I am no longer actively blogging on this website.
Regular readers may know I am following three influencers this year. One of these influencers is Chris Ducker.
I was lucky enough to meet Chris in person a couple of months ago. It may sound a bit strange but because I’ve been consuming a lot of Chris’s content this year, I kind-of felt like I knew him, even though we had never met. When I learned he was going attending New Media Europe – which I was going to – I decided to take a bottle of his favourite Scotch along as a gift, hoping he didn’t think I was a complete mentalist. Joking aside, Chris genuinely couldn’t have been nicer and the upshot of all this is the interview below. Chris, if you’re reading this, thank you for taking the time out to do it!
You can find out more about Chris on his Wikipedia page. In short, Chris started group of companies in the in the Philippines who recruit outsource workers. Today there are over 400 people working in them. Along with his businesses, he also runs a popular blog, has a top-rated podcast and frequently travels the globe giving keynote speeches. Somewhere between all of these he found time to write a best-selling book called Virtual Freedom, which I’ve read.
Chris, I read that you didn’t you go to University. Why not? Would you recommend other people go to University?
I think education is a very important thing. I personally did not go to University (I dropped out of college actually) and I went full-time into the Sales industry, in the Publishing game. I’m not saying that University is a bad thing, I’m just saying that for me it wasn’t right. I think it’s becoming less important, however, education is still an important thing overall. I think it’s a personal journey, just not one that I wanted to take, hence the fact that I skipped it!
What led you to the Philippines?
I originally came over to work with one of the large international banks here, to help them run the telemarketing side of their business. After a few years of doing that I did some consulting work then I set up my own company, the Live2Sell Group, which is now 12 years old.
Was there a light-bulb moment when you decided to start the Live2Sell Group – was it something you read, a conversation with someone, or were you just having a particularly bad day in the office?
I was doing consulting work for a company in the United States and it basically became a full-time job working for one guy. I was getting paid a silly amount of money. It was very hard money to walk away from. I was a newly re-married man and it was a massive risk but I knew I had just had enough of answering to someone else, I knew my entrepreneurial spurt was gagging to come into play, so I quit and set up Live2Sell. It wasn’t something that happened in the office per se but it was something that was just calling me, plain and simple. I had to act on it.
Can you talk through the beginning of Live2Sell – what was it like when you were just starting out and how has it grown since?
It was a lot of work! I knew it was going to be a lot of work but one thing I didn’t realise was just how hard it was going to be to not only find new business but also be the CEO. I had to train the staff, motivate the staff, build teams and so on. It was harder than I anticipated. After 6 months we almost went bankrupt. We were lucky to survive that. Then, we got the right client walk through the door at the right time and here we are all these years later now – with over 400 employees and a multi-seven-figure business! I’m very proud of it.
What is Virtual Staff Finder? And why did you launch this as a separate company to Live2Sell?
Live2Sell serves corporate clients, the majority of them being in the United States. Virtual Staff Finder is for the everyday, overworked, stressed-out entrepreneur that needs remote staff assistance. They are two completely different customer groups which is why Virtual Staff Finder was started as a separate business.
When did you launch Virtual Business Lifestyle and why did you launch it?
I launched it in January 2010 as a blog which then became a podcast. I launched it because I wanted to document my journey as I freed myself up from the corporate side of the business and become a full-time virtual CEO.
Why did you rebrand Virtual Business Lifestyle as ChrisDucker.com?
I noticed after a couple of years of blogging that nobody was calling it Virtual Business Lifestyle, they were calling it “Chris Ducker’s blog” or “Chris Ducker’s podcast“. I started to get speaking invites and coaching opportunities and I just figured that a personal brand focus would be the best thing to do. And it certainly was – it’s opened up a lot more business opportunities than ever!
Your book, Virtual Freedom, has been hugely successful. Would you ever write another one?
Yes I would. I’m planning to start penning one in early 2016, with an early 2017 launch.
Do you still work in your businesses today and if so, to what extent?
Yes I am still working in the businesses but very minimal, compared to what I used to do. With Live2Sell I work around 2 to 3 hours a week. With Virtual Staff Finder I work maybe 1 or 2 hours a week. The rest of the time I work on the marketing strategies for the businesses, most of which now revolves around ChrisDucker.com and Youpreneur.com, plus the podcast and the content I create online. That’s my job now; to be a content creator and online marketer.
If you don’t mind me asking, how are your businesses doing? Are they continuing to grow without much of your involvement and if so, what do you put the success down to?
They all continue to grow. Live2Sell had its’ best year ever last year, as has Virtual Staff Finder. In fact all my businesses have done better this year than ever before. I think the main reason why is that my management team is as solid as it ever has been. I’ve never had this type of management team in place before. There are some true rock stars working in very specific roles. I have broken up the management responsibility into roles rather than tasks. I always say you should try and hire for the role, not the task, nowadays. And I’m walking, talking proof – I have very specific people working in very specific roles for me and it’s working!
Your latest venture is the Youpreneur community. Can you explain what this is and why people should join it?
Youpreneur is an online mastermind community for any entrepreneur who wants to build a real, long-term, profitable business based around their brand, so it’s for people such as authors, speakers, bloggers, podcasters, coaches, experts, that sort of thing. People should join it because nobody has a monopoly on a good idea – when you hang out with people who have like-minded ideas, concepts and missions to that of your own, great things happen. The entrepreneurial life can be a very lonely one sometimes, so surrounding yourself with the right people, getting the support you need and having accountability among like minded people can make the difference between becoming a success or not.
Do you have any other exciting projects in the pipeline?
No, not really. Right now I’m focussing truly on Youpreneur.com. We do plan on doing our UK-based event, the Youpreneur Summit, which will be in early October 2016. It’s going to be the first Youpreneur summit that we’re launching. We’re doing it in London. I’m really looking forward to it.
Other than that, just doing what I do. Continuing to build the businesses and enjoy their success!