In Episode #286, guest hosts Yuri and Jacob interview Madison Wickham, CEO and co-founder of Grandex – a media and content company that’s behind the sites Total Frat Move and Postgrad Problems. Madison’s also created two successful apparel companies, and is generating around $10 million in revenue a year. Listen in to hear Madison talk about the secrets of capturing an audience, quitting his job with a 10-day old baby, and how to turn content followers into customers.
- Favorite Book? – Zero To One
- What CEO do you follow? — Jonah Peretti
- What is your favorite online tool? — Slack
- Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
- If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —That I didn’t have to have a definitive plan…I just had to be doing something productive and learning stuff
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 01:50 – Yuri’s introduction
- 02:30 – Welcoming Madison to the show
- 02:50 – Started Total Frat Move as a one-liner comedy website with a fraternity buddy
- 03:40 – “Our business plan did not exist…we were trying to capture an audience”
- 04:56 – Started with advertisements but starting experimenting with other revenue streams
- 05:38 – T-Shirts worked extremely well – “We gravitated towards merchandise”
- 06:25 – At what point did Madison realise his project was a legitimate business?
- 07:20 – “In 4 months we had $2000 a month from ad revenue”
- 08:32 – Quit their jobs and dived in full-time
- 09:32 – Madison had a 10-day-old baby when he quit his job
- 10:11 – Went full-time in October 2010
- 11:20 – “It was the most liberating thing I’ve done in my life”
- 13:10 – Financing? “We always made more money than we spent – we didn’t have experience of doing anything else”
- 13:50 – About 3 years in, they formed a relationship with an angel investor in Austin
- 15:15 – Learned from him about the process of raising money to develop a team
- 16:25 – Raised $2.3 million over 12 months
- 16:44 – $20 million pre-money valuation
- 17:16 – 3.5x multiplier on topline revenue
- 18:00 – Grandex currently runs 5 websites
- 18:21 – Rowdy Gentleman designs, creates and sells apparel
- 18:54 – Male Outfitters is a premium online menswear store
- 19:40 – Grandex generated around $10 million revenue in 2015
- 21:10 – Revenue from TFM and related sites is through advertising and promotions
- 23:10 – “The media is the lifeblood of our business”
- 23:45 – Promote apparel products to their media audience
- 25:00 – What’s worked best for you when promoting online?
- 27:40 – Things change constantly – it’s vital to be tapped into the social media landscape
- 28:20 – What’s next for Grandex?
- 30:30 – Releasing their first feature-length film this year
- 31:20 – Connect with Madison at the Grandex website and the Inside TFM podcast
- 34:42 – Famous Five
3 Key Points:
- Capture an audience. Profit will grow out of having people that follow you.
- Be hyper-aware of what’s happening online: social media changes in an eyeblink
- You don’t have to know what your grand plan is. Just start doing something productive.
- Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
- Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
- Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
- Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
- Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives