On this week’s episode I spoke to my friend Brian David Crane. Brian is the founder of CallerSmart, an award-winning iOS app and website which helps users investigate mystery phone numbers, and avoid unwanted calls and texts. In his role as founder, Brian has written for Inc. Huffington Post, Tech.co, and elsewhere online about successfully building digital businesses and distributed teams.
Brian’s entrepreneur journey started when he co-founded a recycling company in high school. He built it throughout college, and then sold it at the age of 24. He then started a year-long, round-the-world trip the next year called “25 at 25”, and only went to 3 countries before losing interest in it for a few key reasons. He came back to the U.S. only to subsequently go belly-up in the 2008 financial crisis, and then reached out to friends who helped him land a job in Silicon Valley.
He spent 3 years in Silicon Valley where he was taught by several mentors how to build, grow, and scale digital businesses plus run distributed teams. He used what he learned to help launch four multi-million dollar brands, including Archives.com which was acquired by Ancestry.com for $100 million three years after its launch.
He became a self-made millionaire by the age of 30 and chased all that “success” supposedly entailed, only to find it unfulfilling. He sold most of his material possessions in 2014 to find his own recipe for fulfillment. He now travels with several of his closest friends. changing locations every few months and working from different places worldwide. He has visited over 40 countries and spent the majority of 2016 in Asia on the island of Bali.
My favorite parts of my chat with Brian were:
- 3:00 – The upsides and downsides of being a “digital nomad”, regularly traveling while trying to grow a business.
- 11:00 – How a cashflow business and a “disruptor” business can connect so you can have income and impact simultaneously.
- 17:00 – The appropriate role for “passion” in a new business. Brian doesn’t believe in “following your passion” in a business but he made a helpful distinction for what you can do instead, so passion isn’t totally absent.
- 25:40 – Brian’s insights into SEO in 2017 and the kind of approach that’s regularly winning today (Hint: brand building)
- ** 30:00 – How big companies get SEO traffic, almost instantly, without doing SEO themselves.**
- 35:40 – What Brian would do if he were starting again from scratch with no money to spend growing a new business.
- 42:00 – Brian’s answer to my question: “Can literally anyone start a business? Really?”… A spectacular analogy followed. It included the crucial statement…
- 45:00 – What Brian means when he says that in business you need to “bring more water than you think you’ll need”…
- 48:00 – Brian’s story about working from a beach in Brazil and what it taught him about “the entrepreneur lifestyle”.
- 52:50 – The discussion of what’s so beautiful in the entrepreneur’s life that nobody talks about.