Nathan Chan launched Foundr magazine to the glorious tune of two subscribers ($5.50 in sales)
In less than 15 months, he had put the Sir Richard Branson on the cover, and Foundr had cracked 100,000 subscribers.
Nathan’s extraordinary climb—from entrepreneurial nobody to the founder of an international brand—has been anything but glamorous. He calls his first year the “trough of sorrows”, where every day was an emotional grind and uphill battle.
By the same stroke, Nathan’s life and stories are a template for how we can all succeed as entrepreneurs—through persistence, force of spirit, and a commitment to his customers.
In this powerful conversation, Nathan is sharing his best advice for dealing with doubters, cutting through the noise of a thousand competitors, and tackling social media. Listen now.
Things look pretty glorious for Foundr at the moment, with 1.6 million Instagram followers, an email list that is growing by thousands a day, and a number of new offerings that are turning cost sectors into profits. But as Nathan will tell you,
“There is no story without struggle.”
What he means by that is that real lows came before the highs. Just take Foundr’s launch, when after months of hard work (on top of his regular 9-5) Nathan managed to nab a mere two subscribers. The cover of the magazine was a goofy stock image, something that Nathan finds almost embarrassing.
Fast forward a few years, and now you’ll find the likes of Arianna Huffington, Sir Richard Branson, and Seth Godin on the covers. But Nathan doesn’t look back on that first stock image with regret. Far from it, it’s a reminder of how far they’ve come, an important part of the story.
Moreover, Nathan knew that perfect was not going to be attainable. A stock image cover was better than no cover at all.
“You want it to be perfect, you care so much, you want to be proud of it – but if you just don’t get it out there, nothing’s gonna happen.”
That’s one of the key entrepreneurial lessons Nathan learned as the founder of a digital magazine. Even though he only started with two subscribers, Nathan felt he had a responsibility to ship a monthly issue. He worked tirelessly to not let his customers down, but accepted the fact that his product would never be “perfect”.
And in our conversation, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nathan is sharing a trove of other insights that he’s gained on his road to success, from pitching Sir Branson, to growing explosively through social media, to strategies to make your little scrappy startup totally lethal.
We’re huge fans of Nathan, and we know you will be, too.