You’ve got to be committed and you need to understand that this will be a long term thing.
Nick Hughes is the founder and CEO of Founders Live, a global entrepreneur network that helps educate and inspire entrepreneurs around the world. He started out in the fitness world and then founded the mobile payment startup, Seconds. But he wanted to find a way to impact millions of people. And that’s what Founders Live blossomed from. Today he also works as an advisor to multiple startups and wants to help people have a better life, holistically.
Have a why that has a greater connection to the world, or purpose, that is outside any number of financial gains. With happenstance, naturally the financial will follow.
After founding multiple businesses, Nick understands that starting a new business isn’t easy. It takes hard work and commitment. Success doesn’t happen overnight. We discussed this as well as many other entrepreneur tips on this podcast:
- Looking at mobile technology in business
- The importance of market research
- Momentum and celebrating small wins
- How to deal with challenges in business
- Understanding your purpose and goals
If you want to learn more about Nick or Founders Live, click below.
John: My guest today is Nick Hughes. He is the founder and CEO of Founders Live. Founders Live is a global entrepreneur network that helps inspire, educate and entertain entrepreneurs all around the world. Nick is a successful entrepreneur. He previously founded the mobile payment startup Seconds and helped start Coin Me, a company built around expanding Bitcoin in digital transactions. Thanks for being on our show today, Nick.
Nick: Hey, thank you so much.Yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here.
John: Well, I know you’re a very busy person so I do want to thank you and appreciate the valuable time and insights that you’re gonna share with all the listeners and to start this off I would like to ask you tell some of the audience members a little bit about yourself, how you started, what’s going on with you today? What’s going on?
Nick: Yeah, you know I’m in Seattle. I’m currently in, located in Seattle but I’ve been traveling around which I, we can touch on after this but you know, I’ve been a founder for awhile and here in the startup ecosystem that is now Seattle you know, really growing and pretty dense but my first company which you had talked about that was called Seconds. It was mobile payments and you know, that was roughly about 2011 when I started that you know, that kind of came and went. That wasn’t a crazy breakout, success so I learned a lot about really starting not only a technology company but you know, just a small business in general, a startup and through that experience and then into roughly about 2014 was actually when I put on the very first event which was not called Founders Live at the time but basically we you know, just gathered people together from the globe you know, from the startup community here in Seattle and wanted to have a fun time and create a pitch competition and so the format which was true then and it’s still true now which is a side note I’m sitting here right now and we actually have our Founders Live Seattle event later on tonight you know, there will be three, four hundred people gathered in our space. It’s gonna be a really great time but back then March of 2014 was when I put on the very first event and you know, five…We preselected five early stage companies. They each only had 99 seconds to pitch and then four minutes of Q&A immediately after that from the audience, kind of a hall-style and and then at the end the crowd votes on a winner so you know, slightly similar to, kind of like a shark tank but in our own way and you know, then the winner was crowned and you know, everyone had a good time and you know, so I just kept putting that event on Seattle for like two and a half years and it just seemed to go really well and I then realized that there’s a larger opportunity for Founders Live which I can dive into but I started Founders Live in 2016 and I definitely want to touch on the uniqueness of that but basically I’ve been running Founders Live, full-time since 2016 and we’re spreading around the world in 50-plus cities and it’s all great. I’m gonna stop here just so we can chat but definitely we can get into you what exactly is Founders Live, going forward.
John: Yeah, it sounds like you’re having a blast if you’re able to travel all over the world really and do what you’ve kind of created, right? And bring everyone together with the same kind of goal, right? Help support this ecosystem so I do want to take a step back and really find out like did you go to school studying like entrepreneurship, business and what was your first kind of crack at business like did you work in the industry before you started your first startup?
