Thu, 27 April 2017
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:
Mon, 24 April 2017
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:
Thu, 20 April 2017
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:
Thu, 13 April 2017
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:
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!
Thu, 6 April 2017
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:
Mon, 3 April 2017
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: