Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of entrepreneurs. A while back we had a sponsor whose business I liked a lot and I didn’t think they were going to be open about some of it because I heard it privately from Sachit Gupta, the guy who sold ads for us. And then I said, “We’ve got to get this guy on. We’ve got to get the founder of the company on.” And it turns out in the pre-interview he was open, he is willing to talk about how he built this business up, and I’m excited to have him on here.
The founder’s name is Dan Clark. The company is Brain.fm. I know people who are going to listen to this are going to be skeptical about this, but here’s what happened to me. I started exploring working outside of my office in fun places. I still love my office, but I love this, like, food truck place here in San Francisco. It’s incredibly inspiring for me to sit and work in one of their tents. They have high-speed internet, the sun is out, I get any type of exotic food that I want over there, and I love it.
The problem is they pipe in music that annoys me. And if I listen to music, I get more creative, but sometimes my mind gets distracted. So I signed up for Brain.fm and I was incredibly skeptical about the whole thing, but it put me in this right zone for freaking working. I don’t know what it is, but I liked it. I signed up for it, they became a sponsor. And when I heard about how they grew their business, I said, “I got to get the founder on to do an interview.”
So we’ve got Dan Clark, the guy who bought ads from us on. It turns out even though he owns the company, he is not the founder. The experience of getting control of this company to me is pretty interesting. The question of how they’re growing is interesting. And then I’m also fascinated by something that I talked to the founder of Toptal about when I read the ad for Brain.fm. I said, “Aren’t they worried about people just copying them?” And I saw that Taso, the founder of Toptal, was nodding as I said that, like, he felt that too. I want to bring that up here in this interview.
So we’re going to discover how Dan Clark led Brain.fm into this company that I’m excited about because it helps people focus better. And it actually does more than that. Here’s the one-liner that they gave me. Brain.fm provides functional music to help people focus, relax and sleep better. Their goal is to give people the ability to control their mental state on demand. This seems like something I would, I swear to God, I swear I would roll my eye . . . I don’t want to bring God into this. I would roll my eyes if I thought . . . But it worked.
All right. I’m going to talk about that thanks to two . . . actually, one phenomenal sponsor. It’s called ClickFunnels another company, Dan, that I was super skeptical about. I said to my team, “I don’t want to include it.” It’s changed my business. But we’ll talk about how their landing pages are now converting people and getting more sales. But first, Dan, good to have you here.
Dan: Yeah, glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: So I’m paying you guys just a few bucks a month to be able to put my earphones on and listen to this music and get more work done. Totally how many people are paying and what’s the revenue?
Dan: Yeah, great question. So we have about 150,000 active users. We have a lot of people actually on lifetime accounts, almost 85,000. We have about 30,000 plus or so on subscription accounts. And we have a whole other side, that’s an enterprise side of the business that we’re starting to grow and really, you know, grow into and find out more about.
Andrew: That’s the part that Sachit told me. He goes, “Look, Dan is brilliant. What he’s doing is he’s going to big companies. You, Andrew, are paying for one freaking license. What’s the big deal for them, right? It’s another few bucks a month.” He gets an enterprise client, and they’re paying for lots of their employees to get access to this. This is the . . . It’s brilliant. That’s the direction that the company needs to go in. That’s what’s happening?
Dan: Yes. So I actually see the company as consumer or business to consumer and then when we sell enterprise is business to business to consumer. So it’s really the same product. And what we look at is with the ideal of, you know, having people control their mental state. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a business or you pick it up yourself. You still need this. Everyone needs it.
Andrew: Yeah. But if you sell to individuals, you’re selling one-offs, usually. If you’re selling to enterprise, yeah, eventually consumers are getting it but they’re buying a bunch, right?
Dan: Yeah, they totally are. So we just sold one of the big four accounting firms and they picked up 50,000 plus accounts. So it is a very large deal and people are benefiting from it from all different parts of the business.
Andrew: So the guy who does our courses here, he used to work for MarketingProfs. MarketingProfs I remember as a place that sold courses for individuals who want to do better marketing for themselves. They became enterprise. They sell the same essentially courses with a few extra features to big businesses who are more likely to spend money and not have hesitation about spending a few thousand dollars and then they buy in bulk. I feel like this is just a brilliant move for software companies and content companies.
Dan: Yeah. I think, you know, companies have an option right now of, you know, whether raising a ton of money and going after consumer only or being able to do maybe a little bit of both. And we’ve been able to experiment, you know, with both and start seeing that now when we do raise money and going into that next big push, we know exactly, “Hey, this is what we’re going to be doing it for. We can turn a profit with this,” and really grow. And there’s a lot of interesting things that we’ve been able to do as a result of, you know, getting big chunks of money upfront for like R&D and science and all that other stuff.
Andrew: Because they’re paying you upfront, the clients are, the enterprise customers are.
Andrew: This was . . . I want to understand how you got here and we’ll tell your whole story.
Andrew: But the enterprise push came from you. How do you take this thing that’s essentially an app that plays music and get an enterprise customer interested? And then how do you convince them to buy? What’s the sales process for that?
Dan: Sure. So, in the sales process, you know, some of the biggest sales channels actually just come from our users and they’re like, “I really love this.” I think the company could benefit from this and either contact us up with the HR department or the wellness partner or initiative. And then there’s others just like, you know, we have lead funnels and things like that where we’re talking to the people that are going to be the ones making decisions.
Andrew: I want to hear about the second one, but give me a moment. The first one was existing customers are saying, “Go to my HR department and get them to pay for this?”
Dan: Yeah. Either that or in some cases, we’ve had the directors of HR departments that are just looking for things and they’re like . . . Because usually these people are the ones that are experimenting anyway and they’re like, “Wow, I really love this and I need to figure out, like, how can I get this to everyone?” And that’s where a lot of conversations started originally. Yeah.
Andrew: With their . . . But you don’t have any process of explaining to somebody that they should be buying this for their company, do you?
Dan: So we do. So we have, you know, sales materials and marketing and things like that.
Andrew: No. I mean, are you using . . . I’ve seen a few companies use Clearbit to identify who their top customers are. And then they have an SDR. Like if there’s someone who happens to work in HR or someone who happens to work in a big company, or has something that they’re looking for triggers and messaged an SDR who follows up with them, who then gets them connected to a salesperson and salesperson says, “Thanks for buying this one thing. You understand we also have this bigger thing. Would you be interested in signing up for that?”
Dan: Gotcha. Yes.
Andrew: Is that something you do?
Dan: So we’ve done that before in, like, branches. To be honest, we need to do a better job with that where, you know, there’s all these things that we can do. But yeah, right now we are really . . . A lot of that has been inbound, outbound, and then maybe some stuff that have done in the past. Another thing we do is we also go through power users as well. So, if someone is just streaming this so much, we usually look at them and say, “Hey, who is this person?” because they’re loving this and we know that they’re already using this, you know, X many hours a week.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah. You know what? On your website, though, you don’t even have an enterprise, like, third column. It feels like every business has their monthly annual or . . . Their small package, a big package, and enterprise contact us. You guys don’t even do that. So it just seems to be almost organically forced by some of your listeners. Is that what you’re saying?
Dan: Yeah, totally. And then as we move into . . . So, you know, there’s a lot of reasons why things exist or don’t exist in the app and also the website and we’re making changes on all of that, but soon that will be coming out with enterprise and, yeah, moving towards that.
Andrew: Okay. And then you also said that you had a different process, more of an active process for now going after enterprise like the accounting firm that you mentioned. What’s that? How do you do that?
