Ajit Nawalkha, CEO, Mindvalley Media
Unlike most entrepreneurs, Ajit Nawalkha doesn’t focus on profit, revenue, sales, or customer surveys to grow his company. He’s also been known to abandon some of his products, even when they’re highly profitable, if they don’t align with his vision. An unconventional approach, to be sure, but his personal development school Mindvalley has more than 3 million students and counting.
So what does Nawalkha focus on? His mission is to create life-changing experiences for his customers, and does so by bringing them instruction from some of the most powerful speakers of our time.
Nawalkha’s main goal is not to develop products, but to create “heart-centered experiences.” And he believes this is the key to Mindvalley’s success in its quest to move their business—and all of humanity—forward. In this unique interview, you will learn exactly how Mindvalley creates these amazing client experiences, and its unconventional philosophy for measuring success.
Nawalkha and Mindvalley have risen to the top by focusing not on conventional indicators of growth, but on making the world a better place—one client experience at a time.
- How Mindvalley validates its products and finds out what its customers want (without using surveys)
- Mindvalley’s secret sauce to creating amazing experiences for its clients
- What many new entrepreneurs get wrong that limits their ability to grow and scale
- How Mindvalley measures success (it has nothing to do with revenue and churn rate)
Full Transcript of Podcast with Ajit Nawalkha
Nathan: Okay, so, the first question I ask everyone that comes on is, how did you get your job?
Ajit: How did I get my job?
Ajit: That is an interesting question. Nobody has really asked me that question, saying, how did I get my job. Usually, they’ll go, “How did you start Evercoach,” or, “How did you start Mindvalley,” and so forth. So, it’s actually, just telling the story, because I’m actually at an event where I was speaking to a group of individuals that are coming in to get certified as trainers with us, and I was just telling them the story of how I really got introduced to the idea of personal development first and then the idea of the company, and then how I actually ended up starting Evercoach and partnership with Mindvalley, which is the company that I’m the co-founder of now. So, it happened several years ago, in about 2005, I had just finished my college education and I was part of a certain organization called AIESEC, which is an international organization which was developed after World War II to promote world peace. So I was a volunteer in that organization. And during the course of my college, I was doing that. And as I quit my education, or finished my education, sorry, I go on and start to work as a salesperson in a media company, a multimedia company in India. And as I working the job, I’ve always been very curious to kind of find a way to accelerate whatever I’m doing, not necessarily through learning at that stage, but just through pure hustle and pure greed, if I may.
So I kind of proposed that idea to the owner of that company and said, “Hey, internet is coming,” and dotcom internet was really new. This was the topic like 2006, 2007, at least in India, it was really, really new. So, I was like, “Hey, this internet thing is coming and all the young readers of your newspaper are gonna disappear. Let’s try to do something online, and there’ll be something in future that will really make sense.” And fortunately, the person was, and is, and still a good friend, and a mentor, was very progressive. So he was like, “Yeah, let’s do that. Let’s see what we can create.” And he said, “I’ll invest in the company. I have this other friend who lives in America, and they are the pioneers of this project. So let’s get him as one of the investors. And we’ll launch with him and we can start this company in India.” And we go ahead and start that company, only to realize that, when you start a company and you have literally, and actually and virtually, no education at all in that topic, amateurs, you can Google things and so forth, we couldn’t really find a way through that project. Even with the advice of these other successful e-commerce entrepreneur, we couldn’t really figure it out because what we were really doing was creating a project that was more around social media and more around information, more than anything else. So, an e-commerce person wasn’t really best advice we could get.
A year to 18 months into the project, I realized that this was something that was only going downward, also because Facebook just showed up in India. So, Facebook was really, really new. They were just early adopters there at that time. This was 2007, we are talking about at this point. And it was 2008 starting, I realized that this was not going to be something that I can make work. I don’t have the talent for it, I don’t have the education for it, and I was just basically trying to do something that I couldn’t wrap my head around. During the process of all this was happening, I had hired somebody in my team as an intern, and to learn, you know, like just to do, they were traversing between two different jobs at that time. And for just a little while, I’d hired them and said, “Okay, two months, work with me.” As I was finishing and I was closing off, and this was even before like I knew what I’m going to do, I just knew that I don’t wanna go back to my sales. So, I was good at it, I just hated doing it. Like I didn’t wanna do the sales job, I knew this wasn’t working out, I submit my papers, and I said, “Listen, I’m moving on.” And when this owner asked me, because we are still really good friends, he was like, “What are you gonna do?” I was like, “I don’t know, but I know that I don’t wanna do this.” So he was understanding and he was like, “Okay, fine, I’ll accept your resignation for now. But if there’s anything, come back to me.”
