I AM CEO PODCASTSocial Entrepreneurship

IAM140- COO, Co-founder and Author Revolutionizing the Future of Professional Organizations

Podcast Interview with Ryan Paugh

 

Ryan Paugh is the COO and co-founder of The Community Company, the organization revolutionizing the future of professional organizations. He is also the author of Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter and a renowned thought leader on creating strong communities and teams. Ryan co-founded Brazen Careerist, a career-management site for high-achieving young professionals and ambitious college students, and Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization for leading entrepreneurs.

  • CEO Hack: Share your ideas with others and be vulnerable enough with an idea to allow feedback
  • CEO Nugget: Be more brave and bold enough to focus on a sustainable business by yourself (2)Don't be afraid to charge for your products
  • CEO Defined: Big-idea making machine, respectful and well balanced.

Websitehttps://community.co/

Personal Websiteryanpaugh.com
Book Website: superconnectorbook.com
Twitter: twitter.com/ryanpaugh
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ryanpaugh
YEC, community for top, young entrepreneurs I co-founded: yec.co


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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Ryan Paugh of The Community Company. Ryan, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Ryan Paugh 0:36

Thanks for having me. Really, really happy to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. Happy to have you on again. We had you on our CEO chat podcast. And what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Ryan so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing Ryan Paugh is the COO and co-founder of The Community Company, the organization revolutionizing the future of professional organizations.

He's the author of Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter and a renowned thought leader in creating strong communities and teams. Ryan co-founded Brazen Careerists, a career management site for high-achieving young professionals and ambitious college students, and the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization for leading entrepreneurs. Ryan, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

[restrict paid=”true”] 

Ryan Paugh 1:21

Let's do it. Man. I'm ready.

Gresham Harkless 1:23

Alright, let's do it. So the first question I had was just to hear a little bit more about your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Ryan Paugh 1:29

Yeah, so I'm what you would call an accidental entrepreneur. I don't believe that it's, you know, something that's necessarily just built into your DNA, I fell into entrepreneurship because of the people I surrounded myself with, both in college and the industry. And then as I entered into the real world, the same types of folks that were just more of those entrepreneurial at heart individuals, high-energy people that I love being around.

Through those relationships, I became an entrepreneur. My own first company, which I established in Madison, Wisconsin, Brazen Careerist, which is now called brazen Technologies was started by me and my freshman year roommate in college, who was one of those sorts of baked-into-the-DNA entrepreneur types who just really pushed me and gotten me to think about different ways of working and living.

And I was very, lucky to be sort of, accidentally placed with such an awesome individual who became such a close friend, and eventually a business partner. You know, from there, I've just found that building relationships with really interesting people that have strengths where I have weaknesses, and vice versa has led to one amazing business opportunity after another. And that's how I ended up co-founding YEC with my current business partner, Scott Gerber. I

t eventually turned into something much bigger than that, which is now the community company, which is an organization that helps build and establish new, forward-thinking communities and associations for professionals looking to build relationships with new people, and looking to get access to the resources that you need to succeed. Whether it's an industry-specific organization or a location-specific organization, we've built technology and smart, human-driven processes to help curate and create a really meaningful community in the modern age.

Gresham Harkless 3:20

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know, we talked about it before, just how big community is and building relationships and how that kind of overlaps. I know, and then kind of goes, you know, crossed the boundary, so to speak. So I wanted to, I guess, hear a little bit more on like what you guys are doing with the community co and also, like, even touch on a little bit more about I know, a lot of that philosophy is baked within your book as well, too.

Ryan Paugh 3:40

Yeah, we believe that the way that we work and the way that we build relationships is in need of change. The social media era has been a blessing and a curse a blessing because we are more connected than ever before. We can have meetings like this and completely different cities, miles and miles away across the country, and make meaningful connections. But it's also a bit more difficult to find the right people because of the noise of social media because everyone is selling something and, whether it's LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, the next social media platform, it's it just seems to be filled with people trying to sell you something and just hucksters that you really can't distinguish from true on its business brokers.

Through the superconductor, movement, and the book that we've written, we're trying to help people re-educate themselves on what making meaningful connections can be. In fact, we say in the book title to stop networking, we don't want people to think of it as networking anymore because we've bastardized that term, and instead and we really want people to think about it again as what it really is, which is building relationships with other people for mutual value to take hold.