Dan: Sure. So it’s just . . . I mean, first, referrals are the best, so, you know, talking to your network and asking people. Then we also have some lead generation things. So we have this one guy, you know, through LinkedIn that’s, you know, contacting people that has networks of stuff and he books appointments that I can talk to people. And, you know, then from there, I have conversations. And that’s the biggest thing. I would say the best ones are always referrals, you know, talking to people in the network that say, “Hey, this is great. I use this. You should talk to X, Y and Z.”
Dan: And then, you know, I have, you know, documents and stuff prepared. But really, I tell them exactly why they should be using it. And at the end of the day, you know, this is music that’s specifically designed for activities, which no music really is designed for. It’s really designed to play and sell records and things like that. We have all the science to show all these things on music, generally made is distracting. But three out of four people right now play the same music they listened to for enjoyability and at work. And there is not a big mark . . . There’s not a huge understanding yet that they should be different things because they are different things.
So, you know, we talked through the science and the separation, we give free accounts, we show some of the supporting, you know, science and some of our credentials, and then we talk to, you know, who we’re talking to. So, if I’m talking to director of wellness, it’s, “Hey, you know, you have these initiatives in the company. This is what this supports.” And then usually, what we found success with is we actually talked to, you know, the CPO or the CIO, someone on the other side of the business that is interested in productivity and goals and KPIs and we say, “Hey, you know, we have science to show that not only can we increase wellness initiatives, but we can also increase productivity by 38%.” And, you know, basically, once we get the buy-in of one person, if we can get the buy-in on the other side of the business, then we move that forward in the next level.
Andrew: So you have someone who goes through LinkedIn profiles to find people who you think are the ideal customer?
Andrew: You reach out to them cold? Is that . . .
Dan: In some cases, yeah.
Andrew: You reach out to them cold, otherwise if you have a connection or a friend, you ask for an introduction, and then you start to pitch them. Is it a standard email that you send out or is it more customized?
Dan: It’s usually for someone . . . I’m only sending maybe 30 or 40 in a week. So I’m usually looking at, hey, what are they actually doing? What is their company? What is their company’s goals, positions, things like that? And I’m writing an email that if I got, I would actually read and not look as spam.
Andrew: And specifically to each person, each one is different. You’re not systemizing it yet.
Dan: Not yet. Not yet.
Andrew: Okay. Got it. Wow. All right. Let’s go back and understand how you got here. By the way, part of me is a little distracted because I realized I’ve been using the wrong mic for some reason in this interview which is the worst interview for me to use the wrong mic in because it’s all about sound and the importance of sound. So I switched to my professional mic now. Did you notice a difference in the mic?
Dan: I did hear it switch over.
Andrew: You did, right? Damn. How did that happen? I heard you’re a black belt.
Dan: I am. I’m a second degree black belt.
Andrew: In what?
Dan: Mixed martial arts predominantly in [Capo 00:12:04] and Muay Thai?
Andrew: When did you get that?
Dan: When I was 18 and then 21 for my second degree.
Andrew: Wow. And so you stuck with it as a teenager?
Dan: Yes. So I don’t know how in-depth you want me to go. But when I was 11, I started doing martial arts and I was a chubby kid that was picked on a lot that just having a really, really tough time and martial arts changed my life. And then I . . .
Dan: Like, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or been the leader or, you know, done a lot of things. There’s a really, you know, challenging times that, you know, kids go through. I was bullied just really, really bad.
Andrew: What did they do to you that was so bad?
Dan: So they called me gay, actually. And just being completely honest . . .
Andrew: Are you gay?
Dan: I’m not.
Andrew: But that was a big thing.
Dan: Yeah. Not that there’s a problem with that. It was something where someone was telling me I am something that I didn’t feel like I was, and then it makes you, you know, push into a box of, you know, this is what you are, you know.
Dan: And I think for anyone to say or make someone feel a certain way when they aren’t, you know, like, as I’m older now I realize the reason why they were doing that is because people were putting them in boxes and other formats. We don’t know at that age. And, yeah. So it was a challenging time for my life.
Andrew: Did you have friends growing up at that period?
Dan: Yeah, you know, I had friends, but I came from a household where if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you frankly you just didn’t say it. I’m the oldest.
Andrew: So it was just jarring for you to hear people suddenly put you down all at once that harshly.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, it was. So, you know, I went through that and . . .
Andrew: You said you were fat.
Dan: I was chubby.
Andrew: Just a little chubby. Okay. So it wasn’t like a health issue or anything.
Andrew: And so what did they make you do before you discovered martial arts? When you weren’t taking it well, what happened?
Dan: I was always . . . I was always the shy kid and the quiet kid and the person that just maybe agreed with everything or took something and . . . I remember, you know, specifically like telling the teacher and then the teacher brought, you know, us in with the principal and confronted us all in the room and, you know, made it 100 times worse. And, you know, it was one of those things where way back then I remember, you know, this voice inside of me saying like, “Hey, it’s going to get better.”
And to this day I still don’t necessarily know why I was wise enough at that age to know that, but I did and I persevered and I just said, “You know what? It’s going to get better.” And around that time, to be honest, you know, I started doing martial arts too, so maybe that was that.
But martial arts is very interesting because it is a vehicle to teach children confidence, respect, you know, perseverance, all these things through physical actions. And I fell in love with it so much, I started going every day, I started becoming a teacher at 16, I was, you know, leading classes at 18. I was teaching, you know, rape self-defense seminars for women of 50, 60, 80 people for how to defend themselves with Krav Maga. And it really transformed my life into not only being a leader but also seeing that really the restraints we put on ourselves are just, you know, imagination. It’s us putting our own selves into boxes.
And it really taught me how to run a business. It taught me, you know, how to be a leader, how to talk to people, how to build rapport. And I worked at one of the biggest martial arts schools in the northeast, so it was a really . . . It was, like, my college and university, you know, when I was 16.
Andrew: You told our producer it also taught you about business. You saw how much revenue they were doing, a couple of million dollars, is fair to say?
Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: So you’re someone who paid attention to that stuff. Did you have any businesses on the side while you were growing up at that period?
Dan: Yeah. I guess I’ve always been entrepreneurial in the fact of, like, “Hey, I could do this and get money for this.” So, actually, in the martial arts school is I started making websites just because I was super interested. So, at 13, I started selling Myspace pages, right, where I’d go in and change the HTML and the CSS to look at certain ways. And I just did it for fun. I made out the first martial arts page and started doing lead generation off that, realized that this is some value, started doing it per month on that and then other martial arts schools we were finding success with that, so I started making it for them.
I started turning into a business and, you know, eventually, that gave me the control of running my own business, making websites, you know, Understanding clients, all that stuff, and then understanding scale because at a certain time I hit so many clients that I couldn’t service them all properly. And then I ended up, you know, moving on selling that and going on to other opportunities from there.
Andrew: How did you get so many clients? Why did you do so well?
Dan: I think it was because in the martial arts school is I was taught how to sell, I was taught how to, at 16 years old, have someone, you know, teach a kid and a parent have them come in and say, “Hey, this is $150 a month.” And you just . . .
Andrew: And you had to do that.
Dan: Yeah, I had to do that. So I had to teach kids on how to . . . “This is what we do here. This is what martial arts is. This is why it’s important.” And in 45 minutes, I had to take the test tube of the only thing of value that I see as a parent is how much is it going to cost me into saying like, “Oh, there’s something that money doesn’t matter. I’ll pay anything to get these things that I want for my child because I want to help them be the best person they are.” And, you know, even then and now I still represent, like, that is one of the best things you can do for kids and I was being . . . I was in a nice place where I was taught how to sell in something you believe in.
Andrew: What’s one technique that you learned back then that still stays with you that you still remember?
Dan: You mean as far as like self-defense and things like that?
Andrew: Selling anything. It seems like you learned a lot . . .
