Inspired Evolution


Scaling up with Growth Institute with Daniel Marcos

Our guest for this week is Daniel Marcos, a serial entrepreneur, blogger, CEO coach, and the co-founder and CEO of “Growth Institute”.

About Daniel

Daniel’s vast experience in entrepreneurship has enabled him with precious insights about starting and growing a company. He recognized the role of the CEO as an essential but also a potentially limiting factor when scaling your company. That is why he is determined to help other entrepreneurs get to the next step in their business. Daniel's mission is to empower executives to become better leaders, all the while teaching them how to successfully scale their companies and maintain a high quality of life.

In 2012, Daniel co-founded the “Growth Institute”, which is the leading online executive education company for C-level executives at fast-growing firms. They offer online training resources accommodated to mid-market companies with the goal of providing them the necessary structure and support to grow their business.

Daniel is also an esteemed blogger in the entrepreneurship world. You can check out some of his top tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur by visiting his website!

Connect with Daniel:

In This Episode We Canvas:

  • Work-Life Balance Challenges of Entrepreneurs

One of the main reasons Daniel has made it his mission to help entrepreneurs is because he has experienced first hand all the potential hardships that come with owning a business. Personal lives and family time are always one of the first aspects of an entrepreneur’s life that suffer whenever a company is going through a challenging period.

“It’s very often, when you’re scaling, your family life gets into trouble… You’re tired, you’re overworked and you bring all of that drama to your family.” - Daniel Marcos 

  • The ‘Freedom Paradox’ of Entrepreneurship

Based on the insights from his coaching career, Daniel suggests that one of the main reasons why people prefer running their own business is because it gives them more freedom. Paradoxically enough, in real-life cases, Daniel argues that the process of building a company goes directly against that notion.

“When you ask any entrepreneur why are they building a company… you always come to one word - freedom. Usually, when you build a company, the one thing that you lose the most is freedom.” - Daniel Marcos

  • The Benefits of Basing Your Business Strategy on Data

In this section of our conversation, Daniel provides arguments and explains why basing your company strategy on data is essential for the success of any business. We explore all the ways in which your company benefits from utilizing a data-driven approach.

“Whenever you have data and you produce data in your company, you cannot hide from data. Data tells you the truth!” - Daniel Marcos 

  • How to Give Negative Feedback

The role of every CEO requires the ability to provide their staff with information and instructions on what needs to be improved or done differently. Daniel shares his thoughts on what you should and shouldn’t do when providing others with negative feedback.

“You attack the outcome or the situation, you don’t attack the person.” - Daniel Marcos

  • The Key Stages of Company Growth

As we explore the topic of scaling up further, Daniel proposes a 4-stage model for analyzing and understanding the different growth periods of any company.

“I call them the Startup, the Grow up, the Scale-up and then you Dominate your industry.” - Daniel Marcos

  • The Ideal Role Every CEO Should Strive Towards

The role of the CEO changes over time and we go a little deeper into what that role should look like at the fourth and final stage of company development.

“The role in the last stage… You become like a satellite around your organization and the day-to-day runs without you… You come as the strategic innovator, change catalyst, and chief of culture.” - Daniel Marcos

  • The Importance of Having the Right Team

As we near the end of our conversation, Daniel takes us into the 4 most important decisions every CEO needs to make. The key element you need to establish before scaling your business is to assemble the right team of professionals that will help your business grow.

“If you don’t have the right team, it’s impossible to scale your company. You can have all the money in the world, you can have the best strategy… If you don’t have the right team - nothing works!” - Daniel Marcos

  • Why Drops in Revenue are a Symptom, Not a Sickness

In terms of developing a business, Daniel considers “cash” to be a great source of data which indicates whether or not you’ve made the right decisions along the way. If you’ve made any mistakes in the previous steps, they will surely be reflected in your revenue and profits.

“Cash is a symptom. Cash is not a sickness… Cash is not a problem. Cash is a reflection of your problems.” - Daniel Marcos

Daniel’s Message of Inspired Evolution

I’ve really enjoyed the way our conversation turned out to be an hour-long masterclass on business scaling and growth. Daniel’s vast experience colors every single topic we’ve touched on and provides sustenance to his theories and arguments. The most inspiring note of his coaching approach seems to be the proactive attitude that Daniel both owns and instills in others. Being a good leader means you’re able to take action and there’s a lot you can do to ensure your business will be able to compete, grow, and improve over time.

