How MindValley Founder Built A $40M Company With Only $700 – with Vishen Lakhiani

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 - 9:00 AM PST

Today’s interviewee is a guy who called himself a mediocre entrepreneur, who previously got shot down when he tried to get funding, and yet he took $700, only $700, and built a company that’s now valued at over $40 million.

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder of MindValley, an education investment group that builds and invests in education businesses.

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About Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder of MindValley, an education investment group that builds and invests in education businesses.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart.

And this interview is sponsored by Walker Corporate Law. You’re going to find out about him specifically, actually, when we get to the point in this interview where we talk about the legalities of how to form your company.

But for now I want to introduce you to today’s interviewee. He’s a guy who called himself a mediocre entrepreneur, who previously got shot down when he tried to get funding, and yet he took $700, only $700, and built a company that’s now valued at over $40 million.

Vishen Lakhiani, Vishen I’m so sorry, but I’m not editing this out. People have to see that even though I have the phonetic pronunciation on my screen, I still made a mistake. Vishen Lakhiani is the founder of Mindvalley, an education investment group. They build and invest in education businesses. He’s also a very analytical guy who loves teaching entrepreneurship. He has a blog where he likes to dissect how he thinks. It’s called Mindvalley Insights. And other people from his team all help him write it, and they talk about what they’ve learned in business and share it.

Vishen, welcome.

Vishen: Hi. Welcome. I’m glad to be here.

Andrew: I’m glad to have you here. So, you were born in Kuala Lumpur?

Vishen: Yes, I was. I’m Malaysian by birth. I was born in Kuala Lumpur. Spent about 9 years in the U. S. That’s where I started Mindvalley. And then due to, you know, America’s tight immigration policies, I ended up having to move back to Kuala Lumpur with my wife, she’s European, and that’s where we started. That’s where we built up the company. Mindvalley started in Times Square in New York City.

Andrew: Um-hmm.

Vishen: And now, we operate from Mindvalley HQ which is in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a beautiful office space there. And I’m proud to say that our office in Kuala Lumpur just made Inc. Magazine’s Top Ten Coolest Places on the Planet list.

Andrew: I want to get into how you built up Mindvalley but let me understand the person behind the business first. I often say that for me, growing up in New York made me a guy who would call himself an ambitious upstart because I looked around and saw all these businesses and buildings built by individuals with outsized dreams. How did growing up in Kuala Lumpur influence you?

Vishen: Well, it actually, and I hate to say this at the risk of offending anyone else who grew up in Malaysia, but it helped me, it made me grow up with mediocre dreams. The thing about it is, when you’re growing up in the developing world, your role models tend to be the people around you.

Now remember, I’m 37 years old right now. When I grew up in Kuala Lumpur, there was no internet. I was not on Facebook interacting with people from all around the world. I was not having friends share with my Inc. Magazine articles or amazing things that people like Elon Musk are doing, or beautiful new offices that Google had built.

My vision of the world was what I saw around me. And that vision was mediocre. I saw engineers working in gray-walled factories supervising factory workers in assembly plants. That was my vision of what it was to be an entrepreneur, to be an engineer. In terms of entrepreneurship, I mean, my dad was my entrepreneuring role model. He inspired me to be an entrepreneur but the way he worked in terms of entrepreneurship and what I witnessed wasn’t very attractive.

I mean, he ran an export/import company. It was a warehouse. Growing up as a teenager I would be with him hauling boxes on the back of trucks to be shipped out to department stores around the city. It was back-breaking work. So growing up in the developing world, the big issue is you don’t dream nearly big enough. Now the internet is changing that. During the Nineties when I was a teenager, that was my, that was what I saw. So my whole vision of the world in business was kind of gray compared to what we see now.

Andrew: And in that gray vision, what did you imagine for your future?

Vishen: Well, the one thing that really, really shaped me when I was growing up was reading. I read a ton. You’ll notice the stack of books behind me.

Andrew: Yeah.

Vishen: But as a teenager, I had about 1,000 books in my room, and many of those books had a profound influence on me. Now the books I tend to read were books such as “The Silva Method” by Jose Silva. Or “Psycho- Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz. Now these books spoke about self-image. They spoke about how we become the thoughts in our head. Your self-image of how you want, the role you want to play in the world tends to become true for you. So when I was growing up, I was very conscious of this. And even though I didn’t have direct exposure to the Internet, I mean I only really set foot in America for the first time when I was 17 years old. But because [??] biographies.

Andrew: Um-hmm.

Vishen: And these biographies helped give me a much broader sense of what I was capable of.

Andrew: And do you remember one that was especially influencing that sent you off in the direction that you’re in right now?

Vishen: Absolutely.

Andrew: Which one?

Vishen: Akio Morita, and it was called “Made in Japan.” And it spoke about how this guy growing up in Asia, in post-World War II, Japan, built a company, Sony. Now grant it, this was the ’90s, right? Sony was the Apple, in terms of electronics in the ’90s, it was a massive company. But to think that Akio Morita built this up in Asia, in a worse climate than what I was in, in my developing country, I mean, he built up Sony in post- war Japan, when factories had been completely bombed out, that was inspiration to me. And that gave me hope that I could do something similar, regardless of where I happen to be born.

Andrew: And how did your dad, who was going through that hard work, look at these dreams that you were starting to develop, and this belief in personal super powers, how did he feel about it?

Vishen: Well, my dad was a big believer in those things, so he was the one who kept recommending these books to me.

Andrew: Really?

Vishen: Um-hmm.

Andrew: And even though he had this understanding of the human potential, he was still doing hard work in Kuala Lumpur, how did he fell about that?

Vishen: Remember, back in the 1990s, he… See, I grew up in a family where my mom was a public school teacher, and my dad worked twenty-two years in a department store as a manager. And, in those twenty-two years, as we were growing up, until I was about twelve years old, we never really had much money. I mean, if we put this in U.S. dollar terms, maybe, quantitatively, as a three person family, we made $2,000 a month. I slept on mattress next to my parent’s bed until I was twelve years old. It was only . . . And I went to a really, horrible government school.

It was only when my dad decided to quit his department store, and he told me later that he quit because of me, because he realized that if he continued being an employee, he would never have enough money to really send me for a good education. So, he quit, and he started his own business. Now, it wasn’t a luxurious, glamorous business, like how we think of entrepreneurship right now, but it was a decent business, import/export, running a warehouse.

He would import items from around the world, distribute them across Malaysia, and I saw how that freedom, you know, changed our family, how we suddenly had money coming in. And this idea entered my head that entrepreneurship, even though it may be backbreaking, was something that I wanted to do. And I never wanted to work for anyone. I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur as fast as I could.

Andrew: Do you remember going into his work place with him?

Vishen: Absolutely.

Andrew: What did you see? What did it look like? What did it feel like?

Vishen: Well, it was messy, it was chaotic, it was all in boxes in the back of trucks. It was a warehouse that was basically it, in a worn out part of town.

Andrew: I see. And did you see him, was he proud of it?

Vishen: Absolutely, yes, because compared to where he was before, this was a big deal. And I was proud of him, and that’s what sparked me to be an entrepreneur. Now, the thing though was, when I moved to America, when I moved to the U. S., I studied Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, right? Now, our ideas, our visions, of what is potential, define who we become. Now, I got lucky at U of M.

I ended up scoring an internship at Microsoft. This was 1998. Microsoft was the kind of software back then. I know Google just overtook Microsoft as the second most valuable tech company in the planet, but back then, it was all about Microsoft.

Andrew: Microsoft was what Apple and Google combined are today.

