Rank #1: 298: Serial Entrepreneur Josh Snow’s Approach to Influencers, Recurring Revenue, and Paid Ads During a Pandemic
Josh Snow always finds ways to thrive in difficult situations.
Growing up, his family didn’t have a lot of money, and he wanted to help them cover basic expenses. So Snow taught himself how to create websites at his local library, which is how he stumbled into entrepreneurship. He eventually took that knowledge and built a software company from the ground up, which he sold by the age of 21.
Now Snow runs multiple successful businesses—with the most prominent one being his nine-figure teeth whitening business, Snow.
And he’s still finding ways to overcome adversity. Just as most businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, Snow also took a huge hit in terms of sales, with its conversion rates cut in half when the pandemic first emerged. However, by making fast, strategic changes, Snow got his company through the temporary setback and is today seeing higher-than-average sales on its site.
In this interview, Snow shares exactly how he made the necessary changes to his business. He also provides advice to other online businesses on how to get through this time by adjusting everything from your subscription model to your approach to influencer relations strategy.
If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com to let us know.Key Takeaways
- How Snow stumbled into entrepreneurship through necessity
- The journey to selling his first software company at the age of 21
- Why Snow believes adversity gives you the opportunity to pause and reprioritize
- The inspiration behind Snow, and how it grew to be a nine-figure business
- How the company has been affected by COVID-19, and the changes Snow made to help his business bounce back and make more sales than before the pandemic
- Snow’s recommendations on how to adjust your subscription products, influencer relations, and paid ads strategy during this time
- The importance of evolving and meeting your customer where they’re at
- Why Snow believes you have to be an “everything” person if you want a successful business
- Advice on using Shopify vs. funnels
- The choice between hunting rabbits vs. elephants (metaphorically)
Apr 15 2020
Rank #2: 60: How to Become Financially Free with Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins talks fast. Conversing with him is like riding Space Mountain: You get in, you hang on, and before you know it, it’s over and you’re left feeling bewildered, slightly euphoric, and wanting to smooth your hair.
Robbins has become a household name as the man who popularized life coaching. Imagine your client list including Oprah, Princess Diana, and Bill Clinton—all before you hit your mid- 30s. He’s spoken to more than 50 million people in 100 countries. To call Tony Robbins just a self-help guru would be like calling Muhammad Ali just a boxer. It doesn’t quite cut it. He is a force of nature, an industry, and a global brand. His advice is still sought by the likes of professional athletes, CEOs, movie stars, rappers and world leaders.
When Foundr interrupted Robbins’ schedule for an interview, he was 40 miles from the Arctic Circle, racing Lamborghinis across a frozen ice lake. As you do. “I was eaten up by my crazy schedule, going to 15 countries a year, so I decided, ‘I’m going to find a little time to play,’ and this was on my list. So it’s nice to be able to experience it.”
It’s a fitting vacation. Robbins is best known for his high-intensity seminars. To say he’s bursting with enthusiasm is an understatement. It seems as though he’s sitting atop an erupting volcano of energy and optimism. His voice is booming, with its trademark rasp. He makes each point with the force of an artillery bombardment.
In this interview you will learn:
- How to deduce your market to the metrics that matter
- The steps you need to take in order to be financially free
- Turning past pain into pure motivation and a hunger for success
- Tony's ethos in living for impact, and how the money will follow
- How to serve your client in the best possible way
- & more more!
Sep 30 2015
Rank #3: 03: Marianne Cantwell Shares with us Step by Step How to Escape the 9-5 and Build a Business and Life You Love Online
Ever wondered how you ended up working the job you’re doing? Ever felt like you sort of just, fell in to it? Ever wondered how to escape ‘the corporate cage’? Finding out what you are good at, what drives you as a person, and then finding suitable work based upon that should be a keystone of our society, but unfortunately, it is not.
Entrepreneur Marianne Cantwell aims to change all that.
Marianne Cantwell works in helping people find their driving passion, breaking free from the corporate cage and creating “free-range” careers. She runs a successful business called free-range-humans and explains that your interests should be a key driver behind your actions, not the blind pursuit of riches.
Marianne Cantwell explains that living a dream is simple, it’s possible, and takes guts. As a woman who has thrown away the security of the 9 to 5 quite early in her career to chase down projects she loves, she is an authority on the subject. Put simply, she broke away from the corporate life and has succeeded doing what the rest of us dream about, which is running her online business from anywhere on the planet.
I Need Your Help! If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people! Leave a review for the Foundr Podcast!
Nov 22 2014
Rank #4: 235: Sell Like Crazy: Psychology, Sales Funnels, and Paid Ads, With Sabri Suby of King Kong
These days, Sabri Suby reigns supreme as the founder of King Kong, Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency. But he’s come a long way since his first job, selling ink cartridges over the phone, which he describes as a “cold, hard slap to the face.”
“I sucked incredibly badly at doing that in the beginning,” he says.
Soon enough, thanks to mastering the art of sales and persuasion, he became the top producer in that role, went on to travel the world, and eventually, forged his path as an entrepreneur. For all of his companies, he realized he was asking the same fundamental question: “How do we get more customers?”
His obsession with answering that question has helped him perfect his selling skills and scale King Kong from zero to $10 million in annual revenue in just four years.
In his latest book, Sell Like Crazy, Suby reveals the selling system he’s created and honed over the years, including things like the Magic Lantern Technique and the Halo Strategy. He says he’s deployed this system in more than 167 different niches and markets—and it’s worked every time. With Sell Like Crazy, he shares the steps you need to take, regardless of what stage you’re in, to level up your business.Key Takeaways
- Where to begin if you want to succeed in selling online
- Psychology vs. technology and why the traffic channel doesn’t matter
- The biggest mistake online businesses are making regarding sales
- Why you shouldn’t start a business by looking only at your interests
- How to identify a gap in the market that you can fill
- Using automation and a funnel to convert sales
- Why skepticism online is at an all-time high—and how to overcome it
- How to know when to ask for the sale
- How to get over the fear of selling
- Why you’re doing the world a disservice by not trying to sell
- Why paid advertising is key to growth
Jan 30 2019
Rank #5: 81: 15 Million+ Followers on Instagram & Counting! Interview with The Instagram Queen Gretta Rose van Riel
Every day there’s an entrepreneur out there who believes that they’ve found the golden ticket. The one idea that is so revolutionary that it’s going to change the landscape of their niche and bring them a huge success.
Unfortunately, no matter how great of an idea it may be, nothing happens unless you have a brilliant plan to execute it.
So where to start in this crazy startup world?
Well, according to Gretta Rose Van Riel, it starts off with finding not just the right product idea but the perfect one. By using a bit of research, and a little bit more patience, she was able to find the type of product that took her to over 600k in revenue in just under a year!
By utilizing Instagram she managed to spread her brand’s message and exposure, growing to over 15 million followers in just a few years! It is very rare you’ll find anyone else as savvy as the founder of SkinnyMe Tea when it comes to the world of e-commerce.
In this interview with Foundr Gretta breaks down for us the nitty gritty details of the e-commerce world and shows us just what it takes to make it as a 21st-century entrepreneur.
In this interview you will learn:
- Learn the easiest and cheapest way to build a website for your business
- Important Insights on how to use Instagram to help start, grow and build up your brand account
- Learn how to identify trends and physical products that you can successfully sell online
- How to get your perfect funnel for you to start selling immediately
- The do's and don'ts of E-commerce
& much more!
Mar 01 2016
Rank #6: 272: The Sweet Smell of Success: From Bankrupt to $100 Million, With Poo-Pourri’s Suzy Batiz
For many consumers, the initial reaction to Suzy Batiz’s product is laughter.
I know it was for me. I remember back in 2008, my mother waving me over to the checkout register of our favorite boutique soap shop, giggling uncontrollably. I saw the tiny bottle and laughed out loud myself. Then handed one to the cashier.
After all, you just can’t walk away from a product called Poo-Pourri.
But it’s Batiz who has had the last laugh. A little over a decade since it launched, Poo-Pourri has become a household name and a $100 million business. The all-natural air freshening spray, once a boutique-only brand, is now sold by major retailers like Target, Costco, Walgreens, and more. Poo-Pourri has taken the world by sweet-smelling storm.
Given her success, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that Batiz had previously gone bankrupt (twice!) and once swore never to launch another company ever again. With a list of former businesses so long she can’t even name them all, Batiz had always come up short in pursuit of her big break.
It wasn’t until she failed hardest and stepped away from the world of entrepreneurship entirely that she had her life-changing epiphany.
