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Today on the vlog Nathan Chan, Founder of Foundr joins me.

I’ve been inspired by Nathans content – I started following the stories when I was in Los Angeles in 2014, little did I know Foundr is Melbourne born and raised.

Nathan and the Foundr team are in and out of cubes on the regular… so I asked him to vlog with me on how he’s grown his brand to be the #1 that entrepreneurs and founders gain insights and inspiration from on the daily.

I recommend you follow Foundr, check out some of their social media they have going on.

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Enjoy the vlog 🙂

Transcript:

 

Nathan Chan: Magazine is the brand builder, the face of the business, but the real business is in the education and other content assets that were building right now.

Tobi Skovron: Amazing.

Tobi Skovron: (Music)

Tobi Skovron: Hey guys! Welcome back to the blog. This is super exciting. You guys have no idea firstly, how long this has been in the works ’cause this guy is super busy. And secondly, I want to tell you a little story. First of all, this is Nathan Chan, founder of Foundr. F-O-U-N-D-R. If you’re not following Foundr on Instagram, if you’re not keeping up on Twitter, I’ll drop all the details in the blogs description below.

Tobi Skovron: I’ll tell you, from me to you, that when I was Los Angeles, I’ve been following you guys. I’ve been following you for an extended period of time. You may have to slide a little bit over this way just in case you’re out of camera. I’ve been following you for an extended period of time and then when I got back to Australia about a year-and-a-half ago, I had lunch with Dean who is the incoming president of entrepreneur organization Melbourne.

Nathan Chan: Yep.

Tobi Skovron: Dean’s light, “Man, I’ve got to introduce you to one of my guys, Nathan.” I was like, “Who’s Nathan?” He’s like, “Nathan’s founder of Foundr.” I was like, “How long is he in Australia for?” Thinking legitimately, that you guys were from … You’re a Silicon Valley start-up. I don’t even know how you got into my feed or as a suggestion maybe you can tell me how you got into my feed, but man, I’ve been following your story. I’ve been following the growth of Foundr. I follow the people that you’re interviewing. You have some big names. I’m blown away, one, that you’re here in Melbourne, and two, I’m honoured that you frequent Creative Cubes.

Nathan Chan: Thank you.

Tobi Skovron: Because legit, we want people who are building a community around people like you. Around the people like people that attend EO. So do you want to just give the audience a bit of … My audience isn’t as big as yours, but one day …

Nathan Chan: It’s not about that.

Tobi Skovron: No, I know, but props to you man. 1.2 on Insta?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: And you know, I’m thankful enough that I got a lifetime subscription to Foundr. In fact, today we teamed up and gave all of our community a lifetime subscription to Foundr.

Tobi Skovron: Talk, man.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, so basically we’ve been running it for a few years now. Four, five years to be exact. I started the magazine as a monthly digital publication on the app store, Google Play store. I literally started it as a side hobby passion project. So I come from an IT support background. I know nothing … Back then I knew nothing about apps, I knew nothing about design, I knew nothing about even entrepreneurship itself. This is still like my first business. I knew nothing about editorial, content, social media, you name it. And I created the magazine because I wanted to get a job in marketing.

Tobi Skovron: Wow.

Nathan Chan: ‘Cause I was really passionate about marketing but no one would give me a job.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: Because I didn’t have any experience and I was trying for all these marketing jobs, I went back to university. And long story short, I remember speaking to this guy at this marketing agency, wouldn’t’ give me a job but I got feedback. And I said, “What would it take to be able to get a job at your agency?” And he was like, “What I think would be really cool is if you created your own blog and created something around marketing and shown what you’re learning. And I started to learn a lot of stuff around online marketing online as well as a lot of stuff out there and I thought … this awesome opportunity came up to purchase this software that allowed you to create your own digital magazine on the app store and the Google Play store.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: And I thought that was a brilliant opportunity to just, one, have some fun, and just create a passion project. Didn’t know what would happen. At first the magazine was gonna be on horse racing.

Tobi Skovron: Wow.

Nathan Chan: So where …

Tobi Skovron: Are you passionate about horses and horse racing?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, yeah. And my housemate at the time, he just before, he just got a job working on the TV. He’s a horse racing reporter. He’s on TV everyday now. But before that, me and him were gonna do this together. And he thought that because of his contract and the job he got we couldn’t do it. So I went back to the drawing board and I thought to myself, “Well maybe I should just do a magazine on entrepreneurship and business. I don’t know anything about it but I’m passionate, I’m interested in this stuff.” And I was learning a lot of online marketing and stuff and doing free online courses and stuff.