Nick: So, a good question and I believe that this is true for more entrepreneurs and than you probably know but what I studied was absolutely opposite of what I’m doing now like you know, at least I have a four-year degree but you know, I’m actually…Amazingly, my first career it was shorter but my first first career was actually in…I was a strength coach and a trainer and so previously I was an athlete and then going you know, through college realizing like, “Okay, I’m not gonna be professional so the best thing next to that was why not I learn how to work with individuals on a professional level as well as in the general population.” So I studied exercise physiology and biomechanics and really became you know, knowledgeable in the industry of you know, physical movement, training, strength and conditioning and you know, my very first job out of college was with the Seattle Sonics and Storm so Sonics were here at the time before they left. I was literally training NBA players and then WNBA players as a strength coach and then I…You know, for about five, six years I was in the fitness industry whether it was working with athletes or you know, as at a health club or whatnot and you know, what was crazy is I…This is like why I believe entrepreneurship is actually so it’s organic and also sometimes in our DNA is…I was always trying to create something new and build. It’s almost like in that industry it’s like this is what we do and when you try to get too creative and innovative around these like general things that whether you’re a trainer at a health club or a strength coach for a team there’s not a lot of creative leeway and I started realize like, “Okay, I’m way too creative and way too out there.” And also I just had some issues with the industry but I started to self study through just reading about technology, reading about business, getting around other things and I didn’t even realize there’s like a start-up you know, community and you know, in pockets of all these cities. Now I’m like center of it all mostly but I did not know this and so yeah, there was…I just did a ton of self-study and you know, looking at like how did Facebook grow, how did Microsoft grow at the time you know, how did Google and like realizing like you know, technology and understanding networks and understanding you know, all these things and so there was a lot of self study and I think then trial and error so I just started…That’s when I started probably you know, I was about twenty seven, twenty eight started to kind of what I’m using air quotes “Play Startup.” And so for about three or four years I played startup with a few people and we thought that we were building something and that’s when in 2011 was…I transitioned to a whole new team and business and that’s when I started my first company so a lot of trial error and that’s the lesson I would tell everyone is, “Yeah, sure education is…a formal education is important in some ways but real world you know, do-it-yourself just every single day learn and study and find new people to talk to you is probably even more applicable.”
John: I totally get where you’re coming from because even in my DNA. I mean I studied finance and I went into sales and I’ve been in sales even to this day. I love the sales, end of things more than actual business but it’s because that’s my…I’ve always done sales, right? But I had to learn the hard way in terms of how to grow business and scale, etc., right?
Nick: And so you know, this might be a really good angle to take you know, I’ve done a lot of introspection on you know, what we’re building and why and what I created and why and I think part of my experience like I’ve always been a big thinker. I’ve always been someone that wants to you know, one of the issues was when I was training people you’re impacting one person at a time and you know, that’s great. It’s you know, kind of an intimate you know, just experience and you’re helping someone either lose weight or achieve goals and maybe reach a professional level you know, performance but I wanted to impact millions of people and I think when I realized that and then I was like, “Wait, how do you do that?” And I realized not only before 2011 but specifically in 2014, there was no general global system and platform to take people that are promising and want to reach higher levels to help them get there. It was way too fragmented. I just thought like, “Okay, I guess I’m in Seattle. I’ll go to some networking events and try to like osmosis, try to like figure it out but through that process I realize that there are possibly billions of people around the world that can and should be entrepreneurs whether they’re small business or scaling a scale venture, scale business. They just haven’t had the right environment community and, you know, information and education in an environment that helps them move forward and that’s why I started Founders Live.
John: No, that’s amazing. I mean there’s definitely a need, there’s definitely a you know, there’s a lot of people looking for sure and everyone wants to be a part of something, right? Either a hobby or business or whatever career, right? Path. So everyone wants to be a part of something that they believe in and that’s what your tribe is, right? So it’s great to hear that you’re doing something, you’re impacting so many other people’s lives and helping them, support them, right? To do what they always wanted to but never really thought they can do it themselves, right? So building a community of people like-minded. So another question I was gonna ask you is did you ever have like people that you had coaches or mentors to support you throughout these years to get to starting your own, you know, businesses?