Vishen: Absolutely, yeah. So back then, I got to work in Redmond [SP]. Bill Gates invited all the interns to his house for a barbecue. I don’t know if he does it anymore, but I got to actually, walk to Bill Gates’ home. Now, all of this set a new benchmark for who I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I decided, I wanted to give my employees flextime. I wanted the office beer keg parties on a Friday. I wanted to be able to take my employees, but them in a bus, ship them out to movies, all of this changed that view.

Now, when I returned back to Michigan, there I saw another example of a crazy, successful, entrepreneur. It was a senior in my university. His name was John. He stated an advertising agency called Beyond Interactive, and within a few years he sold it to Gray Interactive for about twenty million. Now, I worked . . . I was one of their earlier employees, and I also got to see the way John ran that. You know, running a business that was growing rapidly from working in his shorts, and being a college kid, and that too shaped my head.

So, before I went back to Malaysia, I had developed a completely different view of what was capable. Now, that view became a reality, so when I ended up finally going to Malaysia, and there’s a story in itself, right? I started my [?] . . .

Andrew: I’m sorry, let’s hold it . . . I want to take it slow because there’s so much that I want to learn about you, including, at the top of the interview, I said that you were a mediocre engineer, because I read an article where you called yourself that.

Vishen: Right.

Andrew: You didn’t do that well in school. How does someone who reads books that show him his potential, who sees a dad who grows into his potential, who goes to Bill Gates’ house and sees what all that potential can lead to. How do you feel about being a mediocre engineer? I don’t want to just blow that off like it’s a statement that was in a blog somewhere.

Vishen: So here’s the thing. When you’re growing up in an Asian family in the ’90s, education is a really big thing, right? If you’re growing up in and Indian or Chinese family, education is an asset.

However, many Indian and Chinese teenagers and college kids are encouraged by their parents to study science or law or engineering and not the arts or business or humanities. It’s not about the stuff that brings you pleasure, it’s about what’s going to make you money. ‘Cause of course they have this whopping school bill that you’re going to have to pay for.

So I went into computer engineering not because it fascinated me, but because in the 1990′s every Indian family wanted their son to be the next Bill Gates. He was the richest man in the world. I studied computer engineering because, you know, kind of it was what my society expected me to do, not because I really enjoyed it.

When I went to Michigan, what I did was I was really into photography and theater. The only A’s I got in university were for acting classes and it was for photography, two things I’m still really passionate about today. But I sucked as an engineer.

Andrew: Didn’t you feel bad about yourself then?

Vishen: No, absolutely not. I mean, I was fearful of where I was going to end up. I mean I graduated with a 2.5 GPA.

Andrew: I heard that the first two companies you started failed. What was the first of those two failures?

Vishen: Well, after, after I graduated, the only job I could get, now I got fired from Microsoft. I couldn’t cut it out as an engineer. I was just charming during the interview, so they got me a position. But I couldn’t cut it as an engineer. When they discovered how hopeless I was, I got fired. Now the only job I could get with my 2.5 GPA was working for a non-profit in New York. That’s what I did. I worked for a non-profit below the poverty line.

Andrew: I’m sorry. One more time I have to interrupt because you got fired. You’re smiling as you say it. But the day of, who gives you the announcement? Who says to you, Vishen, I have some bad news?

Vishen: My manager. My manager at Microsoft told me that they would be cutting my internship short and sending me back to Ann Arbor.

Andrew: And how did you feel when, do you remember what the room looked like where he talked to you about it?

Vishen: Ecstatic. I remember exactly what the room is. He told me I had 3 days, you know, to pack up and finish my projects. I finished them in like an hour and I spent the next 3 days playing Age of Empire.

Andrew: And you felt ecstatic?

Vishen: I wanted to get the hell out of Microsoft. I just felt, I respected the company. I respected Gates. I didn’t like the job I was working on.

Andrew: I see. Okay. So then you go and work for a non-profit below the poverty line because that’s what you could get.

Vishen: Because I got to travel. I wanted to see the world.

Andrew: I see.

Vishen: So I joined this non-profit called ISAC. I worked for them in New York City. It was a smart decision. It was how I met my wife. We are married today. We are about to have our second child. But that was 12 years ago. And I worked there for a year and then I decided to move to Silicon Valley to try to start a business. My first two attempts completely failed.

Andrew: You tried also to raise money for it. That’s what I hinted at, at the top of the interview.

Vishen: Right. Of course no one was going to invest in me. I had no background, no success. I was completely, completely broke and had no idea what I was doing.

Andrew: Well, what was your first idea?

Vishen: Well, I was attempting to start what I called a distributed community. Now, right now when you see how multiple blogs have Facebook comments on them, that’s really a distributed community. It’s one core community system scattered across the entire internet. That was what I was trying to build. I was trying to build a blog commenting system and a discussion forum that was distributed across the entire internet.

Andrew: I see. Kind of like what discusses today.

Vishen: Absolutely. That would be it.

Andrew: Do you remember when you said that’s it, it’s not working?

Vishen: After I had gone $30,000 dollars in the hole…

Andrew: Whoa.

Vishen: …all my funding. That was basically all the money I had.

Andrew: You saved $30,000 even working below the poverty line and as an intern at…

Vishen: Well, my dad helped me out a bit.

Andrew: Wow.

Vishen: He invested in it and it didn’t, it just did not work. I felt really bad about that. So what I did was I moved to Berkeley and I rented a couch from a college student. I couldn’t afford rent so I actually rented a couch.

Andrew: Okay.

Vishen: From a college student in Berkeley. And I decided to do what I dreaded most. To give up being an entrepreneur and get a real job.

Andrew: Okay.

Vishen: So I sent my resume out to every company hiring on Craig’s List. It was basically just a resume blast. My timing was bad. It was April 2001. The dot.com bubble had burst. They were having pink slip parties all around Silicon Valley. And finally I got a job and it was a commission on sales gig and they told me basically you’re going to be selling technology to law firms. If you can’t sell, there’s no base salary, you starve for the month. You close the deal, you get a commission. So my first month I made maybe $2 grand and I continued in that job [??].

Now what happened was, I was really stressed out. It was a stressful time. I took a class on meditation and that class blew me away. It was from a group called the Silvan Method. Very basic American style meditation. Nothing woo-woo or mystic about it. It was about visualizing. Getting rid of stress. Visualizing your goals. A crazy thing happened. After that class my performance improved so much I got promoted three times in four months and they made me Director of Sales.

So there I was, this 27 year old Malaysian kid now running the company’s entire New York office. They shipped me out to New York. And I continued my meditation practice and I decided to become certified so I could teach it and really master it, right? Because the best way to learn is to teach.

Andrew: Um-hmm.

Vishen: So I started teaching these classes and soon I noticed I had an issue. I was Director of Sales for a tech firm in the morning, and at night, in the evenings, I was teaching meditation, maybe one or two weekends a month. And I, you know, it’s funny how the stuff that you go through in life, it all happens for a reason.

That’s where my computer engineering skills came back and I could build a website, program, and start my own little website to teach meditation. That business, which I started for $700 dollars grew into what is Mindvalley today. Within 1 year of starting that I quit my job. I quit my job and I dedicated myself full time to Mindvalley and today, you know, it’s grown into the company that it is.

Andrew: Vishen, I meditate a lot and I have a hard time explaining to people why it’s so helpful. Here you are a guy who was earning practically nothing. You learn meditation and suddenly your life takes off. What is it about meditation that allows you to do that?

Vishen: Well, let me try to explain it this way. Right?

A lot of people think the way to become successful in business is to learn the next trick. And by trick I mean, okay, it’s this new book on culture or this new thing about strategy. Measuring KPI’s. Well, [??] of that works. Right? Ultimately, what I’ve recognized is that it’s all about two things, and the two things are as follows.