Nathan Chan: I launched the magazine and it actually wasn’t even called Foundr.

Tobi Skovron: I was gonna say, it was … Did it come straight out of the gate as Foundr?

Nathan Chan: No. It wasn’t called Foundr, it was called something else, and I was sued in the first four months of starting it for trademark infringement by one of the biggest business magazines in the state. So I can’t say who it is ’cause they actually don’t print magazines anymore.

Tobi Skovron: See sometimes when you pick on the little guy, David and Goliath.

Nathan Chan: But they’re still around, but yeah, they’re actually, I think not doing that well actually. They contacted us a while ago to do a partnership.

Tobi Skovron: Oh, god, no.

Nathan Chan: Anyway, long story short, wasn’t called Foundr. First four months, changed the name. So it was actually a blessing in disguise we were sued for trademark infringement. Changed the name and yeah, it actually just kinda grew very, very slowly from there. It took me a while to be able to build it up, to be able to leave my day job, build up magazine subscriptions, cover operating costs, and you know, it’s just kind of progressed from there.

Nathan Chan: Back then we didn’t have an audience either. Had no social media presence even after I left my job. And I’ve just been building it. And more and more as time’s gone on, it’s become much more than a magazine, it’s become an entrepreneurial brand.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: That produces entrepreneurial content in many different forms whether it’s audio, video, premium courses, magazine, printed magazines, doesn’t matter. We’re gonna do more really cool exciting things, but for the most part, we just produce entrepreneurial stuff and scour for stuff, founders and entrepreneurs.

Tobi Skovron: You interview some of the biggest names in the business.

Nathan Chan: Yeah. Well we …

Tobi Skovron: Branson’s showing up quite a bit.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, we interview Richard Branson. I’m not big on name dropping, but we’ve been lucky to interview a lot of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, especially the most well known ones with big personal brands.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: And that’s been a really powerful way to build the brand and the authority of that brand and the reputation of the brand. Especially ’cause I started out of thin air.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Nathan Chan: So that’s been really powerful. The way that I’ve done that is through using the magazine.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: Magazines are a very, very powerful authority builder and tool. So you know a lot of people want to build their personal brand they publish a book.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: Magazine’s like 10 times higher on the authority scale.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, I guess a lot of people would buy a regular magazine versus you know, the book. You might buy a book but that person’s only produced … I mean big writers are writing more than one book a year.

Nathan Chan: Well yeah, I think there’s something very powerful about publishing a magazine. There’s a certain level of authority, credibility, and status being able to offer or show successful people or whatever niche or genre showcase on that person the front cover of that magazine.

Tobi Skovron: And how does print go versus your digital aspect? We here, we’re living in a digital world today.

Nathan Chan: Yep.

Tobi Skovron: There’s publishing companies going bust, Amazon’s going crazy, got the whole book world.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, yeah, I agree. So when I started Foundr, it started as a digital publication. It’s still digital to this day every month, but over time I’ve spun it on its head and I have a unique model on the print side where we actually give the print magazines away for free. We only have one particular print one right now but we’re gonna have heaps soon. We give the magazine away for free, you just gotta pay shipping and handling. It’s like five bucks or whatever. And then we just keep giving them away for free and we use Facebook ads. We do all sorts of things but for the printed magazines, we’ll never lock ourself into subscription.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Nathan Chan: I think that’s where a lot of these business models are flawed in you cannot build a publishing company or a media entity off the basis of advertising. We hardly make any money on advertising.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: It’s not even a thing that we really worry about.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: For us and I think the new age media companies and publishing companies that are building sustainable business models monetise in many different forms of whether it’s advertising, whether it’s content, whether it’s events through other means. And I think that’s how you can build a successful business model around content.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: So yes, I agree there are a lot of print publications and magazines shutting down. There was one recently that … stop print. It was quite … It was doing quite well, I think it still it is. It’s a well known brand called The Collective. They recently stopped doing print. And yeah, I think it’s just a flawed model. You cannot do, and I never want us to be locked into a recurring subscription print fight for digital, every month we can handle that, but print … I think it just adds so much more to the table. Yeah, we might do like … Whether we bundle it with some other digital offering like educational offering and then the print side, but it can’t be just print. I don’t … Yeah, I don’t like it.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Nathan Chan: I think it’s smart, the model that we have for the print side, I think it’s smart.