The journey from broke to multi-millionaire wasn’t an easy one for Batiz. But her commitment to creativity, willingness to remain flexible, and her indomitable spirit helped her to shake the stink of failure and bring lovely aromas to bathrooms around the world.Sh*t Happens
For years, Batiz was the kind of person who always had a full-time job and a side hustle, with another side-hustle in mind should the current one fail.
“I had a lot of businesses, and nothing seemed to really work long term. Nothing stuck,” she says. “But I was desperately trying.”
She’d owned a clothing store, a beauty salon, and a tanning salon to name a few, and she grew accustomed to taking big risks in the process. She learned early on how to bounce back from failure.
For example, Batiz went bankrupt for the first time before she was even old enough to drink. At 19, she took on a bridal salon, and at 20, the salon had gone under. But that didn’t slow her down.
“I was in this frantic race,” she says. “I was doing everything that you’re supposed to do, you know, pushing through.”
She continued trying new business ideas until, in 1999, she experienced her second bankruptcy. This one hurt far more than the first.
Batiz had sunk much of her own money into building Greener Grass, a recruiting platform designed to match employees with the right company cultures. If views were dollars, she would have been swimming in cash, but when the stock market crashed in 2001, so did her fledgling business. Batiz lost everything.
“They took away the big house, the two cars, and I had to face myself,” she says.
Batiz realized that all her life, she’d been chasing success—which really meant an overflowing bank account—without taking the time to find out what she was actually interested in.
“What’s worse than losing everything is losing everything and realizing you didn’t even have fun to begin with,” she says.
So, Batiz called it quits on the business world and decided to take some time away from it all for herself. During those years of self-discovery, she found the world of essential oils.A Breath of Fresh Air
Ordinarily, if dinner party conversation trended toward discussing bathroom odor, it would be bad news for everyone involved. But when Batiz’s brother-in-law began to wonder over dinner if that unpleasant smell could be trapped and eradicated, sparks fired in Batiz’s mind.
After the time she’d spent working with essential oils, she realized she might be able to create something that would do exactly that. Off she rushed to her kitchen to spend nine months concocting the perfect blend of oils that would one day become Poo-Pourri.
In January 2007, she sold her first bottle.
“I really wasn’t interested in owning another business,” Batiz says. “I had sworn off business, but the product was so good, I had to bring it to market.”
She started with a website, and before long the wholesale requests came flooding in. Within a year, she’d brought in a million dollars in revenue. And it all happened through word of mouth.
“When you have an idea that is great, people tell other people about it,” she says. “I see a lot of people in founder stages stop at a good idea. And if you just have a good idea, it’s like pushing a train uphill. But when you have a great idea, people will stand on the rooftops and tell other people about it.”
Boutiques everywhere began selling little spray bottles of the cleverly named product, and before long, larger chains followed suit.
Seven years after launching, Poo-Pourri was bringing in $8 million in revenue, Batiz spent 12 weeks a year in Maui, and she truly felt like she was living the dream. But she believed her product could truly breakthrough and become the premier bathroom air freshener if she just made a big enough splash.
So, she decided to partner with the Harmon Brothers, the well-known creators of viral advertising videos, to create one of her own. You may recognize the Harmon Brothers’ name from their hit ad for Squatty Potty (yes the one with the unicorn you-know-what), or the Purple Mattresses “egg test” video.
In September 2013, the now-iconic video of a sassy-yet-classy socialite in a turquoise dress proclaiming that “our business is to make it smell like your business never even happened,” burst onto the scene.
In just four days, Batiz’s entire inventory had sold out, with $4 million in backorders waiting their turn to be fulfilled.
With the explosion in sales, Batiz knew it was time to invest all of her attention in creating a stable structure for her business, while still maintaining her company culture.
But how?Fear of Being Number Two
There are three words that define everything done at Poo-Pourri: defy, liberate, and transform.
“We don’t do things status quo, and we don’t ever want to,” Batiz says. “We’re over here shakin’ shit up.”
Batiz strongly believes in hiring employees who can become experts in their areas without micromanaging, and can make big decisions. Of course, with that freedom comes the responsibility of owning up when those decisions don’t pan out. But Batiz believes the best idea can come from anyone or anywhere, so she wants to make sure every employee feels comfortable taking initiative.
But above all, Batiz believes the thing that sets Poo-Pourri above the big air freshener companies is their ability to shift direction at a moment's notice. She calls that agility their “superpower.”
So when the time came to build structure into the business, she knew it couldn’t come with the rigidity some organizations hold to.
“We are this young, rebel kind of company,” Batiz says, “and how do you put some procedures in place, yet keep this rebel nature?”
She tried bringing in a string of leaders, but with each attempt to establish a more defined system, the company’s culture died a little. So, Batiz had to find a way to balance shift-on-a-dime agility with much-needed stability.
She realized that much of her stability could come from within her supply line. By keeping six months worth of sprayers (a part of the product that can take up to 16 weeks to arrive) in stock, she’d be ready for the next boom when it came.
While the company’s edginess has provided a competitive advantage, that need to be the fastest or the hippest has also been a liability at times.
As a rule, Batiz tries not to worry about the competition, but she once became aware that a product similar to hers was going to hit the market, using an automatic dispenser. In a fit of competitive panic, her company tried to release its own version, pushing through timelines and moving far quicker than they should have to keep up.
As a result, they sold 500,000 faulty units to major retailers and had to take them all back, losing millions of dollars and three-quarters of a year in creative energy.
“It was a really good lesson for us to keep our blinders on and stop worrying about what other people are doing,” Batiz says. “Sometimes the best lessons cost us a lot of money or time or energy. The key is to learn.”The Future Smells Sweet
As Batiz heads into the future, she’s not that focused on expanding the Poo-Pourri line, although they have branched out here and there, including a shoe freshener line, and some clever bathroom art.
“I’m not worried about the dollars as much as remaining king of the hill of what I’ve created,” she says.
The focus on the core product is clear, as Poo-Pourri somehow manages to create a bathroom air freshener that is irreverent but not crass, all while avoiding the grandma’s house aesthetic of most bathroom products. The smells are creative, the names are funny, the packaging sharp and sometimes even beautiful. Some could even be mistaken for luxury items. There’s an obvious level of care here placed on something we may not like to think about, but we all have to deal with.
Batiz hopes to achieve and maintain the level of awareness brands like Kleenex and Band-Aid have, becoming totally synonymous with the product they sell.
“What I want is when you have a “before you go” spray—knowing other people will enter the market—that they go, ‘Oh, do you have a Poo-Pourri,’” she says. “We are that iconic brand.”
To achieve such iconic status without a cent from investors is nothing to sniff at. Batiz says that when times get tough, she sees many entrepreneurs race to investors for help. She, on the other hand, prefers to keep total control of her business and figure things out on her own.
“If you have a problem with the problems, that’s a problem!” she says, laughing. “As an entrepreneur, all you do every day is solve problems, and they’re only going to get bigger.”
But despite the big problems she’s faced both in her current role and past businesses, Batiz has emerged triumphant. This year, Poo-Pourri is on track to bring in $100 million in revenue.
The boutique essential oil concoction with a cheeky name now sits on bathroom counters around the globe. And she’s hoping the scent will continue to spread.
Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Erica ComitaloKey Takeaways
- The many side hustles of Batiz, and the lessons in failure they taught her
- How Batiz went bankrupt in her teens
- The frantic race to find success
- How a second bankruptcy forced Batiz to take a step back and self reflect
- The question that sparked the idea for Poo-Pourri
- The power of word-of-mouth, and how it brought in $1 million in revenue in the first year
- How a partnership with the Harmon Brothers took Poo-Pourri to the next level
- Lessons learned on balancing structure with innovative company culture
- Why Batiz believes it’s important to not worry about the competition
- How Poo-Pourri got on track to $100 million in revenue this year
- A peek into Supernatural, Batiz’s newest company that sells home-cleaning products
Oct 16 2019
Rank #7: 46: Seth Godin on Why You Shouldn't do What You're Told
Marketing guru and multiple New York Times bestselling author Seth Godin explains why you should focus less on doing what you're told and more on doing work that's worth doing. In order to take advantage of the unique opportunuties afforded by our times, some rules just have to be broken.
Some people just get it. They grasp the spirit of the times in ways that ordinary people don't. They understand the patterns and progression of history, and can interpret current events and trends with rare wisdom and insight. Seth Godin is one such person.
You might say his knowledge about the world of business borders on the prophetic. You could also safely say Seth Goden is a man who sees the world not for what it is, but for what it could be. He's in the business of change: predicting it, implementing it, and watching it unfold.