Number one. It’s your models of reality. It’s your models of the world. Now, when you start meditating, you go into a very introspective state of mind. Especially when you’re combining meditation with reading autobiographies and books. You start realizing in monitoring your own thoughts, and you become acutely aware of your own beliefs and whether those beliefs serve you or not.

So you start to recognize your models of the world that no longer work. This is a reason why so many people who meditate end up giving up religion because religion is no more than beliefs that have been bestowed upon you when you were a child and you carry these with you for good or for bad throughout your life.

Now I started [??] and identifying my beliefs. It’s crazy. You start seeing your thought process. I began to realize that I had issues with money. Money made me feel guilty. I began to understand that I had belief patterns that I inherited as a child, belief patterns such as success equals hard work. Now once I was able to flip out those belief patterns, I was able to actually see changes in my physical reality and in my business. My business started growing the more I got into my own head.

Andrew: But I thought, I’m sorry to interrupt but I thought meditation was, I mean the common belief is meditation is shut out all the other thoughts. Focus on your breath. Right out of your nose. In and out.

Vishen: That’s true. But here’s what happens when you do that. When you come out of meditation, that’s when the magic starts happening. Let me give you an idea. Right?

I used to be a guy with a really bad temper. It was just me. Since I started meditating, when something ticked me off, let’s say I was driving and someone cut me off. Rather than get angry, it’s like one part of my head would watch the other part of my head get angry but that anger would not come out. I would be able to just diffuse it.

Andrew: I see.

Vishen: Now, that happens after. It’s not like I’m in a meditation state when I’m driving.

Andrew: I see. And you’re not in your head thinking the next time you drive don’t get angry. Next time someone cuts you off, don’t flip them the bird.

Vishen: It changes, and again, I don’t think science really can explain why this works but it changes the way you think. But that’s the first thing that meditation does.

The second thing is, what really defines you as a human being are your systems, the things you do on a daily basis that govern how you work. Now it’s amazing how many people make sure they optimize their hard drive every single month or so, or they back up their stuff on their computer. And it’s amazing how we wake up in the morning and we follow certain systems to keep our body clean. We brush our teeth. We spray on cologne. We put on good clothes. Yet we don’t think about the systems of our consciousness.

Now there are many things that scientists say that you can do on a daily basis that completely change your consciousness. Things, for example, such as gratitude. I mean, do you know that there are studies that show that just applying gratitude to your life can boost your happiness levels considerably. And I mean massively. Massive boost in happiness.

Or meditation can change the way you see yourself. Or visualizing your goals can help you make them come true.

Now, the second thing I do as I meditate is really bring these systems in. I do something called the 6 Stage Meditation. I’ve since shared it with a lot of people. It’s popular. You can find it on YouTube. I devised it. It’s a meditation based on science, and I go through practices on forgiveness, gratitude, visualizing my life three years down the road, and then visualizing my perfect day.

Now as I go through these things, happiness, gratitude, appreciation, visualizing my life, there are about 6 different phases, this too has helped me become a better entrepreneur.

Every single day, I start every single day visualizing my business, my family, my health, my life, the way I want it to unfold in the next two years. And something weird happens when you do that. It almost starts to feel like the universe has your back and you can control luck, and the right people, again synchronicities, come to you to have that become your reality.

Now if you asked me what’s the secret, I’ve got to say it’s being able to be acutely aware of the models in my head and to remove the beliefs that no longer serve me. And then visualizing every single day how I want my life to unfold three years from now, and how I want my day to unfold so that three year vision becomes a reality.

Andrew: You were starting to say at that point you launched Mindvalley. You refer in one of the blog posts about the early days of Mindvalley to a guy named Mike. Who is Mike?

Vishen: Mike is a guy I went to college with. He’s now a CFO. Mike was my founding partner. We started Mindvalley together. But recently, in the last, in the last three years, because our visions were different, and this happens many times in start-ups, we decided that one of us was going to buy the other person out because we both wanted to take it in different directions.

So I bought out Mike’s shares. Mike is a brilliant guy. He’s a Stanford MBA, so he’s functions as CFO. He’s made a lot of money by selling his shares back to me and Mike is going to go on and do his own thing. He’s started an iPad company that, you know, that does apps, iPad, iPhone apps. He’s really into apps.

And in my case, I decided to take on the education component of Mindvalley and build that up.

Andrew: I thought you said that actually it was one of those mistakes that you made, to partner up. What was the mistake in the early partnering decision?

Vishen: Well, the mistake was not partnering up. The mistake was to follow him. And it was with several partners I had in several companies. See when you’re first starting out, a common mistake entrepreneurs make is that, now you want a beautiful website, right? Rather than actually pay to hire a designer, you give up two to three percent of your equity to that designer.

Now when your website ends up becoming successful, guess what? That just cost you $50,000 to $100,000 grand. So I made that mistake a number of times. I gave up equity when I should have just purchased, you know, a service. In the end, those mistakes, I remember in the end having to buy back close to $4 to $5 million in equity stakes I’d given.

Now, I have no issue with that. I made a lot of people wealthy. But it did cost me a lot. It’s a common mistake many early entrepreneurs make.

Andrew: You also say that when you sign a partnership agreement, the amateur thing to do is sign a 50/50 split. What is, why is that the amateur decision? What should have you done instead of that?

Vishen: Well, what you should do is figure out what exactly you’re going to bring to the table. What exactly your partners are bringing to the table. And figure out a way to actually add a financial value to that.

Now, for example, if you start a partnership and one of you decides he’s going to be CEO, it doesn’t mean they should get higher equity. If you guys are bringing the same experience, the same ideas to the table, the person who’s CEO simply gets a salary that serves him to be CEO.

So you separate equity from specific tasks you’re doing in the business. And you look at equity based solely on what are the things that I’m bringing on as a founder, as the idea person, or as the knowledge person, or specific skills that money can’t buy?

Andrew: Okay. At this point, let me do a quick plug for Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law because if you’re going to start your company and you want to start it right, call up Scott’s company. He will put everything together for you and do it in a way that makes sense, and he doesn’t do it because he makes money off of starting up companies.

That’s really the part that I think most lawyers find very basic and that’s not where their growth and their fascination is. He does it so that when he sets you on the right path, you’ll be so happy that, when it’s time for you to sell or raise equity or do one of those big business-changing decisions and need help, if he does a great job for you up front, he’ll be able to work with you later on because you’ll want him to work with you and because he’ll have everything set up that makes it easier for him to do it.

So Scott Edward Walker is the startup’s lawyer when you’re starting up. Call him up and see if you can hire him, and later on, when you need someone who’s great at this and doesn’t want a piece of your business in order to help him out, and has experience in the start-up community, call up Scott also. His site is walkercorporatelaw.com. All right, you now are going to start this business that succeeds. The original vision for it had something to do with Adsense and not creating your own products. What was it?

Vishen: Oh, well, what I did was this. Now, remember, I was a meditation instructor in New York City and when I shared the idea with college buddies of mine from Michigan, they told me, “How on earth are you actually going to make any money with that?” Well, it ended up being crazy successful, but what I did initially, in addition to just building a website to get people into my class is, I approached major publishers that were selling meditation courses, and I told them, “Hey, can I list your course on my website, and we have a drop shipping arrangement? So I will drive traffic to it, they buy from me, I send you the order, I take my cut, you drop ship.”

Now, I could do this, because Google had just launched something called AdWords, and very few people knew about Google Adwords back in 2003. So I simply jumped on Google AdWords and very rapidly dominated that keyword, ‘meditation.’