Nick: Yes, very much I would say so I have currently you know, when I started so let’s go back to 2011. I mean my very…What I would say, my first real startup and company. I brought a few individuals around as advisors and you know, like you can create essentially a Board of Advisors. They can sign an agreement and you might give them a little bit of equity so I’d found some in that way but those were you know, advisors are hard I mean you really gotta find the right fit. It has to be the right fit. This person needs to commit to it, you know, some consistent effort. If you’re gonna bring them on as an advisor you definitely are looking for someone that can give you like time every month and all that so that was lightweight but I would…Right now, I have the most coaches and advisors around me as I’ve ever had and I will say there’s specifically three that I think are very important. I see two people that are more on the therapist side that are coaches so they’re almost like one person is a…He’s a man and he is you know, a therapist, a psychotherapist and so I actually I started seeing him about two years ago some for a relationship stuff, some for I realize like that was funny the first session we had, I sit down and he lets me understand that some very significant people from the city of Seattle as founders and executives like sit and mature where I was sitting in. Yeah, I quickly realized it wasn’t gonna be a therapist for like, “Oh, emotion or relationship stuff.” It was actually gonna be a lot more around what he calls a mindfulness coach and a therapist to understand the bigger picture and understand you know, our capabilities and possibilities and just amazing guy so I have that individual around me. I have now, I through my travels I met a woman that is a executive coach she works with a lot of entrepreneurs really to help them reach their next level and just figure their stuff out and so we talk twice a month and so I’ve got two kind of coaches in that direction that are slash therapists, slash executive coaches and that is so important to be able to be honest with people and work through your challenges whether its co-founders, financial growth you know, “Things are going too fast. What I do?” You know, that sort of thing and then last one I have a I would call him more of a business coach slash scaling up coach and that’s his focus and he works with actually he works with more established companies but he’s been really working with me on you know, some unique things around as a company and startup meets me going as a founder. Just had a conversation with him yesterday and, Oh, my gosh, like just the structure of how you like get processes in place, how do you get organized, how are you sorting out your three-year goals and milestones and how do we get there and I’m telling you that this individual is probably one of the main reasons why I am or Founders Live is where it’s at right now. Yeah, so definitely like I would say anyone listening to this get your coaches around you right now.
John: I think the most important thing is when you’re in a business you need different perspectives, right? People looking in gives you so much other insights especially ones that have been successful, right? Or exited or have been able to scale it to eight or nine figures, right? Like especially if that’s what your goal is, right? If your goal is really to really enhance and impact a large audience I mean there’s people that can really support you and guide you throughout the whole journey, right? So it’s always good to reach out for sure.
Nick: Well, you know, it’s I’m a sole founder and you know, my guess is a lot of small businesses might just be their you know, the only owner or sole founder and you know, it can be quite lonely and it’s challenging when you don’t have a business partner there to bounce ideas off of and or like you know, share the burden and things and so especially as a sole founder or you know, business owner it’s your responsibility to surround yourself with the team that’s going to be there for the phone calls that you need to make when it’s just like, “What do I do next?” To you know, sharing the possibility, the up. The you know, the celebration and like, “Hey, you want to just share your big success of that day or that week.” A hundred percent it’s important to have these individuals around you for the good times and the bad.
John: No, that’s amazing so growing up did you ever like was this something you always wanted to do for yourself like it sounds like you were great even before doing the start up, like working for Seattle SuperSonics, right? And WNBA. Like all that stuff sounded like a great gig, right? But what did you really want to do growing up or did you follow your path and are you living your dream now like…
Nick: Well, yeah for sure. I would say, you know, living my dream for sure you know, back in the day you know, growing up I just played sports and I was an athlete. I can’t say that I thought about creating you know, global businesses and as a youth I can’t say I did. I could say that I was definitely more you know, more of a sports fan and it would have been tremendous, it would have been so cool to be a professional athlete just knowing that’s the way I grew up but I will say that fairly quickly I started to…I realized I thought different. I thought, I think bigger you know, I just I’ve never been satisfied with the status quo and I think that’s the indications like when you’re you know, youth or in high school it’s not like you’re sitting there because it’s hard to comprehend some of the things that are going on and in technology, in business as an adult, right? So you know, they don’t fully understand yet what it really means to actually create a global movement or you know, a platform, technology, a company but I think in general we, you know, you can look at…There’s certain individuals that just think differently like when everyone goes, “To the right.” People go to the left and they don’t assimilate in you know, they just they see through the fog and realize like there’s better ways to do things and we don’t have to just follow the crowd and I think that’s what I started to understand probably in late high school and then going into college and you know, the first manifestation of that was as I really I followed my first passion which was you know, physical just you know, training and athletics and you know, pursuit of excellence and that was in the physical realm and when I realized that there was even things bigger and I started to really study like wait you know, you can create something that spreads around the world, you can create something that essentially has no cap on reaching people as well as the the financial aspect that can be created that’s where you know, I went this direction towards entrepreneurship and it is my passion 100%. I think that the similarities are helping people improve their life physically in wellness on one side and now I’ve turned that into you helping and leading people create a better life in general. Holistically for business, for social for them independently, in wealth generation you know, our goal is I would love to see billions of people grow businesses around the world. I think that’s going to be a good place to be.