You've probably seen his TED talks, his books, his blog, his podcast; he's the one of those characters who are grounded, yet somehow still larger than life. For those late to the Godin party, he's a marketing guru, founder of Squidoo.com and world-renowned author of 17 business bestsellers including Linchpin, Unleashing the Ideavirus, Tribes, and Purple Cow. For a man who understands tribes, he has proved time and again that he can walk the talk, building, in the process, a legion of raving fans-people who thrive on his entertaining blend of business and sociology.
In this interview you will learn:
- How to when to ship a project and when its ready to be released into the world
- Why perfect doesn't exist
- The best analogy we have ever heard for good marketing
- Seth's failures
- Why it's YOUR turn!
- The importance of blogging every day
- & So MUCH MORE!
Jun 15 2015
Rank #8: 212: Behind the Scenes With 3 Start & Scale Ecommerce Success Stories
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
Aug 16 2018
Rank #9: 274: Real Estate Mogul Grant Cardone Talks Tenacity, the 10X Rule, And More
Grant Cardone, a self-made real estate mogul, sales and marketing trainer, and bestselling author, credits his success in life to persistence and an obsession with being the best. That, and his time working at a car dealership.
“The first real job I had was my sixth job,” he says of the gig. “I was fired from my first five. Fired from my sixth job. I was fired six times, but I wouldn’t leave the last job. I just would not leave.”
Part of the reason Cardone’s bosses kept getting so fed up with him was that he was a terrible driver. Not a great quality when working in the car business, as he kept smashing up the merchandise. But his relentlessness made up for it.
“I would wreck their cars and they would fire me,” he says. “And then before I would leave, I would go sell something and they would keep me on. Selling something was always forgiveness.”
By the time Cardone finally did leave, he was the highest-grossing salesman at the dealership. He was the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night, his goal always being to make himself indispensable to the company. And to make a lot of money.
So yeah, Cardone is, well, obsessive. Coming up from nothing, financially speaking, he quickly learned that was the way to rise to the top. It’s helped him achieve his lifelong goals to make money, have a successful career, and help people along the way. Now, Cardone’s exploring that approach to life and business with his new book, appropriately titled Be Obsessed or Be Average.The Origins of Obsession
In his book, Cardone writes, “I didn’t have a father who could lead me to the land of the rich, lend me a million dollars for my first real estate deal, assist with political connections through introductions at country clubs, or show me the ways of business.”
His fate was forged, instead, by the tragic death of his father when Cardone was just 10 years old. Until that day, he had watched his father work hard to provide for his wife and his five children, starting a variety of businesses, from opening a grocery store to starting a life insurance company, and finally becoming a licensed stock broker.
His father’s “drive and his obsession,” as Cardone puts it, were inspiring. And when he died, leaving the family behind to get by on their own, Cardone became obsessed himself—with the idea of creating enough wealth so he would never worry about money again.
But his was a winding path to success. He carried around a lot of anger about his difficult situation, and fell into the wrong crowd in high school. He started smoking and drinking. He got into a lot of fights and a lot of trouble. By the time Cardone graduated, he writes in his book, “I had a massive daily drug problem.”
He did go to college, however, fulfilling a promise his mother had made to his father. He graduated with an accounting degree after what he called “five long, miserable years.”
At 23, he was broke and still doing drugs every day, just barely getting by at his car dealership jbo. “I was 20 pounds underweight and had a gray complexion, thanks to the drugs,” he writes.
At 25, his mother gave him an ultimatum: get clean or never come back. Cardone checked himself into rehab, and although he says it didn’t address the underlying problem, he discovered he could get by without drugs. He vowed to never touch them again and to use his “addictive personality” to his advantage.Turning It Around
After rehab, his boss gave him his job at the dealership back, a move that Cardone says probably saved his life. He worked harder than any other associate, and doubled his earnings in the process.
“It wasn’t until I figured out how to make somebody else rich that I could be rich,” he says.
Cardone finally left his sales job at the car dealership and moved to a sales consulting firm. “I treated my little department as, ‘This is my company within a company.’ And I wanted to make that company as a strong as possible,” he says.
When he left the firm to go out on his own, it was because he felt there was no more opportunity to grow. So at 29 he started his first company, Cardone Automotive, a sales consulting business for the automotive industry. By 30, he’d already made his first million, but it didn’t come easy.
“That was a company where I was cold-calling other businesses across the U.S. and Canada.”
Cardone was working hard, doing what most entrepreneurs do and devoting all of his time to his business.
“I was just hustling. Everything was a transaction...to get money and pay the taxes and have a little bit of money left over.”
And even though his company was making money, year after year, Cardone knew he had to do more to become a true entrepreneur.‘You’re Not a Business’
Cardone had never stopped to think about what an entrepreneur really is. Sure, he’d started a business and it was running smoothly, but he wasn’t reinvesting in it. He wasn’t thinking about marketing or expanding. Instead, he was following the old adage, hard work pays off.
“All I was doing was knocking on doors. It was pure effort. I wasn’t spending money. I wouldn’t spend real money until I was 50 years old, about 10 years ago, when a guy said, ‘Bro, you’re not a business.’”
Cardone knew it was time for a change if he wanted to achieve the kind of success he’d set his sights on. He had to rethink how to do business, how to expand, and how to get the word out.
“The first thing I did was flipped everything. I could no longer be sales first. I had to be marketing first. Marketing and branding. Because to me, a business is, I can walk away from it and it will still operate. I was a guy. I was no different than when I was 30, just pounding doors.”
That’s when he came up with the 10X Rule.The 10X Rule
In 2011, Cardone published his personal business philosophy in his first book, called The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure.
The 10X Rule challenges readers to estimate the amount of time and effort it will take to achieve a goal and then multiply that estimate by 10. It also trains readers to think differently about what they can achieve in the first place.
Cardone writes that most people underestimate themselves and what they can achieve. If they identify a goal, say making $100,000 in a fiscal year, they should multiply that by 10.
“10X woke me up. 10X was not for the public. 10X was for me,” he says.
He created it because he was trying to figure out why, despite his success as an entrepreneur, he wasn’t growing the way he had expected.
“I work hard, I’ve got great products, I’ve got a great reputation, great reviews. People like me. They like my content. They like my content actually better than they like me. That might have been an exaggeration.”
Is 10X totally achievable? Not necessarily, but that’s not really the point of the rule. It’s to shake up the way you perceive what’s possible.
“It’s not achievable, but it’s worth it. You have four, five million dollars sitting in an account today. What if you had $50 million? It’s not achievable, but it’s worth going for it. It’s fun shit, man.”
Even if you can’t achieve 10X, anything you hit will surpass your original goal.Investing in His Brand
Cardone started toward his own 10X goal by spending the money he made, reinvesting in his business, starting or acquiring new businesses, and making himself known across industries.
“People knew me in a particular industry. They didn’t know me in every industry. So the first thing that I took on was that I need to get people know me in every industry while I continue to knock on doors and pay my bills.”
He began by writing books and business programs, which got his brand out there while generating their own money. His next two businesses were sales education platforms, Cardone Education and Cardone On-Demand, online training seminars that established him as a subject matter expert and drew in revenue from large and small businesses alike.
He also started to grow his influence on social media.
“I started with one follower, just like everybody else, and I was the follower. My second follower was my wife because I created an account for her on YouTube and said you’re going to follow me.”
Currently, he has 6.1 million followers on Facebook, almost 395,000 followers on Twitter, 2 million followers on Instagram, and almost 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.
“I’ve grinded for every one of those followers. And delivered content to them so I could scale out.”
His goal was to expand his reach beyond the U.S., and bring in a global audience for his 10x message. He now holds speaking engagements that attract thousands across the globe. He consults for major brands, and his videos on Grant Cardone TV get thousands of views.Investing in Himself
The best business advice Cardone has ever received came not from someone in business, but from his mother, he once told CNBC. “She said, ‘The best investment you will ever make is in yourself. It’s a no-lose deal. It will always give you a return. Nobody can take it from you. It’s yours.’”
Cardone looks for every opportunity to improve himself, whether that’s a charity event that helps him build new relationships or a seminar that will help him acquire new skills or refine old ones.
“People should be invested in the beginning, just in themselves. Every chance you can get to go to something that could possibly help you. If it has a 1% chance of even adding to the value. Spend the money. Don’t sit on the money. Money’s useless.”
He eschews saving money or even spending it on something most people wouldn’t think twice about—buying a house.