Andrew: How did you learn- how did you teach yourself, I should say, to sell online?

Vishen: So here’s one of the big lessons, right? Growing up as a computer engineer, I always discredited marketing. I always thought if you build a better mousetrap, people are going to come. And that’s why my first two businesses failed. I had great ideas, but I had no idea how to market them. I simply thought, “Look, if I build this really great web app people are going to come to it. I’m going to have investment money.”

Now, when I worked for that company in Silicon Valley, I soon realized the importance of sales. That company went from zero to twenty million, not because of their software. It wasn’t software, it was a web app, actually. But they went from zero to twenty million in two years because they knew how to close on the phone. They really knew how to talk to lawyers and get lawyers interested in signing their law firms up for this software.

I took all those sales kits and I [inaudible], I learned Google Adwords, I learned how to write high-converting ads, how to write copy that would convert, and then I poured myself into books on marketing. And I remember, for example, I remember one particular book that talked about the power of newsletters. Why you need to collect email addresses and send people an email newsletter. I remember the day I set up that newsletter on my website. Instantaneously sales went up 96%. Now, I kept identifying these marketing strategies, plugging them in, and scaling the business.

Andrew: We talked to Tanya [SP], who worked with you before, as we were setting up this interview, in preparation for it, and she stressed the importance of learning how to sell online the way that you did right now. I’m wondering if there is one thing that you could teach us now that we can use when we’re selling online.

Vishen: Absolutely. Well, what I can teach you, Andrew, is a process I have. I call it conversion hacking. I have a book coming out on it, actually; I’m very excited about it. Well, it’s called “Conversion Hacking.” Title may change, but it’s how we look at any business. Now, I’ve used this for online businesses, it can work just as well for offline businesses. It works for anything. But it’s all about taking your mind out of your own business, your own futures, and looking at how a customer looks at your business.

So let’s look at apps, for example, right? I love apps and our heart app Mindvalley is Omvana. Well, Omvana, within months of launching it, and it was my first app. I knew very little about the app industry. I had to learn from scratch. But within five months of launching Omvana, by applying conversion hacking, we managed to get Omvana onto the number one, highest grossing app for health and fitness, in 24 countries.

Now, that’s no small feat. 24 countries with the number one highest grossing health and fitness app. Well, how did we do it? Well, conversion hacking works like this, right? We look at all the different environments in which a customer interacts with us. So with apps, there’s iTeams [SP]. That’s an environment where customers are kind of discovering your app. And then there is Facebook. Because we had to advertise our app on Facebook.

Then there’s things such as the iPhone. When you start your app on the iPhone, what exactly is the customer going through. Now for each of these environments we plot a customer path. So for example when you open up the app, what is the first thing you, what is the first thing the customer sees? And then what is the next step of that? That plotting is we want the customer to click on the store button. We want them to go to our store. We want them to browse different traps, and we want them to make an app purchase. So it’s about four stages.

On the iTunes environment, we want the customer to type in a key work relevant to our app such as sleep better or focus, we want our app to show on iTunes. We want people to then download the app. All of these are a customer part. We call these parts conversion points.

Now each of these conversion points has what we call triggers that determine whether a customer is going to act on it. So let’s take iTunes, right?

When the customer types in sleep, we want our app to show up as one of the top ten sleep apps because a lot of people type in sleep and that means we’ll get a lot of downloads. So what we do is we take that process and we break it into pot. We know that the first trigger that determines how we show up on iTunes is the number of views that we have. The second trigger is the image that we have. The third trigger is our app name.

Now for each of these triggers we devise what we call treatments. So we test out two different app names, or two different app images, or two different processes of generating 5-star reviews. So we go from environments to conversion points, to conversion triggers, and to treatments for these triggers and we carefully track, numerically track, each of these.

Now, that’s basically it, right? In a gist. It’s a lot more complex but everything we do in business at Mindvalley we track numerically. Every single week my team has to report some 1,000 different numbers for every aspect of my business. Literally 1,000 different numbers. We measure everything. And every single week we are hacking those number and looking to make them grow.

Now the way it works is the bubble up theory. So for example, I don’t need to keep track of a thousand numbers. A thousand numbers are logged every single week. But all these numbers bubble up. So if I look at my app division, my app division tracks maybe about, say, we have three apps and in each app we are tracking five numbers. So that’s 15 numbers.

Andrew: Is that your father-in-law, by the way, over you?

Vishen: Sorry. Uh, yeah.

Andrew: No, I like it. Hi.

Vishen: Is there a problem?

Andrew: No, I like it. I like to get a sense of where you are.

Vishen: Yeah, so say hi Virgo.

Virgo: Hi.

Vishen: So these numbers bubble up. So basically, at the end of every week, the CEO of Mindvalley Mobile simply reports to me with one number and that number is called the Smart Number. And the Smart Number is derived from all the other numbers. And I look at the Smart Number, explore it on the trend line, and if that Smart Number is growing, I know the business is growing.

Andrew: So let’s see how the…

Vishen: So we add to this, a very practical way of growing your business.

Andrew: Let’s see how we got to this because this is pretty intricate but it doesn’t start out like that. You were now basically an affiliate, arbitraging and running your own site. So it’s not just buying ads and sending it to other people’s sites for affiliate commissions. You were building your own site but selling other people’s products. You had a vision for yourself, though, that was you wanted to be your own publisher. What’s the first product that you published?

Vishen: Well, the first product that we published was a product based on that meditation program that we…

Andrew: Silva.

Vishen:…that I had studied. Silva. It’s called Silva Life System. Silver Life System.com. And you can go check it out. Now that website has been up for a long time. And it’s optimized like crazy. And it’s a remarkable product. You know, we get most of our traffic from Google Adwords, even now 10 years later.

Andrew: So how do you create your first information product?

Vishen: Well, what we did was, our forte was not so much creating information products. Our forte was really the conversion, the converting of it. How to create an entire ecosystem where you can put up ads in Google, get people to come to a page, sign up for free content or demo content, and then from there get them to invest in a full fledged product. From the product, we might send the lead to the Silva Method where the Silva Method might have them sign up for a seminar. At least that’s the way it worked in 2006 and 2007. Right now, it’s got to be a lot more complex.

Andrew: But were you creating the product yourself at that point?

Vishen: No, we [??] existing products.

Andrew: I see, so you were still selling it. What’s the first product that you actually made?

Vishen: The first product that we actually made completely by ourselves, would probably be the Silva Life System. Back then we sold one of the original products from the Silva method, which they had created. Silva Life System, we created it.

Andrew: How did you create it? One of the reasons why I want to focus on, I want to spend some time understanding how you create your first product is because, if all I do is talk about your marketing, you’re going to come across , I think, to the audience as one of these online marketers, who doesn’t have much substance. I’ve looked at your stuff.

I’ve talked to people who’ve bought it and worked with you, and one of the things they’re proudest of, is the quality of the work. That it’s not just one of these flim-flam, quick marketing, got your buck, ha-ha, now I’m going to try to get more of your money. It’s a real product. So, to get to that level, you had to create your first. How do you create your first product, when you’re not a publisher?

Vishen: Well, right now we have a full fledged product development team, right? And, we have quantum editors, we have writers, we have twenty programmers that develop really beautiful apps and platforms.

Andrew: But back then it was -

Vishen: It wasn’t that involved. Back then it was just me. I worked with the author, to write up the product, to basically going through the script with them. It was almost like writing a book, really, it took a long, long, long time.

Andrew: Was there a method that you used for teaching it, or did you say, “Hey, I already taught Silva, in person, I know how to teach it, I’ll just translate it to what I’d like to see online as a customer?”

