is my first baby, my first child,” she says. “The one thing that you would hope for your child or for your company is that it has a full life, right? And is happy, and grows up, and moves on from you. And so I feel very fortunate that I got to be on that journey and see that happen all the way through.”

Even after the acquisition, Busque has her feet firmly planted in the startup world. She serves as executive chairwoman at TaskRabbit and has transitioned into the role of investor as general partner at Fuel Capital, a seed-stage venture fund in San Francisco. It’s a natural transition, given her background as the founder of a venture-funded startup.

“Building things has always been my passion,” she says. “I love the early stages of a company, when there is a seemingly impossible-yet-pressing problem to solve. I couldn’t be more excited to work closely with early-stage founders and their teams as they take on world-changing ideas—much like I did during my early days at TaskRabbit.”

Given her years of experience building a peer-to-peer marketplace, Busque as an investor has chosen to focus on consumer businesses and marketplaces.

“I’ve also focused my attention on meeting and supporting the ‘outsiders,’” she says, such as women founders, those who don’t fit the typical mold, and those who aren’t based in Silicon Valley. “It’s been awesome to meet so many awesome entrepreneurs who don’t look like the typical founder. … I certainly didn’t!”

Her new role and focus couldn’t come at a better time. According to the Crunchbase “Women in Venture” report, in 2017, only 6 percent of all seed dollars went to female-only-founded startups, while male-only-founded startups received 83 percent of all seed dollars. Those figures have remained remarkably static since 2012.

Busque’s first investments reflect the type of impact she hopes to make. Werk is a women-founded career platform helping women find flexible job opportunities. Feather is a Brooklyn-based startup that provides affordable furniture rental with quick delivery.

“As I thought about what I wanted to do next, I just started getting pulled in the direction of venture from a lot of different angles,” Busque says, “from investors that I highly respect, from friends that were in the industry, and so I made the decision that I wanted to do investing full time as the next stage of my career.”

And if the previous stage of her career is any indication, there’s no task too big for Busque.

Key Takeaways:

  • The two traits Busque says all entrepreneurs need to have to be successful (it has nothing to do with skills or industry knowledge)
  • The stumbling block that keeps many aspiring entrepreneurs from launching businesses
  • How Busque eventually got comfortable with competitors entering her space
  • Why Busque's "never quit" attitude was the key driver of TaskRabbit's early success

 

Direct download: FP186_Leah_Busque.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41am AEDT

Melody McCloskey is the founder of StyleSeat, a San Francisco-based SaaS company that has raised $40 million in funding, powers billions in transactions and is recognized in 82% of American cities. StyleSeat provides tools for beauty professionals, which lets them run their entire business with just one piece of software.

If StyleSeat sounds like your typical booming, industry-disrupting tech startup, don't be fooled. McCloskey is dedicated to running her company in very atypical ways, and in today's interview, she shares how bucking Silicon Valley norms can help you achieve tremendous success—on your own terms.

For example, her startup is led overwhelmingly by women, a rarity in an industry with persistent gender gaps. The company has also chosen to stop raising money, and without a marketing or sales team, it barely invests in marketing.

McCloskey loves what she does and her business decisions are not solely driven by a pursuit of revenue and growth like many of her peers. Her goal is to empower badass female business owners with amazing products so they can do what they love as well. When they win, she wins.

Check out the interview to learn McCloskey's unique approaches to funding, growth, and staffing, along with other priceless lessons.


Key Takeaways

  • Why McCloskey, against popular opinion, is not interested in raising any more money
  • The primary engine behind StyleSeat's exponential growth
  • Why the startup walked away from a billion-dollar business model
  • Why McCloskey keeps her team smaller than most comparable startups
Direct download: FP185_Melody_McCloskey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm AEDT

Unlike most entrepreneurs, Ajit Nawalkha doesn't focus on profit, revenue, sales, or customer surveys to grow his company. He's also been known to abandon some of his products, even when they're highly profitable, if they don't align with his vision. An unconventional approach, to be sure, but his personal development school Mindvalley has more than 3 million students and counting.

So what does Nawalkha focus on? His mission is to create life-changing experiences for his customers, and does so by bringing them instruction from some of the most powerful speakers of our time.

Nawalkha’s main goal is not to develop products, but to create "heart-centered experiences." And he believes this is the key to Mindvalley’s success in its quest to move their business—and all of humanity—forward. In this unique interview, you will learn exactly how Mindvalley creates these amazing client experiences, and its unconventional philosophy for measuring success.

Nawalkha and Mindvalley have risen to the top by focusing not on conventional indicators of growth, but on making the world a better place—one client experience at a time.

Key Takeaways

  • How Mindvalley validates its products and finds out what its customers want (without using surveys)
  • Mindvalley’s secret sauce to creating amazing experiences for its clients
  • What many new entrepreneurs get wrong that limits their ability to grow and scale
  • How Mindvalley measures success (it has nothing to do with revenue and churn rate)
Direct download: FP184_Ajit_Nawalkha.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am AEDT

Key Takeaways

  • Lessons learned from more than 20 years of experience as entrepreneurs
  • The defining action that tripled their conversions and led to the sale of their first company
  • The one marketing strategy that has allowed them to massively scale their business (it has nothing to do with social media or advertising)
  • How to hire trusted C-level executives to take the load off your shoulders as you grow
Direct download: FP183_DelmaGrant_Dunoon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20am AEDT

Key Takeaways

  • The hard-earned lessons Ries learned that ultimately led to the creation of his renowned book, The Lean Startup, and ushered in a worldwide movement
  • How to hire and assign managers successfully
  • How to create a product your customers will love (Hint: it starts with your product owner)
  • The downfall of many leaders who want innovation and change but do not see it happen in their organ
Direct download: FP182_Eric_Ries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28pm AEDT

Entrepreneurs find inspiration in all sorts of places. But for Ari Meisel, founder, bestselling author, and productivity expert, desperation was the driving force behind the launch of his successful company, Less Doing. That same desperation led him to breakthroughs in productivity that changed his life.

At just 23 years old, Meisel was enjoying a thriving real estate career, but after suffering some major business blows and landing $3 million in debt, the stress overwhelmed him and he was diagnosed with debilitating Crohn’s disease. Managing the disease crippled Meisel’s ability to work regularly. Some days he was unable to work longer than an hour.

During this difficult experience, Meisel realized he needed to devise a way to accomplish more work in the limited time he had. Through a long process of experimentation, Ari developed his Less Doing, More Living productivity system, which allowed him the time he needed both to build a new business and improve his health.

A devoted husband, father of five, and dedicated businessman, Meisel now helps individuals and businesses around the world become more effective—all while working only 5 ½ hours a day. He's also recently teamed up with Foundr to teach his Less Doing, More Living system to our awesome community.

In this inspiring interview, learn the secrets behind Meisel’s airtight productivity system and discover how you can also become a productivity master and optimize, automate, and outsource your life and business.


Key Takeaways

  • Ari’s 15-minute outsourcing rule that frees you up to focus on growing your business
  • How saying no to new opportunities can grow your business more than saying yes
  • The power of using machine learning to slash your work time and automate systems
  • Why working more hours does not always translate into getting more work done
Direct download: FP181_Ari_Meisel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm AEDT

What if you could stumble upon a game-changing idea without spending time and money on validation, industry research, or prototypes? And then grow this idea into the second largest company in your niche? It’s not common, but that's what happened to today’s podcast guest, David Barrett.

Barrett is the founder of Expensify, the second largest expense-reporting company in the world. But in its early stages, Barrett knew nothing about the space, nor was he particularly interested in it. In fact, he completely made up the Expensify idea as a decoy to get some funding for another endeavor, since banks weren’t interested in his “real” business idea.

But the decoy picked up steam as he pitched it, and before Barrett knew it, he was sitting on a potential goldmine. People were talking more about his fictitious business idea than they were his original idea. And Expensify was born.

Keeping with Barrett's unconventional approach to startups, Expensify’s massive growth has also been atypical. Barrett has not spent a dime on advertising, outbound sales calls, or salespeople. The software essentially sells itself.

In this packed interview, learn exactly how Barrett grew his company and how his unique business sales model and contrarian style disrupted the space. David Barrett is a true example of how challenging the status quo and disrupting common ideas can lead to avenues of massive growth and potential.

Key Takeaways

  • The sales model that allowed Barrett to scale his company without paying for customer acquisition
  • Why profit should not come at the sacrifice of growth and how the two can coexist
  • The misguided business advice that almost everyone follows, but leads to failure
  • The most important factor to building an A-player team
  • Why reinventing the wheel with your business can limit your potential
Direct download: FP180_David_Barrett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:22am AEDT

Jessica Jackley, co-founder of the game-changing microlending site Kiva, never played the typical role from entrepreneurial stories we're accustomed to hearing. She didn't start a business as a kid, and never dreamed of making millions. Jackley considered entrepreneurship a greedy venture, in fact, and she wanted to be one of the good guys.

But things quickly shifted for Jackley while she was in East Africa doing survey work for a nonprofit. Inspired by her work there with microfinancing, Jackley thought up the idea for Kiva, and wanted to spread it to other countries. Kiva would be a business, but one seeking to make a social impact.

In 2009, as an experiment, Kiva launched its first pilot round of loans. Fast forward 12 years later, and the company has issued more than $1 billion in microloans to 2.6 million borrowers in 84 countries.

Jackley didn’t stop there. After Kiva, she went on to become an accomplished investor, entrepreneur, and the author of Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least. She currently teaches social entrepreneurship at USC.

Throughout her experiences, Jackley discovered how entrepreneurship and social change could not only coexist, but come together to create a huge global impact.

Inspired to follow in Jackley’s footsteps? Well, don’t be. Jackley doesn’t want you to replicate what she did. She urges entrepreneurs to play by their own rules, define business with their own ideas, and never ask for permission. She believes these principles have always been the key to her success, and she outlines them in detail in this inspiring interview.

Key Takeaways

  • How and why hesitant entrepreneurs often cripple themselves
  • Why naiveté can be a strong entrepreneurial trait
  • The strategies Kiva used to build early-stage momentum and achieve massive exposure in its first three months
  • The reason Jackley decided to close her latest business venture, Profounder, and pursue a different path
Direct download: FP179_Jessica_Jackley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37am AEDT

Welcome to the final installment of our three-part podcast series that’s shining the spotlight on successful entrepreneurs who hail right from our very own Foundr community! These passionate people are in the trenches daily doing what it takes to make their startup dreams a reality.