“Don’t just do a company. Do a great company! Play to win, don’t play not to lose. Do it right!” - Daniel Marcos

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Michael Todd on Conscious Leadership From Above the Line

Our guest this week is Michael Todd, the Hallmark Cards managing director for Australia and New Zealand.About MichaelMichael is also a certified conscious leadership coach who loves to play and toddle. He has experience leading across 35 countries, large multinationals and entrepreneurial start ups across food, agri, packaging, and technology. At Hallmark, he is accountable for driving product leadership, growing market share, and building more successful relationships with retail customers in the Australia and New Zealand markets.In his previous role, he worked as general manager of Global Foodservice Customers for Fonterra, a New Zealand-based multinational dairy co-operative responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s dairy exports. He also has experience with a number of consumer goods multinationals including Mondelez, PepsiCo and Amcor Packaging.His energy comes from working with diverse customers, teams and countries; getting to the bottom of a customer need. He feels there is a 'buzz' to shaping a unique solution with a team that is empowered to make a difference, and believes we are fortunate to live in a world of great change, smaller in reach, more diverse in needs, and richer in opportunity.Join the Inspired Evolution Community:Facebook: this Episode We Canvas:The Four States of LeadershipHe says there are four states of leadership (not stages because stages are sequential). In the first state, people like it when life happens “to” them because it enables them to live in drama and get a toxic energy that gives them the adrenaline to keep on going. In the second state, life happens “by” someone where they can create possibilities and start to get in a state of flow, awareness, and acceptance. The third one is where life happens “through” someone where they surrender as life shows up, but as a coach, he focuses more on helping people and organizations play a balance between the first state (and the adrenaline that comes from it) and the second state (and the possibilities one can create from it). He refers to that as either being below the line or being above the line.“Coronavirus is fantastic for the world because it’s giving people this adrenaline to create more stuff” - Michael ToddAbove the Line Versus Below the LineMichael says it’s a simple black line where conscious leaders are above the line and unconscious leaders are below the line. Leaders who are above the line are completely open, curious, and committed to learning while those who are below the line are closed, defensive, and committed to knowing what’s going on. The trick with conscious leadership is not in being either above or below the line, it’s in one being aware where they are at any point in time. It’s all about awareness. A leader’s ability to shift from below to above is determined by whether they can accept themself, surrender to what is, and be open, curious, and committed to learning.“The trick with conscious leadership, or just being conscious, is being aware of where you are at any point in time” - Michael ToddThe Real Meaning of ResponsibilityHe often doesn’t think he’s working when he’s at work because he sees it as supporting people as they come up with different things. When he is presented with an issue by a staff member, he looks at how he can help the person unpack the drama that exists within the issue by helping them express it and let it out, but not solve it. One must not take solving the issue as a form of responsibility, because that’s more of being a hero.“Responsibility can often be mistaken by resolving a situation” - Michael ToddBeing Above the LineMost businesses operate from below the line and they are highly successful even while being there, but those that operate from above the line have more flow, curiosity, innovation, cooperation, openness to experience and exchange, and love going on. While the state of being below the line is very successful, the state of being above the line creates more possibilities and a peaceful life where people are in their own truth. Below the line is where one thinks about always taking full responsibility for things, and reaches out to solve people’s problems (Being the hero). The flipside to that, which is above the line, is where one becomes the coach and support system to facilitate someone’s ability to solve their problem themselves.“The state of being above the line creates more possibilities” - Michael ToddOvercoming the StubbornnessWhen one finds themselves unable to shift into being above the line or having a balance between below and above the line, Michael advises that one can do a persona interview on themselves so they can start appreciating all the personas, recognizing where they come from, what they want, and their essence. Once one starts to accommodate all the personas, they can start to appreciate themselves. Another way Michael suggests that one can use is the “Recipe”, and this is where one looks into themselves to determine what it is that constitutes the beliefs that they execute or want to execute.“We deal with stories rather than facts” - Michael ToddThe Role of LeadershipMichael says that the role of leadership is to create the space for an individual to serve others and create the space for others to serve themselves and the leader. He believes his role as a leader is to create a space where they diffuse the drama, focus on the facts, get rid of the stories, and think about and nurture the possibilities. That means that the success of where things go with any issue that arises is determined by his ability to create the space where everyone involved can play in and support. It’s all about “How are we doing it” instead of “What are we doing”“A leader’s role is to support the context rather than the content” - Michael ToddBeing Both a Managing Director and CoachMichael highlights that leaders need to spend more time working with people, working on the context of their business, and supporting people in their business as a coach. He’s very much about working “on the being” and as a coach, and he acknowledges the great opportunity he has to do that at Hallmark. He came across the concept of conscious leadership on a video someone had shared and then also coincidentally learned about it at a book club he attended months later. That got him so interested in the concept that he enlisted himself to become a certified conscious leadership coach.“I live a life where I am a coach and second I am a managing director running a large business” - Michael ToddThe Little Boy MeditationHe had this experience when he was invited to meditate by his coach, and during the meditation he had to drop it to when he was a little boy, and drop his body to experience the sensation of being a three year old boy. He saw himself as a little chubby boy with knocked knees and little Chinese-like eyes. He was running around the back yard with a hose and was occasionally grabbing his mum’s leg. Then the coach invited him to imagine big Michael coming out the back door of the garden, and imagine what would unfold. He pictured little Michael running towards big Michael, grabbing him, and saying, “Hey big Michael. It’s all okay. It’s all okay” That made Michael feel his heart expand. When the coach asked him what happened next, he said big Michael reached over to little Michael and said, “Hey little Michael. It’s all okay”“Honor the little one, honor the one that toddles” - Michael Todd

