212: Behind the Scenes With 3 Start & Scale Ecommerce Success Stories (8/2018)
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 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 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!
- 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
211: Contently’s Shane Snow on Building a Content Empire and Then Returning to His Writing Roots (8/2018)
While he always had a passion for entrepreneurship, Shane Snow started his career as a freelance journalist, and during that time noticed how many of his peers were struggling to market themselves and find work. This frustration fueled his desire to develop the global content marketing platform, Contently. Contently is a unified content marketing solution for the world’s biggest enterprise brands, and it’s also a tremendous source of income for creative freelancers. By Snow’s best estimates, Contently has paid out more than $46 million (and counting) to freelancers around the globe.
As successful as his time at Contently has been, Snow never stopped being a writer at heart, and now he's back at it. He recently hired a CMO for Contently and became “founder-at-large,” relieving himself of the day-to-day management and freeing up his time to reunite with his first career love.
Today, you can find Snow promoting his soon-to-be-published book, Dream Teams, and otherwise sharing his expertise on team building and storytelling for founders. In this interview, Snow shares his journey to the top of the entrepreneurial mountain and back home again, along with his best advice learned from a seven-year reign at Contently.
- The two realizations Snow had that sparked the idea for Contently
- How Snow transitioned out of his role as founder and returned back to his former love of journalism
- Snow's counterintuitive advice on team building and how it relates to innovation
- One of the most important things we can do as leaders and team members to build relationships
Key Resources From Our Interview With Shane Snow
210: How to Create a Multimillion-Dollar Software Product the Market Actually Wants, With Crazy Egg’s Hiten Shah (8/2018)
Hiten Shah has a killer track record when comes to creating software products. He and his co-founders have built several multimillion-dollar releases, including Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, and many of their features were the first of their kind to hit the industry.
It might seem like Shah has stumbled onto a secret formula for software-building success. But to him, it’s simply a matter of creating what his audience wants. Solving a problem is the biggest determinant of a software’s success, and Shah builds this methodology into every new piece he creates.
In this informative interview, Shah shares the details behind his process, from planning the software build and ensuring a market fit, to hiring the right people to bring it to life. As an avid mentor and advisor, Shah also answers our own, real world questions about future software builds for Foundr. Listen in and get inspired!
- Learn about Shah’s newest software products to hit the market
- The secret to building a profitable software product (it starts long before the first line of code is written)
- How to avoid building something nobody wants
- When to hire internally and when to outsource when building a SaaS product
- Where most product managers go wrong during development
- How to prevent your software tool from getting too bloated and overcomplicated
- Sign up for Shah's newsletter here
209: How Two Fintech Entrepreneurs Found Stable Ground in a Volatile Space, With CoinJar’s Asher Tan and Ryan Zhou (7/2018)
It only took six hours for Asher Tan and Ryan Zhou to put together the incubator pitch for CoinJar, a vision for a next-gen personal finance account that would capitalize on the growing interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Five years later, CoinJar is a leading digital currency platform in Australia and the self-proclaimed “fastest way to access your money from anywhere in the world.” CoinJar’s users can spend, send, and trade their bitcoins, dollars, and pounds globally.
Despite the major challenges that come with scaling in a global market, the company has been profitable for the past three years. In this insightful interview, these brave founders share how they overcome scaling challenges, their next products to hit the market, and their top tips for entrepreneurs interested in creating fintech startups. Enjoy!
- The specific challenges that come with scaling in a volatile market
- Why prioritizing word-of-mouth marketing wins over other advertising channels in this industry
- The duo's next products to hit the market
- Tan and Zhou’s top tips for fintech startups
208: How a Charitable Mission and Influencer Marketing Sparked Massive Growth, With Griffin Thall of Pura Vida (7/2018)
For Pura Vida co-founders Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, a chance meeting with two Native jewelry artisans on a beach in Costa Rica sparked an idea that would forever change their lives. They're now running a rapidly growing brand that not only inspires tremendous customer loyalty, but also promotes products that give back in a big way.
Pura Vida (which means “pure life” in Spanish) has grown rapidly since its inception, but this isn’t the brand’s most appealing aspect. Customers also love the company, because it has provided sustainable jobs to 350+ jewelry artisans worldwide, and donated more than $1.5 million to charities using proceeds from its products.
In this inspiring interview, learn how Pura Vida has leveraged influencer marketing and social media to spread its brand message and create a global movement of loyal customers. Matching creative social strategies with a passionate mission has made this brand a massive success and we are proud to feature them. Way to go Pura Vida!
- The company's unique micro-infuencer marketing program that forms the backbone of their promotional marketing campaigns
- The monthly subscription club that is the fastest-growing part of the business
- The strategies behind the company’s high customer engagement
- How Pura Vida creates a culture and lasting experiences that contribute to customer loyalty
207: BigCommerce Co-Founder Talks Scaling to $100M While Minimizing Risk and Stress (7/2018)
I’m excited to share a very special interview with you today! Mitchell Harper has been my long-time mentor and coach and a driving force behind Foundr’s success. I’m thrilled to share his story with you so you can glean some entrepreneurial gold from his experience.
Harper started his entrepreneurial journey as a software developer, building games as early as 12 years old. He built his first businesses in his teens and sold his first company around the time he graduated high school.
Partnering with another developer in 2003, Harper created Interspire, a suite of software tools for businesses, and grew it to $10 million in revenue in four years. The company eventually became BigCommerce, now one of the web's premier shopping cart platforms. BigCommerce has raised $250 million in its short lifetime, recently hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue, and the company is still growing.