And that's not something that you can build an eight-minute abs formula for, right? This stuff isn't, quick earnings. This is long term, relationship building, long term are in relationships that are going to eventually lead to big wins and big bounty for you and your life. But you can't expect that bounty to come to you overnight. It takes months, sometimes years to reap that reward. And it's really about that slow gain versus a quick win.

Gresham Harkless 5:14

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And a lot of times, there's like, no easy button, you know, for genuine relationship buildings, like you said, you know, you can read all the human psychology and all of those things to learn about, like how people do certain things, but there's no kind of, an easy button for, building relationships and doing that.

Ryan Paugh 5:31

That's right, yep. And those who are seeking that easy button are the ones that are doing it wrong. And the ones that are, are tarnishing and hurting their personal brands with other human beings by trying to just get a quick run out from a business relationship that you've just literally just made at a networking event on a bar versus the folks that are really trying to get to know you really trying to understand your challenge and are really focused on something we call the book, habitual generosity.

It is really the art and the philosophy of making sure that giving back to others is a part of your daily rituals, just like getting up and going for a run in the morning, it is so important to always be thinking about giving back. And in fact, that should be put before any sort of gain or asks that you make to new people that, you want to build a relationship with. It's all about what you can give to them. And then the things that you'll get in return, I guarantee will be a lot bigger than you ever would have expected. If you're willing to make that investment.

Gresham Harkless 6:27

There you go. That makes perfect sense. When you have that mentality. And that kind of philosophy, it seems like it comes back tenfold sometimes. So that's a great reminder. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be something that distinguishes you or your organization. But what do you feel kind of sets you guys apart?

Ryan Paugh 6:43

I think our secret sauce is the combination of smart technology and smart, emotionally intelligent human beings. We're not just trying to build the next AI. I think right now people are exhausted and perhaps nauseated by the thought of another robot managing their day-to-day and managing the relationships in their life. We believe in building smart technology to help us all work smarter and connect in meaningful ways.

But it's always going to be powered by really smart people behind the scenes who are making sure that the right connections are being made. And that there's there's that personal touch that artificial intelligence just can't replicate. In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world of networking and being hyper-connected. I think right now, people are interested in that approach.

And on top of that, there's always a level of curation. And what we do, I think right now more than ever, with the openness of the web, people are yearning and hungry for chances to connect with people in curated communities where the people in the room are the right people in the room.

And there, you're not just kind of spraying and praying and hoping that you're going to get connected to the right person. It's meaningful and thoughtful, and because of that people are even more willing to be vulnerable about the business challenges they're having, because they know that they're talking to other top leaders in their fields who can genuinely help them and aren't going to take advantage of them.

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Gresham Harkless 8:03

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And going back to Kent kind of seems like a buzzword of our chat is about, community and how if you're able to kind of feel connected with somebody, and, build that relationship with somebody because somebody is going through maybe the same thing you already went through or potentially are going through, then you start to build that connection. So I think that's a phenomenal example of a secret sauce.

Ryan Paugh 8:29

Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 8:22

And now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book, your book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that you feel makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Ryan Paugh 8:33

Yeah, one thing that I think a lot of CEOs and executives fail to do because they're just either so heads down, or they've developed sort of like this skin where they feel they can't be vulnerable is just sharing your ideas and putting yourself out there in meaningful ways, sharing a challenge that you have with other entrepreneurs and executives, and just putting yourself in a position to receive feedback and to be critiqued and to, be vulnerable enough with an idea or a challenge or having to allow others to give back and to support you.

I think a lot of us are frightened by the idea of, sharing something so vulnerable as a challenge or a weakness or, even an idea that we have because we're worried that it might get stolen or that someone is going to critique us in a negative way that we don't like or it's somehow going to harm our business. What I found is that in more cases and not when you put yourself out there in such a meaningful way and allow yourself to experience some vulnerability, the goodwill that you receive from the community.

It far surpasses the potential negative value of, trolls online, potentially, like, causing you harm, which is a momentary blip of insecurity versus being able to meaningfully connect with other human beings that genuinely want to help you. I think sharing your ideas and putting yourself in a vulnerable position is something that many of us as Chief Executives are failing to do and need to do more.

Gresham Harkless 9:59

Yeah. And that makes sense in this day and age, as we talked about, like with the technology and everything, because there's cameras, microphones everywhere, it's hard to kind of hide behind, this perfect kind of image that sometimes a lot of people have, because we all have vulnerabilities, we all have things that we're going through. And then, like you said, by telling your storytelling things that you're struggling with, or telling what your problems are, you kind of seem like you attract people as well.

