Ep. 150 – Dane Maxwell built $2 million companies by starting 16 businesses, and failing with 11
He almost didn't think there was a place for him to belong anywhere, but business saved his life and gave him a sense of purpose and significance. That kind of belonging gave him endless fuel because he had never felt it before. He started 16 business and failed a lot, 11 times.
Each time he learned, figured out what worked and what didn't and has started 5 successful profitable businesses. He has gone on to create over 15 millionaires with his teachings. He specializes in helping underdogs start successful businesses. Dane also has a passion for singing and he is the author of the upcoming book Start From Zero.
Most passionate about
I’m extremely passionate about loving my customers. I’m always passionate about demonstratively and deeply listening and really striving to care and love the customers I’m working with, in all my businesses. It’s extremely profitable.
Listen to your customers in terms of the intention that you can hold people when you listen so deeply to them so you know their inner workings and thoughts, and so you can speak to them in a way that’s different from how they expect to be spoken to.
One of the fastest ways entrepreneurs can exponentially amplify their results by 10X or more is by determining whether they are unconsciously arrogant and by determining where they aren’t listening to their customers. Then they should start listening to them.
For example, one of my friends helps customers build their YouTube channels. Her customers said they wanted to make money right away on YouTube. My friend said, “No, you don’t want to do that. It takes two years to make money on YouTube.” I told her that she wasn’t listening to her customers, who wanted fast results. Then she thought of a few creative ways in which she could help her customers. Imagine how her marketing would change if she offered her customers, “How to make money your first 30 days on YouTube.”
It could lead to a whole new innovation, like a piano teacher who tells her student, “I’m going to teach you to play Bach and Mozart and all the great classics.” The kid says, ”I don’t want to play classical music. I want to play the songs on the radio.” Of course, she says, “No! That’s not how we do it.” But imagine what could happen if she offered her students, “How to play all your favorite songs on the radio in 60 days.” It’s “game over.” She wins the market.
That’s how you love: by listening to your customers. You start by looking for where you aren’t listening. I lost a lot of money by not listening to my customers.
Now I have a new process to help people break through entrepreneurial blocks and I offer a free five-day email course.
I feel my eyes tearing … I built $2 million companies and I did it by really listening and serving, and failing a lot ... and learning.
I don’t know if people realize how much experimentation is required to get something to work.
Today, starting entrepreneurs give up after their second idea! I didn’t really figure things out until I had done 16 ideas. Sixteen! Eleven failed and five succeeded.
Some people are phenomenal at the violin by age 12. They have to practice and such, but they just have it. For whatever reason, I just have great business acumen. I have great internal power recognition and intuition about how to go about business.
When I started, my back was against the wall. I had no money. I was in my parents’ basement. I was unemployed. I intuitively created a path by reading books and blogs. But I was also ignoring a lot of what I read. I built my first software company and products. I didn’t come up with the ideas, I didn’t write the code, I didn’t fund the development. I own the business. I’m an owner.
I got my knowledge from reading a ton of books and from failing. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff. Eleven ideas failed. They were all my ideas. Five ideas worked and none of those ideas were mine. So, I stopped coming up with new ideas. I succeeded with these five ideas because I listened. I truly listened.
You can make so much money so quickly just from listening. And I’ll probably continue to fail. I failed with a software project just last year—I lost a lot of money.
Dane’s best advice for entrepreneurs
Release products that people want to pay for...?!
Really search your heart for why you do what you’re doing.
Serve or die!
Biggest failure with customers
You want one failure or you want one hundred...? I fail a lot.
I’ve been teaching students to become entrepreneurs for six years now. I listen to them all the time. However, one day quite recently I decided to ask a customer who wanted to buy my entrepreneurial program, “What will make it irresistible for you to buy?” He said, “I just want to leave my job.” I thought to myself, ‘That can’t be it.’ So I asked him, “Are you sure? That’s it? All you want to do is quit your job?” And he said, “That’s it.” And suddenly I realized that it makes sense … but I never used that language with my clients before. The other thing is that I don’t know how to teach people to quit their jobs fast. I mean, I know how to build an entrepreneurial mind and an entrepreneurial business. My students become millionaires in four years’ time—that’s the average. But this is four years. I don’t know how to teach students to quit their jobs fast. So, I hired an expert who knows how to quit jobs fast, so to speak, and I’m paying him 20% of the profits.
Last week, when we started to sell the course, we made something like $9,000 on a random day. We’ve never sold that much, or even close to it, in one day. I’ve done a $2 million product launch but that took around a year. And here we sold three courses in one day for almost $9,000. I mean, if I would have listened sooner, I probably could have $6 million or $10 million cash in the bank that I don’t currently have.
I’m saying: Go out and ask your customers, “What would make it irresistible for you to buy?” And then freaking listen to them.
Biggest success due to the right customer approach
I have a company called paperless pipeline.com. It’s a software-as-a-service company. It’s a wonderful business and I work zero hours on it. Passive income is very real!
It was the seventh business that I built. I got the idea by being absolutely devoted to a customer. He bought a product and, two weeks later, I sent him a personal email that asked him how he was doing. He answered, “I’m doing great. Can I talk with you on the phone?” On the phone, he told me, “I was so blown away by your customer support for the product that I bought, and I think you might be able to build another product for me.” He said that he needed a transaction management platform. I had no idea how to build that but he told me, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to build it.” So, I hired a developer. We worked together and built the first version in eight weeks. Today, it’s a seven-figure business that started because I took great care of my customers.
Most recommended technological tool
Google Docs and Facebook Messenger with my target customers.
Dane’s key success factor
Strength of heart! Stand for what you want. Most people can’t do it. Most of us are too scared to take a stand for anything in the first place.
Because we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, or conquering a mountain, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?
I have a completely different perspective on the mountain question—like a reverse mountain. I don’t try to climb anything and I’m not striving to climb anything. I would be at the top of a valley with a big bag of water. From the top of the valley, I’d pour down the water and watch the way it moved. And I would build my moats and river around that.
I don’t see building businesses as an exhausting, uphill, striving effort that involves working up to the top of the mountain. I see it as finding the best path down.
I want to say how much I agree that so much time is wasted on BS thoughts. So many days go by when we don’t believe that we are lovable, or that we are beautiful, or that we have potential.
There are two words that everybody should use to get through the most difficult situations: “It’s possible!”
Want to learn how to choose the best Name and Logo? Not sure which customers to focus on right now and where they are? Want to build your website, or trying to figure out how and what content to share on social media?