If you haven’t listened to parts one and two, featuring Gamal Codner and Shannon Willougby, you can check them out right here and here.

Today, we talk with Brandon Monaghan and Justin Kemperman, superstar entrepreneurs (one hasn’t graduated high school yet!) who developed a stellar brand and scaled their ecommerce business to half a million in sales in just 10 short weeks.

After joining our Start & Scale ecommerce course, they realized they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel to make money in ecommerce. They just needed to improve upon an existing product and build a powerful brand around it.

And, that’s exactly what they did. Their company, The Urban Lash, scaled so quickly that they didn’t have enough inventory to supply orders. They kept on growing, and Brandon and Justin recently sold their business for a nice profit and are ready to start the process all over again.

In this power-packed interview, we go behind the scenes with Justin and Brandon and learn exactly how they scaled their business so quickly, what principles guided their growth, and what they have planned for the future. We are extremely proud of these guys and how rapidly they grew their ecommerce business. Way to go!

Key Takeaways:

  • The steps they took to rebrand an existing product and blow it up to $500k in sales
  • The two strategies that created so much growth in such a short time
  • The advertising strategy that allowed them to scale week after week and remain profitable
  • The influencer marketing tactics they used to catapult their brand
Direct download: FP178_Brandon_Monaghan_Justin_Kemperman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56am AEDT

Welcome to part two of our three-part podcast series that's shining the spotlight on successful entrepreneurs who hail right from our very own Foundr community! These passionate people are in the trenches daily doing what it takes to make their startup dreams a reality.

If you haven't listened to part one, featuring Gamal Codner, you can check it out right here.

Today, we talk with Shannon Willoughby, a courageous entrepreneur who started from zero and scaled her ecommerce business to $30,000+ per month and growing. Using the principles she learned in our Start & Scale ecommerce course, Shannon was able to surpass $250,000 in sales since starting her aromatherapy business just four months ago.

This episode is packed with advice on how anyone can scale a profitable ecommerce business, but it's also an inspiring story. Not only did Shannon build a business from zero, she's also recovered from two strokes and won the New Zealand rugby National Championship.

Her “never die” attitude will have you dreaming bigger than ever. Learn the strategies that led to Shannon’s success and how to follow in her footsteps. We are extremely proud to share her story with you!

Key Takeaways

  • The one avoidable mistake Shannon made that slowed her progress and how she turned it around
  • How passion and personal experience plays into business success
  • The most important factor that fueled Shannon’s early success (it’s super easy to replicate)
  • The pre-business step all ecommerce shop owners should take to ensure people will buy their product
Direct download: FP177_Shannon_Willoughby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10am AEDT

The Foundr community is full of passionate people from all walks of life, in the trenches daily doing what it takes to make their startup dreams a reality. In this week's podcast, we want to shine the spotlight on one of these rising entrepreneurs who we're especially proud of—Gamal Codner of Fresh Heritage.

In part one of a three-part Start & Scale podcast series, we talked with this corporate-sales-guy-turned-ecommerce-entrepreneur, who overcame some difficult setbacks to scale his business to incredible success. Codner is a student of our Start & Scale ecommerce course, and was able to leverage the principles he learned in the course to grow his physical products business by 30X in just three months.

Before becoming a Start & Scale student, Codner left his corporate sales job to become a successful affiliate marketer. He then joined an accelerator program and decided to create his own ecommerce business. Codner was having some success but it wasn’t until he joined Start & Scale that he was able to use the principles we teach in the course to catapult his business revenue from $2,000 to $60,000 per month.

In this rare interview with an up-and-coming member of the Foundr community, we learn the exact strategies Codner used to create products his audience loves, and take his business to the next level. We are extremely proud of Gamal’s achievements and we are happy to share his inspiring story with you!


Key Takeaways

  • The one thing you must have to scale your ecommerce business
  • How new ecommerce entrepreneurs can get their products in front of large audiences quickly
  • Codner’s newest content marketing strategy, and how it will help him reach greater heights next year
  • A low-risk strategy to testing new products before you launch them full throttle
  • The one low-cost strategy Codner wished he had used during the initial stages of his business
Direct download: FP176_Gamal_Codner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am AEDT

As a former Navy Seal, Brandon Webb is no stranger to life’s roller coaster of adversities and triumphs. In the military, pressure is a constant, and learning how to withstand and thrive under that pressure has made Webb a victor in his own battles, whether in business or everyday life.

In this interview with Foundr, Webb shares the story of how he lost millions in his first failed startup and turned his misfortune around to build and scale his eight-figure media and ecommerce business, Hurricane Group, Inc. He shares exactly what the turning point was that gave him a burst of forward momentum and the realizations that led to his success.

Webb’s astonishing accomplishments have been shaped by the principles he's mastered to overcome adversity, maintain laser-sharp focus, and make better decisions under pressure. He discusses how learning the necessary principles of FOCUS have helped help him create attainable, actionable goals that influenced outcomes and have helped him win in life and business.

As a New York Times-bestselling author, Webb also takes you behind the cover of his new book, Total Focus: Make Better Decisions Under Pressure, where he discusses how to approach the challenges and complexities of growing a startup using the indispensable life skills and principles he learned as a Navy Seal.

Key Takeaways

  • Why saying no to some irresistible opportunities can save your business.
  • How to figure out the delicate balance between doing too much and doing just enough to move the needle
  • Why raising money can sometimes bury you deeper into a hole of failure
  • The one thing all young entrepreneurs should know to avoid an insecure financial future
  • The single trait an entrepreneur needs to get investors to fork over their money
  • Webb’s personal and business goal-setting strategies that have led him to winning in business and life.
  • And more!
Direct download: FP175_Brandon_Webb.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:38am AEDT

Anyone, technically, can build a business. But it takes real skill to convert an audience into die-hard followers who will stick with you no matter what. Ben Rattray is an expert at doing just that, now at the helm of one of the largest online communities in the world, not to mention a major force for social change.

Rattray is the founder of Change.org, one of the world's biggest social enterprises with over 100 million users spread across 196 countries, empowering everyday people to create and join social causes. In 2012, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to Time magazine, and he's partnered with titans ranging from Virgin to Amnesty International.

But before it became the massive vehicle for online activism it is today, Change.org looked very different. In fact, it actually wasn't until 2011 that Change.org became the online petition platform we all know and love today.

Like most entrepreneurs, Rattray had to go through a few pivots before finally developing a model that actually worked. While most entrepreneurs can only afford to pivot maybe once or twice, if they're lucky, Rattray had the power of community behind him. And that power can take you a long way.

Rattray did what most others could not, he managed to not only build a huge community that loved what he was doing, but he was also able to keep them loyal to his brand even while undergoing multiple changes. You don't have to be in social enterprise to understand the magnitude of such an accomplishment, and just how valuable it can be to any business.

Luckily for our listeners, Rattray knows exactly how to do it.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Why a name is everything. Rattray goes into detail about how to find the right name for your company
  • Why you always need to find investment before you launch
  • How to take advantage of upsells and cross-sells to increase your bottom line
  • Pivoting and changing your business model
  • The how-to guide for mobilizing your community using content
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP174_Ben_Rattray.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm AEDT

If you don't know Kevin Kelly's name, you undoubtedly know his work. Staying mostly behind the scenes, Kelly has quietly influenced the world as we know it, from pop culture to how we interact with digital technology.

He launched and built up one of the most influential media brands in the world, with a devoted audience of millions—a brand that's published, and even launched the careers of Pulitzer Prize winners, presidents, filmmakers, and of course, billionaire entrepreneurs.

Kelly is co-founder of the one-and-only Wired magazine.

In his time as editor-in-chief at Wired, Kelly was a pioneer of helping the world understand and interact with the internet and digital technology at large, as their role in our lives exploded. Since then, he's gone on to publish multiple books and launch multiple successful businesses. Throughout this interview, though, one theme persists:

Kelly is a true futurist.

Not only have many of his predictions about the future come true, from crowdfunding to wearable technology, but his keen ability to hack into these cultures early on, before they've hit the mainstream, has been the key to his success.

Luckily for our listeners, Kelly reveals in this sweeping interview his methodology for culture-hacking and how he's just so darn good at predicting the future.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Kelly's method for culture-hacking an audience and building a worldwide brand
  • The future of print media, and how digital entrepreneurs can take advantage of it
  • A rare behind-the-scenes look at the history of Wired
  • The true meaning of "a thousand true fans" and what it means for entrepreneurs
  • How to package every product "like a magazine"
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP173_Kevin_Kelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03am AEDT

For any startup to be successful, it's going to need an amazing team. It's why Fortune 500 companies are willing to pay their executives so much, and invest millions of dollars into finding and hiring the right people.

For the founders of startups, though, especially those that are bootstrapping, there's barely enough money to pay themselves, let alone hire anyone anyone else. The challenge of finding the right person to bring onto your team becomes that much harder.

It's a position most founders find themselves in when they need to start bringing on new staff, and Cyan Ta'eed was no exception.

In the beginning of Envato, one of the world's leading digital marketplaces with over 1.5 million active customers, it was just Ta'eed and her two other co-founders. It was a 100% bootstrapped operation, and still is today, and for a while, the three-person team was enough. But they soon quickly realized that if they were to grow any further, they needed to grow their team.

"We couldn't offer above market, because so many startups who had taken funding to get these amazing, sort of, guns. These people who can command these incredibly high salaries," Ta'eed says. "So instead we would look for people with great potential, people who were entrepreneurial themselves, people who we knew could take the ball and run with it."

Ta'eed hit the pavement and began the seemingly impossible task of finding that unicorn who's driven, entrepreneurial, and a problem-solver. In the end, though, she found a system that made finding and hiring exceptional talent, exceptionally easy.

