How can we challenge the idea that in business only the unkind and ruthless rise to the top while the caring and compassionate get overlooked.
In this beautiful conversation with Christina Kisley and Graham Allcott we explore why we need to find more kindness in business and why we’re less likely to hear about kind leaders than unkind ones.
In actual fact there are more kind leaders than we think and we need to make people more aware that kindness is compatible with business success.
While being kind may not immediately increase your profits it will make your business more sustainable and resilient.
We talk about the difference between being kind and being nice and we also discuss what it means to be compassionate at work.
This conversation is about the soft, yet powerful, aspect of business that few people are good at but more of us need to learn. How we can be strong leaders yet sit with people who are struggling?
Christina is a leadership coach helping purpose driven organisations work more effectively.
Graham, as well as founder of Think Productive, is also author of Productivity Ninja and is helping transform the productivity and wellbeing of people and organisations.
This episode of the podcast is a recording from our Friday Fireside way back in November last year.
We were joined by our good friend Ole Kassow, an inspiration to us ever since we started The Happy Startup School back in 2012.
He’s the founder of Cycling Without Age, a movement on a mission to create a world where the elderly remain an active part of society and the local community.
Since 2012 it’s grown from a single cargo bike in Copenhagen to 2000 chapters in 50 countries, serving over 1.5 million people worldwide.
But when Ole first started it wasn’t meant to turn into a movement. It was just an experiment to see if he could put a smile on the face of an elderly gentleman by getting him on a bike.
Retrofitting a cargo bike with a seat he took the man out for a spin which not only put a smile on the old man’s face, but also on Ole’s.
The rest is now history.
Listen to this episode to learn what it really takes to be a changemaker.
You don’t always need big plans to create systemic change. Think big, but start small. In Ole’s experience most stories of systemic change have started with an individual trying to solve a very specific problem with a simple solution.
Also, it isn’t just about creating impact for others but also about finding joy in the work. You’re then more likely to keep doing it and also recruit others easily.
Find a solution that inspires people.
Ole encourages budding change makers to connect their personal story to their story of change. This makes the work feel more meaningful and it also makes it easier to connect with others.
You can find out more about Ole and his work here - https://cyclingwithoutage.org/
Eiji Han Shimizu is a purpose driven filmmaker and creative entrepreneur who discovered the many different ways we find happiness by making the movie Happy.
During this conversation we find out about his pursuit of happiness and how he got greedy for it.
Having ticked off all the different paths to happiness the last one on his bucket list was to find meaning.
He says that we all have different elements to our lives that seem like a set of senseless dots but when you’re able to connect them that’s when we find meaning and purpose and achieve the focus to make the impossible happen.
His latest movie is True North, a manga style animation about the plight of political prisoners in North Korean concentration camps. Animated movies are expensive to make and having been unsuccessful in finding a backer he had to bootstrap its production. While the budget required was still beyond his savings he found a way.
It was his calling and it helped him “make sense of his silly life”.
He shares many pearls of wisdom during this episode one of them being that when things get hard the secret to keeping going is to play the theme tune to the Indiana Jones movie in your head. That’s the soundtrack to success.
This episode of the podcast is another window into our community where you get to know our members and what they do.
Today I’m talking to Simon Batchelar, cofounder of Pallant Digital and the Marketing Success Club. He shares his journey from running a digital marketing agency for large clients to now offering courses and coaching to founder run businesses that he believes can make a difference.
Simon has a need for adventure and impact and believes that change happens from the bottom up. He wants to help amplify the voices of small business doing good things so they can all make a big impact.
During our conversation he shares some of his ideas about what it means to do marketing well and how to build a trusting relationship with your customers.
He’s fighting the get rich quick marketeers out there by helping more people market themselves more authentically and sustainably.
You can find out more about Simon's agency work here - https://pallant.digital/.
You can also learn about the Marketing Success Club and take their free courses here - https://marketingsuccess.club/
Check out his YouTube channel with fellow marketeer Adam Bastock - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCusIq1ZLn8kqgGZx4iN71GQ
Will and Joel are friends from university who went into business together. They put all their enthusiasm and energy into it and it grew. They worked hard and they got their rewards.
However, at some point it stopped working so well.
It went from simple to complex.
It went from being exciting and rewarding to just feeling like a job.
The spark had gone and they weren’t sure why. They’d focused their attention on trying to make the business work well again but had forgotten to also focus on their friendship.
In this episode of the podcast we hear about how improving the communication between founders is more important than trying to improve the business. Particularly if before they were founders they were friends.
Will and Joel honestly share the story of their business and their relationship as cofounders. They valued their friendship more than anything else but in creating a false harmony they were doing more harm than good.
They’ve both been on a journey of learning not only about business but also about themselves and each other. By discovering what each of them really wanted they were more able to decide where the business needed to go and how it needed to grow.
This isn’t just a story of business growth but also founder growth.
Will and Joel, because of their friendship, found the courage to be truly vulnerable with each other and through that become stronger together.
They reignited their passion for the business by discovering what they needed personally and then exploring how the business could meet those needs.
This episode of the podcast is another recording from our weekly Friday Fireside show. It was recorded on October 2nd and features our good friend Kees Klomp, whom we lovingly think of as the buddhist businessman.
Kees is now Professor of Applied Science at Rotterdam University and founding partner of Thrive Institute a think tank looking to reinvent business and society.
According to him the business of business is to serve life. That’s its purpose because without life there is no business.
During this conversation he shares some challenging ideas about where the current economic system is taking us and what he believes needs to change in order for business to be truly purposeful.
We talk about how pain and purpose are intrinsically linked and we also discuss the difference between meaning and purpose.
We live in an age where the majority of people feel disengaged from their work and where the businesses they work for are having an adverse affect on our climate and environment. Kees says these are symptoms of a broken system; that system being capitalism.
However, he says that it’s impossible to change this system unless we tackle the stories and beliefs that hold it up.
And so its up to all of us to reeducate ourselves into a new way of living that’s based on interconnectedness rather than individualism - my wellbeing is your wellbeing and is the planet’s wellbeing.
I recommend you get yourself and nice hot drink and find a comfortable place to sit in order to listen to this episode because if you’re like me your mind will be blown.
In this episode of the podcast we shine a light on one of our members, share their work and find out what it’s been like to be part of the Happy Startup School.
If you’re launching a business for the first time and are looking for support and guidance during those initial uncertain months then check out our community at http://happystartups.co. We provide mentorship, masterclasses, training and networking to help you build your confidence and your business.
Remeny Armitage’s superpower is making friends. She’s turned that superpower into a business and now helps other businesses grow by turning their existing clients into happy and loyal advocates. She knows that if you serve your clients better your profits increase.
She started her journey of entrepreneurship over three years ago and during this conversation she shares how she’s grown in confidence and got more clarity about the value she offers.
Through the community she’s become more focused and has been “building a fortress around her of really good people”. That’s enabled her to be more bold about her business.
She does her work because it makes her happy and others happy. We’re thankful and proud to have her part of our tribe!
Are you scared to talk to your clients? Get Remeny to do it. It may be the best thing you ever do.
If you ever find yourself pitching to a VC or for any kind of funding it’s important to know how to tell a compelling story.
When it comes to pitching VC’s Haje Kamps, pitch coach, author of Pitch Perfect and CEO of Konf (a virtual conferencing platform), says the three elements you need to remember are: define the problem; say why you’ve got the perfect team; and demonstrate how you’ve got some traction in the market.
In this recording of our Friday Fireside Haje shares some of his views on storytelling, startup life (particularly when it comes with dealing with venture capital) and why he believe it’s important in business to not only tell compelling stories but also authentic ones.
Other things we touch on are: the importance of building strong brands; being intrinsically motivated and the general irrational behaviour of people.
This episode of the podcast is another recording from our live Friday Fireside webinar. On this week’s show we were joined by Eleanor Tweddell.
Eleanor is the founder of Another Door, a community that supports people through redundancy, and author of the book “Why losing your job could be the best thing that ever happened to you”.
During our conversation we hear about Eleanor’s journey from corporate employee to entrepreneur and the hurdles she’s had to overcome along the way.
She shares her thoughts on the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, playing with ideas and surrounding yourself with inspiring down-to-earth people.
Working for yourself for the first time can seem like a scary step. You go from the safety of a regular pay check to the uncertainty of not knowing where the next job might come from.
But some us aren’t built for the 9 to 5 and we crave the autonomy and freedom of being our own boss and so we accept the uncertainty and take control of how we work.
In this conversation with freelance copywriter William Lyth I hear about his journey from employee to self-employed. He shares that while switching profession and learning a whole new skillset was a risk it was a bigger risk to stay where he was.
Originally a developer Will changed direction and found work that gave him flow. He followed the path of becoming a copywriter and along the journey has learned as much about himself as he has about how his new profession.
Some of the things he’s learned he put into blog post called “10 pitfalls to avoid as a first time freelancer”. That’s when I reached out to him and asked if he’d join me on the podcast so that we could share his 10 bits of wisdom with you.
You can find out more about William's work here - https://williamlythcopywriter.com/
When setting out on the journey of building a totally new business it’s important to focus on making progress rather than seeking perfection. You’re a pioneer doing something that hasn’t been done before and so there’s no set template for success. You’re on a voyage of discovery that can take you down many dead ends.
Luckily we have tools to help us explore what works such as design thinking, customer development and the Lean Startup. These tools help us discover the problems worth solving and iterate towards the best solutions.
However, while it’s important to find problem/solution fit and then product/market fit we also need to keep an eye on product/founder fit. As our business ideas evolve we, as founders, also evolve along the way. As we discover what the market wants we also discover what we want (and don’t want) which is also foundational to the success and sustainability of the businesses we create.
If we don’t be build a business that aligns with our own personal needs we can end up following a path based on other people’s definitions of success. We then run risk of building a successful business that makes us feel tired, trapped and tense. The opposite of being a Happy Entrepreneur.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Veronica Fossa, founder of WeFactory. She shares the story of her 6 year journey of building her business and why closing it this year made perfect sense for her.
