Kate and Paul McCann were working corporate jobs in London – positions that many would perceive as being highly successful, as they were paid well and the work held a certain status. Yet, they found that they were deeply unsatisfied and not particularly happy. Paul realized, while traveling in India, how much his happiness was tied to material goods, and how this was, in turn, leaving him feeling more empty than anything. After a discussion with Kate, they made the decision that 2015 would be the year that they would quit their jobs, sell all their stuff and set off to travel the globe, all while creating 12 startups – one each month.
And – that is exactly what they did. They left London, and went to Amsterdam, where it was quickly discovered that travel costs were significantly less then their living costs in London. They would proceed to travel to 23 countries by the time we spoke in November 2015, with each offering some sort of inspiration for their startup ideas. They would offer speaking engagements along the way, and build their community of fellow entrepreneurs and startup founders. You can follow along with them at Inner Wanderlust, where they are working to share an honest depiction of what it means to be an entrepreneur.
In the episode we talk about why they have not regretted their decision once since they started as well as the lessons they have learned along the way. Listen below to learn more about Katie & Paul’s Chapter Be story…
PODCAST POINTS TO REFERENCE
[02:50] Kate & Paul discuss their decision to leave the corporate world and spend the next year devoted to creating 12 startups in 12 months. “It was quite a quick and easy decision…if there was a time to do it, the time was now.”
[03:55] Why they chose to create startups and how they feel it is their way that they can contribute something greater to the world.
[07:00] How leaving London and traveling instead has contributed to the project and changing their mindsets.
[08:20] Paul and Kate made the decision to sell everything they owned and become minimalists while they traveled. “For as hard as we worked to acquire all of this stuff, the most fun we had was selling it!”
[15:24] The most common question that Kate and Paul are asked is, “Ok, how much are you earning.” They respond to this and how they value time over money, as it is your most valuable resource.
[16:55] The two travelers and entrepreneurs share their lessons up to this point, after starting 9 startups in 10.5 months. “Listen to the date and the feedback, and don’t hold onto the original idea too much.”
[21:00] Their favorite travel experiences out of the 23 countries that they have visited so far, and how their adventures have opened their ideas to thinking differently about certain places.
[24:20] Paul and Kate discuss whether or not they would have done the Bootstrap 12 Challenge by him/herself, and how they work as partners.
[26:50] “Learning is what drives us…it keeps you young and feeling alive.” They discuss how they deal with the role of wearing many-many different hats as an entrepreneur.
[29:55] Paul talks about how he left school and self-taught himself to his corporate job, and how more formal education settings need to be better about teaching to the individual. What would happen if young people were turned onto entrepreneurship from an early age?
[36:30] Why you should talk to as many people as you can, and not be afraid that in doing so, someone will steal your business idea!
[38:40] Kate and Paul explain that they are not overly attached to the idea of 12 startups as they are about creating businesses that inspire them, and how after the 12 months they might end up retiring some of the startups/ideas.
[45:40] Advice to someone looking to leave their corporate job. “Life’s for living, and it’s certainly not one to look back on with any regret…There’s no better feeling than being in control of your own happiness.”
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
Katie McCann (KM): Courageous
Paul McCann (PM): BElieve in yourself
What’s your favorite quote, story or fact?
Do what you love and love what you do. – Jim Rohn
Even the longest life is too short so why waste it doing something you don’t like. Life takes on a new meaning when you do something you’re passionate about. Putting yourself in control of your own happiness reaps rewards in every aspect of your life and helps you enjoy every moment of every day. Life is one big roller coaster, it’s a ride that when you get off you should be happy, thrilled and fulfilled, don’t let it be one that’s filled with regret.
Our advice is choose a career that you’re passionate about and one that is fulfilling. Take control of your own happiness and enjoy every bit of life’s beautiful journey.
Worst work experience?
KM: My first ever professional job was a video production editor for a production house. I loved it until one day I was handed a abattoir documentary to edit. Needless to say it only encouraged me further to continue on my vegetarian journey and I’m still scarred to this day.
PM: I was in and out of school throughout my childhood and left when I was 16. I took a summer job building computers and never looked back. I’m completely self taught in IT and worked my way from building computers to a Senior Systems Architect for a very successful company in central London. Having reached the pinnacle of my career I quickly realised how unfulfilling it all was and how trapped I felt unable to make a difference to anyone other than the CEO’s pocket.
I’m thankful for one thing about my last job, and that is it gave me the push I needed to follow my passion. What Kate and I have achieved these past 10 and bit months I’m so much more proud of than all the work I’ve done previously in my 10+ years working corporately. I’m not looked back even once and I’ve never been happier.
What is your definition of success?
Success to us consists of 3 items:
- Being in a position to support ourselves without the corporate world.
- Ensure we are location independent so we can travel with our work.
- Be in a position to be able to help others and give back.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
If you feel you are in a bit of a creativity or productivity rut, change your environment. Changing your environment is extremely effective to get you thinking differently and therefore more creatively. Most of our business ideas have been born from travelling and being open to new experiences, but you don’t need to travel as frequently as we do to get the benefits. Instead, try a new coffee shop, walk a different route, go for a jog, take up a new sport or go to events you know you should but never seem to get around to.
What does “to be” mean to you?
“To be” to us means to be the best version of yourself and don’t settle for anything less. Whatever you want to do in life go and get it and don’t let anyone else or anything stop you.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
As this has been our first year in business it’s been a year full of 12 hour work days, 7 days a week. Though, when we do manage to sneak a bit of play time in we’re often found exploring countries, making friends with locals, trying new foods, sightseeing or taking a walk with a good audio book in tow.
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
- Marie Forleo – We watch Marie’s weekly Q&A’s which always have a little nugget of genius in each episode.
- Sina Afra – Entrepreneur turned investor, making huge waves in Turkey’s startup ecosystem.
- Cem Sertoglu – VC investor who tells it like it is.
- Ross Kingsland – Inspiration engineer with loads of every day tips.
- Yann Girard – Thought provoking and inspirational posts
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
BEtter Together by Jack Johnson
“Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together”
LINKS & RESOURCES…
- Inner Wanderlust – Note: Since this podcast aired, Paul & Kate have chosen to focus on one of their startups – SwiftPitch
- Mind My House
- The Lean Startup methodology by Eric Ries
- You Me Achieve
- Purpose Wins
- Google Trends
- Google Alerts
Images via Inner Wanderlust