But coincidentally, at that time, because now I had all the space in life, I reached back to all my friends who are doing different things. And I’m like, “Hey, this is what I’m thinking. I really wanna do something around internet.” And this intern that I hired for like two months in the middle, sends me a message with a website called mindvalley.com, and he says, “Hey, check out this company. This company is basically AIESEC but they pay you to do and have fun, and create things that are fun and interesting, and help humanity move forward.” And I looked at the website, and to be very honest, if you look at Mindvalley in 2008, the website, you would be like, “What do you do again?” It’s kind of funny, it looks really odd, it’s really random, the logo is really like childish, like they had a picture of a dog as their PR agent, and, you know, it looked like, “What the hell?” But I was like, “You know what, I’ll try anything.” Because in India, I knew there was no opportunity for me because their internet was still…really no ITs, they didn’t really understand it. I somehow intuitively knew that I wanted to be in media and I wanted to be in the media that’s going to be not the media that is.
So I knew there was something there in the internet because I was spending so much time on it. I was very certain that there might be some opportunity there. Mindvalley, coincidentally, the founder of Mindvalley, Vishen, used to be in AIESEC several years ago. So, the reference and that context of AIESEC come here, and that’s why I told the AIESEC story, the context of AIESEC comes in and he goes, “Oh, you were in the office of AIESEC. You need to be with me.” In like five minutes, he said, “Yes, you are hired. Come down, you’ll be business manager for one of our businesses, but you’ll be an intern at the same time.” I was like, think about, from being a CEO of a company, a startup, from being a senior salesperson, I dropped all of a sudden to an intern, but I was like, “You know what, screw that. I don’t know what I’m doing and I really wanna do this. And seems like these guys know what they’re doing, and there’s nothing else, but I get to travel the world.” So, that was kind of the intention of starting with the company at that time, I came to Mindvalley, and the rest is history. It’s almost been nine years now, started many companies in partnership with Mindvalley, sold a bunch of them to Mindvalley. Some of them are still different companies with different partnerships, and so forth. And that’s how I got my job.
Nathan: Yeah, wow, that’s a crazy story, man.
Ajit: It is.
Nathan: Now, you’re currently the co-founder of Evercoach and Zentrepreneur, and these are Mindvalley products. Now, what I’m really curious around is you said you started companies within Mindvalley and sold them to Mindvalley. How does that work exactly?
Ajit: So, all these companies that you just mentioned were companies that I started as separate projects with Mindvalley as a partner of the company. So while I was in the company, there’s always been side projects that I would do. So these are my Saturday, Sunday projects, you can say, the side hustles, if that’s a word that a lot of people use. It’s something because I’ve always been somebody that, you know, like when you are working, like even your organization right now, Nathan, I’m sure it happens that a lot of ideas that don’t necessarily fit the company that you’re running, but at the same time, you’re just really curious about it and you really want to try something. So, what I would do is I would make them my side hustles. I would be like, “You know what, I really wanna try this thing. It doesn’t necessarily fit the core company, but I’m excited about it. So I wanna try it.” All right, so I would start these companies on the side, which will be, sometimes they will be language businesses, sometimes it’ll be completely different business models, sometimes it will be a completely different industry. Initially, it may not look like there’s any alignment, whatsoever, between the company that I’m starting and the company that is. And so I would start all these companies, and Evercoach and Zentrepreneur are the popular names in that sphere of what you know.
