What do you do when you start a new business, lose over six figures, and nearly destroy the existing business that is your primary source of income? Well, first you learn a lot. Then, in my case, you find a different way to realize your vision.
Here’s the back story—we launched what is now called New Theory on August 1, 2017. The date was significant because it is my mother’s birthday. We’d lost her the previous year and I wanted to pay homage to everything she did for me. She sacrificed everything to raise her six children after our father left when I was two.
So this magazine was not simply a website, but a connection to my mother’s memory. I needed that connection partly because we lost her suddenly and I was never able to say a proper goodbye.
I started an online publication with the hopes of providing information that is informative and would satisfy the curiosity of the forward thinker. We beefed up the staff from three people to eight to scale the website in hopes of having a national brand. I learned the hard way that making money in media is a delicate task as you need to feed the content beast (which is insatiable) while bringing in enough advertisers to cover your costs while you grow.
Without getting too much into specifics, I brought the wrong people on the bus. These people simply did not see the vision for the brand, or didn’t have the necessary talent to fulfill its promise.
As a result, I lost over six figures as it almost crashed the website as well my digital marketing agency which is my bread and butter. I was riddled with debt, but wanted to maintain the vision despite much fewer resources. I reduced the website staff from eight people to three and began cranking out more relevant content that our readers enjoy. Instead of writing about why I don’t feel like getting out of bed, we focus on relevant topics such as bitcoin, entrepreneurship, poetry and even cute pet videos for dedicated animal lovers. We launched as a Millennial-focused periodical, but later expanded to Gen X and Gen Z and those generational bookends enjoyed our content as much as Gen Y. I was in a jam—I wanted to keep the dream alive, but didn’t know how.
It might sound odd considering I own a digital magazine, but I write very poorly. So I decided to start a podcast. I’ve had a relatively successful career in sale, which means I’ve developed a talent for asking questions. So the New Theory podcast was born. I want to share what I learned in life and business from doing 100 podcasts with some A list guests.
#1 — Nathan Chan
Nathan is the Founder of Foundr Magazine and he called into the podcast to share why he left his full-time job to start a magazine. He landed some big names such as Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington for his front covers.
What I learned: Do what you’re passionate about and don’t be afraid to go after the big fish. These celebrities have egos and want a front cover. He supplied it, and it catapulted his business.
#2 — Perez Hilton
Perez may seem like a gossip hound who simply dishes dirt, but he is a businessman who launched a website at the right time. His blog started over 14 years ago. He’s stayed at it ever since and it’s made him a household name.
What I learned: Don’t be afraid to do things when no one else is doing them. There was no TMZ when Perez started, but he decided to share gossip on celebrities, and his audience ate it up. I also learned that, despite being successful, this guy is a machine. He manages his website which is now a multi media property and even started his podcast with Chris Booker. He does not take his foot off the pedal despite being wildly successful.
Dr. Steinbrech is a Plastic Surgeon out of LA and NYC as he “zigged” when everybody “zagged.” He decided to focus his practice on men’s aesthetics back in 2013 when men only made up 8 percent of the market. Now, men’s aesthetics has skyrocketed over 100% since 1997.
What I learned: Don’t follow the herd. When everyone is going one direction, it’s OK to go another. Your risk may be greater, but so is the reward. I also learned to open one location, perfect your craft, then expand when you’re ready. Dr. Steinbrech started out in NYC and then opened an LA office when he nailed down the process.
#1 –Michael Franzese
Michael was a Mafia captain who was making $5 to $8 million a week for the Colombo Crime Family in New York City. His father is the oldest living mafia member and recently was released from prison. He later walked away without any harm and later became a Christian speaker.
What I learned: Although I did pick his brain about how he made a boatload of money, I focused on who he is a person. I learned two important things; despite being Italian myself, I am not my father’s son in the way he paved his son’s way. Despite being in the mafia, the mafia wasn’t him. Although he loves and respects his father, he chose his path. That was a major lesson for me, even at 41 years old—I can break the chains of the past and not repeat my father’s mistakes. I also learned that you sometimes need to pivot in life from the initial path that you chose.
#2 — Dr. Philip J. Miller
Dr. Miller is a Facial Plastic Surgeon in NYC. He decided to get into medicine after watching Mash. He wanted to merge his talents and intellect to become not only a doctor but to focus on the nose. It may sound weird at first, but after talking to him, I was envious of his career and life.
What I learned: Despite a great business lesson such as focusing on one thing and becoming great at it, I had a huge appreciation for Dr. Miller as a father. He has two kids that are starting college. Rather than focus on what he says, I focus on what he does, which is always be there for his children, despite being a high profile plastic surgeon. Taking even a day off of work can be costly in his field, but he strikes the right balance of being a great father while being a top doctor in his field. I learned that I could do both through proper balance.
I never thought I’d get into podcasting, even more so, I never thought I’d learn so much from my guests. But truly, they are giving me an education that is worth the six figures I “invested” in taking this path.
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