Today I have the privilege of interviewing the founder of the MyGenius community, John Raath. MyGenius has just reached ten thousand users in the last week and I thought it would be great to hear from its founder about what MyGenius means to him and where it came from. I myself am I member and have found it very useful as well as practical. So, with that said,on to the interview…
Q: Firstly, what was life like before MyGenius? What was your occupation?
A: I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, both in SA and abroad and I always encouraged people – I just love to see people progress in their chosen paths. When I returned from the UK in 2004, I wanted to find a way to enable thousands of people to be inspired by their own genius and their own sense of what was possible. And of course, by being embedded in the MyGenius community, I feel inspired every day…encouraged by seeing such hugely talented individuals making real progress.
Q: How would you define MyGenius? Is it a “business social networking website”?
A: It’s a niche community for business owners. It operates both online as a social networking website, and offline – as members engage with one another, do deals, learn from one another and get clarity from one another about their unique business challenges.
Q: Where did the MyGenius concept come from? In other words, what inspired you to create the website?
A: In my heart I knew that as most people now work for themselves they are faced with two challenges – how do they find more clients and how do they get fresh thinking applied to the direction of their businesses. In both these cases, we need other people…we need fresh thinking, we need encouragement and we need people to open doors to new business and to new opportunities. I was inspired to create an open, authentic and really helpful platform where members would be able to create their own breakthroughs….
The current format is the result of input and shaping by partners and by the community itself….it’s been a huge learning process for all of us at MyGenius.
Q: What benefit do the users derive from using MyGenius?
A: They are inspired to vastly improve their businesses through collaborating with other members, by seeing new opportunities, by receiving new ideas about their businesses, by finding new clients and by belonging to a supportive community.
Q: Why did you choose the name MyGenius?
A: We can only make progress in our ventures when we understand our own true genius…our specific calling. We need to understand what we can do brilliantly well and learn how to find and engage with other individuals who are geniuses in their own right….it’s only when we connect and work and collaborate with other geniuses that we can create real magic. I’ve seen ordinary, small businesses become brilliant successes simply because the right people came together. And it all starts with knowing your unique Genius – hence the name.
Q: Was success immediate? If not, what kept you going?
A: Today we reached 10000 members. We expected to get there much earlier but I guess we needed to learn how to deliver real value before so many joined. We’ve invested heavily into this venture and it’s not been easy….but we always knew we were on the right track….so we never even thought of giving up.
Q: MyGenius is free to use, with various membership levels that the user reaches based on certain requirements, what was the thinking behind creating the membership levels?
A: The idea is for individuals to build their own networks and so part of the obligation is for members to recruit their own friends and associates. We are moving to a situation where members will pay…after allowing enough time for members to experience the power of MyGenius for free. We are convinced that a modest monthly fee will be a fraction of the value that members derive. It’s vital that MyGenius is commercially viable so that we can go on developing new, added value services. We’ve got an 18 month development pipeline and we can’t wait to get all these new ideas rolling.
Q: MyGenius has reached ten thousand users in a very short amount of time, what do you attribute this phenomenal growth to?
A: Business people need to connect, they need to vastly improve on what they’re doing. And times are getting tough for many people….so the only way to guarantee their futures is to build their networks, their prospects and their income. MyGenius delivers that and I suppose that’s why we’ve attracted 10000 people. By the way, we believe we will have a million members in 24 months’ time. In June, we’re launching DiscoverMyGenius.com, a free online toolkit to help individuals to discover their unique calling….that will get the MyGenius message out there to a vast market. And of course the bigger MyGenius gets the more value for every member because that means more clients, more opportunities and more scope to build one’s brand.
Q: You recently introduced Genius Ads, how does one go about placing an ad?
A: It’s the easiest thing in the world….you simply create an image, a header and a byline…and then we give you the stats relating to your ads…so a MyGenius member can control their own marketing campaign. It’s about empowering individuals to do their own thing – and it really works. By putting your own name behind your ad is really authentic business.
Q: What is your vision for MyGenius in the future?
A: It’s going to grow enormously. But our vision is that every member experiences real breakthroughs in their businesses for themselves. I come across people everyday seeing new possibilities for their businesses and I see them taking bold steps forward….we want everyone to experience that!
Well, I hope you found that interesting. Please feel free to post your comments below.