Vishen: Exactly, that’s exactly what I did. Remember, by the time I created my first product, I had been teaching this for about three or four years. I taught, trained, thousands of students. So, I knew this material. I believed in the material. I knew how to present it. I knew how to make it cool and sexy, and that’s what I brought to it.

Andrew: What did you get right about that first product, and what did you get wrong, in retrospect?

Vishen: Well, what I got….what I got right about it, was taking the original work from the Silva method. What I got wrong, was not making it for the current generation. The newer version that we released, for example, has an amazing host whose young, whose beautiful, whose vibrant. She guides people through the product. It looks hot. As soon as you buy it, you know, we put so much pride just in the . . .

I remember going through hours of discussion just on the color, style of box in which we shipped the CDS in. Everything we send out for it has to be beautifully crafted. Now, what we, how we got there, is we started using another metric. Like I said, I’m very metrics driven, called the ultimate question. We asked every customer, on a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to recommend this product to your friends, family and neighbors? And we measure that.

And then if we find that it’s below what we want to be, we recreate the product. We recreated the Silva method, and in other words, taking our current products, dumping it, starting fresh with all, everything new that we’ve learned. We do that every three or four years, and every time, we edge up and we go higher on that customer score.

Andrew: All right, I want to understand. I have a few questions for you about how you build your content, based on someone whose a big fan of yours. And frankly, I can’t remember who I got it from, I think it might be from Juan Martitequi [SP], when I talked to him, I said, “What should I be asking you?” But before I get to that, tell me what this is. Let me bring it up here, and I’m going to leave it up on the screen because it’s kind of intricate. And, can you describe this, maybe for someone who is listening to the mp3 so they also understand it, as you explain it? What is this?

Vishen: Oh, that is my business plan for Mindvalley.

Andrew: Okay. This is a business plan?

Vishen: Right.

Andrew: This one crayola image?

Vishen: Right.

Andrew: Walk me through this, what does it do, and why is it so powerful?

Vishen: Okay. So, I like simplicity, and my first two businesses[??] field, I wrote very detailed business plans, right? Complete failure. The way I approach things right now is, it all starts with a vision in my head. Now, it’s a vision of like, you know, what do I want to build? It’s not, it’s never for the money, I’m always driven by wanting to make deep change, and in my case what really drives me, is wanting to get out to people embodiment practice, such as mindfulness, gratitude, exercise, fitness. I’m crazy about how I treat my mind and my body. And I believe that there’s so much missing in education.

And so, the whole reason I run Nine Valley, is to hack education and get out to the world, the kind of education I wished I got when I was a teenager. Now, the question is, how do I do that? That’s what this drawing represents. Now, this drawing was made about two years ago, and since the time we made the drawing, we’ve pretty much doubled revenues for the company, since the time this drawing was made. We double revenues every just about every three weeks (?).

Andrew: I don’t get what this is. There’s a planet at the top. I guess that’s representing the world. I see in the center engage. I see underneath it the academy. Underneath it I see Mindvalley. To the right of that see publishing. To the left all the way I see mobile web FB and something else that I can’t make out.

Vishen: I see a surfboard over there. Now these were all… No one is supposed to get any meaning from this other than me and Martine [sp]. All those names are names of different divisions, products, or ideas we want to launch, we wanted to launch in the next two years.

Andrew: And in there to figure out which ones are businesses and which. . . How does someone learn from this if they want to plan their business the way that you do?

Vishen: So what I do I call it, well, It’s kind of what Apple did, right? It’s part integration. You don’t just build one business. You build one business, but you use it as a launch pad to launch a second business. Let’s look at (??) because everybody knows that example. Steve Jobs went into the music business by creating the iPod. That iPod ended up creating certain opportunities to launch new business.

For example, for the iPod he had to create iTunes. iTunes later led to the app store. For the iPod he started investing in multi-touch technology. Multi-touch technology led to the iPad. In the iPod he built a music player that was beautiful, elegant, fit in the palm of your hands and that sparked the iPhone. All of these are separate businesses, but one launches another.

Now this is how I plan my business. I look at the assets that we have right now. The assets are current businesses that we have right now, and I figure out how to connect these assets to launch a completely new business. Let me give you a practical example, right?

Andrew: Okay.

Vishen: Any assets we had which you don’t see. . . This happened about one year after I launched this business plan. One of the assets we had was a publishing division that was communicating with a lot of authors for us to feature on our blog or to publish online. We had this whole address book of hundreds upon hundreds of authors on fitness, health, nutrition, personal growth. mindfulness, and the meditation field. That’s an asset.

Now the second thing is we had beautiful designers working for Mindvalley that knew how to create beautiful cover art for tracks and albums and products that we create. And a third asset that we had is we happened to hire a really good iOS programmer. And we started dabbling with mobile.

Now we took all three assets together, we combined them, and we launched Omvana. Omvana was successful because we could bring three different assets together, a publishing division with tons of authors, a mobile app development team and a design division with beautiful album covers. Now what is Omvana? It’s a beautiful app where you can download hundreds upon hundreds of different audios for sleep, for relaxation, for meditation. It’s sort of like the leading app in its category.

It leverages all three of these assets, so we look at the assets we have, we build something completely new.

Andrew: I see. So the big take-away from this is it’s not about a business plan with a lot of text and all of the spin and all the things you’re taught to do in school. It’s more visual, more playful, and more interconnected. You’re more passionate about it.

Vishen: In practical terms I call this Lego bricking. We look at our individual businesses like Lego bricks. We think about how to connect them and build something even bigger.

Andrew: Okay. By the way, we should put this in the comments or on the site. I’ll have it up here in my notes for Ari. If for some reason it’s not there, just ask in the comments and she can grab it out of our research in Mixergy guest notebook. I mean, the image, so if someone is listening on a mp3 and wants to come back and get it on the site.

Do you remember your first million? Here you are a guy who grew up sitting next to his parents on a mattress until you were 12. Do you remember the first million dollars that you made with Mindvalley?

Vishen: Absolutely. I remember the first time I realized that (?). It was a wonderful feeling.

Andrew: When was that day?

Vishen: Gosh, maybe 2009, is when it happened. It happened slowly. It’s not like when I made my first million within a few years of starting the business. I think TechCrunch kind of gives us kind of a corrupt vision of how business really works. It’s not like you start a startup, and boom, within two years you flipped it for a million dollars. It took me six to seven years to make that first million, but I can tell you this, in year five, in year five, I was losing money. I was broker than I was when I started Mindvalley. I was basically employed in my own business.

Andrew: Year five. Wow. Okay.

Vishen: Year five, yeah. It was only after year five that the switches flipped. I started really understanding how I ticked. A funny thing happened in year five, between year five and year six that caused Mindvalley to grow in a huge, massive growth spurt.

Andrew: And what was that?

Vishen: It was what I spoke about earlier. I got to go into my own head and understand the models that were holding me back. Let me give you an example. Right?

Andrew: Um-hmm.

Vishen: In year five, May 2008, Mike and I realized that even though we were doing about a quarter million dollars a month, we actually losing $15 grand a month. We were burning more money than we were actually pulling in and we knew that if this continued, we were going to end up having to lay off employees. We had 18 employees back then.

Now, 8 months later the business had gone through a massive transformation. It grew 400% between May 2008 and December 2008.

Andrew: Because you changed your mind set?

Vishen: Here’s what happened. I remember being dragged into an event by a guy called Hal Becker. It was called Millionaire Mind Intensive. Right, now again, I don’t work with Hal but it was an event. There was this guy speaking in Malaysia. It was an event called Millionaire Mind Intensive. Mike and I went. Day 1 we thought it was absolutely bull-crap. We wanted to leave.