Ryan Paugh 10:27

That's correct. I think it's going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of Chief Executives listening to this. But Uber important, it's very important for us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, but to also make time to be generous to those who are putting themselves out there and being brave enough to be vulnerable, we have to create safe spaces for Chief Executives and entrepreneurs to collaborate and to stop creating sort of this false vision of like this indestructible entrepreneur at the top, we're all very challenged, and very flawed human beings. And we're not like these, these great superheroes that everyone sort of, like touts us to be, we have very real challenges.

And we need to be able to create safe environments for each other to put that out there and not create this false sort of perception that being an entrepreneur is sexy. And it's like this sort of luxurious lifestyle, it's hard. And I wish more people would talk about that and not be afraid of how someone might view themselves versus, telling the truth and letting people know just how difficult and grueling and painful it can be to be an entrepreneur. We've lived for these big wins that are momentary blips, and then it's back to work.

Gresham Harkless 11:39

Yeah.

Ryan Paugh 11:40

And it's very difficult and not enough people talk about that. Because we're too busy allowing the world to celebrities, what it is that we do.

Gresham Harkless 11:48

There you go. No, I think that's a valid point. And a great reminder. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Ryan Paugh 12:00

Oh, man, I would tell my younger self to be more brazen and bold, and not be afraid to put a price tag on the products and services that we built to not be so focused on vanity metrics, like followers and users, and focus more on dollar signs, revenue is at the end of the day, what's taken us from, a small like company making less than six figures to a company that is making multi-millions of dollars every year.

And it's not building like hundreds of 1000s of users that's taken us there. It's about building a quality product that people want to pay for. And people want to continue to use it year after year. It's about sales, and it's about retention. It's not about just getting people onto your platform.

I think that's very, very important for young startups to know and something that we're all sort of trucking down the wrong path in a lot of cases because of just. How the world of startups has taught us to run, to get the users first build up that valuation, then figure out how you monetize that is no longer the way to live. For most entrepreneurs, you got to stop trying to be the unicorn and start trying to be a real business.

Gresham Harkless 13:09

Absolutely, absolutely. So you're saying get revenue first, and then start to build everything after that?

Ryan Paugh 13:14

Yeah, move fast. Don't be afraid to charge for your product, build a loyal following focus on retention, and focus on building something of quality, and then blow it out of the water. From there, it's not, it's not about building a product, getting the user base, and then figuring out how to build the revenue model.

Do it today, and focus on getting a sustainable business. Now, don't be reliant on investors and institutional financing or run your business, figure out how to run it yourself, you'll be in a much stronger position later on if you do want to take on financing and pull the thing out of the water.

Gresham Harkless 13:45

Makes perfect sense. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of being a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners on this show. So I want to ask you, Ryan, what does being a CEO means to you?

Ryan Paugh 13:57

I'm a COO, and that makes it difficult for me to define the CEO role. But you know, I think when I think about the, best CEO, I think about my business partner, Scott, who's our CEO, and my co-author of the book, super connector, and what I love about Scott is, he's a big idea making machine just a ball of energy, really impossible to stop kind of human being, but also with the humility and understanding of just how important his team and understanding of how important the operations are to getting these big ideas launched.

And when I think about the ultimate CEO, I think about someone like Scott who has been able to balance both of those things. I think, you know, most CEOs are only focused on big ideas and moving fast. Great CEOs are focused on big ideas moving fast, but also very respectful and cognizant of the operations and delicate nature of actually building those ideas and respecting and, and building a quality team to bring those things to life.

So by definition a great CEO is, is someone who's well-balanced. And I think at the end of the day if you can find that CEO, whether you're partnered with them or working for them as an employee, they are diamonds in the rough. Those are the types of individuals that you want to work with. And that is the pinnacle CEO.

Gresham Harkless 15:18

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I love that definition. And, Ryan, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and also how they can get a hold of you. And of course, get a copy of your book.

Ryan Paugh 15:31

It was great to talk to you guys. And I appreciate it. If you are interested in building community, if you believe that community is customer service 2.O. If you believe that you need to do more for your customer beyond just offering them a product, but become like the epicenter of their professional lives. Check out what we're doing at The Community Company, community.co is the website.