Dan: Oh, selling.
Andrew: . . . as a teenager about selling. What’s one thing that you learned about selling that still stuck with you?
Dan: Really believing what you’re selling. I think selling is just the process of finding the best solution for both parties that benefits both parties. So what I was . . . If I believe that something was better for someone and even if it costs them more money, I am now doing them a disservice if I’m not showing them that you should buy this because then they won’t get the value from it. So it’s all . . .
Dan: Yeah, go.
Andrew: Sorry. So it’s a lot of you learning how to sell and then having the courage to go and sell. But how did you get customers for this business where you were building websites and doing lead gen, is that right, for martial arts studios?
Dan: Okay, sorry. So I thought you were talking about when I was selling for martial arts?
Andrew: I was. I was learning about . . . I was finding out about that, and now I understand that you had to believe in what you were selling in order to sell it and understand why it’s a win for the other person. Great. Now, let’s talk about how you use that in this business that you sold.
Dan: Yeah. So I would do . . . You know, I would sell. I would say, “I’m going to do X, Y, and Z,” and then I would, you know, execute on that and deliver.
Andrew: How did you find these people to tell them all that? All cold emailing?
Dan: So, first, I was involved in a pretty big martial arts school network. So he was one of the leaders and I was there and I did him which he was one of, like, the headquarters schools. And it worked for him, so I started doing all the subsidiaries underneath that. And then they would hear, “Hey, why are all your numbers doing really well?” and I’d be like, “Oh, we’re doing this.” And then I started selling. So, you know, I started doing that first and then before I knew it, I had 20 or 30 schools without actually going into lead funnels and selling and all that stuff. I think it really came down to even though I was 18, 19 at the time, I knew what I was talking about. I was confident and I had results to prove it. And it was a no-brainer at the time, I think . . .
Andrew: How would you get them more customers? What did the sites that you put up do for them?
Dan: Sure. So this is before automation existed and HubSpot and things like that. So it’d be as simple as, you know, back then creating websites that have some SEO, some Google listings, have lead generation forms like actual forums and websites because this is 10 plus years ago where that didn’t exist, booking appointments, sending emails to people. And at the time, maybe some of the industry started doing that, but because martial arts was so niche, no one was doing that in that market like they are now. And I was one of the first people that started exposing that market, seeing that, you know, this is a good amount of money here and I could do this without spend all this money in college. And yeah, I learned a lot through that.
Andrew: How much did you sell the business for?
Dan: Back then it was a small amount. It was under $100,000.
Andrew: Okay. And so then you at some point had a near-death . . . Well, it seemed like you made money before Brain.fm. How? I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out and I don’t see it on your LinkedIn profile.
Dan: Yeah. So I started from there. So I did that and getting out of martial arts. And I had this chunk of money and I said, “Hey, you know what? I want to go travel.” And I went traveling, I went to Australia, completely changed my life for tons of reasons which we could talk about if you want to, but came back and I realized . . .
Andrew: Give me one. Give me one.
Dan: . . . that the world is a big place and anything is possible if you just decide to do it you know, within a meeting if you have a plan and things like that. Like, I was . . .
Andrew: How did travelling get you to finally realize that?
Dan: So I think it’s just boundaries. So, like, you know, as I was talking about someone putting you in a box, breaking out of that box, I came to a point where, you know, I was just getting out of this business, so I was just getting out of martial arts, and I didn’t know what to do and I was talking to my friend and he’s like, “Man, you should go to California. You should just leave. You’ve never been outside the Eastern Coast.” And I was like, “You’re right.” And I remember three weeks later, I’m standing in Sydney, Australia, and I realized that I did that because I just wanted to push as far as I could go and see, “Well, if I could go to California, I could go all the way to Australia.” And I was standing on the other side of the world which I always kind of dreamt of and realize that, “Wow, this is really achievable.” I just had to book it and pay this much money and just plan for it.
And then I came back and I was like, “Wow. If I can do this, how can I do this all the time?” So then I started actually just looking for local businesses that I could get a piece in and, you know, say, “Hey, you’re here. I can do all the things I did at martial arts schools and all the new tricks that I’m learning like automation systems and scheduling, and, you know, all this other stuff. And let’s bring you to here. And I’m not . . . I’ll work for free, but I want a piece in whatever we grow.” And I started doing that for multiple businesses and . . .
Andrew: Ownerships stakes of the businesses?
Dan: No. Just ownership stake in future profits.
Andrew: So anything extra that you make for them, you want a piece of that?
Dan: Yep. As long as I was working for them.
Andrew: What’s an example of a business that you did that for?
Dan: So I did this for any electric dog fence business, that was fun, where, you know, he was doing really well and from there I guess we 5Xed his revenue over two years or so. So that one . . .
Andrew: Was this an online business? And so you helped him by using some of the conversion techniques that you learned?
Dan: So it was a brick and mortar business that was going online and he was really curious about, you know, doing certain techniques and he let me really just try whatever I wanted with certain direction and it really gave, you know, the opportunity to take the conversion techniques and all those things and really build the next level of it. And then I move on to other things. So I did like a sewage business which is like not sexy, but, you know, things like that. And I started . . .
Andrew: And you just called these businesses up, you said, “Look, I can get you more customers. I can get you more sales. Just give me a share of what extra I get for you and once we’re gone, I don’t own a piece of your business. I take my money, walk away, you guys keep the rest of the money.” That’s the deal.
Dan: Pretty much.
Andrew: That’s it.
Dan: Yeah. I mean, it would be more for referrals and things like that. Like, I didn’t just call people cold. It would be like, “Hey, I do this. You know this person. I heard you do this in this business.” And I would really base my whole thing on, like, I know what I’m doing, but I want people . . . Because I was young. So, if I walk in and say, “Hey, I’m 19. I’m going to triple your business,” they’re like, “What?” But if they know of this person and they can get a referral, that’s what I would take, and then, you know, from there and say, “Hey, this is what I can do and this is what the plan would be and here is, you know, a taste of what this would look like. This is a new design website. This is. What do you think?” and then they would take that from there.
Andrew: What’s one thing that you did for these businesses that allowed you to grow their businesses two, three, four times?
Dan: Again, like, lead generation systems. These were really niche businesses that weren’t doing that stuff and weren’t . . .
Andrew: They didn’t have email addresses, they didn’t have lead magnets, all that basic stuff.
Andrew: And that’s what you did?
Dan: Yep. So I was doing that way before, you know, it got so ubiquitous now, right? But it wasn’t commonplace back then. Doing like, you know, you get this PDF, if you sign up this email, and then we convert you because we now can send follow-up emails, things like that.
Andrew: Got it.
Dan: So I started looking at, you know, what real, like, technology businesses were doing. And before it was translated into niche businesses, I would jump in and say, “Hey, these are all the things that we can do and I think this is a no-brainer for you.” And in most cases it was.
Andrew: I see this in big companies where nobody is bringing it into the electric fence business. Let me be the guy who brings it for you. You set them up with landing pages, set of emails that happen afterwards, convert to sales, and then keep a share of the sales that you make. That’s it.
Andrew: All right. Let me take a moment here to talk about my first sponsor, which is kind of feeds into and then I want to hear about the near-death experience. I don’t know what happened to you and how that changed your life. And what happened when you came across Brain.fm. My first sponsor is a company . . . actually, my only sponsor for this interview is a company that you know of, it’s called ClickFunnels. I’m experimenting with doing just one ad per interview. Do you know ClickFunnels?
Dan: I do.
Andrew: I can imagine somebody bringing ClickFunnels into new businesses the way that you brought this whole landing page and drip marketing campaign to other businesses. Here’s the thing. ClickFunnels, most people know them as just landing pages, right? Create a landing page, get email addresses. Yes, they have a bunch of templates that will make your landing pages look great. Make it easy for you to get more people to give you their email addresses if they hit your page.