But by Day 3 we were balling our eyes out because what Hal spoke about was how all of us are born with ideas about money that come from parents, teachers, grandparents, school that kind of corrupt us and hold us back. Now, I realized I had certain attitudes towards wealth and money that were belief systems that were creating my current reality.

For example, I believed that I had to work my butt off to be wealthy. And if I wanted to cut back working hours so I could spend more time with my one year old son Hayden, well then I was going to have to postpone success. That’s what I actually believed back then. It sounds so stupid. But that was my belief. And many of us have these beliefs that we don’t realize we have.

Now, that was what we call the Success Comes From Hard Work rule. Absolute bullshit. We now call those rules Bullshit Rules that they govern how we view the world.

Now when I got that rule pulled out of my head, I realized I could work the same hours but make massively more. In eight months we grew revenues 400 percent. But here’s the cool thing, right? May 2009, one year later, I remember I only spent 6 days in the office. I spent 21 days on beaches around the world. I spent nine days at Tony Robbins invitation in Fiji. Five days with Branson in Necker Island and…

Andrew: Forgive me, Vishen, but I understand the mindset and I understand how it holds you back but once you stop it from holding your back, what do you do practically in your business that allows it to grow so much? Were you buying more ads? Were you buying fewer ads? Were you converting more?

Vishen: Let me explain. One year after this big shift, I only spent six days in the office, 21 days on beaches around the world. And in that month, we had our biggest ever revenue month and our single biggest sales day. Now, what happened?

When you switch your belief system, it’s like you swoosh away your brain works. You start identifying and looking at things in a different way. So for example, and you will notice this if you study, the impact of beliefs on human beings.

For example, there’s a famous study done of hotel maids. Right? And these scientists basically were wondering why is it that hotel maids run up and down stairs, carry heavy vacuum cleaners, but a lot of them tend to be obese.

So they created a fake study. They brought these hotel maids in. They interviewed the maids supposedly on how their day went out for research for the hotel. But actually, at the end of the study, what the scientists told the maids was something like this. You know, Matilda, it’s kind of crazy, but based on what I’m seeing, you’re burning an extra [??] calories compared to regular people. You must be really thin. That’s it.

Now within 30 days, when they came back to investigate these maids, all these maids had lost weight and their cholesterol count was down all because of a new belief system implanted in their head. A belief system that said my job causes me to burn 1,000 extra calories.

Our beliefs change the way we react with the world, the way we observe the world. And what happened when I got rid of these belief systems is I stopped buying into my own bullshit excuses. I stopped.

You see, without knowing it, I was unconsciously holding myself back because I believed that I had to work 12 hour days to become rich. I believed that money only came to you when you were in your 40′s or 50′s because that’s what I saw growing up in Asia. I believed that it can’t be done here in Kuala Lumpur because that’s the way many of my peers spoke.

When I was able to see that these were nothing more than beliefs and I could choose to accept them or ignore them, and I could create my own reality. That’s what I started doing.

Andrew: What did you do with that new reality? I’m sorry to harp on this, but I want to understand.

Vishen: I started setting bolder goals.

Andrew: Okay.

Vishen: I started coming to work with hope and excitement rather than, oh, screw it man, you know it’s going to be another one of those days. I started dreaming bigger and visualizing my life in a grander, more epic scale. I started telling myself visions of how I wanted my life to unfold which I would never have dreamed [??].

I want to be able to double this company, make twice as much revenue, but only have to work X number of hours, half the time I’m working right now. I started being more confident in the way I spoke to employees. The entire way you behave changes.

Andrew: Okay. I’ve got an interesting article here from NPR on what they call the hotel maid’s placebo effect. I’ve got it in my notes. If you guys can find it put it into the comments. If not, just ask Ari in the comments and she’ll grab it out of my notes.

Here’s what I got. It looks like these questions actually must not have come from Juan. They came from someone who went to Awesome Fest. Here’s what he said. He says he wants to know how many hours you really work. And, I’ll ask more questions that are more specific about how you create your product. But, honestly, how many hours do you work?

Vishen: I would say right now I work a lot of hours. You see, that question is irrelevant based on the way I live right now. To me, work and play, there is no distinction. I have a rule. I only do work I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy. If I don’t get great satisfaction from it I simply don’t do it. I just outsource it.

The only thing I do is stuff that I thoroughly enjoy. I enjoy speaking to people like you. I enjoy being on stage. I enjoy designing apps. I enjoy leading a team. I enjoy doing awesomeness reports. Based on that, if you use the word work I really don’t do anything that brings me even a little bit of stress or lack of enjoyment. But, if you count what I do to increase my wealth and grow my business, it’s probably about 60 hours a week.

Andrew: How do you vet your products to figure out who to say yes to? Because your products are based on authors and work that they’ve done, and you have to figure out who the right person is. How do you do it?

Vishen: Well, we’re lucky that based on our reputation we get 3,000 American authors applying to us every single year; 3,000 a year. We only take on about 10 to 12 a year. We’re looking to grow that, but right now it’s 10 or 12. As a result, we typically go for guys who are already proven. Right now the next three authors that we are working with are all people whom you’ve probably seen on “Larry King Live” or “Oprah,” or have had a best-selling book out, or have signed a major publishing deal.

Andrew: So, because you’re now at a place where you’re at the top, people see how well you’ve done for other well-known authors, they want to partner with you. What’s your deal with them? Is it 50-50 split of revenues?

Vishen: No, no. Like any publisher, what happens is our deals are pretty standard. Typically, after costs of advertising, whatever is generated from that product after cost of advertising the author gets anywhere from 15 percent, if they are just starting, to 25 percent if they are a major name who has been on, let’s say, “Oprah.”

Andrew: Of profits?

Vishen: Sorry, of revenues after advertising, not profits…

Andrew: …Got you. Because you do spend money on advertising.

Vishen: Off profit they are getting about 50 percent.

Andrew: Okay. Let me see. What goes into creating your products? What’s the checklist?

Vishen: We have close to a 42 point checklist. It’s very, very detailed based on how we’ve developed as a company. There are a lot of different factors. I’d say the most important thing is we start with the end in mind, which is the transformation. What is it going to do to a person’s life, whether it’s their physique, or their health, or their state of mind, 30 days from using this product?

For example, we have a product coming out called 30X30 which is a fitness medication nutrition product. I can’t state the author’s name yet. But, the whole way we designed the product is how can we design something where if someone did this for 30 minutes in 30 days at the end of 30 days their wife is more in love with them than ever before. They have lost that additional belly fat. They are performing at a completely different state of mind.

We bring in all the research we can on how to craft this change and how to make that process enjoyable and fun. That’s how we create a product. That’s the first thing we start with…

Andrew: Start with a finished product, what that looks like…

Vishen: …[??]…What the customer’s life is going to look like at the end.

Andrew: And do you physically have, do you actually, literally, have a checklist that you go through for creating a product?

Vishen: We have . . . Our business is so complex right now, we have a checklist of all the items needed to create a product, all the items needed to design a landing page, all the items needed to make sure we are communicating in the right way with our list. And you know what, we actually share all of this, it’s all on mindvalleyinsights.com.

Andrew: I’m going to go to mindvalleyinsights.com, right now. Tell me where to find it. Mineva . . .

Vishen: . . . sights.com. [SP] You know, like I said, we get three thousand authors, and one of the things I pride myself is in, is Mindvalley’s a very mission-driven company. And about a year back, we asked our self, you know, if we really care about our mission, getting enlightened ideas to a billion people, we are turning away 2,990 authors every single year, so why not just share some our stuff with them, so they can publish their own ideas?

