Seeking Feedback that Hurts


From the mobile desk of Andy Drish…

Sunday, August 24, 2014
7:26 PM
Milwaukee Airport

“I think you should always be seeking negative feedback.”
- Elon Musk

Most people won’t be direct with you and tell you where you are falling short.

They will talk around it.

Or not tell you at all.

And what happens to you?

You walk around… blind to what’s really happening.

You are oblivious.

And no one has the guts to say anything.

If no one is telling you where you’ve dropped the ball, you don’t have the opportunity to get better.

Why don’t people tell you?

Often, because it’s uncomfortable to share with someone what they’re doing wrong.

Most people move away from conflict. They feel like it’s offensive or mean. So they quietly ignore it (or talk about it when you’re not around.)

This is why it’s important to constantly SEEK negative (aka constructive) feedback …

A perfect scenario happened to me last week.

Last Friday I had my weekly ‘Man Call’ with Peter Shallard.

(Peter’s an incredible friend who always gives it to me straight, with no BS, which is one of the many reasons I love our calls.)

He told me we upset someone during our launch and she was angry about how we treated her during the launch.

Now that person was reaching out to him for advice on other sources outside of The Foundation where she could learn about building a software company.

My first thought?

“Screw her. She has no reason to be upset.”

(It’s a bit scary to share this… but it’s true. Getting negative feedback rarely feels good. It stung me a bit in the beginning.)

But then I paused… and thought about it… and I got curious.

“I wonder what happened that made her so upset? And if she felt that way… did others, too?”

So I asked Peter to introduce us. Then I emailed her and asked if I could have 15 minutes to chat with her on the phone.

The 15 minutes I spent with her last week were the most valuable 15 minutes of my whole week.


Because it gave me the feedback to improve as a company. And as a result, we’re going to significantly shift our entire launch process.

Here’s the jist of what happened:

Donna is our perfect customer. She’s brilliant. She has 10+ years of business experience consulting and now she wants to transition to SaaS.

She was ready to sign up and pay for the Foundation when we launched.

But we sold out and she didn’t get to.

When she got accepted to the Foundation, she got an email that says, “You’re In” … which gives details on when people can join.

We used that subject line in the past because we’ve never limited spots before.

So if you got it, you have the chance to join us no matter what.

But now we’ve narrowed our class sizes to 120 people to make the experience more intimate.

So in her mind, she was in… she had a spot waiting for her and there was no need to hurry.

And, after she makes her decision to join, she goes to sign up and sees that it’s sold out and she can’t.

What a terrible experience for her.

Can you imagine being her and how frustrated you’d be?

It’s almost like a sense of betrayal… feeling fully ready to join something big. And then having it taken away from you at the last minute.

I’d be pissed, too.

She explained all of this to me on the call and then, she asked ‘The Money Question’…

“What are you going to do now that you have the feedback?”

I love that question. It’s a question ‘action takers’ ask.

Because of that 15 minutes, we’ve started a project in The Foundation to completely revamp our application and launch process.

We’re rebuilding it all from the ground up, from the moment you sign up to how we accept people to how we invite them into our program.

It’s all changing because of this one 15 minute call. Because she was willing to share the feedback that hurt to hear. And because I was willing to receive it.

(NOTE: If you had a similar experience to Donna, I’m *deeply* sorry. But now I understand what we messed up, the impact it had on people and how we’re going to make it better. Feel free to reach out to me personally <> if you were upset, too.)

The biggest lesson here is to constantly be seeking the feedback that hurts to hear.

You can’t wait for it to come to you.

Because it won’t come.

You must actively seek it.

You must create space for people to share that feedback with you.

Because if you don’t, you won’t know what’s not working.

– Andy

P.S. – And as I reflect further… the real reason this feedback was possible is because of my weekly Man Call with Peter.

We have a call every Friday to give each other direct feedback, to share our problems and to constantly be upping our game.

This call has nothing to do with The Foundation (although Foundation topics often come up). I do this call because I value having people in my life who I can be real, raw and honest with.

If you don’t have that, I *highly* suggest finding someone or joining a community where you can’t hide and play small.

My favorite friends are the people who call me out on my BS and constantly hold me to a higher standard in every area of my life. 

So Peter, thank you. :-)

By Yelena Reese on 26/08/14

$90,000 In Pre-Sales – How John From Australia Did It


Hi, I’m John.

In the last 5 months whilst being part of The Foundation I have developed 4 applications for 2 different niche markets that have generated $90,000 in fees for those products. Two of those products can be easily turned into a SAAS business.

