World Tour 2019 Month Two Overview – California was good, but the best is yet to come!

Here’s an overview of the last month on the road for the Founders Live World Tour. Throughout February I traveled throughout California, with stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Below are the highlights and what’s up next. (Read my tour announcement post here for more context of this trip.)

TLDR – Regardless of some ‘interesting’ weather, California was great, at times majestic. Next stops are Phoenix and Austin. Know anyone I should meet?

Carlsbad Beach!

 

Los Angeles

I landed in LA to down-pour rain. Geez, I thought. Here I was creating a world tour and thinking I’d head down to Southern Cal to get warm and sunshine. Nope. Wind and rain. For days on end!

I stayed with our previous LA city leader Lucas Capestany in Playa Vista area, close to LAX and Santa Monica, along with his friends and startup cofounders. I was taken back to college memories and the “scrappy startup” living experience. Setting out on this tour I intended to see what entrepreneurship looks like in many different cities and countries. Mission accomplished here. Lucas and his team are dedicated and will do just fine. Thanks Lucas!

My favorite part of this leg of the trip was how close the beach was and being able to go on a nice run every other morning. It’s so refreshing to run on the beach – it’s a zen thing for me – and one morning I even got up before the sun and ran out there to see the sunrise. It was breathtaking. I had one of those (they are more common now) moments of “man, can you believe this? It feels so right and so perfect right now. Hang on to this feeling.”

I enjoyed working in Venice a few days out of the week, camping out at Tom’s Shoes store which has a coffee shop in it and a back patio where you can chill and work. I met a few new contacts in the LA area, which as enjoyable and educational. Another enjoyable aspect of the trip has been the numerous introductions from you all! Keep them coming, please! The relationships which have started just from these early trip introductions will be long and meaningful.


The Founders Live Long Beach event went very well and I have a feeling it’s going to grow into something quite larger in the community.  The winner was Nicolette – Nicolette is a health tech company that empowers patients with visual data, curated education, and engagement tools. Great pitches all around and the FL Long Beach city leader Josh Rencher did very well, We even made it into the local newspaper, which has already resulted in a few new opportunities in Long Beach.

San Francisco

I flew to SF on 2/11, and stayed a few nights in the Hayes Valley area of SF (thanks Brek Goin, Founder of Hammr) and then a few nights in Oakland (thanks Amanda Townsend). It was fun to see the different sides of the bay area, different cultures, and communities. Yes, the bay area has its issues, but by and large, it was fun to be in the tech epicenter for even a short time.

Another event in a new city, yet the same response. It’s fascinating to me how impactful and inspiring Founders Live really is to a local entrepreneurial community. Maybe I am so close to it I don’t see it anymore but the Founders Live event really does have a meaningful impact on people. I love to just sit back and observe people at our events, the looks on their faces, and how much they are inspired to go do great things in the world.


Thanks to our partnership with Google Cloud we held the event at Google Developers Launchpad in the SOMA area of downtown SF. The winner was RWB Canine  RWB Canine Inc. – Advanced Canine Wearable w/ Real-Time Physiology for Pet Lovers, DHS and DOD. Pretty cool stuff! Founders Live SF city leader Stone Strickland has done an excellent job of getting Founders Live up and running in the city. We had a strong crowd and based on the response I can only see an upward trajectory in SF.

Something struck me in Oakland after I had a few lunch meetings with two people who I had just met during the week. The conversations were magical and inspiring, where both people left totally energized and almost floating. When I left the restaurant I walked around the lake in Oakland and was left awestruck with what is transpiring in front of me in my life and business. Most of it I cannot explain, but simply follow what is pulling me in the direction of growth and leadership. I think the best thing about it is seeing how people are impacted and changed when they pitch at Founders Live. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving.

Being on tour has taught me to just live in the moment and take it all in. When on the road, you are perpetually in motion and navigating new and uncomfortable circumstances. There’s no zeroing out, level setting or ‘resetting and recharging’ by chilling on your coach or going back to your 9-5 job during weekdays. On tour, you’re always on. This IS your 9-5, but more accurately your 24/7. It’s constantly moving and the best thing to do is always be present, be in the moment, to take it all in. Something strange and unique set in that day in Oakland – that of which I have a hard time putting into words but the best ones seem to be FLOW, BLISS, GIFT, and ENERGY.  I hope there are many more days of revelation like that one in my future.

San Diego

I stayed with my extended family for a few days when I arrived in San Diego, so I decided to “be on vacation” for 2 days. Monday we went to the Carlsbad beach, walked and had a late brunch and cruised around for a bit. Such a beautiful area. Tuesday I ran on the beach, went down to Encinitas and worked a few hours at a cafe. Trying to not work on this trip is difficult. Partly because we have momentum and you always want to keep it going and not lose any of your edge, but also I hate email build up and aim to stay inbox zero. It’s not easy as the volume is now increasing. I am working to fight the natural urge to always be working. It’s a work in progress!

We had a small launch party for the Founders Live SD event on Thursday 2/21. It was supposed to be at a cool outdoor venue but the weather was terrible on Wed and Thursday of that week. Stormy and rain/hail. Of course… So we had it at a local establishment called Bootlegger. It was a good turnout for being relocated at the last minute. That’s okay, Founders Live SD will flourish in the near term and I have full confidence our city leader Alex Resnick will run a great show.

I finished off the California trip staying with a good friend in Pacific Beach / La Jolla. We hung out Saturday on the beach, played volleyball, went to a few popular spots in Pacific Beach and then out to downtown San Diego. Pacific/Mission Beach is the place to be down in SD. Needless to say, I would have difficulty getting work done in the area, but I feel a strong kinship with the city due to its SoCal laid back vibe. In a parallel universe, it’s my home.