Dan, here’s the part that imagine if someone is listening to us, he goes, “I’m inspired by Dan. I want to do this too.” What they could do is go to people who already have landing page and say, “I could improve your landing pages.” Obviously, ClickFunnels has better landing pages than if someone’s going to make homemade. But what most businesses don’t realize yet is after you get an email address, you have an opportunity to start charging something. Maybe it’s just you have a confirmation page from ClickFunnels and you drag and drop one of those credit card forms and you make an offer. Even if people don’t buy it, the fact that they see an offer coming from you sets them up to purchase from you in the future.
So imagine you add that, you say, “Great. You’re collecting email addresses. I’m going to collect more. Some of these people who are giving email addresses I’m going to start to sell something to them. Great. That’s done.” But most businesses don’t do it. Imagine if you then add another feature. One of the things that I like, I could never get the name of this right, but I love it, just drag a little checkmark underneath the credit card form and you say, “Look, now that you’ve paid for this, for an extra few bucks, you could also get this other thing. Almost everybody seems to check off that box and get that too. And now you’ve got this funnel that you’ve developed for them, not just a landing page, but the beginnings of a funnel. And you could extend it to more pages. You could extend it to email, you could do the whole thing. And imagine someone’s listening to us and says, “I’m going to bring this to new businesses or just smaller businesses and I’m only going to take a piece of the profits.” What do you think of that, Dan? Would that work?
Dan: I think it’s a no-brainer. The biggest thing is like, they don’t have to learn how to code. It’s really the framework and the idea and you’re introducing it. If they can be the seller and use, you know, a platform like that to do it, then that’s a no brainer.
Andrew: Just use your account and go do it. Guys, if you have not tried out ClickFunnels, if you have this idea that you know what it is, I was there, I thought I knew what ClickFunnels was. That’s why I thought I didn’t need it. Once you got . . . Once you start to see how these people know how to get conversions, you’re going to want to . . . You’re going to want to master it, you’re going to want to implement it in your business and maybe even other people’s businesses.
I’m going to give you some free time on it. If you go to clickfunnels.com/mixergy, you will get to use this software for free. It’s a small trial we’re doing, so we may not continue this for much longer. Go get it while it’s still available. You’ll also get to see the templates I used to do over a million dollars in sales with just one funnel. And you’re going to get to see an interview that I did with the founder, which is phenomenal. Go to clickfunnels.com/mixergy to get that. Clickfunnels.com/mixergy. I’m really proud that they’re sponsoring.
What was the near death experience, Dan? What happened?
Dan: Yeah. So, jumping to that, so I started kept doing the niche businesses, I ended up being digital director of an agency, small agency in Boston, and started traveling round and selling bigger things. So did that. And in TV and radio and these million-plus dollar contracts, you know, part of it turns into, “Hey, let’s go to a fancy dinner or let’s go here. Let’s go there. And I was out at a place . . . so we went down to Tijuana, you know, as like a business trip with a couple of clients. And you know, one thing led to another and I didn’t know this at the time, but Tijuana is not the safest place to go to. It kind of just like went with it. And again, I’ve traveled places, so I didn’t really think of it much. But basically fast-forwarding like six hours, I’m basically at a place where there’s an altercation with the cops and . . .
Andrew: You and the cops or someone else was in an altercation with the cops?
Dan: The people I was with had an altercation with the cops. And they ended up really like roping me on there and it just kept getting more and more and more and eventually, I had a gun pointed at me and . . .
Andrew: By the cops?
Dan: Longer story there. But really is, at that moment, like I’ve had a few near-life death experiences. This is probably the closest one where I just saw it ending, you know, like I did, I don’t know. It was it was very one of those things where because of everything that was going on and all the commotion and things like that, I just, you know . . . It’s hard to quantify. I really remember looking and just being like, “This is it. I’m still here. This is it. I’m still here. This is it. Nope, still here.” And then we end up getting it out fine. Isn’t it ended up you know, being resolved.
Dan: Ran back to the border. One of the guys had a couple of hundred dollars in his hand in his suck.
Andrew: And paid them off?
Dan: Yeah. And he’s like, “You can either have this or I’ll rip it up right now.” That’s kind of thing. So we found that a lot of times or my friend who’s from Tijuana, who told me later he’s like you’re lucky to be alive, is what they do is they basically take you to an ATM, try to take as much money as they can. And then, you know, they either gets, you know, let you go back or they don’t in another way.
Andrew: And the cops will do that?
Dan: That’s what I’ve heard. And, you know . . . Anyway.
Andrew: Okay. How did the altercation even happen? What do you say to the cops that gets this going?
Dan: So I wasn’t . . . I walked over to it. So I had two clients drinking really late in the morning.
Andrew: Oh, okay. And then somehow when you get in, you see that they’re in a fight with the cops and some kind of argument with them?
Dan: Yeah. They are, like, pushing and shoving trying to arrest and I was like, “Guys, let’s go. What are you doing?” Like, all this stuff, you know. And yeah, so I just try to, like, you know, get out of it basically. And we ended up getting out. It’s funny I can laugh now. End up running back to the border being like, “Oh my God. I’m so happy I’m alive,” all this stuff.
And afterwards I ended up realizing, like, wow, that was pretty close, you know, especially talking to other sources and stuff and friends and I realized that, like, this is the trajectory of my life is going right now where, like, I’ve been able to find money, I’ve been able to find, you know, success here and I’m good at this, but . . . And this isn’t all, you know, advertising or anything like that. It’s just, you know, where I ended up. And I thought, “You know what? This is not something that I want my life to be. I want to go back to being in martial art, like, helping people.” Right? Because what is all money if you just have a life or death experience? What if I died? What does any of that matter?
Andrew: What’s the use of all the money that you made by growing somebody’s business a little bit more and selling more electric fences? You want to do something more meaningful?
Dan: Exactly. Exactly.
Andrew: So that’s it. So you gave it up. And at that point, you came across Brain.fm?
Dan: Yeah. So I quit. I was looking at other things and Brain.fm just popped up. I’ve always been into nootropics and different kinds of focus and attention. A small fact is when I was a developer, I used to work from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. because I could do double or triple the amount of work and I was just super sensitive to focus and it always have been. I remember using it for the first time and being like, “Holy crap.” And then I just didn’t believe it. I was skeptical too just like you were and your guests were and things like that. And I tried to break it. So I would stay up all night, and then use it or I would change my diet or, you know, all these things. And over the next week, I was like, “This is it. This is what I want to do.”
And I wrote on customer support, like, 12 times and I said, “I want to talk to you guys.” And I’d follow up every week basically and say, “Hey, can I talk to the founders yet? Can I do this?” And eventually got on the phone with them and said, “Listen, this is what you guys are doing. This is what I do. This is what I believe the company can do. I believe this can be the Netflix of mental states. This can change and revolutionize the world and we can do this. Let’s do this.” And they’re like, “Yeah, that sounds great. These are all the things, but we don’t have any money. We can’t do that right now.” And I said, “I’ll work for free.”
Andrew: A small bootstrapped operation and you said, “I’ll work for free.”
Dan: Yeah, I said, “I’ll work for free. You’ll find the money to pay me.” And so I worked for a month for free or so. They ended up booting out one of the technical guys that were doing it. I took over. And yeah, kind of went there ever since.
Andrew: The company was called Brainwave.fm I think at the time, am I right?
Dan: When it first started it was Brainwave, yeah.