Andrew: What should I be searching for on mindvalleyinsights.com to find a checklist for creating a product? And I think these questions came from Hollis Carter who went to Austin Fester [SP] Conference, but what should I be searching for?

Vishen: I know Hollis. I don’t know if a checklist for creating a product specifically is on there right now, but there are checklists for a wide variety of other things. So, for example, I spoke about, for example the checklist for email communication.

If you go to Mindvalley Insights, and I’m just bringing it up as well, you will see that’s the last thing I did, I believe a twelve point checklist for how we communicate; how to write emails that really get high open rates; great relationship with your list. And you will see that, for example, yes, it’s about the fourth article down, how to write powerful emails.

Andrew: What articles?

Vishen: Here, let me just [??] to you. It’s all on the .

Andrew: Oh, I see, it’s underneath it. Okay. “How to Write Powerful Emails the Twelve Step System to Dramatically Improve your Email Copyrighting.” But you literally, will in the company, have a checklist, whoever is writing the email will check off each item.

Vishen: Well, they don’t’ have to physically check it off. Once you understand this, once you understand the philosophy here, as you are writing an email, or an email campaign, or an auto responder, or just a content email, you start going through this in your head.

Andrew: Okay. Here is another question: How do you know what’s going to be too [??]? You used that phrase, I think, earlier in the interview, where you said “You didn’t want it to be too [??]” How do you know what’s going to be too much?

Vishen: I’m trying to remember when I used . . .

Andrew: Yeah, I can’t remember that specifically too, maybe you didn’t use that exact phrase.

Vishen: Yeah. How do I know when something . . . How do I know when something is too [?]?

Andrew: Yeah.

Vishen: Well, if is something that is based on mythology and it hasn’t been validated in anyway at all by science. It may be too [??]. OK, for example, you know, we’ve had authors write to us, saying they wanted to publish a book on Astrology or Palmistry. We really didn’t want to do that, because, you know, we don’t know if we believe in it. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just saying, I haven’t had the time to actually look into it, and decide if it’s something that I believe in.

Now, we have had authors who approach us saying they wanted to publish something on Chakras. Now, we researched Chakras. We found there is ton of scientific evidence on the human energy field in the body. Even in some countries, processes such as acupuncture, you, know, are done in hospitals. You can have your insurance plan cover it, so yes, that to us is not too [??], and it’s something we would publish. So, it all depends on how much credibility the scientific community looks at. I’m sorry, how much credibility the author can have in . . . with doctors of a scientific community.

Andrew: I see. I’m working with an interview coach right now, and one of the things he taught me is, don’t start off by asking people how much revenue they make. It might sound impactful, it might sound like wow, but no one cares, no one has anything vested in their story. Start off by asking about the background. That’s why I wanted to hear about the mattress that you slept on near our parents until you were twelve, and now that we know that, I’m curious, what kind of revenue are your brining?

Vishen: Well, I’m proud to say that . . . You know, I mentioned to you , one of the . . . Well, I mentioned to you that when I was in Michigan, I worked for a guy who was my senior in college, name was John. He started a company, and I was really fascinated when John got his company to twenty million, and I decided that someday I want to do that. I want to have a company with over a hundred employees, doing twenty million. I am proud to say that I have now achieved that with Mindvalley. That’s our revenue for this year. That’s what we are on track to hit for this year.

Andrew: Twenty million, in 2013, we are now towards the end of October, almost September, so that’s where you’re on track?

Vishen: Right.

Andrew: What kind of net margins do you have?

Vishen: What is cool about that . . . What is cool about that is that while hitting 20 million, I still own 100 percent of the business.

Andrew: What kind of net margins do you have, is this a business?

Vishen: That’s confidential.

Andrew: Okay. Is it over 10 percent?

Vishen: Absolutely, yeah. Now, one of the reasons why I say it’s confidential is because that number is actually in many ways irrelevant because I live a very humble life. Money isn’t what drives me. My wife and I have one car that we use. For the longest time we lived in a really like, even though we could afford it, we lived in a really simple apartment. What I do with the money that comes in from Mindvalley is I invest in growth.

So, we are constantly investing in growth. Our goal is to double revenues every two years. A lot of the revenue that’s coming into Mindvalley right now, we’re putting it into different (?) on the side. We are launching about one major new company every three to four months.

Andrew: Juan Martitegui was on here. He’s a Mixergy fan. He’s a premium member. I am grateful that he did an interview here. He owns part of Mindvalley Hispano?

Vishen: Exactly.

Andrew: He does?

Vishen: Yeah. Juan came to me. Now, I want to (?) of Mindvalley. Juan came to me and asked if he could license Mindvalley for the South American market, so we went 50/50. He was one of my employees. We went 50, 50 and so now Mindvalley Hispano is something that Juan runs. I own half of it. He owns half of it. It’s doing really well in the Spanish market.

Andrew: I got to say it, anyone who’s watching this, first of all watch the interview with Juan where he talks about how he became a marketer, what he learned from it, how he’s making sales. We go much more tactical in that interview than this one.

Vishen: Right.

Andrew: Also, take the course that he did with me where he showed the elements of sales. Each business has these pieces and how you have to think about the way they connect and specifically what you do to increase each little part of it to grow by. I think it was 10% each . . .

Vishen: Absolutely. What Juan was teaching is the basis of what we now call Conversion Hacking. Remember, Juan worked for Mindvalley and he runs Mindvalley Hispano. It’s the same process we use across all our companies.

Andrew: I’m so proud that he was on here. You guys have to go to mixergypremium.com and sign up just for that. If you take that and you hate it, not only will I give you your money back, but anytime you see me at a conference you can slap me in the face. I’m that convinced that you’re going to love Juan Martitegui on Mixergy. Both the interview and the course. I promise you. No one else will make you that deal.

Go to mixergypremium.com right now and sign up and if you’re not a member and if you are a member just go in and check out those, the interview and the course. I promise you’re going to love it and you’re going to see the substance of the work that we do here. Very practical stuff.

All right, I think I got everything except for this one last part. I feel like I let you down. I invited you to do an interview and because it was at a weird hour, you were at Kuala Lumpur at the time, I missed it. I screwed up. Honestly, how did you feel about that?

Vishen: Oh, I was so relieved. You see, I was having a crazy busy day.

Andrew: Okay.

Vishen: To drop right into (?) and then I had a film shoot that was happening. My calendar got over booked that morning. So, you did me an amazing favor. I am so glad your brain failed you that day.

Andrew: I felt terrible about it that day. I felt terrible about it up until today. I still frankly feel terrible about it and I appreciate you being so gracious in coming back here and doing this interview. Thank you so much for doing this. I know you have a lot of fans in my audience and I urge the people who know about Mindvalley to also check out the blog which is what we’ve looked at during this interview. It’s called mindvalleyinsights.com. Thank you.

Vishen: Thanks (?).

Andrew: All right, thank you all for being a part of it. Bye, guys.

Sponsors I mentioned

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  • Dwight Peters

    Hey Andrew,

    Can you guys post the marketing image? Would love to take a closer look at it.

    Great interview!

  • Deepak K

    Wow, this was a really thought-provoking interview. Vishen sounds like someone I would love to work for. I actually went right ahead to his mind-valley insights website and am considering buying the Silva meditation he discussed. Couldn’t help but see a similarity between Mindvalley Insights and TED- love that its’ for free as well.

  • ernan
  • Ibanez

    Sorry, but who gives a damn about WOT?
    WOT itself has a very questionable reputation.