I flew back to Seattle for a quick stop to see friends and host our event on Thursday 2/28. Another week, another big event and back in the spotlight. The event was unforgettable, about 300 people in attendance and doubled as a send-off party for me and this trip – I won’t be back in Seattle until 2020 at the earliest. Equal parts sad and exciting, the last FL Seattle night went off without a hitch. This month’s winner was Melissa Strawn and MyPeopleNow  – Do What You Love. Let Others Help You With The Rest. I am so proud of Melissa, she has worked very hard and come along way over the last 6 months. She is another example of how anything is possible for anyone out there if they want it bad enough.

Up next I head to Phoenix (3/5 – 3/9) and Austin (3/11 – 3/30). We’ll arrive in Phoenix for Phoenix Startup Week and the Founders Live Phoenix event is Thursday evening, at The Foundre Hotel. The next week we’ll be in Austin for SXSW and our event which takes place on Thursday 3/14.

WHO SHOULD I CONNECT WITH IN THESE CITIES?

To say I am excited about these next few months is an understatement. This tour has been one of the best things to happen in my life, and we’re only 2 months into the year-long adventure. Lessons – Don’t let anyone dictate what you can or cannot do in life. Don’t take no for an answer if you feel what you are doing is good for the world. Don’t doubt yourself, you have much more capability and adaptability than you think. You have everything it takes to be great, sometimes it’s so deep down inside your soul you just haven’t discovered it yet. All you need to do is figure out how to go deep enough to tap into it.

See you on the trails.

Gratitude And Love For All Of You

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Screenshot 2019-02-14 at 6.13.26 PM

A new phrase has started coming out of my mouth more frequently: I don’t have the words to describe my life right now and what I am experiencing. It’s that good.  

It’s weird. It’s difficult to be going through an experience and not be able to describe it, to not be able to translate it so others could also understand and feel it.

All I can say is this thing just keeps getting better each day. The people I am introduced to are more connected than ever. The conversations I am having with – strangers, or fast friends – is truly heartfelt and on levels I haven’t tapped into for a very long time. Having the opportunity to take the stage and address a new audience in a new city each week is such an honor.

I acknowledge these experiences are not normal and I am lucky to be right here, right now. But I also have immense gratitude for everyone who has come around me and Founders Live. The support, assistance, conversations, roofs over my head, food, drinks, applause, introductions, teachings, and everything else that comes with this position does not go unnoticed.

Recently I have learned more about Gratitude and Appreciation than I have in a long time. It hit me as I was walking up a big San Francisco hill today. Sometimes it takes falling off the cliff and feeling all the people who are picking you up, helping you to get back on your feet to really understand gratitude.

It’s such an honor to be doing what I am doing and I appreciate all of you. Today, I don’t say I Love You to any one person. Today I say: I Love All Of You. All of you who have supported me and Founders Live, this is for you. And I am so excited to see what no only tomorrow but the next few months bring us!

World Tour 2019 Month One Overview – 1/12 In And Already Feels Like A New Company

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

Don’t Blink. Just like that and I’m 1/12 into this crazy amazing journey around the world. It’s already been one a heck of a 2019, and it still feels like the first inning. I can tell you this – Founders Live will end 2019 quite different than it entered it.

Here’s a brief overview of the intensity of January 2019, which is depicted well with my focus and game face in the image below.

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I left Seattle on Dec 23rd driving with my family down to Boise, Idaho for the holidays and to stay for the month of January. I enjoyed the holidays and the new year but was eager to get started in the new normal of life on the road.

Quickly I joined the coworking space Trailhead where I spent most of the days getting work done and taking calls.  It’s was exactly what I needed and I really enjoying getting to know the Boise startup community.

In fact, it was the venue we used to host the Founders Live Boise event, which took place  on January 23rd and will be the venue going forward this year.  Learning about their growth initiatives and how Founders Live can help accomplish them was music to my ears and we’re honored they want to support our initiatives as well.

bfb-logo-way The winner of the Boise event was ButterFace – Let’s face it, movie popcorn is better with Real Butter! ButterFace Real Butter comes from a farm, not a factory. Join us in an about-face on all things artificial by elevating your popcorn experience with ButterFace, the Way Better Butter.

I also had the opportunity to give a talk at an Entrepreneurship Class at Boise State University. It was invigorating and fun to address the students and describe Founders Live, our vision, and where we are going. I also encouraged them to think big, understand they are not too young to make a positive impact in the world, and to think as they go through their class what type of entrepreneur they want to become. I am sure some seeds were planted in there!

I wrote about a few initial lessons I was encountering during the stay in Boise, you can read here and here.  The lesson here for anyone on the road is multifaceted.

First, I learned about Routines. “whatever daily routine you thrive on when you are at home can be worked into your life on the road if you pay close enough attention and work at it. It does take work. But if done correctly it ties you back into yourself and you feel whole no matter where you are in the world. Secondly, quickly finding a home base or a place you can depend on each day to help maintain your effectiveness and work ethic is key to not losing a step in your business. Lastly – newness, fresh faces, and different daily challenges are refreshing and fun to tackle. Embrace the hell out of them.”

And then I wrote about being more open. The lesson here is: Be Open To Being More Open. “It’s an offshoot of Open The Door Core Value and maybe the distant cousin of it. It’s the reciprocal side of that core value, where as you are more open to new opportunities, new people, new experiences, the more often you will see others Opening The Door to you. You see, the Core Value Open The Door only works when there are 2 people: one person who is opening the door and the other person who is open to the door being opened for them.”

The last lesson I learned was more around how to navigate life when you are on the road and staying with others. It’s nuanced… and takes tact and strong self-awareness, that of which I am improving each day. Anyone traveling for a long period of time will recognize you will need to dive deep on this one!

