My guest today is the creator, publisher, and editor of Foundr Magazine, which launched in 2013 and has become a six-figure business.
Foundr is a monthly digital magazine, which has had over 100,000 downloads in its first fifteen months.
My guest also hosts a weekly podcast for Foundr where he interviews the greatest minds in business today, and has created a training platform that provides educational video courses for young entrepreneurs.
Now, let’s hack …
In this 39-minute episode Nathan Chan and I discuss:
- Connecting with people and leveraging their knowledge
- How Instagram can build your email list
- Why you should hang out with people who will drive you to be better
- Dream big, set goals, and build a great business
Listen to Hack the Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
The Evolutionary Process of an Entrepreneur
Jonny Nastor: Hack the Entrepreneur is part of Rainmaker.FM, the digital business podcast network. Find more great shows and education at Rainmaker.FM.
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Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now, here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. I am so glad you decided to join me today. I’m your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.
My guest today is a young entrepreneur from Australia. That being said, he uses a little bit colorful language sometimes. If you have children around, it doesn’t get really that bad, but he does say some words that I typically don’t say on my show. That being said, he’s awesome.
He’s a creator, publisher, and editor of Foundr Magazine, which launched in 2013, and it became a six-figure business. Foundr is a monthly digital magazine, which has had over 100,000 downloads in its first 15 months.
My guest also hosts a weekly podcast for Foundr, where he introduces the greatest minds in business today and has created a training platformthat provides educational video courses for young entrepreneurs.
Now, let’s hack Nathan Chan.
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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. I am very, very, very excited about today’s guest. Nathan, welcome to the show.
Nathan Chan: Thank you for having me, Jonny.
Jonny Nastor: It’s going to be a blast. I can just tell.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. Look, we connected over Facebook. We actually never have gotten online and chatted, but I’ve always been a big fan of your show. I’m really looking forward because you’ve got some really interesting questions. I probably should have prepped better.
Jonny Nastor: No, man. It’s just you, so that’s it. You know the answers. I need to get inside your brain.
Nathan Chan: Well, thank you. I’m honored, and my brain is yours.
Jonny Nastor: All right. Let’s jump into this. Nathan, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
Connecting with People and Leveraging Their Knowledge
Nathan Chan: I think it definitely has to do with connecting with people, finding out what they’re doing, and leveraging their knowledge. This is something I was thinking about when I was driving to start this interview. When me and you, when we got introduced from Maron and his podcasting family, I remember I actually contacted you because I saw when you started your podcast, you had a ton of reviews.
I was like, “Dude, how do you have so many reviews in the US?” You’re like, “Man, two things. I always leave my email at the end of the show, and I always write detailed answers when people write back to me and ask them to leave a review.”
You know what, Jonny? I do that, still, to this day when you told me this about eight to nine months ago. I do that with so many people. I want to learn SEO. I find an SEO expert, pick his brain, and work together. Serve first. Ask later. You might remember, also, that I gave you a ton of tips around Twitter, Instagram, and a few other things we’re doing.
I just find people that are killing it with certain things, and I help them. First things first, I always help. I don’t look to take. Then, I connect with them and find out how they’re doing it, and I just go out and take action. I think that little thing has led me down the road to do certain things very, very well.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. I totally forgot about that conversation.
Nathan Chan: Yeah, it’s funny, right? Because I was thinking, “Are you going to ask this question?”
Jonny Nastor: I still do that, too.
Nathan Chan: Yeah, I knew you’re going to ask that question. I thought, “Well, that would be a great example because I actually did it to Jonny.”
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. You totally did that to me. Wow.
Nathan Chan: You know what? We actually have more reviews than you now in the US. You’ve got to keep pushing this harder.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. I love that. That’s so cool. I know that you reached out to me. Well, we had been introduced sort of through Podcast Incubator with Maron. Then you literally just messaged me on Facebook and in a really cool way, which was awesome. If you don’t have somebody on Facebook, how would you decide to connect with people if that’s your thing?
