Coding, Coping and Conquering with Jeremy Nagel

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Show Notes:

๐Ÿš€ Navigating the crossroads of business and neurodiversity! ๐ŸŽ™๏ธ
โœ… Discover how Jeremy Nagel turned his ADHD & autism into a superpower on Think Business with Tyler!
โœ… From managing Message Media to creating FocusBear, Jeremy reveals how to harness unique strengths in business.
โœ… Tyler Martin digs deep into the billion-dollar ADHD market potential and Jeremy’s transformative entrepreneurship journey.
โœ… Tune in for an episode that merges personal triumph, tech innovation, and hard-hitting business strategy! ๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ“ˆ


In this episode, I sit down with Jeremy Nagel, a multifaceted entrepreneur who’s not only juggling roles as a product manager at Message Media but is also the proud owner of a brand-new venture, Focusbear. This innovative app is designed to enhance productivity and work-life balance for people with ADHD and autism, and it’s taking the market by storm.

Jeremy’s unique journey through business ventures, from consulting for Zoho CRM to creating and eventually selling his company Smooth Messenger, is packed with lessons on niche marketing, credibility, and authority. We’ll dive deep into how his personal experiences with autism and ADHD have fueled his entrepreneurial spirit and his ingenious approach to developing apps like Focusbear.

Join us as we unravel Jeremy’s candid take on public speaking, work-life balance, and the due diligence dance of successfully exiting a business. And for all you tech enthusiasts, we’ll even touch on the complexities of coding across multiple platforms with react native.


Jeremy Nagel’s journey into the professional world began unexpectedly eleven years ago, not long after he graduated from university. His path took a fortuitous turn when he volunteered for a project that required building a database; it was there that he encountered Zoho Creator. The ease and utility of the platform piqued Jeremy’s interest and he quickly realized that there was a niche market ripe for expertise in the tool, as there were few specialists at the time.

Seizing the opportunity, Jeremy began freelancing on Upwork, where he gradually built a reputation for his proficiency with Zoho CRM. His entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there. Seeking to share his knowledge and bolster his presence in the field, Jeremy turned to YouTube. He created instructional content, crafting how-to videos that demystified various aspects of using Zoho.

Though he describes his following as not huge in terms of subscribers, Jeremy has nonetheless established himself as a key influencer within the Zoho community. Through his consulting work, online tutorials, and dedication to his craft, Jeremy Nagel has become a trusted authority on Zoho CRM, shaping his career around his chance discovery and leveraging his expertise to help others make the most of this powerful business tool.


Impact of Online Presence in Niche Communities: “I have 1600 subscribers on YouTube, which sounds like nothing compared to, say, pewDiepie, but in the Zoho world, that is very meaningful. And a lot of people, if I go to Zoho events, people come up to me and say, I watched your videos. That was so helpful, thank you so much.”

The Allure of Subscription Revenue: “And that really gave me a taste for the power of subscription revenue. I realized that I liked it a lot more than consulting.”

Innovative Design Leads to Business Acquisition: “We made it look a bit like the SMS interface on the phone, so that was intuitive for people. And I think also the fact that I had a presence in the Zoho community already, so partners trusted me and Zoho were referring leads my way meant that it was able to outcompete some of the other extensions out there.”

Due Diligence Challenges in Acquisitions: “When they do acquisitions, it’s normally in the tens of millions of dollar range, and I can’t disclose the valuation, but it wasn’t that much. But they basically did the same due diligence process that they would do for a business much larger than mine.”

Funding Software Development Through Pre-Sales: “But I did that just so I could actually fund development, because I had five devs working on the project with me and I needed the cash up front. And I also offered lifetime licenses for the mobile app that I presold.”

Customer Satisfaction Success: “The number of five star reviews we had was a lot higher than the other integrations that they had… I had 125 star reviews and my rating was better than what they had. And that was something that showed that the product was well loved.”

Customer Support Commitment: “But the reason people continued to use it was because we were super responsive with our customer support. I initially was doing all the customer support myself, which was really tough because I’m in Australia and a lot of the customers are in the US.

So I was waking up at 05:00 a.m. And trying to do screen shares with people. Eventually I hired a guy in El Salvador who was my lifesaver because he was there during eastern standard time looking after the customers, and we would help someone out get on a screen share. Sometimes it wasn’t even related to our app. We just helped them with General Zoho CRM configuration, and they’d feel good about that and we’d ask them in that moment, could you leave a review to help us out? And that’s how we were able to get quite a few reviews. It does make a big difference.”

Autism and Entrepreneurship: “Very hyperactive ADHD tendency and the getting fired and the communication difficulties were really my autistic side in struggling with social interaction. And it’s something that has had both positives and negatives, like the starting multiple businesses is contrary to typical business advice, which is all about focusing on one thing.”

Balancing Work and Well-being: “And I knew that part of the issue was that I wasn’t actually being that productive during the day, that I’d get distracted all the time and I’d also not manage my energy well. I’d just be sitting at the computer for hours and then get into a big slump. […] Because I find there’s a big difference in the quality of my work and how effective I am. If I begin the day with some habits like that, if I go for a run and if I meditate, then I’m able to actually tackle the hard things.”

Cross-Platform App Development: “We’ve decided to go down a more bespoke path where we have a react native app which the core of it is the same for both Android and iOS, but the blocking part of it is quite different.”


1. Jeremy Nagel enjoys cross country skiing and running, showcasing his active lifestyle outside of his entrepreneurial ventures.

2. He became an influencer in the Zoho CRM space through YouTube videos and blogging before selling his company Smooth Messenger to Message Media.

3. Despite the complex nature of due diligence during the acquisition process by a billion-dollar company, Nagel managed to leverage his high number of five-star customer reviews to add value to his business in the negotiations.


ย Embracing Audience Dynamics

In this lesson, Tyler and Jeremy explore the differences in their communication preferences, particularly regarding audience size. Jeremy imparts the unique ease he feels when podcasting in front of an audience as compared to one-on-one interactions.

Contrarily, Tyler expresses his comfort with individual conversations, noting the intimacy they provide. Through their discussion, they underscore the importance of understanding and leveraging one’s strengths in communication, whether it be public speaking or personal dialogues.

Design for Distraction Reduction

Jeremy delves into the creation of his app, Focusbear, designed to aid those struggling with ADHD and autism by minimizing distractions. He details its stringent “strict mode,” managed by his wife, and how this function is integral to encouraging users to maintain a productive morning routine. The conversation extends to the growth potential within the ADHD market, showcasing how personalized technology can serve niche audiences effectively, and empathizes with users’ needs for focus in an increasingly digital world.

Navigating Niche Enterprises

Jeremy’s journey with Smooth Messenger, culminating in its acquisition by Message Media, provides critical business insights. Tyler and Jeremy discuss the value of identifying a niche market, establishing credibility, and building authority, as Jeremy did within the Zoho community.

This targeted approach led to trust, opportunities, and ultimately the sale of his business. They also touch upon the complexities of exit strategies, the due diligence involved, and how customer rapport, reflected in reviews, can be pivotal during negotiations.

Leveraging Personal Experiences

Throughout the interview, Jeremy shares how his personal diagnoses of autism and ADHD influenced his entrepreneurial pursuits. These experiences shaped his approach to business experimentation and enhanced his adaptability.

Tyler and Jeremy converse about the advantages, such as embracing a multitude of business ideas, and the obstacles, like communication challenges, that come from these personal traits. Jeremy stresses the importance of self-awareness and personal development, as seen in his effort to improve in areas like video conferencing, for business success.





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