“That’s the dumbest thing anybody could do. That’s the dumbest thing I ever did was buy a house. I bought a house and I didn’t improve myself. I spent more time picking furniture out than I did , “Hey, how do I fix me?”What’s 10x for Cardone, Now?
So what’s the next big move for Cardone? Turning those millions into billions, of course.
“10x is how do I do a billion dollars a year in income? And then how do I do $10 billion in real estate? How do I have a $10 billion real estate portfolio? How do I start competing with these banks so they’re like, you know what? We really don’t like all this noise you’re making. You’re a noisy guy. And we’re kind of getting tired of it.”
Cardone’s ability to disrupt industries and make noise has landed him where he is today, as an influential sales trainer and real estate mogul.
He turned an obsession into a reality and used a quirk in his personality to create a global empire.Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs
Cardone now runs five privately held companies, including Cardone Capital, an $800 million real estate company. His 30-year success as an entrepreneur has given him the unique opportunity to share insights with other budding business moguls. He shared with us some of his best bits of advice.
‘Make money your battle cry.’
“Make money. Make money. Make money your battle cry. Go collect money. Don’t make money, just go collect money. Have a great product. Have a great service. Over-deliver. Collect money. Charge for it.”
Put your team in the spotlight.
“If you notice, I show off my people a lot. I don’t keep them behind the scenes. I’m like here, let’s have more than the Cardone show. Why do I do that? Where did I learn that? Great companies.”
Don’t cling to your money—reinvest it.
“The first sheet of paper I get every day is how much cash I have. That’s not for bragging rights. It’s because I want to get rid of it. It’s like trash. I want to get rid of this money. Money is being devalued worldwide right now. I didn’t say I have no reserves, but I don’t need $167 million.”
Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Laurie MegaKey Takeaways
- How the death of Cardone’s father shaped him from a young age
- The winding road to overcoming drug addiction
- Why Cardone was fired from his car dealership job six times—and why he kept getting rehired
- How Cardone channeled his addictive personality into his work
- The launch of Cardone Automotive, and how it got him his first $1 million in a year
- Why Cardone decided to rethink the way he ran his business
- What the 10X rule means, and how it can be applied to any aspect of your life
- How Cardone leveled up his personal branding and became an influencer
- Why Cardone is passionate about the idea of investing in yourself
- A sneak peek into his latest book Be Obsessed or Be Average
Oct 28 2019
Rank #10: 149: How to Use Influencer Marketing to Generate Millions with Gretta Rose van Riel of SkinnyMeTea
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!
May 24 2017
Rank #11: 69: How to Launch Your Startup in 7 Days and Build a $1m Business with Dan Norris of WPCurve
Building a startup is hard, from generating an idea, to developing an MVP, to launching a product, and eventually growing a business. It's just really hard.
But what if I told you that it's entirely possible to launch a startup in 7 days and build a profitable business almost instantaneously? Sounds crazy right?
Well tell that to Dan Norriss of WP Curve who went ahead and did just that.
After seven years of trying his hand at various business, it wasn't until 2013 that Dan struck gold with WP Curve. A worldwide team of Wordpress developers providing constant support for small business of every kind 24/7. Today he impressively manages a worldwide team and just started his craft beer brewery, and there's no sign of slowing down.
He shares with us the lessons he's learned through his career as a serial entrepreneur and as an award-winning content marketer. Teaching us everything from the importance of content marketing in today's world of startups to managing a remote team and what it's like to be in the modern tech industry.
In this interview you will learn:
How to start your own website from scratch
The importance of getting all the opportunities to get press release in launching your ideas
How to manage a huge remote team around the world using different online tools
What content marketing is and how to build and grow a business with it
Why you should be producing awesome evergreen content
- & much more!
Dec 03 2015
Rank #12: 276: Using Content to Build a Community, With Beardbrand Founder Eric Bandholz
Eric Bandholz didn’t like being put into a box.
In his former life as a financial advisor at a big bank, for example, he was expected to fit the stereotypical facade of a banker—suit, tie, clean-shaven.
He didn’t like it, so he quit.
With his newfound freedom, Bandholz embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, all while sporting a fresh, full beard. While he loved his rugged new look, he noticed it was happening yet again. This time, he found himself stuffed in a box with the likes of ZZ Top and the guys on Duck Dynasty.
Of course, Bandholz didn’t identify with any of these well-known bearded figures either. And he began to realize that other full-bearded men from all walks of life didn’t fit this mold either.
“I ended up going to this event where I sort of meet other guys like me, like stay-at-home dads and ministers, salespeople, doctors, lawyers, who are all rocking beards and they didn’t really fit the traditional stereotype,” Bandholz says. “So I was thinking about it. … Who are these people? How do I describe them?”
Seeing there was a broad community of bearded men without a home to call their own, Bandholz founded Beardbrand in 2012. Along with co-founders Lindsey Reinders and Jeremy McGee, Bandholz created a community where bearded men could unite, evolving later into a full-fledged lifestyle brand complete with their own beard care and styling products.
With an army of loyal followers on social media, which includes a YouTube channel with over a million subscribers, Beardbrand has grown into an “upper seven-figure business” with ambitions to reach eight in the near future.
Bandholz has come a long way from his suit-and-tie-wearing days.In the Beginning
In 2011, Bandholz was working for Merrill Lynch in Spokane, Washington, as a financial advisor. It was a respectable career that had a bright future and potential for growth, however, it wasn’t a future he saw for himself once he was in it full time.
Although he loved the work of financial advising and investing, it was stuffy atmosphere and the overall “bank life” that Bandholz knew was not for him. Not wanting to spend another moment in a job that wasn’t a good fit, Bandholz packed up his portfolio and moved on.
The next move?
With a background in marketing prior to his career in finance, Bandholz founded Sovrnty, a startup with a mission to help companies set up marketing automation. Although he had great plans for the business, it never took off.
“I was like one of those gurus. I’d never done it, right?” Bandholz says. “So I’m telling people to do something that I had never really done.”
Unable to sell businesses on his idea, he shifted Sovrnty’s focus to something that he was good at, which was designing and building WordPress sites. Although he was getting some business, it still wasn’t enough. He was pulling together around $2,000 a month at Sovrnty, but he was mainly relying upon his wife and her full-time job to keep the lights on.
Always searching for new clients and ideas, Bandholz was a regular at networking events. And at whichever event he attended, he was always getting called out as one of those cliched bearded figures.
The light bulb went off.
If he didn’t like to be lumped into the stereotypes about bearded men, there had to be others who felt the same. These guys weren’t lumberjacks, roadies, hillbillies, or hipsters, but how exactly would he characterize them? What would he call them?
He settled on “urban beardsmen.”
And in 2012, Beardbrand was born.
The first thing to launch was the blog, Urban Beardsman, which would become a place where Bandholz could help foster a community and connect with other men who didn’t fit the Grizzly Adams stereotype. Beardbrand would soon follow, an organization that united that community of urban beardsmen. There they could also find the tools they needed to feel confident about their beards and personal styles.
But getting from simple blog to full-fledged business proved to be a difficult task.Startup Weekend
Although Bandholz was still working at Sovrnty to help make ends meet, he had high hopes for Beardbrand. However, a clear vision on how to grow this new community was nowhere in sight.
“Aw man, it was terrible. It was just terrible,” Bandholz says. “There was just no strategy at all in those early days.”
The community was growing, but it was hardly going viral. He was posting regularly to Urban Beardsman, had a Tumblr page, and posted some videos to YouTube, but nothing was really taking off.
Despite its middling traffic, the blog was the only one of its kind back then, which by default made Bandholz an expert on the topic of beards. Because of its uniqueness, the Urban Beardsman would catch the eye of a reporter at The New York Times who was writing an article and wanted to quote Bandholz.
As Bandholz waited for the Times article to be published, he convinced friends Reinders and McGee to join him and collaborate at a Startup Weekend, where they could share their ideas on potential projects. They originally came together to work on a different startup idea that Reinders had, but it soon became clear that they didn’t have the capabilities to create her software product in house.
Needing a new business to work on, Bandholz proposed his side project.
“I was like, hey, I got this Beardbrand thing and this New York Times reporter is going to quote me in an article,” Bandholz says. “Why don’t we turn that into something?”
And turn it into something they did.
Reinders and McGee were on board, and in 2013 the business arm of the company was born. Without much capital to start making their own products—they only put $30 into the business at first—the team opted to become an ecommerce company that sold beard oils from a vendor with standard retail markups.