Nathan Chan: Usually email. Usually email and trying to hit up a Skype call or something. That’s why I was thinking, also, me and you were having an awesome chat before we started, and I was thinking, “Geez, me and Jonny should have probably had a chat, as well, on Skype and just seeing how he’s rocking it.” Yeah, usually through email and trying to hit up a Skype interview. Then just take it from there.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. Yeah, I do at least, I think, still, do to this day. This week, I had five pretty much random Skype calls with people that have emailed me and just been like, “Hey, man. Can we just chat?” I’m like, “Sure, man. I got a link.” It’s like, “Here’s 15 minutes. Let’s do it.” I’ll just see where it goes. You just never know. You might learn something. You might be able to teach something. It’s awesome.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. That’s where it’s at. I think I’m pretty heavy on connecting, networking, and learning. That’s one thing that has really, really helped me is just connecting with people that are killing it. In terms of SEO, that’s a great example. I’m not going to sit there and try and become a god and read up about it, study it, and keep on top of the game.
I may as well just help my friend Peter, and then he helps me. Whether I pay him as a contractor or whatnot, it just works both ways. I do that with anything you can imagine — podcasting, the magazine, driving traffic, social media — you name it, apps, whatever.
Jonny Nastor: It’s very cool. Very cool. All right. Foundr Magazine, you created this wicked success. It looks like it’s kind of an overnight success, but it’s not. It’s been around for a couple of years now, right?
Nathan Chan: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: 2013, and it started as something slightly different. I want to go back because I know that’s not even the first thing you did. We don’t need to know, necessarily, what it is, but there seems to be this time in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize one of two things. Either they need to make this massive difference in the world or simply, they just can’t work for somebody else because they’re a terrible employee like myself. I would love, Nathan, to know which side of the fence you think you fall on, and when you sort of discovered this about yourself.
The Power of Hustle and Hungriness
Nathan Chan: Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m a bit of both, to be honest, Jonny. The reason I started Foundr was I was in a job that I hated. I was living a life that wasn’t fulfilling, and I always felt deep down that there was something else out there for me, that I could be so much more. I really wanted to work. I thought I really wanted to work in marketing. I went back to university while I was doing my full-time job in IT, doing IT support, and I did a master’s in marketing, was trying to get a marketing job, couldn’t even get a marketing job, so I thought I’d try this online marketing stuff.
I always wanted to become an entrepreneur. I always heard these stories about people living the dream, doing cool stuff. I read the 4-Hour Workweek, but I still never did anything. I didn’t know where to start. I became frustrated with my job. I didn’t realize until time went on that I was a terrible employee, and I didn’t want to work for anyone else.
I just started Foundr on the side. I like helping people. I have a big sense of contribution and that part of me, that contribution of changing the world — and I don’t really like to say ‘changing the world,’ but it’s that contribution of helping people — triggered something inside of me, this burning fire, this hustle, this hungriness that has really kept me in good stead.
To answer your question, I’m probably a bit of both. One, out of frustration, two out of just contribution, and I like helping people. That’s what led me on this path. Once I started Foundr and fell in love with the process and fell in love with the work, the hustle, the things that I do, and the way that I help people and make an impact, that was kind of when everything changed. My life gradually, over time, changed. Now, the way it is now, I can see it being this way for a long time.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. How much do you think a master’s in marketing helps you?
Nathan Chan: Not at all.
Jonny Nastor: Really? You’re in the marketing business right now. You’ve nailed it in some stuff. I have no idea what’s involved in going to the school for marketing. Honestly, I have no idea, but I would think some part of it. No?
Nathan Chan: No, no. It’s an absolute waste of time. The marketing piece, you’re right, we are in the marketing business, and marketing is my passion project. That’s something that I really, really enjoy. Not just only the business building, but the marketing is the true passion piece.
What you described as nailing it, yeah, we’re doing a good job. It can always be done better, but that’s just purely coming from my passion of wanting to learn, understand how to be a great marketer, and how to communicate your product or service to someone that’s really exciting to me. Like driving traffic, I get excited over weird things, maybe, that other people might not get excited about.
Like I get excited now about funnels, a new branding piece, or some collateral that goes out. We’re just about to hit 300,000 Instagram followers. I’m going to spend probably, I think it’s like 500 euro on this countdown timer. It’s not a countdown timer. It’s a followers counter. Instead of a clock, it will be a six-figure clock that every time you get a new follower, it goes up, and I want to put it on my desk. Some people might find that weird, but that sh*t really excites me.