Emanuele Mamo on Creatively Creating Your Living

Our guest this week is Emanuele Mamo, the founder of 3i Black Water, and an incredible musician (Part of the band, “Acaxia”)About EmanueleIn an endeavor to better his health, he started consuming fulvic acid (which is found in the most healthy soils around the world) to remove heavy metals and toxins from his body, and it attracted the attention of his friends. One of his friends saw an opportunity in the black beverage and realizing that no other company was selling such a beverage, they started 3i Black Water. Their unique fulvic trace mineral blend promotes gut health, cell hydration, nutrition absorption rates, and assists with maintaining an alkaline diet. That makes 3i Black Water like no other functional beverage on the market. They use 100% rainwater that is distilled (evaporated) which strips all the nasty chemicals like fluoride and chlorine that are normally found in tap water, and then they combine that with their 100% natural fulvic trace mineral blend.Emanuele has taught for more than 15 years at VAS in all areas of vocal, performance training, songwriting, and music production. He is a multi-skilled performer with strong vocal and instrumental ability and has toured across Australia and America with various corporate acts, as well as worked on his own material showcasing RnB and Dance Music with well known Australian producers. He was the very first person in Australia to sit the Grade 8 Music Production exam through RSL Awards in London and has supported many well known local and international artists as well as being a headline act at clubs, festivals, and corporate events.Manny, as he is popularly referred to, is the lead singer of the band "Allegro", winner of the ABIA Award for Best Live Entertainment in Victoria, and part of the award-winning cabaret act "The Viva Italia Show" which has toured internationally. He has been signed to a major Record Label and 2 of his songs have had ARIA Top 10 Chart Success. "Beside You" in 2010 and Accidents Happen in 2011. ​Continued chart success in 2012, saw his remix of Sarah McLeod break ARIA Top 5.He signed a new Record Deal in 2017 and has released a new EP under the name "Acaxia" which is an electronic music project and the first single was developed after he spent time with Indigenous students and musicians in Darwin in 2017. It was also a Top 30 Finalist at the ASA Awards in 2018. In 2017 Manny was one of only 8 nominees across the country for the prestigious Rudy Brandsma Songwriting Award at the Australian Songwriters Association annual awardsThe success of Manny's teaching skills is evident in his Past and Current Student success, who are now working professionally around the world in the industry. ​He was a recent winner of the Moonee Valley Foundation award and the 2018 winner of the Hume City Council Arts Award. Manny was also the winner of the VAS Teacher of the Year in 2018 and inducted into the VAS Hall of Fame in 2019.Join the Inspired Evolution Community:Facebook: this Episode We Canvas:Fulvic Acid in NatureIt’s found in healthy soils, but most of it is present in the fifth layer (humus layer) of the earth. They source their fulvic acid from a 32.5 Million year old ocean bed that had been underground for all those years. There are tons of minerals trapped under that ocean bed and 3i Black Water takes the raw materials that they source from there, and run them through a reverse osmosis process which ensures that no chemicals touch their product in any way. Only water touches the product to extract the fulvic minerals.“No chemicals end up touching our product whatsoever” - Emanuele MamoGoing Down the Healthy PathHe needed to change his diet and was struggling with it, so a friend suggested that he find something that he could use to detox. That’s how he accidentally came across fulvic acid.