You can also chat with me anytime on Twitter, my website to just learn more about me personally is ryanpaugh.com. And I hope that you read and follow up. And again, if you want to chat community, I am your community nerd. So please reach out and let me know what questions you have. And I'd be happy to teach you more about our philosophy of community building.

Gresham Harkless 16:14

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I appreciate you, Ryan. And we'll make sure to have all those links in the show notes. But again, thanks for taking the time out and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Ryan Paugh 16:22

Thanks again.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

See also  IAM462- Business Coach Helps Clients Affect Real Change for Success

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Ryan Paugh of The Community Company. Ryan, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Ryan Paugh 0:36

Thanks for having me. Really, really happy to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. Happy to have you on again. We had you on our CEO chat podcast. And what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Ryan so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing and Ryan Paugh is the COO and co-founder of The Community Company, the organization revolutionizing the future of professional organizations. He's the author of Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter and a renowned thought leader on creating strong communities and teams. Ryan co-founded Brazen careerists, a career management site for high-achieving young professionals and ambitious college students and the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization for leading entrepreneurs. Ryan, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Ryan Paugh 1:21

Let's do it. Man. I'm ready.

Gresham Harkless 1:23

Alright, let's do it. So the first question I had was just to hear a little bit more about your CEO story and what led you to start your business?

Ryan Paugh 1:29

Yeah, so I'm what you would call an accidental entrepreneur. I don't believe that it's, you know, something that's necessarily just built into your DNA, I fell into entrepreneurship because of the people I surrounded myself with, both in college. And then as I entered into the real world, the same types of folks that were just more of those entrepreneurial at heart individuals, high energy people that I love being around and through those relationships, I became an entrepreneur, my own my first company, which I established in Madison, Wisconsin, Brazen Careerist, which is now called brazen Technologies was started by me and my freshman year roommate in college, who was one of those sort of baked into the DNA entrepreneur types who just really pushed me and gotten me to think about different ways of working and living. And I was very, lucky to be sort of, accidentally placed with such an awesome individual who became such a close friend, and eventually a business partner. You know, from there, I've just found that building relationships with really interesting people that have strengths where I have weaknesses, and vice versa has led to one amazing business opportunity after another. And that's how I ended up co-founding YEC with my current business partner, Scott Gerber, which eventually turned into something much bigger than that, which is now the community company, which is an organization that helps build and establish new, forward thinking communities and associations for professionals looking to build relationships with new people, and looking to get access to the resources that you need to succeed. Whether it's an industry specific organization, or a location specific organization, we've built technology and smart, human driven processes to help curate and create really meaningful community in the modern age.

Gresham Harkless 3:20

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know, we talked about it before, just how big community is and building relationships and how that kind of overlaps. I know, and then kind of goes, you know, crossed the boundary, so to speak. So I wanted to, I guess, hear a little bit more on like what you guys are doing with the community co and also, like, even touch on a little bit more about I know, a lot of that philosophy is baked within your book as well, too.

Ryan Paugh 3:40

Yeah, we believe that the way that we work and the way that we build relationships is in need of change. The social media era has been a blessing and a curse a blessing because we are more connected than ever before. We can have meetings like this and completely different cities, miles and miles away across the country and make meaningful connections. But it's also a bit more difficult to find the right people because of the noise of social media because everyone is selling something and, whether it's LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, the next social media platform, it's it just seems to be filled with people trying to sell you something and just hucksters that you really can't distinguish from true on its business brokers and through the superconductor, movement and the book that we've written, we're trying to help people re educate themselves on what making meaningful connections can be. In fact, we say in the book title to stop networking, we don't want people to think of it as networking anymore because we've bastardized that term and instead and we really want people to think about it again as what it really is, which is building relationships with other people for mutual value to take hold. And that's not something that you can build an eight minute abs formula for, right? This stuff isn't, quick earnings. This is long term, relationship building, long termare in relationships that are going to eventually lead to big wins and big bounty for you and your life. But you can't expect that bounty to come to you overnight. It takes months, sometimes years to reap that reward. And it's really about that slow gain versus a quick win.

Gresham Harkless 5:14

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And a lot of times, there's like, no easy button, you know, for genuine relationship buildings, like you said, you know, you can read all the human psychology and all of those things to learn about, like how people do certain things, but there's no kind of, easy button for, building relationships and doing that.