Jonny Nastor: It is weird, but it’s awesome. Seriously, that’s awesome, but it is weird.
Nathan Chan: It is, but this is what I’m passionate about. This is what drives me. This is what makes me really hungry, and that hunger is what enables me to do, I believe, pretty decent work, you know?
Jonny Nastor: Totally. That’s awesome.
Nathan Chan: But no, the marketing degree, I didn’t learn, really, anything at all. Everything that I’ve learned is either self-taught or learning from others or mentors.
Jonny Nastor: Very cool. All right, Nathan, we’re going to move on to work. Every blog post, every expert now talks about the 80/20 rule. I’m sure you’ve heard about this in Australia. You do 20 percent. You get 80 percent of the results. Do what you’re good at. Delegate the rest. Nathan, in your business, can you tell me something that you were absolutely not good at?
Knowing When to Up Your Game and Bring in the Right People
Nathan Chan: Yeah. I am terrible with accounting. That’s why I’ve actually just hired this, not really hired, but I’ve moved to this really boss, epic accountant. I know our numbers in the sense what our expenses are and how much we’re bringing in, but in terms of forecasting and really, really knowing your numbers — cost of customer acquisition, how much we should be paying for a customer, all that stuff. Forecasting, if we want to turn Foundr into a seven-figure business, this is how much we need to sell of product. This is what we need to do, that kind of stuff.
I’m terrible at math. I hate math, so I brought on a really, really good accountant that I catch up with at least, now, while we’re setting stuff up, at least once every couple of weeks. We’ll be catching up regularly forever, probably, at least once a month.
He can tell me how we’re tracking. He can just pull out the numbers from the business and say, “This is what we need to do,” and really, really help me. The numbers don’t lie, right? That’s probably something that I’m really, really terrible at is math and accounting. I really don’t enjoy that.
Jonny Nastor: Years into the business, and you’ve just recently hired this accountant? Until then, did you fumble through and think like, “Man, I’m good at this accounting. I know what the expenses are, and I know what we’re bringing in. I don’t need to know more?”
Nathan Chan: Yeah. Pretty much.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, lots of us make that mistake.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. Pretty much. We don’t have that many expenses. I don’t think digital businesses have that many expenses. It depends what you’re selling, really. It really depends what you’re selling. For us, Apple, which covers a big proportion of our income, they manage everything in terms of all that stuff. I just get paid once a month by Apple at the end of the month, and then that’s it.
Our expenses, we got a few SaaS expenses now and employee expenses, but apart from that, it’s pretty easy to just have a spreadsheet. I’ve got something in Evernote, that says these are our costs, and I know how much we’re bringing in. That’s always been pretty easy.
I did have an accountant, but he was a friend that I used to work with. He didn’t really know tax rules. We’re going to be doing some really savvy stuff. In Australia, you can get something called an EMDG grant. I don’t know what it stands for, but pretty much, if you’re from Australia creating Australian product — you’re creating product that’s here in Australia, so it’s Australian product — and you’re selling it overseas, you’re spending money to market that product, like Facebook ads or anything like that, you can actually get a grant from the Australia Government and get a 50-percent rebate.
Let’s say I spend 10 grand on Facebook ads, I could claim back 5,000 of it as long as I prove that it’s for our Australian product. That kind of stuff I didn’t know about. My accountant, who’s super savvy, he’s going to save us a lot of money. He’s going to help us pay a lot less tax, so those kind of things I don’t know about. I don’t want to deal with, and I needed help, especially with a lot of numbers when it comes to acquisition costs, forecasting, coming up with a solid model where you plug in numbers and you can forecast what the business is going to be turning over, and what your metrics are. I hate that stuff. I hope that explains your question.
Jonny Nastor: It totally does. And that’s cool. I appreciate the fact that you admit that it took you too long, probably, to realize that.
Nathan Chan: Oh, yeah.
Jonny Nastor: We all do those things. You keep saying ‘we’ and ’employees.’ How does Foundr Mag run? Do you have an office with people, or is it all virtual?