“When the New York Times article posted, we were able to get a couple sales,” Bandholz says. “And I think the first month we did like 900 bucks in sales. And then it was kind of like 900 bucks, 1,000 bucks, 600 bucks … 2,000 bucks, 3,000 bucks, 7,000 bucks. And then it just seemed like we got a lot of momentum into that fall season and holiday season.”
After almost seven years in business, which included an appearance on Shark Tank (spoiler alert: they didn’t get a deal), the momentum is still going strong. Beardbrand continues to grow in community, employees, and revenue, and is now located primarily in Austin, Texas with about 15 team members and 120 products sold through their website.
Bandholz, whose main focus is on the creative direction of the company, still has major plans for the future of Beardbrand. They intend to try their hands at branching out to create their own custom barbershops, where they can create the same experience a customer may see in a Beardbrand YouTube video. They do this by not only creating an amazing barbershop environment, but also by hiring the right barbers and stylists and coaching them on the information a customer is looking for when they sit in the chair.
“[Customers] can to go Great Clips or they can go to their local barbershop and get a really good haircut,” Bandholz says. “But what we want to deliver is that education similar to how we deliver it on our YouTube Channel.”
Whether it is through their popular YouTube videos, blog, or even future barbershops, Beardbrand will always work towards its core mission.
“We’re not just here trying to sell products for vanity,” Bandholz says. “We believe that when you invest in yourself, you become a better person and you make the world a better place. You live longer. … I feel this responsibility that I’ve got to get that message out there as much as possible so that we can make the world a better place.”3 Content Marketing Tips for Bootstrapped Startups
When Eric Bandholz first started Beardbrand, cash was minimal. He was still working at his first company, Sovrnty, and was building Beardbrand on the side. They knew that they didn’t have the money to pay for marketing, but what they did have was their time to invest in content marketing. Bandholz knew that with the right content and strategy, they could reach millions of people.
“Content marketing was essentially our only option in those early days,” Bandholz says. “We didn’t have cash to put into the business. So it started with sharing our story on Reddit. It started with, you know, reaching out to people on Twitter and sharing our product with influencers and not paying them for it.”
Being proactive with their content marketing strategy in the beginning was a key component of Beardbrand’s success. Here are three tips to help your startup bootstrap using content marketing.
Get Started, But Be Patient
Without a marketing budget, Bandholz turned to content marketing to help draw eyes to Beardbrand. It was cost-effective, with the bulk of the investment being his own time to create the content.
The trick was not only to post content and to post it often, but to also know that in the beginning, you won’t get much of a return on your investment. Content marketing is a long-term play. The first step is to just create something. Anything.
“While it does build up over time, it also doesn’t do anything in the beginning,” Bandholz says. “And you really have to like… stoke that fire and get it going. And you get it going by creating, you know, 20 or 40 or 50 pieces of content that start to build that foundation.”
Do What You Like To Do
With so many different funnels and channels to produce content for, it can be intimidating on deciding where to start. According to Bandholz, the type of content you should produce first should be for the channel you’re most interested and passionate about.
“I think you look at yourself and what you like to do,” Bandholz says. “Are you more of an audio person? Then maybe podcasting’s the way to go. Are you more of a writer, you know, introvert? Do you like to express yourself through words? Then blogging is a great way to go. Then, of course, if you’re narcissistic like me…then video is a great source for you.”
The more passion you have for a certain medium, the more likely you’ll churn out content and stick to the long-term plan.
Not all content is created equal, and it’s important to understand the goal for each piece of content you create. At Beardbrand, they use the sales funnel model, where their “content at the top” is there to bring awareness to the brand, the “middle” is used to introduce the products, and the “bottom” hopefully helps to turn the reader into a buying customer.
“Sometimes we have content that is there to inspire people,” Bandholz says. “You know, it’s not going to drive any sales. It’s just there to help build awareness to the brand. And then other good content is stuff that drives sales and gets engagement, or gets people talking and spreading the word.”
By diversifying the types of content you create, you enhance your chances of attracting different types of readers and content consumers on different platforms. As Bandholz says, as a creator, you don’t know exactly what part of the funnel really “helped them become a customer.” For instance, the customer may have first learned about your company through a YouTube video, but it was perhaps the blog or an email newsletter that really got them to trust you and that turned them into a paying customer.
Whichever type of content strategy you decide to implement, one thing is for certain—just get started. You never know who is reading.
Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Nick AllenKey Takeaways
- What drove Bandholz from his career as a financial advisor
- Why his first startup Sovrnty failed to take off
- The lightbulb moment that inspired Bandholz to launch Beardbrand
- How Bandholz leveraged content marketing to grow his business on a tight budget
- The struggle to grow the community into a full-fledged business
- How Beardbrand eventually caught the attention of The New York Times
- The partnerships that helped Bandholz start selling beard grooming and styling products
- From investing $30 into an ecommerce business to making 7 figures
- What Bandholz envisions for the future of the company
Nov 12 2019
Rank #13: 44: How to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur & The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
If, like me, you think the job Lifestyle Entrepreneur seems completely made up, you’d be right.
Lewis Howes’ title, like everything else about his career, is completely self-styled and made into reality on his own terms.
The popular School of Greatness podcast host, who is also an accomplished author and former Arena League football player, quite possibly achieves more before breakfast than most of us do in a week. And it’s all because he took the time to design the life he really wanted. In part, the job description includes overseeing his School of Greatness Academy, a resource for entrepreneurs that gives people access to tools, a community, and accountability coaching to bring their business and lifestyle to the next level.
We sat down with this marketing guru, lifestyle coach and all-round nice guy to learn how he went from couch-surfing to being one of the most sought after online thought-leaders. We also picked up a bunch of expert advice on how one achieves the level of greatness that would warrant such a slick, albeit made-up title.
Wander the halls of the School of Greatness and you’ll find them stocked with high-achieving alumni, each with a unique story in their chosen field or industry but who share the commonality of success. It is an inspirational and fascinating fraternity, one that keeps millions of listeners coming back to Lewis Howes’ podcasts week in, week out.
So how did a kid who dreamt of nothing more than becoming a professional athlete wind up inspiring people on the Internet?
In this interview you will learn:
- Lewis's top 3 marketing must do's
- The importance of selling an online course before you have created it
- How to build relationships Lewis Howes style
- Branding & Copywriting 101
- The School of Greatness and the strong clarity and purpose he has behind everything he does
May 29 2015
Rank #14: 82: The Secrets to Success & Hustle with Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media
Gary Vaynerchuk is a bona fide Internet celebrity. At last count, he was sitting pretty at 1.21 million Twitter followers, and 226,000 Instagram followers. He’s appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Ellen, CNN, and MSNBC. He’s now the CEO of VaynerMedia, a digital agency with more than 600 staff. Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, investor, New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and, hailing from greater New York City, a fervent Jets fan.
But his success all started with Wine Library TV, a video blog he started when YouTube was still a 1-year-old Internet debutante. From the start of his career, Vaynerchuk has mastered social media to draw attention to his online persona GaryVee, and since then has leveraged his fame to build success with over a decade of shrewd planning and execution. But there’s one secret to success that Vaynerchuk always comes back to.
“The reason that I’m speaking to you is that I’ve worked harder than you.”
These brazen words were uttered by Vaynerchuk during one of his many training videos. While it’s impossible to know just how true that is, this is a belief central to Vaynerchuk’s life. Hard work is everything.
When discussing his success, the word hustle frequently bobs to the surface. “My hustle is better than everybody else’s,” he says, “so I have to bet on it. I bet on my strengths.” And despite living in an age of lifehacks and shortcuts, Vaynerchuk remains a staunch advocate of simple hard work. Armed with little more than his ball-of-fire personality and a will to succeed, he’s built an attention-hungry business empire worth millions.
In this interview you will learn:
- The best strategies to leverage social media for your business
- What to look out for when it comes to creating the perfect social media strategy
- The secrets to creating valuable content and why it works
- How to take care of your employees and build long-lasting and loyal relationships
- The secrets behind each social media platform and how to take advantage of each one
- & 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 then you can't go past FreshBooks. Designed for the 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!
Better yet, FreshBooks is offering a month of unrestricted use to all of Foundr listeners totally free right now and you don’t need a credit card for the trial!
To claim your free month, go to FreshBooks.com/FoundrMag and enter FoundrMag in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section to get started today!
Mar 09 2016
Rank #15: 287: How July Founder Richard Li Grew His Luggage Company From $0 to $5 Million in 1 Year
Richard Li puts customer service above all when it comes to his luggage company, July.