Ryan Paugh 5:31

That's right, yep. And those who are seeking that easy button are the ones that are doing it wrong. And the ones that are, are tarnishing and hurting their personal brands with other human beings by trying to just get a quick urn out from a business relationship that you've just literally just made at a, networking event on a bar versus the folks that are really trying to get to know you really trying to understand your challenge, and are really focused on something we call the book, habitual generosity, which is really the art and the philosophy of making sure that giving back to others is a part of your daily rituals, just like getting up and going for a run in the morning, it is so important to always be thinking about giving back. And in fact, that should be put before any sort of gain or asks that you make to new people that, you want to build a relationship with. It's all about what you can give to them. And then the things that you'll get in return, I guarantee will be a lot bigger than you ever would have expected. If you're willing to make that investment.

Gresham Harkless 6:27

There you go. That makes perfect sense. When you have that mentality. And that kind of philosophy, it seems like it comes back tenfold sometimes. So that's a great reminder. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be something that distinguishes you or your organization. But what do you feel kind of sets you guys apart?

Ryan Paugh 6:43

I think our secret sauce is the combination of smart technology and really smart, emotionally intelligent human beings. We're not just trying to build the next AI. I think right now people are exhausted and perhaps nauseated by the thought of another robot managing their day to day and managing the relationships in their life. We believe in building smart technology to help us all work smarter and connect in meaningful ways. But it's always going to be powered by really smart people behind the scenes who are making sure that the right connections are being made. And that there's there's that personal touch that artificial intelligence just can't replicate. In today's fast paced, technology driven world of networking and being hyper connected. I think right now, people are really interested in that approach. And on top of that, there's always a level of curation. And what we do, I think right now more than ever, with the openness of the web, people are yearning and hungry for chances to connect with people in curated communities where that the people in the room are the right people in the room. And there, you're not just kind of spraying and praying and hoping that you're going to get connected to the right person. It's actually meaningful, thoughtful, and because of that people are even more willing to be vulnerable about the business challenges they're having, because they know that they're talking to other top leaders in their fields who can genuinely help them and aren't going to take advantage of them.

Gresham Harkless 8:03

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And going back to Kent kind of seems like a buzzword of our chat is about, community and how if you're able to kind of feel connected with somebody, and, build that relationship with somebody because somebody is going through maybe the same thing you already went through or potentially are going through, then you start to build that connection. So I think that's a phenomenal example of a secret.

Ryan Paugh 8:29

Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 8:22

And now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book, your book or a habit that you have, but it's something that you feel makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

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Ryan Paugh 8:33

Yeah, one thing that I think a lot of CEOs and executives fail to do, because they're just either so heads down, or they've developed sort of like this skin where they feel they can't be vulnerable is just sharing your ideas and putting yourself out there in meaningful ways, sharing a challenge that you have with other entrepreneurs and executives, and just putting yourself in a position to receive feedback and to be critiqued and to, be vulnerable enough with an idea or a challenge or having to allow others to actually give back and to support you. I think a lot of us are really frightened by the idea of, of sharing something so vulnerable as a challenge or a weakness or, even an idea that we have because we're worried that it might get stolen or that someone is going to critique us in a negative way that we don't like or it's somehow going to harm our business. What I found is that in more cases and not when you put yourself out there in such a meaningful way and allow yourself to experience some vulnerability, the goodwill that you receive from the community, it's it far surpasses the potential negative value of, trolls online, potentially, like, causing you harm, which is a momentary blips of insecurity versus being able to really meaningfully connect with other human beings that genuinely want to help you. I think sharing your ideas and putting yourself in a vulnerable position is something that many of us as Chief Executives are failing to do and need to do more.

Gresham Harkless 9:59

Yeah. And that makes sense in this day and age, as we talked about, like with the technology and everything, because there's cameras, microphones literally everywhere, it's hard to kind of hide behind, this perfect kind of image that sometimes a lot of people have, because we all have vulnerabilities, we all have things that we're going through. And then, like you said, by telling your storytelling things that you're struggling with, or telling what your problems are, you kind of seems like you attract people as well.

