Had a great time doing this STARTUP TALK interview with my buddy Rui Delgado
We live in the best time to be an entrepreneur. The gatekeepers are becoming irrelevant. The best part is you can build a life making money how you want if you have the right amount of hustle. On today’s show, I feature writer and entrepreneur Julian Mitchell on what it takes to get paid to be yourself. How dope is that? We dig into the tactics and the psychology behind making a living by being you.
Here is what I learned:
- Do things that fulfill you. The essence of getting paid to be yourself is doing things you actually enjoy and not settling.
- The brand is the “Why?” It’s the core of who you are. Knowing your “why” helps you produce the best content and even recognize your own unique talent.
- Identify your values. Take inventory on what you care about. Never underestimate the power of you own personal perspective. Sure you can read a ton of books, but what’s YOUR truth? Don’t assume people won’t care to hear what you have to say.
- How to discover your talent. Look at the things you do naturally that has a lasting impact on the most people.
- You get paid for your value, not your time. The number of years you put into a project doesn’t matter as much as the impact you create with it. When creating, keep in mind the amount of value you are providing to people. It always pays for itself directly, and indirectly. You can read more about this in my book.
- Don’t suffer from the fear of your own greatness. Live up to the moment. The largest thing in the way of you building a business around you, is you.
Some of the best businesses have started out as side hustles. Many people start side hustles as a way to monetize their passions while still maintaining a full-time job. Side hustles are also a great way to test an idea out without wasting much time or resources. On this episode, I speak with Nick Loper, founder of Side Hustle Nation to get some hidden gems behind building one. How do you find a great idea? When is the best time to leave your job? How do you build authority? We answer these questions and more.
This week we speak with tech entrepreneur Sheena Allen. Sheena discusses some of the challenges she faces as a black woman in the tech industry. We also cover the sacrifices you have to make regarding relationships and family. Sheena gives tips on everything from dressing for the part to remaining humble. Enjoy.
Here is what I learned:
- Nothing is worth losing your values over – Sheena stood her ground in what she believed in. She would not compromise who she was to get money or funding for her startup. She wanted success her way.
- Entrepreneurs have to sacrifice – Sheena talked about how she had to sacrifice dating, friends, and even family. Your business will take up a huge chunk of your schedule, so you have to improve your time management skills.
- How you dress matters – Know your audience. If you are in Silicon Valley where the culture is mostly hoodies and jeans, then your fine. But, Sheena doing business in her hometown in Mississippi that won’t fly. So know how to dress the part without sacrificing who you are.
- Ignore the fear of failure – Sheena wasn’t trying to be perfect with her first app. She took a leap of faith, that turned into millions of downloads years later. What’s holding you back from taking the first step? It may be all mental.
- Remain humble – No matter where you are in your journey, the key is to stay humble.
Ever heard of the law of attraction? Books like “The Secret” made it a popular practice. It’s the idea of envisioning a positive future for yourself, in order to attract it. I spoke with entrepreneur Jaylen Bledsoe who believes a large part of his success is because of this law. I met Jaylen while we were both filming for an AT&T commercial together. There I learned much of his story and decided to bring him on my show so you could hear it for yourself.
On my birthday, I said I would be releasing a book today. Took me a solid month to put it all together. Today my book “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness” available on digital and print. Also, the digital version is actually free for 24 hours. The only thing I ask is that you guys leave me a review on Amazon. Bad or good.“Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness” available on digital and print. Also, the digital version is actually free for 24 hours. The only thing I ask is that you guys leave me a review on Amazon. Bad or good.
We feature guest Joel Leon to talk about bringing art and spirituality to our grind. Joel is a poet, entrepreneur, rapper, singer, and intellectual. So we wanted to get his take on how we combine all of those artistic elements to help take ourselves to the next level.The song in the introduction is also a song written and performed by Joel that you can download for free here.
Here is what I learned:
- Rawness and authenticity are key. Hip Hop made an impact because it revealed some of the harsh realities of urban life. People will feel a deeper trust with you if you embody that same Hip Hop level of rawness in everything you work on. That ultimately means just being yourself.