Nathan Chan: We’re all virtual. I’ve just hired my first full-time employee, so we have a hybrid kind of model. Everyone is a contractor all around the world. I’ll run through that with you, but our first full-time employee, Jonathan, he’s a content crafter and marketer. He’s going to be helping with content in the magazine. He’s doing full-time, and we just work out of a co-working space.
We’re probably going to get an office in a few months because I’ve realized that me and him probably need our own space now, but when I was doing it just me, I didn’t even have to go to the co-working space. I could work from home, a café, or wherever. It was really easy, but now it’s me and him. We don’t have an office. We’re just based out of a co-working space in Melbourne. Then we have our art director, who’s based out of Bangalore in India, and he designs the magazine and does all the branding.
Then we have our editor, and he does all sorts of other projects for us, Tate, who’s in Boston. We have a range of freelancers and writers all around the world — UK, not Canada, used to be Canada, America, Australia. Then we have our web designer, but does all sorts of other project stuff, too, in Brisbane, Australia, and then an AV guy in Hungary. Then that’s about it. That’s what it looks like. Then we’ve got Jonathan on the ground here.
Then I’m probably going to have to hire somebody else soon for business development, and that person will probably be on the ground, I’m thinking. Oh, then we’ve got a virtual assistant in the Philippines. We’ll probably have to hire another one, as well, but that’s pretty much what the team looks like. It’s pretty hybrid. We’ve got contractors, people around the world just working away on things.
Jonny Nastor: Do you do the management? Are you a good manager, would you say?
Scrapping Your Way Out of the Box
Nathan Chan: That’s something that is a challenge for me, leadership, so it’s something I’m actually focusing on right now. I’m working with Jonathan quite hands-on, so that’s been a new challenge for me, leadership. I’m getting better. Management, in terms of working with contractors, is really easy, Jonny, and I know you would feel this, too.
You have a brief. You have a project. You assign that project. You either pay 50 percent up front or whatever, and that person just works away. Each magazine issue is like a project. It’s managed in Basecamp — boxes, people, everyone has their task. They do their task, and that’s it, really. Everyone has been working as a team for quite a while now. We all know what we have to do.
Jonny Nastor: Did it start like that? It must have evolved. The very first month, were you like, “Here’s Basecamp. Everything’s completely organized, and now I’m going to make my first issue”?
Nathan Chan: No, no. I might seem like I have my sh*t together, but by all means, no. Definitely, we’re still all over the place. I do all the project management, and when we first started, it was definitely nowhere near as organized. When we first started, it was just me, my graphic designer, and that’s it. I didn’t have a VA. I had a few contract writers, but I was doing most of the writing. My mom was even doing some of the writing and helping me with the proofing.
Look, it was not even managed in Basecamp. We were all over the place, and it didn’t start like that. It’s just only probably this past year since I left my job that I’m trying to get more and more organized and have processes, like standard operating procedures, and just trying to make the business more highly functioning, so I can find more leverage.
At the start, I will be very, very clear. Things were very, very scrappy, a lot scrappier compared to now, but even now, maybe things are still scrappy. I don’t know.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. That’s cool. I just wanted to clarify. It does sound like, listening to you, like this guy’s got it all figured out, but it’s been a couple of years of process at this point. These things take time. They start off scrappy. They stay scrappy for quite a while until you scrap your way out of the box and you create something cool and build an audience.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. That’s right. If you looked at behind the scenes, when I started doing some Periscopes, you will see that there’s no hype. Even with the new employee, he’s got his stuff, and he’s got his tasks in SweetProcess and stuff like that. That’s a really cool tool to assign tasks and stuff like that. But for the most part, our digital business, our Google Drive is a bit of a mess. Our Dropbox is a bit of a mess.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. Just like the rest of us. That’s good. Thank you. Okay. You do the project management, so let’s move on to projects. ‘Projects’ is a loose term. Projects can be any sort of thing you want to do — either brand new, like yourself as a separate entity, like take on a book or something within Foundr. Recently, obviously, which you’ve got some notoriety for, is your Instagram following in a very short amount of time, which you didn’t even push before.
There was something came across your desk, came across your email, this shiny thing that caught your eye. Something told you that it was the right thing to do. I’d love to hear your thought process, Nathan, on how you decide now whether this new thing, like with going all in on Periscope with resources, if that’s worth doing, or if that’s just another shiny thing that’s going to distract you from your main goal?