I don’t know how to write a single line of code I’m outsourcing everything from UI design to programming web development and cloud hosting.

I do not have a website or a business card for this business it has all come from IE

I developed a niche client portal for a plumbing company cost to develop $2800 I sold it to the company for $18,000
I developed a customer service testimonial and 5 star rating system for a plumbing business cost to build $1800 Sold it to the client for $15,000
I developed a knowledge management system for an engineering firm the cost to me $3000 sold it for $15,000
I’ve been commissioned to develop an intranet system with mobile application integration for a plumbing business cost $7000 sold it to the company for $35,000 with a $900 p/m support program.

I was referred by one of my IE prospects to a senior executive of the Australian Tennis Association to explore the idea of developing a mobile software application for club tournaments that can be sold on retainer based pricing model. I did a 2 hour IE call and have already priced the development cost of $12,000 I quoted $60,000 he is excited by the idea and says he has sponsors that will cover the cost.

These were relatively simple applications most have only taken less than 6 weeks to develop and test. all are working fine.

Listen to my video above for the full story.

By Dane Maxwell on 20/05/14

From The Fortune 500 To Entrepreneur – A Family Man’s Story


By Jason Hart, Foundation 2014 Member

906503_10152429917532033_1146954897130487051_o.jpgThe Hart Family:  Jason, Weston (3), Broderick (5), and Heather

When I was 10 years old, I was playing G.I. Joe in my front yard when suddenly this cute, blonde girl came riding down the street on her bicycle. In a small town of under 10,000 you knew right away when a new face moves to town.   So here I was in camouflage clothes playing with miniature army figures in the dirt.  I noticed she was saying something as she rode by…I’ll never forget her words, “You need to go inside and SCRUB!!”

My face lit up beet red with embarrassment.  So what did I do?

I ran into my house, grabbed my obnoxious 20 pound boombox with 4 speakers, popped in a cassette of ”Electric Kingdom”, laid down my cardboard, and started break dancing in my parachute pants and Vann shoes.  What else would would you do?

And did I impress her?  No.  She rode by on her bike…just laughing.

But despite the rejection and my complete failure to impress her, we still became very good friends and to this day she will spare no time in sharing that story to watch me blush.

And I share that memory of rejection because it reminds me what it looks like to be fearless.  Pretty girls will do that to you when you’re young.  Right fellas?

Years later…

It was summer break after my freshman year of college.  A good friend was completely GOO-GOO about this business he joined.  So he invited me to their office to hear all about it.  He told me about his business partner who was making all kinds of money selling water filters and nutritional products and vitamins.  And not only could you make tons of money yourself, if you build a team to sell for you it becomes very lucrative.  My eyes lit up as I learned how to build my very own business, recruit others to work FOR me, and live like a Millionaire!  Welcome to MLM, right?

But I was naive.  So..Whao!  Sign me up!

I dove in head first.  I mean…I was studying to be a pharmacist and had never been introduced to business let alone how to build wealth.  So the next thing you know we had our own office with 10 desks, running daily ads in the newspaper and doing daily sales presentations.  We travelled all over the US to attend regional trainings on how to build teams and sell products.

We were rocking…for about 1 year.  Then it was downhill.  And we closed the office after 18 months. Failure!

So what did I do?

I spent a year sulking.  Then decided to go back to school and learn the REAL way to do business and got my business degree. That’s the smart thing to do, right?

And my family was SO proud of me right?  They wanted more than anything to see me become a pharmacist but I convinced them I would be rich instead.  So with my tail tucked between my legs I came out with a very plain business degree.

Fast forward…oh, about 15 years.

I’m a family man with a wife and 2 small boys living the “American Dream” in the Chicago Suburbs working for a Fortune 500 company.

I had to work extremely hard to get to my current role as a Cloud Consultant.  That path didn’t come easy as I spent the previous 13 years as an Inside Sales Rep.  Without going into detail, let me just say I hit bottom…burnt out with no way out of my golden handcuffs.  Corporate America had me trapped and no place to go.  My mindset convinced me I was only good at one thing…inside sales.  But I still searched the Earth for something telling me otherwise.  And finally I did a personal branding campaign that got me the Cloud role.

But in the back of my mind, I told myself I will NEVER be trapped again.  It was too painful.  I decided to ALWAYS be working on Plan B.

In my search for Plan B, I started listening to podcasts…Solopreneur, SPI, and then heard the interview on Mixergy with Dane.