This unfaltering commitment is why he personally makes house calls to address complaints and why he recently hand-delivered packages after realizing that some customers wouldn’t receive the luggage they ordered in time for the holidays. But this high level of service is only a small piece of Li’s success story with July.
Li, who has previous entrepreneurial experience from his furniture company Brosa, has also figured out a “magic” formula for manufacturing, marketing, and selling physical products. He used this knowledge to grow July from $0 to $5 million in revenue in just a year. And now he’s looking forward to opening up additional retail stores, introducing more products, allowing for more luggage personalization, and expanding into international markets in 2020.
If you want to learn more about what it takes to launch and scale a business that revolves around a physical product, be sure to give our interview a listen!
Also be sure to check out our latest online course, Ecommerce Masters, where Richard Li is one of the five instructors teaching advanced ecommerce skills.
ATTENTION: We're excited to announce that Richard Li has partnered with Foundr to teach one of the modules in our course, Ecommerce Masters. Get on the Free VIP Waitlist to be notified when we open enrollment!
- The opportunity Li saw in Australia’s furniture market that led him to launch Brosa
- Why he stepped back from Brosa after five years to focus completely on his new direct-to-consumer luggage company, July
- An overview of July’s funding journey, go-to-market strategy, and first sale
- The journey from $0 to $5 million in one year
- How to find a manufacturer that can grow with your company
- Why Li offers July customers a 100-day trial and lifetime warranty
- The rules of product development that Li follows
- Why Li decided to follow the direct-to-consumer trend of opening up a physical store
- July’s four growth pillars for 2020
- Li’s best advice for entrepreneurs building a business around a physical product
Feb 04 2020
Rank #16: 244: Viral Growth and Influencer Marketing in Ecommerce, with Ben Francis of Gymshark
At 16, he began building websites.
At 18, he became a regular at the gym.
At 20, he started sewing and screen-printing workout apparel in his garage.
By 26, when most adults are only on the cusps of their careers, Ben Francis had already launched a viral gym clothing line, served as its CEO, and stepped down in favor of a more creative role in the wildly successful company.
Today, the Gymshark founder works alongside 190 staff, including the high school buddies who partnered with him to launch the brand, bringing this unmistakable apparel line to customers in more than 130 countries.
And while it seems like this former pizza delivery boy magically rocketed to entrepreneurial stardom overnight (OK, he sort of did), his success can be traced back to a dedication to community building and an innate understanding of social media influencer marketing, long before it was a thing.
But it all started with amateur website building, a love for fitness, and a whole lot of YouTube.
Years before he was a CEO, Francis longed to make a name for himself in the fitness space. But the closest thing he had to investors were people calling to order a pizza, so establishing a clothing brand couldn’t have seemed less attainable.
Not to be discouraged by limited funds, Francis and his high school friends began a workout supplement drop-shipping business and quickly realized that there was an opening in the workout apparel market.
Dressing a bodybuilder and a skinny, weight-lifting newbie are two totally different jobs, especially when you’re going for form-hugging designs fit for a workout. Francis and friends, however, believed they could create a line that would be sleek, modern, and appealing to gymgoers of any body type.
“And so,” Francis says, “I bought a screen printer and a sewing machine and started to make the clothes by hand.”
The designs were an overnight sensation.
“People were seeing the clothes, and they were so iconic and unique, that it sort of started to spread like wildfire,” Francis says.
But the real secret sauce was the passion he and his friends had for YouTube.Influencing Influencers
In the early 2010s, YouTube was rising fast. People passionate about everything from movies to knitting, gaming to, yes, fitness, were creating video content and building communities around shared interests.
Francis and his friends were among the millions who joined online followings based on their hobbies, but stuck around for the personalities in the videos. One such fitness YouTuber who held their attention was Lex Griffin of Lex Fitness, whose channel now has over 440,000 followers. Another was Chris Lavado, whose channel has 65,000 subscribers today.
Realizing they could leverage the followings of others, Francis and his friends pursued a business strategy that put them on the map, and that they still use today.
They sent samples to Griffin, Lavado and other fitness YouTubers they admired, and hoped for a stamp of approval—and a video to prove it.
While the term “influencer marketing” has only recently entered into the pop consciousness, the principle has been around as long as marketing. Attracting the favor of a wealthy or influential person by showering them in gifts that define a brand is as a classic move, a point Francis illustrated by sharing some history of his hometown of Birmingham, UK.
For hundreds of years, the Jewellery Quarter in central Birmingham has been a hub for opulent accessories. Many jewelers open businesses in the Quarter, and the competition is fierce. But historically, there was one way to ensure that a brand’s name would be on everyone’s lips: become the first choice of royalty.
Frances explained that this principle of vying for favor worked then and still works now.
“They would provide a bunch of free jewelry to royalty so that people would associate that jewelry with the royalty and then hopefully back to the brand and go buy it,” he says. “It’s no different to what influencer marketing is nowadays.”
“I think it’s worked forever, and as far as I’m aware, I think it’ll always work.”
And so, like an ambitious jeweler in the 1700s, Francis sent off his product to curry favor with those who had the power to make his brand catch fire. And it worked.
“They absolutely loved it, and they’re still with us today,” he says. “That started, I guess, what you’d now call an influencer market for us.”
Today, Francis continues to leverage the audiences of athletes through an ambassador program that now includes such personalities as bodybuilder Matt Ogus, lifestyle and fitness vlogger Nikki Blackketter, and weightlifter Whitney Simmons.
Because of Francis’s early success in harnessing an influencer-generated market, Gymshark has never relied on investors for capital.
“We never needed investment,” he says. “So why complicate things?”
Francis recognizes, though, that there was also a component of luck at work. He entered the world of social media influencer marketing when it was still a young idea, and those with followings weren’t inundated daily with products in search of a boost.
“I do think it’s a hell of a lot more difficult than when we first started,” he admits. “It’s a completely different place now.”
But if he were to launch a new business today, a venture he says would be a fun challenge with the vastly changed online landscape, he knows exactly where he would focus his attention.
“Product is king at the end of the day,” he says. “I would focus on creating an absolutely brilliant and a gorgeous product because I think from that, it’s like a snowball effect.”
He believes that by designing a remarkable, unique, and stunning product, anyone can rise above the cacophony online.
“If you get someone’s attention with a genuinely brilliant product, people will wear it, people will use it, and people will talk about it.”
But for now, Francis is focused on the current community he has built.Fostering Community
Growing up, Francis loved attending events and expos in his hometown and dreamed of the day he would not only participate, but host his own. His belief in the power of person-to-person advertising was instilled in him as a young expo attendee and has continued to stick with him into his mid-20s.
“Even though the world is becoming ever more online, and 99.9 percent of what we do is online, there is always space for that human connection, and I think that’s really, really important, and it’s a real important thing to Gymshark.”
So in Gymshark’s very early days, when an opportunity to participate in an expo presented itself, Francis says that nothing could have stopped him from finding a way to join.
When he reached out to one of the coordinators to find out how much it would cost to get Gymshark a spot, he was quoted a price far more than they were able to afford at the time. But as Francis likes to emphasize, he plans hyper long-term and hyper short-term and lets the rest in between work itself out.
“This was 12 months in advance of the show, and I was like, ‘Right, yeah. We’ll have it. We’ll get that, and we’ll just sort of make it work,’” he says. “It was our dream to go to an event like that.”
And go they did, beginning a successful string of expo appearances that were initially in the UK, but rapidly branched out internationally until, eventually, they stopped going to expos and started hosting them.
“I literally think, ‘Let’s make the product that I love,’ and by default, I think other people would love, and let’s create the event that I would love to go to, and by default, I think that other people would really enjoy to go,” he says.
He also says that when it comes to events, making a profit is not the immediate goal. Just like the early days spent working a screen printer in a garage, Francis’s motivation is simply a desire to create something awesome. Something he loves.
“We just sort of think, ‘Right, what would we really, really love to go to? Let’s go make it happen. Let’s forget about the profit and loss at that point for that event. Let’s just go make something really, really cool.’”
But rapidly gaining a dedicated following, especially when selling a physical product, has its challenges. Francis says that Gymshark’s biggest challenge at the moment is keeping up with demand, especially when YouTube influencers or expo attendees are hyping them.
“We definitely made massive improvements in the last six to 12 months, but there’s still a long, long way to go,” he says.
Part of the Gymshark’s effort to keep up with growth meant Francis himself coming to terms with his right role within the company. As CEO, he quickly came to realize that he was in a position that he was not suited to fill.
