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.


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Famous 5

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.

Resources Mentioned:

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

The post Fraternity Side Project Turned Into Multi-million dollar Media Business appeared first on Nathan Latka.

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