  • Shehan Perera

    Great interview, it would be great to know what tactics helped them grow that 5th year from being in the red to being very profitable. I guess that is all in the up coming book?

  • http://brightideas.co/ Trent Dyrsmid

    Andrew/Vishen,

    Just read the transcript and LOVED it. I loved the part about goal setting and creating checklists. Vishen, any chance you could share a checklist for product creation?
    The part about growth hacking was also brilliant. Not complicate to understand, but brilliant just the same. I took a ton of notes and will be sharing this with my business partner. Thanks guys!

  • Troy Dean

    Another pot of pure gold Andrew. I love how the entrepreneur in you keeps asking for the “how-to” as Vishen is talking about mindset. It’s not all about the how man – sometimes it’s about the why and the vision. If the vision is clear enough, the how seems to take care of itself. It’s something we should all try and practice more. But I love that you pressed him for the how – that’s why I love Mixergy because you’re always trying to get the best out of your guests for us.

    Keep up the greatness.

  • http://www.fuzzone.com/ Kunle Campbell – Fuzz One

    Although it was not a tactical interview, still quite a remarkable story with some great pointers.
    I am currently researching the Silvan Method of meditation – seems to have been Vishen’s silver bullet.

  • Juan Martitegui

    It’s awesome see Vishen here! Great choice Andrew (and thanks for the comments about my interview and course btw.)

    The interview was great and I’m honored to have him as a mentor, friend and business partner.

  • Guest

    Vishen. Your mindset is refreshing; your calmness is contagious. Thank you for sharing.

    $1. Look at all the different environments in which our customer interacts w/us. 29:50
    $2. Take the assets you’ve built and connect them to create something bigger. 43:04
    $3. When creating a product, start with the vision of how the customer’s life will be transformed after using your product. – 53:54

    “It took me 6-7 years to make my first million. But, I’ll tell you this… I was broker than I was when I started MindValley.” – 44:24

    “To me, work and play, there is no distinction. I have a rule: I only do work I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy. If I don’t get great satisfaction from it, I simply don’t do it. I just outsource it…” – 51:24

  • Guest

    Vishen. Your mindset is refreshing; your calmness is contagious. Thank you for sharing. Andrew, your expertise is always a pleasure.

    $1. Look at all the different environments in which our customer interacts w/us. 29:50
    $2. Take the assets you’ve built and connect them to create something bigger. 43:04
    $3. When creating a product, start with the vision of how the customer’s life will be transformed after using your product. – 53:54

    “It took me 6-7 years to make my first million. But, I’ll tell you this… I was broker than I was when I started MindValley.” – 44:24

    “To me, work and play, there is no distinction. I have a rule: I only do work I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy. If I don’t get great satisfaction from it, I simply don’t do it. I just outsource it…” – 51:24

  • Kyle Patrick McCrary

    Vishen. Your mindset is refreshing; your calmness is contagious. Thank you for sharing.
    Andrew, your expertise is a pleasure as usual.

    $1. Look at all the different environments in which our customer interacts w/us. 29:50
    $2. Take the assets you’ve built and connect them to create something bigger. 43:04
    $3. When creating a product, start with the vision of how the customer’s life will be transformed after using your product. – 53:54

    “It took me 6-7 years to make my first million. But, I’ll tell you this… I was broker than I was when I started MindValley.” – 44:24

    “To me, work and play, there is no distinction. I have a rule: I only do work I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy. If I don’t get great satisfaction from it, I simply don’t do it. I just outsource it…” – 51:24

  • http://geekfree.net/ Aaron

    Andrew. This is simply epic. I tuned in for an inspiring rags-to-riches success story (as only you can deliver) and what I got was so much more. Vishen is simply amazing in his vision and focus on what’s important in life. I am totally going to start meditating and the conversion hacking bit was crazy as well. THANK YOU ANDREW!

    Aaron

  • Hannah

    Andrew I just LOVE how you refuse to let your interviewees skirt the question – how you insistently and doggedly go for the question until you feel satisfied with the answer…Almost no other interviewer does this, and it’s what makes you stand out. My only “disappointment” with the interview is that I wish it could have gone on 2x as long, since I find Vishen so fascinating and unique (and extremely inspiring to me personally) as an entrepreneur, because his profile is so different (and more like my own personally than a lot of “typical” startup entrepreneurs who only focus on the “hustle” and single vision). One of the most inspiring entrepreneurs being interviewed by the best entrepreneur-interviewer ever..Truly epic :)

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Hannah, it’s so great to hear when our listeners connect personally

  • Mattias

    Great interview! Could you post or email me the marketing image mentioned?

    Thanks for great content through the years!

  • Arcadiy Mordecai

    I am usually not the guy who leaves any comments but I am so impressed with this interview that I can’t resist to share my excitement. I loved this interview! Very interesting view on how meditation can help you shift your mindset. I certainly want to try meditation now. I also loved the part where Vishen shared his thoughts on recognizing false believes inside yourself. Great interview Andrew.

  • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

    Clearly I need to meditate more frequently. I totally didn’t get the part about growth hacking but I just think it’s beyond me at this point, though I’d like to study it more. (I did find a Youtube video on Mindvalley Insights’ channel on Conversion Hacking – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN2IEyHawlc&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGS_Z3LolnBClCDB2eBWWMA)

  • Geoffrey Barrows

    Kyle I like your summaries.

  • Geoffrey Barrows

    Fantastic interview!

    I used to mediate, a long time ago (more than 10 years ago). I just realized now how much I miss it and got out of it.

  • http://breakingbrown.com Yvette Carnell

    Although I’m a fan and have watched several Mixergy interviews, this was the best ever, mostly because I personally connected with his perspective. Question: Where’s his crayola business plan? Looked interesting!

  • Parvez

    right on the spot, Troy, Success is a thinking, a mentality first than a sequence of steps.

  • Kyle Patrick McCrary

    Thanks, Geoffrey!
    (Just noticed I incidentally spammed the notes though, grah! Sorry folks.)

  • Kyle Patrick McCrary

    My two cents, Arcadiy:
    Don’t just look into mediation that involves being silent with your legs folded. It helps, but I recommend thinking of meditation as a mindset that you constantly can have. This conscious mindfulness will bring about peace and inner-strength in your life. It should be a constant practice, in my opinion.
    Good luck!

  • Arwin Sardana

    Here’s the article mentioned in the interview about the Hotel Maid Placebo Effect:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17792517

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Thanks Arwin!

  • http://Davidbeking.com Davidbeking

    Great interview Andrew! I met Vishen a few years back at Yanik’s event… When I first saw what he was doing at MindValley I thought he was still in Ann Arbor and thought “I gotta meet this guy” turns out he had already left michigan! Thankfully I still met him a few years later! lol

    Keep up the great work!

  • Arcadiy Mordecai

    Thank you Kyle, I’ll keep it in mind.

  • JDwilliams21

    I found Mindvalley through suggested Youtube videos of Amish Shah when I was looking for information on how to build mobile apps. I was fascinated and spent the next 2 months listening to Mixergy and then Mindvalley… Mixergy then Mindvalley and that was my daily routine. Then to my amazement you have him on your site. I had to treat this interview like a Jay-z and Kanye collaboration on prime time television. No podcasting this interview. This one was a “Must See” and you didn’t disappoint. The best thing for me was how Vishen Lakhiani approaches his organizations through Sam Carpenter’s, “Work the System” methodology. In the last two months I have created an online Wiki (through weebly and yes the interview with David was dope) and have boosted my production by over 200% with my VA’s… Incredible Mr. Warner

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  • Ashton Brittney Schmidt
  • http://www.BackersHub.com/ Dwight from BackersHub

    Thanks a lot! :)

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