If you’re a business owner struggling with meeting the expectations of what a successful business should be then I hope this story will give you the courage and inspiration to rethink the direction you’re going in.
Recently I caught up with Beccie d’Cunha, founder of Courage Lab, a consultancy that helps founders and organisations build more resilient and higher performing teams. She shared with me a tool that she uses a lot in her work called Lumina Spark. It’s a psychometric profiling tool that measures the level to which we exhibit different personality traits.
I’m always curious about new tools that help us unpick the spaghetti of thoughts and emotions that make up who we are. Knowing more about ourselves can help us design the right businesses for us. It’s hard to define what success means for you if you don’t know who you are.
Building a Happy Startup isn’t just about making money while creating a positive impact in the world. It’s also about going on a journey of self-discovery. Discovering our limiting beliefs and being aware of our unconscious biases can help us become more intentional and powerful in business. It allows us to act despite our fears and make big decisions even though we don’t have all the information.
During this episode Beccie tells me more about Lumina Spark and how it works. We also discuss our own individual Lumina Portraits (these are the psychometric reports created by the tool) and what we learned from them.
If you’d like to learn a little bit more about Lumina and how it could help you then listen on.
To find out more about Beccie's work and how she could help you develop your own Lumina Portrait check out here website - https://www.couragelab.co/
This episode of the podcast is another window into the worlds of the people who join our Happy Startup tribe. This time I'm in conversation with Lyndsay Lucero, founder of Baxley Goods. She tells the story of how she started her business and why. Unlike other startup stories Baxley didn't begin because Lyndsay wanted to make money but because she wanted to make something for herself and her children.
Baxley Goods currently creates beautifully designed and hard wearing bags that have little environmental impact and provide workers a living wage. Through the business Lyndsay is satisfying her need for creativity while also trying to preserve the planet for her children. At the moment she's designing bags but has ambitions to make other products too.
During our conversation we touch on the power vulnerability, authentic storytelling for business and why it's so important to be able to admit that you don't know and ask for help.
Lyndsay ends with some questions for anyone who's looking to work on something more meaningful:
What's your vision?
What lights you up?
What are you NOT good at?
What assets are available to you?
How does all this align?
What's the bigger picture?
In our community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs we have many founders who want to create a positive impact with their valuable products and services but are hampered by how they price. This affects both their financial and energetic sustainability.
Do you feel unconfident and apologetic in the way you price your products and services? Are you struggling to grow your business because you’re always scrabbling for new customers?
If so, this episode is for you.
Laurence and I are joined by Ben Johnson - founder, investor, mentor and pricing coach. He shares with us five principles to help you price well. We discuss what they mean and share stories from our agency days to illustrate each point.
This is an incredibly valuable conversation no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. You'll find some useful tips and stories that will unlock your pricing challenges and help you become more confident and therefore more profitable.
The principles we cover are:
1. Get out of your own way
2. Price the person and not the job
3. Give different price options
4. Provide a pricing anchor point
5. Always deliver value
It's perfectly possible to be shy, quiet, or introverted and get on in the world. However on social media all we seem to see are the loud-mouthed extroverts who are smashing it and trying to sell us another transformational program that will help us make six-figures in sales. Unfortunately those voices have dominated the world of entrepreneurship making the less assuming ones of us feel inadequate and not knowing how to market ourselves authentically.
In this fun and informative conversation with Pete Mosley, author of The Art of Shouting Quietly, we hear an alternative story of success. What if getting known and marketing yourself wasn’t about shouting loudly, but shouting quietly. In his book he asks “What if it is as simple as employing your best listening skills and learning the art of well-crafted questions?”
During this conversation we talk about different models of success and being aligned to our true values. We discuss the importance of sharing our ideas with others who show ruthless compassion rather than well-meaning criticism. And we also cover the idea of getting help from others to market what we do so that we don’t feel like we’re always having to talk about ourselves.
The invitation to introverted entrepreneurs is to find a way to get your message out into the world that aligns with your nature and rises above the noise. In this episode Pete shares how you can do this.
If you’ve written down 7 top priorities you’ve got no priorities which means you’re going to find it hard to be productive. According to Graham Allcott, founder of Think Productive and author of Productivity Ninja, productivity is ultimately about making space for what matters. This means creating clear intentions and focussing your attention on what you need to do.
During this episode Graham shares the different things that can affect our productivity and what we can do about it. This conversation is also within the context of a global pandemic and only just starting to come out of lockdown in the UK.
Whilst we may have had all the best intentions of using our lockdown time more productively Graham also reminds us that we’re only human. The challenging emotions caused by the uncertainty we’re facing means we can’t be as productive as we’d like. And that it’s ok.
There are some wonderful nuggets of wisdom in this episode as well as pointers to some really useful materials to help you with your productivity such as Graham’s weekly checklist and Think Productive’s working from home pack of resources.
The weekly review - https://thinkproductive.co.uk/the-weekly-checklist-the-key-to-ninja-productivity/
Working from home resources - https://thinkproductive.com/wfh/
When Laurence and I closed our digital agency it seemed like the natural thing to do. At the time we had beautiful studio, a talented team and clients with ongoing projects but we’d lost the creative energy to keep it going. We weren’t clear about its future and we were being drawn to grow the Happy Startup School. While it wasn't plain sailing closing Spook Studio was a lot less traumatic experience than what many other founders have had to go through.
In this episode of the podcast we’re joined for our Friday Fireside by Tom Nixon, author, coach and founder of Maptio (a tool to help develop self managing organisations). He's on a mission to support founders and research what it takes to create (and close) impactful companies.
Tom shares his story of entrepreneurship, how he closed his company and why some businesses have a natural shelf-life, and that’s fine.
We talk about the taboo connected with closing a company and how we’ve lost sight of the creativity and the humanity at the core of business. Businesses may be legal entities in themselves but in reality they’re just a collection of people brought together by the creative energy of the founder. When we forget this we can easily become imprisoned by the structures we’ve created.
If you’re a founder thinking about closing your company or at the beginning of a startup journey we hope that this conversation will give you a new and more energising perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur.
In this episode of the podcast Laurence and I were given a masterclass in empathy. As part of our Friday Fireside series of webinars we were joined by Christine Raine, empathic coach, entrepreneur and founder of Conversable, a transformational movement on a mission to share how empathy can transform human relationships, and therefore the world.
It was a very timely conversation given how the world seems to have turned upside down over the past few weeks. Fear, division and blame are driving behaviours more and more. And so we explored how can use empathy in our lives and work to be able to address the challenges we face and the inequality that exists.
According to Christine empathy starts by being fully present with people; serving as a mirror to what they’re saying and feeling; and reflecting what their feelings and needs may be to help then connect with their own inner wisdom. It’s about helping people move from a head-centred approach to communicating to a more heart-centred one.
At the centre of Christine’s work is teaching Non-Violent Communication and she teaches us what it’s about and where it comes from.
I found this an incredibly empowering conversation that touched on empathy and privilege and how we can use our deeper understanding of both to contribute to the changes that need to be made in society to make it more equitable for all.
This episode is a departure from our normal format and is an experiment suggested by one of our longest standing members and a big advocate of our work, Peter Krishnan. Peter has been to every Summercamp and is also the leader of our Happy Startup London group. During this episode Peter shares his story of startup along with 3 music tracks that have been important to his journey.
In this episode of the podcast we’re in conversation with John Parkin the author of F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way.
We hear about his journey of self healing and how saying f**k it was core to it. It’s about not holding on so tightly to ideas and concepts and being more aware of the unfair expectations we place on ourselves, situations or events.
When it comes to saying f**k it to fear John talks about accepting the feelings rather than pushing them away.
He says “we’re scared of sadness, pain, vulnerability and grief… in normal times we’re all too busy and we don’t experience significant pain or joy and so the nervous system is almost frozen. But when you allow people to be more vulnerable and relaxed the ice starts to melt and they get to feel that pain and joy again.”
There are so many gems in this episode and so if you struggle with dealing with the high and lows of the entrepreneurial journey then listen on and learn how the f**k it way can show you the path forward.
When faced with a crisis how do you respond? When your mind is filled with anxious thoughts and worries it’s impossible to find the right answer. But if you let your mind settle and be at peace then that’s when insight arrives.
In this episode of the podcast we’re joined by Elizabeth Lovius, entrepreneur, leadership coach and wisdom teacher. She shares her own insight about where inspired action comes from and how we can find it within us. We relate this to our own experience of handling a crisis when we discovered just 3 weeks before our annual signature event that we didn’t have a venue.
According to Elizabeth, no matter what we might be experiencing on the outside, inside we are safe and we can claim the peace we need at any time. This is our spiritual side, the side of us that we need to be using more in business, particularly now.
"The whole world is suddenly in a state of total improvisation, and no-one has any idea what will come next"
In this episode of the podcast Laurence and I talk to our good friend Laurence Shorter. He’s a coach, comedian and author of The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life.
We be explore the idea of not having any idea. For Laurence, this is the essence of true creativity and from where clarity emerges. When we settle into a space of doing nothing we give an opportunity for our inner voices to quieten and stop. We stop thinking and we start feeling into what's needed next.
For many of us this is a scary place to be. We’re so used to going somewhere, achieving something and doing work. We believe that we can think and do our way out of any problem.
But what if the situation becomes so complex that you truly can't think of what to do next? At that point maybe "doing" is the last thing you should do.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to do nothing then make sure you listen to this episode.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to the lovely and super positive Gayle Berry, business mentor and founder of Blossom and Berry.
Gayle has been running her own business for over 18 years now. When she first started Blossom and Berry, her baby massage school, she was sending out binders and CDs to people via the post. She's now transitioned everything online and has clients across the world.
We talk about what it takes to run a sustainable business and the importance of authenticity and love. She believes that by being intentional about what you want and making sure you align your actions accordingly you'll build a business that you'll love.
This is another recording of the live webinar that Laurence and I are hosting during lockdown in the UK and across the world.