On January 27th, I flew back to Seattle for a brief week of meetings, happy hours, speaking engagements, and our Founders Live Seattle Event. It felt like a homecoming – even though I was only gone a month – and it truly impacted my view of myself and Founders Live. I have noticed a big uptick in the volume of messages, emails, people introducing themselves to me, and how the community now views Founders Live. Going out on this journey has (been pretty clear already) the best thing for me and the company, and will ultimately be the inflection point in our history.

The Founders Live Seattle event on Jan 31st at The Collective was at fever pitch. We packed the house with close to if not more than 300 people, had a number of special guest in attendance, and practically busted out of the walls. I am so proud of the Seattle community and what we have created in that city. The clear mission is to achieve this growth and inspiration in ALL Founders Live cities. Yours included!

ZIYH8GHFR8mpDKaFSn7u_full_CoffeeBreak Logo

The winner of Founders Live Seattle was CoffeeBreak – CoffeeBreak is a mobile app where we use your professional goals and give you recommendations of the people who can and want to help you reach them. This was a special winner since I have been advising the CoffeeBreak team since before they launched the concept and have really helped them get aligned on what they are building and the immediate next steps. Very proud of their hard work and it paid off at the event!

Well, I’m now in California and heading into a big stretch of bursts and stops. This week in LA (Feb 2nd – Feb 11th and our Long Beach Event is the 6th), next week in SF (Feb 11th – Feb 17th and our SF event is the 15th) , the next week in San Diego (Feb 17th – Feb 25th, event will be announced in the next few days) , and then back to SEA for last week of Feb and our event. After that, I go to Phoenix for a week, and then Austin for most of March, (little Vegas trip in the middle) and then head to Dallas for April. That’s my next 8 weeks, ha.

If you are in any of those cities, please reach out and we’ll try to connect.

Here we go!

Lessons From The Road: Are You Open To Being More Open?

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

When I announced my 2019 tour the outpouring of thoughts, encouragement, and support was overwhelming and humbling. It amazed me how much people are paying attention to me and Founders Live, and how they were extending their thoughts and words of encouragement to me.

I was on a call today with one of these people – someone who I didn’t know but had attended an event in Austin, TX and then cold reached out to me in an email.

During the conversation, something clicked as I was talking. A new lesson – if you are open to being open – to new things and new people – they will walk into your life unexpected but with perfect timing to answer a request or a need you have at the time.

arms-wide-open.

I described to this person how amazing it was that as Founders Live grows, we are seeing a larger and larger community forming around the world. And I was struck with how lots of these people have reached out to me and extended their support, offering a roof over my head or a connection to someone they know when I enter a new city.

“We’ve created this community and it’s amazing how people are opening doors to me all over the place”, I said to him. “It’s really cool to see it in action. To see people opening doors to strangers in efforts to help.”

Then I said “This is not about me. I didn’t build Founders Live just for myself. This is available and open to ALL Founders Live members. Anyone should be able to post about their travels or needs and others in our community can be there for assistance and support if needed. I know it’s happening already.”

That’s the truth.

You should be able to tap into the Founders Live community and connect with other like-minded people, possibly in other countries and other corners of the world. You should be able to trust them, or at least know they pass one or two filters even before you discovered them.

A quality check for me (as the founder) is if this continues and actually becomes more prevalent as we grow in many more cities and many more people around the world. That’s when we know we’ve created something very special.

The lesson here is: Be Open To Being More Open. It’s an offshoot of Open The Door Core Value and maybe the distant cousin of it. It’s the reciprocal side of that core value, where as you are more open to new opportunities, new people, new experiences, the more often you will see others Opening The Door to you. You see, the Core Value Open The Door only works when there are 2 people: one person who is opening the door and the other person who is open to the door being opened for them.

Be Open. More than you would otherwise. It’s how we grow as humans. And I am learning it’s how you survive when you are on the road!

Lessons From The Road: Quickly Establishing A Routine Is Key To Progress

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

One thing I recently noticed about myself was how much I desire routine. It was apparent when I was living in Seattle where I would wake up in the same place each day and pretty much doing the same things within a morning routine. Boy did I enjoy that damn amazing view of Lake Union from my living room.

But now as I find myself out on the road it has become even more clear that establishing a routine as quickly as possible once I arrive in a new city is key to my productivity and progress.

I don’t know about you but when I feel out of synch in life I am not productive at all. I desire some normality, however I can get it. I need to grow. Each Day. Even the way I start my day points to a routine which covers numerous areas of growth in my life.

My morning routine goes something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Get coffee going
  • Meditation – 10-15 mins
  • Drink coffee and read email newsletters and blog posts of what has happened in last 12-24 hours
  • 30 mins Workout – running or strength (4 days per week hopefully)
  • Shower and get ready
  • Eat something healthy
  • Ready to walk out the door

With that morning routine, I experience growth in the spiritual, intellectual, physical and nutritional areas all within a few hours and before I set out to work for the day. It makes me feel refreshed, energized, intelligent, grounded, and self-aware. It makes me feel like I am taking at least a few steps forward, not backward.

Now that I am on the road and not living a normal life, it’s important for me to be flexible and adapt to my surroundings but at the same time wrap my morning routine into this crazy everchanging life I am now living.

Why? Because letting my health, intelligence, self-awareness and nutrition slip will only hold me back from realizing my potential and will seep into my happiness as a person. I don’t want that at all. I took the leap and left on a world tour to find happiness, not lose it!

So I work at it and embrace the uncomfortableness.

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Equally important to my morning routine, I figured out pretty quickly I needed to find a home base workspace where I go and get work done most days.