How Instagram Can Build Your Email List
Nathan Chan: That’s a really good question. You ask the best questions. Pretty much, I never want to rest on our laurels. One of the worst phrases is, “We’ve always done it this way.” Once you start thinking like that in your business, you’re kind of losing that staying ahead of the game, that innovation, that understanding the world’s always changing. Especially if you’re running a digital business or an online business, things are always changing, so you’ve always got to try and be ahead of the curve.
With this Instagram stuff, I honestly feel like I was late to the game. We’ve been on Instagram for what? Ten months? We’ve built it to 300,000, built out email lists by at least 40,000 in that 10 months, mainly because of Instagram, and only just getting warmed up. Imagine if I did that two years ago. Instagram’s been out for five years, so I felt like with Instagram, yeah, we are killing it. We’re doing some cool stuff, but I’m kind of late to the game.
They just announced yesterday that they’re going to bring in the ad platform and stuff like that, and that’s not going to hurt us. That’s going to help us dominate even more, but to answer your question in regards to how do I work out where to spend our time and resources, when it comes to marketing, I look for channels that just absolutely thrive.
If you find something, you only need a couple of channels. If you find a couple of channels, even one channel, you just hit that ridiculously hard. Ten months ago, when I was running Foundr, we were doing okay. We weren’t a six-figure business. We’re growing really fast now.
Back then, 10 months ago, I left my job about a year ago, just a little bit more than a year ago, and we were going okay. I was paying the bills for myself. I was paying my contractors. We were running at a profitable rate, but I was still looking for one channel that we could really thrive on. The magazine was going well. It was growing, but nowhere near as fast as growing now, and I was looking for a channel.
I just was testing many channels. I was testing content marketing and blogging. We were doing okay, but it’s not really our thing. Then I just tried this Instagram thing. I had heard from a few friends that they were killing it. I just tested it, and it really took off. Then I did my thing. I spoke to a lot of people. I found out how they’re killing it. I found people that are killing it, and then I just learned from them. Then there you have it. We’ve just been hitting that channel ridiculously hard.
Yeah, the Periscope thing, we will pool a bit of resources at it. It’s really powerful in terms of webinars. We’re doing a lot of webinars, and I know how powerful webinars are to sell products. I see a really big opportunity with Periscope. I see a really big opportunity to leverage our audience on Instagram and bring them over to Periscope. I see a really big opportunity for relationship building.
Look, the hype will go over with Periscope, and the buzz will go over. Maybe, because it’s not someone else’s platform, you might lose out one day. However, I think as long as you know that it’s somebody else’s platform, as long as you look to always build your own platform, you’ll be okay.
Number one priority for us in our business is to build our email list. That’s the heart of our business now. When I say ’email list,’ I mean community, building connections and relationships with people — but having that relationship extended, so they’re on our email database. We can contact them, and we can tell them about cool stuff we’re doing. Whatever we do, that’s the number one goal. We’re in the relationship business, the connection business. If Periscope helps, if Instagram helps, that’s what matters. That’s what we’ll pool resources to. I hope that answers your question.
Jonny Nastor: It totally does. I love how you wrapped it up with, you know that it’s somebody else’s platform, but you’re using that platform and leveraging it to build up your own business, which is smart. You didn’t just go build up a massive Instagram following without having a product to be promoting on it. You didn’t just, “I could have just spent a whole bunch of time, build up a massive audience, and then I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.” You had a product already, and that’s brilliant. Smart.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. We are very aggressive on Instagram getting people to go to sign up for our lead magnet, newsletter, or whatever. Literally, next week, I’ll get so aggressive that our email list growth, it will be like Groupon. Groupon, their database will be millions and millions of people. I’ll be so aggressive that we should build a database so quickly that a lot of people wouldn’t imagine.
It’s taken some time to work this out. When you find a channel, you got to hit it hard. Instagram just announced that the engagement definitely will drop because they’re bringing in ads soon, so we got to make the most of that time before the ads come. When the ads come, we’re going to, obviously, probably market to our big audience on Instagram and pay for ads, but that’s fine, too.