But there are a lot of companies that we don’t necessarily talk about publicly because they are companies that run on the background. They run our systems internally, and so forth. So what would happen is I would start these companies because they serve a purpose but they don’t necessarily fit the model, right? So for example, there’s a company we started called Blinkwebinars. Now, if you go to the website, you can’t even buy that product right now because when we built it, we didn’t know, we built it because we were like, “I really am curious to think about I will build a SaaS company,” and we realized that webinars were one of the most effective marketing technologies that we were using at Mindvalley. And with that software customized to our needs, we could 10 times our result. So we started it as a company just as a side project, a side hustle, but became an integral part of the main company. And that’s just one example of the many companies like that that I started. And that eventually got integrated into Mindvalley, and that’s how I’ve gone from being co-founder of all these little companies to actually, now, we kind of say partner and co-founder of Mindvalley because kind of all these companies started as separate units and became a part of Mindvalley now.
So now, Evercoach, if you’d look at it a couple months ago, would like just Evercoach. And now, if you’ll go to the fan page, you will see it’s Evercoach by Mindvalley. So, the reason is because the company gets incorporated into the main division, or main company, because we are like, “Okay, that seems like a project that is in perfect alignment with what we are doing. It serves the purpose of humanity plus it serves the purpose of taking our message to a billion lives and moving a billion lives positively.” It serves what we are really doing, aligns with the brand value. It may not initially look like that it is what we do, but it integrates. And sometimes it doesn’t integrate. So I have many companies that don’t integrate with Mindvalley, but that’s kind of where it kind of all comes together, if that makes sense.
Nathan: Yeah, wow, that’s really interesting. So you’re the strategy guy.
Ajit: You can say a strategy guy and more, I would say I’m somebody who knows or who likes to take a problem and solve it. And I am somebody who likes to look at a situation and say, “How can we play with this?” And I’m more that kinda guy. So strategy is a part of it, but I think it’s the strategy execution team, all of that coming together.
Nathan: So like I’m curious around, like for example, because with Mindvalley, you guys have so many different products. Like how many products do you have in your suite, under like the Mindvalley kind of media group?
Ajit: So, actually, there look like a lot of products, there are not actually that many products. We’re actually very much designed around curriculum, which means all of our products actually fit a model of what education can look like. So we are an education-centered company. We believe in taking positive ideas and moving them forward. We have set number of products in each of our categories that we believe we want to push, let’s say, for example, it’d be a focus on human beings, personality-wise, like in the sense of as a person, that’s your life, you know. That’s life learning. So we’d go, “Okay, there are 12 categories of life that we believe in, and out of these 12 categories, in each of the categories, there are x number of products that we feel will help a human being become a better human being.” In total, we are looking about 24 products in that whole category, as a final stack of products. Like, just basic good products that somebody can consume. But at the same point in time, we all know human being learn differently, right? There will be people who will take these good products, and there will be a whole different society and section of people who’ll read books and go to events, or there’s a different section of society who can’t read books, can’t use the products, can only do events. So our core messaging is around the 24 products, if you are going through our digital education platform, when it comes to personal development, but then we have books, and then we have live events.
Same as for Evercoach. We believe there are three broad categories as a coach that you need to work on, and each of the categories, there are x number of products that are there. So, in, let’s say, the next 12 months, we are focused on about 24 products in that category too. So there are about 24 products. Essentially, they may look like you have hundreds and hundreds of products but they’re not. They’re essentially tied to maybe about 50 products in total, including our events and so forth, that’d be really serving our audience, but they kind of cover a broad spectrum of life, because of our great broad area of life. If you are engaged with, let’s say a product like Evercoach, if you are a coach, an educator, or a teacher, you pretty much don’t have to go anywhere else. You can find all the education that you need within that one domain done by the best teachers out there in the world. So, we’re more of a publisher. I wouldn’t say, “Hey, you’ll learn from me.” That’s not what it is. What we do is curate the best of ideas that are out there in the world and bring them to our platforms and say, “Hey, here’s the best idea that we have heard in this particular dimension of business, or in this particular dimension of health, or this particular dimension of life.” So that’s kind of what we really do. And it seems, like I said, from the outside, that is a lot of products but actually there may be about 50 products at the max in the entire organization.
Nathan: Yeah, wow, that’s interesting. I’m curious, you said that you created Blinkwebinars because you were curious around the SaaS product. Why didn’t you guys sell that SaaS product?