John: No, that’s amazing so if you don’t mind sharing some of the challenges or mistakes that you’ve made over the years because you’ve been in you know, two different types of segments, right? The health and wellness and also that now the startup, right? Tech, obviously nothing is as rosy as it sounds, right? So if you can share some of that the tribulations or mistakes that you’ve made?
Nick: Oh, man there’s so many, there’s so many. You know, I’d say the first you know, first one would be you for sure don’t enter who you are. You do not know it all and more importantly you know very little and so opening your ears totally and you know, basically listening to the market whenever you create a new concept. If you’re creating a startup you’re bringing something to market most likely it’s new do as much customer development, market research and testing on a light level, cheapest as possible, quick as possible ever and so what that means is you don’t have the whole like, “Well, it’s gonna be this, that and whatever and I know everything so I’m just gonna create the technology or create the company and just slam it into the market.” That’s a very rookie mistake and the other side. So flipping that over and actually like really, really listen to where the markets pointing, what they use and how they use it, what are their problems and why and what sort of solutions would be there and so that listening I think it took me a long time to really figure that out but the more you listen as a founder and business owner the better place you’re gonna be so that’s number one. I would say number two is and a lot of people might be like me but it’s realizing that it’s gonna take so much longer than your car and when you’re a founder that just wants to keep you know, you’re pushing hard, you want things to happen quickly it can be very frustrating to go through the process and when you’re not really understanding it’s gonna take longer than you set out and you know, some people say it’s gonna be twice as long. Well, I don’t know but I’m telling you like this is a ten, I mean a ten year overnight success and what I was doing eight to ten years ago it’s only now really taking hold just on a global scale and that’s okay but I would hope that everyone out there…It’s hard like it’s hard to hear that and I don’t know you know, some people’s roads are a lot quicker and faster but for my road and most of the time it just takes a lot longer so you got to be committed and you really have to understand this is gonna be a…It’s a long-term thing and in to that so yeah, like I think I was a little whatever the word but I’m trying to think right now but I was a little too… I’d be disappointed if things didn’t happen so quickly and that the problem is if you’re not, if you’re thinking that way you’re not seeing the lessons and able to adjust quickly to them before and so you’re stuck in this thing because you’re not seeing those. Yeah, I say so those are two big ones right there.
John: Yeah, I think you nailed both of them like if you think about it knowing your audience, testing the market but being able to be nimble and pivot, right? As quickly as possible as a start-up, right? Because your audio customer you think during your business plan is really not your ones that paid the bills, right? Like subscribe and then you’re finding out who your true audience is, right? And then you just have to quickly adapt and change over to your marketing strategy, etc. So number one that was definitely good and then number two, I mean timing and the challenges in today’s society and the world, everyone wants things yesterday, right? With the advent of the internet and social media and now, now, now, instant. That’s where everything you know, when there’s people promoting like your…You can do this, you can be successful in a hundred days or 10 days or whatever like they sell you on this dream and idea but in reality you need to slow down and take a step back and appreciate the small steady steps into what it’s gonna ultimately take, right?
Nick: Oh, yeah and you know, that’s what I tell a lot of entrepreneurs now is you know, kind of the next piece of advice after that it’s gonna take a lot longer than you think is really identify and see those like little, little wins and those are little things that create momentum and if you think about it business success obviously there’s ingenuity on what you’ve…What you’re doing you know, what’s the concept so do you have the problem are you identifying a strong problem in the world, what are solutions out there and there might be some things wrong with them so you’re bringing a new solution but most importantly as you start at you know, it’s never gonna be the rocket ship up you know, just total viral, spreading that’s not gonna happen, unfortunately. So see the small wins and you build upon the small wins that creates momentum and momentum is a company’s biggest best friend. It’s your biggest thing, is create the momentum and allow that to grow because the little wins then build on themselves and they create the momentum that then creates confidence as an entrepreneur and the confidence starts attracting more people and people like, “I don’t know what’s going on with this person but I want to work with them. I would love to work with that company.” Or “Man, I keep reading about them every day and social media and blah, blah, blah.” And that is the secret right there.