We're joined by Christina Kisley, our long time friend and Alptitude alumnus. She’s co-chair of Conscious Capitalism in Atlanta and is an executive coach for leaders, executives and entrepreneurs with 20 years of experience.
For this episode we talk about loss. When we downplay loss and don't allow ourselves to grieve we store up that emotion so that next time we have a loss we feel exponentially worse. This is because the new loss, even if it's relatively smaller, lights up all the grief that's still in our system.
We're all currently suffering from a loss of some kind whether it may be as tragic as the loss of a loved one or even the loss of a dream.
Rather than push those unpleasant feelings away we need to lean into them and just feel. We can't think our way out of grief we can only feel our way through it.
Many people try to "silver line" the loss and try to find something positive from the event. But there's no actual need to do so, it can just feel bad, and that's okay.
With the help of the amazing Christina Kisley we share the Kubler-Ross model on the different stages of grief and relate them to what we're seeing around us and experiencing ourselves.
We hope it helps you deal with any loss that you're experiencing in your businesses and personal lives and gives you a way to process what's going on.
Georgee Low is a sales and marketing coach from Vancouver and she helps purpose driven entrepreneurs build their businesses and make them profitable. She works with people who really want to make a difference in the world but struggle with marketing and sales.
During this podcast we talk about what it takes to be authentic when selling as well as what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Most people think that to sell well you need to be an extrovert and if you’re an introvert you’re going to suck at it. But Georgee believes that it doesn’t matter what your natural personality is. What’s important is whether you can listen and whether you care. Those are the qualities of great sales people.
Be curious, ask questions and don’t take offence if they don’t want to work with you. It’s fine, it just means there’s someone else out there who’ll be a better fit for them and a better fit for you.
I also talk to Georgee about her own entrepreneurial journey and what it means to her. According to her, making money is all well and good but if that’s all you’re here to do then you’re just taking up space.
She became an entrepreneur because it was the only way she could get what she needed: to always be there for her children; to put a roof over their heads; and to make a difference in the world.
She also says that being an entrepreneur is the best personal development program you could ever follow.
This episode is the audio recording of the live webinar that Laurence and I have committed to broadcasting every Friday during the lockdown period in the UK.
We were joined this time by one of the funniest and kindest people we know. His name is Shamash Alidina and is the author of Mindfulness for Dummies as well a being an ACT trainer and a keynote speaker on wellbeing and resilience.
ACT, also known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Training, was around before mindfulness became a thing. It’s a highly flexible evidence-based model that can be used by everyone from coaches and consultants to school teachers to therapists and doctors.
At it’s core ACT is about feeling the feelings rather than pushing them away. As Shamash says during the webinar the more we try to push unpleasant feelings away the more they’ll grow. If we’re able to accept these feelings and give them space the less likely they’ll hijack our actions.
Understanding how this works is essential for first time entrepreneurs. When you’re launching a business fear and self-criticism are your worst enemies. By applying some of the principles in ACT we believe you’ll be better equipped to deal with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.
I hope you enjoy this episode, particularly the little meditation Shamash shares towards the end.
Every Friday Laurence and I have been hosting live discussions about what's been going on this week for us and our community.
It’s our opportunity to process what's going on in the world right now and tackle some crunchy topics around life and business, and the overlap of the two.
Each week we have a different theme and for this episode we were joined by the amazing Charles Davies, one of our teachers & guides and also the founder of How to Be Clear. Charles has devoted most of his working life to trying to understand what clarity is and how it works.
He joins us to talk about money and what it means to us. Not in terms of the mechanics of value exchange but about how our relationship and attitudes to it gives us insight into our inner world.
During these uncertain times our relationship to money is going to manifest itself more strongly in the way behave and the decisions we make. Learning more about how that works will help you make better decisions.
This is the third in the series of weekly episodes of our live podcast with myself and Laurence reflecting on the past week and what's going on in theres uncertain times.
The core message of this episode is around how we navigate our internal world to better navigate the external one.
This week we're joined by Lana Jelenjev, a learning experience designer and community alchemist. We discuss the idea of recalibrating in this time of chaos and Lana shares her thoughts and ideas on chaos and the opportunities it offers. She talks to two aspects of chaos. The chaos we are experiencing ourselves and the chaos experienced by our clients.
During the conversation we offer thoughts and ideas on how to deal with the internal chaos and also how to help others who find themselves in chaos too.
To find out more about Lana go to her LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/in/lanajelenjev/
This is the second of our weekly live transmissions where Laurence and I reflect on the past week and our thoughts and ideas.
During this session we talk about:
our covid coping strategies and what we've done to get through this week
anti-fragility and how we can build resilience in times of uncertainty
how entrepreneurship can be seen as a journey of personal growth
We go live every Friday at midday UK time and you can join the Zoom or watch via our Happy Startup Summercamp Facebook group. We'll share links to the session via our various social media channels.
I’ve learned from talking to coaches and business owners, and also reflecting on my own experiences, that the biggest obstacle to growing a business is the founder.
Our beliefs and values, without proper examination, can stop us from making the best decisions for our businesses.
In this conversation with Dirk Bischof I learn about how his passion for stories and his drive to understand himself have helped him grow as an entrepreneur.
In particular I found fascinating the tension between his need for freedom and his need to create more impact.
In order to grow his impact he needed to grow his team, but in order to work as an effective team he needed to create structure.
But Dirk hated structure. He’d always run away from it. Sticking with that belief would have limited his ability to create more impact. However he discovered that structure can also create freedom.
Through self-reflection and questioning we discover the beliefs that are getting in the way. By learning to accept and reframe them we avoid creating inner conflict that stops us from making the impact we want.
For many entrepreneurs the idea of looking inwards sounds self indulgent and a waste of time.
However, when things get really tough and you need to make some big decisions knowing more about yourself will help you overcome those challenges more effortlessly.
During this time when we're going to feel more apart this video call is our way of pulling us together.
Laurence and I are committing to doing a live video call every Friday at midday UK time.
We'll talk about what's been going on for us and invite community members to jump on the call and share their stories.
We're working it out as we go along and so we need all the help and support we can get.
Podcasting and vlogging are great low cost ways to get your message out to the world. If you’re a purpose-driven entrepreneur being able to share your story and activate people who want to join your mission is fundamentally important. I think of the work of Marshal Ganz and particularly his principle of story of self, story of us and story of now. Check out Seth Godin’s take on this idea and how it’s important for marketeers - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he1Vji1n8z0.
Even though telling your story and talking in public is so powerful many of us don’t believe we can do it. We say “no-one wants to listen to me”. However, according to Matt Matheson this is just a story you tell yourself and once you know that story you can change it.
This is why I was eager to talk to Matt. His mission in life is to help people find their voice and he does this by coaching people who want to do public speaking. During this conversation we talk about how he was called to do this work and how he helps people overcome the fear. He shares some fundamental principles to move past the fear and also what makes for a compelling talk.
Two simple questions to ask yourself when you’re thinking about speaking in public are:
What’s the feeling you want to give people?
What do you want them to take way with them?
If you’re considering talking in public for the first time or you’re wanting to become a better speaker then this episode is for you.
This is the last episode of 2019 and a bit of a milestone for me. The podcast started in February as a bit of an experiment and I'm proud to have now recorded 50 episodes.
Recording and producing each episode has taken a lot of time and effort but at the beginning of the year I had set myself a one word intention of learning and this podcast has felt so aligned with that.
When I first started I didn't know what I was doing. The first few episodes were very raw but the podcast evolved after each recording and over time I discovered the style and format that felt right. Also, sharing these stories with listeners has allowed me to exercise my own practice of listening. I've learned as much about myself as I have about my guests.
I'd like to thank everyone who gave up their time to join me on the podcast and also to everyone who's taken the time to listen.
On this 50th episode I'm joined by one of our good friends and an alumnus of our first ever Alptitude retreat, Haje Kamps. He's had an eclectic career taking on the roles of journalist, entrepreneur, author, podcaster, VP of a VC and pitch coach. He's also one of the most well-read and knowledgable people I've ever met with ideas and thoughts on just about every subject you can throw at him.
Through my work with the Happy Startup School one of the most common questions we're asked is about getting funding. In this episode we talk about venture capital and what it does to founders. In the startup world VC backing is seen as a badge of honour but I've come to understand that it isn't for everyone.
I learned from Haje that being backed by VC funding can be brutal. They'll support you with their time and money but only if they can make a massive return on their investment. If you don't look like you're going to go big then you might as well go home.
Building the unicorn businesses that VCs are looking for can make you rich beyond your wildest dreams and a household name, but at what cost? While many entrepreneurs appear to be after the money and the status, what's really motivating them?
During our conversation we talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and the importance of self knowledge for entrepreneurs. Haje shares some of his own journey of self knowledge and we talk about the value of deep conversations and vulnerability.
This episode is a meaty one in which the conversation covers 10 year plans, cottage renovations, business goals, life goals, selling companies, self-awareness and leadership.
My talking partner on the podcast is Ray Richards, founder of Do Something Different. He's fascinated by behavioural flexibility and is on a mission to make the world a better place by helping people make better behaviours. He's also an experienced entrepreneur who's sold two businesses and is now in the process of growing his third.
Along the journey he's learned many things not only about business but about himself. He says he's "inherently lazy" but what he really means is that he doesn't want to spend all hours of the day on work, as he's got other things he wants to do. So what does that mean when it comes to leading a business? What makes a leader?
When we think of great leaders we associate them with traits such as drive, charisma, resilience, clarity and clear communication.
However, I believe that we can all lead in our own way. To do so we need to ask ourselves some probing questions. What are my personal (emotional) needs and where do they come from? What does my organisation, business or work need to be to address these needs?
With that deeper understanding of ourselves we can develop a style of leadership that feels authentic and purposeful. We may not become the next Steve Jobs, but we'll build a business that does the job of making us happy.
And that's what Ray wants. To do work and build a life that makes him happy. Listen on to hear his thoughts about leadership and how he needs to lead now.
