In today’s episode of Hardcore MBA, Matthew talks to Sol Orwell who has done all kinds of work, including the popular nutrition site, examine.com (2+ million monthly users). Sol talks about the misconception of entrepreneurs that selling their companies and writing large checks is thought of as philanthropy or giving back. Nowadays, lifetime entrepreneurs raise funds for local charities through Food Offs, selling cookies or other types of food. His first fundraising event involved selling cookies, where he was able to raise $2,500. His next event, where he plans to sell sausages, is targeted to raise $10,000.
Sol works with entrepreneurs to get them thinking about volunteering time and thinking about ways to help their local communities. It’s about building relationships offline. Matthew expands on this, talking about his friend, A.J. Leon, and how he allocated 25% of his time to humanitarian causes. He even built this into his business plan as a core value.
Developing a business is good but crafting a legacy more important. It’s about balance.
There’s a trend towards businesses focusing on making a positive impact and not just focusing on making money. Philantroprise is becoming a bigger and bigger deal these days.
Examine.com is the largest database of nutritional supplement research where they get over 2,000,000 visitors a month. They have also been in Men’s Health, BBC, and the Guardian, as well as other mainstream media. He works from one business to another, where he puts somebody else in charge, so that person can become famous and recognized in the industry, and then he starts on another venture.
Sol thinks he can find a modicum of success and find satisfaction not just chasing every last cent you can get a hold of. The more people enjoying their lives, the better the world will be in general.
Entrepreneurs are in the people business and seem to know everyone. When thinking about networking and relationships, for every four people he comes across, Sol builds a relationship with one. He thinks about ‘what do you like that I like and what do I like that you like’.
It’s not about treating people as a big deal. It’s about thinking about who has an approach that connects with him and then he builds the connection there. To begin with, Sol always looks to get a warm introduction from someone else, and then shows value as a person and connect with them.
In short, Sol strives to work with people he likes and whose personalities, style, and approach connects with him.
Sol also likes taking things offline. Instead of inviting people for a cup of coffee, he has invited them to talk about specific topics over the best chocolate chip cookies in Toronto. Through this, he has met over 250 entrepreneurs over the last 4 years. He has clicked with about 50 with these and developed a friendship.
Their network extends to each other. He has referred people to his friend from Forbes and these articles have gone over well. He thinks about whether or not he would be okay inviting them to his house. He believes that ‘real’ relationship building is on the personal level.
He knows a lot of journalists and he talks about one who wrote about EDS, a condition that he has. When he emailed her, he connected with her in a way that the EDS became a starting point of their conversation. Now, they talk about the most bizarre things. Now, when she needs information on nutrition research, she contacts him. If you look to developing a new relationship on a business sense, you’d want to connect with them on a deeper human level. That is where the good stuff lies.
It’s a small world and we’re connected in bizarre ways. Sol doesn’t take a calculated approach. The more you build a reputation for being a cool person and that you know your stuff, people introduce you to other people. Sol has a lot of expertise in different areas and offers suggestions to help people with different things. The more you build your reputation the more these random doors open up. Being your best self and reach out to people you think are cool and may help you down the road.
People need to be true to themselves. There is no need to try hard when trying to make friends.
Going forward, when nurturing relationships, Sol uses Facebook and Instagram. He is very diligent about following and unfollowing people nonstop. Everyone in his newsfeed is someone he is interested in. The strength of his nurturing is through associations with someone in mind.
If he sees an article that applies to any of his friends, he sends it to them. He connects people in many ways too. In the simplest way, he becomes a hub. For him, nurturing is about remembering their peculiarities and going with them on that and opening up his network to him all the time. However, he follows up. If someone fails to deliver to his network, it’s one strike and you’re out.
A friend of Sol’s started some businesses that he thought was a genius. When a INC Magazine writer called him, he referred his friend and brought them together in a way that makes sense to everybody.
For outreach, any time he comes across articles, he looks at what else the author has written. He then ends up on their Twitter account and reaches out to them. When he sees there is a good connection, he reaches out.
Check out Sol’s websites at sgo.com and examine.com.
PS: Matthew Turner is the author of ‘The Successful Mistake: How 163 of The World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Transform Failure Into Success‘. If you would like to learn how successful people overcome adversity and failure, grab your free welcome pack at: successfulmistake.com/hardcore