Foundr: How to Launch a Wildly Successful Digital Magazine like Nathan Chan 93

Foundr Magazine: How to Launch a Wildly Successful Digital Magazine like Nathan Chan - Let's Reach Success blog

I’m a big fan of Foundr Magazine – one of the most successful digital publications for young entrepreneurs and startup founders.

Its creator, Nathan Chan, started from nothing, and built it up to a 6-figure business, and brough people like Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, and more, on the cover.

I talked about this successful business venture on the podcast a few episodes ago, but will now bring up the question again.

Let’s see how all this started, and what it takes to launch such a magazine in today’s competitive world.

Why and How Nathan Chan Started Foundr Magazine?

He started Foundr back in 2013 and it was his first real business.

The main thing people ask him, is why a magazine. That wasn’t one of the most popular formats, especially for newbies in the startup scene. What’s more, the field was conquered by names like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Time, and a few others you’re familiar with.

While still on his day job, he was listening to podcasts and reading stuff on entrepreneurship, just like anyone else. But nothing was exactly what he was looking for, so he decided to build such a product in the form of a magazine.

As we know, some of the best businesses are based on their founder’s passion or a problem he struggled with. That’s when you can be sure the product is great as there’s something personal involved, and it always reaches the right audience.

Such was the case with Instagram, where one of the founders – Kevin Systrom – pursued his passion for photography and his desire to give people a way to share their photos and make them even more beautiful. Well, millions of users are loving him for that every single day.

So, back to Nathan Chan.

He knew podcasts were quite a trend at that time, but mostly because of 1 element – the interview with a successful person and the life lessons he shared in an episode.

So, he kept that part, but used another medium.

That’s one of the ways he differentiated him, by not creating yet another blog, YouTube channel or podcast. He truly felt the need for such a product too.

But what about the tech side of all this?

Well, his area of expertise was IT, but he knew nothing about publishing, design and apps before he started. But he took the leap anyways.

He created the magazine using a special software that enables anyone to start one – MagCast.

The Early Days of Foundr

foundr magazine issues

Things weren’t easy in the beginning.

Nathan Chan actually used a different name for the magazine but got sued by a big American company. So he changed it, and anything else about the brand, and basically pivoted.

He chose Foundr without an E, not because there’s a competitor with that name, but because he wanted to make sure that no other product would be similar to his. Plus, it sounded better.

Design is one of the elements that make the magazine so successful. It’s easy to read and pleasant to look at. But Nathan had to try 3 different graphic designers until he found the right one.

It Wasn’t a Success in The Beginning

There weren’t only hardships for Nathan himself when he started, but the magazine wasn’t an overnight success either.

No one really knew about him and on the first issue cover, there was a stock image. But he followed the advice of Seth Godin who says ‘just ship it’ and launched anyways.

So, when talking about what it takes to become a successful startup founder, no matter what your product or niche is, it’s about persistence and patience before anything else.

Nathan didn’t consider the podcast an option in the beginning, it’s something that just happened naturally once things took off. And now the Foundr Podcast is big part of the brand and leads to many new prospects.

As for how long it took him to replace his regular job, that’s 1 year.

After that, he simply started making more from Foundr magazine and entered the world of digital publishing full-time.

Distributing The Magazine

Many people assume that when having a magazine, coming up with content would be the most difficult part. Well, it turns out it’s not.

Foundr is a monthly edition. Each month they have 3 interviews and around 7 or 8 articles. All that is turned into a PDF file.

Nathan and the team distribute it on the Apple and Google Play stores, and anything else is handled by the platforms from then on.

Something else worth mentioning, is that Nathan Chan was a true hustler. I don’t think there’s any other way to make it, build a great product and make millions.

After all, he built his way up to a well-known publisher.

No one wanted to be interviewed for a magazine they didn’t know about, but he took tens of steps to reach out to Richard Branson and get him on the cover, which is actually the issue he offers for free that hooks people.

He had to work on his project before and after work while at his 9-to-5 job, and even shares in an interview with Pat Flynn for the SPI podcast that he was doing it during his lunch break too.

Another thing worth mentioning is the message of Foundr magazine.

Nathan Chan started it because he wanted a publication that would resonate with a specific group of people – young entrepreneurs and early stage startup founders.

Since then, with every issue of the magazine, every blog post and podcast episode, every Instagram image quote that’s part of their social media strategy, design element on the site or product, he’s been following the same values and vision.

What’s Different About Foundr?

The main elements that make it great are:

  • design;
  • smart strategies;
  • having a strong message and staying true to it;
  • different medium;
  • reaching influencers that are usually hard to get;
  • dominating the right social media platform for their audience;
  • practical and motivational content that speaks to the reader;
  • doing all the necessary hard work in the beginning to create a fantastic product.

What do you think about the success story of Foundr magazine?




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What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 4

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.


Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.