In this episode I talk to Rob Day about the traps and pitfalls of founding an agency business.
When Laurence and I started our digital agency back in 2004 we didn’t have a business plan or exit strategy. We just enjoyed doing the work and wanted to continue doing it and get paid. We grew organically taking people on when we couldn’t handle the workload.
Over time we got more work and therefore needed more staff which meant finding more work to keep the staff happy (and paid).
We then did less of the work we enjoyed (i.e. designing and coding) and doing more of the work we didn’t enjoy, and had never been trained to do (i.e. management and sales).
Without a clear vision for the business (and for ourselves) we spent more time in the doing and less time in the being. We felt that we needed to become a well respected agency doing innovative work but we didn’t know what that meant for us individually and also what it meant for the future.
Who wants to think about exit strategy when you’re doing work you love?
Who CAN think of exit strategy when you’re too busy trying to feed the beast?
And why even think of an exit? If there’s a need to exit why did we start the business in the first place?
If this story sounds familiar to you then you’ll relate to this episode of the podcast with Rob Day, cofounder of Liquid Light, a digital agency based in Brighton. Amongst other things he now coaches agency founders by sharing his knowledge and awareness of the hidden traps and pitfalls of founding a service based business.
If you’re early in your journey then you’ll learn what to look out for as you grow your business. If you’re a seasoned agency founder you’ll probably nod your head in agreement and maybe be inspired to look at your work differently.
Brendan Kearns is a designer and founder of Studio Rival. For many people his career path is already a mark of success having worked at Twitter, Invision and Google. But like most creative entrepreneurs he has his own definition of success that isn’t driven by money or status.
In this episode we talk about his time working for tech giants, his view on the role of designers and what it means to him to be an entrepreneur.
Brendan is definitely values driven and you’ll hear about how he puts those values into action when choosing clients. He’s also pragmatic and looks at the bigger picture of what he’s trying to achieve rather than being too strict with his values. For instance, even if there isn’t an exact values match with the client, if the money is good enough he’ll see it as an opportunity to create change in the organisation and also fund other projects that he believes in.
Like myself and Laurence, Brendan took an unorthodox route into his profession, studying at a business school before becoming a designer. This has meant he’s been able to look at things differently and not be conditioned by orthodox training. Rather than being T-shaped he aspires to be comb-shaped. This means, instead of being a specialist in one area he’d rather have a good knowledge of a broad set of disciplines.
If you’re a creative professional looking to make the leap or you’re an early stage entrepreneur wanting to be assured you’re on the right path then this episode is for you.
Does creating impact always have to take effort and hard work? Can you make change without forcing it? According to Rei Chou it is possible. You just have to hold on less tightly to the outcome and be more honest about why you need to be a changemaker. This takes some inner work, which according to Rei is an exploration into what you don’t know that you don’t know about yourself.
Rei is a former marketing creative now Reiki master and healer and also founder of The Feast. The purpose of The Feast is to gather people who can share in their abundance (their gifts and talents) so that they can effortlessly help each other. I believe this work embodies Rei’s perspective on how creating impact can be easier and more joyful.
For some people it’s hard to let go of the belief that big change takes hard work. But if you can believe that it’s possible maybe you can make it reality. While this all sounds a little woo woo I think there’s some truth to it, even backed by science. Our perceptions are governed by our beliefs and values. And so if we can change our beliefs we can change what we see and spot different opportunities around us.
This episode is a bit of a deep one but I recommend you stick with it. If you’re struggling at work or in your business and you can’t see a way forward maybe the thing that’s getting in your way is actually you. Once you get out of your own way life will get a lot easier.
You can find out more about Rei and her work here - https://www.thisisreichou.com/
Carrie is an author, entrepreneur, community builder and consultant and has been building online communities for the past 15 years. Her new book Building Brand Communities is about how companies can create a greater sense of belonging and therefore create more positive impact in the world.
Her experience in tech startups did not create a great positive impact for her. She started her professional life in the publishing world and then moved into a tech startup where she found the step change in the pace of work overwhelming. During our conversation we touch on the idea of a calm company, as evangelised by the founders of Basecamp. Rather than trying to achieve growth at all costs we should be creating a new definition of success.
However, can you have a calm company if you're not a calm founder?
Lately I've been having a number of conversations about leadership and inner work. I was struck by the quote "the organisations we create bare the scars of their founders". What this means to me is that the companies we create will reflect who we are, what we believe and what we need. If we're not aware of some of the unconscious needs and behaviours that we bring to the company, they'll play out in the way our company grows and evolves.
In this episode Carrie says "ultimately everyone looks to the founder, how do they work, what do they care about, are they paying attention to what I'm doing, and if not what do I need to do make them pay attention to me".
In a previous podcast with Christina Kisely I discovered the idea of the "law of the lid" and that an organisation can only travel as far as the founder.
So, when you're thinking about your business and how well it's working and where it's going I believe it's also important to look inwards and ask the question "where am I going" and "how am I being".
Sarah Metcalfe is the founder of Happy Coffee Consulting and a long time member of the Happy Startup School. She’s passionate about creating happy workplaces and this September she launched her very first online summit about Happiness at Work. The idea came to her in March and within 6 months it was up and running. Now that’s idea to action!
In this episode we talk about her work and how she helps companies create happy work places and she shares her view about how companies focus on the wrong things when trying to bring happiness to work. We also hear how she and her team managed to pull together a 5 day summit with 40 talks and workshops. She shares her approach, some of the challenges they faced and what she’d do differently next time.
According to Sarah launching your own event like an online summit is a great way to bootstrap your way to spreading the word about your work, developing your own program of learning, growing your email list, but most of all, getting to learn from amazing people that you respect and admire.
If you’re thinking about growing your impact and spreading awareness about the work you do then this episode is for you.
Find out more about Sarah and her work here:
One of my highlights from this year’s Happy Startup Summercamp was watching Laurence Shorter’s Spiritual Experience. Think of it as stand up comedy meets group therapy meets chat show meets transformational workshop. I like to call it cheerful introspection.
I’ve come to believe that many of the challenges that we find in business and leadership come from a lack of clarity. This is a lack of clarity about where you want to go, but also a lack of clarity of what you stand for and what you want. Getting clear on these things can lead to very deep and very uncomfortable conversations very quickly.
Laurence loves to have these conversations, including ones on God and death and he approaches them in an entertaining, engaging and educational way. I believe humour is a great leveller and helps us discuss tough topics in more accessible and less painful ways. I’d love to bring more of this to the world of work and personal growth as I know it definitely helps me to think about the big questions without spinning out.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Laurence about where the idea of his chat show came from, what he struggles with and what it means to be happy and ambitious.
Next week on November 13th we're broadcasting a live viewing of the Spiritual Experience. If you'd like to join us then register here - http://ahappy.link/shorter
Alexander Kjerulf is the founder of Woohoo Inc and is the original Chief Happiness Officer. Laurence and I first met Alex over 6 years ago when we went to a conference in Denmark for innovators trying to change the world of business. He’s an amazing guy with an infectious positive energy. When we were over there he invited us to dinner and it was my first experience of Cards Against Humanity. I can’t remember ever laughing so much.
Alex’s mission is to bring more happiness and positivity to the world of work. He does this by giving talks and running workshops for companies all across the world. He’s written a number of books and built up a network of positivity professionals who use his materials and resources to impact more businesses. However, after doing this work for 16 years Alex has decided to take a break. He’s found himself having less energy and motivation and is less happy at work, which isn’t a great place to be for a Chief Happiness Officer.
Listen to this episode to find out how Alex started the business, what it was like in the early days, how it’s grown and why in 2020 he’ll be shutting it down for at least 6 months and maybe, forever.
The entrepreneurial path is an uncertain one. When you decide to claim control over the direction of your work (and life) you also to take on the responsibility for the big decisions and regularly you don’t always have all the information you need to make them. You can try to think your way to an answer and systematically way up all the pros and cons but that may not be enough.
It doesn’t take long to Google around and find different systems and methods for making big decisions. But using these logical approaches can sometimes take more time than you have and also not even lead you to an answer. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. But how do you do that? If you’re a thinky person like me, going with your gut doesn’t always come naturally.
In this episode I talk to Jonny Miller who recently shared a Medium post about a big decision. We hear more about the two paths he had to choose between and his approach to making the decision. He shares his own values spreadsheet tool, a fear setting exercise and the idea of regret minimisation. But what I liked most about this episode was hearing about how in the end he combined these rationale strategies with a purely intuitive approach.
If you’re a thinky person but also a believer in intuition you’ll find this episode really useful.
Some things that we discuss:
The Crossroads of Should and Must
Choosing curiosity over fear
Find out more about Jonny here:
We hear it said by influencers and Instagrammers, “find your passion and make it happen”. However when you identify so closely with the business you want to create you want to make it perfect and you fear even more that it will be rejected. And that slows you down. That’s because if you’re work is rejected doesn’t that mean you are rejected?
On this episode I talk to Kim Slade founder of Unlost and Touch Video Academy. One business is a passion project born from his need for adventure and having awe-inspiring experiences that builds confidence in others. The other business is his pursuit of a market opportunity because of the skills he’s acquired and his innate creativity. One is driven by the artist in him and the other by the entrepreneur.
It’s interesting to hear Kim speak about how he has been able to move fast and develop Touch Video Academy because he was less wedded to that idea. He talks about how developing the academy taught him so much more about launching a business and how he wants to use this learning with Unlost.
Listen to his rollercoaster journey of having, losing and regaining his confidence and how his need to inspire confidence in others and reminding them of who they are at their core underpins all the work he does.
Find out more about Kim and the work he does:
I love the following excerpt from this week's podcast. It fully captures our work with early stage entrepreneurs who are stumbling along trying to get their idea out into the world. Maybe they're slowed down by the feeling of imposter syndrome or perhaps it's their need to make sure their idea is perfect and a fear of failure? In the end though you just need to get clay on the wheel...