You just got to know the game, really. You got to be aware of what’s happening around you and really know the spaces that you’re playing in better than most.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, exactly. Totally. I know that you are aggressive, you have goals and things you want to achieve, and you really go after them. You totally go after them. It’s awesome to see.
Nathan Chan: Yeah. I’m very hungry … and very driven.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. With that, this is going to be cool because I got to wrap up, but I want to wrap up on this question. This goes in directly with this hunger and this drive because you have it as an entrepreneur. You have this drive where you always are setting goals for your list, for your business, for yourself personally in the future — one month, three months, six months, a year, five years out. Oftentimes, I find that, before we even get to those goals, we set loftier ones into the future. It’s always, “When my list gets to here, when my business does this, when I get this many subscribers to my magazine, I’ll be successful.”
We’re always looking forward. You’ve done a lot. You’ve come a long ways since working for IT and then going back to school. I would just love it right now, Nathan, if you would stop, turn around, look at where it is you’ve come, what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, things that have gone wrong, the things that have gone right, and just tell me how you feel about everything you’ve done up till now.
Why You Should Hang Out with People Who Will Drive You to Be Better
Nathan Chan: It’s funny you say that because I was talking to a friend about this, and it’s just never enough. You build an email list of 100,000, never enough. You need to be 200,000. It’s funny that it’s so important, like you said, to look back on how far you’ve come.
I’m really proud of our progress. I feel super blessed and honored the people I get to speak to, the lives that we are able to have an impact on, and the attention that people give our work. I’m extremely humbled by the people that reach out and say how much our work has helped them, but I guess, from that drive, for me, it feels like I’m only getting warmed up. I guess one day I’ll feel like, “Now I can sit back and relax.”
I know I play that mind game with myself that, once we get 200,000 subscribers or whatever, then I can relax, but then you speak to another friend that has 300,000. That just gets you revved up. I think that’s really important to hang out people with that are doing cool stuff, that are playing at a higher level than you. That always keeps you driven, but you’re right, it is really important to look back and see how far you’ve come. Otherwise, it will never be enough.
Dream Big, Set Goals, and Build a Great Business
Nathan Chan: Sometimes, that never being enough can be great in your favor because it gives you drive, but not that great because you’re constantly unsatisfied. It is great to look back. That’s how Vishen Lakhiani recommends that you look at your goals.
Like I said goals, don’t get me wrong, not that far ahead, usually just 12-month goals, but since coming back from the States, I’m looking at setting three to five-year goals, or bigger long-term visions. Now, I feel like I didn’t dream big enough. Americans dream really big, so I’m trying to dream big America style. Yeah, you’re right.
Jonny Nastor: It’s good. That’s a beautiful answer. I don’t want you to not be driven at all. I was hoping you at least appreciated what you have done because it’s a lot. It’s really, really cool, but you’re right, you got to push forward and go for it. You’ve got big things ahead of you, and it’s really going to be cool to watch.
Nathan Chan: Yeah, well thank you so much, Jon. For me, Foundr, I did a few little random things, websites and stuff, trying to drive traffic, but Foundr, for the most part, is my first serious business. I’m still pretty fresh. I’ve been doing this stuff for two and a half years, started March 2013. Maybe one day, I might get sick of it, maybe, I don’t know. Maybe when you’re that passionate about the work, do you never get sick of it? I don’t know, but I’m sure I will slow down one day. I don’t know.
Jonny Nastor: Just don’t do it anytime soon.
Nathan Chan: Yeah, for now, just having a ton of fun doing it. Just love the hustle.
Jonny Nastor: You should. We’ve got to mention, in passing, your business, Nathan. Can you specifically tell the listener where to find more about you and your business?
Nathan Chan: Yeah, so if you want to find us, it’s just Foundrmag.com or FoundrMagazine.com. No ‘E.” There’s a long story why we call it that, but that’s another story.
Jonny Nastor: Awesome. Very, very cool. You’re on Twitter?
Nathan Chan: Yeah, @NathanHChan, or hit us up on @FoundrMag.
Jonny Nastor: Very cool. FoundrMag and Twitter. I’ll link to both of those in the show notes for everyone, and maybe also your Instagram because we’ve talked about it a lot.