Ajit: Well, we wanted to, but then we were using it so much that we never really got the chance to really commercialize it. And so we didn’t, and it just didn’t make the priority list that way. Also, we realize, the product we’ve built is a very high-tier product because it needs a certain level of sophistication in the market, and there are a lot of products already that had kind of beaten us to the market, if I may, who had created lower sophistication market products but they serve the purpose. And what we realized is what we do with Blinkwebinars needs such advanced thinking, in a way, to execute the marketing of it that it would not serve a large market. It would be a very handful number of organizations that can really utilize that product to the full magnitude, or even to a magnitude that’ll be worthy of the price when that’ll come. So Blinkwebinars is something that would cost about $5,000 a month when somebody do engage with us. So, that was a higher tier product for very specific audience. And like I said, while creating the product, we just realized that it serves our needs so much more that at this point, we were just ready to focus on customizing it or generalizing it or toning it down to make it available to everyone. We’ve customized it enough ways that we can actually serve our tribe really well. And so we kinda focused on that and we dropped the idea of really taking it to market.
Nathan: Okay, interesting. So one thing I find fascinating and just amazing, what you guys are doing, is with the publishing model where you find just thought leaders, experts to teach. And then the way that you kind of introduce people to, I guess, these master classes per se, or courses, or kind of ideas packaged up, is you use webinars. But the webinars are more, not really like a traditional webinar that most people would think, this is like a fully-engaging class, but then at the end, it’s like, you know, if you’ve enjoyed this, you’ve got to sign up to the full class. But you do it on automation.
Ajit: Yup, we do.
Nathan: Yeah, so, I’m curious. When it comes to this model, like how do you structure and how do you work with so many authors and, I guess, thought leaders? And like do you do a revenue share, or how does all that work?
Ajit: Well, you could think about it like any other book publishing deal, if I may, where you have a royalty structure with the author. But I think what’s more important to understand in the process is that the type of individuals that we work with, the type of authors that we work with, are usually already very successful authors. They don’t necessarily need a platform to become successful. These are people who are already creating a lot of positive change in the world. What they are looking for, a lot of times, and what they want to engage with, is a company that can represent them really well and can take their message forward. Because these are people who have done a lot of work in really understanding different elements of life and have been able to implement a lot of lives already, and what they would like to see is how can we take their message to even a greater audience, to a broader audience, to even more audience so more lives can be impacted. So, we work with transformational teachers, we work with coaches and educators who are humanity prof, if I may. That’s kind of the term that can easily explain the kind of individuals we are working with.
And because of that, yes, there is a royalty model and yes, there is exposure, and so forth, but what really attracts, really great educators and transformational teachers, and so forth, to us, is our ability to take a wonderful, beautiful message and their wonderful, beautiful work, and elevate it even more to our understanding of the market, our understanding of human beings, our understanding of how to take that beautiful research and beautiful understanding that they had developed and really build it into a learning methodology that can create the outcome that they desire to have with their audience. And sometimes, they can only have that result by engaging them one to one in a seminar setting, but we can replicate that online. We can replicate that in a very different experience setting. If you would ever get a chance to come to one of our events, and you will see that our events are not just like any event. Our events are engaging. It’s an experience, it’s not an event. You’re actually going through in the duration of the tribe that bring together.
So first, it’s an experience being it’s being crafted in a way that you will have a swing of emotions. You will be laughing, you will be crying, you will be experiencing different things. You’ll be experiencing things that you have only seen in video and you have been like, “Wow, that would be beautiful to be in that moment,” but you are in that moment. And so you’d get to experience that. And then, think about that experience with people that you meet, but every single person you meet you want to talk more to because they are such beautiful human beings. So, on the tier of experience, we add the tier of curation. We bring in the best, the most beautiful, most heart-centered human beings to come together and really think about how can they change the world for the positive forward, right? So, it’s kind of that curation, that tribe, that culmination of beautiful ideas that inspire authors to say, “How can we play together and take these different ideas that they’ll work on for several years even further?” So that’s kind of the real reason that all these wonderful, beautiful speakers, authors, teachers, educators, want to work with Mindvalley, want to work with Evercoach, because they know that their message is not only going to be safe with us but it is only going to get enhanced with us, that’ll be taken even further from already where it is. So that’s kind of really the reason how we have been able to bring such phenomenal authors, and teachers, and educators to come to our platforms and work with us.
