headshot

Enter to Win!

Enter below to Win a free Year-Long Subscription to Foundr Magazine!

Enter below:


 


There are a lot of pieces that go into building a strong company. Name recognition, brand identity, consumer support, marketing plans, you name it, we need it! But there’s one thing no company survive without, and that is an amazing product.

Nathan Chan, founder of Foundr magazine and online resource for entrepreneurs, is talking with me on this episode about how to focus on building an assets-based company.

We’re getting into the building blocks of any successful company, how to begin simple and  expand once you’re ready.

Nathan has so much experience with online and print media, he’s letting us in on how these two platforms can help to build a wide identity for your business. He’s digging into how to handle social media – what it can help you to build and when to be wary of it. Remember, you don’t own the platform, so it can only get you so far!

We’re also talking about the life of the passion-driven entrepreneur, asset building, and how to think like a start-up!  Get ready to take some notes!

 

Bravery in Business Quote

“Anyone can become an entrepreneur, and we’re here to help anyone build and grow a successful business no matter where they’re at in the journey.” – Nathan Chan

(click to tweet)

 

Cliff Notes

  • Launching Foundr magazine turned out to be a great tool for influence and building a platform. A magazine is even stronger than a book for building a personal/corporate identity.  It’s difficult to create a magazine that people will care about on a regular basis, but once they do, you’ve gained influence.
  • Use your branding to appeal to your target audience. Think about what tone and visuals your ideal audience will connect most with.  
  • Pay attention to how you display content. Having a great person to talk to is not helpful if they’re not sharing information in a way to benefit your consumer. Make sure your content is framed in a way to be applicable, relatable and memorable.
  • Go to where people are spending their time. Social media is a really powerful force because so many people are there and all you have to do is get their attention.
  • Social media is amazing, but remember that you don’t own the platform. It’s a rented channel, a connector. Build off the connections you already have so you’re not dependent on these other platforms.
  • Email is a key way to connect with people, because they check it every day, and it’s personal. If you can get people to enjoy your emails and look forward to them, that is huge. Building your email list will keep you from becoming dependent on third party social media platforms.
  • Think of creative ways to bring online marketing offline. People are getting so many emails and messages, tangible, in person marketing is becoming very powerful again.
  • Work on things one brick at a time.  Start with a product or service that you are really, really good at. Try to be the best in the world at it. Then, find 1 or 2 customer acquisition channels and master them as a sales pipeline. These are the building blocks that you can add to as time goes on.
  • Foundr is a company based in assets. Nathan focuses on really strong content in their magazine and courses, so that the company is driven not by him or by his brand but by really good products.  
  • Think like a start-up. They’re some of the most successful companies because they are always thinking about the brand, have a great design and are product based.

 

“I think, the way to build influence, the way to get cut through, the way to build authority is to look at what your competitive advantages are.” – Nathan Chan

(click to tweet)

 

Resources:

Foundr’s Podcast :

FoundrMag.com/Podcast-with-Nathan-Chan

Foundrmag.com

Transcription (click to expand)

[INTERVIEW START]

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Nathan Chan, welcome to the Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast.

Nathan Chan: Thank you so much for having me, Kristin. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I am so pumped to have you on as my guest and to share you with my audience. Your Foundr empire has just been such an amazing resource for me as I’ve grown my digital business and also just for Verde, honestly. I mean, what you’re doing in publishing is remarkable. I just have a couple things I’d love to run through with you to share with my audience here today. There’s so much for them to learn. So you have this awesome podcast that I listen to all the time. By the way, I just heard the Alex Bogusky interview, it was fantastic. And–

Nathan Chan: Oh, awesome.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. I can’t wait to actually check out the magazine article with him. But I loved the podcast. But the way that you start your podcast–I have to turn the tables on you. So you have to tell my audience, Nathan, how did you get your job with Foundr?

Nathan Chan: I really appreciate you spinning the question on me because it is quite a confronting question. It’s sometimes difficult to answer. So for me, I made my job. I think I’m a very, very lucky person to do the work that I do. I don’t know, I don’t really consider it a job because this is kind of like a calling for me. Three and a half years ago, I started this digital magazine on the side, just as a little side hustle project, didn’t really know where it would go. I just knew that I was really frustrated and really sick and tired of the work that I was doing working in IT Support at a travel company. It was a great company, but the work itself that I was doing was really unfulfilling stuff. I always felt that there was something else out there for me.