John: And it’s consistent messaging and stay on course, right? Because ultimately people who give up or fail are the ones that…There’s a bump in the road in the journey, right? And they give up like those are the ones that you know, how many successful business owners fail hundreds of times before that one thing that really you know, bump them over the edge like that’s why that 10-year journey or five-year journey. Never expect to do it in three months or a hundred you know what I mean like people are…Their expectations are so not reality, right?
Nick: Well and I would also ask you know, I ask a lot of people. Well, you know, why are you really doing this? And why are you really what’s the purpose and what’s the long-term vision here? And my suggestion is essentially committing to a journey in life around entrepreneurship and creativity and you know, you’re probably gonna have three, five businesses over the course of your life that span different industries but it’s a commitment to a life of like bringing value to the world versus like I’m gonna make money in this thing and it’s gonna happen in two years like that the purpose is flawed like the reasoning behind why you’re doing that is flawed and unfortunately a lot of people in companies see through that and then you know, you’re not gonna get through the hardships but basically for me it’s like this is my life you know, and for better or for worse this is what I do now and I think when you commit literally that strongly which is like that’s why part of why I went on this world tour and I’m traveling around. Is like, “This is my life.” So I’m cool with it taking a little longer because I’m gonna hopefully be here awhile.
John: Yeah, and you’re like passionate with what you’re doing like you’re clear, right? On why you’re doing it in the first place, right? And it may take a little bit longer but it’s fine it’s not a race, right? And a lot of people in tech, right? Especially the startup communities. They want 10x or you know, 15, 20x, right? And an exit. And yeah, for investors it makes sense but for you as a business owner should you even be in that whole space or try to do it yourself, right? And take the time because they’re in it for a different purpose, right? So that’s why the speed is the big thing for a lot of these startups, right?
Nick: And yeah, I think you know, thinking let’s go back to some of the things we previously talked about and it’s so hard you know, so it’s really difficult because you know, as a ownership, team and there’s a founder, CEO you’re asked a lot of times especially from investors like what’s the exit you know? And of course you need to know, you need to have an idea of the end result of you know, what’s the endgame for this venture and that there’s no right answer except the answer that you have created is then gonna…The investors just looking saying, “Is this a good alignment?” But I think what’s frustrating is on the flip side it gets troublesome when the person is, “Oh yeah, we’re gonna flip it in three years and blah, blah, blah.” And that’s what they’re building for so then it’s inauthentic and its you know, it’s actually not gonna be as organic and I think as you know, I guess the best outcome possible because they’re too focused on this short-term thinking and you know, great exits multiples so when you say 8X, 10X we’re talking about multiples of valuation or multiples upon revenue which turns out to be the valuation of the final price. If your company gets acquired that is a byproduct of creating a great business, right? And acquisitions come or opportunities to liquidate through a merger and acquisition or an IPO those are byproducts of creating a great business so if you have a vision 10, 20, 30 years on the future the byproduct of the acquisition that might happen is just out there. It’s out there somewhere so don’t focus on that, focus on your vision and your big what we call it big hairy audacious goal that’s like 20, 10, 20 years in the future and if you do get an opportunity for an exit it will be presented and you can have the option to take it or not so I think like that’s the you know, being too hyper focused on, “I’m gonna make a ton of money and we’re gonna sell in two years.” Your value is off.
John: Yeah, I think you nailed a couple things there. I think the first one is you’re the one that puts too much stress on yourself, right? So, these goals and lofty things that you think these investors want, you’re the who’s putting it on yourself and then you’re stressing over it on a daily basis even to try to achieve something that’s probably not even realistic and these investors know it’s not realistic yet you’re trying to do it and satisfy them, right? It’s like detrimental to yourself and once you are clear and concise into like why are you doing this in the first place, what’s the ultimate reason you want to grow this or make that exit like you know? You know what I mean like it just doesn’t because a lot of people aren’t clear as why they’re doing what they’re doing in the first place, there has to be a passion, there has to be a reason why you started this business and built this company, right? But be really clear on why and what the whole purpose is like the endgame.