“We were growing so fast, and the role of the CEO is very people oriented,” he says. “I’m very much an introverted person. I’m much more suited, and work better, in either a very small team or on my own where I can really dive into a project, focus on that thing and make it really special.
“As we were growing bigger, it became more and more evident to me that the CEO really needs to be a lot more of a strategist and a lot more of a people person than what I am.”
So Francis made the difficult decision that it would be best for him to step into the role of Chief Brand Officer instead. But the transfer of CEO power didn’t just happen overnight, which he feels helped build trust among himself and the staff. It happened over a period of about a year as Steve Hewitt, the current CEO, slowly took on more and more until he finally stepped fully into the role.
Of course, passing leadership on to someone else is always a humbling and challenging process, but it’s one that Francis has come to embrace as an opportunity to become more fully himself.
“I think it’s very important to be self-aware and to understand what you are good at what you’re not good at,” he says. “I’m a massive, massive believer of that.”
Today, Francis has the freedom to focus on product and vision, gathering small teams together to pursue new designs and strategies for the future.
So what’s next for Gymshark?
Francis says that they are always pursuing innovation and are currently in the process of designing new fabrics, as well as looking to branch out of the strictly apparel space.
And in an effort to keep avid followers and fans of the brand up to date, Francis has recently launched a vlog series of his own, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Gymshark and into his world.
In the 10 years since Francis started creating amateur websites from home, his world has utterly transformed. But many things remain the same: a love of fitness, a passion for social media, and an unbreakable bond with his high school friends turned business partners.
The Gymshark brand invites each customer and avid follower to “Be a visionary.” And Francis is asking nothing of his followers that he hasn’t done himself. After all, where would Gymshark be without an enthusiastic pizza delivery boy who had the vision to buy a screen printer, and the boldness to show the world what he could create?Ben Francis’s Tips for Success
Launching a brand new product on your own or starting your own business is never easy. No matter how large or small the venture, it requires vision, courage, and determination. But Ben Francis believes that there are three things any beginning entrepreneur can do to improve their chances of success.
- Surround Yourself With Support
Francis says he was once asked to share a story about a time when he was told that he couldn’t do something. He paused to think, but his mind came up blank. “That never happened, because I never surrounded myself with those people,” he says. Starting a business is a challenge, but with the support of people who inspire and motivate you, Francis believes that mountains are reduced back into molehills.
- Embrace Self-Awareness
Being honest with yourself and clear about who you truly are is one of Francis’s crucial steps to success. “Self-awareness is key,” he says. “I think it’s massive. You can only kid yourself for so long.” Without the ability to identify which skills you have in abundance and which you lack, you’ll be unable to build a team around you that complements your abilities and improves upon them.
- Play to Your Strengths
Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, Francis insists on the importance of allowing them to guide your decisions. “Could I do an operational…role for a little bit? Absolutely. I’m reasonably intelligent. I could manage,” he says. “But would I be able to do it for a sustained period really, really well? Absolutely not.”
Rather than forcing yourself to be something you’re not, Francis encourages all entrepreneurs to be honest about their strengths and find ways to play to them, even if that means relinquishing, as he did, the title of CEO.Key Takeaways
- How interests in building websites, going to the gym, and sewing and screen printing combined to help him launch a wildly successful business
- How connecting with YouTube influencers helped Gymshark take off
- On using events to build community
- The biggest challenge Gymshark faces right now
- Why Ben traded the role of CEO for Chief Brand Officer
- On separating personal brand from company brand
- Why Gymshark has never taken investments
- What he would do if he were to start a totally new ecommerce brand today
- What his personal life is like now that he’s a successful business owner
- What’s next for Gymshark
Apr 03 2019
Rank #17: 229: Mastering Copywriting and Finding Your Flow With Arman Assadi of Project EVO
NEW COURSE ALERT: Entrepreneur, we wanted you to be the first to know that we’ve collaborated with Arman Assadi to bring you our brand new copywriting course. Learn the copywriting secrets behind 11 seven-figure product launches, taught by Arman himself.
Arman’s broken it down into a 10-step framework that he’s proven with his clients time and time again. He’s even going to give you templates, formulas, and how-to guides so you can start converting customers like crazy.
If you’re tired of seeing ZERO sales for all the hard work you’ve put into your amazing product—then you NEED to learn the power of copywriting. We’re opening the doors to this course soon for a limited time only, and we want to see you there. Be sure to get on the FREE waitlist so you don’t miss it!Key Takeaways
- The “crisis of meaning” that drove Assadi to leave his job at Google, book a trip to Cuba, and pursue freedom as a solopreneur
- How Assadi became a self-taught copywriter and began working with the likes of Neil Patel, Lewis Howes, Jason Silva, and Lori Harder
- What you should (and shouldn’t) do if you want to find your unique voice as a copywriter
- The key to writing high-converting copy and why every entrepreneur should learn the basics
- The story behind Assadi’s latest business and how it created the most-funded planner in crowdfunding history: EVO Planner
- What’s next for Project EVO and how it’s helping entrepreneurs and creatives find fulfillment in their work
Dec 11 2018
Rank #18: 36: How to Find Mentors and Overcome Adversity with Sean Stephenson
Bleeding brain. Fractured skull. Concussion.
These were the effects. The event was just as sudden. One Thursday in late July, Sean Stephenson took his dog for a stroll. Then he fell — ripped from his wheelchair, Stephenson crashed onto the concrete ground, a traumatic impact that landed him in the hospital and left him for some time without short-term memory.
But he had dodged death, and not for the first time. When Stephenson was born, he was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, an uncommon disease that brings stunted growth and fragile bones. Doctors predicted he would quickly perish.
Instead, he lived, growing up to become a motivational speaker and businessman. After traveling for years, speaking to audiences far and wide, Stephenson has cut down on the airplane flights and shifted to holding seminars in one location in Arizona. His success hasn’t been easy, but he says that only a fraction of his challenges stem from disability. The rest have to do with the sorts of things most people struggle with in various ways: friends and money and marriage.
Stephenson’s story shows that entrepreneurship — no, life itself — is laced with challenges. Sometimes, you’re buffeted by events that you can’t control. He recommends that in those instances, when you really can’t control the outcome, you stop trying to. If you can change your circumstances, do so, but if you can’t, don’t stress for no reason.
“I know that if I’m willing to let go of control, it’s going to be a lot easier process than trying to fight for the control with some invisible force out there,” he says. “Call it God, call it universe, call it law of attraction, call it science, call it whatever makes you comfortable, but there are powers that play outside of us that are much bigger than us.”
As he recovered from his July accident, Stephenson felt out of his depth, so he did what made sense to him: he sat back and had to laugh, waiting to see where it would all go.
As much sense as relinquishing control sometimes makes, it’s not an everyday play. In most areas, Stephenson doesn’t passively await his fate. He shapes it, because there’s a flipside to the challenges he has no control over: the ones he does.
“The start of my career is not sexy. It really started with discrimination,” he says. At age 17, Stephenson applied to a number of jobs, all of which he believes rejected him because of his disability.
In this interview you will learn:
- How Sean has overcome his challenges in life and business as an entrepreneur
- How to find mentors
- Key factors and insights on what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur
- Marketing 101 the Sean way!
- & Much more!
I Need Your Help!
If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people! Leave a review for the Foundr Podcast!
Mar 28 2015
Rank #19: 258: The Story Behind Game-Changing Travel Brand Away, With Founder Steph Korey
Jen Rubio called her friend Steph Korey to vent about an irritating, expensive problem that just about any frequent flyer has endured at some point. She had a busted carry-on.
Rubio was suffering from suitcase-demolition blues, and Korey wasn’t sure what brands to recommend. So Rubio texted a dozen of their trendiest, travel-savvy friends—the kind of people who would know all the best hotels in Bangkok—but they had no clue where to direct her to buy the perfect suitcase. They were quick to tell her which brands to avoid—sharing similarly frustrating stories of failure—but no one had the answer she was searching for.
The search seemed hopeless.
A single, action-packed year later, Korey and Rubio shipped the very first piece of Away carry-on luggage.
Today, the luggage company that is so much more than a luggage company has sold over a million bags to customers across the world and captured the imagination of a generation known for its desire to chase down experiences instead of possessions.
“This business isn’t really about luggage or suitcases at all,” Korey says. “What we’re really creating is a travel brand, and travel has the ability to really impact someone’s life.”
With an eye on revolutionizing the luggage industry while leaving the world better than they’d found it, Korey and Rubio designed a bag that is durable, practical, and looks dang good in an Instagram photo.