“Getting rid of coffee and all of that stuff was really really hard for me” - Emanuele Mamo Partnering with a Fellow Band MemberMusic is his full-time job and his business partner in 3i Black Water, Christian, was a DJ for many years. They’ve known each other for 12 years and have made great music together, which is how they ended up in the same band. Christian had some previous experience working in a beverage company which made it very convenient to partner with him.“I do plan to try and merge the water and merge the music” - Emanuele MamoSynchronicities and Divine InterventionWith the way 3i came to be, he sees a lot of divine timing from the way him and his partners came together to start the company just when he had started using the fulvic acid in his diet. He highlights the importance of people acknowledging the divine intervention and synchronicities that bring things together for their own good.“The way it all came together... we couldn’t have scripted it together so it was definitely from something out of our hands” - Emanuele MamoWorking with Friends and FamilyEmanuele and his partners have a deep respect for each other. They respect each other's strengths and weaknesses, and they’re very open with each other. None of them brings any ego into their relationship and they never really have any conflicts. Emanuele feels their prior friendship played a huge role in helping them start and successfully run 3i Black Water. Each of their individual contributions to the management of the company has been instrumental in its success. Andrew is the rock and pillar of the company with business management expertise, Emanuele brings the much needed creativity, and Christian brings in creativity and a lot of sales experience specifically in the beverage industry.“Us being friends to begin with really helped” - Emanuele MamoThe Value of CreativityCreativity is Emanuele’s connection to something more than just what he can see or feel. It’s also a legacy that he can leave to the world forever. He’s always inspired to express himself through music no matter the situation he’s going through, good or bad. He loves that sharing with the world through his music touches people’s lives positively. He believes that being creative is one of the most powerful gifts of consciousness we have as human beings. It has helped him learn how to love himself and build a great relationship with himself.“When my body is not here, my creations could still be here” - Emanuele MamoLeaving a LegacyHe compares leaving a legacy to the innate urge that we have to reproduce, have kids, and leave our genes and DNA behind. It can be in the form of a memory or the imprint of what someone will have done with their life. With music for example, when someone creates music it can be heard 100 years after they pass away and still evoke the emotions that the singer intended to evoke in people when they created the music, which in a way brings the singer back to life.“Just through those vibrations of my music again, I’m alive again” - Emanuele MamoThe Meaning of DeathEmanuele believes that we should all have a little bit more appreciation for the time that we have here being conscious. His mantra sits on the idea that death is just “The next journey” and a transition. While nobody knows what happens after death, we must all accept that it will happen to all of us, and embrace it as part of life. The uncertainty around it though, makes it hard for people to celebrate it.“Death is just the next journey” - Emanuele MamoSpending Time with the Indigenous PeopleSpending time with the indigenous people of Australia and sharing with them on a creativity level was a great experience for Emanuele. He also loved helping some of their kids experiment with being creative through song and dance. It was heartbreaking for him to see the kind of third-world type of life they lead. Learning to play some of their musical instruments was great too, and he incorporated some of them into their music. He also wrote music with them.“I highly recommend everybody to try and learn a little bit about our indigenous culture here” - Emanuele Mamo