Nick: Yeah, and I would suggest this is just my personal opinion and a lot of the people that I talk to that have a why that has a greater connection to the world or a purpose that is outside any number of financial gain and happenstance naturally the financial will follow like that is the key and again you know, doesn’t matter if you have a localized business like a coffee shop or cupcakes or you have a global platform and system like Founder’s Live is. That we have, were pretty much on every continent almost. It doesn’t matter like have a general vision and something that impacts the world in a way that you can almost never achieve so you’re always pursuing that and then financially obviously have milestones and goals and places for the business but those are byproducts of great business.
John: Yeah, and making an impact, right? It could be on a local scale just a community even, right? Like the local coffee shop or a dentist. You take care of your people. And you want to be a part of it, right? And people want, you want to earn that respect so it’s the same thing for any tech companies or any business owner or entrepreneur, right? So you know, depending on which direction you want I guess because a lot of business owners just might not be tech savvy either, right? So they want that small bricks and mortar relationship type of service and they’re happy and that’s good enough for them, right? And you know, that impact still hits a lot of people because thousands of people they service on an annual basis that’s a huge impact, right? So, I wanted to ask you so in terms of advice I know there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that are thinking of starting you know, and you’ve been doing it for many, many years, right? Can you give some guidance in terms of like some tips or when people are thinking of starting what should you really do versus I know you talked about like understanding your why and your purpose but is there any other fundamental tips that you could have taken or done when you started that you didn’t take.
Nick: Well yeah, I mean I would…Some of it I did. Some of it I didn’t do but I would say if you’re just starting out and you know, you have that feeling of, “I really want to go do this and I believe that I can make something happen.” I think first step is really getting…Get around others and getting in the community. That’s partly you know, partly why we created Founders Live is to create a space not only virtually so you can meet people from many different countries on Founders Live but you know, go to things and events and you know, meetups and you know, things like Founders Live in your city and get around the people doing it because you’re going to start picking up energy and you know, the way that they talk and the way they think so just step one, get around the right people. You will start to find maybe some advisers or you know, even at some point a co-founder or a business partner. Step two, start to look at problems in the world and it you know, what I have noticed in the success of people is not just…It’s not just like, “Hey, I had this idea in the shower and you know, we’re gonna create this thing.” I think the next step is really going out and looking at problems in the world and starting to figure out some unique solutions and testing them so you test things on a very light level and you know, these are…This is why you get in the community. They’ll start talking about that when you have events that you can go and you can be on the Founders Live and we have educational things or in your physical community you could start learning what are the next steps to get going but what they’re gonna tell you is you know, find some problems in the world and go out and create tests very cheaply and cost-effectively your solution and so you want to get feedback from the market of that and so that you know, rather than spending a year and a hundred thousand or five hundred thousand dollars on building something actually spend a couple hundred dollars and you know, a month and learn if it’s actually something that the market and people would want to use you know, that’s a huge thing. Thirdly is we’ve already talked about this is you know, really starting to get around like get, create your initial team of either you know, team members and or advisers and so start sinking around you people that can be honest and tell you when you’re wrong or not thinking correctly then they can help you and lead you to the next connections and then you know, as a team you want to build your initial team so is it like if you’re a business person and if you’re probably, if you’re in the technology or doing something with technology you want to surround yourself with probably someone that can develop and build software or it’s whatever the solution you’re building but just finding…So what areas…So yeah, that last one is just start building your team and surround yourself with the people that can take you to the next level and some of that is technology-based, some of that is advisory helping with financials or how to pitch investors that sort of thing but I think that those things right there that’s…Think about everything I just said there is things you can do with low to zero money and just getting going in your community that’s the first steps.
John: Yeah, I mean that’s the biggest barrier for a lot of startups or even entrepreneurs thinking of starting, right? Like you have a lot of time and not a lot of resources so go out there network, go out to events, surround yourself with like-minded people, kind of people that you feel like are successful and gravitate towards them, ask questions because what I’ve also found is a lot of people that are successful they’re the ones that are the best and most giving kind of people, individuals, right? And they don’t mind helping a fellow entrepreneur, right? They’re the ones that are the ones that will give the time and time is of the essence, right? And any valuable insight from these people is great.
Nick: Yeah, that’s why we built Founders Live, man. Exactly, why.