Here in Boise, I joined the coworking space Trailhead where I spend most of the day getting work done and taking calls.  It’s been exactly what I needed and I’m really enjoying getting to know the Boise startup community. In fact, this is the venue we’ll be using to run the Founders Live Boise event this month and going forward this year.  Learning about their growth initiatives and how Founders Live can help accomplish them was music to my ears and we’re honored they want to support our initiatives as well.

The lesson here for anyone on the road is multifaceted.

First, whatever daily routine you thrive on when you are at home can be worked into your life on the road if you pay close enough attention and work at it. It does take work. But if done correctly it ties you back into yourself and you feel whole no matter where you are in the world. Secondly, quickly finding a home base or a place you can depend on each day to help maintain your effectiveness and work ethic is key to not losing a step in your business. Lastly – newness, fresh faces, and different daily challenges are refreshing and fun to tackle. Embrace the hell out of them.

If you ever choose to take your World Tour (or just a short trip), I hope these lessons help you along your way.

What True Commitment Feels Like

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes a lesson from the first few weeks of my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

We’re just a few weeks into my year-long global journey and I have already connected some very important dots.

First off – and quite a bit less important than the next point – is the fact that I am weirdly comfortable in this new state of being. For those of you who didn’t read the above-linked post, I am currently in Boise, ID for January, city #1 in a 12+ city tour where I plan on living in each area for a month as I work with our local Founders Live leaders and grow the global brand along the way.

I’ve noticed my adaptations to changing and uncomfortable circumstances are becoming quicker and easier as the weeks go on. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Think about your life. You wake up (usually) at the same time. In the same room. Have your same morning routine. You (most likely) go to an office or your same place of work each day. Return to your residence. You (might) have a significant other who you enjoy spending time with. You have a mailing address.”

Not me! Not any more.

And you know what? That’s okay! I am now in a process of digitizing pretty much my entire life and learning to live in much more fluid and changing state. It’s quite freeing and something to be attentive to and improved upon each day. I am committed to adapting to this new life.

downhill-skiing-1The next point is what I want to drive home to you today. It’s about Commitment.

You see, I thought I was committed. In my life. In my relationship. To my company.

I realize now although I was somewhat committed to all those things, I was never fully committed to any of those. I was not 100% committed in anything in my life. And to be honest with you that was a tough sentence to type.

And you may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, what? well, Founders Live is growing and Nick seems successful? How can it be he wasn’t committed?”

Yes, I was definitely working hard and committed to daily efforts of Founders Live. But there was something wrong. Something wasn’t fully locked in and it felt off. I realize now I was a bit complacent in my life. For some reason, I had fallen into a bit of zombie mode.

Now, by making the decision to end my relationship, setting out on the road and leaving the city I have called home for 15+ years, I learned real commitment. I now feel what 100% commitment is really like.

100% commitment requires you to give up something you care deeply about in order to retain the other thing in your life. For me, that was the loss of my relationship and the life I called my reality for 4.5 years. It involved removing the safety net and going all in.

True commitment involves some levels of pain and discomfort. Trust me, my decision and the now new reality have brought me both of those.

To drive this point home, I was recently asked on a podcast about commitment and this topic in general, and I told the following story. Being the creator of Founders Live and running our event in Seattle for almost 5 years I meet and talk with hundreds, if not thousands of startup founders. They tell me about their ideas and their companies. They might even pitch at our events. They seem on a good path. And good for them, I am a very big supporter of entrepreneurs and people creating their own companies.

BUT, my intuitive senses quickly kick in and I can almost feel this person’s level of commitment. It’s in the way they talk, what they say, how they say it, how they prepare (or not) for Founders Live pitch experience, etc.. The truth is most aren’t committed and their companies aren’t going to make it in the end. I can see it in the eyes. It could be for many different reasons, but the main one is – at the current point in time – they aren’t 100% fully committed to their vision and their path. There’s not enough pain and they haven’t given up enough. They are playing it safe. It doesn’t mean that can’t change (and I hope it does) but it does mean at that current point in time, they aren’t there yet.

I can sense it because I was there too, not very long ago in fact.

The lesson here is: You may think you are committed. But you need to ask yourself if you are 100% committed? And what does 100% committed look and feel like to you? What is holding you back and blocking you from reaching your potential? What do you need to remove from your life so that you can make a 100% commitment?

You may not like the answers to those questions but if you want to be successful you need to know them regardless. If you need help uncovering them, feel free to reach out.

Lessons From Stepping Out Into The Abyss

It’s amazing how quickly your life can change.

Thanksgiving 2018 – my longterm girlfriend and I were spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my family.

Christmas 2018 – My belongings were moved out of the apartment of no-longer-my girlfriend into storage, and I was on the road beginning a year-long tour of Founders Live cities, starting in Boise, Idaho.

This is not a woe is me post.

I recently announced I am going on 12-month world tour. This is a post to describe my experience stepping out into the first few weeks of my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date.

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What scares you is usually the most important

I was terrified to lose her, yet in the end, it is exactly what happened. The moment I realized the relationship I had been in for almost five years was coming to an end, things started to shift. For so long I was unwilling to acknowledge the space between us and what had crept in.

What crept in? From what I can gather at this point it was the emergence of (small but growing) success and the reveal of a vastly different potential for my life on a global scale. The past Nick (and some of his baggage) was hindering present and future Nick.

This realization also scared me. It’s easier and somewhat safer to pull the covers over your head and just stay where you are. Closed off. Safe. Warm. Comfortable. (No, I will not change!) It’s tremendously more challenging and scary to look at your potential, evaluate it from all angles, accept it and commit to seeing it through no matter what.