"You can’t make anything if you don’t put anything out. You need something to work with. So if you’re holding everything in and holding everything back and you're stopping yourself before you've even written a line on the page then nothing is ever going to happen. If you do want to make something, if you do want to make a shape and get a bit messy then you do have to get some clay on the wheel. And it’s just clay. It doesn’t have to be fully formed yet."
In this episode I talk to Sophie Develyn. She's worked for us for over 3 years and is now off on a new adventure. We talk about the time when she first joined us and about her journey with the Happy Startup School. This is a story of not knowing, confidence, alignment, feeling left out, feeling her way forward and trusting her gut. While she hadn't been sure why she should be working with us it also "felt like home".
It's been amazing to have Sophie support us for the past 3 years and her contribution particularly on our Alptitude retreats and our Summercamp has been awesome.
We wish her luck on her next adventure to Nepal and I have a feeling that we'll be staying connected.
In this episode I share the audio of a live webinar Laurence and I hosted where we discussed whether to change our name.
We've been running The Happy Startup School for over seven years and during that time we've evolved from delivering workshops on how to build a startup to hosting transformational retreats on the beaches of Goa. We run an online community where we support entrepreneurs at different stages of their journey and host an annual festival that attracts people from all walks of life.
It's been a fun filled journey and along the way we’ve made so many friends and learned so much. We have now gathered around us people who aren’t just startups but also seasoned business owners and experienced professionals. They come from diverse backgrounds but with a common need to find more meaning and purpose in the work they do. Our work has therefore evolved beyond supporting startups to also supporting individuals who want to grow personally.
And so we’re wondering whether our name is limiting us because there are people out there who’d benefit from coming to our events or being part of our community but don’t identify with the word startup.
So this is our effort to share our thoughts and get feedback from our members and followers. We’d love to know what you think and so if you identify with our situation or have thoughts about our name ping as an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're not done with startups yet though and if you're London based why not come to our FREE event Lightbulb to Launch: From Idea to Action. In partnership with General Assembly we're hosting a one day workshop to help budding entrepreneurs launch their ideas - https://ahappy.link/lightbulbtolaunch
The Map of Meaning is a very simple map that can create powerful insights.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Lani Morris, one of the co-creators of the map and we discuss what it takes to create more meaning in our lives. Along with her fellow co-creators they’ve discovered that there are four common elements to meaning: integrity with self; unity with others; actualising self potential and service to others. By consciously addressing each of these areas we’re able to fully express what it means to be human and find more meaning in our day to day lives.
Along our journey of building the Happy Startup School we’ve met many purpose driven entrepreneurs who are creating good in the world but are also burning out. They believe that they’ve defined their purpose but for some reason something is still missing.
What does it mean to do meaningful work? It’s easy to conflate the ideas of meaning and purpose but just because you work in a purposeful organisation does not immediately mean that your work feels meaningful. For Lani purpose is about inspiration and service to others and if we neglect the other areas of meaning then that’s when problems arise.
Being able to identify the missing pieces is the purpose of the Map of Meaning.
Each of these areas can be depicted as four quadrants on the axes of being and doing. When we look at our daily lives using the Map of Meaning we’re able to identify where we’re spending too much time and how we can reclaim some balance by addressing the areas we’ve neglected.
To find out more about the Map and Lani then follow these links:
TEDx talk on meaningful work
The Map of Meaning - A Guide to Sustaining our Humanity in the World of Work
Introductory workshop to the Map of Meaning
Online course - The Heart Beat of Business: Creating and Running Meaningful Start-ups and Small Businesses
Marianne is an entrepreneur, coach and author of Be a Free Range Human. I first met Marianne at our Summercamp in 2015 where she ran a workshop about escaping the 9 to 5 and creating a lifestyle that aligns with your business. In this episode we talk about her journey since then and discuss how leaving employment to create our own businesses can mean unintentionally swapping one cage for another. While building a successful business can bring you more autonomy we can also get trapped by that feeling of success and the fear of losing it. When we over identify with our businesses we lose sight of where our success ends and where we begin. We forget that we’re enough, no matter what. Marianne remembers being triggered by the question “If your business didn’t exist anymore, who would you be?” Losing touch with who we really are can trap us in a cycle of overwork as we strive to maintain our past levels of success. Marianne talks about rooting down as well as growing the business. Because without roots our feelings of success can be easily blown away. Rooting down is an inner journey of self discovery and defining your inner compass. You can see how her message resonates with what we’re about at the Happy Startup School. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Over the past 7 years of building the Happy Startup School I’ve met entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. Some are motivated by looking at the market and creating what’s wanted while others are motivated by an internal need to create what’s true to them. In my mind they’re at the opposite ends of the spectrum. At one end is the businessman and at the other end is the artist.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to Max St. John who’s spent time at the busines end and is now transitioning to the artist way of living. He talks about the locus of evaluation. This is the place where we look to find out whether we’re doing the right work.
For Max it’s less about understanding what moves the market but more about what feels true to him. While he accepts the need to make money he also believes that we can’t force work to come our way. Despite what marketers and sales people tell us we can’t control whether clients appear or not. What we can control is how we turn up in the world and where we place our energy, and where we place our energy is where things will grow.
We explore these ideas through the lens of Max’s journey of entrepreneurship. If you’re a creative entrepreneur trying to understand how to straddle the two worlds of artist and businessman then you’ll appreciate this conversation and identify with Max’s story.
Learning about Non-Violent Communication has been a game changer for me. As a child I’d always struggled to deal with difficult emotions and so would either lash out in anger or, what was more often the case, would cry with frustration. I learned that expressing emotions was weak and so I decided to suppress them. However, in doing so I limited the development of my own emotional vocabulary and the ability to practice empathy. This was ironic since I had a deep need for connection and community.
In a world that feels ever more divisive and disconnected the ability to practice deep empathy is fundamentally important.
In this conversation with Beccie D’Cuhna, Happy Startup community member and professional mediator, we talk about the importance of empathy when helping others navigate periods of conflict and change. We discuss the difference between empathy and sympathy and how when we judge and try to fix other people’s emotions we end up invalidating their experience. We then lose the opportunity for deep connection and make it harder for them to process what they’re feeling and move forward with clarity.
Sometimes we just need to sit in that turbulent space and feel what needs to be felt without judgement or resistance. This takes practice and requires us to learn more about why we feel what we feel.
Petra Smid is a consultant and facilitator who helps organisations and individuals navigate change. She believes that by living our values we’re able to overcome our fear of uncertainty and by trusting in ourselves we’re able to tackle all the challenges we’ll face.
Petra joined us for Alptitude 2019 because she was looking to create space for herself. In our business lives and our personal lives we can find ourselves giving time to everyone else but not giving enough time to ourselves. By creating space for ourselves we create an opportunity to check in with what’s important to us and to reassess the direction we’re going in.
Maybe you’re too busy climbing the corporate ladder or building your high growth startup but if you don’t take time to look up from the busy-ness how can you be sure that you’re doing the right thing. And if you believe you’re not doing the right thing where do you get the courage to change direction?
One thing that’s in common with all the attendees of our retreats and events or members of our community is the need to live a life that’s true to what they believe. Defining our core values and believing that the work we must align with these is what binds our community together.
During this episode Petra talks about her own journey to entrepreneurship. She shares how being clear about her core values has enabled her to make the jump and create work that aligns with who she really is. We discuss why she joined us at Alptitude and what she got out of being there.
Alan is a business coach and mentor on a mission to help and empower as many entrepreneurs as he can. His focus in on owner managed businesses that want to scale up and he’s been amazing support for myself an Laurence. On a previous episode Alan and I discussed the idea of building a minimum viable audience, essentially gathering people around you that love what you do. While many early stage entrepreneurs think of scaling up from the beginning the MVA approach is about first niching down and getting really focused on who you want to serve. One aspect of this is to think about demographics and targetting your audience based on traits like age, geography, education, gender and income. This helps you define who you want to appeal to. However, to understand what motivates and moves these people, you also need to think about psychographics and explore their needs, wants and behaviours. Understanding why people really want what you offer will help you communicate what you do in a much more effective and engaging way. By putting out the right messages you won’t want to have to go hunt for your customers they’ll be looking for you. Listen to find out more.
On this episode of the podcast I talk to Ebonie Allard about self knowledge and creating more alignment in your life.
“No matter where you go, you’ll be there too so it’s useful to know who you are.”
If you’ve ever got to a period in your life when you’ve looked around and asked yourself the question “is this it?” then you’ll be interested in Ebonie’s journey of going from misfit to maven. This story is for anyone who’s felt like they didn’t know where they fit and is searching for their unique place of contribution in the world, a place of authentic success. During the conversation we discuss the process of adulting and the idea of shifting your perspective from life happening to you to life happening for you. Enjoy the episode!
Ebonie will also be speaking at our Happy Startup Summercamp and if you haven’t signed up head over to the site (http://happystartupsummer.camp) to see if you can get one of the last few tickets.
I put together some sketch notes of my conversation too. Download them at http://ahappy.link/adulting
In this episode I have a very honest conversation with Ed Barton, cofounder of Curiscope, about what it’s like to build a venture backed startup. What starts off as a classic tech startup story and a window into the world of venture capital evolves beautifully into a raw story of what it's like to be a leader at a personal level.
We talk about the struggle and overwhelm that comes with investment and the need to grow. We also discuss how burnout can creep up on you and how difficult it is to recognise until you're on the cusp.
Ed offers some very sage advice for any founder, whether you’re running a non-profit or a rocketship, about how to make business life less hard and less effortful. Following on from the last episode on coping with struggle Ed's story is a real world case study of what it's like in and what you can do to make sure you thrive rather than just barely survive.
In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by John Parkin author of the international best seller Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way. He’s also written other books in the Fuck It series as well as hosting retreats in Italy with his wife Gaia. John will be joining us at Summercamp this year to give a talk and I so I wanted to get to know him more as well as introduce him to our community. During our conversation we discuss the topic of struggling in business. While John is an optimist, he’s also aware that there will be times when things get tough. According to him, how we cope through struggle determines how quickly we bounce back and also how we develop our resilience. John shares some of the challenges he’s faced and what he does to cope with struggle.