John: That’s awesome and that’s a great initiative, right? Like the big thing is community, look for people that are kind of like-minded like you, right? Like you might be an introvert, right? And so there are other places and it can be digital, it can be other platforms, right? If you’re not comfortable in a live environment, right? There’s other places that you can find people that have the same kind of you know, vision or ideas and you can bounce things around, right? But you have to get out of your comfort zone especially if you’re an entrepreneur because you can’t do everything yourself and have other people help you if you’re not even willing to share any of the information or problems that you’re facing, right?
Nick: Totally, yep.
John: So another question I was gonna ask you so I know as you’ve been in it for about 10 years but prior to that even smartphones wasn’t that prevalent,right? Internet wasn’t fast; it was probably dial-up when you started. Technology has moved so quickly over the last couple years, right? How has that changed, impacted and help your business grow?
Nick: Yeah, it’s just I think flat out you know, we hold computers in our pockets now and for better for worse were connected 24/7 and so building a next-generation system is really taking that into consideration which is like you know, Founders Live in general is more mobile whether it’s an app experienced you know, you experienced an app or on your web, on the web on your device but you know, we are a mobile platform first and then the desktop you know, kind of is there as well and you know, that is front and center when when I…As I build Founders Live out into this global system that reaches I mean we’re spreading around Africa and you better believe that in Africa they pretty much experience the internet on a mobile device, very few or very little is it on a desktop, either a laptop or a full desktop so you know, that is absolutely front and center. Whenever I think strategy, whenever I think the future and what we’re building it is 100% focused on what mobile will be and can do and when we also have 5g coming out here in the next you know, handful of years. I don’t know when it’s fully you know, or how soon it’ll be but you know, they’re saying that those speeds are I mean so much it’s X amount of times faster than we have right now. So assume in the business world that things will continue to speed up. What can you do when there’s 5g that you might start planning on and building now so when it hits you’ve already deployed that and so I think that that’s really important you know, I always do want to hesitate or at least bring up you know, I don’t know if this is all good, right? The ever speeding and increase of technology is bringing forth some challenging times and some very difficult just things to you know, whether it’s the privacy and information that is going around now to just like literally human. I watched…Whenever, I’m on a public transport like a bus or a subway, dude, I watch people all the time and it’s fascinating to see that we’re just these like…
John: Slaves to our smartphones.
Nick: And you know, look I listen to music a lot when I walk around the city and I’m same way but damn it you know, like why we’re here, we’re at this place and I don’t know if it’s either making us tremendously smarter or it’s actually not making us smarter in various ways and so you know, that’s something that I keep in consideration but geez you know, you can’t swim upstream on this and so I definitely you know, look at advancement technology and understand how to place my business on that wave.
John: Yeah, I mean with technology even like the zoom call that we’re having right now I mean that didn’t exist even five years ago, right? Like there’s so much advancements and it allows you to scale your business, grow your business and do so much in terms of a global scale, right? Like you’re hitting so many more people and impacting way more than you’ve ever done, right? You’re making a huge impact.
Nick: Yeah, and the lesson is you know, depending on, no matter what industry you’re in if you are focused on a local business and more in just one city and you know, smaller business you can still start thinking about, “Okay people have…The majority of my customers if not all of them have you know, a smartphone and a connected device with them all the time. How can I make the connection with them better, more meaningful, easier to transact.” Those sort of things you know, because that like it or not that’s what people look at now in businesses in the city you know, they’re like you know, do they take Apple pay? Maybe you know, is that an important thing? Do they accept? Is you know…I don’t know if you noticed this but man because I’ve been in so many cities in the last year the difference between certain checkout and payment terminals and I’m seeing a lot more square and square and maybe clovers one of them too but man just the amount of time in seconds does it take to close out my transaction. I noticed that now and you know, that’s just small companies taking advantage of new technology to make my customer experience better so that’s…I just noticed that stuff and so these are the conversations, these are the things that you think about when you’re building your company and actually running your business. What aspects of technology can I use now? Where is it going and how do I get in front of that?