So that’s what I have done these last few weeks, and it’s just starting to take shape for me going into 2019.

[Nick note – I’ve been asked a few times what my biggest fear would be if I died and then was asked immediately in the afterlife what I regretted the most. My answer: not reaching my utmost potential during my time in this world – and then being shown that potential and how much more I could have done, impacted and achieved. That feeling would be devastating.]

Am I worried about how I’ll navigate the world during this next year? Sure, a little. But I can tell you this – I am overcome with intrigue and excitement about tackling the challenges I am now faced with and using different means to get to the end I have been dreaming about.

Embrace uncomfortable until it’s comfortable

Think about your life. You wake up (usually) at the same time. In the same room. Have your same morning routine. You (most likely) go to an office or your same place of work each day. Return to your residence. You (might) have a significant other who you enjoy spending time with. You have a mailing address!

Not me, anymore. This is incredibly unnerving and it’s a shock to the system. None of those things are constant in my life now. I am now moving through the world much more fluid and the only constant is change. This uncomfortableness is something I am now working to get comfortable with.

You know why? The best in the world at their given profession excel usually when they are extremely challenged and are placed in uncomfortable situations. Excelling at this moment is what sets them apart from the crowd. When others break, they bend. When others run, they stand and face it. When others quit, they work harder. This is why they are the best.

That’s what I am doing now. I left a cushy Seattle apartment with a crazy nice view of Lake Union with a great person at my side and a constant and dependable everyday lifestyle to embrace the uncomfortable world of year-long travel and life challenges. I am committing to building a company throughout this experience and place myself in uniquely challenging experiences so that I emerge as one of the best in the business.

Be your own best friend

So here I am, out on the road. New places to live, sometimes on a weekly. New beds. New pillows. New cities. New faces. Short-term friendships. No life partner. No pets.

Just the road and the radio.

In these times you notice little things you normally wouldn’t in your normal expected your day-to-day. Things are quieter when you are alone. Things can be more peaceful. They can sometimes be more lonely. Scary even.

But the biggest thing you notice is how much you need to be your own best friend. You need to learn how to uplift yourself and treat yourself well. It’s pretty much your only option since you are stuck with yourself through this journey. And it is exactly what I needed. I wasn’t my own best friend and it was starting to crack me in my core. I needed a change.

So this is my biggest lesson to date: My 12-month journey is as much about finding my best-friend self than it is about finding more Founders Live users and new cities. Sometimes we have good days. Sometimes we have bad days. But we’re getting along and growing closer each day.

Cheers Mate – it’s going to be one helluva year together.

(2020 UPDATED) I am going on a 2019 World Tour To Discover Talent, Inspiration… and Myself

UPDATE – I embarked on the inaugural Founders Live World Tour in 2019. You can read his full announcement below. and after 365 Days, 60,000 miles and 36 cities and 4 continents it is was a smashing success! At the end he wasn’t tired – he was Inspired. So this year not only is he back on the road, but we’re working on a film project to bring the inspiration to the big screen. Read more about 2020 tour here.

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Confusingly, it is with both tremendous heartache and unbounded excitement to announce I am embarking on a journey of travel for the 2019 year. But before I get to the future plans, the why and the spark of this decision requires a bit of background.

My relationship of 4.5 years has recently come to an end. I literally just moved all my stuff out of our place into storage and it was not fun. This has been one of the most difficult and painful decisions of my life, something I never really considered would happen in this specific relationship and it being so immediate. But here we are, feeling like the central figure in a black mirror episode.

When you lose someone you love many things previously dismissed (or you did not want to address) become much more clear. It’s like a slap in the face – you are awake now, but with immense pain. You desperately search for the reason. For me, I have learned it was the lack of self love and belief in myself/my potential which blocked me from fully living and thriving in the relationship. I realized I still have a lot of internal work ahead of me. (Yes, even Nick Hughes struggles with belief and self confidence sometimes.) Everyone does.

Something felt stuck and it was perplexing. Founders Live was holding back my relationship. And my relationship was holding back Founders Live. A true rock and hard place is where I found myself. I can honestly say – with tears forming in my eyes – that I wasn’t fully living in alignment as a holistic human being, I was not in a healthy state of wellbeing while in this relationship. And in the end, alignment and togetherness is what relationships feed off of. Thus, it really blocked me from fully embracing her+myself and how we desired to be together.

The culprit – my potential. If you have been following the developing Founders Live story here in Seattle for the last few years you might sense something special is unfolding, just as I sense it. It’s been exhilarating and fun, but I honestly feel I have been operating at 20% of my capacity and potential, which if kept at this pace, I and Founders Live would ultimately not reach the level of excellence and impact around the world I imagine and anticipate. The cascading effect of lack of self love and self worth, and then the malalignment in the relationship shocked and scared me, and it ultimately ended our *perfect* life.

So this is where I leave. This is where I break away and set out to discover myself, my potential and find out how big of vision I really hold. Having Vision can be scary. To accept the challenge and attempt to make that vision a reality is even more scary. So I need to let go… and let the pieces fall where they may. In the process I need to heal in areas I have been hurting. I need be a better version of myself first, before I am a better partner to anyone who enters my life.

Since my world is now flipping upside down I have decided to go on the road for 2019 year,  A Founders Live world tour to see the people and document incredible entrepreneurial stories and continue to build Founders Live along the way. The basics – 12 months, 12 cities at least, live in one city each new month, attend the events, and work locally with our leadership teams, spread the Founders Live core values to inspire people and communities around the world. Not to mention create amazing memories along the way. I am also excited to capture amazing stories of talented people in the various corners of the world through our videos and an upcoming podcast. People OUTSIDE of Silicon Valley. People who have been overlooked and underserved but yet are as talented as you or me. Just thinking about who I will meet and what I will see/hear revs my engines.