Long story short, I discovered that there wasn’t really a magazine that spoke to young, aspiring, novice entrepreneurs, and I felt that there wasn’t really a digital magazine neither that really covered that kind of space. So I thought it would be a great idea to create this digital magazine–and the print is a dying trade–and kind of just launched it on the side. The first issue of the magazine was super embarrassing. It didn’t even have a successful person on the front cover. It was like this ridiculous, kind of Superman stock image. And that’s when it was born, March 2013. As time just went on, we just kind of really found out why, I guess–with what I think people want, what people need, what people find valuable, what gets people’s attention. [inaudible] build a platform around this idea that anyone can become an entrepreneur, and we’re here to help anyone build and grow a successful business no matter where they’re at at the journey.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome. So I have to ask, because before I founded Verde a long time ago, I was a journalist working in kind of that golden era of magazines and looking at everything I’ve seen transpire and how the whole industry has changed with publishing. Did you sort of just make the leap on founding a digital publication without maybe paying attention to reading or listening to the pundits talk about how publishing was? I mean, some people would even say dead, and you launched a successful magazine right in the middle of that, which I love. Can you talk with us a little bit about why you chose a magazine as your first point of entry or first component of your platform?

Nathan Chan: Yeah. Look, I wish I could tell you, Kristin, that it was like [inaudible] strategy behind it. I just [inaudible] it [inaudible] along the way. It’s kind of like, sometimes people get into industries–and I don’t know if this happened to you when you launched Verde, but you just kind of just fall into things. It might seem easier than it actually is or you just kind of fall into it. And then before you know it, you’re off to the races. That’s kind of what happened to me. I had an inkling. Truth be told, I thought that the digital publishing phenomenon would be much larger than it is today. Like that’s the dead honest truth, it is.

It is still there, however. And I know you want to [inaudible] me to talk to you about that, but I think it hasn’t really taken off as much as I would have liked. There’s still definitely a market there. I think there’s still definitely time being spent consuming digital magazines or digital-based content. But magazines haven’t become or gone all digital, it’s still predominantly big magazines, print. And for us, we’ve managed to carve out a solid niche because [inaudible] much more than a magazine, and we’d become an ecosystem or platform.

But to answer your question, no, I didn’t know what was going to happen. It just kind of happened that way, and I was lucky enough to work out pretty quickly that having a magazine is a tremendous tool for building influence and to build your platform because what happened was I launched a magazine [inaudible] happened next. The magazine was a great stepping stone for people to take the brand seriously. You know how a lot of people are publishing books right now to build that personal brand. Well, I believe that a magazine is even stronger than a book. The reason why is because it’s difficult to produce a magazine. Something that people are interested in reading or caring about. And I guess that’s why publishing a book, a magazine, or any content whether it’s a blog or podcast–that’s how you build influence.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. What I love about your magazine is you’re able to surround the Foundr brand with content that really appeals specifically to your niche through month over month’s worth of content, whereas a book is just sort of there. I mean obviously, people do updates and they build platforms around books, but you have almost this product that feels like it’s alive. And I still love [inaudible] because I’m a little older than your target demographic, but there’s something great when a magazine’s done well and the new subscription or the new issue arrives. Whether it’s in your inbox or it’s mailed to you, you feel like a friend is visiting. Like, “Ahh, they’re here.” And I really think you’ve nailed it with your voice in the magazine.

Nathan Chan: Oh yeah? Thank you. We’ve worked very, very hard to try and do that, so I really appreciate the kind words, Kristin.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. And I have to also ask one thing that’s really just been cool to watch is you do have a very clear voice for younger entrepreneur, but you feature a lot of people who are not quite younger–I’m not going to say “older.” But how do you keep yourself niched? Or your empire, if you will. Like, you’re going after this younger demographic, but you’re offering them content that might be even seen like an older version of an entrepreneur. You know what I mean?

Nathan Chan: Yeah. This is a really great question. You know, it could be argued that we haven’t 100% nailed it, but the way I see it is–and this is just me as a nervous entrepreneur that is still paving out the way–is the way I see it is from the branding. It’s very cool, it’s very funky, it’s very fresh, it’s very hip, and it’s cool. And that attracts a certain kind of demographic. Generally, the entrepreneurs that we look up to are much older than us that have a breath of experience. So I think the magazine can be positioned as a way for young, aspiring, novice entrepreneurs, and it doesn’t really matter what age, right? But it’s more entry-level novice or just getting started. Even if you have been doing this stuff for a while, there’s still relevancy there.