The three things that John does to help him when he's struggling are (listen from 55m 6s on the podcast):
1. Look after himself by going for walks, eating well and doing stuff he enjoys
2. Breaking down big jobs into small more manageable tasks and focussing on the task at hand
3. Share the problem by talking to someone about it
John will be talking at our Summercamp in September. I hope you can join us. You can find out more about the event at - http://happystartupsummer.camp
Phoebe is one of those true multipotentialite with a finger in many pies. She’s involved in many projects including being a member of the social change freelancer network Enspiral. She’s on a mission to understand what it means to be human in this technological age and sees life as an experiment with no 'wrong' answer. She believes that we could be offering a far richer, more holistic and innovative education to our young people and that we need to re-think business and work, and personal development.
I found this to be a rich and at some points technical conversation but if you want to build a company but not use the outmoded hierarchical templates of the past then I recommend you have a listen. You’ll get some interesting insights and questions to ask yourself about the horizontal organisation you want to build.
Seven questions to ask yourself if you’re interested in building a horizontal organisation (from Going Horizontal):
Autonomy- how are you going to give people in your organisation autonomy?
Purpose- what is the purpose of the company and how do you make it explicit in every interaction within the organisation?
Meetings- how do you host, organise and manage meetings so that the right people are involved and everyone knows and accepts their role?
Transparency- how will you create a culture of openess and fairness so that everyone has access to the necessary information so that they don’t feel manipulated? How will you encourage this?
Decision Making- have you consciously chosen the models of decision making that are applicable to the decision at hand? Does everyone understand how this model works?
Learning and Development- how do you empower people to take responsibility for their own learning and personal development? How do you make people feel accountable for their choices of what form that learning takes?
Conflict and Relationships- which approaches and rituals will you put in place to help deal with conflict and foster deeper relationships?
This is a touching and illuminating conversation with Jerome Ribot, founder of Coglode. Coglode is a startup with a mission to help people make better decisions by making sense of behavioural research. Laurence and I have known Jerome and his brother Anthony for many years.
They actually ran a workshop at our Happy Startup Summercamp nearly 5 years ago, which is coming up again this September and we still have a few places left. At that time we were still all running digital agencies and to be honest Laurence and I looked up to the Ribot brothers and what they had achieved with their agency.
During this episode we talk about Jerome’s journey to launching and growing Coglode and what it meant to his relationship with his old agency, his brother and his now cofounder (and long time friend) Roxy. If you’ve ever shut down or left a company you’ve helped create, or cofounded a business with a close friends or family I think that you’ll definitely get something out of this episode.
Some extracts from this episode:
- Some of the biggest challenges we face are the greatest acts of kindness for our personal development.
- It’s liberating to understand that while you’re not in control of the adverse situations we face we are in control of how respond to them.
- How to sit with discomfort and use that as an opportunity for learning.
- Coglode started off as a website that was built over just a couple of days. It was a marketing tool for the agency.
- I grew an agency with my brother for 10 years and the name of the agency was our surname.
- As a design agency you eventually become a digital surrogate mother constantly pumping out these children (products) that come back to you a little bit damaged.
- I wanted to feel the discomfort of creating a product that we were responsible for.
- As a creative director who’s responsible for creating ideas being detached from your creations is only something you can do for so long.
- And so agency life can only satisfy your needs to a certain level.
- With discomfort comes growth, and so if you have a need to grow as a person you need to seek discomfort It takes a strong mind to distinguish between walking away from your own company from walking a way from your own family.
- When running a startup with a friend your friendship will be put under strain and so you have to protect as much as you can your friendship.
- If you’re very good friends there’s a danger of bringing too much of your personal life to work.
- You need to be honest about why you’re both doing it.
- Knowing that you may, in the short term, lose some aspect of your friendship by tying it to your financial survival.
- You implicitly trust each other You get a closeness that you would’t have otherwise.
- You get to play, explore and be curious together.
- You would never make a decision that would do undue harm to the other.
- Be aware if you start seeing your cofounder friend just as a work colleague.
- Be aware of any creeping resentment to your cofounder. Notice any drops in motivation.
- Are you not being honest about your true feelings?
- Sort out any conflicts about ambiguity of roles as soon as possible.
- Make sure you have time away together away from the business.
Find out more about Coglode here - http://coglode.com
For much of my life I’ve been a worrier. I’ve worried about whether I was making the right decision or whether people thought I was doing the right thing. My mind fills with thoughts and judgements that can turn into a cacophony. This stops me from being able to listen to my body and therefore be able to follow my intuition. As Max St. John, founder of Being Wild Things, tells me in this episode the body will whisper to us what we should do, and then nudge us and then at some point shout. Recently I’ve been crippled by back pain which I guess is my body shouting. I guess I haven’t been listening well enough. I haven’t been creating enough space to be still. I hope you enjoy this podcast as I hear about how we can lead more autonomous lives by listening more to our bodies.
Extracts from this episode:
When you’re really listening to the body you’re just responding to intuition and instinctive self.
One of the myths of meditation is that you should be able to clear your mind.
But the mind will just do what it’s going to do.
Don’t push the thoughts down with judgment.
Young children live in the moment and aren’t conscious of what they should or shouldn’t do.
The conscious conditioned self is the self that worries about the future, past and present.
The subconscious is the awareness of being alive in the body. It’s always there but drowned out by the conscious self.
Worry, stress and anxiety is the tension between what your conscious self is telling you and what your subconscious self knows what you need.
The conscious self needs conceptuallise and put stuff in boxes.
The fears of the future and the shackles of the past are stopping us from working well in the present.
The moment we try too hard to listen to the body so that it can tell us what to do next is the moment that we lose the point.
We need to let go of the expectation that listening will get us some where - “Abandon all hope of progress” Charles Davies
By feeling into our bodies we can stop ourselves from jumping onto the train of bad thoughts and remain on the platform of presence.
The judging, planning, plotting and scheming mind are just a reflection of tension in the body. If we focus on them we just reinforce the tension.
If you experience tension, don’t focus on it, just focus on the possibility of letting go.
The things you give attention to will grow.
Rather than chase each urge to respond to everything that comes your way just, let go and then trust that you can deal with whatever comes up in the way you need to.
You can’t control how other people behave, the only thing that you can control is how you respond.
We should strive to live a autonomous life and stop listening to the chatter and doing what people say you should do.
Get in touch with Max via email on email@example.com.
Max will be talking at Summercamp and he’ll be leading a morning neigong session to help get us more in our bodies.
Find out more about Summercamp at http://happystartupsummer.camp.
Laurence has been reading the book Nature Fix recently and it inspired him to write a post on our Medium publication entitled Hiking The Therapy Trail Where Life and Work Meet. If you’d like to have read go to http://ahappy.link/read.
He says that it backs up what we intrinsically know. That when we lose ourselves in nature time stands still and we learn to behave more generously to ourselves and one another. We use our senses fully and become much more present to our surroundings. This helps us to open up, let our guard down and connect with each other on a deeper level.
At our latest Alptitude retreat this story played out once again. According to one of our alumni “we’re pioneers in the art of igniting collective inspiration, support and trust, magically between strangers”. This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful design, curation, hosting and collaboration to create the conditions for nature to weave its magic.
Just over two weeks since we came back from the Alps I reflect with Laurence about how it went and why we need these times in nature. Things we cover are:
Listen to your body for the early warning signals
People don’t value enough the idea of stopping
It’s almost more important to take time out when you can’t or when you don’t feel like you can’t because usually the time you need it the most
It’s counter-cultural to step off the treadmill
Most people believe that working hard is the best way to solve a problem
When our bodies aren’t working properly and our minds aren’t clear enough we’re going to be less effective
To make the shift happen we need to stop
Changing your environment and spending time in nature can change your perspective on the way you work
When you’re not close to something you can view it with fresh eyes and propose different approaches
Put fun at the heart of what you do, or why do it?
It’s important to have a constant reminder of the values the core of what you do
Focus on what you need and connect with others with similar needs
It’s so important to integrate the whole of yourself in what you do
Leading a simple life is about focussing on our intrinsic motivations and core needs
What are the positive things to simplify our lives and so benefit the planet?
From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of September we’re hosting our Happy Startup Summercamp. While we know that strictly isn’t summer the event also isn’t just for startups.
At its core Summercamp about learning, play and friendship.
We want to promote personal growth in business.
We advocate holding our work lightly so that we can be more creative.
And we know that we can’t create impact on our own. We need to work with others that give us energy and support.
As well as inspirational talks we’ve got activities and experiences such as Blingo Bingo, Botannical Brewmaking, Yoga, Mindful raving, saunas, hot tubs, lake swimming, japanese swordfighting, chi-gung breathing and dancing (lots of dancing).
To find out more about Summercamp go to http://happystartupsummer.camp
Business doesn’t have to be boring. And it definitely shouldn’t be lonely. I hope you can join us in September.
It’s over a week now since we got back from Alptitude, our retreat for leaders and professionals. Alptitude is for people who want to make space for themselves so that they can get clear on their next steps. It’s a time to get away from the noise of the everyday in order to hear that inner voice called our intuition. In this episode of the podcast I talk to Meghan French Dunbar, founder of Conscious Company Media. One of the things that we discuss towards the end of the episode is the need for leaders and team members to turn up as their best selves. This requires self knowledge and being more conscious about who we are. This is the work. And this kind of work requires time, space and safety. In the episode we also talk about what a conscious business is and discuss the extra challenges that come up when running one.