While his big career wins might suggest otherwise, Harper says he is risk-averse and doesn’t believe entrepreneurs need to be big risk takers to achieve high levels of success. He prefers taking the safe route and reveals his strategies for building high impact, low-risk businesses. In this inspiring interview, Harper also shares how he battled with depression and what his journey to wholeness taught him about work/life balance.
I’m so privileged and lucky to have Mitch as a mentor and to introduce him to our Foundr family. Please listen in and get inspired by the man who has been an integral part of Foundr’s success!
- Why timing is critical when securing investors, from seizing the opportunity early on to waiting long enough to mitigate risk
- Mitch’s top book recommendation for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital
- Why entrepreneurs don’t need to “risk it all” to become successful.
- Mitch’s battle with depression and how he altered his life to avoid burnout and achieve work/life balance
- The power of an A-player team to grow companies
206: From Animator to Tech Educator, Lynda Weinman Reflects on a $1.5B Exit and Her New Career (7/2018)
Lynda Weinman sold her 20-year company Lynda.com to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. What is she doing now? She is reinventing herself and enjoying her new role as a champion of independent film.
Weinman is no stranger to the concept of reinvention. In fact, it's that very spirit of constant evolution that led her to become a trailblazer in the online education space, and to ultimately make a massive exit.
Her journey started with a career in animation and special effects, of all things, and even included running a punk store on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. She continued to pivot, until her creative endeavors eventually led her to education, and a business model that allowed her to teach thousands of laypeople about complex tech topics.
The company started as a brick-and-mortar classroom, but after the economic decline that followed the tragic terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Weinman was forced to take Lynda in a new direction. To weather the economic storm, she transitioned to the online subscription business model of Lynda.com.
Lynda.com’s growth was slow going until social media gained ground in 2006, a movement that helped catapult her company's revenue to $40 million and beyond. Even though Weinman never thought about selling, when the offer came in, she knew she had to pull the trigger
Working relentlessly on Lynda for the past 20 years and now in her early 60s, Weinman has set her sights on a new course. She's now the president of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and invests in independent filmmakers using charitable grants. In this interview, Weinman shares the journey that led to her $1.5 billion exit, how and why she has continued reinventing herself, and her top advice for entrepreneurs.
- The emotions that accompany the process of letting go of a 20-year company in three short months
- Why it may not be wise to focus on churn rate and what to focus on instead
- Why getting investors can be a wise choice if you are planning on selling your company
- Lynda Weinman’s three top tips for entrepreneurs
205: Finding a Mission and Making the World a Healthier Place, With Munjal Shah of Health IQ (6/2018)
A health crisis that landed Munjal Shah in the ER turned out to be the catalyst for his next mission: making the world a healthier place.
On the day Munjal Shah started running a 10K race back in 2010, he was on top of the world. Just the day before, he had sold his company to Google, marking his second successful exit.
Then the chest pains started. Shah wound up in the ER, and while it didn’t end up being a heart attack, the incident was a sobering reminder that his own father had had one while in his 40s. It was a wake-up call for Shah, who was 37 at the time. He started focusing on his health, lost 40 pounds, and decided his next entrepreneurial endeavor would make the world a healthier place.
“People always say, ‘Go find your mission,’” Shah says. He’s now the founder of a new and growing insurance startup called Health IQ, which encourages healthy behavior by taking a data-driven approach to its coverage. “I would say my mission found me.”
- The journey that led to two successful exits (one was with Google)
- The unconventional, non-scalable hiring methods that led Shah to build A-player teams
- How Shah discovered his mission and how this fuels his startup’s success
- Shah’s top advice for founders looking to raise a round of financing
- When and how to pivot: the key to Shah’s successful track record
- Shah’s top tips for busy entrepreneurs (it has nothing to do with meetings, investors, or customers)
204: Taking the Road Less Traveled to Build the Business of Your Dreams, With Mike Dillard of Self Made Man (6/2018)
In business, in life, and even behind the wheel of his actual race car, Mike Dillard goes from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye.
In stark contrast to his calm voice and introverted nature, Dillard is a pioneer willing to crash through boundaries and challenge common wisdom. He just prefers to do it through the written word, rather than grand speeches or face-to-face encounters.
The core principle driving Dillard’s pedal-to-the-metal attitude? He deeply believes in the power of one person to change their community, their industry, and maybe even the world. “I approach life with a core belief that anyone can accomplish anything,” his website bio reads. “That not only can one man or woman make a difference, but that it’s one man or woman who always makes the difference.”
- How Dillard leveraged his introverted nature to find success in an extrovert-driven world
- The biggest crash of Dillard’s career, which cost him $12 million in revenue overnight
- The one thing Dillard needs to build a business (it has nothing to do with money)
- The mission and purpose that has guided Dillard (through the bad times) to build the business of his dreams
203: The One-Two Punch for Sustainable, Consistent Startup Growth, With Dmitry Dragilev of JustReachOut (6/2018)
Dmitry Dragilev has a typical entrepreneurial story, but maybe a little more extreme. Bored in his dead-end, corporate job, he was fearful of ending up like his older, unsatisfied peers. One day, Dragilev read in a magazine about what was going on in Silicon Valley, and up and quit.
He sold everything he owned, hopped in his car, and made his way to California. Equipped only with a knowledge of coding and a drive to succeed, Dragilev had made a decision that changed the rest of his life.
- Dragilev's unique growth marketing approach for building sustainable, consistent traffic
- How to build quality relationships with journalists to increase your brand's exposure
- How Dragilev helped two companies skyrocket sales with two PR strategies
- The quick website fix that resulted in a two-second improvement in user session time