The Quick Summary
Mixergy is where the ambitious learn from a mix of experienced mentors.
Hi, I’m Andrew Warner. In my 20s, I used credit cards and ingenuity to create a $30+ mil / year (in sales) internet business with my younger brother. I created Mixergy to help ambitious people who love business as much as I do learn from a mix of experienced mentors. I do that through interviews where founders tell their stories and courses where they teach a solution to issues that can cripple founders.
The Mixergy Mission
The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you.
The Mixergy Mission is to give you an alternative to the “know-it-all, professional gurus.” I want to convince you that no single person knows it all. I want to show you that the best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise and experiences.
The Mixergy Mission is to infect you with a passion for business and then help you build your business.
The Mixergy Mission is to encourage YOU to have a mission, not just a startup, not just a company, but a calling.
The Mixergy Mission is to act as a counter-weight to all the “startup guys” who try to convince you that the only reason to build a business today is so you can flip it tomorrow. The world is NOT changed by people who have an eye on the exit.
The Mixergy Mission is to convince you to follow a vision so big and important that you can’t do it alone. Then I want to give you a mix of wicked-smart people who will help you achieve it.
The Mixergy Mission is too big for me to achieve alone. If what I’m describing here calls to you, jump in and join me.
The Andrew Warner Story
For the first 3-4 years that I ran Mixergy, I never talked about MY story. I wanted Mixergy to be about helping YOU, not about ME. But ever since Neil Patel convinced me to talk about my businesses (and even show my financials), Mixergy took off and I connected with more people. So here goes.
Starting out in business
In my early 20s, my brother Michael and I started an internet company called Bradford & Reed. Michael is a clever developer and I’ve been a passionate salesman my whole life, so we teamed up. Our first product was an email newsletter. That business did okay, but Michael and I didn’t become entrepreneurs to just do “okay.”
So we tried a bunch of different ideas. One of them was online greeting cards. We started out creating our own cards, but we quickly realized that we didn’t have an eye for design. So we focused on what we knew best. Michael coded up a system that enabled designers to create shareable electronic greeting cards. And I went out and sold ads so we could generate revenue from those cards.
Hitting it big
Our revenue grew to over $1 million a month. I was in my mid-20s and Michael was still too young to rent a car on a business trip, but we made it. We were processing over 400,000 greeting cards per day. If you have access to traffic stats from around the year 2000, you’ll see that we were a top 25 property. (Here’s a chart showing Bradford & Reed as a #19 property in terms of traffic.)
Because we were so lean, Bradford & Reed grew beyond greeting cards into other internet businesses. It was fun. We were lucky to work with very smart people who were also our friends. The startup atmosphere of the company allowed us to keep experimenting with business ideas.
In 2003, I was burned out. I used to think that only wimps took breaks, so I foolishly worked nonstop until I couldn’t keep going. Michael and I sold the business’s properties. When I worked on Bradford & Reed, if anyone asked me, “what’s your exit strategy?” I proudly said, “death.” I wanted to be like my heroes in business, people like Sam Walton, Malcolm Forbes, and Warren Buffett who spent their whole lives building 1 company. But I didn’t have any more to give. So I had to move on.
Taking a break
In 2003, I gave away all my “stuff” and lived a simple life. After spending my 20s worrying — about salaries, whether the office was locked at night, what would happen if a server died just as our traffic spiked, etc — I wanted time without responsibilities or obligations.
I spent my days cycling. I devoured books. I read the Wall Street Journal cover-to-cover. (May not sound like fun to some people, but for me that was heaven.) And I traveled. Nothing extravagant, but it wasn’t. I kept it simple.
The Mixergy Story
In 2004, I got started on one of my dreams: to be like the mentors who infected me with a passion for business and taught me how to build my company. I started speaking at colleges and even scheduled one-on-sessions with people who wanted my help. It was all very small, slow and not very fulfilling.
Then, I read about this underdog who was running for president. His name was Howard Dean, and even though he was a nobody he was suddenly growing a movement. I thought the key to his success was his local meetups. So I figured I’d copy his idea and use meetups to help businesspeople. I called my events “Mixergy,” a combination of the words “mixer” and “energy.”
From the start, the events were a hit, but then I got distracted. I became obsessed with building an online invitation to manage the events. I spend thousands of dollars to develop the right invitation. Then tens of thousands. Then, before I knew it, I was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was all my own — hard earned — money. And it was all spent on a system that wasn’t part of my main mission.
So I admitted failure and re-focused on the events.
Mixergy is reborn
Then I discovered interviewing. Smart people were coming to my events and I wanted the rest of the world to meet them and learn from them. So I did interviews and posted them online. I found that I loved learning and asking questions. And I kept getting emails from people who loved the interviews and told me what they learned helped their businesses.
Mixergy gets traction
Neil Patel, who I met when he spoke at a Mixergy event, kept pushing me to talk about my Bradford & Reed experiences. I thought he was trying to make me into one those get-rich-quick gurus, so I refused. But Neil is a smart guy, and he convinced me that people had a natural curiosity about who I was and why I was doing this work. He kept assuring me that talking about my track-record would help my mission at Mixergy because it would add to my credibility.
Neil was right. Once I did this post and showed my financials, Mixergy took off.
What Mixergy is today
Today Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts.
The people who speak on this web site are businesspeople who take some time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences. They are people like Jimmy Wales who taught us how he got the world to help him make Wikipedia into a world-changing site. And people like Gregg Spiridellis who told us how it felt to watch his company, JibJab, get reduced to almost nothing, and taught us how he turned his business around.
What’s your input?
Not only are more people watching and reading my work now, but they’re guiding me and helping me make Mixergy better and more useful every day. The best example of that came from a reader named Bob Hiler, who read the words you just read and noticed that this site was slowing down more and more as it grew. Since then, he virtually rebuilt the site from the ground up and helped me build an organization around Mixergy, so it can grow without burning me out the way I did in the Bradford & Reed days.
Mixergy is improving every day because people like you are guiding this mission in ways I never would have considered. If you have any suggestions for how I can improve Mixergy, let me know.