In this interview you'll learn:

  • Where to look for when hunting for A-grade talent
  • How to know whether your new employee is really going to help you grow
  • What a highly effective founding team should look like
  • How to juggle building multiple products without losing focus
  • How Ta'eed disrupts an entire industry
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP172_Cyan_Taeed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:14am AEDT

Despite being a prolific investor as one of the judges on Australia's Shark Tank, Janine Allis would rather sell her family home than seek investor funding. How do we know? Well, that's precisely what she did to start her own business.

Allis started her first business while on maternity leave, and it was then, like so many entrepreneurs, when she realized she didn't want to live by someone else's rules anymore. The result was Boost Juicea retail empire that stretches over 500 stores across the globe, making it the largest and most profitable juice bar chain in the world.

While Allis certainly isn't entirely against the idea of taking investor money, she does caution entrepreneurs that raising capital should never be the first goal. And she has some indispensable advice on how to avoid the common money traps so many entrepreneurs fall into.

The most important stake any entrepreneur has in their own company is their equity and the passion they have for their own project. Bringing on investors not only means that you'll lose out on some of your equity, but it also means that you may have to make room for someone else's passion and vision for the company. And, most of the time, investors are more interested in the bottom line as opposed to the founder's ideas.

"I'm a firm believer that you only ever ask for money when you don't need it," Allis says.

She has seen firsthand how many entrepreneurs get caught up attempting to solve all their problems by throwing everything they have into fundraising—a Hail Mary pass that, more often than not, ends up hurting a business in the long run.

To help you avoid that common pitfall, Allis has some choice pieces of advice that you need to hear.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The simple solution to avoiding the money trap and investors
  • Expert advice on how to build your business to grow as fast as possible
  • Her secrets to building a killer brand that connects with millions
  • What to expect when dealing with investors, and how to know if one is right for you
  • How to have it all as an entrepreneur. No concessions, and no compromises
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP171_Janine_Allis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10am AEDT

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

"The truth is I didn't like working for somebody else."

Most entrepreneurs start their own business because they want to take charge of their own destiny, and for Brian Clark, the CEO and founder of Rainmaker Digital, Copyblogger, StudioPress, and the Rainmaker Platform, his story doesn't start off any different. It doesn't matter if you haven't heard of Clark before, but if you've been anywhere near the startup space in the past 15 years or so, you've undoubtedly felt his influence.

With his first successful business he stuck with what he knew, taking his four years of experience in law and starting his own small law firm. He quickly set himself apart from the rest of the competition with his natural marketing instincts and his ability to build an audience.

"What most young attorneys can't do is develop clients, and I figured out how to do that. And in that moment an entrepreneur was born. I was just so amazed that I could develop a business by myself with just an email newsletter. No one understood what I was doing at the time, they thought I was crazy, but it worked!" Clark says.

A few years, and a couple more businesses later, Clark began working on a small blog that would come to be known as Copyblogger, one of the most influential content marketing blogs in the industry. Some of the world's top content marketers can fondly remember turning to Copyblogger early in their careers to learn how to write better headlines and become better writers.

Clark helped blaze the trail for this new style of marketing, and to this day, he's still pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

While most people are still trying to figure out whether to focus on building the perfect product or growing their audience, Clark has devised a strategy that's allowed him to do both at the same time, all while growing his multiple businesses at warp speed.

It should really come as no surprise that, here at Foundr, much of our own business model and content marketing efforts have been directly inspired by Clark and his successes. This is why we're very excited to present to you this eye-opening interview with the one and only Brian Clark.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The chicken or the egg? Settling the startup debate between which comes first: building the perfect product or building your audience
  • What are you good at? How Clark finds co-founders who complement his strengths and weaknesses
  • The unique business model of combining content, SaaS, digital and physical products for maximum profit
  • Clark's step-by-step instructions on how to build the perfect product
  • Why people aren't paying attention to your brand and what you can do about it
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP160_Brian_Clark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52am AEDT

Jonathan Siegel has started close to a dozen different companies—some have been hugely successful, others didn't quite go as planned, and for one, he sold his shares after a falling out with his co-founders. Siegel has been a serial startup founder since he was just 12 years old. Now at 40, he has seen it all, and he's sharing his lessons—on products, investors, and selling a business—with Foundr.

"It doesn't feel like a job, as much as it just feels like I'm getting paid to do something for fun," Siegel says, about his love for the entrepreneurial life.

Siegel has had a knack for entrepreneurship since he was putting together and selling computers all the way back in 1989. From there, he's had a lifelong passion for creating something new every chance he got. Whether it was starting his own businesses, constantly creating new products, or building products for other people.

For Siegel, entrepreneurship isn't so much a money-making exercise or a career, but a lifestyle that constantly allows him to strive forward and look into the future.

"If you do something as a creative outlet, the amount of money is not the goal. And I don't believe that every entrepreneur is running around thinking about how much money they have in their accounts. I think that every entrepreneur runs around thinking, 'Hey I want to bring this thing to life. I want to create something bigger than myself. I want to see the thing that I create influence other people in the way that they work and the way that they live,'" Siegel says.

This passion has helped Siegel learn many valuable lessons on his own journey, not just about himself, but about what entrepreneurship is all about.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to turn entrepreneurship from a career to a creative outlet
  • Understanding the difference between a startup that's successful on paper, and one that works in real life
  • How to handle disputes between co-founders
  • Why it's so important to understand your motivation as an entrepreneur
  • The lifecycle of building companies that you intend to sell
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP159_Jonathan_Siegel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:29am AEDT

In the late 1970s, Brian Smith was a young Australian surfer looking for the next big thing. Little did he know that while flipping through a magazine, he would stumble upon an idea that would grow into one of the world's most iconic brands. With more than $1 billion in sales worldwide, you can find the UGG brand in millions of households.

What does it take to build such an iconic brand?

Smith openly admits that, at the time, he had no idea. He struggled to get people interested in his product, and even when they were interested, he found it difficult to turn them into customers. In fact, after his first season of sales, Smith had sold only 28 pairs of boots. The outlook was not good for his fledgling brand.

While many entrepreneurs would become disheartened and give up, Smith realized that no company becomes successful overnight.

"You can't give birth to adults," Smith says.

Smith believed that every successful business in the world has to go through a period of infancy, where almost nothing happens, and only then can you start getting the traction and momentum you need to explode your business.

For UGG, that infancy stage would go on for another four years until that lightbulb moment came and Smith figure out what he had to do. What happened next turned sales from only $15,000 to $200,000 almost overnight.

In the years that followed, Smith would find his sheepskin boots on the feet of young surfers, snowboarders, and eventually A-list celebrities.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The stages of building a global brand and how to move through each one as quickly as possible
  • When to hold em' and when to fold em', Smith details how to recognize when the moment is right to sell your business
  • How to use grassroots events to build your early customer base
  • Why the most important element of your brand is not what you think
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP158_Brian_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12am AEDT

Andrew Barnes's company  GO1 is a Y-Combinator alum that's raised over $4 million in funding, grown to over 400,000 users, and is currently the world's largest onboarding, compliance, and professional development learning platform. If that weren't impressive enough, Barnes hit those benchmarks in under three years. The secret weapon? An airtight B2B, or business to business, sales process.

In our interview with Barnes, he shares with us how the Australian-startup-that-could found its path to achieving explosive growth and influence, eventually ranked as one of the 100 most disruptive startups in the world. He also tells us how he and his team mastered B2B sales, a huge arena of entrepreneurship today.

"I remember in YC we were up late just basically cold-calling trying to generate interest and see whether they'd take us, we'd try Google Adwords and spent a fortune on that, we tried a whole host of different options. And what we eventually stumbled on is a model with sales development reps that identify people that match our criteria," Barnes says.

Then it's just a matter of knowing the right person to contact, what to say, and when to say it. It's a process that Barnes has mapped out to a T, with a ton of little tricks and hacks along the way to get the job done. Barnes, much to our benefit, shares this sales process to Foundr and our audience, along with the many lessons he's learned as a lifelong digital entrepreneur.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • One simple hack to turn your cold calls into success stories
  • How to find and secure high-profile investors for your startup, locally and internationally
  • How to find A-players for your team no matter where you are
  • The keys to running a distributed team and keeping everyone on track
  • Why doing less can actually make you a better entrepreneur
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP157_Andrew_Barnes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm AEDT

Sophia Amoruso was a community college dropout, working a variety of odd jobs to support herself, when she set up a humble eBay store called Nasty Gal Vintage. The rapid growth that followed has become the stuff of startup legend, and in this episode of the podcast, Amoruso shares what she learned from the roller-coaster ride of Nasty Gal, and tells us about her new endeavor, Girlboss Media.

Over the course of a decade, Amoruso had a meteoric rise, during which she became the head of a retail empire, and was named one of the richest self-made women by Forbes in 2016. She also became a symbol of brash millennial entrepreneurs and a trailblazing icon for female entrepreneurs especially, following the release of her New York Times bestseller #GirlBoss.

Then, the same year Netflix developed a scripted comedy loosely based on the book, Nasty Gal found itself filing for bankruptcy. In those 10 years, Amoruso had bigger highs and lows than many entrepreneurs experience in a lifetime, but the story isn't over yet.

Today, Amoruso has moved on and is working on continuing the momentum of her book and the devoted following she built around her story. Nasty Gal Media is as focused as ever on helping women around the world launch their entrepreneurial careers.

We were very fortunate to be able to interview Amoruso amid her hectic schedule of growing a new business. She shared with us the many lessons she's learned from her exciting and colorful career, along with fascinating insight into what makes a brand explode, and how to come out on top in today's tumultuous startup world.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • Amoruso's guide to creating a brand that leaves a mark on customers and investors alike
  • Key lessons learned from the rise and fall of a nine-figure business
  • Customer services mistakes that can kill any business
  • How to create products that are inherently sharable and immediately recognizable
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP156_Sophia_Amoruso.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:47pm AEDT

In 2011, four lads from Dublin were running a successful business that let programers and engineers know when a user encountered a problem with their program. The problem was that none of them were particularly interested in the world of programming errors.

Instead, they found their passions centered on why it was so difficult for online businesses to talk to customers. They didn't know it at the time, but they were about to reinvent the concept of content marketing.

So Des Traynor and his three co-founders sold their successful business, packed their bags, and moved to sunny California.