Nathan: No, that’s amazing, man. And what I’m really curious about as well is you guys produce, like you said, you’re working on like 50 different products, how do you guys focus?
Ajit: No, but we don’t work on 50 different products at a time. What we are working on is one central product, which is, say if you are in personal development space, it’s mindvalleyacademy.com, and evercoach.com if you’re a coach, educator, teacher, who wants to expand on their ideas. They are the only two products, per se, that we are working on, but what happens within these products are full other products or programs, if you may, that follow a curriculum based on the teachings of the teacher that they are engaging with but customized to our learning model, right? So, if you really think about it, the product itself is only Mindvalley Academy and Evercoach. There’s no other product per se. That product kind of creates certain tier of programs within the product. So we’re not working on 50 completely different ideas, what we’re working on is 50 different programs or philosophies that fit within one product model. Does that make sense?
Nathan: Yes, 100%. And I’m curious as well, when it comes to like producing and working with these educators, do you get them to go to Mindvalley office, or do you guys go to them? Like, you guys are doing exceptional job coordinating all of this.
Ajit: Thank you. Thank you for that. We do multiple things. So it depends on where the author is, how comfortable they are traveling, if they’re not comfortable traveling, where can they come, where they can’t come. For example, like I said, we do a lot of experience-based event, and I am calling them experience-based events only because if I just say, “They create a lot of experience,” these people might think, god knows what that is, but think about an event crafted into an experience. So in other sense, when you’re doing these types of experiences, what happens is a lot of our authors are interested and saying, “Hey, I would like to come to that. I’d like to experience that too. I would like to be a part of that tribe.” And so it becomes easy for us to say, “Hey, why don’t you come over here, and while you are in the experience, right before or after, we can create the product. We can create the master class. We can create whatever else that we need to create.” Or sometimes the experiences are extended a period of 30 days.
For example, there’s an experience that we call Mindvalley U, which we do over a course of a month in a different city, which is basically where we say, “Hey, listen, why it is university, and not in the sense of boring university but in the sense of learning university that is life, why does it have to be limited to a time duration when you were younger? Learning shouldn’t be like that. Why don’t we all, and as many of us want to, fly over to a different city and work and study and play together for a whole month?” And we did this experiment earlier this year in Barcelona and had been phenomenal. We had about 350 people fly from different parts of the world and spend a whole month in Barcelona together, learning and working and playing together. Next year, we are doing it in Tallinn, Estonia, where we are hoping there will be about 1,000 people flying in from different parts of the world, coming, working, playing, and just learning from each other together.
Now, when an experience like that is created, you can invite any person who’s curious even to say, “Hey, that is interesting.” I mean, if you hear an idea where I tell you, 1,000 entrepreneurs and people who are creating positive in the world are flying to this one city and gonna spend 30 days together, out of curiosity, you are like, “I wanna go. I wanna figure out how can that experience be even created?” And then you see what is really happening there and the type of people that are speaking there and engaging there, you’re like, “I’m curious, I wanna know.” And that creates an attraction. A lot of our authors and speakers want to just come in to check out what’s happening. And when they come in and check out what’s happening, what happens is now we have 30 days with them. We can shoot and record whenever we want. We of course have our own video team. We also have a great set of contractors that we have around the world that we can bring in, in case our team is unable to fly. And then we create programs like that.
So, again, like I said, it’s not that we are trying to create 50 programs at any one given time, we are probably creating five or six programs at any given time. So it seems really hard to coordinate but it’s actually not. It’s one-step system is in place, one-step process in place, once we know what the template to create those programs. Of course, we have a wonderful, wonderful team that really puts it all together, and that’s the greatest asset that we have, because we have just phenomenal people working for us and they kind of make that structure in a way that looks like a breeze. And it doesn’t really… Now that you say it, it seems more complicated to me, but as I’m in the system, I don’t find it that complicated, or that tasking, or anything of that sort. I feel like creating a program for me. If, let’s say, I get an idea today of a program, right now, if I have to really have to sit into this, if I get an idea of a program right now based on the curriculum on what really is that I’m looking for and I’m able to find an author for it, that I really like and I think has a great content around it, and teaching methodology around it, I will probably work with my team only about two weeks before we can get into our studio and record the program.