One thing I have learned while growing Founders Live is there are times in your life where you must Risk. Windows open for brief periods – lucky are the ones who see the window open and are able to act on it. To succeed, you must be willing to take a risk and put everything on the line to project yourself forward. (By the way, this is why most people aren’t entrepreneurs.) So, this is it. This is me stepping into the abyss and emerging into a new realm of leadership.

Ok, so what’s the plan? Where am I going?

As with most things, it’s weird to be attempting to plan so much so quickly when so much is up in the air and undefined. But here’s what I have *penciled* in for the next year. Since Founders Live continues to expand around the world there’s a high percentage chance some of these destinations will change during the course of the year.

Tour Map - 2019 (3)

Month, 2019 Founders Live City
Jan Boise, ID
Feb LA/San Diego (SoCal)
Mar Austin, TX
Apr Dallas, TX
May Denver/Boulder
Jun Bozeman/Minneapolis
Jul Boston
Aug DC
Sep NYC
Oct London
Nov Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria)
Dec S. America

How can you follow along?

I’ll be documenting this experience for sure! We’ll be creating interesting, fun and inspiring content that can be found on the following spaces:

Founders Live – https://www.founderslive.com

Instagram Nick – https://www.instagram.com/jnickhughes/

Instagram Founders Live – https://www.instagram.com/founderslive/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/founderslive/

Linkedin Nick – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jnickhughes/

Twitter Nick – https://twitter.com/jnickhughes

Twitter Founders Live – https://twitter.com/founders_live

YouTube Channel – (coming soon)


Where’s Nick?

This map shows where I will be currently in the world and the journey path up to this point. Feel free to check it often when you want to know what city I am in. https://nickhughes.travelmap.net/

I leave for Boise, ID on Dec 23rd.

How can you help?

Take another look at that anticipated tour schedule. I could use help in the following:

  • Do you know a trusted, fun, interesting and cool person in one of the cities I should meet? As you know, I like meeting new people! Plz open the door.
  • Do you think they might even have a spare room and would be open to hosting me for a short few weeks?
  • Know of any companies or brands who want to be part of a global search for inspiration and talent? This journey will welcome corporate partners if it makes sense.
  • Are there key players in our industry or executives at companies I should talk with in these cities?
  • Share this story! Spread the word about Founders Live and the 2019 world tour and share with media if you think they might be interested.
  • Know of a videographer or creative team who wants to join me and document the whole thing? I see a documentary forming.
  • Anyone want to go on tour with me? Or meet up in one of the cities for an extended trip? Let me know.

What about Founders Live Seattle event and leadership?

I plan on being back in Seattle briefly and attending the January (1/31) and then most likely back for February (2/28) Seattle events. But yes, in the end we are now looking to bring someone on as our Founders Live Seattle city leader – similar to what we do in all our other cities. Although big shoes need to be filled I believe the next leader is out there and ready to step up. Let me know if you or someone you know would be a good fit.

What does all this mean? Is this the end?

No way, this changes little your life. If you are reading this in Seattle it might mean you we don’t see each other as often. But you can stay connected and follow on the various accounts above. I do plan on returning to Seattle and settling back down whenever this journey feels complete. And Seattle, I just need to say it – thanks for your continued support and love, you are my extended family.

If you are reading this in one of the cities mentioned above, please reach out and say hi and connect with me so we can coordinate activities when I get there. Can’t wait to see you.

If you are reading this in a city that is not on the list, just know it’s not personal! The city choices are based on various data and situational things. Please still follow along and if you really think I should come to your city, please email and make your best pitch to me!

So there you have it.

Holy ______, A Founders Live World Tour. I have no idea what is ahead of me, no idea what a year on the road is like, or even how to balance heartache with an unparalleled vagabond worldwide journey in search of human potential, truth and inspiration. All I do know is I have never felt a stronger pull in a direction than this that I feel right now, and I’m excited to meet the man out there on the horizon. I hope this journey can be a glimmer of inspiration and hope for you too! Feel free to email me at nick@founderslive if you need anything or have suggestions of where to go.

See you on the trails.

COURSE NOW OPEN: Founders Five – Master the 5 Essentials Required To Survive And Thrive As A Founder. SAVE $200 This Week Only

Back by popular demand, I am excited to announce the return of an online course, and it might be just what you needed to jump into fall and end the year on a high note.

What is Founders Five?

I have grown Founders Live from a small simple event in Seattle to a thriving global movement currently spreading across multiple continents in a short 2-year period. Through this process, I’ve learned a thing or two about starting and growing a brand and want to help others launch their dream companies as well.

Founders Five is a 5-week course to help develop your founder mentality and startup philosophy. The goal is less about launching something by the end of 5 weeks, but more about diving deep and learning what it takes to thrive in the world of entrepreneurship. My goal is to equip you with the tools and thought processes to better navigate your path, so you leave the course with more confidence and conviction. To make sure we all get the most out of it, this course is open to a limited amount of people and offered for a limited time. We hope you join in and use this summer as a launch pad for your entrepreneurial journey.

LEARN MORE HERE ON FOUNDERS LIVE.

 

(VIDEO) Founders Live Conversations – Rebecca Alexander of AllGo Talks About Improving The World For Plus Size People

I recently sat down with Rebecca Alexander, CEO and Founder of AllGo to talk about her experience as a person of size, why she created AllGo, and what it’s been like as a first-time founder. AllGo is a platform created for plus size people to help them feel more comfortable in the world and to drive change in how the world views and treats large people.