Nathan Chan: Yeah, so just @FoundrMagazine.
Jonny Nastor: @FoundrMagazine.
Nathan Chan: That’s our handle.
Jonny Nastor: Awesome. All right, Nathan, again, this has been a blast. Thank you so much for joining me. Please just keep doing what you’re doing because it really, really is awesome to watch.
Nathan Chan: Thank you. I really appreciate it. It’s been a ton of fun chatting with you. Like I said, you ask the best questions. I’ve always been really impressed.
Jonny Nastor: Thanks.
Nathan Chan: Boom.
Jonny Nastor: Nathan, Nathan, Nathan. Thank you so much for joining me. You’re out there listening, and this conversation took, I believe, it was about 28 minutes that we recorded. We’ve been talking through Facebook and Twitter for almost a year since the very beginning of my show. Then with Foundr growing, exploding, creating this crazy Instagram following, and doing all this really cool stuff, but we had never actually been on Skype.
We talked for about 40 minutes before we did this call. Then we did the call. Then we stayed on Skype for, I’m going to say, another hour, hour and a half. It was brilliant. He’s a super, super smart guy. We hit it off. You know that Australian-Canadian connection? … Totally made that up. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but there should be. Every Australian I talk to seems really, really cool — same with those Canadians, right?
Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I hope you got as much out of it as I did. Nathan is a smart, smart dude who’s fairly new into entrepreneurship, and he’s knocking it out of the park by just having the mindset of just going for it. I think that’s really, really, really cool. That’s why I really wanted him on the show to share that with you.
I go back through the conversation, the recorded conversation, not the other pre- and post-conversations because those are just too long. I go back through it, and Nathan said a lot of smart things. You probably wrote five, or six, or seven things down that just caught your ear when he said it.
But we go back, and he said that one thing, right? There was that one thing that Nathan said. I know you heard it. You did, right? I did. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Nathan Chan: I might seem like I have my sh*t together, but by all means, no. Definitely, we’re still all over the place. I do all the project management, and when we first started, it was definitely nowhere near as organized. When we first started, it was just me, my graphic designer, and that’s it.
Jonny Nastor: And that’s the hack.
Yes. Nathan, yes. This is crucial, and I’m so happy that we got to this part of the conversation because it does, from the outside, looks like you have all of it together. And you do, but you’re 18 months into it now. That’s a long time for a business if you’re focused on optimizing it, making it better, and helping it grow by getting out of its way and allowing other people to help you. I’m really glad. I talk to people that have these amazing businesses. Sometimes, I’m like, “Oh, man, they’re so far ahead,” but it really is hard to make that connection that they weren’t always, right?
Back probably about 10 or 15 episodes ago now — I can’t remember my guest at the time but I will remember it, and I’ll post it in the show notes — but she said that whenever we start something — we start a business, or we start a website — we have to know that is the worst it will ever be.
Nathan launched Foundr 18 months ago, or whatever the exact date was, and it was a mess. It was terrible. But now, I interview him, and things are going well. He’s turned it into a real, legitimate business. It sounds like, “Wow, it sounds like it must have always been like that,” but it wasn’t. It was a mess. It was just him trying to do everything — like we all are.
This is okay if this is how you are in your business right now, kind of running, doing everything. Everything’s disorganized. That’s okay. Know that you have to, at some point, step out and become the CEO, but you won’t be that at the beginning. You just won’t. It’s impossible. It seems like everyone’s like that, but we’re not. We’re not like that when we start.
There’s always going to be people ahead of us with better organized businesses, better growing businesses, better marketed business, better products — whatever, it doesn’t matter. Where we are every day is going to be the worst that it’s going to be as long as we continue to look and push forward, so thank you so much, Nathan. That was cool.
All right. Thank you so much. You know how much I appreciate you taking the time to stop by. It really, really, truly does mean a lot to know you’re out there. I know you have a lot of options, so that’s very cool.
If you haven’t recently or you would like to drop me a line, tell me what’s up. You could email me, Jon@HacktheEntrepreneur.com. Just tell me what’s up. Ask me any questions if you have any, or just tell me where you are, what you’re listening to, and if you’re digging it.
Thank you so very much, and please, until next time, keep hacking the entrepreneur.
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