Long story short, I heard Dane talk about the Foundation and could not wait to be a part of the next class.  It, to me, was the REAL DEAL of everything else I ran across.  I just felt blogging, ebooks, and podcasting were a little hokey for me plus I didn’t want to spend all my life charging money for content and relying on affiliate programs.

At my day job, I work in a cloud computing incubator where we help numerous SaaS companies get plugged into the distribution channel.

So YES, building software was a perfect fit!  I felt so grateful Dane was willing to share this exact process with me.

So I had to face my fears of can I do it?  I failed last time I tried my own business.  Will this work for me?  Will I get the help I need to succeed?

I decided it was time to give myself another chance at starting my own business.

After consuming the Mindset content, I started realizing a HUGE mindset shift.

Suddenly I was going back to memories of failures and rejection. And it hit me…I was programmed to think like an employee…to conform, to follow instructions, to wait for someone to tell me what to do, to let others measure my results, and then wait for a big thumbs up or thumbs down.  And let THAT be my identity.

Suddenly I realized WHY I lost creativity and zest for life.  I was on the production line in a Corporate Prison.  Watching the folks at the top get the amazing bonuses.  And ultimately serving Wall Street as we drive stock value for shareholders.

Getting started in the Foundation was not easy for me.  I had never been on a Google Hangout.  I had no experience with online marketing.  I had no idea what writing copy meant.  It was all new.

But daily training and practice builds up over time and I started building confidence.

I also had to tap into my unique skills and experiences to MAKE the content work for me.  Learning the content was great but to put it into action, I had to do it in MY OWN SKIN.  For example, instead of cold emailing people, I reached out to people I already knew and started IE on them. That constantly asked for referrals.  And now I’ve built my entire customer base on referrals…from Boston to L.A.

And after only 4 calls, I knew I had a pain and a solution.  On my 5th call, I asked for money.  And it WORKED!

My first pre-sell.  Before I knew how to build the software.

Never in my life would I have EVER had the courage to ask for money for something I couldn’t tangibly hand over in return. This was a major mindset breakthrough.  And it was not easy.  I had to be TALKED OFF THE LEDGE by my team leader, Jonathan Nation.  He said, “If you really want to validate your idea…ask for money.”  He was right.

I also remembered a call with Dane where he said something completely profound.  He said, “Focus on the end result.”  And suddenly I realized.  I DON’T NEED SOFTWARE to deliver the solution.  The customer wants the end result.  And software is just a way of automating the delivery of that solution.  Nothing more.  So my mindset shifted to one thing…focus on delivering the customer value.  Software is secondary and can be built over time.

The mindset of an entrepreneur is truly amazing.  Being able to take something out of thin air and turn it into a revenue generation is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have.

Here’s what I learned about entrepreneurs…they:

  • Act fast

  • Jump on opportunities

  • Don’t wait for perfection; they just GO

  • Don’t seek approval and permission to do things

  • Have faith in their vision

  • Follow pain and focus on solving it

  • Outsource the simple tasks so they can focus time and energy on increasing customer value

The best way to sum up my experience in the Foundation is this scene from Shawshank Redemption.  This is the scene where Timothy Robbins is sharing his vision with Red…his vision of sitting on a beach in Mexico looking out into the Pacific Ocean. Red responds with, “I’m just an institutional man.  I have no value on the outside.”  But Timothy refuses to agree with that mindset. And sure enough, his passion, creativity, and faith brought his vision into reality.  Corporate America is MY PRISON.  And I am smiling as I envision the day I leave it behind.  Without the Foundation, I would have been Red…no hope, no value, no dream.  Just giving up on myself and my dreams…surrendering my freedom to another institution.

By Dane Maxwell on 24/04/14

How Chris Got His First $6,500 Pre-Sale


This message was posted by a Foundation Student. Congrats On Your Success Chris.

Take it away Chris…

The most vivid memory from my childhood was the exact moment that I learned to read…

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I’d spent the day fighting with a big Dr. Seuss book trying to make sense of words that would not budge. They sat on the page like a secret code, cryptic symbols jumbled to keep their secrets hidden from ME.

But then it happened. I sounded out one word, a single word, and in an instant the letters began to re-align like characters flipping on an old train station departure board, transforming into clear words and sentences that presented themselves to me and said, “Hi Chris, I can tell that we are gonna be friends.”

I started reading that day and never stopped. I would read for hours, for days on end, it’s all I ever wanted to do.

I read books about wild horses, sailboats, how to build robots, how to count cards to win at Blackjack, about cowboys, about Mexican drug lords, about war, about Europe, about how to win at Nintendo, how to get stronger – fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles – it didn’t matter. I even read “novelizations” of my favorite movies where a “novel” was written based on the movie (instead of the movie being made based on a novel, there is a big difference!).

