Andrew Warner Interview Part Three
Andrew Warner – Your Invisible Mentor & Workshop Leader
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Andrew Warner: I founded a company called Mixergy.com and that’s where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and I do it for an audience of rabid entrepreneurs who are eager to soak up as much information as they can from other entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses.
These are people who know about Hulu.com and know that they could be watching The Simpsons, Family Guy and whatever nonsense they could be watching on TV, but they choose to watch a program where entrepreneurs are talking about business instead.
Avil Beckford: What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Andrew Warner: Being able to fail in public. When I first started out in business a lot of my friends were getting these great jobs on Wall Street in management and they were doing phenomenal, and I went out there and started an email newsletter business that didn’t do so well. I then tried a couple of other things along the way that didn’t do so well, and it took me a long time until I actually made it.
Along the way I remember one guy saying to me, “Andrew, you could get a job anywhere,” and I thought, “Wow, I’ve got a job, I’m building my own business and you’re saying now you think I’m a failure at what I’m doing and I’m willing to move on.” And I was hurt by that and said, “Screw it.” If he wants to see me as a failure, then that’s fine. If the world sees me as a failure, that’s fine, and if I do fail in public that’s fine. I’m willing to take it and suck it up while everyone else is doing well, to fail and fail and fail because I know in the end I will succeed and I will find a solution.
Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?
Andrew Warner: I didn’t have enough of them unfortunately and I wish that I had more along the way. I know that there were times when I couldn’t see that having four or five big clients was dangerous for my business. I had them, I was doing well, I turned away other customers because I couldn’t fit them all in. That was a big mistake, then a few of them went out of business, and if three of them went out of business, 60 percent of my revenues was shot.
If I had a mentor, he would have looked at it and said, “Look Andrew, I know you are doing well, but you’d be better off with less money, but securing your future by locking in multiple sponsors,” or they would have said, “Andrew, you should diversify away from this business and have other product lines,” and I just didn’t have that. That was a big mistake.
Avil Beckford: What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Andrew Warner: I still have to say that I do not have them. The closest I could get to a mentor was when I went to my old college professor and I asked him for advice, and I don’t even remember getting it. And the problem was I didn’t make it formal. He didn’t have anything to give me at that point, I didn’t come back to him in the future because there wasn’t an agreement to do so and that was it.
Avil Beckford: An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from afar, in the capacity of an Invisible Mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
Andrew Warner: Be willing to fail. The biggest ideas we have we were often not willing to act on because we weren’t willing to fail. When I started doing video interviews I almost didn’t do them because I said, “What if people see me online in video and they laugh at me and think I’m ridiculous or funny looking on camera. Or who is this guy, he wants to be some kind of Hollywood guy so he is starting to do videos?”
But I just kept at it, I fight that fight despite what would happen if I failed in public and I’m so glad that I did because through interviews I have gotten to know over 400 successful entrepreneurs. I see hundreds of thousands of people every month who are influenced by the work I do and I’m seeing more and more entrepreneurs build businesses because of the work I do so I’m so glad I didn’t stop because of that. And I would say the same thing to everyone who is paying attention to the interview, just be willing to fail.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
Andrew Warner: I like to have them be separate, but what I’ve discovered is that the more open I am about my personal life at work with the people who I do business with, with the people who watch my interviews, the more they get to know me, and the more we get to bond.
One example is I was doing these interviews and I was in Argentina and said, “I don’t have my iPhone, and I’m feeling lost here in Argentina, living here without an iPhone.” And in my head I said, “That’s a little bit embarrassing to say that you need the iPhone that badly that you cannot be in a foreign country.” But I had to tell everyone because I use the iPhone to read, take notes, to interact and here I am in a foreign country feeling completely lost because I can’t do any of that. I couldn’t buy an iPhone in Argentina because I wasn’t a citizen there
I said that on one of my programs on Mixergy and this guy Jason King happened to hear me and he said, “I’ll find a way to get him the iPhone,” and sure enough, he got me the iPhone, but being open about my problem Jason King found a way to help me out. And the more I put myself out there about my issues, my worries and everything else, the more that kind of stuff happens.
Avil Beckford: What’s a major regret that you’ve had in life?
Andrew Warner: I don’t have major regrets. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, but if I had to pick one, I would go with I could have sold my business at the height. There was a time when my business was worth $100 million, I had a great offer on the table to sell it for that much and I said no. And then when the business got into trouble I remember sleepwalking, worried and thinking I cannot believe I let that offer go. That was a big regret, but life goes on and we did okay in the end.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- I want it and that I’m okay with wanting it in a world where people say to want less, demand less out of your life. I want it, I want more, I don’t want to live with less, and I don’t want to be happy with fewer wants. I want more. The desire for more I found is a good one because it gives me something to do with my life. It gives me something to achieve with my life, and I’m glad that I have that.
- Everybody fails. I used to think that some people just succeeded all the time and what I discovered is that they are just good at putting up a good front, pretending that they succeed all the time.
- You really can do anything. You may not be the best at everything but you can do anything. I used to think that I was someone who couldn’t run, who couldn’t exercise, that that was meant for certain people and what I’ve discovered is when I put on my running shoes, I stunk, I wasn’t very good and it took me a while to get going and eventually I got a little bit better, and a little bit better still and I discovered that I could do it, and if I could run what else could I do. Soon after that I said, “Let me try dancing,” and I’m a very uptight person, but I went out there and started dancing a little bit and I was okay not great, not the best on the planet but I was really okay. So I’ve discovered that you can do just about anything.
- Learn to shut up. We’re always valuing the person who can say the right line, impress people, and the life lesson I’ve got is you don’t get a lot of attention for shutting up, but you get a lot of benefits for being the person who is willing to be quiet and take in information.
- Everyone is within reach. I used to think that there are certain people who are on a whole different plane and what I’ve learned by doing interviews is that you can access those people. They are not on a whole other planet, they are right here. They are accessible and I just send them an email and sure enough they come in to do interviews.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Andrew Warner: My favourite thing to do is to run. The thing with running is that it’s completely within your control. If I have a down moment right now I put my running shoes on, go out for a run and it doesn’t matter that someone else has more money than me or someone else has more knowledge than me or that I don’t have the right whatever. As long as I put one foot in front of the other I can keep on running and it’s just within your control where everything else in life depends on the bank coming through or partners saying yes or someone doing this and someone doing that. Running is all within my control and that’s what I love about it.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Andrew Warner: I talk to people about what they do and I learn from them. I wasn’t sure what to do next with Mixergy and I did this interview with Laura Roeder, this woman who sells courses online. And I thought, “Ha, that makes sense how did she do it? Let’s learn from her.” She had ideas I tried them and got people to fill in the gaps and teach me more and sure enough I have a whole new product, courses on Mixergy.
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
Andrew Warner: “Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve,” by Napoleon Hill (Author of Think and Grow Rich).
I really do feel that if you think about what you want, and you are willing to put the effort into it, and really believe that you can do it, then you can.