Ryan Paugh 10:27

That's correct. I think it's going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of Chief Executives listening to this. But Uber important, it's very important for us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, but to also make time to be generous to those who are putting themselves out there and being brave enough to be vulnerable, we have to create more safe spaces for Chief Executives and entrepreneurs to collaborate and to stop creating sort of this false vision of like this indestructible entrepreneur at the top, we're all very challenged, and very flawed human beings. And we're not like these, these great superheroes that everyone sort of, like touts us to be, we have very real challenges. And we need to be able to create safe environments for each other to put that out there and not to create this false sort of perception that being an entrepreneur is sexy. And it's like this sort of luxurious lifestyle, it's hard. And I wish more people would talk about that and not be afraid how someone might view themselves versus, telling the truth and letting people know just how difficult and grueling and and painful it can be to be an entrepreneur. We've lived for like these these big wins that are momentary blips, and then it's back to work.

Gresham Harkless 11:39

Yeah.

Ryan Paugh 11:40

And it's very difficult and not enough people talk about that. Because, we're too busy allowing the world to celebrities, what it is that we do.

Gresham Harkless 11:48

There you go. No, I think that's a valid point. And great reminder. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self.

Ryan Paugh 12:00

Oh, man, I would I would tell my younger self to be more brazen and bold, and not be afraid to put a price tag on the products and services that we built to not be so focused on vanity metrics, like followers and users and focus more on dollar signs, revenue is at the end of the day, what's taken us from, a small like company making less than six figures to a company that is making multi millions of dollars every year. And it's not building like hundreds of 1000s of users that's taken us there. It's about building a quality product that people want to pay for. And people want to continue to use year after year. It's about sales, and it's about retention. It's not about just getting people onto your platform. I think that's very, very important for young startups to know and something that we're all sort of trucking down the wrong path in a lot of cases on because of just. How the world of startups as taught us to run, to get the users first build up that valuation, then figure out how you monetize that is no longer the way to live. For most entrepreneurs, you got to stop trying to be the unicorn and start trying to be a real business.

Gresham Harkless 13:09

Absolutely, absolutely. So you're saying get revenue first, and then start to build everything after that?

Ryan Paugh 13:14

Yeah, move fast. Don't be afraid to charge for your product, build a loyal following focus on retention, and focus on building something of quality, and then blow it out of the water. From there, it's not, it's not about building a product, getting the user base, and then figuring out how to build the revenue model. Do it today, focus on getting a sustainable business. Now, don't be reliant on investors and institutional financing or run your business, figure out how to run it yourself, you'll be in a much stronger position later on, if you do want to take on financing and really pull the thing out of the water.

Gresham Harkless 13:45

Makes perfect sense. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition for being a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners on this show. So I want to ask you, Ryan, what does being a CEO means to you?

Ryan Paugh 13:57

I'm a COO, and that makes it difficult for me to define the CEO role. But you know, I think when I think about the, best CEO, I think about my business partner, Scott, who's our CEO, and my co author of the book, super connector, and what I love about Scott is, he's a big idea making machine just a ball of energy, really impossible to stop kind of human being, but also with the humility and understanding of just how important his team and understanding of how important the operations are to getting these big ideas launched. And when I think about the ultimate CEO, I think about someone like Scott who has really been able to balance both of those those things. I think, you know, most CEOs are only focused on big ideas and moving fast. Great CEOs are focused on big ideas moving fast, but also very respectful and cognizant of the operations and delicate nature of actually building those ideas and respecting and, and building a quality team to bring those things to life. So by definition of a great CEO is, is someone who's well balanced. And I think at the end of the day, if you can find that CEO, whether you're partnered with them or working for them as an employee, they are diamonds in the rough. Those are the types of individuals that you want to work with. And that is the pinnacle CEO.

Gresham Harkless 15:18

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I love that definition. And, Ryan, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and also how they can get a hold of you. And of course, get a copy of your book.

Ryan Paugh 15:31

It was great to talk to you guys. And I appreciate it. If you are interested in building community, if you believe that community is customer service 2.O. If you believe that you need to do more for your customer beyond just offering them a product, but really become like the epicenter of their professional lives. Check out what we're doing at The Community Company, community.co is the website. You can also chat with me anytime on Twitter, my website to just learn more about me personally is ryanpaugh.com. And I hope that you read and follow up. And again, if you want to chat community, I am your community nerd. So please reach out and let me know what questions you have. And I'd be happy to teach you more about our philosophy to community building.

Gresham Harkless 16:14

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I appreciate you, Ryan. And we'll make sure to have all those links in the show notes. But again, thanks for taking the time out and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Ryan Paugh 16:22

Thanks again.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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