The Perfect Example of How to Build a Business Around Your Life – Melissa Kwan￼
Meet Melissa Kwan. Melissa is the co-founder and CEO of eWebinar, an automated webinar solution that turns any video into an interactive webinar. She is a revenue-driven founder specializing in sales and business development.
Ever dreamt of becoming a digital nomad? If the answer is yes, you’re going to love this week’s episode.
She’s a big believer in building the life you want versus the life you’re expected to have. That’s why she’s now a thriving startup founder who’s also a digital nomad. Over twelve years of experience in the startup world, Melissa successfully bootstrapped three companies with no venture capital. This experience taught her to be her own boss and build companies with very few resources through automation and outsourcing.
Melissa thinks people are most productive and happiest if they get to choose where they wake up in the morning. That’s why she encourages others to embrace the digital age the same way she did.
In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, we talk about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, how to build a business around your life, the pros and cons of being a digital nomad, and why you should always do what makes you happy.
If you want to hear more about the life of an entrepreneur/digital nomad, make sure you tune into this week’s episode!
💡 Name: Melissa Kwan
💡 What she does: She’s the Co-Founder and CEO of eWebinar.
💡 Noteworthy: Melissa bootstrapped three companies to success while traveling the world as a digital nomad. She believes that work should never come at the cost of living one’s life to the fullest.
💡 Key Quote: “You have all these forces also telling you that you’re going to fail, but if you make that decision to stop, then everything that you’ve tried, everything that you’ve done for the years before that dissipates.”
💡 Where to find Melissa: LinkedIn
Entrepreneurship is about perseverance. It takes a lot of sacrifices to build three businesses with no venture capital. So how did Melissa and her team do it? The answer is simple: there was no other option but to succeed. And that’s exactly what entrepreneurship is. It’s about perseverance and resolution. If you want to make it, you have to see succeeding as the only option.
Melissa shares, “I think I didn’t have a choice. I think entrepreneurship is something that you just are, and it’s something that almost chooses you. You don’t wake up one day and decide, ‘I’m going to be an entrepreneur.’ There was already something there that motivates you and drives you.”
Build a business around your life. It’s very much possible to live the life you always wanted while running a successful business simultaneously. Melissa is the perfect example. Not only did she create a phenomenal webinar product, but she also built a business that suits her needs. eWebinar is a company that portrays Melissa’s core value – freedom. She explains,
“One of my goals coming into this business was to build a company with friends. So the closest people, all the executives on our team, are actually friends of mine that I’ve known in my previous lives. And actually, we do have some private investors, but they’re also super good friends of mine. And the whole premise and the whole idea behind eWebinar is to share our successes with friends.”
The pros and cons of being a digital nomad. Being a digital nomad is one of the most sought-after lifestyles in the world. And it’s fairly obvious why traveling while working sounds like a dream come true to most of us. But just like everything in life, it also comes with some pros and cons. For example, while you’re a citizen of the world, at the same time, you feel like you don’t belong anywhere.
Melissa shares her take on being a digital nomad, “It’s really cool that we live in this time where the sharing economy makes everything possible. You can drive your dream car without owning it. You can live in a villa in Tuscany for a week without owning it and never having to worry about the maintenance. You can do so much more with a lot less capital, and I definitely feel very fortunate to be living in this time.”
Do what makes you happy. At the end of the day, the secret key to success is simple – do what makes you happy. If your job is making you miserable, it’s time to quit. If you don’t have a passion for a specific career, don’t be hard on yourself. You don’t have to be driven by a passion for a specific job; a lifestyle can also be a huge motivator.
Melissa explains, “I think a lot of people choose a career based on their education, and then they spend the rest of their lives working for a company or doing something that they just don’t love. And when I say do something that makes you happy, it doesn’t have to be like, ‘I like to be a mechanic.’ It could be like, ‘I want to do something that allows me to live anywhere in the world.’”
“Anyone who’s run an agency before, maybe you’re running one now, knows that it’s a really, really tough business. The bigger deals you get, the more you have to hire, and it just doesn’t scale very well. So we wanted, three, four years into that, we wanted to create something that we would offer everybody. So the $10 product of 10,000 people instead of selling $10,000 products to 10 people.”
“ I didn’t really realize what venture capital meant when I first started my business, but as I learned more about it, I was very relieved that that was not the train that I hopped on because that would not have served me and that’s just not the business that I want to build because I want to build a business where I call the shots, where I don’t have a board, right or I can go remote and go nomadic, and I’m glad I never did that. But in the beginning, it was definitely not a conscious choice.”
“I do think sometimes saying no is really important; stopping what you’re doing is not so much giving up, right? Sometimes you just don’t have the right product. But the thing is for us, we had customers; we just didn’t have enough customers for me to be like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ We had just enough for me to be like, ‘Okay, maybe we’re onto something.’”
“I’ve surrounded myself with people who are either good managers, or they take on really massive roles, but they are experienced in what they do, and they don’t require me to actually manage them. They just manage their tasks on their own. So we actually have a very lateral organization.”
“I just believe I’ve always believed that people are most productive and happiest if they get to choose where they wake up in the morning.”
Thanks again for listening to episode #50, this was a milestone show for us and has a special meaning. Today’s guest was extra special because she was introduced to me by Tom Schwab of Interview Valet. Tom was the fourth guest on the show. Tom took a chance on me before I even had an audience. His episode is still one of my favorites (Competition is for Losers).