Andrew: And then they changed to Brain.fm. Why didn’t you when you saw that, why didn’t you say, “All right. I think I could copy this. I can go and hire some musicians to make some music that has the same types of beats, the same adjustments, the same whatever it is that they do”? Why didn’t you just say, “I’ll copy it and go start my own”?
Dan: That’s a great question. So that was my first actual idea. And then I started looking at it and I started realizing that there’s a lot of science involved, and that when I started looking at binaural beats and isochronic tones and the other companies that I’ve tried before that say they can do this, they’ve never delivered on it for me. And then I started looking at like, what’s the difference in this and it was a different approach to the music. And they had patents issued and other patents started. And they had all this, like, the guy . . . One of the inventors of this technology was doing it for 18 years. And I kind of thought the same thing with other businesses I was part of, “I could start electric dog fence business, or I can take the starting seed and explode it.”
Andrew: That’s how it would work?
Dan: And that’s really what I saw an opportunity for.
Andrew: So how is this different then? So I put . . . I can never pronounce it right. Binaural beats?
Dan: Binaural, yeah.
Andrew: Binaural beats. I just typed it into Google. One of the top search results is Spotify, binaural beats on Spotify. I could find these playlists. Actually somebody, Dan, created a playlist on Spotify called Brain.fm. Two people did. Now, I tried it and I have to say was . . . I know why for me it didn’t work because they had freaking vocals. As soon as there’s vocals if I’m listening to music while working, I’m done. I can’t pay attention unless it’s in a foreign language. But somebody could get it right. What’s different from . . . What’s the difference between this generic music and Brain.fm?
Dan: So, before I go into the differences, there’s other stuff that we should probably, like, hit off the top of the thing. So there’s a . . . To do focus that’s . . . To do music that’s functional, so for activities, for focus, for example, you need to have certain like rules that are followed. And one of the biggest roles is no lyrics. The reason why is because even if you’re hearing lyrics, if it’s recognizable at all, even if you’re not paying attention, your brain is processing those lyrics. Your subconscious is working on them, right? So there’s things like that.
There’s things like having crazy salient events, which is like symbols and, you know, gunshots going off, like, obviously, that makes sense that that’s not good for focus. But the difference binaural beats and isochronic tones and really what Brain.fm is, is the approach. So binaural beats the way it works is you have one hertz going in one ear and one hertz going in the other. And the idea is that if I play these different oscillations and frequencies in ears, then it will combine inside of my brain and then stimulate me to be more focused or have deeply asleep, or, you know, change brainwaves.
The problem with that is it’s actually really basic. So what happens is, if you . . . You can think of it like a truck backing up, beep, beep, beep, beep, and at first, you’re very sensitive, you hear the truck backing up, but if I played that beeping for nine hours, two hours in you won’t even hear it anymore, right? It’s like sleep in traffic and stuff. So your brain gets used to it. It normalizes it. And our brain is really adapted and I’m going to science stuff maybe a little bit further later where our brain is built to look for distractions, and if distractions are not available, it, like, blocks them out because it has to reach homeostasis. Right?
So what’s happening is really our brains are super, super sophisticated. And Brain.fm has a different process. So we use music is created from AI and it does something called neural phase locking in the brain. And basically what we’re doing is we’re playing an oscillating wave of different kinds of frequencies, different kinds of 3D sound, different kinds of events across the neuro-protocol that we’ve been able to find influences increases focus for a sustained period of time, and it’s something that your brain can adapt to because it’s always dynamically changing.
Andrew: So if I listened to the same thing over and over on Brain.fm, my brain will adapt to it and it stops working on me?
Dan: So no. It’s more of the . . . I’m talking more about the frequency. So there’s frequencies. We’re talking with . . . Binaural beats is like dadadadada.
Dan: Right? And what we’re doing is if you listen really closely to Brain.fm, it actually almost sounds like a helicopter sound because we do, dadada dadada, and then it changes. And it’s not a straight rhythm, right? And it’s composed. And it’s very hard to do that because it still has to sound good. If you take general music and you just feed it through our AI composer, it just destroys all music because of the frequency changes. So you have to have a sophisticated AI that can make it both sound good and actively have the effect that we’re trying to do. And binaural beats and things like that, it may be working for two or five minutes, but there’s tons of scientific evidence to show that it actually just depreciates and just doesn’t work anymore.
Andrew: This was my problem with doing the ads for you guys. I don’t think I did a good job explaining what the difference is. And even as you’re talking about it, I don’t think a lot of it stuck in my head. I don’t . . . I’m not following it. And then you also show . . . I liked that you show an MRI and you said, “Look, we’re showing you that the brain is more engaged when you’re listening to this versus listening to something else.” I get that it’s there. I think what I’m taking away from this, Dan, is there’s a lot more science than I even as a listener I’m picking up on and it’s harder to copy partially because of the patents and partially because of all the artificial intelligence that goes into creating this and having it both be different every time but at the same time, but at the same set of requirements that you’re looking for. Right?
Dan: Totally, yeah. At the end of the day to concentrate it, you just have to make music that people actually want to listen to and it has the effects that we need to have that have been shown to increase focus or increase sleep or relaxation.
Andrew: All right. So you get in with them. And one of the things that you do that you help them with is apparently do the AppSumo deal. Am I right?
Dan: No. So I actually came in and I heard about the company at the AppSumo deal.
Andrew: Because of the AppSumo deal you heard about the company?
Andrew: The AppSumo deal must have done great for them. And I mean, as far as sending more customers their way, I’m looking at all the reviews on AppSumo. It’s huge. It’s like a five-star or five tacos as they call it. But it was only $25 for a lifetime membership. Wish I had gotten that. That’s phenomenal. So that was working for them.
Dan: Well, yeah, so that was the first thing that ever worked for them. So they were actually about to close their doors because they put in a bunch of money and they said, “Hey, let’s try this.” And they couldn’t figure out how to market it and get people started. They had like 100 people after doing it for a year. And then after the AppSumo, I think they had . . . They did like $600,000 sales in, like, 24 hours and had, like, 25 or 30,000 people that, like, activated in a day.
Andrew: Wow. And then there’s more customers who came in afterwards as a result of that.
Dan: Yep. He did Product Hunt afterwards and then, you know, people started referring people and talking about it.
Andrew: Look at this. Product Hunt 3,800 upvotes. This was before Product Hunt let people vote on individual products, so I can’t really see what the overall ratings were. All right. So now you’re starting to get customers. Why did they need you? What were you able to do for them?
Dan: So I had technical experience and some of the marketing experience on, like, how to amplify things. So I also built apps. And that was one of the things I was doing before, so I was building apps for, you know, agencies and things like that. And they needed an app. They only had a web app at the time.
Andrew: Like a mobile app. They just had a web.
Dan: Yep, yep. So I said, “Hey, you know, one of the things I can do is do the mobile app.” And I was one of the people that, you know, made the first iOS app.
Andrew: How did you get the iOS app? You built it yourself or you hired someone?
Dan: I built it.
Andrew: You did? Oh, wow. Okay.
Dan: We did it as fast as possible. That was the goal rather than . . . I wasn’t leading at the time, so, you know, they were really . . . They really wanted to push it as fast as possible, and so we did and I think we built the whole thing from start to finish in, like, two and a half months or something.
Andrew: How did you do it? What did you do that let you do it so fast? It seems like this is something that you can build using other building blocks, right?
Dan: Yeah, yeah. So, based on React Native, we did, you know, tools that were, you know, creative or created that you could use to start with. I’ve also done apps before so I was able to say, “Hey, I know how we’re doing this.” And yeah, like, we were able to launch it pretty quickly. We did a lot more on the beta side, so instead of having like a polished app that had, you know, crazy amounts of testing, we said, “Hey, we’re going to release this with the idea of implementing and making it better as we go along.”