And that was only the beginning.Charting the Course
In the beginning, Korey wasn’t sure she even wanted to start a business. She just wanted to learn more about the way other people traveled.
She and Rubio had become friends while working together at Warby Parker, the online store that home delivers hip eyeglasses at affordable prices, so they knew firsthand the challenges that come with life at a startup.
Rather than cannonballing into the deep end, the pair chose to start small and simply follow their curiosity. They decided to create a survey and send it to 50 people in a vast array of demographics, including male and female students, young professionals, established professionals, and retirees, who lived both in the US and abroad.
After sharing information about how they traveled, how they packed, and what travel products they used, each person taking the survey was asked to forward it to five of their friends who also came from varied backgrounds.
When the survey finished making its rounds, Korey and Rubio had over 800 responses to sift through. The pair was quickly able to start noticing themes, particularly when it came to how the existing luggage industry wasn’t meeting travelers’ needs.
The survey results showed that travelers wanted a light piece of carry-on luggage that maximized packing space and still fit in the overhead compartments of airplanes. They also dreamed of a bag that could take a baggage handler’s beating if they decided to check it, including wheels and zippers that wouldn’t fail.
Respondents also expressed the need for a place to put dirty, sweaty laundry after trips to the gym, summer walking tours through cities, or perilous mountain climbs. Oh, and they hated traveling with dead cell phones.
With these results in mind, Korey and Rubio moved into the next stage of development.
Korey says they were still unsure whether they wanted to start a business when they sat down with a group of designers from the fashion, luggage, and industrial design industries. They weren’t even sure when they decided to partner with two industrial designers to transform their findings into a product design.
The team had plans for their new carry-on bag in one hand, and plane tickets to Asia—where they planned to meet with dozens of luggage manufacturers—in the other, but were still unsure where this journey would land them.
It was only when a family in the manufacturing business told them their radical design could be actualized that it all clicked together. And just like that, the family agreed to manufacture the first 3,000 Away carry-on bags.
Well, not quite.
“I’m glamorizing this story a little bit,” Korey says. “It’s, in reality, probably a little more along the lines of we begged them to work with us.”
Korey and Rubio spent days with the family, attempting to convince them to manufacture the bags. With every new pitch she used to convince the family—that they were about to revolutionize the luggage industry, and their business model was totally unique, and this was a chance to get in on day one with a company that was going to be huge one day—she felt herself becoming more convinced that this was it. It was finally time to start this business.
Their manufacturers came around, too.
“I’m entirely certain that they didn’t believe any of that,” she says. “Actually, they’ve told us that they didn’t believe any of that, but that we were so sincere and passionate about what we were doing that they just couldn’t turn us down.”
Now that the ball was officially rolling, and Away was on the verge of becoming a reality, they had to jump a final, daunting hurdle. They had to find the money.Gathering Supplies
“Raising any kind of capital is difficult, but raising seed capital is particularly difficult, because you can’t really tell the story of your business metrics at all, because they don’t exist,” Korey says. “You just have to tell the story of your vision and what you’re trying to create, and it really takes a leap of faith from investors.”
But she adds that the knowledge she had gathered from her time leading the supply chain at Warby Parker, and Rubio’s experience in the marketing team there, gave them a definite advantage.
“That is for sure the only reason that we were able to convince investors to take that leap of faith,” she says. “We knew what we were doing, and we would create something that resonated and that was successful.”
In fact, she recommends that all aspiring entrepreneurs invest some time working at a startup.
“I think it’s essential that you spend at least a couple years working at a startup first, for two reasons,” she says. “One, find out if you like it! Some people don’t like that chaos. … And then the second reason is it really gives you a sense of context of all the different pieces that go into creating something from nothing.”
In the summer of 2015, Korey and Rubio were ready to create something, so they met with more than 20 different investors across the United States over the course of a week.
After many failed pitches, and several uncomfortable red-eye flights, the pair met with Forerunner Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that invests primarily in early-stage ecommerce brands.
While most of the firms they met with simply didn’t understand what they were trying to do with Away, Korey says that Forerunner was captivated by their vision.
“We’re really creating a broader brand and business around inspiring people to live a life of new experiences, and equipping them with all the products they need to make those travel experiences more seamless,” she recalls saying in her pitch.
Within the first meeting, Forerunner was on board as a partner. With over $2.5 million raised, it was finally time to make some suitcases.
Excited by the prospect of holiday sales, Korey says they set their launch date for November 2015. But as the date drew closer and the production of the first 3,000 suitcases was delayed until February of the following year, they had to get creative.
Instead of selling the suitcases during the holiday season, they published a coffee table book called, The Places We Return To and paired it with a gift card for the February release of the first round of suitcases.
“It was really one of the first moves we did as a brand really establishing ourselves as first and foremost about travel and not about travel products,” Korey says.
In the book, they featured stories and photos of successful chefs, writers, photographers, and other talented professionals. Each person was asked about their favorite place in the entire world, why they loved it, and what they did during their visits.
“We ended up with this collection of short stories that were very intimate because it was about people who were so knowledgeable about their favorite place in the world,” Korey says.
Those featured in the book helped spread the word about the exciting new travel company, its mission, and the revolutionary new suitcase that was on the way. And the word traveled like a millennial with a break between jobs.
Korey says they prepared 2,000 books and gift cards. By Christmas, every one had sold.Embarking on the Journey
In February 2016, the first ever Away customer (his name is Adam) received his carry-on bag. Three years later, over a million bags in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes have made it across the world in shipping boxes, overhead bins, and car trunks.
The ribbed, hard-shelled luggage is becoming more recognizable by the day. By offering their luggage at direct-to-consumer prices, what was once reserved for only the chicest of travelers could now make it to the general public.
They take their social impact seriously, as well. Away works with manufacturing companies that have, as they say on their website, “exemplary and thoughtful work environments we would want for our own employees.” The company has also partnered with several charitable organizations, including Peace Direct, Charity: Water, and Kode with Klossy.
So what’s next for Away?
Korey says the company is currently working to expand across Europe, Asia, Australia and other parts of North America. Taking a page from Warby Parker and other disruptive ecommerce startups, they’ve also launched a brick-and-mortar component to their business with six American storefronts and one in London.
And as Away continues to expand, they’ll continue to release new products that support the modern traveler.
Korey is excited to see where the company goes next, not merely because she wants the business to flourish, but because she genuinely cares about the needs of Away customers. From the moment Korey and Rubio sent their first survey, they knew that the “why” behind their brand lay directly at the feet of their customers.
“You should never start a business because you want to start a business. It’s a terrible reason to do it. It’s going to be a long slog if you’re not really focused on a particular insight or a problem that you’re trying to solve,” she says. “Whether you’re just getting started and you don’t know where to start, or you’ve already gotten started, and you’re trying to figure out the next step, it really starts with deeply understanding the customer.”
It starts the way Away did: with a need, an idea, and a customer survey.
Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Erica ComitaloKey Takeaways
- How one phone conversation between Korey and Rubio inspired the idea for Away
- The role data played in cementing the need for better luggage
- How the data insights were transformed into a product design
- Why one investor and one manufacturer decided to take a chance on Away
- How Korey and Rubio made the best of a worst-case scenario during their launch
- The journey from producing an initial batch of 3,000 units to selling millions
- Why Korey believes every entrepreneur should work for a startup first
- What the future expansion of Away looks like
- Korey’s words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs
Jul 09 2019
Rank #20: 35: Cold Hard Business Advice & How to Dominate Your Goals with Multi-Millionaire Steve Mehr
This is not your typical interview where I interview someone well known in the entrepreneurial space.
Steve Mehr is an entrepreneur, businessman, all round hustler and the founder of an Ad Agency called Webshark 360 in Southern California. I met Steve through Instagram via his extremely popular account (@agentsteven) and we have been great friends since. Overtime Steve has actually taught me a lot about life and business, so I thought why not get him on the show to share with everyone how he has built a multi-million dollar empire.
In this interview you are going to learn:
-How Steve built his empire and fortune from the ground up
-How to achieve scale with businesses and grow them at a rapid pace
-Key mindsets required to not stay successful in business and life once you have attained "success" in the eyes of society
-Hiring and Recruitment 101
-Managing a team
-Setting goals and why it's Steve's secret to success
-Instagram and the Importance of it
-The importance of measuring
If you want to learn how to dominate your goals, make sure you check out Steve's book here, fantastic read and I highly recommend it! - http://stevemehr.com/
I Need Your Help!
If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people! Leave a review for the Foundr Podcast!
Mar 21 2015