"We were four Irish founders and basically our previous company, we had already done the bootstrapping thing. ... When we were going through this change of business and this change of approach, we said, 'What's the opposite of running a bootstrapped business off the north side of Dublin?' Well that's come to Silicon Valley and raise a million dollars, and that's what we did," Traynor says.

It turned out to be the right move, as the company that now known as Intercom raised more than $160 million in the past six years, building a customer base of over 17,000 customers, and making over $50 million in revenue. Their mission was simple: to make online businesses feel less like talking to a robot and feel more personal instead.

The solution to that was to help businesses talk to their customers through their own websites and apps instead of the usual mish-mash of emails, texts, and phone calls. Intercom built its reputation and customer base through the power of content marketing, but in a way that might surprise you.

Instead of following the traditional strategy of hiring a content team, focusing on SEO and backlinks, and churning out at as much content as possible, Intercom went in the completely opposite direction and developed a unique content strategy that led their business to go viral within the startup community, while building a beloved brand.

"We're not one of those people that do all that black hat stuff. I really, really hate that. We had a recommendation recently to go post on discussions.apple.com and write a piece that links back to your site, and it was just so puke-worthy. I could never get excited about gamifying the Google algorithm and building the business on such a messy, fragile house of cards," Traynor says.

Traynor goes in-depth with us in this episode about why the conventional content marketing strategy doesn't work anymore, and how to really get your message across.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • How to move quickly and stay lean while managing an international team
  • Where to find top-tier talent for your startup, no matter where you are
  • A sly way to make your business go viral
  • No to SEO! The biggest mistakes marketers make when using SEO
  • Why you don't need a content marketing team to get half a million page views per post
  • & so much more!
Direct download: FP155_Des_Traynor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am AEDT

Every entrepreneur at some point faces the dilemma of simply not being able to pour any more hours of work into their company. As a result, they get stuck.

That's where Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, comes in. In the 10 years Infusionsoft has been operating, Mask has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs use the power of email marketing to double their growth, triple their leads, even quadruple overall revenue.

For Mask, automated email marketing is the secret weapon for any business that's trying to scale. In today's podcast episode, he dishes on how to do it right.

"What happens in an entrepreneurial business, when you're running a small company, it's very, very difficult to follow up effectively with all your leads and customers, and things slip through the cracks," he says. "You're wearing 10 different hats trying to run the business, and ... you just can't keep it all straight when the business starts to grow and when you start to have some success."

At that point, you can either hire more people to handle the workload, which can be costly, or learn how to automate your business.

Mask has helped Infusionsoft's 125,000-plus users create their own automation campaigns by mapping out customer lifecycles, and pinpointing the best times and messages to engage customers and get as much of a return as possible.

In this week's episode, Mask tells us what the marketing strategies of his best users look like, and how you can incorporate them into your own business.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The one thing that most business owners don't recognize is stopping them from growing
  • A battle-tested, tried and true guide to getting the biggest return possible on every single customer
  • The three most critical points in the customer lifecycle and why ignoring them puts your business at risk
  • An exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the email marketing strategies of Infusionsoft's top clients
  • How to combine automation and authenticity into one winning combination
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP154_Clate_Mask.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:06am AEDT

In his lifetime as an entrepreneur, Steve Olsher has crashed, burned, and reinvented himself in the face of tremendous failure. But for Olsher, there was never any other path. If you can relate, he's got some indispensable wisdom to offer.

"I've been an entrepreneur pretty much since I've been old enough to pick up a rake and move some leaves around, or grab a shovel and do some snow-shoveling and clear some sidewalks, driveways, that sort of thing. We're all naturally wired to excel in very specific ways, and for me, I've always just been wired to rub a couple of dimes together to make that quarter," Olsher says.

Olsher has spent his entire life as an entrepreneur, and with it has experienced all the highs and lows, from starting a widely successful business that was prepared to go public within a year, to losing it all and walking away from a company he spent nine years of his life building.

But if success is defined by how well you can bounce back from failure, Olsher is one of the most successful people on the planet. Taking the knocks in stride, and embracing the lessons they taught him, Olsher went on to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures over the next six years, before reclaiming his original business and domain name, Liquor.com, and building his business from the ground up again.

In the years since, Olsher has distilled a lifetime of experience and lessons into helping others figure out what their passion and their purpose are. Today, he is now a New York Times-bestselling author, and is all about helping people reinvent themselves into who they truly want to be.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Hard truths you need to know when bringing on investors
  • The importance of needing good advisors and mentors you can turn to when you need it
  • When you should and shouldn't listen to your gut as an entrepreneur
  • How to find out what your "what" is, and how to figure out what your purpose is
  • Where to find your winning business idea
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP153_Steve_Oshler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm AEDT

Getting rich is for amateurs. A real entrepreneur, one with serious guts and vision, wants to make the world a better place.

If that's you, it's time to enter the world of social enterprise—business that seeks to make both a profit and a positive impact, on anything from education to world hunger. This is a tall order, but it's possible and an increasingly popular form of entrepreneurship. So today's podcast is going to show you exactly how to make money, while also making a difference.

Unlike your traditional businesses, social enterprises have a much harder time securing funding and even staff. The legal frameworks and business models can also be much trickier. Lucky for us, we were able to sit down with Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise and MissionU. He shared with us how he managed to raise over $50 million in contributions, build hundreds of schools, and grow a worldwide staff of more than 125 employees as a social enterprise.

As he turned 25, Braun only had $25 in his bank account, but was still determined to build a school for the less fortunate. Before crowdsourcing was even a thing, Braun turned to strangers to help him fund his first project. He used social media and event marketing to attract people to his cause, relying on influencer and word-of-mouth to secure the funding he needed.

"You start scrappy and understand that maybe one day you'll have the resources to hire full-time staff and work with capital at hand, but most people don't start that way, and I certainly didn't," Braun says.

Starting with this grassroots marketing strategy and an all-volunteer staff, he built Pencils of Promise into a huge success. Today, more than 400 schools have been built as a result, and Braun's turned his sights to education in the United States with his new project MissionU.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • How to use event marketing to build your brand and attract investors
  • What makes a story "newsworthy" and how to use it to build an audience
  • Braun's methodology for attracting A-players to work toward his vision
  • Social media marketing tactics to reach your target audience without paid advertising
  • The right way to go about asking for money, whether it's for crowdfunding or from investors
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP152_Adam_Braun.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am AEDT

Russell Brunson knows a ton about building effective marketing funnels. It's a skill he learned after spending nearly 10 years making money online by building funnels for all sorts of things, from potato guns to coupons. Now as the CEO and co-founder of ClickFunnels, Brunson heads one of the fastest-growing bootstrapped companies in the world.

"We're growing faster than any VC-backed company that I know of, and we do it because we had to do it smarter, and we do it through the funnels that we practice and we preach, and it works," Brunson says.

In a mere two-and-a-half years Brunson has grown ClickFunnels to more than 36,000 active customers and, even more impressively, he's been able to turn those customers into a passionate community of evangelists loyal to the brand. He's since taken his talent and knowledge for building effective sales funnels and has distilled it all into an incredibly easy tool that anyone can use, as well as a number of bestselling books.

But it hasn't been an easy road and it's taken a heap of knowhow, expertise, and foresight to get there. Luckily for us, he's sharing his best advice with the Foundr audience.

In this week's episode you'll learn:

  • The key to building an effective sales funnel
  • How to inspire and build a community around your brand
  • What qualities you need to be a leader who inspires
  • Why the best way to understand your market is to be your own customer
  • How to find and keep A-players on your team
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP151_Russell_Brunson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20pm AEDT

Tony Robbins advises billion-dollar CEOs, celebrities, even heads of state, but today, he's going to show you how to become a master of money.

The New York Times-bestselling author has once again topped the charts with his latest book Unshakeable, and to date, the world-renowned speaker has inspired tens of millions of people all over the globe. Successful people from Bill Clinton to Oprah have sung his praises, and he's had sit downs with the likes of Nelson Mandela.

What you might not know, however, is that before it all, Tony was a penniless kid growing up in Azusa, California. After leaving home at 17, Robbins decided to skip college so he could start working, which at first meant sweeping the floors as a janitor. But he constantly strove to continue learning and feed his voracious curiosity.

Every millionaire finds their start somewhere, and for Robbins it was in the pages of endless books that he found himself glued to. He was determined to be a millionaire, and he wasn't going to let a lack of formal education be a barrier, eventually working his way to the top.

Today, he's the one writing the books, sharing all the wisdom he's collected over all those years. And his latest topic of obsession is finance—how to master money and become truly free from worries about wealth.

Robbins has decades of experience in business and investing himself, but in recent years, he's been questioning the world's greatest financial minds to get to the bottom of that question. Many of the answers are in his new book, but fortunately for Foundr fans, Tony Robbins joins us today to share some of his most important lessons.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The secret to living well, no matter how much money you have
  • How to spot a million-dollar opportunity
  • The simple strategy that has led Robbins, and millions of his followers, to financial freedom
  • Financial advice specifically targeted at startup founders
  • Hidden principles of finance Robbins has discovered in his research
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP150_Tony_Robbins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18am AEDT

In 2012, Gretta Rose van Riel, like most aspiring entrepreneurs, found herself spending all of her free time building a business. It was nothing more than a passion project at the time, something to do in her spare time when she wasn't working at her day job.

Despite the fact that she had no real plans to become a full-time entrepreneur with her own business, it wasn't long before that passion project grew into something bigger. She soon knew that this was something she just had to devote all of her time and energy to.

"Basically, I had an idea that resonated with me so strongly, I just knew that it was something that I had to pursue," van Riel says.

The result was a multimillion-dollar ecommerce business called SkinnyMe Tea, the world's first teatox using the natural benefits of tea to help you achieve your health, fitness, and nutrition goals. That alone is impressive enough, but what really separates van Riel from the rest of the pack is that she didn't just build one multimillion-dollar business, she's built many.

In five years, Van Riel has transformed herself from just another employee to serial entrepreneur, with multiple ecommerce businesses under her belt. She's effectively cracked the code on how to successfully build a business online, including coming up with the perfect idea, the best way to market it, and how to rapidly scale.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • How to build an incredibly loyal customer base through social media
  • The easiest way to hack into the power of influencer marketing to build your brand
  • Gretta's method to developing the perfect product from idea, to validation, to selling
  • Why Instagram should be your number one channel for customers and sales
  • The foolproof marketing formula guaranteed to double your revenue
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP149_Gretta_Rose_van_Riel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55am AEDT

In this very special episode of the Foundr Podcast, we answer all the questions you've ever had about building an ecommerce business and more!