Learning to read was clearly an important moment in my life, but I would not realize that it was the single most important event in my life until almost 30 years later, until after I joined The Foundation.

Here’s why….

Obsessed With Money

I grew up in Missouri in a poor family where I was force-fed an important lesson over and over…

Get a job, any job you can, and hold on to it for dear life, because you never know when that job will be taken away from you.

I was also taught that if you want to earn more you just have to work more, either through overtime or through getting a second, third, or even fourth job. Everyone around me – my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors all lived this way.

I followed in their footsteps when I turned fifteen and had a sudden and urgent need for cash. I would soon need a car and would have several new expenses – gas, insurance, money for all the hot dates I thought I would be going on in my sweet new ride (which turned out to be an old Chevy Celebrity that was three different colors from all the replacement parts).

So I started working, part-time during the school year and full on full-time during the summers. One summer I worked six days a week as a data entry clerk in the evening, as a security guard at a fireworks tent overnight (you’d be surprised how many people try to buy bottle rockets at 3 AM on a Tuesday), and as a gas station clerk during the day.

My sole purpose became to work and earn, and the amount I could make began to comfort me, to define me..

This pattern continued all through college until I hit the earnings motherload a few years after graduating.

I started my own company as an independent IT consultant and the money started rolling in, bigtime. I earned well over six figures a year for a decade. The work excited me, not because of the work itself, but because of the large amounts I knew I could bill for it. I could essentially work several high paying jobs at the same time (as projects), taking the “Missouri Earning Lessons” of my youth to the extreme.

I was a success, or should have considered myself one, the only problem is that I didn’t…

Disaster and Despair

After a decade of “success”, I woke up one day and felt that I had a thousand pound weight sitting on my shoulders.

I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t shake it. Every part of my life became more difficult with this new burden and required extra energy that I just didn’t seem to have anymore. The consulting work I had been so good at was now sucking the life out of me, leaving me feeling hopeless. My days grew cumbersome and difficult, I was treading water trying not to drown, and I felt that my life’s work so far had been a complete waste.

My consulting had grown stale and had plateaued long ago. I had not picked up a new client in years and I was still doing pretty much the same type of work, and for the same clients, that I had been doing when I first started.

But what could I do? At 36, with a wife and two small boys depending on me, what choices did I have?

I felt stuck. I was desperate. I felt I had absolutely no options. I felt I had no choice but to start over. I felt there were absolutely no opportunities for me, that I was doomed to grinding out IT projects until the day I died; my wife getting the final check for my last project a few days after they put me in the ground.

The simple and painful truth was that the money was just not enough to get me out of bed anymore, but after 36 years of chasing money, what the hell was I supposed to do?

Out of desperation, I joined The Foundation, my plan was to use it to force me to build a profitable SaaS product in six months so I could drop my consulting practice off a cliff, and then kick back and do nothing.

Instead, I discovered 17 words about myself that would lift my burden and change my life…

Why, Why, WHY

I began The Foundation by asking myself “why?”. Why did I have this thousand pound burden on my shoulders? Why was I stuck? Why was the money simply not enough anymore?

The lessons in the Mindset Module quickly led me to a more pressing and urgent question – “WHAT is your WHY?”…

I learned that a critical quality of High Achievers is that they always, always, always know their “WHY” before setting out to achieve something. When I asked myself this question, I could not fall back on the answer I had been giving myself for my entire life, I could not answer “for the money”.

I began to ask myself bigger questions – who am I, why am I here, what is my purpose, what should I be doing with my life? Was it possible for me to make a living AND do something that I enjoy?

This is when I arrived at the WHY Discovery lesson in The Foundation with Peter Axtell and Nicola Vetter, and when I knew what I was missing in my life.

They talked about how each and every one of us have a WHY, a core purpose, a quality that makes us unique and valuable to others. It exists in our minds, and once discovered is a constant source of energy and happiness.

I realized that somewhere along the line, in my obsessive drive to earn money, I had become separated from my WHY, and it had finally caught up with me. I needed to find it, and find it fast.

The WHY exercises included going back through childhood memories and trying to remember times where we were in a state of “flow”, where we could do an activity for pleasure alone and for hours and hours, the things we were naturally drawn to.

For me, that was easy – reading.

But how did that relate to my WHY? Was I supposed to read for a living? I didn’t think so. So I did what high-achievers do and I reached out for help and contacted Peter for WHY coaching.

