Please tell me about Youpreneur and your role as CEO.
Youpreneur is an education company for entrepreneurs who want to build future-proof businesses around themselves and their expertise. Youpreneurs include consultants, speakers, experts, financial advisors, thought leaders, coaches, mumpreneurs building businesses around their passions, authors, content creators, bloggers, podcast hosts, YouTubers. Basically, anyone in any industry building a business and offering products based around their experience and personality.
The Youpreneur concept grew naturally from my own work blogging and podcasting, which I started in 2010. It became evident to me that people were relating to me more than to the brand name of the podcast. They were saying, “Hey, listen to Chris’s podcast”. Eventually I realised that I had a personal brand myself. It wasn’t something I set out to do, but it came about with speaking, then the first book deal, then the second, and so on, until I realised I had built a business around myself. Now we’re at over 7 million downloads for the podcast, we host an annual live Youpreneur Summit in London each November, and we have private coaching and an online academy. Our goal is to become the world’s #1 education company for entrepreneurs.
For many years I was a traditional CEO working an 84-hour week running several businesses that employed 350 people around the world. But in 2009 I hit burnout big time. Now, at Youpreneur, I take an unorthodox approach to the role. I work primarily from home and connect with team members and clients around the world by phone, Zoom, and Skype. I work from 10am – 4pm Monday to Thursday. I don’t work Fridays and haven’t for six or seven years now. There is never anything on my schedule on a Friday. This short intense work week keeps me totally focused, positive and energised at all times. This helps me be the best CEO I can be.
What are three aspects of your job that motivate you to constantly do better and enhance your business?
People, people, people. The coaching, the mentoring, helping other entrepreneurs build their businesses and personal brand is what gets me out of bed in the morning. This is what I love about what I do – this is what it’s all about – being in the moment, connecting with people. The mentoring can get quite personal, even revelatory for entrepreneurs becoming Youpreneurs because the first step is to define who you are. Understanding who you are – your strengths and weaknesses – is key.
What would you say is the key to your success?
A very easy exercise I give everyone at the beginning of working with them is the self-assessment test. I ask them to write down the ‘flatter yourself’ list and then the ‘keep it real’ list. That list tends to be a slightly tougher one, especially for the Type A entrepreneurs we work with. It’s actually the more important one because once you know what your weaknesses are, you know what to avoid. Some people say you should work on your weaknesses, but I’m a big believer in avoiding your weaknesses, delegating your weaknesses. Instead, lean into the things you excel at; that’s how you find success. That’s how I’ve found success.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
I have 288 pages of advice for entrepreneurs in my most recent book! But if I had to boil it down to just one thing it’s to double down on your personal brand. Looking back across my career, I see that every deal I’ve landed and every success I’ve had has come from my brand, from me, and from my relationships. I hugely value relationships. The best decision I’ve ever made, hands down, has been to focus on building the business around my personal brand. We’ve more than doubled our annual revenue and tripled our employee numbers since we made that decision, and it’s brought massive opportunities our way, too. Leaning into it, going all in on it, has been the best decision. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping other people do likewise.
Have you faced any struggles leading up to creating Youpreneur?
In 2009, I was working an 84-hour week as a successful entrepreneur in the Philippines, running several businesses and employing 350 people around the world. Then I had a breakdown that landed me in the hospital for ten days and eventually led to back surgery from all those deskbound hours. I knew I had to make a change. By the end of 2010, we’d hired eight people to replace me – which gives you an idea of why I was burned out. I launched Youpreneur in 2015, and the transition from burnout in 2009 to Youprenuer in 2015 came about gradually. The blog had been growing, and the podcast had grown exponentially. People were coming to me to ask for help and coaching. So, we started with an online membership community for mentoring, and this was hugely successful, and we just kept building with the book, the live Summit, the coaching. The issue here more than anything else and why Youpreneur has done so well is that not only do we provide quality information in a convenient library – we provide community. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. When you put yourself into a situation where you’re surrounded by people who get you, it all becomes so much easier. It’s important not just for when you stumble, but also for when you hit your goals and are looking for that high-five. I benefit from the Youpreneur community just as much as my team and clients do.
What’s next for your business? Any developments you would like to share with us?
For myself, I want to carry on doing what I’m doing in terms of striking a solid work / life balance for me and my family as well as being able to work on my own learning and my own growth as an entrepreneur and as a leader. I start at 10am so I get to be there for the kids in the morning, and I stop at 4pm so I can be there when they get home. That said, I don’t think work-life balance is a genuine thing. It’s an invented thing that makes a good sound bite, but it just isn’t real. If you run your own business, if you’re a CEO, that will always play a part in your personal life, and if you work from home as most Youpreneurs do, your personal life will always play a role in your business. As for the business, Youpreneur is something that we are working tirelessly on. We believe we’ve built the foundation to ultimately become the world’s #1 education company for entrepreneurs. We are launching an exciting new coaching product toward the end of this year that’s a game changer. And the next big happening in our schedule is our live Youpreneur Summit London on 9th, 10th, 11th November, where we focus on three main content and teaching principles: building, marketing, and monetizing. So that’s what’s next.