Nathan: So how long would it take, like, for you guys to conceptualize, produce, and publish a program on average?
Ajit: So, we know our curriculum, so we know these other things that we wanna work on, let’s say 2017, we’ll make our 2018 kinda based on feedback from our clients. We are very client-focused company, we think about what our clients really want and what would they like to learn and our tribe really wants and want to learn. So we curate ideas like that, and then of course, it also comes through my sense, to what do I think I wanna learn and I want to grow in, but it also allows us to get some ideas of what really should we bring out as programs next. Once we have the curriculum, then we look for who would be the best author to teach. That process is probably the longest part of the process because sometimes it’s very straightforward because you can find a book on it. And so you can’t back to top few book authors, see if they have done TED Talks and so forth so you can learn about their teaching methodologies, sometimes it’s a little bit harder.
So, if it’s easy and we find someone, we’ll make a reach-out, and usually, if we reach out to authors, I would say about 50%, 60%, even 70% of the time, we would get a yes to work with us, unless that author has different priorities at that time because, of course, they’re human beings and they have their own priorities and they have business priorities. And that might take, sometimes we understand that no just means not now in that scenario because of their own life story. But most of the time, they would say yes. And once they say yes, depending on our schedule, it can take anywhere from two months to six months to have the program ready and ready for release. Depending completely on our schedules and their schedules. It’s mostly a scheduling thing than anything else. Like if they have schedule available, we can have the program ready within the course of about a month and a half, with shooting and everything included.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. And when it comes to, I guess, working out, like kind of the programs that your audience want, you said, what you guys internally feel like you would want to learn, so kind of like the mirror, using the mirror test and the self-test, but then also you ask your tribe. Do you ever presell? Are you guys a fan of preselling?
Ajit: No, we don’t presell pretty much ever. Actually, I don’t remember any instance where we presold a program. We always create the program before position it to our audience. How we get feedback and how we learn from our audience is mostly because of our events, to be very honest. The events have a live feedback structure instead of, because if you send a survey to, and I’m sure you have done this when you have spoken to entrepreneurs who send out surveys and they get insight from their tribe, or they get a feedback and then they’re like, “I created this program but nobody bought,” and that happens because when you are doing a survey you’re suggesting something. Because it’s very hard to put out a question which is so open-ended because the you will just get all these random answers and you don’t know what to go for, and if you give a directed question you only get directed answer, right? So, if you give five options, they will just pick one of them, right? So, when they are conversation though, there’s a lot more than a survey can do because now I’m in a conversation with you, I can really feel what is really happening for you, what is it that you are going through.
So I can understand your real needs and your real desires, and then I can go, “Okay, what is it that I can, or we can create that most help fulfill this desire or help solve their problem,” if it’s a problem-solving type of product that you are thinking about. But they are more focused on creating, like I said, more evolved programs. We don’t dumb down our content, we don’t dumb down our marketing, we believe all of us are very smart species. So we are all counter to a lot of marketing people that you will speak with probably, who had to say, “Dumb it down for your audience.” Actually, we are the other way around, we say, “We don’t dumb it down. We think you’re a smart person, and I am a smart person, then I think all of us are very smart as humanity. So we don’t have to dumb down our content, we just have to make it easy enough to understand, but it doesn’t mean the content is dumb. The content is elevated and it keeps getting elevated. The marketing of it might have to be a little bit simpler to make sure the person knows that it’s elevated content. It’s almost like that is what we are on thinking about it. So that’s kind of where we come from. So I don’t know if that answers your question.
So that’s really, our conversations are our feedback more than a survey or something like that. We actually get into conversations and we understand human beings. And we go, “Okay, that seems like a recurring trend that is happening.” And so we’ll pick out from that. We will sometimes make teams of an event, like for example, last event that we just did, this was called expanded consciousness where the team was expanded consciousness as an event we do called A-Fest, it was in Jamaica. And expanded consciousness had people like Steve Kotler come by there, the guy who wrote “Stealing Fire” and so forth. We talked about how you can expand your consciousness. And because of the tribe that is there, now we have feedback around what would people like to know if we talk about expanded consciousness. Does that make any sense?