How do we stay true to what we believe and the vision we want to create but also still make it sustainable and work within the current business paradigm
The number one thing that founders of mission driven businesses have said that they wished they had done at the beginning was have a substantiated business model that would drive enough revenue to keep going
There are many types of conscious business but fundamentally it is a business that has a higher purpose beyond profit and takes all stakeholders into account, not just shareholders
Social impact investors that invest because of the purpose do exists but they’re hard to find and when push comes to shove they’re still strongly influenced by ROI and metrics
When you’re a conscious business you’re not only trying to hit your financial metrics but also your impact metrics, which adds to the complexity
Impact investors have wonderful intentions but they also put double the pressure on the entrepreneur because of the extra metrics they need to hit
When it comes to impact there are some things that just can’t be measured
When you have a gut feeling about an investor: listen, listen, listen. They need to walk the talk
When you’re reactive in business it can feel like a pinball machine and you’re the pinball
Be aware of your emotional state
Are you above the line or below the line - receptive or closed down?
As leaders we need to show up as the best versions of ourselves: being able to consciously respond rather than just react
The one of the most common things that business leaders say is that you should listen to your intuition and your gut
Give space for that inner voice to speak
Meditate and journal regularly and look for patterns
As a leader you get the organisation you deserve and your organisation can only grow as much as you do
Leaders should model the behaviour that you expect in your organisation
If your behaviour and actions don’t align with the values you espouse you break the trust with your employees and partners
Top three bits of advice from business leaders: take care of yourself, take care of yourself, take care of yourself.
Identify the things make you a thriving human and do them
Your energy is your own responsibility
The only thing that I would gift my younger entrepreneur self is to not hold it so heavily and bring levity, joy and fun to what you’re doing
If it’s not going to matter in 5 years don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it
Casper ter Kuile is one of the authors of the How We Gather report which is an exploration into how Millennials are finding and building communities of meaning and belonging. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text which itself has grown into a community and business in its own right. During our conversation we discuss what community means to Casper and how our need for belonging in the modern age is being met by different secular organisations.
Some excerpts from this episode:
in a time of social isolation and mental health crises how do we live lives of deep connection
community is a group of people where you are deeply known and deeply loved
there’s an overuse of the word community because there’s such a need for it
community is not fun all of the time: it can be stifling and people know your business
community is wonderful but is also terrible
the pendulum as swung to the other side where people are too free but it comes with this sense of disconnection
relationships are held by structures
there’s been a shift that people would rather affiliate with thought leaders, influencers and people rather than institutions and companies
it’s incredibly powerful to see ourselves in another’s story
in fitness communities people come for the body but stay for the breakthrough
people gather around a common activity (the third thing)
you can only lead others as far as you’ve gone yourself
fill up yourself before you can help others
leaders need a place where their needs are met as well (which isn’t necessarily their own communities/organisations)
in our culture having a hot body is something we will pay for
it’s easier to build communities around fitness groups because culturally it’s more acceptable to pay for that
donations are a simple way to generate financial sustainability for communities
have something of value that people recognise and then have community as the second layer of value that people get as a benefit
there’s a hesitation about money and community but we shouldn’t be afraid to bring money into community and articulating its value
community is a powerful healthcare strategy
could we see tax breaks for communities
in order to pay for community people need to not only justify to themselves but also to their peers
can we design our organisations based on the principles of community
if a community is only for itself only, it will die.
communities need a purpose bigger than itself
more and more of us our finding our closest friendships at work
maybe there’s something beyond the triple bottom line which is about our relational connection in organisations
a covenant is about how we’re going to be in this work that we’re doing together and can help with managing conflict
it’s not just about scaling wide but also scaling deep
To find out more about Casper’s work check out:
For over a year and a half I’ve been coaching various members of our community on a one to one basis. I get great joy from working with people one to one and helping them get clarity about the what’s ahead of them and what’s getting in their way. I want to help people create businesses and do work that gives them joy, energy and an income. I want to be the best I can be at that and so having the opportunity to talk to Pete Mosley about coaching and mentoring was an amazing privilege. A speaker at our 2017 Summercamp, Pete leads a portfolio existence. He’s a keen writer contributor to Psychologies Magazine and the Quiet Revolution website. He’s a coach for people who aren’t comfortable with self promotion. And he delivers training and group coaching. He trained as a coach with Barefoot Coaching. In this episode we talk about what coaching means to him, the difference between coaching and mentoring and the hidden hurdles that get in our way.
Excerpts from this episode:
* When building a business not only do you need to consider your value proposition and the problem/solution fit but also the venture/entrepreneur fit.
* People are happy to pay for advice but not so much to get help get clarity about what they should be doing
* The difference with between mentoring and coaching is the direction of flow of creativity and energy. For mentoring the flow is from mentor to mentee while for coaching the flow is from coachee to coach, where the coach is using probing questions.
* Coaching is about championing somebody and helping them engage with what they’re about to do enthusiastically.
* You should only be setting goals for yourself that have meaning, that make sense, play to your strengths and that give you pleasure. Otherwise the chance of you attaining them are pretty low.
* Taking ownership is about being the best informed and best resourced person to make the decision.
* If there’s a mismatch between your values and your goals then you can run aground.
* People adopt structured approaches to coaches because it benefits the business model.
* The most valuable aspect of coaching is the quality of the relationship between coach and coachee, something more subtle than just a business transaction
* Sometimes the rushing towards solutions can be the most damaging thing you can do as it’s the worst possible thing for free thinking
* Human beings aren’t supposed to be time bound or expectations bound
* There’s something very fertile in the chaos * Your definition of success doesn’t have to be like anybody else’s.
* Hiring people that think differently and with diversity of attention
* Authenticity isn’t something that you can claim, it’s something that is bestowed on you by others.
* The thing that most people fear isn’t the situation but the unpleasant sensations and the discomfort they feel.
* These unpleasant feelings and sensations are there to inform us and guide us. We can learn to work with these unpleasant feelings.
You can find Pete on Twitter - @petemosley
He regularly writes articles on LinkedIn and for Psychologies Magazine and he’s the author of the book The Art of Shouting Quietly.
In the episode with Jon Barnes we explore his ideas on education and work. He shares his thoughts on the way we've been schooled and how it has impacted on the way we work. We're all brought up told exactly how things are: what to wear, where to sit and when to speak. Schooling is something done to us rather than for us. We're not given autonomy, and so we don't learn accountability and so lose our sense of agency. This has repercussions on our sense of freedom and our ability to act independently or entrepreneurially as adults. He tells the story of the changes he saw in his son, Ivor, when they took a family adventure to Costa Rica and enrolled him in Casa Sula, a school that promotes independent learning. Talking about Ivor's shift from needing to told what to do to becoming more self driven and motivated starts our conversation about Jon's own work and why he considers himself an activist trying to change the restrictive systems that exist in the workplace.
In this episode of the podcast I’m joined by Nigel Berman founder of School of the Wild. Nigel has joined us at Summercamp for the past few years. His gift to camp is an immersive experience that leaves attendees with a sense of awe and fuels their creativity.
During our conversation he shares his entrepreneurial adventure in accountancy, magazine publishing, speed dating events, online ecostores and now experiences in nature. He currently works with leaders and organisations to help them with innovation and problem solving by getting them into the wild.
Nigel’s entrepreneurial journey has been based on following his passion.
If you’re looking for an alternative path to being an entrepreneur that doesn’t involve getting an MBA and selling yourself to venture capitalists then I recommend you listen on. For Nigel this path is about deciding what you really love and what you can give.
This is why we love having Nigel contribute each year, he aligns so closely to our mission. Our Happy Startup Summercamp is the antidote to the always on culture that many of us find ourselves in. This is your chance to slow down, connect with others, and connect with yourself. You’ll leave camp looking at the world very differently, more optimistic, full of possibility and overloaded with creativity.
On this episode of the podcast I talk to Christine Chopyak, a visual strategist and idea builder from Denver, Colorado.
We met last year at our Alptitude retreat on Mount Hood in Oregon. She's the author of Picture your Business Strategy, a book that helps you master the principles of "strategic illustration", a proven system for visualising ideas.
Christine discovered the power of visual strategy nearly 20 years ago and it’s changed her life and how she relates to people. For her it’s a way to make ideas come alive.
Christine will be joining us at this year’s Summercamp and will be running a workshop for people who want to learn how to use drawing to help them get more clarity for their business.
Here are some nuggets from our conversation:
Too many thinkers like to hear themselves talk.
Designing your week to help you manage your energy
When you’re too attached to an idea you can forget what you’re actually trying to do
Visual strategy helps you see where you’re going and see where you’ve been in one breath
The brain processes images 60 times faster than text
In order for your brain to understand an image it only needs to be 30% accurate
80% of the population learn visually
From the ages of 0 to 3 we make sense of the world through shape and colour and so we all have the capacity to visualise ideas
Prototyping and storyboarding your service or product is the best way to understand your customer. It’s both fun and revealing.
The more complicated your business the more important it is to try and visualise it
We don’t get to see the diversity of solutions unless we try and visualise them
Engaging with your customers and clients using a visual approach can help you uncover what they really need
Once we get our ideas on a page we see patterns that we can’t see when we’re in our own heads
When you give people a picture they’re not so quick to start editing while they’re much more keen to edit your text
Drawing together helps you start building together
Doodling helps you listen and retain information better
Use word anchors if you feel like you’re not great at drawing
Join us at Summercamp to get hands on experience of being a visual strategist
Find out more about Christine on her website - www.arlosoul.com
And you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her book is available on Amazon and is called Picture Your Business Strategy: Transform Decisions with the Power of Visuals
At Summercamp we devote much of the middle Saturday afternoon to hosting an Open Space session. This is a chance for all the attendees to have the conversations and curate the discussions that they want to have. We've found it a powerful way to connect people and to surface the real needs of our attendees. It's a bit scary for people not used to it but if you open yourself up to possibility and ride the uncertainty you WILL find the person and have the conversation that is most important for you.
Last year the session was hosted and held by Line Morkbak alongside Marcus Pibworth and Nick Stevens. In this episode I talk to Line about her work and also about what Open Space is and how it works. We also touch on the topics of serendipity, the future of work, leadership and collaboration.
As well as being a master facilitator and creator of collaborative environments Line's on a mission to discover powerful workplace innovations across the globe. Her project Leap Laboratory (https://www.gleapconsult.com/the-leap-lab) is a series of interviews with changemakers who are experimenting with inspiring ways to rethink workplace structures and collaboration.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This is the second in my series of podcasts about Summercamp and the people who'll be there. In this episode I'm joined by Christina Kisley where we talk about her work to help people grow. She says “I love helping people grow.” She's an expert in organisational effectiveness and an entrepreneur coach.