The first installment in what we're calling the Foundr Incubator series, we recorded a live coaching session between one ambitious Foundr community member and the head of a billion-dollar company.

We organized a call with Jake McKeon, the up-and-coming founder of multiple ecommerce businesses, to receive one-on-one coaching from Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of unicorn startup Quest Nutrition. Like so many other entrepreneurs out there, McKeon was doing well, but looking to grow and not sure how. That's where Bilyeu, with his years of experience and wisdom, stepped in.

The result is a fascinating and honest conversation in which Jake asks just about every question an entrepreneur might have about how to grow, how to market yourself, and generally how to take an online business to the next level. Tom doesn't hold back and answers all of these questions and more, sharing his insights on what it takes to create a successful ecommerce business and a thriving community around your brand.

This is an episode you definitely do not want to miss, with so much gold being shared that you can't help but feel empowered and inspired after listening.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How to stay relevant in your market and stay ahead of the competition
  • Why you need influencers on your side and how to find them
  • The metrics you need to focus on to grow your sales
  • Where to find A-players when you're growing your team
  • The three things you need to focus on to build a successful e-commerce business
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP148_Foundr_Incubator.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm AEDT

Sean Ellis is not just another marketer. In fact, he's something entirely different. He's the world's first growth hacker.

Originally selling advertising in the print industry in Budapest, Ellis found his calling when a friend began building a new company on this relatively new thing called the internet. Despite not knowing that much about it, Ellis immediately recognized the opportunities that online marketing presented.

"Nobody knew much about the internet at the time. But because I was selling advertising, I really liked the idea of being able to target specific ad messages to specific people," Ellis says.

In the years that followed, Ellis continued to stay ahead of the curve. While the rest of the world was still trying to grow their startups the traditional way, by pounding the pavement and paying for advertising with little understanding of the results they were getting, Ellis was already breaking the rules and experimenting with every possibility that the internet offered.

Instead of just focusing on marketing as something separate from the product that was being built, Ellis wanted to experiment and see if he could combine both product and marketing together. The result was a method he called "growth hacking," a term he coined in 2010 that would come to revolutionize how startups looked at marketing, and eventually become the name of his company Growth Hackers.

He tested his methodology over the years and played a key role in successfully growing companies like Dropbox, Lookout, and Xobni, eventually becoming the go-to guy in all of Silicon Valley for startups looking to grow as fast as possible. Today, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone with more experience, knowledge, or passion about the power of growth hacking.

In this week's episode, you'll learn:

  • The definition of growth hacking
  • Ellis's early experiments with growth hacking and how they still work today
  • A behind-the-scenes look at what powered the rise of companies like Dropbox and Lookout
  • The framework Ellis uses for growing any business
  • How to identify the right strategies for you to become a fast-growth startup
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP147_Sean_Ellis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm AEDT

At 20 years old, Daniel DiPiazza was comfortable.

He wasn't making millions of dollars at his hourly wage job, but he wasn't struggling for money either. Like a lot of people in their early 20s, he just didn't know what he wanted to do. While the life he led was fine, it was a never ending cycle of making enough money to pay the bills, and that was about it. It wasn't exciting, more than anything it was dissatisfying, and after a few years, DiPiazza found himself restless and wanting more out of life.

"It got to this point where I showed up at work one day and I was intensely irritated. It wasn't anything specifically that happened that day, it was just a culmination of a few years of doing things that were just ... very annoying. I made a decision that day that I was going to make a change," DiPiazza says.

From that point on, it was like a switch had been flipped inside him. Instead of looking at all the things that held him back, DiPiazza began looking for opportunities. If no one was going to give him a job doing what he wanted, the next logical step was to simply find a way to give himself a job where he could follow his passion.

It started simply enough, with a little freelancing on the side helping college students prepare for their exams, which soon grew into a self-perpetuating machine that eventually led to owning his own company, Rich20Something.

Today DiPiazza is a bestselling author and uses his own experience to inspire others in his generation, teaching them how they too can build their own businesses and start carving that bit of financial freedom and independence for themselves. Not bad for a kid who had no idea what he was doing in his early 20s.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The best content marketing tactics to use to promote yourself
  • How to never run out of clients as a freelancer
  • Where to go to start skilling yourself up as an entrepreneur
  • How to come up with and validate your business ideas with a few simple steps
  • Strategies to build up your personal brand and influence
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP146_Daniel_DiPiazza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm AEDT

One of the best ways for an entrepreneur to come up with a great business idea is by scratching their own itch. If something's giving you trouble, it's likely that other people out there are feeling the same way.

That's how it all started for Mike McDerment, back when he created FreshBooks. At the time, McDerment wasn't looking to create a new business, or invent some sort of revolutionary product to sell. He was just trying to solve his own problem—he was tired of using Microsoft Excel as a way to create and send invoices to clients.

It originally started off as simple digital product to make his own life easier, but it wasn't long before others started taking an interest in McDerment's new tool. Instead of selling a complete software package, the common approach at the time, McDerment decided to try out a new business model that was relatively unheard of at the time.

"The truth is, we were SaaS before there was SaaS. We were cloud before there was cloud," he says.

While most people were selling software as licenses, McDerment was determined to build a product that would guarantee a predictable, recurring revenue. It was a new idea, and one that many consultants and others in their space advised against. And it's true that things didn't look great for McDerment and his co-founders after two years of developing and selling the product.

"We had only 10 paying customers paying about 10 dollars a month each. To be making a hundred dollars month after that many human years of effort is by all accounts a failure. And we stuck with it because we really loved what we were doing and our customers were telling us that it was great. It was a little more colorful in the early days," McDerment says.

Refusing to give up, McDerment and his co-founders pushed on, and in the years since, they've served more than 10 million customers, and grown into a company with over 250 employees. Today, FreshBooks is one of the most widely used and preferred methods of accounting and invoicing for small businesses everywhere, and it all began with a simple idea, the passion to never give up, and some interesting strategies for growth.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why you shouldn't necessarily follow best practices
  • How to grow and adapt as a leader
  • Why the best leaders never need to have all the answers
  • The importance of instilling the right values within your team and company culture
  • What "guardrails" you need in order to have your company grow as fast as possible
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP145_Mike_McDerment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11am AEDT

Many of us have a secret desire to make a living by following our passions, but not all of us have a passion quite like Vanessa Van Edwards'. Back in college, she loved reading academic and scientific journals. She tore through them.

That might lead you to believe that she wanted to become an academic or work in a lab somewhere, but Van Edwards also had the soul of an entrepreneur. Even as a young adult, she had several successful businesses under her belt. Listening to that entrepreneurial spirit within her, she wondered if there was a way to link up her two loves—business and science.

"All these researchers spend years and years doing this research, and they publish 20-page papers and they get read by, if they're lucky, a hundred people. And I wondered, is there a way to make a business out of this science research? Is there a way to turn science into business?" Van Edwards says.

In 2012, she started the Science of People, a human behavior research lab dedicated to understanding the science behind what makes people tick. Whether it's unraveling the building blocks of a charismatic personality, decoding body language, or just delving deeper into the psychology of relationships, she built a business around her passion for science, with a focus on translating dense academic language into something that everyone can understand.

In her writing, including her latest book, Van Edwards takes the latest research and uses it to explain how to read faster, make excellent small talk, and easily capture the attention of an entire room of people with nothing but your words.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to use content marketing as a way to validate your business idea
  • What qualities make a person a charismatic
  • How to connect with influencers and get the "yes" you want
  • Hacks to improve your networking, communication, and leadership
  • Tricks to dealing with difficult people and how to spot them a mile away
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP144_Vaness_Van_Edwards.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19am AEDT

When Jim Kwik was in kindergarten, he suffered a terrible fall that resulted in head trauma and a brain injury. This would come to define the rest of Kwik's early life as he grew up suffering from learning difficulties. He constantly struggled to keep up with the rest of his peers and never quite found the ability to focus enough and learn fast enough, all of which was exacerbated by the fact that he didn't even have a fully functioning memory.

"I was the boy with the broken brain," Kwik says.

And yet, today Kwik is considered an expert on memory, learning, and the brain. He teaches thousands of people how they can hack their brains, just like he has with his own, in order to drastically expand their potential to learn and process new information. Kwik can count some of the most influential people in the world as his students, including Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey, just to name a few.

"Every single person can also do it, you just weren't taught how. If anything, you were taught a lie, a lie that your intelligence, your potential, your memory, is fixed like your shoe size. And we know from just the past couple of decades of research in the brain sciences that's just not true," Kwik says.

So how did the boy with the broken brain become the master of memory?

While most people spend their lives being told what to learn, Kwik has spent the majority of his life finding out everything he can about how to learn.

Kwik has devoted countless hours over years of study into how exactly the human brain works and all the different ways you can teach yourself to not only have a better memory, but to read faster, learn faster, and in general turn your brain into a superpower.

In this week's episode, you will learn:

  • Why the power of your mind is the most important weapon as an entrepreneur
  • How to stop being a passive learner and start being an active learner
  • How to unlock your brain's vast potential for memory
  • How the most influential people in the world use their brains
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP143_Jim_Kwik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm AEDT

At 18, Gerard Adams dropped out of college after one semester. That semester was all it took to confirm what Adams knew all along. Like all entrepreneurs, he just wasn't built to follow the rules. The idea of getting a degree, to eventually get a job, to eventually retire, wasn't going to be the life for him.

"That's when I made the decision to ... really put the pressure on myself to learn how to build businesses on my own," Adams says.

While most people would go out and look for mentors by joining a community of some sort, Adams brought the community to him. In order to pursue his interest in investing and stocks, Adams built an online community for stock traders and investors, growing it to more than 10,000 active voices, and allowing him to learn from the best of the best.

From there, he had his share of wins and losses, from getting a job where he helped build a company to 18,000 shareholders, to having the product demonstration fail in a live demonstration. He then built his own marketing agency and started generating hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he then invested heavily into the stock market, only for the 2008 recession to hit.