I told him the story I told earlier, of the moment that I learned to read, and he was blown away. We looked at this moment from different angles until he made a comment that led to unlocking my WHY

He said “So wait a minute, there was an author, Dr. Seuss, who wrote this book, who put words on a page that made you want to read them so badly that you would not put the book down. In a way, he created this moment for you, he gave it to you as a gift.”

At that moment, I felt that I knew my WHY, even though I could not put it into words. I was seized by an uncontrollable need to cry, I couldn’t hold it back. The burden that had been sitting on my shoulders fell away in an instant, and a wave of calm rushed over me.

A week later, I put my WHY into words:

To transform confusion into clarity in order to bring joy and opportunity for others and for myself.

I now knew what I was supposed to do, but HOW was I supposed to do it?

WHY Combined With Identity Shift

My WHY discovery was a watershed moment for me, but I still had a place I wanted to get to, goals I wanted to achieve. I still had to figure out a way to earn money while staying true to my WHY, and in order to get there I had to understand what would limit me and hold me back.

Through The Foundation lessons I was able to identify a core limiting belief – I have no self-discipline and am not consistent.

From there I was able to identify and pattern a new identity that was the opposite of this:

I am a high-achieving entrepreneur.

The “high-achieving” portion shines a spotlight on my limiting beliefs about consistency, and forces me to make new choices about them, specifically:

  • Take Action

  • Commit 100%

  • Long-Term Focused on Process, not Short-Term Focused Results

  • Reach Out When Stuck

The “Entrepreneur” portion of my new identity aligns with my WHY. As an entrepreneur I have the greatest opportunity to “find things people are confused about” and then to remove that confusion for them in a way that creates joy and opportunities for them in their lives and business – through SaaS solutions, through info products, through consulting – the ways are endless and abundant

So, as you can see, my identity is super-charged by combining limiting belief busters with my personal WHY, and the result?

Massive Abundance

Since discovering my WHY and combining it with my new identity, abundance and joy have come into my life. The funny thing is that, technically, I am still doing the same thing I was before The Foundation – IT Consulting – but everything, everything is different.

I joined The Foundation December 1, 2013, and seven short weeks later:

  • I uncovered a problem through Idea Extraction, found a solution, and made a pre-sale for $6,500 without an info pack.

  • I gained a new client worth $23k in business (they requested an additional $10k retainer that I did not ask for)

  • I even had someone offer to pay me after an idea extraction call because they felt I helped them so much

  • I’ve pre-sold over $19,000 to date.

I accomplished all of these things by reaching out to others in the spirit of my WHY, with the hopes of transforming confusion into clarity in order to bring them joy and opportunity, just as The Foundation has done for me.

If you have questions for Chris, please post them in the comments and he will answer them below!

By Dane Maxwell on 01/04/14

Hiring: Customer Support Intern, Marketing Pro, Developer


We’re looking for three lucky people to become part of the rockstar team that is The Foundation staff.

We will be hiring one customer support intern – applications due March 18, 2014 -  as well as a marketing pro and a developer, who anticipate we will be hiring in the next 3-6 months.

Our vision for The Foundation is to become the go-to place for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. It’s a lofty goal, which is why it’s vital for us to have an all-star cast of A-players behind the scenes.

We’re looking for people who love learning about entrepreneurship and are passionate, driven, fun, creative, full of new ideas, and contribute energy to the team.

These are a few killer opportunities to see behind the scenes of how an awesome marketing company launches new ideas. Plus, you will get to experience first hand what it takes to build a team and scale a company past the startup stage.

Start your journey by clicking the links below.

Click here to learn more about the Customer Support Internship
Click here to learn more about the Marketing Position
Click here to learn more about the Developer Position

See you on the inside.

-Dane, Andy, and The Foundation Team

By Katie Weiler on 11/03/14

Why Only 41 Students Succeeded Last Year


Last year we had 41 successful students out of 336.

41 students graduated with at least one paying customer in a business.

So… why not more?

We did research to found out why.

This is what we found out in our research (see image below).

You’ll see that the high achievers have a much different outlook and approach on life. If you are inside the Foundation right now, keep these things in mind. And if you have not applied yet to join the foundation, you can do so here.

High Achieving Students

By Dane Maxwell on 21/11/13

Stop Stressing Carl Out


Carl shot this video answering the 3 most common questions about The Foundation.

  1. Is the Foundation really worth it?
  2. Did you learn anything new that you couldn’t have learned on your own?
  3. Couldn’t you have just done this all on your own?

Watch the video to get the blunt answers to direct questions.

By Dane Maxwell on 20/11/13