But it’s around the content and how the content is displayed. For example, every single piece of content that we put out, that has to be a really, really strong form of how to or in-depth strategical, tactical-based, actionable-based content or piece that accompanies that. So in the magazine, it’s very, very how-to driven. This is how do you do X, this is how you do Y. Even to the point at the end of every issue, we have action items for people to follow. So this is not like a manual, but there’s a form of this is how you do X, this is how you do Y. You can really learn not just from the story, but from the how-to content they were trying to pull from experts and people that have been doing this stuff for a long time.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So you’re almost enabling those experts in the seasoned entrepreneurs you’re interviewing to help us. You know that phrase “stay in the question?” Like knowledge can actually really be a handicap if you feel like you know what you’re doing?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. So for example, I think if we just featured just super, super young entrepreneurs, I don’t know if that would feel right because I think that there’s a lot of really successful entrepreneurs that have been around for a long time that have a lot more to share.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: For sure. You know, I have to ask one other thing before we go into some other parts of your platform and your empire here. You have an interesting print product coming up which caught my eye because I’ve got a couple of friends in publishing doing what I do for a living who believe that there is a little bit of a print comeback on the horizon. Can you talk a little bit about your forthcoming print product for Foundr?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, sure thing. Kristin, when I started the magazine, it cost me $3,000 to launch the first issue and set up the business. I had no money, no experience. I built that off the back of my credit card. To do any sort of print undertaking would have been a serious mission, like impossible for me to do a print ram. No, this [inaudible] logistics and everything behind it, but as time has gone on, we’ve built within the founded team a really strong level of expertise, and almost to a point of competitive advantage with certain things that we do around the content and the people that we interview, and displaying that content, really knowing what people want in this space that we’re trying to serve, and trying to do things differently and having a strong differentiator.

Because of that, I felt that it would be a great fun little project to get the best of Foundr–the past 45 back issues, [inaudible] and find the best [inaudible] and the best timeless gold. It has to be timeless, it has to be evergreen, it has to be super actionable into this beautifully designed coffee table book. I know that there’s nothing out there that exists like this, and it just felt right. Now we’re going to crowdfund it, we’re going to pre-sell it, and involve the community to bring it to life. I hope that our community will want to get behind it and something that they want, I don’t know. People might not want it. I certainly hope they will, and I’ll do my very best with everyone in the community to let them know. And if it’s a project they want to get behind, that would be amazing.

But I have a feeling that this would be a great vehicle to just have another–it’s a fun project, and it’ll be a great vehicle [inaudible] just have another foray into what publishing looks like or what producing content looks like. There’s a normal thing that happens, I think, Kristin, when it’s physical. I think when somebody gets that book if it comes to life, the campaign goes live in November, and we’ll fulfill if we can, if the project gets funded in March. I think there’ll be something magical. Like you said, that happens more so when you receive it in the mail as a post, you’re receiving it in your inbox or in an app. And I want to experiment and play with that. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, I don’t know if this will work–I hope it will. I think it might, and yeah, kind of what [inaudible], I guess.

But I think that more and more people getting too many e-mails, getting too many messages over social, and I think people need to start thinking about how you can take offline business practices online. And for us, I think, sending an awesome coffee table book to someone as a way of just showing them what we’re all about very quickly could be a great strategy or good [inaudible]. But let’s just see how it goes. If it takes off, then we might look to repurpose the very best of that content every year. Or maybe we might look to repurpose certain themed books like [inaudible] do. And we could start to build a little bit of a library. Maybe we might look to print the magazine every half year with our best stuff.

I got no idea, but I think you can make it profitable if you have a solid team in-house and you know what you’re doing. That’s the difference now. We have the experience. When I started, I had no experience. I didn’t even know what I was doing. But now, we have a unique, competitive advantage not only just with the people we interview and the power to interview the hard-to-reach people plus the in-house skills that we have in the team to potentially do some print stuff, too.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I think that’s super cool. So November–are you going to use Kickstarter?

Nathan Chan: Yes, yes. November 15th, we’ll go live. We’re going to use Kickstarter.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome. Well, I can’t wait to see that for sure. So I have to also ask, you have built your business on building community and the two-way conversation of social media. I think the first–after discovering a magazine, the first product that I invested with Foundr was your Instagram Domination. Love that program, by the way.