No matter what, though, Adams was always learning.

Taking everything that he learned from his experiences, together with his co-founder, Adams built Elite Daily, a news site for millennials, a place where Generation Y could be given a voice to talk about everything from economics to health. Over the next three-and-a-half years, they grew their Wordpress site to a company with more than 200 employees, with 80 million unique visitors to the site per month, and 80 to 100 articles a day. The eventually sold Elite Daily to the Daily Mail for $50 million.

That was two years ago, and since then Adams has invested in multiple startups and mentored many young entrepreneurs by sharing his years of experience.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • The blessing and the curse of raising capital and what it means
  • Adams' amazing story of going from college dropout to the voice of a generation
  • What it takes to build a media company that reaches millions
  • How to judge a company through brand equity versus revenue
  • The true cost of being a founder and what it means to be a leader who inspires
  • & so much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by FreshBooks.

When it comes to finding the perfect service to help you manage and track your invoices, time, and expenses, you can’t overlook FreshBooks. Designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t need full-blown, double-entry programming, but still want to keep their finances in check, you can’t go back once you start using it!

Direct download: FP142_Gerard_Adams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31am AEDT

At 23, Katelyn Gleason faced, like many people in their early 20s, an existential crisis. She just didn't know what she wanted to do.

"I started thinking about jobs. I was like 'God if I'm going to have to do this for the rest of my life it better be something I really care about, that can be my life's work, that I can really invest all of my time and all my energy into,'" Gleason says.

Her first step was to start reading the biographies of some of the greatest individuals in human history—Marie Curie, Jane Austen, Abraham Lincoln, anything she could get her hands on. Gleason's goal was to learn as much as she could about these great people and how they managed to leave such a large legacy and imprint on humankind today.

It wasn't long before Gleason found herself immersed in the world of healthcare, technology, and startups. It was there she found her purpose. Gleason noticed a problem in the medical industry that no one seemed to be talking about or trying to solve. Doctors and patients alike were getting bogged down with paperwork that was often confusing, and as a result, many were dealing with huge costs simply by filling out the wrong forms.

The next nine months were spent at her kitchen table, furiously working on a solution to this problem. That solution would end up becoming Eligible, a medical billing startup designed to make it as simple as possible for doctors and insurance companies to work together and save everyone money, patients, doctors, insurance companies alike.

As a two-time alumni of Y-Combinator, Gleason led Eligible from quietly testing and validating its product to becoming an explosive fast-growth company. Today, Eligible processes 14 million transactions per month, with a projected 50 million transactions by the end of the year, and has raised more than $25 million in funding.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • Every step you need to take as the founder of a startup, from validating to raising capital
  • How to gain proof of concept as quickly as possible
  • Where to find co-founders to complement your own skills and talents
  • What strategies you can use to build a fast-growth company
  • How to manage the people around you and keep them focused on your goal
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP141_Katelyn_Gleason.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:42pm AEDT

If it seems like entrepreneurs are getting younger every year, it's because they are. More millennials are turning toward entrepreneurship as a fulfilling career choice, passing on the traditional route of finding employment with some company.

As the co-founder of DoorDash, Andy Fang is no different, part of the new school of entrepreneurs getting into the startup world while still in college. In 2013, Fang and his three co-founders were still students in Stanford when they had an idea—to create an on-demand delivery service in their area for restaurants that didn't have their own.

It wasn't long after that DoorDash found itself backed by Y Combinator, and has since expanded to several major cities within the US and Canada, recently raising $127 million in funding. Not bad for a student entrepreneur who was once the only delivery driver the company had.

DoorDash is but one of many startups in an ever-growing food delivery market. In order to stay one step ahead of the competition at all times, Fang has had to learn how to adapt quickly to challenges thrown his way, and how to prioritize growth at all times.

In this week's episode you'll learn:

  • How to put together a team of co-founders based on mutual trust and respect
  • The key to adapting quickly and executing even faster
  • Why it's so important to have a clear vision and the guts to stick to it
  • The logistics behind running a food-based startup
  • Challenges and solutions when it comes to expanding and entering new markets
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP140_Andy_Fang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm AEDT

Jordan Harbinger is one of the most influential people in entrepreneurship today, thanks to his popular podcast The Art of Charm. His show recently hit its 10th anniversary, and Harbinger has interviewed some of the greatest minds and personalities in the startup space and more.

Starting off as a law school graduate who landed a job as a financial attorney on Wall Street, it didn't take long for Harbinger to become quickly disillusioned with the life that being a big shot attorney offered. Within a year, he left his job to work full-time the Art of Charm podcast, but not before taking with him some key lessons from his stint on Wall Street.

During that time, Harbinger learned of "the third path" to success that no one seemed to talk about. The one that wasn't about working long hours, or even being the smartest person in the room, but instead was all about networking. He found that the key to success was all about sharpening your social skills in order to develop the key relationships you need in order to succeed.

That lesson turned Harbinger's life around and opened up a whole world of possibilities that he never thought possible.

In this week's episode:

  • How to develop and master the social skills you need to succeed
  • The competitive advantage behind networking and building relationships
  • Why podcasting changed the game and how you can harness its power
  • How to become a highly influential person
  • The secret to creating a successful podcast
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP139_Jordan_Harbinger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29am AEDT

The inspiring story behind Simple Green Smoothies started on a playground, with two mothers watching their kids play together.

At the time, Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner were both first-time mothers, and they shared a desire to get back into the workforce. But they decided they were going to do it on their own terms and by following their passions.

In 2007, they officially made the jump from being playdate partners to professional collaborators when they began working together on a parenting blog. Not long after they were working on more projects together, with Simple Green Smoothies being one of them.

What initially started off as a side-hustle turned into a full-fledged business, getting some serious traction after they discovered Instagram in 2012. Through a mixture of follower challenges, influencer marketing, and a whole ton of heart, they started building a multimillion-dollar business.

Their key tactic? Focusing on community, first and foremost.

“We listen to our community, we poll them all the time asking, 'What do you want from us?' 'What do you need?' 'What’s your biggest struggle right now?'," Hansard says.

“Find ways to really nurture that tribe and get to know them, just like you would in a real romantic relationship, so that you can serve them to the best of your ability," Sellner says.

From being stay-at-home mothers working multiple jobs in order to keep their families afloat, to being the co-founders of a multimillion-dollar business with thousands of customers, the story of Simple Green Smoothies is a must-listen for any entrepreneur.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • Why it's all about building a community first
  • How to reach out to influencers to help promote your product
  • What social media platform you should use and how to figure out what works for you
  • How to generate new leads by providing a free experience
  • Why you need to focus on one core message when you're just starting out
  • & so much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by SiteGround.

Thinking about building your own website? Get started with the best web-hosting service around with SiteGround, with their 24/7 support, unbreakable security, and dedication to providing the best experience possible for you and your audience. You can't go wrong with SiteGround.

Direct download: FP138_Jen_Hansard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEDT

Back in 2010, Girish Mathrubootham was a pretty successful tech guy, having risen up the ranks of a company to VP of Product Management. But that didn't mean he was immune to bad customer service.

After spending months and months going back and forth with a company on an insurance claim, in the end, all that was achieved was Mathrubootham feeling helpless and frustrated. He took to a popular online forum to air his frustrations, and that was when he got his first taste of what it means to harness social power. His post went viral, with others airing their own frustrations at the same company, to the point where the president of the company stepped in to personally apologize to Mathrubootham.

He began to understand just how antiquated the systems for customer service were, and just how important social media had become in giving a voice to customers who previously had nowhere else to go. He realized that modern companies needed a help desk that not only tracked complaints through traditional channels like email and phone, but also those that came through on social media channels.

The result was Freshdesk, a company that now employs more than 950 people around the world, and has raised more than $150 million in capital from top VC firms. One more super-impressive thing about the story of Freshdesk—it started out as a tiny company based in India, and Mathrubootham had to overcome the challenge of gaining a foothold in the US.

That seven-year journey had its own share of setbacks, but Mathrubootham has managed to rise above each one that the cutthroat tech world has thrown his way, through a mixture of knowing exactly the right kind of person to hire and his own tenacity and savvy for PR.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • What it means to truly harness social power
  • What to look out for when you're studying your competitors
  • How to turn an attack into the best PR move you'll ever make
  • The key to raising millions of dollars from the top VR firms in Silicon Valley
  • Why you need to hire based on potential and not on academic credentials
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP137_Girish_Mathrubootham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm AEDT

For as long as he can remember, Tenko Nikolov has been obsessed with computers. From his very first computer at the age of 7, he fell in love with the simple green and black screen and was fascinated with all that this technology could offer.

Of course, he also got into some trouble, even accidentally hacking into a large US corporation's network with a friend at the age of 13. After a few days of fun messing with their systems and bragging to their friends, the duo eventually sent an email to the company letting them know what they did and how they did it.

The next few days were agonizing as they waited for a response, petrified that an FBI agent would be showing up to his doorstep in Bulgaria. To his surprise, however, the company reached out, thanked them for finding a security loophole and even asked them how much they'd like to be paid for finding it in the first place.

“I realized that I can actually be paid for the thing that I love to do most," Nikolov says.

Instead of asking for payment, Nikolov asked for his own server that he could play around with. After getting his first taste of entrepreneurship, he began seeing how far he could push the limits of computer technology. Looking back at it now, Nikolov pinpoints this as the exact moment that led him to develop SiteGround, a web-hosting server and provider.

But what makes SiteGround stand out from the thousands of competitors out there, is Nikolov's dedication to innovating.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • How to build a product that not only learns from its customers, but also continuously improves
  • When to give up on perfection and focus instead on shipping
  • How to survive as a bootstrapped company for 13 years straight
  • How to read the trends and stay one step ahead of your competitors
  • What it takes to go from a company that nobody's ever heard of to a major player in your industry
  • & much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by FreshBooks.

When it comes to finding the perfect service to help you manage and track your invoices, time, and expenses, you can’t overlook FreshBooks. Designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t need full-blown, double-entry programming, but still want to keep their finances in check, you can’t go back once you start using it!

Direct download: FP136_Tenko_Nikolov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:25am AEDT

A lot of people can recognize an opportunity, but what separates an entrepreneur from the rest of us is the ambition and courage to seize on that opportunity.

