Five Years Ago, Richard Branson invited me and my wife to spend 4 days on his private island.
I turned him down.
That decision lasted exactly as long as it took to tell my wife about it. Within minutes, my plans to go mountain biking that particular week were cancelled, and Lorraine and I were stocking up on sunscreen.
Necker Island beckoned, but it wasn’t all going to be fun and games. In addition to four days of beach, kitesurfing, and partying, I was asked to give a 40-minute presentation on “turning dreams to realities” as part of a 4-day conference for women business owners called “finding your purpose”.
So that first morning on the island, after my presentation but before heading to the beach, I hung around to find out what this “finding your purpose” stuff was all about.
Ten minutes in I was transfixed. It was as if they were speaking directly to me. As one speaker followed another, and my beach towel lay forgotten under my chair, I couldn’t help but wonder: what was my purpose? I had never really thought about it.
Since I had left Netflix in 2002, I had always worked with other entrepreneurs, doing my best to help them find some of the same success I had. But that wasn’t altruistic – in many ways it was a selfish way to feed my own startup addiction. And even though I knew that the hundreds of hours I spent mentoring other founders was helping them, I really was only helping a handful of people each year.
My public speaking was at the other end of that spectrum. As many as 10,000 people would sit and listen to what I had to say. But with only an hour with them, how much could I really change their direction?
As I sat there on Necker Island and listened to speaker after speaker, as one day turned to the next, and it as it became painfully obvious that we had brought way too much sunscreen, something else became clear:
The whole purpose of my entrepreneurial journey wasn’t about me – it was about sharing it. Sharing all the startup tips, tricks, and secrets I had learned over 40 years. Sharing the real stories of entrepreneurial life that aren’t taught in business school (or seen on Shark Tank). It was doing whatever I could to unlock the dreams that we all have inside us, and show that everyone has the abilities to turn those dreams into reality.
Just 18 months later, that revelation led to my decision, sixteen years after leaving Netflix, to finally write a book about it.
And now it leads here. To the That Will Never Work Podcast. I’ve been working on it for nearly a year and it launches today!
Like most of my project, this one began as a crazy idea. In the last fifteen years, I’ve done hundreds (if not thousands) of one-on-one coaching sessions with entrepreneurs. I spent hours on the phone each week; dispensing advice, encouraging, and mentoring, but it still didn’t have the impact I wanted.
I decided to try something different . . . I decided to record the sessions.
My very first recorded call was with Megan, founder of Foxie. She spent more than 10 years working for a pickup artist; but recently struck out on her own, starting her own company to use those same skills to help everyone – men and women – build more genuine connections.
I spoke with Daz, a young woman in New Zealand building a business running virtual exercise sessions for new mothers, struggling to figure out the role of technology in her business.
That summer, I recorded nearly 20 of these calls and learned a lot:
I learned that in an hour-long conversation there was always something I could do or say to get people a bit further down their path.
I learned to ask smarter questions, listen more carefully, and home in more accurately on the true nature of their problem.
But most importantly, I realized that the calls were interesting! That listeners identified with the protagonists. That they faced similar problems. That they were able to resonate with the advice as if they were the ones sitting across from me.
I think it’s a powerful experience, but I want you to find out for yourself. Today I’m releasing the first two episodes of the That Will Never Work Podcast. It’s available on all the major podcast platforms, as well as here on my website. I hope you’ll have a listen.
I’ll say right up front that this podcast isn’t for everyone. I’m not going to be interviewing celebrity entrepreneurs (which has been done to death). You won’t find witty repartee with a co-host (not my style). You’ll just hear me doing the best I can to help other entrepreneurs find some of the same success I’ve been lucky to.
Over the coming months you’ll not only meet Megan and Daz, but dozens of other entrepreneurs trying to take their ideas to the next level.
You’ll meet Marta, founder of an online erotic art gallery wrestling with how to effectively promote her business on social media – without having overly moralistic censors ban her from the platform.
And Paul, launching a 66,000 square foot indoor adventure park and wondering how an 80+ hour work week will affect his life balance.
Or Gupreet, who’s trying to figure out to get her “Uber for Health Care” idea out of her head and into the real world.
You’ll find that their struggles are universal, and that the advice, encouragement and tough love that I dispense can be useful to every entrepreneur.
You will be impressed by the commitment, the courage and the creativity of the entrepreneurs I speak with.
But for me, the biggest surprise has been just how much more rewarding this has been than almost anything else I’ve done.
The beach can wait. I’ve got calls to make.
P.S. If you want to discuss your business challenges with me – and potentially appear on a future episode of the That Will Never Work podcast, I would love to chat. Just visit me at www.marcrandolph.com/apply or leave me a message at 1-888-MARC-POD.
P.P.S. If you are starting a business, working on an existing one, or even just dreaming of it, this podcast is for you. But if it’s not for you, but you know someone who might enjoy it, I would be forever in your debt if you could help me let them know it exists.