I have been following Nathan for some years. But a project I am working on at the moment has made me really go deep to study him and his business model.
Nathan had started out working as an IT support in a firm. He didn't like the job, so he went back to University to study marketing. After graduation, he couldn't find any market in job, but ended IP again as an IT support in an accounting firm, a job he described as soul-sapping
He hated the job and wanted a way out. He eventually came across the idea of building an online business, and even though he had no experience, he decided to start up all the same. He started a magazine, which he called 'key to success.' He was still struggling at the time.
With 'key to success' he was putting out content to help entrepreneurs and show them how to run a business. He loved this project and poured his heart into it. 'Key to success' later became Foundr.
HOW DID HE START AND GROW THE BUSINESS?
Foundr started out as a magazine. People would subscribe to for $2.99 a month. On the day of his launch, he had only 2 sign ups, which was just $5.98. It was a small amount of money, but he was excited. If complete strangers who did not know him could subscribe to his magazine, it meant he was on to something.
He started putting out insane amount of content to help start ups and founders. As his following grew, people began go reach out to him go help them grow their business.
But he didn't want Foundr to be a service based business so he declined.At this time, he had resigned his job and was living in the basement of his parents. People kept reaching out to him and asked him to teach them instead.
This gave birth to the idea of a webinar. He decided to host a webinar for 100 persons.But then, he wasn't comfortable sitting in from of a camera, so he decided to make it a livestream where people could ask questions in real time.
This turned out to be a great idea because:
1. He could record the webinar and sell it over again
2. He could use the questions asked to further improve the webinar material.
100 people enrolled. That singular webinar has brought in multiple millions of dollars till date. The price has gone up from the initial $97 to $1,000 today.
As he took questions, he used them to improve the webinar and up its price. It was a webinar on Instagram marketing.Today, Foundr has branched into online courses. They invite successful entrepreneurs to teach what they did to achieve success in their fields. People like Richard Branson have been featured on Foundr magazine.
Now to the part that concerns you. What are the lessons I have learnt from studying Foundr
1. Be passionate about your topic.
Nathan was still working 9-5 when he started Foundr, but he was passionate about the project. Especially about the topic of entrepreneurship.
2. Build your information business around something special.
For Nathan, it was around Foundr. He tried his best to separate himself from the brand so people will love the brand. You can also build your information business around YOURSELF.
Here, you take up a celebrity status.This can help you laugh out into consulting as well. So build your information business around the brand, or around yourself.
3. Find out what platform works best for you.
Nathan trued using Facebook ads, twitter feeds, Pinterest to grow Foundr, but he realized that the platform that worked best for him was Instagram. In 2 weeks, he had gotten over 10,000 followers and in one month, Foundr's revenue had doubled.
This was what led to go start the webinar that turned out to become a multi-million dollar product today. Find what platform that brings you the best result and milk it.
4. Start small. It doesn't have to be perfect, so do it anyway.
Nathan did not have the best of resources. In fact, choosing to go digital was purely because he did not have the funds to do print magazine. He has print today but the digital business is the backbone of Foundr.
You don't have to have it all figured out. And it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done. Only start out small... and..
5. Always yes and validate your ideas.
It is easy to be excited about hour topic that you forget to find out if there is a market for it. Learn to test and validate your idea. He did that first webinar live, he was deliberately taking questions to be sure that he was on to something viable. Validating your idea could also be studying the market to see what others are selling.
6. Give no excuses.
That webinar was pretty basic. It was in the basement of his parents.
- GoToWebinar (for the webinar)
- Lead pages (do the landing page)
- mailchimp for email.
Stop complaining you don't have it am. No one does. make do with what you have.
7. Don't dwell too long on the idea stage.
Some persons spend months thinking about the idea and never really working it. You shouldn't. What you should do is begin testing on a small scale, adjust and Tara as you learn.
That was how he took a $97 webinar to over $1,000.
Finally, I observed a very vital point and I believe you want to hear it.
There is a concept called the 1,000 true fans, developed by Kevin Kelly, the Founder of Wired Magazine.
Kevin says that if you can build an audience or loyal following of 1000 persons who are willing to pay $100 a year for your offer, you can build a sustainable business that can take care of you.
Let's do the math:
1,000 x $100 = $100,000 (N36m)
He has a book that teaches how.
I hope this will enlighten you and help you as you try to build your own information business, digital publishing business, knowledge-based business or education company.
PS: They all mean the same thing