By far, this is my favorite interview to date and I am incredibly proud and inspired by Rebecca’s courage, confidence, and vision to make the world a better place.  As you watch you will hear honesty and truth, at times it was hard for me to ask questions because it felt uncomfortable to go there with her. But, I needed it. I needed to hear the truth of how people of size think, feel and experience the world.  I am better for it! I hope this conversation helps you see things in a different way as well.

 

The Inevitable Box – A Founders LIVE Conversation with Author and Entrepreneur Clarke Allen

I recently sat down with entrepreneur and new author Clarke Allen to talk entrepreneurship and the process of writing a new book. Clarke has an incredible entrepreneurial story, one he shares throughout his newly released book called The Inevitable Box. The wide ranging conversation covers topics such as why Clarke choose entrepreneurship, (or did it choose him?), how Clarke got started in his business, how he managed the ups and downs of founder life, how he lost everything and built his company back to where it is today, as well as his experience through the book writing process and what it’s like to get something published.  You can grasp the sense of purpose Clarke has in both his approach to business as well as writing this book.

This conversation was especially exciting for me as he was honored to have written the Foreword of the book, a story Clarke and I touch upon in our conversation. Listen here.

More on The Inevitable Box.

More on Clarke Allen. 

Podcast: My interview on The Startup Sessions with Michael Knouse

I’m very humbled to share a recent interview I did as a guest on the Startup Sessions Podcast, where I talk about my current projects and how I go about the craziness of founder life. I enjoyed my conversation with Michael Knouse (he was a recent guest on Founders LIVE as well!)
I hope you find it helpful.
screenshot-2016-09-26-at-11-31-37-am

My Interview on Launch To Greatness (Podcast)

I was honored to be a guest with Dan Mori on his podcast Launch to Greatness. I talk about how I became an entrepreneur, what led me to start Founders LIVE and where I see it going. It was a fun and engaging conversation and I hope it help you in some way as well.

Click here to visit Launch To Greatness and hear our conversation.

Screenshot 2016-07-13 at 11.14.16 AM

Don’t Miss LivenUp – An online Entrepreneurship Festival on 7/15

Something cool is brewing on Founders LIVE.

We are announcing a new monthly event called LivenUp, a 1-day virtual festival on Founders LIVE that brings together the entrepreneurial community.

The first one takes place the entire day of this Friday, July 15th, starting at 8am. Mark your Calendars, and check out the schedule to determine which talks you’d like to tap into. The purpose of the event is to infuse wisdom, energy and connectedness into the larger community once per month. We think it will achieve that, and a whole lot more!

RSVP For LivenUP HERE.

The festival will consist of:

  • Four live streamed keynote conversations (a special guest + me) occurring throughout the day, live streamed on the site via Google Hangouts. If you cannot view them live, you will have access to various pieces of the content after the event.
  • Topics covered: Entrepreneurship, Branding, Marketing, Podcasting
  • A startup video pitch competition where viewers vote on their favorite to determine the winner.
  • Viewer generated posts and content relevent to the day’s topics
  • Group and one-on-one chat sessions so you can meet other people
  • many other small activities sprinkled in between for the community

The Keynote conversations will be unique, authentic and REAL, given from entrepreneurs or industry experts, in-depth perspectives on how to live and grow as an entrepreneur. They will be viewed via livestream on Founders LIVE. There will be live messaging/chat for viewers to communicate during the talks, as well as serving as a mechanism for asking questions to the guests at the end of their conversations. Members are also encouraged to submit their own content, posts, videos, etc.. on the home feed to add variety to the event.

LivenUp will create a critical mass of energy and interactions between entrepreneurs as well as provide content to be dissected and talked about on the platform over the preceding weeks leading up to the next LivenUP event in August.

Attendees gain full access to LivenUp and the Founders LIVE online community with their monthly membership subscription to Founders LIVE.

LivenUP July Keynote Guests

8am PST

Jonny Cadden – “Why Entrepreneurship Matters To The World”Business Rocks

Jonny is an entrepreneur, designing a global tech, music & investment festival series to inspire the world through his massive entrepreneurial event called Business Rocks. He will talk with Nick about why Entrepreneurship matters in this world, and how one can best get started.

12pm PST

Heather Wilde – “Finding Your Inner Unicorn”

ROCeteer

Heather is a multi-award-winning Mentor, Advisor, Author, Speaker, Presenter and Credentialed Coach that works with Executives, Leaders, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. She helps entrepreneurs find their inner Unicorn, even though she hates the recent use of the word. She will talk with Nick about how each and every one of us have a unique thing – our own Unicorn – that we need to find, identify and share with the world.

2pm PST

Michael Knouse – “Discovering Your Voice With Podcasting”

The Startup Sessions

Michael Knouse is a Business and Performance Coach for small business owners and visionary entrepreneurs. After spending 14-years in the software industry and being involved with four startups from various industries, Michael decided to focus on what he loves most – mentoring and coaching other business builders to find their focus and transform into high performers. He will talk with Nick about how to leverage podcasting to not only discover but extend your brand voice across the world.

4pm PST

Nicole Lamont – “Going Beyond Marketing”

Beyond Brewing Consulting

Nicole is a leader in creative thinking, who innovates current processes on the front side of your company. She assists in determining what is your brand identity, and how will this effect the future strategies as you grow your business. She will talk with Nick about issues in marketing today, and how startups can think strategically as they come out of the gate.

RSVP For LivenUP HERE.

 

250 Members and Beyond

One month and one week into existence, Founders LIVE has officially hit the 250 member mark.

This is a great milestone (one of many to come) and all of us should be proud of the initial growth thus far given it was a soft launch with zero media or marketing. Thanks for all the help in taking action, you guys rock!

If you would allow me a few minutes, I will expand on what I have learned in the short time launching Founders LIVE and what I envision for the next phase of growth.