Nathan Chan: Oh, thank you. Awesome. Yeah, we do try our very best to whatever we do, just go above and beyond what the expectation is.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I got so much out of that, I really did. It was cool to actually implement and see growth as quickly as I did following along with the trainings. But I have to ask, I mean, you have what, 800,000, at this juncture, followers on Instagram, correct? Something like that?

Nathan Chan: Correct. Yeah.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I know that was a big conversion platform for you in terms of e-mail list growth and whatnot, has the algorithm change affected just the positivity of that platform on your business in terms of conversion?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, that’s a great question. So maybe about 4 months or so ago, there was a little bit of an algorithm change. We definitely–no doubts about it, I’m a straight shooter–that our growth slowed down a little bit. Our Instagram was not growing as fast as it used to. We still grow close to 30,000 followers a month, but before that, it was maybe around 50,000 followers a month. There’s no doubt about it that there was an algorithm change and the organic power wasn’t as strong as it once was over a year ago. However, we still generate the same amount of leads every single day, every single week, every single month, and we still drive a ridiculous amount of traffic.

So much to the point that yes, for sure, Instagram is not as powerful as it was a year ago, but it’s still the best and most powerful social media platform for free acquisition out there. If we lost our account tomorrow, I would be trying to [inaudible]. I’d be like, “Yeah, we’d still spend money on Facebook ads, we’d still do blogging, we’d still do podcasting. We’d still do all these little things that we’re doing, but yeah, we’d still be using Instagram as a source to really grow our business because it’s where the attention is, from [inaudible]. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook–it’s where a lot of people are spending their time. We will be where everyone’s spending their time. I think Facebook, there’s a lot of opportunity also for paid acquisition.

If you know your numbers really well, that’s something that we’re doubling down on as well. And then Instagram–I can’t even begin to explain just how much that platform has grown our brand with not much investment required.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: It’s been incredible to watch. And with my clients at Intrepid or at Verde, we definitely advocate that they also build a list so they “own” their audience, and that was really one of the things–you mentioned if I lost it all tomorrow, we would definitely be doubling down and building it back up. But it seems to me, like you sequence pretty quickly from Instagram growth to joining your list. I’m assuming that is to create your audience so that you own that instead of renting it.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, 100%, Kristin. I think one thing I really would love people to talk away and understand is any of these platforms, whether it’s Google search, whether it’s podcasting, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Twitter, whether it’s Snapchat. That is rented land, you don’t own that land. I think, always, the goal is to look at any one of those platforms that I just said as a channel. They are the connector. They are the line between you and your audience. And you want to be out to facilitate a relationship. These are good tools to start that relationship, but they are not the best tools to build an ongoing relationship. You look at YouTube right now, people are going crazy because these big YouTubers are now getting so mad because now they can’t monetize.

Certain channels, they’re not allowed to monetize now on YouTube. They just can’t showcase the ads or they’re not displaying. So people are losing all of their revenue because YouTube has decided to cut off some ads for some YouTube channels. So that’s why you should always look to build your e-mail list and your database and your list of prospects and customers because that is how you communicate still to this day. That’s how you further extend the relationship. Yeah, you can get someone to subscribe to your YouTube channel or follow you on Twitter, but people aren’t always going to be there. Every day, people check their e-mail. If you can do a good job with that, if you can make it a delight for people to receive your emails and the awesome stuff that you’re going to produce and the cool stuff you’re going to send them all the time, then that’s very, very powerful because people follow that.

That’s where I think a lot of people go wrong where they just get too focused with building the platform but then not further facilitating that relationship and trying to always build their own assets that they own, which, yeah, I think building an e-mail list is very, very key.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I’m so guilty of following–”Okay. Here’s where my people are, I need to build this platform. And honestly, the community that Intrepid offers has never existed before. And people need it. So I feel like beholden to them because I’ve launched a couple businesses in our industries where there hasn’t been this community support mechanism. So I have focused a ton on the ecosystem. And then it gets challenging because I’m still one man band over here with some virtual help. But it’s tough to actually craft the stories and make it remarkable the way that you just described. How did you go from that? Like, where you launched the magazine yourself with $3,000 to this where  I can tell that you have a team and you are pumping out super useful content all the time. It’s a big gap jump. Can you talk a little bit even about the first few steps of that?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, sure thing. I agree. It is a big gap jump, and we treated it like–I treated it like building a house, brick by brick. So one thing you can do is the Internet–what a time to be alive. The internet has changed the game in the sense that you can hire contractors, you can utilize people from several countries that doing online work where the cost of certain things isn’t as expensive as it would be to do locally for you if you’re in a native English-speaking country. There’s also other things you can do to get leverage now. For example, Kristin, this time, like, literally 14 months ago, it was just me. And now we have 7 or 8 full-time people working at Foundr not including all these other contractors and all these other people that we have doing stuff for us as well.