Andrew: At what point did you end up getting a piece of the business in?
Dan: In the last year, actually. It was a . . .
Dan: Yeah, it was a little bit . . . So, as the story goes, you know, so that was happening, you know, I was doing more and more and I started going from, you know, being technical lead and growing the company in the product side to doing . . .
Andrew: All for free?
Dan: Oh, no. So I started getting paid, but my salary was maybe a quarter of what I was making before.
Andrew: How much? What are we talking about?
Dan: It’s like 60 grand.
Andrew: Sixty grand a year?
Dan: Yeah, yeah. Sixty grand.
Andrew: Okay. And you felt good about yourself for that even though you had no equity?
Dan: So I had the promise of equity, I guess . . .
Andrew: Okay. So there was starting to become an understanding.
Dan: . . . and I had a belief in the business. Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: And you had what?
Dan: And I had the belief in the business that like, “Hey, I just want to be on the rocket ship.” So, yeah, I did that and was doing that I guess for two years or a year. Yeah, like, about a year, year and a half. And there came to a point where, you know, we raised money. I was involved in that. And I started doing more and more. So I started doing marketing, I started doing other things, I started, you know, introducing, you know, other ideas and concepts and, you know, things like that. And between the two original founders, you know, they were really trying on their own way to grow the business and what they thought were best.
And there came to a point where the original inventor who had, you know, the majority of the company decided that, “Hey, you know, Dan has the vision and he has the drive and he has the mission to do this and I want him to be running this thing.” And, you know, for one through another I eventually I became CEO from that and had really just the ability now to say, “Okay. Before I was I . . . I never . . . It was interesting, so like, to give him . . .
Andrew: But this Adam Hewitt who was one of the co-founders who left or . . . ?
Dan: So he was the inventor.
Andrew: He was the inventor. Okay. And he’s the guy who said, “I want to take a step away.” He’s not working at the company as far as I know now, right?
Dan: So that was later on in the story.
Andrew: Oh, okay. So this was the other co-founder. Who’s the other co-founder that left?
Dan: So I’d rather not name names.
Dan: I mean, I’m sure you can look up and stuff but . . .
Andrew: I could, then why not?
Dan: I think that . . . So, just to be honest, upfront is, I think when two founders start with a company with a vision, they have really great intentions and sometimes there’s riffs along the way. And, you know, we’ve had disagreements before and, you know, we decided, you know, to part ways and things like that.
Andrew: Okay. So the other co-founder is the guy who left, not the inventor, and you ended up taking his shares?
Dan: Eventually, yes.
Andrew: Buying it from him?
Dan: It wasn’t just directly over time. Eventually, we came out to agreement of that. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. I’m sensing that we’re getting to a place where I’m not going to get the answer. I’m going to get something that is, like, so totally whitewashed that it’s not really worth getting here. All right. And so you ended up owning a majority of the company.
Andrew: Okay. When we say majority, how much are we talking about now at this point? Eighty percent?
Dan: Roughly around there.
Andrew: Roughly around there. Okay.
Andrew: And you raised money from where?
Dan: We raised from Slow, from a VC fund.
Andrew: I don’t know them. I’m looking at your . . . Oh, Slow Ventures and Dave Morin, the angel investor.
Andrew: Okay. All right. I’m looking to see who . . . I don’t know Slow well. I’m trying to see who they funded that I would know, but I don’t see it.
Dan: So they’ve been involved in, you know, Casper and a large swath of companies . . .
Andrew: Oh, I see that.
Dan: . . . that are more on the bigger side. Yeah. Their whole idea is . . .
Andrew: Airtable, Gusto . . . Yeah. What’s their idea?
Dan: Yeah. They believe in making investments in, like, seed and early companies and then seeing them grow and helping mentor them into what they can be.
Andrew: PillPack. Oh, yeah, a lot. I should have known them. Nest. How did you get involved with them? Slack.
Dan: So I was not a part of the company at the time.
Andrew: Got it.
Andrew: All right. So you continued the first . . . You created the app, though, the first iOS app, but you told our producer, “Look, it was basically unusable the first version.” Why?
Dan: Yeah. Well, because we try to just get it out as fast as possible. And I think that the idea was, “Hey, how can we just grow this and continue growing.” And the challenge was that we didn’t do testing, we didn’t . . . We just pushed the thing out and it had to be redone. So it was a learning process, but it was also, like . . .
Andrew: From scratch?
Andrew: How didn’t you lose the respect and credibility that you had within the company? This is the first big project you came in to do. For someone who says, “I want more. I wanted more piece of the business. I want more responsibility. I want more and more say here,” and the first thing that you really create just sucks.
Dan: That’s a really poignant question. So I think there at the time there was understanding that, “Hey, this is not ready to produce. This is not ready to push out kind of thing.” And we did anyway. And I think that it was a, “Hey, the technical stuff is hard. There’s a lot of things that are involved in X, Y, and Z and it has to be done, you know, this way and I was, you know, listened to. And I think that was one of the reasons they were like, “Oh, wow, this is actually really important.”
Andrew: Got it. So this was the first big project but not your first bit of input and the way you were talking about where the company should go and what you were doing seems to have helped, am I right?
Dan: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: What else did you do that worked before we get into enterprise?
Dan: Yeah. So I think it was that. We did other things just making pushes for, you know, other changes. So, at the time, we were giving 10 free sessions. We were doing data collection, started doing analytics, and we found that, hey, if we do five free sessions, we actually increase people’s ability to just use all 5 because for some reason, psychologically, people think 10, “Oh, they’ll be there.” So we decreased it from 10 to 5 and we found that we could increase conversion by very large amounts. We started doing, you know, email marketing, we started doing different kinds of partnerships and, you know, opportunities between different kinds of lead sources. So saying, “Hey . . . ”
Andrew: Like what?
Dan: So, like, podcasts, for example. So I go on podcasts and say, “Hey, this is what we’re doing.” And when people hear about the science and what we’re doing in the passion, they would come on, and I started doing that a lot.
Andrew: You being on podcasts just talking through how to think better and stay focused, that helped.
Dan: So it was that. It was also about what Brain.fm is and why people should use it. So that would generate a lot of revenue and income. We also did a lot of different kinds of like partnerships between companies and saying, “Hey, when you buy this product, you get, you know, a month free of Brain.fm or whatever it may be.” We did other kinds of upgrades on, you know, the app like pricing, things like that and remove lifetime as well to really grow our subscription.
Andrew: You’re not selling lifetime anymore.
Dan: We are not now, unfortunately.
Andrew: I could have bought lifetime at some point?
Dan: Yes. So we have lifetime . . .
Andrew: What was . . .
Dan: A hundred forty-nine dollars. But right now the reason why we took it off is because, one, we are still trying to figure out the growth rate. So, from a company’s perspective, I think it’s important to really know how this is going to be used and how this is going to be billed, and really why we’re trying to do this. And I don’t think that with $149 and just pushing everyone to buy that, eventually, the dam is going to break. And from the idea of . . .
Andrew: Going to break, meaning, you’re going to have a lot of money already put in years before and people using the software they’re costing you money now and into the future.
Dan: Yeah. And I think that at the time when we had lifetime, we just had lifetime because other companies had lifetime, but we didn’t have a reason for it. And I think that the reason why we shifted from lifetime to having subscription, and maybe we’ll bring lifetime back someday, but really was saying like, this is our commitment to, you know, making this better because we care about active users. That’s the number one thing. Like, out of those 150,000 people, I want to make sure that they are actively using us and actively on our top tier because that’s how we get referrals, that’s how we get all these other things. And I think if we start . . .
Andrew: People use it is what you’re saying.
Dan: What’s that?
Andrew: You’ve noticed that when people use it, they’re more likely to share it?