You may recall when I announced the launch of Founders LIVE I was opening it up for free registration for a limited time – the first 100 members, then it became first 200 members to join would get Founders LIVE memberships free for life – and then turn on paid subscriptions as we built it out. That is still true today, and it’s still free to register as of this publishing so go tell that friend you’ve been thinking would love Founders LIVE right now (maybe even use the share buttons at the bottom of this post!).

Paid subscriptions are indeed on their way. The current functionality is not where I’d like it and I am awaiting a technical update to take effect so the registration and payment process is a seamless as possible. It should be implemented within the next month so until then, share away and let your friends know this thing is open for free just for a limited time more.

Launching Founders LIVE has been an incredible experience for me. The biggest thing I have learned during this first month is how much people actually crave community. This might be elementary to some of you but for me I am quite surprised how much we as humans desire to belong and be a part of something larger than us. It’s just human nature to want to belong and connect with others; to explore and meet new people; to learn new uplifting and positive things each day. A community. A group of like minded people. A collective that talks the same language and is heading in the same direction for the same reasons. That’s what we are building here on Founders LIVE and the feedback thus far has been centered on how cool it is we together are forming this unique virtual community around the entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the other things I learned has to do with the word “Founder.”  The word has numerous connotations and meanings. Some of you may not directly identify with being a “founder” or call yourself one when talking with others. You might even say “oh, I’m not a founder…” as if to be hesitant to self identify with the word. I don’t fully understand that position given what I do – and given I started this platform called Founders LIVE – but regardless it is a feeling some have and I respect it.

Yet I don’t believe it. I actually DO think you are a founder. I think most – if not all – people are founders in their own ways. Yes Founders are people who start companies but they are also much more than that. Founders are creators. Founders are starters. Founders are dedicated people working on things that bring value to the world. Founders are leaders who influence others and bring out the best in people.

Any of those sound like you? Being a founder is a way of thinking and a way of life, not just a title on LinkedIn because you started a company.

It seems to me the word Founder is a little scary due to people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other highly successful, famous and wealthy people who are leaders of very large organizations. Many of us simply cannot see ourselves in a similar light as those individuals because the media has warped what it means to be a founder. The “myth of the founder” – wiry haired (usually young white male) who is working 20 hours a day in their garage – has also played into influencing how we view ourselves as founders or not. If you don’t fit that stereotype, it’s easy to think to yourself you are not a founder.

I’d like to urge you to drop the assumption you are not a founder – or that founder is something to not be embraced. If you have joined this platform already, you have self selected as a founder. If you are hungry everyday for wise and helpful information you can use to move yourself forward, you are a founder. And if you are one of the millions, no billions, of people creating things in this world – be it a painting, a song, a technology, a company, a non-profit, a family – you are a founder.

Welcome home. And in the end if you really don’t feel you are a founder, sticking around and getting to know the founders on here will give you better insights on how we think, act and work.

(Not on Founders LIVE yet. SIGN UP HERE.)

My vision for what’s ahead is as ambitious as it is exciting. And I think is well within reach. I believe Founders LIVE will be the new destination for entrepreneurial education, entertainment and encouragement.

I started Founders LIVE as an effort to create a new approach to content creation and community engagement. The realization came when I noticed blogging was really just one->many and not much of a social experience. Also, that experience was really just about me and my work. Not others.. I quickly realized there’s a better model. I determined to create a platform for creatives, entrepreneurs and go-getters to connect with like minded people and if desired, be provided a channel to display their talents – be it crafting pithy nuggets of wisdom, writing blog posts, conducting interviews, distributing podcasts or creating fascinating videos, art or music. More importantly, I wanted to create a central channel for others (outside the network) to find this type of valuable content and in the process maybe become better people. And to open a space where all of us creatives can see and be seen, to read and be read, and to hear and be heard. I believe everyone has a unique set of talents. Founders LIVE allows you to share yours, and discover other talented people and enjoy what they have to offer.

The 3-5 year horizon I envision for Founders LIVE is to become a thriving media property specifically created around entrepreneurship and creativity. Replacing the current lean-back entertainment of TV shows, Founders LIVE will embrace new forms of participation media such as live mobile streaming, live events, blogging and writing, commenting, messaging, sharing, content curation and social interaction. All this in one channel specific to founders and the greater entrepreneurial population around the world.

Within this property, Founders/entrepreneurs – as well as others that simply want to learn and be entertained – will be delivered hyper relevant content around aspects of starting companies, creating products, art, music and anything that tugs at the creator’s soul urging to be brought to society. I envision this channel to be truly authentic, built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, with content generated and crowdsourced by the community as well as curated by the Founders LIVE team so as to retain a high level of quality aimed to add value to the people subscribing to it.

Also, Founders LIVE will become the default “social network” (if we can even still use that term) for any would be/existing entrepreneurs, a must have platform to be active on if you want to move forward. LinkedIn has become too corporate-y, professional, recruit-y and spammy, and really only serves as your new resume. And now owned by Microsoft! Founders LIVE should serve as both one’s channel to display their talent/work as well as the most authentic, safe and enjoyable space for creatives to connect with others who see the world as they themselves do.

For the near term, I’ll be starting the new live streaming experience shortly with a new monthly event specific to this community. I won’t dive into too many details soon but rest assured it’s going to be cool, fun, entertaining and most of all uniquely ours.

I am excited for what lies ahead. Honestly – and I am not just saying this – you should also be as honored and as excited as I am to see something like this form right in front of your eyes, because you will gain just as much value, connections and experience from this platform as I will.

Here’s to 250 and beyond!

Not on Founders LIVE yet. SIGN UP HERE.