Asher Tan on Being Relentlessly Resourceful

Our guest this week is Asher Tan, the co-founder and CEO of CoinJar.About AsherIn 2013, tired of being on the sidelines as an analyst (providing analysis to leading business magazines on company financial performance and the wider economy), he saw an opportunity to unite his passion for finance and technology, establishing what became CoinJar today, a range of fintech products including a wallet, trading platform, and CoinJar Swipe, a cryptocurrency debit card.CoinJar is a web and mobile apps company that focuses on empowering anyone to buy, sell, send, receive and accept bitcoin as money. They have processed more than $1 billion worth of exchange transactions for hundreds of thousands of users.Asher moved to London leaving behind his co-founder Ryan Zhou in charge of the day-to-day running of CoinJar, and its 400,000 customers to see and understand what’s been brewing in the crypto world on the western side. Since then he has been attending conferences, meeting fintech companies, bankers, venture capitalists, and the like, and asking lots of questions.Join the Inspired Evolution Community:Facebook: this Episode We Canvas:Bitcoin DemystifiedBitcoin has special qualities that make it a good type of money including the fact that it’s not controlled by any one government or organization. It’s decentralized and digital money and it caught Asher’s attention because of that. The fact that cryptocurrencies are unregulated has been a widespread concern among potential investors because they feel insecure about putting their money in it.“It’s a new way of thinking about money” - Asher Tan The Need that Digital Currencies ServeAsher feels it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact emotions that the people behind blockchain (the technology that cryptocurrencies are built on) because they are unknown, but he says that the initial motivation for creating the technology was an unhappiness with the financial system and the current ways that money works. The current monetary systems are said to be failing in meeting people’s expectations the way they should be in this day and age.“Before, there wasn’t really any alternative, and right now there is an alternative” - Asher Tan The Present Versus the PastAsher says that it's very difficult to draw parallels for what the future of cryptocurrencies is because things have never turned out the way they thought they would in the seven years that they’ve been in the space. Even traditionally tech-savvy investors and accrued up people have dissenting opinions of Bitcoin and digital currencies.“The future can be a bit of a wild and crazy place” - Asher TanHow Asher Got into Blockchain and BitcoinHe worked as an analyst before starting CoinJar. He always wanted to do something more beyond his analyst role, but his job was restricting him. He came across news about his co-founder (Ryan) who had just sold his company at a young age, and he decided to approach him to learn from him on how to start a company and make it successful. He entered a startup incubator with a friend and in the end they changed their startup idea into a Bitcoin-based one, and Asher got Ryan to join.“There are actionable steps to take towards starting a business” - Asher Tan CoinJar’s Success FactorThe company is more fintech than crypto in that they try and find benefits to users. That said, they do believe that cryptocurrencies are the best way to deliver benefits to their users. They are more focused on making financial life better for people as opposed to making the whole cryptocurrency thing work. They base their ability to achieve that on the fact that they fulfill the basics of financial wellbeing, which are; cheaper, better, more money, and faster. Their hope is that cryptocurrencies will help deliver financial services to everyone in the world especially those who don’t have access to the services, in an easier and better way. CoinJar is a digital currency account where one can buy and sell major cryptocurrencies.“We all imagine a financial future that’s freer, where more people can have access to financial services” - Asher TanThe “Locked” ConundrumSome people who were one of the first investors in Bitcoin when it came out are now unable to sell their millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin because they forgot their passwords or don’t even remember what their digital wallets were. Asher says that happens when someone doesn’t take the necessary steps to get educated on cryptocurrencies, and they decide to handle their cryptocurrency trading on their own. He suggests that people should start easy with a platform like CoinJar.“If you lose the cash then it’s gone” - Asher TanThe Future of CoinJarA lot of industries like retail shopping, publishing, and telecommunications have gone through huge changes and people have been anticipating changes in the financial industry (which has been happening through different innovative solutions), so digital currencies are seen as the definite future of the financial sector.“I think it’s a better future for everyone if we can have a more competitive industry” - Asher TanBecoming an EntrepreneurAsher believes every entrepreneur becomes successful in their own way with their own style of doing things. There is an obvious risk factor attached to entrepreneurship, and that’s what determines whether an entrepreneur will be successful in business or not. In Asher’s example, he says his relationship with his co-founder plays a big role in ensuring the continued success of CoinJar.“Being an entrepreneur by itself is incredibly a lonely process” - Asher Tan