I think to get started, the first thing is you need to have a product or service and you need to get really good at that product or service. With that one product or with that one service, you just have to absolutely nail it. You have to know the space better than anyone else, and you have to be–or have the intention to try and be the best in the world at it. You’ll also need to find 1 to 2 customer acquisition channels that you can really master, which will be essentially your sales pipeline. You need to utilize those pipelines to facilitate a relationship and generate revenue and find people that might be interested in what you do and provide value to them with your product or your service.

As time goes on, you just add to those building blocks. So for us, I’ve always–when I started the magazine, I had Karan Jahan who does the design of the magazine. He’s a contractor from India, super, super talented. A little after I started working with Karan, I also brought on an editor, Tate, who’s been brilliant. I found him off Upwork. He’s always been a contractor for us, till to this day. He manages now the blog and the magazine. We pull him also for some projects like this coffee table book that we’re working on. But then as time went on, I had to go–do you know who’s waiting to hire a full-time staff member? So I hired Jonathan. Just a really young kind of graduate that was really hungry. We are essentially content-based platform so the first hire felt right to be a full-time content person.

Now Jonathan, he produces, and we set a standard that we produce 2 pieces, 1 to 2 pieces of content per week for the blog. Without a doubt, rain, hail, or shine, we will produce an awesome blog post, an awesome magazine that will hit your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday. And then we just started building momentum with that, and we found Instagram, and that was a massive game-changer for us. Then we started a rule that we post every single day, 5 to 7 times a day. And then we launched the podcast, and we started a rule. It will launch every single Thursday. Now you still haven’t stopped, same with the magazine. When I started the magazine, I said that I would release some publisher’s magazine of 15th, 16th, 17th of every single month, and we still haven’t stopped. Still haven’t missed a shipping date.

Kind of the cycle goes on. I think, the way to build influence, the way to get cut through, the way to build authority is one, look at what your competitive advantages are. For us, it was having a magazine. For us, it was–and I didn’t know this stuff. I worked it out along the way, and I think, “You just really have to just keep searching and waving to find what that model looks like for you.” And then for us, I found that having a magazine had a lot of influence. I was able to get an interview with Richard Branson, issue #8. But [inaudible] in the first 4 months of [inaudible] the magazine. And then I was like, “Okay, well, I think good branding is having these ambassadors almost [inaudible] brand. So then I started interviewing all these superheroes that everyone has, these entrepreneur superheroes. And that seemed to really hit home.

And I worked out that if you can plaster all those superheroes and rock stars of the nature, the market that we serve, that starts to rebuild a  really good brand. So I’m just constantly adding these blocks to get us further and further down the road, Kristin. Now, we’re working on all these other assets. The Instagram Domination Course is going to be one of hundreds in the next 2 or 3 years that we look to produce in the sense that we want to produce awesome content at scale whether it’s free content or whether it’s premium content which could equal courses, books, more magazines, etc., etc. So it just kind of is a building block.

I look at how many assets we have, how many assets the brand has right now, and I’m thinking, “I’ve got plans of how [inaudible] 50 more in the next couple of years.” So it’s just one block at a time, and it’s just really knowing your space, having a couple of really scalable sales pipelines or channels that you can use to grow your business and fuel that, and then bring on more help to scale that up. You increase your content production because I think the more content you produce as long as it’s high quality at scale, that’s what builds influence, and that’s how you get ahead. Like, you look at Gary Vee–I really like Gary Vee.

