[quote style=”boxed”]I would spend more time finding mentors at an earlier age. By the time I realized I really needed mentors, I was already being asked to mentor others.[/quote]
Courtney Boyd Myers began her career in journalism writing for a wide variety of publications including Forbes Magazine, PC Mag, PSFK, IEEE Spectrum and The Huffington Post. In 2010, she became responsible for launching The Next Web in New York City and oversaw all of the site’s East Coast technology coverage and long-form content.
In 2012, she left media to become General Assembly’s Director of Audience Development, where she helped launch the New York based education company in the UK and organized classes, workshops & events in technology, business and design.
After 6 months in London, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in London’s Tech City. She’s currently a member of 10 Downing and Tech City’s Advisory Board and a mentor at Seedcamp, Ignite100 and BBCWorldWideLabs.
In 2013, she was named one of the 30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Technology by Business Insider. In May 2013, Courtney launched audience.io, an audience development studio focused on helping London and New York startups grow internationally. Since then, she has worked with clients such as Fueled, Makeshift, Percolate, TaskRabbit, Grouper, State.com, SecretEscapes, and SHADOW.
She runs three newsletters: 3460 Miles, a twice-a-month newsletter designed to connect the London and New York tech scenes, Hustle and Kale, a health and wellness blog for the digital age, and The World is Global Baby, which features on audience.io’s members and company developments.
Upon launching audience.io, Forbes called Courtney: “A 21st century Sherpa of intrepid international startups.”
She thought that was pretty funny.
Where did the idea for audience.io come from?
In early 2013, I worked with a friend to start a newsletter called 3460 Miles, which features startups from New York and London and a person that lives their life between the two cities. The newsletter struck a cord with many, and opened up a new world of opportunity that needed my expertise. I started audience.io as a consultancy that supports this transatlantic cross-pollination of companies, people, and ideas.
What does your typical day look like?
Whether I am in New York or London, I’m always working around the clock. So I’ve stopped setting an alarm to ensure that I’m getting enough sleep. This means that I typically wake up around 9am, roll out of bed and make a green smoothie. Then, I sit down to chip away at my inbox. I’ll start a project mid-morning and just before I hit a rut, I’ll take a break for the gym. I return to my desk with energy and often my best ideas. My afternoons are full of meetings and calls with members, potential clients, and mentors, and people with whom I like to exchange ideas. In the evenings, I’m usually running an event, whether it’s a 100 person launch party or a 8 person dinner. I don’t go out too late, I’m like Cinderella and usually in bed by midnight. I try to fall asleep with a good book, but you may also catch me sifting through Instagram and Twitter as my head hits the pillow.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With the help of my excellent team and the brilliant audience.io members we work with! I get all of my energy and best ideas by being around other people and then marinating on them by myself. Ideas need time to cook, sizzle, and spice before their ready for the world. The execution of excellent ideas in the form of partnerships, viral loops, and clear messaging are the fine details that make all the difference.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
On-demand services like Uber, TaskRabbit, and WunWun. I am anything but a lazy person! In fact, I am an extremely busy person. So I love any app that provides a well-designed and efficient product that delivers what I want ,when I want it with the click of a button.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Sleeping for 7-8 hours a night. Hitting the gym. And eating well. Taking care of my health is the only reason I haven’t had a total meltdown.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked for a brilliant startup that had a terrible company culture. Morale dipped quickly and even though the brand and the product were really brilliant, I had to resign. There were too many painful people, it was driving me nuts. Getting company culture right is one the most important elements to building a long-lasting company, right up there with hiring amazing people. And the two usually go hand in hand.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would spend more time finding mentors at an earlier age. By the time I realized I really needed mentors, I was already being asked to mentor others.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Hire a Zirtual assistant. For $400+ a month, I have an amazing dedicated virtual assistant who manages my calendar, my finances, and helps out with our company’s accounting.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We were operating in two major markets — New York and London — from day one. This helped us double our potential client base from the start.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I haven’t had an obvious professional failure yet. But I think “being busy” all the time and not focusing enough are definitely minor failures that I am constantly overcoming and course correcting in life through meditation and stillness.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I want a pen that I can use to write in my notebook that automatically translates written text to computer text and send everything I write to an Evernote like desktop application. That way I don’t need to keep transcribing all my old journals before I store them.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m much more of an introvert than anyone knows. I ground myself every Friday night and do very little other than take a yoga class, eat kale, curl up with a book or catch up on Game of Thrones. I love waking up on Saturday mornings feeling awesome.
What software and web services do you use?
We use Slack for team communications, and it has helped our team cut out internal email entirely.
What do you love about them?
Our team is spread out all over the world and Slack acts like our virtual water cooler. We have “channels” to organize conversations around each of our members and we also have fun channels where we share what we’re reading and what new music we’re listening to.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Love is the Killer App. I’ve never read a business book that describes my sensibility so well. The book emphasizes why you should be a “Lovecat”, that is, why you should be more loving in business. We really don’t have to live in a dog eats dog world.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
The Summit Series events have been very influential to my thinking as an entrepreneur and as a human being. Summit is a community of entrepreneurs, and a team of awesome people who host evens in Eden, Utah and all over the world. They bring together some of the world’s most inspiring leaders, thinkers, and doers. It’s like TED meets summer camp for adults.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.