The opportunity Leila Janah recognized was enormous. Lucky for her, and the rest of us, she had the ambition to match it. Her goal? Fighting world poverty.

Ever since founding Samasource in 2008, Janah has impacted the lives of more than 30,000 people, raising thousands up from the poorest parts in India, Haiti, Uganda, and more. Janah has been internationally recognized for her work, with accolades coming from the world's most prestigious universities and publications like the New York Times, Fortune, and Entrepreneur.

The opportunity Janah saw was a simple one. There was a trend in the globalizing economy of companies looking to outsource their work, and she wanted to tap into that trend by giving people living in extreme poverty the training and skills needed to fill these jobs. With the idea that by providing people with the right skills could help them rise out of poverty, Janah managed to pioneer a unique and inspiring social enterprise.

In taking on such a massive problem, Janah has faced virtually every hurdle that can be faced in her eight-year journey as a social entrepreneur, and it looks like nothing is going to keep that bold ambition in check.

In this week's episode you'll learn:

  • The business of tackling the world's largest problems
  • How to find and instill passion into the people who work around you
  • The strategy of divide and conquer when it comes to nonprofits
  • How to keep it simple with project management and personal goals
  • What you can accomplish as a social entrepreneur if you put your mind to it
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP135_Leila_Janah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm AEDT

At his very core, Matthew Kimberley is a salesman.

Whether it's something he was born with, or a trait he picked up while growing up, Kimberley understands the art of the sale. Starting at the young age of 13, Kimberley took to the street as a young street performer. Juggling his way into his first few dollars, and finding within himself that perfect combination of charm, drive, and ambition that make up the best salespeople.

Fast forward to his 20s, Kimberley had built himself an highly lucrative company earning a cool 7-figures a year, and yet, he was unhappy. He just didn't believe in what he was doing, and couldn't find the passion to keep on going. Taking a step back as a founder, he went back to what he knew best: selling.

“I realized what I liked to do is sell and teach people how to sell. So what I did was become a self-employed sales trainer, and I haven’t looked back since.”

To Kimberley, there is no other skill that is as important as knowing how to sell.

“Here’s why sales are important. When you can sell, you don’t need any other skills. When you can sell, you don’t need to be a creator. When you can sell, you don’t need to be a manager. When you can sell, you don’t need to be a writer, you don’t need to be a speaker, you don’t need to be a talker, you don’t have to have a business idea. You don’t have to be a particularly good executor. You don’t have to be good at doing anything, other than asking, persuading, convincing,” Kimberley says.

Today, Kimberley has honed his skills to the point of being one of the go-to gurus when it comes to the art of selling. He's taught hundreds of people and businesses how to not only grow, but double and even triple their profit margins by teaching them his practical system on how to sell hard, and sell fast.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • Kimberley's 16 principles of professional persuasion
  • The best place to learn and hone your skills as a salesperson
  • Why learning how to sell is the most important skill for an entrepreneur
  • How to follow your passion while maximizing your profits
  • The importance of having a mentor and where to find one
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP134_Matthew_Kimberly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57pm AEDT

The phrase “game-changing” gets bandied about a lot in entrepreneurial circles. And certainly, in this era of landmark technological change, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to people and products that have changed the way we live.

We’re about to introduce you to a woman who raises that bar to life-changing. Someone who is paving the way for millions of women to have more personalized, accurate fertility care. One who has truly moved the medical sciences needle. (Pun intended).

Piraye Beim, is indeed a rare woman. A mother to two, soon-to-be three, a world-leading genetic scientist and Founder/CEO at Celmatix – the New York biotech firm putting big data through its paces with some remarkable results.

Since launching in 2009, Celmatix has released two world-first products. The first is Polaris, a cloud-based platform that uses big data to optimize the treatment of fertility patients. Its creation was what Beim refers to as a “happy accident” on the way to solving their number one goal –  building the first genetic test for reproductive health. Fertilome, the realization of that mission, was released early this year.

Today, Celmatix are well on their way to empowering an entire generation of women to proactively manage their fertility. And Piraye Beim is just getting started.

In this week's episode:

  • How critical it is to your success to be a part of a shared community
  • What the business of medicine is like
  • The importance of understanding the story of your customers
  • How Piraye settles the debate between growth and profitability
  • How to find the time to be both a parent and a game-changing entrepreneur
  • & much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by Pipedrive.

Made by marketers for marketers and with over 30,000 users worldwide, Pipedrive is one of the best CRM tools in the business. Keep track of all your sales, customers, and leads with their incredibly intuitive dashboard and simple design. Don't try any other CRM tool until you've used Pipedrive first!

Direct download: FP133_Piraye_Beim.mp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am AEDT

Before heading to San Fransisco to devote himself fully as the CEO of the wildly popular customer relationship management (CRM) tool Pipedrive, Timo Rein was a sales consultant back in his home country of Estonia. With a knack for making sales and closing deals, Rein found himself successfully working as one of the best salesmen in his country for over 12 years.

Despite loving the industry he was in, Rein knew that there was much more he could offer the world beyond just one-on-one consultation and training sessions. There had to be a way for him to apply his years of experience and distill them into a product that could help thousands of salespeople he knew must be frustrated with the exact problems he was facing.

In Rein's own words:

"We should either find a product like this, or build a product like this. We didn't find exactly what we were looking for so we decided to build it."

Leaving the company that he called home for 12 years, he began to build his very first tech product.

The product that would become known as Pipedrive struck a chord. Ever since launching in 2010, Pipedrive has grown to more than 30,000 customers who can be found on every continent on the globe, and impressively raised $9 million in its first round of funding.

Rein shows no sign of stopping as he seeks to continue to grow Pipedrive in his own impressive fashion.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to choose between building a service-based or a product-based business
  • Rein's own tips on how to improve your own sales regardless of the niche
  • How to find and develop your own leadership style
  • What types of people you need around you to launch and grow a successful startup
  • The key to continue moving quickly and efficiently as you grow
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP132_Timo_Rein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42am AEDT

After being unceremoniously tossed out of the corporate world 20 years ago, Michael Stelzner took a chance and turned toward entrepreneurship. In the years that followed, Stelzner began building a reputation as an influencer with a huge network of writers and marketers.

It all culminated in 2009 when, after noticing more and more people talking about social media, he decided to run an experimental project: see if he could build a following by creating a blog with detailed articles about social media. Grabbing the name Social Media Examiner, he got to work.

His goal was simple. Instead of being one of the hundreds of bloggers already out there writing about what they didn't like about social media or simply covering the latest news in that industry, Stelzner wanted to create a blog where he would get the best writers to craft articles that would help the average person and marketer understand how to use social media.

To say that his experiment paid off would be an understatement. Social Media Examiner is one of the biggest business blogs in the world, and is widely considered the authority on all things social media.

Beyond having an incredibly successful blog, Stelzner has expanded the brand to include a top-ranking podcast and an annual event that attracts the best marketers and entrepreneurs in the world.

Seven years into his entrepreneurial journey, Stelzner helms one of the fastest-growing and most respected media companies on the planet.

His secrets to success? A powerful mixture of marketing know-how, a strong business model, and understanding how to get the most out of your network.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • How to land interviews with some of the biggest names in your industry
  • The value in giving away your best stuff for free
  • What it takes to become the most influential authority in your space
  • How to market effectively and connect with thousands of people
  • The magic behind networking and how to harness it
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP131_Michael_Stelzner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am AEDT

For the past 10 years, Scott Harrison has made charity his business, and he's managed to raise $250 million and bring clean drinking water in people in more than 24 countries since he began his nonprofit charity: water.

Ever since learning the majority of diseases suffered by the poor were caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, he has made it his life's mission to bring clean drinking water to those who need it the most. It's been an amazing journey since he first started and his organization has not only affected millions of lives around the world, but he's also inspired hundreds of others to take the path of social entrepreneurship.

But in the beginning, there really weren't many social enterprises quite like charity: water.

"My advice to people is 'go find someone who's doing what you want to do and join them instead of starting something.' In my case, I just couldn't find anyone else doing what I wanted to do, doing what I had the vision for," says Harrison.

Sleeping on the floor of a friend's closet and using the living room as an office, Harrison began to build something that would offer a solution to what he considered the greatest problem facing the world. Taking it upon himself to build an organization that he could believe in, Harrison created a fresh take on how nonprofits could run and worked to rebuild trust in the power of charity.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • The art of storytelling and why it's so important for any social enterprise
  • How to craft a story that everyone can relate to
  • How to build and run a worldwide enterprise through nonprofit philosophies
  • How to inspire and build a team of thousands of volunteers who believe in your vision
  • How to build a brand that inspires
  • & so much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by Infusionsoft

Anyone looking for the gold standard in sales and marketing solutions should turn to Infusionsoft. The complete package for small businesses of all types, save yourself some time and let Infusionsoft do all the work for you by automating huge parts of your business.

Direct download: FP130_Scott_Harrison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14am AEDT

Many of us have been to one of those startup events where you're divided up into teams and have to whip up a company in the span of a weekend. You make great connections and have some fun, but typically the business idea you were working on for past 48 hours is gone by the time your head hits the pillow.

But Matthew Arevalo and his new friend, and soon-to-be co-founder, realized they were onto something special. While most people went back to their daily lives, Arevalo began dedicating all of his time and energy into this new business. The result was a company called Loot Crate, a subscription service that ships a mystery box of items made for geeks by geeks.

"Subscription boxes had been around, and had existed in the past. But a lot of the focus had been on sampling. It had been on trying to get samples of products into a box and get them out to folks," says Arevalo. "Loot Crate really was the first company to work directly and say, 'We're going to put full-sized apparel, figures, collectibles, and items that pop culture fans gravitate towards and have an emotional connection to.'"

Since that fateful weekend in 2012, the fledgling startup has grown into a powerhouse company with more than 650,000 subscribers, making it the fastest-growing company in the US.

But earning such an accolade took a lot of experimenting, perseverance, and a couple of setbacks along the way, all of which Arevalo was more than happy to share with the Foundr audience.