You go to his Facebook page. In a week, he’s got like 10 different videos, and he’s repurposing content like crazy. He could do one Gary Vee show, they turn into a blog post, they turn into social media content across Facebook, YouTube, podcast, Instagram, Twitter. Just this one little video turning into a blog post. It just goes and spreads like wildfire. And he’s producing more and more content like crazy. I think that’s now if you want to play in the content game and get that cup through, I think that’s unfortunately how it needs to be. But you can do one step at a time. Focus on one channel at a time.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Well, and thank you for bringing it back to that because I love Gary Vee, too, but I do sometimes get a little bit–not even overwhelmed, but just I can’t really see myself in the shoes that he is in–having kids and having two businesses, which I honestly like love all of it and want to do it all, but I have to stay focused. One thing that he said, I don’t remember where he said it or when, but it was pretty recent that I read it or heard it on his podcast. But he said that they create a piece of content–maybe it would take them a couple hours, but then they spend four times not getting eyeballs on it, which is exactly what you just described. And then the repurposing, I think, is the way to do that without losing your mind.

Nathan Chan: I think you just got to find leverage as much as you can, however you can, and just spend a good amount of time on that one piece and make it really, really good. Whatever it is. And just try and get as much leverage forward as possible. That’s something that [inaudible] quite be gone.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I definitely also think that the ecosystem and the platform that you’ve put together lands itself really well to do that. But hearing you just stay 14 months ago, it was you, Han-Solo, and it’s evolved into this, like that gives me incredible hope knowing that perhaps there’s some–maybe I’m just at the beginning of the runway here. And like I said, I love doing it and I’m committed to doing the work that I do, but I have wanted to kind of drop the clutch like Gary Vee style, but at the same time, there’s also been–I guess, earlier this year, he was talking about and addressing some negative remarks around just how he really propagates this crazy work ethic. I read a quote from you somewhere that said, “I don’t work, I build businesses for fun.” But I also know that listening to your podcast, you’re like, “Okay everybody, it’s 2 in the morning, and I’m doing this [inaudible].” Which I’m like, “Oh my God, I can relate.” But how do you keep the balance? Or is that just a farce?

Nathan Chan: Why I keep the balance is I don’t like to let other people down. You know What? It is a struggle. I’m definitely not saying I have a good balance, Kristin, but I’m trying. For me, the stuff that I do with Foundr, this is what I was born to do and this is an obsession. Good, bad, or otherwise.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I can relate.

Nathan Chan: I’m just having a lot of fun, and yeah, sometimes I do my best work after midnight, and it just is what it is. Sometimes, I [inaudible] sleeping. Sometimes, I’m running off 4 hours juice. I probably won’t be able to do that for like my whole life. I don’t have kids, I live with my girlfriend, Emily. But right now, I’m pretty free to, I guess, work pretty hard, and I will just keep doing that and having fun along the way. But no, I don’t think I can do this forever, to be honest with you. Now is the time to really make haste. Just like Gary says, it doesn’t work for everyone.

I don’t think I hustle as hard as him, but I think I definitely do hustle pretty hard. But yeah, look, during that whole time, whenever I’m doing anything, I’m having a ton of fun. This stuff that I’m doing now, these past three years, these have been the best 3 years of my life. Because my whole life, I’m working, I’m doing stuff that I love, and I’m just having so much fun, and we’re building an amazing team and culture within the company that it’s so much fun having this group of people that you’re building something so special together. And yeah, I’m just shaping and building my world or my reality that I want to build. Yeah, does that answer your question?

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: It does. I mean, it’s a very realistic way of answering the question. I like to always drive back for my audience. It’s passion-driven. We either choose to work in the industries that we do, which is obviously my founding markets are active outdoor lifestyle–and you choose to be in those markets. In fact, there’s an old belief that I don’t believe anymore or choose to put [inaudible] behind where you move to a beautiful town and you have to have 5 jobs because the scenery doesn’t pay the bills. Or in our industries, basically, you can’t work if you love rock climbing. You can’t expect to be wealthy working at a climbing company.

That’s actually not true. Honestly, today’s era of the world being accessible to everybody, I think it’s changing the game. But there’s some belief out there, and that’s what I’m going back to. It’s all about how you believe in the reality around you. So if this is where you are right now–and honestly, you’re so in tune with your community’s demand. That’s ultimately what I think you mean by “I don’t want to let people down.” You certainly don’t, just so you know. But that, to me, is it. It’s just letting your passion lead, and trusting that that’s going to help you build a kickass business.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, I agree. And another thing is, you always just got to do what feels right and follow your heart. Also, speak to smart people. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this amazing network that I’m starting to build of really, really smart people around me. You don’t have to know the answers, that’s okay, but you have to go out and find them, that’s the thing. And you have to be prepared to make yourself vulnerable, and ask people for help. [inaudible] that’s something that I’m doing continuously, probably every single day–asking people: “What do you think I should do here?” “What should I do here?” “What are your thoughts on this?” That keeps you going as well. Because I know sometimes passion isn’t enough in the sense that you might really be passionate about something but you’re feeling really lost, or it’s really difficult and time to get tough. What do you do to keep going, right?