- Feed your spirit, not just your pockets. Don’t be concerned with making money 100% of the time. You should be doing things that make you happy. Some things you’ll have to do for free just because you enjoy them. Some partnerships you have to take, because it just feels good. Only doing things you get paid for will cause you to miss out on the real joy of life. Giving value.
- Create a core value system. Make a list of the tings that mean the most to you. Weave that into the DNA of your company or project. You’ll know what to say yes to, and what to say no to.
- You may lose customers. When you have a value system, there will be some customers who don’t fit in that system. You have to be OK with that.
- Don’t force creativity. if you find yourself in a writers block or uninspired let it flow. Go to the park, take a walk, go to the gym, watch a movie. The key is to not fight it, and let it come back to you. Fighting it will only delay the process.
This week we speak with Ankur Nagpal the founder of Teachable. Online education is blowing up, and everyone wants to know exactly how they can get a piece of it. With the industry now heading into the billions, I discuss with Ankur how we can find the right profitable idea to begin creating our first online course.
Here is what I learned:
- It’s more about the transformation, not the money. Yes, we are making online courses to make money, but the paper only comes after you’ve put out a product that can truly transform someone. Will this course change their life? If you make that the goal, you’re more likely to make an impact financially.
- Everyone is an expert at something. Many people suffer from Impostor Syndrome, meaning they feel they may get exposed as being phony. Truth is, you may be more qualified to teach a topic than someone who spent 20 years teaching it. People would rather learn from someone like them, not someone who is 100 steps ahead.
- Niche down. The more specific the topic you pick, the bigger your market becomes. Don’t pick broad topics to try and appeal to everyone. People want a course that’s personal and fits like a glove to their challenges. So, instead of making a course about training dogs, make a course about training pitbull puppies.
- Know your worth! The same effort you are putting into making a $20 course, somewhere else in the world, someone is putting the same exact time and effort and instead charging $200.
- Relationships are marketing. People buy from creators they like and know. So use content to build an audience for your product. That could be a weekly newsletter, blog post, podcast, or video series. Strive to become an authority online. This isn’t something that’s required, but could be a game changer.
- Side projects are a great way to test an idea. Ankur tested this entire idea out as a side project. He only took it seriously once he started to gain traction and make money.
- Build a solid team around you. Making great products are fun, but even better when you have a team to celebrate success with you. You have to get out of the state of mind that you can do this alone.
- Pick a date and stick to it. The problem with making a course and any project is actually finishing and launching it. If you don’t have a solid date you’ll most likely keep pushing the goal line and never get around to it. Ankur mentions this is one of the biggest differences between those who are successful and those are not.
Design is more than pretty pictures. Today I speak with John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB. John frequents the TED talk scene, and writes some pretty interesting books, so I wanted to get him on the podcast to break some of his insights down for me. Just how important is design in 2016?
Here is what I learned:
- The design is no longer an afterthought. It was easy to get away with throwing design on later when the tech industry was filled with mostly “geeks.” Now tech is mainstream, and early adopters look like your next door neighbor. You have to think about the total experience much earlier in the process than before. This also is a bonus, because it allows you to iterate faster.
- Not every designer is made equal. Designers are easy to find, but just because a designer is good doesn’t mean she is a good fit for your startup. Use the same carefulness to find a designer that you would use when looking for an engineer.
- Design for the after wow. This is perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from John. Learn how to design for trust instead of eyes. Why? We live in the age where logos are abundant and everywhere. A cool logo is no longer what it takes to stand out. Companies now stand out for providing a cool experience. The product just has to be better than everything else.
I saw a quote last year that said, “Write the book you want to read.” I’ve decided to take on that challenge. What inspired me the most was the lack of good advice out there for young black entrepreneurs. I’ve been in countless schools and black neighborhoods across the country, and many of the questions are the same.
I found a graduation picture of myself from the 8th grade. I wrote what it was I would tell my young self. How would I prepare him for the things he is going to experience? The failures? The heart breaks? How would I even tell him how to handle success? This book doesn’t have all the answers, but it has all the ones the young me needed. Things I had to learn the hard way. I want to make it a bit easier for someone else.