In this week's episode, you'll learn:

  • The secret to tapping into a niche and creating a true emotional connection with your audience
  • What your number one focus should be in the early stage of a fast-growing startup
  • Why it's important to always be looking for feedback from your customers
  • How to turn failure into a learning experience
  • The difference between running a physical business and a digital one
  • & much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by Fresh Desk.

Make bad customer service a thing of the past with Fresh Desk. Whether it's with their live chat feature, their easy-to-use ticketing system, or their multi-channel customer support system, treat your customer to an experience like no other and keep them coming back.

Direct download: FP129_Matthew_Arevalo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53am AEDT

The internet marketing scene is not exactly known for being grounded and humble. It's often as bombastic and self-inflated as a hip-hop rap battle. That’s why it comes as such a surprise to find that Darren Rowse, one of the world’s most successful bloggers, is so … normal.

His down-to-earth nature is only the first thing that will surprise you. The second is where he's from—Rowse isn’t from Silicon Valley, or even the United States as many assume. Rather, he hails from from Melbourne in Australia’s southeastern corner.

Rowse currently has two active blogs. ProBlogger needs little introduction, as it’s been the internet’s go-to place for everything blog-related for more than a decade now. And his second blog, Digital Photography School, has long been a content darling of photographers worldwide. Both of these blogs boast readerships so large, they put national media outlets to shame. In the words of Ron Burgundy, he’s kind of a big deal.

Before every second person decided to set up a space to blog about their special interests, however mundane, there was Darren Rowse. He planted his flag deep into blogging soil before any of us knew it was a thing, and has since grown to become one of the world's leading authorities on blogging. As one of the world’s premiere bloggers, he’s breathing the rarefied air that comes with 5 million-plus monthly readers.

In this week's episode you will learn:

  • The secrets behind effective content marketing and how it can improve your business
  • How to understand who your reader is and what kind of content they're looking for
  • Why you need to network and the best way to do it
  • What the best practices for SEO are
  • The key to growing a business beyond yourself
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP128_Darren_Rowse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06am AEDT

If you're interesting in learning how to market more effectively and land more sales, a quick Google search will bring up thousands of results, each one promising that their specific tip will be the one that changes your business forever. The trouble is sorting the wheat from the chaff. What's the stuff that'll actually work for you, and what's the stuff that's just clickbait?

According to Sean D'Souza, the secret to marketing is actually surprisingly easy to understand. At their very core, all marketing strategies follow the exact same model, D'Souza says. He has cracked the code, and he can prove it.

"What I do is I break down things into little pieces, and when I break them down into little pieces it becomes scientific. That's really what science is. Science is taking something very complex and breaking them down into little pieces and reconstructing it so that anyone can do it," D'Souza says.

Originally working as a freelance cartoonist, D'Souza somehow found himself indulging his talent for marketing and understanding consumer psychology by helping out others with their marketing efforts. It wasn't long before he started writing about his own experiences with marketing and slowly but surely, he began to gather an audience hungry to learn more.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The psychological triggers behind turning someone from a prospect and into a customer
  • Why growing your company might not be the best move
  • Sean's most effective marketing tactics and strategies
  • The myth behind innate talent and why it's all about the hustle
  • What the perfect marketer look and sounds like
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP127_Sean_DSouza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57pm AEDT

There are many reasons people choose to become entrepreneurs. Some want to make money, others want the freedom of owning their own businesses, and some, like Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, want to make an impact. For Sivaramakrishnan, a self-described accidental entrepreneur, she never intended to become the founder of one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. It just so happened to be that it was only by doing so could she affect the change she wanted to see in the world.

Originally intending to pursue a career in academia, by the time Sivaramakrishnan graduated from Stanford with a PhD in information theory, she realized that this was merely a milestone on a journey to something greater. After graduating she headed for Silicon Valley and found herself one of the original engineers of a soon-to-be successful startup.

"I felt like here was a place where I could create an impact," Sivaramakrishnan says.

By the time that startup was acquired by Google in 2009, Sivaramakrishnan had developed a taste for the intricacies of the startup world and soon began her own venture called Drawbridge. The company was all about helping other companies of all kinds understand their customers and their buying habits across multiple devices.

Impressively, since she's launched, Drawbridge now has over 150 employees and is considered one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. Growing by almost 2000% in just the past year alone, in regards to size and the amount of revenue it generates.

Not bad for an accidental entrepreneur.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Where mobile advertising is at now, and what the future holds
  • How to find data solutions to marketing problems
  • Why it's so important to find people who share your vision
  • Who you need to hire as your company starts to grow
  • The unavoidable, and the avoidable, pitfalls of running a fast-growing startup
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP126_Kamakshi_Sivaramakrishnan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am AEDT

You can't talk about fast-growing SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies without mentioning Zapier. In about five years, they've amassed a customer base of over 1.5 million registered users, and grown their team from just three founders to 60 people. But perhaps what's most impressive and unique about Zapier, is the fact that those 60 people can be found all over the world.

While Wade Foster and his co-founders reside in San Fransisco, he is quick to mention that does not mean Zapier's headquarters are in San Fransisco. Not just employees, but also members of the executive team can be found on almost every continent, working remotely. Zapier is living proof that entrepreneurs and startups are no longer strictly bound by location, and that there is a whole world of talent out there.

"The internet feels like our true home," Foster says.

You might think that having such a team would be a detriment to a fast-growth company but, according to Foster, having such a large, distributed team is precisely the reason behind Zapier's impressive success. When it comes to managing and leading such a scattered team, all while building a fast-growing SaaS company, Foster is a master.

In this week's episode you'll learn:

  • How to validate your idea and find your first customer at the same time
  • The pros and cons of managing a distributed team of over 60 people
  • What a high-performing distributed team looks like
  • Keys to building a B2B company as quickly as possible
  • Wade's favorite apps and tools
  • & so much more!

This podcast episode was brought to you by Infusionsoft

Anyone looking for the gold standard in sales and marketing solutions should turn to Infusionsoft. The complete package for small businesses of all types, save yourself some time and let Infusionsoft do all the work for you by automating huge parts of your business.

Direct download: FP125_Wade_Foster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09am AEDT

Over the past 20 years or so, the common understanding of what an "entrepreneur" is has undergone some massive changes.

It used to be that an entrepreneur was someone who wore a proper suit, courted investors over fancy lunches and dinners, and ultimately cornered entire industries. Then the term started to shift.

These days when you think of an entrepreneur, you're more likely to conjure some hip whiz kid, much more likely to wear jeans and a hoodie than a suit. The attitude has changed as well, with entrepreneurs these days less concerned about building Fortune 500 businesses, and instead wanting to take on creative pursuits that can fuel their lifestyles of travel, leisure, and adventure.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who fits that 21st century entrepreneur archetype better than Sol Orwell. At only 32, he has already bought and sold multiple online businesses, co-founded a 7-figure business by the name of Examine.com, and finds himself globetrotting three to four months out of the year for fun. So how does he do it?

Orwell is no stranger to the entrepreneurship life, having started his first online business of buying and selling virtual currency at the age of 14. Ever since, he's been in love with starting businesses, and everything that the online world can offer. As a tried and true digital nomad, Orwell knows exactly what it takes to build up the perfect business for anyone wanting to be a lifestyle entrepreneur.

In this week's episode:

  • How to find your niche in the online world
  • The importance of putting the business first before your ego
  • Why building evergreen content will always work better than anything viral
  • Orwell's no-nonsense guide to building a self-sustaining online business
  • The wonders of building a segmented audience and why you need to do it right now
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP124_Sol_Orwell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55am AEDT

Wil Schroter never set out to become an entrepreneur. In fact, he didn't have that much interest in business in the first place. But in 1995, he found himself in the office of his college guidance counselor saying that he was dropping out to start an internet company.

The question she asked wasn't why Schroter was quitting college, but what was this "internet" he was talking about.

A 19 years old, Schroter was one of the first handful of people in the world building successful businesses based on this world-changing piece of technology. While dropping out of college to pursue a career in entrepreneurship is pretty run-of-the-mill today, back in 1995 it was practically unheard of. Everyone around Schroter told him it was insane, that it'd be suicide, that he'd never make it.

Fast forward a little over 20 years, he now finds himself as the founder of several multimillion-dollar companies, including Fundable, the world's largest business crowdfunding platform, and the internationally renowned startup launchpad startups.co. It's been a successful journey since that guidance counselor's office.

Throughout his entrepreneurial career, Schroter has not only witnessed, but also participated in many of the world-changing impacts the internet has had. He's pretty much seen it all.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to survive a business with less than zero business experience
  • The things you need to know on how to close more deals
  • Learn how to build a community
  • How to deal with growth pains effectively
  • Tips on what it takes to build a successful company
  • & more!
Direct download: FP123_Wil_Schroter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am AEDT

After working in the children's media industry for over five years, there was something that was bothering Francesca Cavallo. She found herself asking the question: "Why does almost every princess in every classical fairy tale needs a prince to save her?"

It was something she didn't particularly care for. But the reality was that there just weren't that many fairy tales where the princess was the hero, and not just the damsel-in-distress. So Cavallo did what any other entrepreneur would do in her situation. If there wasn't a solution to the problem, then she was going to create one.

The result was a book called Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a collection of 100 stories about great female artists, athletes, politicians, and scientists. Instead of hearing fairy tales like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, children everywhere could instead listen to the stories of extraordinary women like Frida Kahlo, Elizabeth the First, and Serena Williams.

In order to bring her idea into reality, Cavallo, co-founder of Timbuktu Labs, took to Kickstarter to reach her goal of $40,000 in order to print the first 1,000 copies.

The book was a smash hit. Within 24 hours, Cavallo's campaign raised half of its goal, and by the end of the month she had raised over $650,000 in funds and was the creator of the most successful publishing campaign in Kickstarter history.

It was a dream come true, but it was far from being a lucky break. Months before the campaign even started, Cavallo had begun planning. In our interview, she walks us through step-by-step how she engineered the massive success of one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns to date.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to validate your idea before you even try crowdfunding
  • Why the video is the most important part of any crowdfunding campaign
  • How to establish trust in both your campaign and yourself
  • The tools you can use to ensure your campaign's success
  • Step-by-step instructions for what to do before, during, and after your crowdfunding campaign
  • & much more!
Direct download: FP122_Francesca_Cavallo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47am AEDT