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Totally. And that network is really important. I follow a number of resources online around digital direct marketing and setting up digital entrepreneur companies, if you will. You definitely don’t seem to fit into the mold. I feel like you and Gary Vee are outside of that mold. Obviously, he now has an agency which I really admire. You have your publishing entity. Then it seems like there’s another group of people that maybe just focused on their digital courses or coaching and consulting, etc., and you’ve interviewed a number of them on your show. Is that the network you’re talking about or is it more of the people you interview such as the Alex Boguskys of the world?

Nathan Chan: A bit of both. I think in the online worlds, the people that do these courses and digital products and all those kind of things that you’re speaking of–do the coaching and stuff like that–they’re building cash flow-based businesses. I have a lot of respect for them. But it just comes down to what kind of business you’re trying to build. So for Gary, he’s trying to build an asset-based business. It’s the same for me with Foundr, not that I ever considered myself in the same legal caliber as him, but I think, for me, I’m trying to do something that isn’t done that often, and that’s build an asset-based business. Via content–the content like magazines, the content of courses. And build something that’s bigger than me. So anything ever happened to me that the mission and the vision still goes on and it it can be run by someone else.

I’m not about pigeonholing myself to being it’s all about Nathan Chan, Foundr is just a name, and it’s really the Nathan Chan brand or the Nathan Chan Suite of Courses and Coaching, and all that kind of stuff. That doesn’t really excite me that much. So yeah, I try always to learn from both sides of the table because I think, those kind of businesses, those cash flow-based businesses with the courses and the coaching and stuff, there is definitely great lessons to be learned. For example, there’s a guy called Stu McLaren, and he launched a course on building membership sites. Mainly, he was talking about people that are a coach or a consultant or [inaudible] an influence [inaudible] as an individual who has a cash flow-based business and he was starting to build membership site. Whatever. I’m not interested in building a membership site as Nathan Chan, I’m interested in building a membership site for Foundr.

This is quite a common practice that a lot of cutting edge publishing companies do. They build membership sites where they monetize or service their community and have premium content. He’s one of those kind of people in that kind of realm that you speak of where I purchase his course, and I think we’re going to learn a lot from it, that we’re going to apply it to the brand and still keep it very, very asset-based, driven around the brand, not myself. There’s a lot you can learn from that space, but at the same time, I always, always, always try and think like a start-up. Try it because they’re the most successful companies, I think. That’s why I’m so inspired by design, Kristin, because I look at the Ubers and the Airbnbs or any start-up that comes out of Y Combinator, they always have great design and they’re always very, very product-based.

So they’re the kind of things that I’m always thinking about. What would a start-up do? How does start-ups do it? I think that’s what’s that, I think that’s what Gary does, too. He doesn’t really want to align himself as a coach or a consultant or a guru, anything like that. I think he’s very, very, very big on drawing back around. How he has his agency and he just does these stuff for fun. I think it’s because he’s at core start-up type guy.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yep. We can’t seem to shake that, can we?

Nathan Chan: No.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: It’s this like once you have it in you, it is who you are. Honestly, you have drawn together a community of people who aspire to that and really identify the same way. I want you to know as we wrap up here, I just want to thank you again so much for creating this community. I mean, it may have started with a magazine, but you literally have built a community that makes us feel like we can do this, which honestly is no easy task considering how much everything continues to change. And I will definitely be adding multiple links to the podcast notes page from this interview, but please, check out foundrmag.com. And Nathan, honestly, this has been so awesome to interview you. I’m lit up right now. And I want to thank you so much for your time and just know how much I support what you do, and my community does as well. So thank you.

Nathan Chan: Oh, look, the pleasure is all mine. Thank you so much for your kind words, Kristin. Being such as loyal supporter of the brand and the mission and what we’re trying to do and just help in service many people as we can, so I just can’t thank you enough for the opportunity and the kind words.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Oh, thanks. We’ll be cheering for you on the sidelines here with all these cool stuff coming out in the future, too.

Nathan Chan: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Thanks.

[INTERVIEW END]

Join the Conversation

comments