Interview with Evan Carmichael – Advice from Famous Entrepreneurs
Evan Carmichael attracts 100,000s of entrepreneurs every month seeking business advice from successful entrepreneurs. Evan started his website to help entrepreneurs get the inspiration and the strategies that they need to get their businesses to the next level. He hopes through the Famous Entrepreneur stories, Entrepreneur Advice columns and host of other valuable resources you will be able to take home information that will be applicable to your company.
Great interview Evan! You can check out his site here: http://www.evancarmichael.com/
1) Tell us about Evancarmichael.com – what is the main goal / passion for this website?
The goal with EvanCarmichael.com is to provide entrepreneurs with motivation and strategies to build their businesses. My passion for this business came from when I started my first company. Instead of trying to do everything from scratch ourselves we looked at famous entrepreneurs who had gone before us and paved the way. We used their strategies and implemented them into our business. I now share the strategies of famous entrepreneurs on my site and we have the largest collection of famous entrepreneur stories online.
2) You have used your name for your website – but your site is so much more than a personal blog – it is a complete entrepreneurial resource in my opinion. Tell me if you have found any particular advantages or disadvantages in using your own name like this.
For example why did you not call your website: entrepreneursoundingdomainname.com? When I started the site it was more of a hobby. I was being invited to speak to young entrepreneurs around the world and created EvanCarmichael.com as an information site about the work I was doing. It soon became a popular destination site and we built it out from there. The name has its plusses and minuses. It would be easier to remember if I had a more recognizable name like entrepreneur.com does. However, the personal branding also has helped us as people form a personal connection with the site because it’s under my name.
3) You have been appeared in the New York Times, Venturemagazine, and on CBC News at 6 and so much more. What advice would you give a young entrepreneur who wants to be gain media attention?
Position yourself as an expert. Reporters don’t like to be pitched stories but love to talk to experts about current trends. If you give yourself up as an expert you make their job easier. We used to do three press releases a month and built up our own mailing list of reporters. Make sure that what you are offering has real value and it’s not just information about your new product that nobody cares about. If it’s too self-serving your email will get deleted. Offer real value and you’re far more likely to get a response. If you can get the media to showcase your product or service then they will do the job of selling thousands of potential customers for you so it’s definitely worth it.
4) I understand that you have over 1,700 contributing authors offering 42,000 pages of content, how did you manage to achieve this? In particular how did you manage to \”recruit\” so many contributing authors? What tips / suggestions would you make to other website owners in this respect?
It didn’t happen overnight. I started with people that I knew and asked them to contribute. They started seeing that their articles were ranking at the top of Google because they were on my site so they talked about me to their colleagues. Soon we had people contacting us asking how they could get involved. Then I went out to try and get some big names on board. One of the first guys I recruited was Guy Kawasaki, author of “The Art Of The Start.”? He said yes and I was then able to use his name to get other popular authors like Michael Gerber, Jack Canfield, Zig Ziglar, and Donald Trump. The key is to create momentum and never let it go.
5) If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what business related advice would you give yourself?
Plan ahead. When I first started I never imagined having so many authors and articles it wasn’t part of the game plan. I actually never even thought of it as a real business until I discovered that I could make money online through programs like Google Adsense. As a result I had to change how all of my articles were added (I used to have to do it manually one by one) and create a system for authors to add articles themselves. If I had done this from the beginning it would have saved a lot of headaches!
6) Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
I think as long as you have a passion for it you can learn anything. If you go into business just for the money it’s going to be hard to be successful. Focus on what you’re really passionate about and be the best in the world at it. If you can do that you will find a way to make money. Starting your own business allows you to create something where you can be the best in the world it’s an amazing opportunity that anybody can capitalize on!
7) Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one)
I always recommend that entrepreneurs look at people who have achieved success in their industry and analyze the success factors. For myself, I’m in the publishing business so I try to model myself after people like Martha Stewart (MSLO), Ted Turner (CNN, TBS), Rupert Murdoch (Fox), Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Henry Luce (TIME). Basically anybody who sells advertising as their business model is of interest to me. I’ve learned something different from each of their stories. We’ve now also created profiles of them off of EvanCarmichael.com.
8) Do you have any favourite business related, internet marketing or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
My favourite business books are “Think and Grow Rich”? by Napoleon Hill, “The Martha Rules”? by Martha Stewart, and “The Art of the Deal”? by Donald Trump. “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? by Dale Carnegie is another great one. They are general books about how to build a business. I haven’t found a good book on internet marketing. By the time they hit the shelves a lot of the information is out of date so I rely on different blogs and forums for my internet marketing development.
9) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Follow your passion. Do what you’re excited about and you have a drive deep in your belly to do. If you follow that passion there is no way you will fail.
10) What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Besides following your passion my second most important bit of advice is build around a customer. Most young entrepreneurs start up with a product or service but no customer. You end up building in the wrong features and not having a product that is ready for market and go broke. The best way to build a business is to find a customer that is willing to pay you for your product or service and build around them. Cash flow is king in a start-up business as the first stage is about survival. Then you can worry about making your millions.
11) Your website features a comprehensive list of Free Resources at http://www.evancarmichael.com/free/free-resources.htm Can you perhaps suggest 3 Downloads that would be most appropriate for Young Entrepreneurs?
That’s a tough one because we have so many great downloads. I would say three really valuable ones are: Business plan sample, Cash flow forecast samples, and Confidentiality agreement. They are practical documents that every entrepreneur will need as some point in their business career.
12) We live in a time not only of increasing young entrepreneurs in business but also teen entrepreneurs and even some people starting their first business before the age of 12.
How do you feel about people getting into business so young (age 13 – 15 for example) and what advice might you give them? I think it’s great! I had my own micro businesses when I was that young as well. My only concern is to be careful about the information you reveal about yourself. Once you put information out on the Internet, it’s there forever. Somebody will keep a record of it and when you’re 45 years old you’ll have to live with the words you published online when you were 13. That’s a lot of time for things to come back and haunt you!
13) What do you like best about the Internet?
It’s so available. I can connect anytime, anywhere and have the world at my fingertips. I can run a business from the Caribbean islands on a cruise (which I have done) and nobody would know the difference.
14) What do you like least about the Internet?
It’s so available. I can connect anytime, anywhere sometimes it’s too hard to turn off and I need to escape to the lake house to recharge the batteries (where there is no high-speed Internet connection).
15) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
My biggest goal is to be the number one website for entrepreneurs. It’s a five year goal of ours and so far we’re hitting our targets.