Nathan: Yeah, no, that does. So, one thing that I’m hearing is your events and everything you guys do is all around experiences. Do you have any advice that you would share? And I think this is a really, really good point that you made around, you know, it’s all about the experience. This is like, you know, any product, even service-centric focus company should be thinking about what is the experience like. Do you have any kind of words of wisdom that you could impart on us around just like the rules of engagement for you guys at Mindvalley or Evercoach, or any of your products or your events of how you create an amazing experience? What are your elements to doing that?
Ajit: To really be able to explain that, I’m going to digress a little bit and you’ll see why I did that. What happens when we start as entrepreneur, especially if you’re an early stage entrepreneur, what would happen most of the time is your biggest driver usually, and I’m not saying this is true for everyone of course because I can’t put everybody in a box, but usually what happens is your biggest challenge becomes money and your biggest driver becomes money. It’s like, “How can I make the $1 million, how can I make the $2 million, $5 million, right?” And that is an understandable problem but it is not something that will help you create a transformative company. It only helps you create a temporary product or a temporary offer that might make you that money, but it will never create a transformative experience for yourself or transformative experience for your clients because all you’re focused on is, “How do I generate more money,” which might make you a lot of money but that’s also the reason why 90% of entrepreneurs fail in the first few years of their business, or 95% of them fail, because their focus is wrong. Their focus is not on the client, the focus is on, “How can I make more money, right?”
So that’s the first paradigm shift, if you can challenge, especially as a startup entrepreneur, or even as an entrepreneur who’s getting stagnant. If you’re offer was working and now you’re just stuck at that level, it’s probably because the conversation you are trying to have is the conversation of money, and so the conversation of, “What is it that profoundly shifts my client so like and maybe make money?” But money cannot be your primary driver, your primary driver is the experience of my client, the experience or the good that you are doing in the world, or whatever you’re creating in the world. Let that be the primary driver, and the conversation will shift and you experience the outcome that you have with your clients will shift. And most of the really businesses that you aspire to, businesses that you love follow the same direction, follow the same direction. They might not say it because it’s usually, especially with men, sometimes what happens is they feel like this is a very soft thing to say, any great company is always focused on experience, is always focused on what is it that is the impression, that the outcome that my client is getting. What is the beautiful experience that my client is getting?
Now, experience, of course, is subjective to your understanding of experience. But they’re all these experience-focused, not money-focused. Money comes as a byproduct of the experience, right? So that’s the reason I digress there, is because, that’s why if I tell you the elements that I use to create a human experience or an experience in our event, may not apply to you because that’s not the experience you wanna create. So I can give you the elements that I use but that would be a very weak model for you to follow to create an experience. If you want to create an experience, understand your client, understand where your client is coming from, understand where your client wants to go, and create an experience that is exciting for that, and create an experience that is exciting for you. For example, some of our experience are purely designed because I am my customer, right? So, I’m going, “Okay, I’m my customer. What would I like to experience if I go to an event? Why is this event?”
Let’s say for example, if you go to any business event, go to any business event, they’re the most boring things on planet earth that you can go to, right? They’re just speakers who’s yapping about themselves and they can’t get over themselves, and that’s all they talk about, their strategies, their business. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I get it. I get that they’re trying to share their case study, they might be super heart-centered about it too, but how many times did you learn really effectively when somebody just talked and talked and talked? Whereas, if somebody engaged back with you, they give you an exercise, they played with you, they had some fun with you, they went on a party with you, most of your breakthrough conversations happen when you are in a state of love. You have breakthrough conversations when you are in a state of joy, and not even state of stress. State of stress doesn’t really create abundance, and wealth, and greatness for you, it’s the state of joy and play that creates that because that creates a state of flow for you and you are like in the natural element of you being you. Nobody is naturally stiff and stressed, right, but that’s how it becomes in business event. It becomes like, “Oh, I must take these notes, I spent this money. These are thing what got one insight, and how can I deliver that insight? Because I know, even one great insight for a human being can be all they need because, guess what, all of us are super smart, right?