Dan: Yes, for sure.
Andrew: How can you track that?
Dan: We do a lot by word of mouth and campaigns and as far as like, you know, asking email surveys, like, “How did you do this?” We interview, you know, 5% of our customers that onboard and we say, “Hey, would you answer some questions? We’ll give you a few months free so we can get, like, some valuable information about the customer, where they came from, how they learned about us,” things like that.
Andrew: I feel like you guys should get rid of the monthly.
Andrew: I’ll tell you why. Why do you think you should get rid of it?
Dan: It costs us . . . So our retention goes up, right, because people are trying something, and then two, I think it’s a commitment thing. So people that buy yearly become power users within eight days and people that buy monthly, they’re kind of like just trying it. They just want to see. And really . . .
Andrew: I’m not trying it, and I’ll tell you why. Maybe this is more a comment.
Dan: Okay. Let’s do it.
Andrew: I’m afraid to use it sometimes because I’m monthly because every time I see it on my bill every month I go, “Damn it. Why am I paying for music when I already pay for Spotify and Apple Music and Google Music or YouTube Music, whatever they happen to call it this month? I better not get too hooked on it because if I do, then now I’m going to have this thing on monthly for life.” Versus if I pay annual, it’s like I already paid for it. It’s a sunk cost. Let’s go and live it up. Now I’m taking advantage of you by using it more often because now I have already paid and if I use it all the time, then I get to spread my expenses over all those different uses. That’s part of it. What do you think of that?
Dan: Yeah. I think that shows up in our data too. And that’s, again, why the people on yearly are way more active than the people on monthly and I think that shows.
Andrew: I have another issue that I wanted to bring up with you since I’m talking to you . . .
Andrew: . . . as a user.
Dan: Let’s do it.
Andrew: I found . . . And this is one of my personal quirks, so I know that the previous thing I said I think will be coming up more people. This one is more unique to me. I’m a Siri user. I’m not an iOS user. I’m Siri first. And especially when it comes to music, I don’t want to have to go find your app, dig the thing that I want out of it and then go and say that, “You know what I need right now? It’s focused music and I need it to be for 90 seconds.” I’m much more likely to say, “Hey, Siri, play Motorhead,” and then boom, I get Motorhead playing for me, and then that allows me to stay focused, you know, because for some reason that works. By the way, Siri is still going.
Dan: One hundred percent.
Andrew: Siri says here play Motorhead and then watches everything else I said.
Dan: That’s awesome.
Andrew: And your mobile experience still doesn’t include Siri and on the iPad, which is iPad first, it’s tilted on the side, you know, because you only do portrait, no landscape and I work in landscape.
Andrew: So I feel like the mobile experience needs to be Siri first for me anyway, and then needs to be more updated.
Dan: Yeah, I 100% agree. So, you know, just where we’re at and where we’ve been over the last year is, you know, as you heard about earlier, there’s a transition. And sometimes the transition isn’t clean. And a lot of time and energy was put there. And that took away from, you know, the product and the direction of the company. And now as we refocus and clean up, now we’re making changes to fix all those things. And I think it first starts at organization. So, before to make this work we had . . . Because we also have . . . So we have neuroscience, musicians, developers, you know, we have a kind of a top-heavy company at least for startup. And so we had all these remote people, and then they weren’t talking to each other and there was just all this stuff. And I wasn’t solving those problems as a startup should. I was solving other problems. And now . . .
Andrew: The problem was, how do I adjust ownership is something that was eating up your time.
Dan: Yeah. How do we make this so that everyone, like, we can move forward and we’re not in the stasis? And we did. And now we’ve actually moved the company in New York. We have, you know, really great product managers and developers. And now we’re starting to address and take down all the things that, like you just said, it drives me wild as well. And . . .
Andrew: How big is the company?
Dan: So we have 10 people full-time. And we just hired . . .
Andrew: Oh, that’s it.
Dan: Just about to hire a new person. Yep.
Andrew: And the musician just come in for projects and then leave.
Dan: They’re full-time. So we have two full-time . . .
Andrew: Full-time musicians?
Dan: Yep. So we have two full-time musicians. We have a full-time neuroscientist on staff who collaborates with Northwestern, excuse me, Northeastern, MIT, Harvard, all that stuff. And he’s really conducting all the science and doing all the things that I can say is to back it up. And then we have product manager, developer, operations. So we have, you know, pretty big team and it was like that even when we’re going through all the stuff when we were still small because we need them all. And I think it’s interesting. So I guess from my view is I’m on the same side where I’m like, “This drives me wild. We need to fix this.” But we had to fix other problems before we can fix that. And through it all, we’ve had customers that are saying like, “Listen, I don’t care if the app is purple, blue or pink. I just want it to work.” And that’s what we prioritize, making it stream, make sure it works.
Andrew: And I will say it works and it’s beautifully, like, minimalistic. I just say what I’m looking for. Am I looking to relax? Am I looking to focus? I always look to focus. I’m actually going to bring up an issue with that in a moment.
Dan: Let’s do it.
Andrew: And I just hit Play and I say how long I wanted to go for which I never understood why I would care about that but fine, I usually go either full-on 90 minutes or I understand I’m only going to be a few minutes, I hit 30 minutes. And then I’m good to go. And I like that there’s also a download option so I could listen to it on flights and internationally and all that good.
All right. Sleep. I would love to try it for sleep. I am addicted to listening to something all day. I can’t stand quiet as you wouldn’t be surprised. I put one Airpod in my ear when I go to sleep so that I’m not fully disconnected from my wife. That one Airpod within a couple of hours will fall out. Now I wake up in the morning hunting it down, but I’m listening to some kind of podcast or audiobook or even like the TV show “Suits” in the background, just the same episode over and over.
Andrew: I’d like to do the same thing with Brain.fm. I can’t get one Airpod to stick in my ear all night. How am I going to get two to stick in my ear? I feel like you need to have an earphone that is wireless that . . . And not just you, but somebody needs to create an earphone that’s wireless that won’t hurt our ears when we fall asleep. It doesn’t have to be small. It just doesn’t . . . It can’t look dorky. I still want my wife to want to have sex with me. And the thing that’s like a stupid headband, there’s no way she’s going to touch me.
Dan: Yeah. So two things on that. One is, you know, part of the things that we’re redoing and not only our product to making that better, but is also our messaging, right? So we do recommend headphones for focus because it’s high oscillation sound. But actually, for sleep, you can use it off a high-fidelity Bluetooth speaker and get the same exact effects. So we recently . . .
Andrew: So one Airpod would be enough?
Dan: You could do one Airpod or what I would recommend is do like a Sonos or . . . Excuse me. You could do a Sonos with AirPlay right now or you could do a Bose. And right now we’re actually doing Alexa and Sonos [spills 01:01:23] to be able to do that.
Andrew: Oh, really?
Andrew: I still couldn’t do it because I wouldn’t want Olivia’s hippie music playing at night. She’ll sometimes do something with chimes . . .
Dan: That’s fair.
Andrew: So I don’t want to inflict this on her and then have her play her . . . Right? Because this is my thing. I just want one Airpod.
Dan: The technology is getting closer. So you could definitely do one Airpod, you definitely have the same effects because it is monaural. We talked about binaural before.
Dan: Our technology it doesn’t matter if you have it in one ear or two, but if you have one ear that’s uncovered and you’re getting a bunch of sounds from the other ear, it’s not going to work as effective.
Andrew: I’m not. She sleeps quietly. So just put one Airpod in and try that.
Dan: You could do that.
Andrew: And it’s going to help me fall asleep. And for someone who’s single or has a spouse who doesn’t care, you play that on a speaker and you’re good to go.