Tobi Skovron: So do you think …

Nathan Chan: And I think it’s doing really well.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, do you think your print model is sustainable?

Nathan Chan: 100%.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah?

Nathan Chan: Because print isn’t going anywhere.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Nathan Chan: It is actually becoming a lost art form to be able to get something in the mail. And if you have the digital brand and somebody can feel it or touch it, it changes the relationship with the brand and it changes their experience.

Tobi Skovron: I really love that man. I really … You guys, hope you’re listening, you can rewind. That’s powerful stuff. That’s …

Nathan Chan: Getting something in the mail’s exciting, dude. And we give that to you for free, just cover shipping and handling. We’ll continue to do that.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah.

Nathan Chan: And that makes us a lot of money.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Nathan Chan: And if you can dial it in, you can dial in the unit economics because there’s a couple of optional upgrades like Vistaprint.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: Think of like, so Vistaprint, one of their keen ways to expose their brand and get more people around what they do and turn prospects into buyers is they do your first free 100 business cards.

Tobi Skovron: Sure.

Nathan Chan: And they used Facebook ads or any form of PPC advertising, you get your first free 100 but then you’ve got your additional optional upgrades throughout the checkout process.

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Nathan Chan: And then they’ve got those unit economics dialed in that they can constantly scale Vistaprint. That’s why everyone knows what Vistaprint is.

Tobi Skovron: Totally.

Nathan Chan: So that’s exactly what we’re doing with the magazine.

Tobi Skovron: So you’re coming in for the 100 free business cards but then I might add metallic or then I might add a special gloss finish.

Nathan Chan: Yeah, you might add one of our courses, you might add some digital subscription stuff so …

Tobi Skovron: And you’re seeing that as a nice trend?

Nathan Chan: It’s doing very well.

Tobi Skovron: Good on your end.

Nathan Chan: So we will continue to use that model. It’s quite different from any other regular print media publication, they don’t do that kind of stuff. They probably won’t even pay attention to that kind of stuff, but it’s very powerful. And you can welcome someone into your world at the same time, you can welcome them to your brand, you give them a great experience ’cause you give them a great product and it’s costing them hardly anything. And at the same time, you can make those unit economics work.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. And then you know, the magazine’s laying around, the eyeballs are coming to that, and then the cycle starts over again, right?

Nathan Chan: Yeah, 100%. So yeah, that’s how we’re kinda playing the print side of things. So I think print is still relevant and I think it’s not gonna change, and we’ll continue to do print magazines.

Tobi Skovron: But it’s very interesting, you don’t look at it as a print business, you look at it as sort of like the gateway to everything else. That’s entrepreneurship right there.

Nathan Chan: I see Foundr, and we’ll always publish the magazine. The magazine is the brand builder, the face of the business, but the real business is in the education and other content assets that we’re building right now.

Tobi Skovron: Amazing. Amazing.

Tobi Skovron: Guys, I’m gonna link all the descriptions. I could talk to you all day. I know that you’re pressed for time. Thank you so much. We really not only me, but the team here and people that know who you are, when you come into the building with your team, it electrifies the space.

Nathan Chan: Oh wow.

Tobi Skovron: So thank you. Thank you for coming.

Tobi Skovron: No, no, we’ve been exchanging stuff. You know me already. Anything I can do to help you, it’s an honour and a pleasure at the same time. But thank you for doing what you do, because I know for me as an entrepreneur, when I first came into the Foundr world, 15 hours away from here, it spoke to me. I was like, “Shit, there’s other people that actually feel this way. There’s actually other people that are going through these peaks and troughs of trying to get their business, their idea, their platform.”

Tobi Skovron: So thank you. I got a message from a friend of mine, he’s in Los Angeles. He watches the vlog on a regular. His name’s Jake Adler. He keeps sending me Foundr stuff.

Nathan Chan: Oh wow.

Tobi Skovron: In a private message and I’m like “Dude, just watch the vlog, I think Wednesday.”

Nathan Chan: There you go.

Tobi Skovron: Jake, you watching now boy?

Tobi Skovron: Thank you.

Nathan Chan: Listen, thank you so much man.

Tobi Skovron: Of course.

Nathan Chan: Pleasure.

Tobi Skovron: This is the awkward part of the segment. I go turn off the camera and Nate gets to sit here giggling. See you guys.

Nathan Chan: Awkward.

Tobi Skovron

Author Tobi Skovron

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