So, how to create an experience? Understand your clients. I don’t wanna give a rule book for it because it’s gonna be different for every experience. Even when I create an experience and my business partner, Vishen, creates an experience, they look completely different sometimes. Because the way I understand experience for my clients is a little bit different, and how he understands experience for his clients is a little bit different, and how we understand experience that we would like to experience is different. But both of them are highly rated experiences in our industries, right? So there’s no right or wrong experience, or the way to create right or wrong experience. The thing is don’t stop at thinking, and that’s what happens especially if you have a lot of educational entrepreneurs, is that my content is why people come to me. People can read the content in a book. They don’t come for the content, they come for the experience.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that was amazing, man. Thank you. Well, look, we have to work towards wrapping up, but I just wanted to ask a few final questions around just your experiences, I guess, on growing Mindvalley, Evercoach, and everything, all the amazing things you guys are doing there. One thing I saw is you guys, I saw a video from Vishen a while ago, which was interesting, around how you guys were removing or you cut a lot of products. And it seems like you guys…like what happened? What was that big change?
Ajit: The big change was realization that we wanna create the absolute best in the industry and we don’t wanna settle. Even if it made some money for us, we just didn’t wanna settle. We decided, as a company, that we will be the absolute best products that you can get in any of the field that we produce products in by results, by experience that you have, by community that you have, by just pure content that you have. We wanted to create the absolute benchmark, and our benchmark is something called net promoter score, NPS, and we wanted to make sure that all our products were high NPS, as high or higher than iPhone. So that’s what really drove us, and what still drives us. I’m not saying that we have been consistently able to beat that score, but we are significantly better than anybody else in the industry. It’s not for competition, it’s more for inspiration. It’s for the inspiration of saying, “Hey, as a company, if we can move the needle above and we can set an expectation that is so high, it will get the entire industry to move,” right? So we will create a better humanity if we can move ourselves forward and push ourselves to say, “Can we create the absolute best products, the absolute best experiences, the absolute best communities, so we, as humanity, can aspire to keep moving forward, aspire to keep having greater experiences for ourselves?” So that got us to kind of abandon a lot of products, and some of them are really profitable for us, to be very honest, but we said, “You know what, it’s not about the profit, it’s about what’s the experience we are creating for our clients.” And if we will create great experiences, it will turn to profit. We all know that, right? Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world because they create the best experience for their tribe. They eventually turned a great profit because, well, the experience is so wonderful. Same as for Google and same as for any company you love, is they are highly profitable companies because they create highly wonderful experiences. So profit comes because of the experience that your client is having with you, the community that they’re having with you.
Nathan: I love that. Well, look, dude, we have to work with wrapping up. Last question, I could talk to you all day, man, but where is the best place that people can find out more about your work and everything you guys are doing?
Ajit: Well, if you’re a coach, educator, an entrepreneur in that field, in information transformation field, just go to evercoach.com, which is E-V-E-R-C-O-A-C-H.com, and you will get all the work that we do there and our events, and so forth. And if you are somebody who’s an aspiring entrepreneur, as an aspiring human being who wants to just do great, wants to work on your personal excellence, and so forth, go to mindvalleyacademy.com. This is M-I-N-D-V-A-L-L-E-Y, academy, A-C-A-D-E-M-Y.com, mindvalleyacademy.com.
Nathan: Awesome. Well, look, thank you so much for your time, Ajit. Massive fan of your work and everything you guys are doing. So, yeah, thank you so much for your time.
Ajit: Thanks too, Nathan. It was fun talking to you.
Nathan: Yeah, it was fun talking to you too. Well, look, thank you so much for your time and someone from my table will be in touch when this goes live. Thank you again. Hope you have a great day and enjoy the seminar.
Ajit: Absolutely, man. Take care. Have a fun time. Bye.
Nathan: You too. Ciao
Key Resources From Our Interview With Ajit Nawalkha
- Learn more about Mindvalley
- Learn more about Ajit Nawalkha
- Check out Ajit Nawalkha’s Book
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