Dan: That’s right. Yeah, if you guys can both agree on it, that’s something there. And then the technology is coming. Bose has some headphones that are out right now that are really great. They are sleep phones. However, you can’t stream to them.
Dan: That’s . . .
Andrew: Why would they do that? All you could do is listen to their stupid rain sound. I don’t want that.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I know why. It’s because of the technology, and because of the battery, and because of all that other stuff. But I don’t think we’re far away from that. But for right now one headphone would work.
Andrew: You think this is going to be $1 billion business you told our producer. This is going to be your big thing, your big legacy business, am I right?
Dan: As far as where I’m at right now, I believe that, yeah, this can be huge and this can change the world.
Andrew: And you could get enterprise to start buying this for people?
Andrew: Big companies are going to . . . Why would a big company buy this for people?
Dan: So I think that as we move forward into 2020 and beyond, people are starting to realize that wellness initiatives are actually not just good, they’re actually profitable. So, you know, people are doing meditation. A lot of . . . Do you meditate, Andrew?
Andrew: I do.
Dan: Yeah. So there’s great effects of that. And what’s happening is companies are starting to see, like, “Hey, if we help teach our employees how to meditate, we can get benefits from it.” I think that as we move forward, people are starting to push the boundary and or really start saying, “Okay. Maybe meditation isn’t my thing. Maybe meditation is my thing. But how do I quantify and how do I only do things that have science backing?”
Andrew: You’re looking for wellness that’s science-backed and companies are looking for a basket of things to say to new hires, “We give you all this stuff.” And that’s the approach.
Dan: I think that’s part of it. I think the other approach is that companies are also looking to increase productivity. There’s some experiments going right now with four-day work weeks, right? And they’re not going to do that because it makes people’s lives happier. Maybe that’s an effect that they love. But they’re also going to do it because it’s more productive. So that’s what we’re trying to kind of have the practice of, you know, having wellness, having digital wellness with science, but also having productivity that’s also based on science as well.
Andrew: I’m a little obsessed with your business, that’s why I’m not listening enough, and instead just jumping in a lot, but I’m really into it. I think that unless somebody tries it and then gets, like, a benefit from it, it sounds a little woo-woo and a little bit quirky.
Andrew: And frankly, maybe for some people, this is not going to be the thing. Here’s where I’d love to see . . . This is where I’d position it.
Andrew: I see a lot of . . . Well, I’ll speak about my wife. She was working in private space within her big company that she was working for, and then suddenly they said, “No, no. We need everybody even the executives to have one big table.” I didn’t even go to her office to see this. But apparently she was switched to one big table that everybody shared. And I get the upside of that, but I also understand that she couldn’t focus at times. And imagine as more and more companies start to go to that either because they believe it creates more collaboration or because they don’t have space, especially looking at the Bay Area where there’s no space, or in the future when the economy goes south and companies can’t afford to give you space and maybe they send you into your home, maybe they send you into a coffee shop to go work. They’re sending you into the unknown.
If they say, “And we’ll pay you for earphones and give you this thing that will give you more productivity.” That kind of softens the blow. And if you inject this message of, “Here’s how much more productive you’ll be with it,” and they could see a measurable increase in productivity, then it’s a huge win and companies will continue to pay. What do you think of that, Dan, again?
Dan: Totally. And to add on to that, more so is it’s easy. So everyone already listens to music for activities anyway. If you go to the gym, if you . . . People are playing Spotify music anyway, right? You have millions and millions of people that are playing these focus lists, right? And really, we’re not asking for people to change their behavior, we’re just asking them to change a tiny part of it, which is listen to this instead of this. And that is a huge . . . I think it’s big because we’re not asking you to start meditate. Well, you know, that’s not bad, and we also offer meditation things. It’s really easy just to put music in your ears and there’s no bad side effects from it.
Andrew: Yeah. All right. I’m just surprised that this thing is a thing. What did you say your revenue was?
Dan: It’s close to 2 million.
Andrew: Two million, recurring revenue?
Andrew: All right. It’s Brain.f . . . Actually, you know what we should do? The ad on Mixergy I’m going to say it didn’t work. Am I right about that?
Dan: I thought it tied to what we’re talking about if you feel like it didn’t go well.
Andrew: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if it worked or not. I just . . . I actually I’ll be honest with you. I said to Sachit, “I’m skeptical. Please pass it on to them.”
Dan: Oh, I thought you meant the ad you said earlier. The ad you did for us?
Dan: No. People didn’t try it.
Andrew: Oh, they didn’t even try it.
Dan: We had like 40 people I think try it.
Andrew: I think the problem is that I found that ads that work on Mixergy are high-ticket items. If you’re looking for a bunch of people to pay a few bucks a month, which is what Brain.fm does, I think we’re challenged there. But if you’re looking for one person to hire a developer for thousands of dollars a month, great, that’s what Toptal is doing. It’s killer.
I think that for us, it’s more about high-lifetime value, low number of conversions. So I was going to say the ad didn’t work. I’m not going to mess up your stats by telling people to go to brain.fm/mixergy, but that URL is not even working anymore. It just takes people directly to the homepage. You guys were offering a good deal on too.
All right. So it doesn’t matter, guys. I can’t give you the deal on it. But I do think it’s fascinating go to brain.fm and go try this. Get the five . . . I think actually you say five. I ended up with like 10. You kept telling me five and I kept waiting for it to cancel and I said, “All right. Screw it. I’m just going to pay. At some point is going to cancel and I don’t want to cancel and I’m really looking to be productive.” But everyone could get that if they go to brain.fm. Did I hit on something, by the way? I saw a smile on your face. Is it really message to get 5 free sessions but in reality it’s 10 that you give people?
Dan: So I thought we upgraded your account actually.
Andrew: No, I go to the standard everyday account, but I do know when I went in personally to it, I said, “At some point, I’m going to have to pay. At some point, I’m going to have to pay. I can’t believe I went beyond five.” And then I said, “I better pay because I need this when I get frustrated with some crazy thing that’s going on around me and I don’t want that time to be the time when I have to pay and then have to deal with going through.” All right.
Dan: Appreciate that.
Andrew: Okay. Anyway, whatever it is, it’s available for anyone who wants to go try it out, brain.fm. The bigger lesson for me here is, you don’t have to be a founder to end up with basically ownership of a company with founder shares. If you’re really passionate, there’s an opportunity to go and upgrade yourself. Number two, even these little things that you wouldn’t think would be a thing can be a thing. Look at how passionate I am about your software. I’m a little excessively passionate about it, but I think it’s good. And then finally, enterprise sales, which we didn’t get fully into because I feel like you’re in the early days of enterprise sales.
Dan: When we . . . Maybe in next year when I have, you know, 10, 15 accounts, I can walk through it and we can do a follow-up.
Andrew: What percentage of your sales are coming in of your revenues coming in from enterprise?
Dan: Well, we sold one very large account, so about 10% right now, but that’s a one-off.
Andrew: From one account.
Andrew: Got it. So it’s not like you brought in lots of enterprise clients. This is just the beginning of it.
Dan: Just the beginning. We’ve sold a lot of smaller businesses. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. Okay. Got it. And smaller businesses buy what? Like 10 seats?
Dan: Like 50 to 150.
Andrew: Oh, wow. All right. Dan, thanks so much for doing this and thank you to my sponsor, ClickFunnels. I’ve used them to do over $1 million in sales from one funnel. I urge you to go and check out their software for free and, of course, get to see the funnel that I’ve used. And as a follow-up to this, you should go listen to the interview that I did with the founder of ClickFunnels. All of that and more is available to you at clickfunnels.com/mixergy. Thanks, ClickFunnels and thank you, Dan. Bye, everyone.