Interview: The Myth of the Lone Entrepreneur

cover170x170I was recently interviewed on a new podcast called Planet Business in a wide ranging conversation titled The Myth of The Lone Entrepreneur. We covered many things, from my early career transition, to my newest project(s) to how to deal with failure and depression resulting from challenging times as an entrepreneur. It was a great conversation, and one I think many will find interesting and entertaining.

From their page:

Nick Hughes, the visionary behind Founders LIVE! and Feature Friday, gets real with us about the ups and downs of Entrepreneurship. Nick shares how he stepped into to the role of entrepreneurship through organizing community events and creating platforms to learn and share with fellow leaders in Seattle and beyond.

What Is Founders LIVE And How Can Someone Join?

Blogging has been a way of life for me for the past 5 years. Through telling stories of entrepreneurship, documenting my own journey and wrapping in little nuggets of wisdom I picked up along the way, my words touched people in ways I never imagined. A few years ago I also started creating videos detailing others journey’s, aiming to capture the raw authentic truth of entrepreneurship. It worked.

Screenshot 2016-05-02 at 2.47.13 PMYet I recently came to a crossroads in the creative side of my life, and have been contemplating which long and winding road I should take next. I’VE COME TO DISCOVER THERE’S MORE UNDERNEATH ALL THIS CREATIVITY. The common theme in all these experiments is seeing the inspiration grow in people and how they desire to be a part of something bigger.

So about a month ago something became much more clear to me.

It’s not about Me, it’s about Us.

I didn’t want to just start another blog, or another social network. I wanted to create a space for creatives, entrepreneurs and go-getters to connect with like minded people and 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 or music.  I believe we’d all be better founders and entrepreneurs if a space such as Founders LIVE served us entertaining and educational content each day, and allowed us to connect with equally talented people with one click. I also 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.

So what is Founders LIVE and why use it?


At its core, Founders LIVE is an exclusive network of talented and creative individuals. By providing a space to connect with like-minded people, Founders LIVE goes above and beyond a simple blog with interesting content. Watch as your experience comes alive through meeting new people, chatting about new ideas, helping someone with challenges and possibly meeting a new business partner.

A Well of Talent

In addition to a mobile first network, Founders LIVE is a platform for talented people to showcase and distribute their work. Authors are free to publish blog posts from within the app or point to their own blogs outside of it. Video producers are encouraged to upload their latest creative works and gain valuable feedback from the community. Podcasters on-board new listeners when they disseminate their latest podcasts within the community. Founders LIVE is a channel to see and be seen, to read and be read, and to hear and be heard.

Knowledge and Learning

Acknowledging many of us are not the creative type and opt to consume more content than we create, Founders LIVE is organized so that you can simply sit back and learn new and useful tidbits each day from our members. From the employee who is just considering leaving their job wanting to start a company, to the rookie founder who can’t sleep at night because they have no idea what to do next, to the veteran entrepreneur who enjoys publishing all their secrets of success, Founders LIVE is overflowing with golden nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom craving to be eaten up each day.

Monthly Membership

[FIRST 200 MEMBERS ARE FREE FOR LIFE! Join now before it’s too late.]

We support Founders LIVE with a monthly membership fee of $5. This allows  us keep the quality of members and value to you very high.

Your contribution will be used to help our strong community grow globally, organize and run events and meetups, conduct live chats and cover our costs to ensure this community becomes your secret weapon in achieving your dreams.

We understand most social networks and content sites on the web are free, yet Founders LIVE is not your average WordPress blog or LinkedIn group. It’s a full fledged mobile network connecting you to a vast sea of talented people and incredibly insightful content. For the price of a Starbucks coffee each month, its a dang good investment in you and your future.

For your assurance, we employ a REFUND POLICY: You have 30 days to try out the Membership. If you feel that it’s just not your thing, we’re happy to offer you a full refund within 30 days of your initial purchase only.

[FIRST 200 MEMBERS ARE FREE FOR LIFE! Join now before it’s too late.]

What to do First

Say Hello! And swim around the app to find content and people you find interesting.

One thing that makes Founders LIVE great is the ability to follow Topics so that you can always see the conversations that are most relevant to you. Feel free to post in Topics or message another member privately if you want to learn more about their experience. You’ll quickly realize Founders LIVE will be your go-to daily resource for entrepreneurial goodness.

Founders LIVE -A Creative New Project That Needs YOU!

It must be Spring, the time for new things and emergence into a bright new world because that is what I seem to be doing lately.

I recently came to a crossroads in the creative side of my life, and have been contemplating which long and winding road I should take next. Yes I have posted on here my blog for years (thanks for reading!) and created scores of video conversations (thanks for watching!) with all the enjoyment, excitement and satisfaction that comes with sharing those nuggets out to the world. I have also been experimenting with events, meetups and live shows all the while conducting social observations and reading people like a hawk… AND I’VE COME TO DISCOVER THERE’S MORE UNDERNEATH ALL THIS CREATIVITY. The common theme in all these experiments is seeing the inspiration grow in people get and how they desire to be a part of something bigger.