John: Yeah, I think the good thing that you’re able to do is travel and experience different cities, countries and their trouble, pain points, right? Pain points or their daily interactions and that’s how you spot opportunity, right? Someone that’s a local business might not be you know, foreign to any new stuff that comes out so you got to go out and navigate and figure things out yourself but again there’s you know, pros and cons to technology because I look at how fast things have grown like gone, the speed and human interaction is not the same anymore. People are in front of video game consoles for days or hours like I was watching fortnite two weekends ago. It was down for a weekend, right? And I was like I’m not a gamer, I don’t play but I heard on the radio like people just went crazy because they were so used to playing games and when it was down for X amount of hours they didn’t know what to do with all their free time, right? It’s crazy because you know, people consume this at so high of a rate now and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing when they like…
Nick: Oh man, how about get outside you know, move a little. I mean that’s huge for me as I maintain I just you know, I’m healthy and I run three, four days a week. I’m not crazy and you know, I’m not like in the gym every day and blah, blah, blah. But geez you know, like that to me you know, kind of what the negative I just said is we have to keep the understanding human nature in positive, negative but man like the more you’re gonna use technology and being sedentary the more you need, it’s important to be outside and move and maintain your health those go hand in hand and you know, so just being aware of that.
John: Yeah, I kind of…I’m not big into social media myself so I am after, when my son gets home from school I actually turn off my phone and I’m present with him, right? Just like work can always wait and what’s the worst that can happen, right? Like really life-or-death. No, not really, right? Like you know, we live in this now society and it’s all instant messaging and email is popping out and social media feeds and you think people want things right away but is it really that urgent? No, right? Like that’s where I kind of stay, take like last couple years I’ve been self reflecting and I spend more time taking care of myself, my family and close relationships. Now, I found that I’m way more, less stressed and I enjoy life way more because the fast pace I was kind of living it just was not healthy.
Nick: I’m really glad that you recognize that and I’m the same way. It just…It takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of just self-control and realizing, “Okay, time to check out and go live my life in a different way right now.” And so it’s good. Yeah, I kind of need to get going here so I’ve been… Really, really fun man. This is so…Thank you so much for this opportunity.
John: Yeah, I just want one last question and yeah, you can give your info but aside from business now so it seems like your business is doing and thriving what are some of the other pillars that really drive you like you mentioned your health is such a big thing and you’re kind of build this community, right? For your business but like is there other pillars outside of work? Because it sounds like…
Nick: You know man, it’s a good, really good question. I would say you know, yeah, I would say definitely health is up there, Is probably the number one and like I said, I’m not maniacal about it but especially you know, traveling and being in a lot of different cities I make sure that get out and run and I’m active on a more often than not in the day, secondly I would say meditation or what you’re you know, just spiritual and just like higher thinking is a very important thing. I do that almost every morning and that can come and go or be challenging or easy sometimes you know, but I’m just maintaining a more higher level spiritual connection to the world that’s important thirdly, friends for sure you know, making sure that I spend time with the people that are important to me and that I am also the kind of two here is you know, just quality friends and people that have no association with my company or Founders Live, the startup world and those are like old friends and then also you know, myself being friends with people in the industry as well as like mentoring and advising. I make sure that I spend some time in that. Obviously, family is a big one and so making sure that I’m spending time with family and staying connected there. Yeah and you know, I think outside of that you know, look we only have 24 hours in the day and it’s you know, there’s a lot of things you have to say no to so you know, I don’t watch a ton TV. I actually don’t turn on TVs very often, probably only to watch games so that’s cool but you know, I don’t sit and watch TV. I’m spending time and work or spending time with friends or I’m really just trying to like get outside and not be connected.
John: That’s amazing and that’s why I’ve kind of done to like I stopped that social of TV shows or social media it’s just living present with everything I do, right? So how do some of our listeners get a hold of you?
Nick: Yeah, for sure. You can find me on LinkedIn if you just type in Nick Hughes, I’m gonna pop up. I have a blue shirt in my picture so you’ll probably see that. You can find me on Founders Live you know, if you joined Founders Live, I’m gonna be pretty active on there you know, I’m on Twitter as well. Facebook and Instagram a little less, definitely not as not as prevalent on there so you can, you know, just pretty much any one of those platforms search and find and then yeah, love to read, love to hear from any of you.
John: Perfect, so really appreciate your time, Nick and if you ever in Toronto feel free to reach out, let me know because we’ll definitely get together.
Nick: Absolutely and keep an eye out where…We have Founders Live Toronto as well which I will look to connect you with our team over there and maybe will ingrain.
John: Oh, perfect, awesome. Well, thanks a lot. I really appreciate your time, Nick and hopefully you had fun.
Nick: You’re welcome, thank you.