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Yanik Silver, founder of Evolved Enterprise, a business which helps entrepreneurs them discover their passion and purpose — and give them the tools to get there. Part of the growth of his business was due to influencer marketing.
In Yanik's Growth Everywhere interview, he shared his journey in the online space, starting with an idea that popped into his head at 3 a.m., how he made 6 figures within the first couple months, the business lessons he learned from Richard Branson, and why it sometimes takes a loss of $400K to realize that you’re just not there yet.
About starting his company
Yanik: The quick background is that I actually got started in the online space in 2000. Literally, at three o'clock in the morning I woke up with this idea for a site called Instant Sales Letters, and it became my first million dollar product. Within the first couple months on track to do six figures and people are like ‘Whoa, how did you do that?' That turned into me helping other people take their content information expertise and sell that online.
About ten years ago, I asked myself a really simple sounding question: Am I happy?
If I was honest, the answer was no. I mean outside looking in I had made a lot of money, drove a really hot car, had a great family, had a great reputation in the online marketing space, which isn't always that easy, but I just knew or thought that I had something bigger to do and give . Originally, I started something called Maverick Business Adventures, which I thought would be my ultimate passion business: Get entrepreneurs together, do well trips and combine it with business and some sort of charity.
Fast forward about $400,000 in and my wife's like ‘What the hell are you doing?'
And it forced me to think about what really mattered? Part of that process was actually getting all the pieces here for Evolved Enterprise. That's really where we started applying this framework of Evolved Enterprise, but Maverick 1000 is this idea of how we can get together a thousand of the world's game-changing leading entrepreneurs to support each other, our personal growth, our business growth, make the world a better place through our entrepreneurial talents, and also have a bunch of fun in the process.
How Yanik Connected With Richard Branson
A friend of mine, Joe Polish, made a quick connection with Richard and thought maybe I could do this trip to Necker Island that would support and raise money for his charity. I was actually one of the first people that signed up for it because [one of my dreams was to] have lunch with Richard Branson. He's been one of my biggest business heroes. He's associated with 300+ businesses and yet, he wants to make a difference in the world.
Joe and I ended up partnering the second year to bring people to Necker Island and now it's become a trip that we run ourselves. It's really in alignment with these involved enterprise principals because Richard and I definitely share that shared belief that business can be the greatest lever to make a difference in the world. And now I've actually been asked to join the board. It's been a full-circle journey!
How Yanik Gathers Influencers and Entrepreneurs
Cool. I want to talk about Maverick 1000 a little bit more, but what are some key lessons you think or I guess, even key habits you've taken away from Richard while hanging out with him?
Seeing Richard was getting to witness somebody who is kind of the ultimate entrepreneur. It's fascinating because he is more concerned about bringing on great people than a particular business.
Some of his 300+ businesses are just licensing deals: Where Virgin Brand is licensed to these companies, which are more straightforward, but some like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic, he's pretty involved. Regardless, it always comes back to bringing in good people. He won't start a venture or take one on unless there's a key president or key person there. That's been one of his pieces. You know it sounds so trite when he says it. It's just like well, of course. Go hire good people and bring them in and even you can't afford it and even when you don't think that. He says that you want to move yourself out of a business as fast as you can.
Another one for absolute sure is he doesn't take himself too seriously. He has a lot of fun: He's been able to build almost like this Fantasy Island in a way [on Necker Island] and he has a rule there of there's no work in the afternoon and it sounds almost … again it's so simple, but he absolutely believes in that you get more done by A, constraining the time that you have things to do and then also making sure that you're continually rejuvenating yourself and making sure that you're taking care of yourself.
He also starts every morning with some sort of physical activity and we've talked about this a great deal. Just that is such a key part of his daily routine. He'll go kite boarding in the morning. He'll swim around the island mostly now it's been about tennis. He'll play tennis in the morning.
He has two assistants that are with him at all times. One that is his main assistant and they'll … she's the one who really sits and sorts his workload of who he needs to respond to and how and then … he'll dictate and she'll provide the stuff that. She works way more than four hours a day.
Just to be around him is fascinating because he's in conversation. He's in conversation with you, right? There's no phone that he's constantly checking or texting while he's having a conversation. It's just. He's engaged with you. It's powerful. It's really amazing to just be around him.
Back to Maverick 1000, we have a public event: Camp Maverick. It's still curated, like an application, but it's a lot of fun; summer camp activities, but then we bring in some really amazing speakers and have them do, not key notes, but more like fire side chats and so forth, but me personally.
I mean I'm a big fan of meeting other people so figuring out places that I can meet exceptional entrepreneurs and people doing very cool things. I might be going to a couple conferences. If I'm not speaking at one, then it's attending them.
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