All I can say is it’s gotdamn infectious.

So here I am offering a new approach to content creation and community engagement. I didn’t want to just start another blog, or another social network. But then I thought why not combine both… I realized I wanted 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 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.

So here you are – Founders LIVE. Some things to know.

1) You are the first to know about this. OMG. Join with satisfaction you will be the first of many to be a part of this exclusive club connecting with like-minded individuals and being in awe of (hopefully) thousands of talented people. Quickly join, say hi and share with people you may think are a good fit.

2) Membership to Founders LIVE will be $5 per month. Yes, great things in this world actually cost money. Here’s a little more info on the app.

3) THE FIRST 100 PEOPLE TO JOIN WILL BE FREE FOR LIFE. Zero dollars. This means you should probably, no… most definitely click this link and join simply because it doesn’t cost you anything and the worst thing that happens is you never go back. I’d hate for you to delay and have to pay $60 per year when you don’t have too!

4) I plan on holding (and encouraging others to hold) cool and entertaining live events, talks, podcasts, shows, pitch contests and experimenting with other cool ideas on Founders LIVE from time to time, so SEE #3 and follow said instructions.

5) Does someone actually have to be a founder to join? Nope, it’s just a catchy name!  If you feel you really aren’t a creative, entrepreneur or go-getter who would add their content, see #4 and follow said instructions.

Lastly, I want to give thanks from the bottom of my heart for everyone’s support, for being a loyal reader and a fellow creative entrepreneur, and inspiring me during the times my hopes were hanging dry on a vine wondering when the next rainstorm would come. I hope I give back as much as I receive and please join me in creating something fun, cool and unique in this world.

Join here >

I also have created a new blog which I will probably be posting more from so might want to check that out as well.

Creating Your Own Wake

As a founder your survival is a function of how you create your own wake.

Wikipedia defines a wake as:

A wake is the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary solid body, caused by the flow of surrounding fluid around the body. There is formation of vortex in the wake which is the region of low pressure in it.

…The formation of these waves in liquids is analogous to the generation of shockwaves in compressible flow, such as those generated by rockets and aircraft traveling supersonic through air.


Circulating flow.




If you read the entire definition you’ll likely get lost in a hell of a lot of science but those are the words that jump out to me when I read the definition of wake. It doesn’t just apply only to water either, if we could see movements of air we’d be seeing the impacts of wakes and shockwaves all around us.

To me, in human terms wake simply means your lasting impact on the world around you.

I have been thinking about this phenomenon recently since I made the leap back into entrepreneurship as a founder, (re)discovering all the painful and challenging issues you deal with as you are just starting out. So many things are working against you and the inertia of the world is quite similar to the inertia of water. A boat doesn’t create a wake unless its moving. Same for us. Forward progress in life requires some sort of energetic force to drive you forward, pushing against the inertia of the world and creating a wake that ripples outwardly away from you and positively impacting others around you.

There’s some social science for ya.

One of the most important lessons I learned in the last couple of years is you can make the entrepreneurial path a little easier by creating a wake around/behind yourself. This is not easy, because it requires effort and energy to do things we generally don’t want to do.  Going above and beyond our normal comfort zone to stand out is almost the antithesis to what we as humans feel we want to be doing each day/week/month.

But standing out – creating a wake impacting others – is what is required of you as a first time founder who is desperately wanting to make it to the next level. That or get lost in the thousands of others vying for the same attention, money and position.

What would a wake look like in real life? How would it involve humans, social interactions, business decisions, etc?

I find the key to gaining an edge when just starting out is finding specific actions to take to create a wake in an industry – shockwaves that keep spreading and impacting people you might not even have direct contact with.

Start writing on topics people in your industry might find interesting, posting them on social media and guest posting on other media outlets. Who cares what you write about (okay that’s kind of harsh but you get what I am saying) and what others might comment on, just having a voice and putting it out there places you at the top 10% in your industry. Be consistent in your writing efforts and don’t worry your audience will find you. Create video or other visual content which is entertaining and educational and that others can share with their networks. It doesn’t exactly matter what you record and put out, it just matters that you start and don’t stop so others start to recognize you. Organize local events and meetups around relevant industry topics so you can help others connect with each other. Be seen and be known. Work on and release products which are both interesting and have high potential to change your industry. Who knows, you might learn something new! Carry yourself, shake hands and talk in a way where people will be impressed.

These are the things people remember, they are what people share with others and what sticks in a room once you leave. That’s your wake.


Look No Further Than Shinebox Films For Your Next Videographer

10100696_300x300A few months ago I was desperately searching for a new film crew for Founders RAW and after interviewing a number of other candidates I was introduced to Ahamed and Dominic at Shinebox Films. We met over coffee and even after just a few minutes I quickly knew these guys were going to be my next film crew. I hope you (or them) do not mind this unsolicited praise as I simply would like to voice my satisfaction thus far with Shinebox Films.

