Thu, 4 January 2018
180: How a Made-Up Idea for a Business Became the Second-Largest Expense Reporting Company, with Expensify’s David Barrett
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.
Thu, 21 December 2017
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.
Thu, 14 December 2017
178: How 17-year-old Justin Kemperman and Brandon Monaghan Scaled to $500K in 3 Months (Start & Scale Student Spotlight – Part 3)
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.
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!
Thu, 7 December 2017
177: How Shannon Willoughby Turned Her Passion Into a $30K/Month Business (Start & Scale Student Spotlight – Part 2)
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!
Thu, 30 November 2017
176: Gamal Codner Scales His Ecommerce Business to $60K/month In 3 Months (Start & Scale Student Spotlight - Part 1)
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!
Thu, 23 November 2017
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.
Thu, 16 November 2017
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:
Thu, 9 November 2017
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:
Thu, 2 November 2017
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:
Sat, 14 October 2017
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 Juice, a 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: