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.
The most common way people meet these days is now online. As a special Valentines day episode, I wanted to help make those who are having a hard time meeting someone lives a bit easier. I’m joined by Justin Gerrard, co-founder of BAE, a new popular dating app. He gives tips on how to not fumble in the online dating world and some solid entrepreneur relationship advice.
Here is what I learned:
- Most people meet online these days. So if you’re single there is a 1 and 3 chance you will find your significant other through a dating app or a social media network.
- Pictures online, especially dating sites should tell a story. It should be somewhat of a conversation starter. Don’t do things like putting a wedding ring in a picture, or taking shots with other women/men. Instant rejection.
- Don’t write novels on your profile description. People don’t need to see your life story, dating sites are not blogs. Interesting concept though right? Make your intentions known about what you are looking for, and keep it drama free.
- You should find someone who wants to see you win. Usually that’s someone who understands the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. Even if that person isn’t an entrepreneur, there are ways they can contribute to your grind (and vice versa). Find that person, and you’ll end up much happier.
Intro Music by: Downtown Music
The following is a guest post by Gene Caballero Cofounder of GreenPal
Joaquin Guzman Loera, better known as El Chapo, has been all over the news lately – from a dramatic prison break, to a Rolling Stone interview with Sean Penn, and then being recaptured by Mexican Marines. The Sinaloa Cartel that he has run since 2003 enjoys an annual revenue comparable with the earnings of Facebook and Netflix. After hearing this, you have to ask what lessons could tech entrepreneurs learn from the leader of the most successful global drug trafficking cartel in human history.
Instagram is the ‘wild wild west’, is what one of our past guests Ross Simmonds proclaimed. So I had to go get someone who has figured out the social media game, to come and school us on how to dominate it. Alex Wolf is the founder of BossBabe Inc., a network of young business women online. Alex has built a dedicated and passionate tribe of over 200k women. BossBabe provides monthly training and master classes that help these women become business owners and self-aware.
I come with bittersweet news. We have decided to shut down The Phat Startup. Why? The keyword for this post is family. I decided to move all the operations under my name and continue the work of empowering and inspiring new innovators from diverse communities. My co-founder James Lopez has a different passion he wants to focus on and that’s raising his kids. So he is working on a new platform that can combine his passion for innovation and his sons.
In this episode, we discuss the “failure” of The Phat Startup, and what drove us down that path. You will hear us talk about the good ole days and how much fun we had. But, just in case you want to skip to the end, I gathered two strong lessons from this particular interview below.