We met on our Alptitude retreat in 2018 and her wealth of knowledge and humble way means you can’t help feel both inspired and at ease in her company. During our conversation we talk about two types of growth: maturing growth and restorative growth. The latter is about addressing the pain in our past so as to live more fully in the present. And by living more fully we have better relationships and become better business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders.
The lower your ability to lead, the lower the lid on your potential and the potential impact of your organization. Christina says “when you’re in a startup or a small team your stuff can get in the way real fast”. She calls this the Law of the Lid, and you’re the lid. We also talk about how growth happens in community and that “we are so much more invested in each other when we heal and grow together.”
Our Happy Startup Community exists to create spaces for people to find their role in the world before it’s too late. Part of finding that role is personal growth and a space where this growth can happen is our Happy Startup Summercamp. I hope you’ll join us there.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This podcast is the first in a series of episodes where I'll be focussing on our annual event here in the south of England called the Happy Startup Summercamp. We first held this event in 2013 and we're now into our 7th year. Summercamp is the business event that Laurence and I were looking for when we were running our digital agency. It's a heady mix of inspirational talks, practical workshops, fun activities, deep conversations and serendipitous connections. We have veteran campers who come back every year and we have new attendees who have no idea what they're in for. They come together as strangers and leave as friends.
Over the next 5 episodes I'll be talking to some of our Summercamp contributors so you can get to know them and what they bring to camp. My hope is you'll have a better understanding of what it's like to be at the event.
I'm kicking off the series with the MC of Summercamp and the glue that sticks everything together. Sanderson Jones is one of the founders of Sunday Assembly and also the creator of Lifefulness. In Sandeson's words Lifefulness is to congregation what mindfulness is to meditation. During the discussion we talk about peak experiences, the importance of gathering with others and what it's like to be on startup love island. If you're passionate about building community and hosting events that create real impact then listen on.
More about Summercamp
Website - www.happystartupsummer.camp
Gallery - https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheHappyStartupSchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1912693348767824
Trailer video - https://vimeo.com/298048389
This episode is another intimate conversation and exploration with one of our Happy Startup members, Mart Gordon, a long time member of our community and veteran of our Happy Startup Summercamp. It’s a great bridge between the last two episodes with Charlie and Max where we talked about clarity, conflict and needs to the next four episodes where I’ll be focussing on telling the story of our Happy Startup Summercamp and talking to some of the great contributors who’ll be joining there this September.
For those of you who don’t know our Happy Startup Summercamp is our in-person off-grid gathering in the Sussex countryside where 150 purpose-driven entrepreneurs and changemakers come together to share ideas, break bread and get inspired.
Mart attended his first camp four years ago and during this episode he tells me how Summercamp helped set him on his path to creating Mundo Novus, a creative and innovation consultancy.We talk about his serendipitous journey, the power of play and how we can all be creative.
While I didn’t stick to my intention of keeping the episode to 20 minutes long I did make it effortless to create. You can tell me if it’s effortless to consume.
If you’re just starting on your own journey of finding work that feels meaningful or you’re stuck in a rut and trying to work your way out of it on your own then I do recommend having a listen. If any thoughts or questions come up for you while you’re listening then please hit me up on Twitter (@kungfucarlos) or ping me an email (email@example.com).
If we're going to work together better we need to be able to manage conflict in a healthy way. There are some big, seemingly intractable problems that need to be solved in the world (as well as some smaller ones) that will need a collaborative and collective approach to deal with them.
With any groups there will be friction and being able to work through our differences will be key to working effectively.In this episode I talk to Max St John, founder of Being Wild Things and author of the Fighting Well course. He's a trainer/coach/consultant/facilitator whose work focuses on helping people manage conflict.
We talk about his small holding in Cornwall and working with nature as well as his work in helping people fight well.Some choice excerpts are:
- Who am I, who are you and how can we work together better?
- The high frequencies that we vibrate at that are not in tune with the slower frequencies of nature.
- You can't do a Facebook campaign to accelerates your pea growth!
- Unhealthy conflict = unconsciously reacting and creating distance.
- Healthy conflict = awareness of my reactions and how I can choose to react in a way that best serves the situation.
- Meaningful work is a creative expression of ourselves and so negative feedback can really hurt and trigger us to react unhealthily.
Find out more about what he does by going to his website or just listen to the podcast on iTunes or online on Anchor.fm.
I'm not sure if I'll ever truly understand how blockchain works and I've got a PhD. However, on this episode talking to Evan Yap I got to understand how it could be used to create social good. It isn't just for creating alternative currencies but it can be applied in so many ways whether that's identity verification, tracking your medical history or switching universities. Listen to find out more.
Several years ago Laurence and I were sat in a room with Charles Davies talking about the Happy Startup School. We were there to get clear about what the school was about. What were we doing this for?
During this process we came up with the phrase "Creating spaces for people to discover their role in the world before it's tool late". It's a simple sentence that took me a while to understand and own, but now underpins everything we do.
When you have a clear idea you're tapping into your intuition and the work you do becomes more effortless. The work nourishes you and you have an appetite to do it. To find out more about Charlie's work go to his website https://www.howtobeclear.com/
But why not start by listening to me and him talk about what it means to be clear.
This episode starts off a bit chaotically as it was recorded just before our first Ideas Café event in London. We were at the 42 Acres event space in Shoreditch which was lovely but also a little challenging with people coming in and out of the space...
We've been running retreats and business festivals for the past 6 years. A couple of weeks before the recording of this podcast Laurence, Sophie and I took some time to plot out what it took to put together an event like Alptitude.
When we finished it looked like the world had run out of Post-it notes. If we'd been aware beforehand of what it would take to run a retreat we would have had second thoughts about making it happen. But we didn't, and the motivation to make it happen wasn't borne of taking advantage of an opportunity or creating a new revenue stream. Alptitude happens because it excites us and we need it ourselves.
The question then was: if we need it who else needs it? Apparently at least 180 people (we've done 9 retreats so far), and we're finding many more.
Listen on if you'd like to learn what it takes to put Alptitude together and what it's like to be there.
Find out more about the retreat here - http://alptitu.de
One of my intentions with my podcast is to share the stories of real startups on real journeys - the ups, the downs and the sideways moments. I'm hoping by sharing the story of Toby Moore, founder of Content Club, you'll connect with his journey of building his business and identify with the struggles and opportunities that he came across. The business building thing isn't a linear path and the destination is not always clear but as we continue along the path the way forward eventually becomes more apparent. I hope you enjoy this intimate conversation with Toby and please reach out to him and if you're a member of the community please reach out to him and say hello.
In this episode I talk to Ines Gaston who recently joined the community. She’s a trained psychologist in the early stage of her building her coaching business. When I first talked to Ines she was struggling to understand how to reach new customers.
She has a need to share her gifts and experience which she knows that can help many people. But given she’s not able to clearly define a target audience she’s finding it overwhelming trying to decide what her next step should be.
There are so many ways to reach people and they all have their own different contexts. She feels pulled in so many different directions by different types of advice and she just wishes there was someone who could just show her the way.
If you find yourself in a similar position then I recommend you have a listen.
I also recommend listening to two earlier podcasts with Ben Johnson and Alan Wick on pricing and How much should people pay me for what I do? respectively.
If you've got something of immense value, not only monetarily but also in how it could positively change someones life, then it's your responsibility to get it to as many people as possible.
Knowing how to price well is essential not only for the sustainability of your business but also in making sure the right people buy what you offer.
Don't expect your customers to be able to intuitively know whether to work with you or not. If they don't understand your pricing then they're missing out on the value you provide and that would make their lives better.
Please listen if you've created a product or service that you know will make people's lives better but have struggled to put a price on it that feels right and makes sense.
In this episode I talk to Gail Bainbridge about launching her first online course. And while we break down her approach by thinking of tactics and strategies it's clear that while all the theory is useful once the rubber hits the road it's a totally different experience.
Learning about startup is one thing. Doing it is another. Our intention with the Happy Startup School is to share with you all the tools you need to get clear about how to approach this sometimes scary journey. But more importantly we exist to support you while you try things out and not only learn new skills but also learn about yourself along the way. This is a journey of adventure where the objective isn't just a sustainable and viable business but also a greater understanding of our place in the world and what we can contribute to it.
During this episode we tackle some of the fundamentals with launching a new product. What is my real intention for finding "early adopters" to improve the product or to validate the price?
When you're launching a new product or business you're going to want to focus down on who you really want to help because if you talk to everyone you talk to no one. In this episode I discuss with Alan Wick the idea of the minimum viable audience. Rather than trying to go broad and sell to everyone you should pick the people who'll love what you do and find out what their dreams, wishes, hopes and fears are. All too often entrepreneurs start with an idea and then try to push it onto anyone in earshot.
Instead be clear about who you want to help and what you want to help them with. You can then develop the right product and position it in the right way so your audience understands what you offer and the value it provides. This will make selling more effortless. You may only need 1,000 or even 100 customers to make a successful business. But unless you can define your MVA the you'll never know.
A big challenge of turning your passion into profits is taking that first step. Procrastination can kill your idea quicker than any customer feedback. Where does procrastination come from and how do we overcome it? In this episode I talk to community member and Tiny Habits coach Mike Coulter about how creating Tiny Habits can get from dreaming to doing. He has a little pop at Simon Sinek and share why he thinks that sometimes starting with why can stop you from starting. Listen to find out more...
If anybody wants to get started with Tiny Habits you can read about the free 5 day email based version here.
Also, during this episode Mike mentions the book by Scott Adams called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, which you can check out here.
It’s START season at the Happy Startup School and we believe one of the most important things when starting a new business or project is how you communicate what it’s about to others and how you motivate them to join you or help you. The way to do this most effectively is storytelling and so listen along to find out why.