The unique thing about producing Founders RAW is there are a few nonnegotiables I have as we put these segments together. First, we must be on location at a neutral place, typically at a bar or restaurant. My intention here is to create a naturally comfortable environment for myself and another individual to have a quality conversation, and for you the viewer to feel like you are a fly on the wall in the bar listening to us chat. This is not easy for a film crew to accomplish, and Shinebox has done a great job accomodating this challenging request. The other nonnegotiable is the level of quality – visual, audio, content, editing – they all must be world class. That or no one will want to keep watching these clips and over time the project will whither away. I will definitely say Ahamed and Dominic have fulfilled their promise of putting an incredibly high quality into their work.

And as you can see below, they haven’t disappointed. This is a clip from a recent Founders RAW conversation with Seattle Angel Investor Gary Rubens where you see their work in action. We filmed in the Pharmacy, which is a Speakeasy in the downstairs of The Temple in Pioneer Square. Notice the quality of Ahamed and Dominic’s editing work as well as aligning Gary and I in chairs in a well lit area so as to create a casual conversation between two friends.

Another conversation we shot in the fall was with Nathanael Nienaber, the CEO of on-demand moving service Ghostruck. We shot this specific episode in Easy Joe’s bar in downtown Seattle. The lighting and background in this shot is damn near perfect.

Here is a short description from the Shinebox website:

Shinebox Films imagines, executes and delivers moving pictures that convert  ideas and goals into compelling visual messages. Whether your project is a few seconds or a few hours we have the creativity and experience to make you and your passions shine.

We offer full support and service before, during and after filming so you don’t have to get bogged down in the details. We’re here to help no matter how much experience you have with videos and can help you navigate the often intimidating universe of videos.

If you want to engage viewers with your message we have the proven creative and technical skills to do so.

In an age full of videos we deliver the unexpected. We’re ready to make the world take notice of what you have to share. Send us a message or stop by for coffee at our office in downtown Seattle.

These guys fit my mold and I would suggest any company looking for high quality videos reach out to Shinebox Films via their website, email them here or shoot me an email and I can connect you with them directly. You won’t be disappointed.

Founders RAW: Rahul Sood Full Conversation

I recently had the awesome opportunity to sit down with Rahul Sood, CEO and cofounder of e-sports betting platform Unikrn. Simply put, as a safe, legal and fun way to gather, game and bet on eSports, Unikrn is at the cusp of an industry just about to explode onto the world scene. In fact, I’ll suggest it already has given there are tournaments where people can compete for multi-million dollar winnings in front of tens of thousands of fans in sports arenas. Crazy stuff.

It’s an interesting conversation since Rahul has a very intriguing past. He started his first company right out of high school, sold it to HP years later and then started Microsoft Ventures within the global tech behemoth.

Lots of gems in here, better watch the whole thing!

Give Yourself Permission To Fail

Giving myself permission to fail has been a reoccurring thought as of late, and reading a recent post from CEO Michelle Wetzler really solidified it for me.

After a few years in the back seat helping others in the building process I am back in the founding position. As I get back into the drivers seat I am reminded that my mental approach to this next journey determines so much of my trajectory and overall success.

If I am scared to fail, I most likely will fail. If I am worried we’ll go broke, we most likely will go broke. If I think I am not good enough to be CEO and not fit to lead a successful company, I most definitely will be those things.

BUT if I reverse that thinking I can reverse the psychology as well.  If I believe I’ll be successful, I most likely will. If I am confident in our finances, we most likely will stay afloat. If I think I am good enough to be CEO and fit to lead a successful company, I most definitely will be those things. And if I open myself up to possibility of failure I see that it is not that bad.

Michelle sums it up perfectly.

Giving myself permission to fail has been one of the most liberating, stress-relieving, and rewarding things I’ve done in last year.

The only way we can become a truly great company is if we open ourselves to the possibility that we might not be.

And you know what? It’s okay if we’re not. If Keen busts, we’ll all find new grand adventures. Some us could start a new company together, or get boring jobs at big co’s, or sail around the world, who knows, the world is full of lots of amazing opportunities.

…To give yourself permission to fail, you have to untangle your ego from your work. Having your ego tied up in your work is a handicap. You can’t think strategically or take risks when you and your personal well-being are on the line.

Basically, embracing reality frees you up to be everything you were meant to be. By not being paralyzed by what could happen, you are free to create what should happen.

This is an important lesson for founders, especially first timers who fall victim to impostor syndrome. Wikipedia defines it as “a term coined in the 1970s by psychologists and researchers to informally describe people who are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”

Another way to think of impostor syndrome is to be so frightened by your future (be it positive or negative) that you simply don’t believe you are doing the right things or are the right person for the job. You question every little decision you should make, you aren’t sure if you should go left or right. You think your peers see a different version of you, a lesser qualified person sitting in the front seat pretending they know what they are doing.  You start believing you are an impostor and thus end up failing in the end.

This is all wrong and can be mitigated by giving yourself permission to fail before you even start. That way you are free to make the correct decisions, knowing failure is just part of the process. It sounds crazy but a simple change in perspective makes all the difference. I have found the best perspective is that the world is full of lots of amazing opportunities, and if you fail at this one there’s always the next one.

That, my friends, is why I am back in the drivers seat.