Take more risks, and make more mistakes sooner. It was only when I took the courage to set up on my own that I really grew as a person – I wish I’d started on that journey earlier.

 

John Cairn is a writer, journalist, digital marketing professional and serial entrepreneur with a passion for technology, food and health.

He is the founder of TheGoodGut.org, the leading portal for news, research and information on the human microbiome. John is also a vocal campaigner for better nutritional education in schools and regulation of processed foods and farming methods.

Having started his career in journalism John quickly saw the role and importance of content in digital marketing, launching the content marketing partners in 2007 and growing the business into a major consulting practice helping major international brands craft and position their products and services and reach new audiences effectively through intelligent content.
Following the successful sale and exit, John focused his time on learning about the human microbiome – which lead to his founding of thegoodgut.org in 2017

John is also an acclaimed author of a number of books including content marketing strategies, eating for gut health, as well as a series of children’s educational books on the theme of diet and health.

Where did your idea come from for TheGoodGut come from?

I’ve always been interested in health and wellness- however after a friend gave me a copy of Alanna Collens book 10% Human in 2016 that I first discovered the significance of the human microbiome. After a ton of reading and subsequent research, I realized there was a huge need for better public awareness of the discoveries being made, and more importantly – to separate fact from hype, fiction and misinformation

It was one of the few times I’d come across something that I felt really passionately about – an area that I felt I needed both to learn about and an area I need to help inform and educate everyone I meet.

What does a typical day look like for your organization and how do you make it productive?

I usually wake up around 6am, meditate and then start my day. I try my best to ignore messages or social media outside specific times and spend the first two hours of the day after meditating focused on our most pressing articles or research pieces.

I check email around 9am. I use BatchedInbox and only get email delivered twice a day: once at 9am and once at 4.30pm when the UK team get online. Email is a time killer for me and batching emails makes me much more productive, although I don’t feel too obliged to respond immediately.

This allows me to avoid interruptions and concentrate on one a single problem at a time.

I also make an effort to exercise every day: I take an hour at lunch time that I alternate between yoga and cardio – and this definitely makes me happier, and more productive.

My afternoons I reserve for calls, discussions with the teams and my exploratory projects – simple research tasks to research or assess the viability of new ideas and opportunities for the business.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Time and Passion. Time is elastic – and needs to be managed effectively for us to be truly productive. However combined with passion and focus, a huge amount can be achieved in a very short space of time. I go to great lengths to empower our teams to champion ideas – and visualize what their execution looks like. I find visualizing success to be a hugely powerful way to aid delivery and maintain focus.

Whats one trend that excited you?

I am hugely excited by new technologies – and one technology in particular is blockchain. I really care about diet and nutrition and have long campaigned for better education and labeling for food. If it weren’t for my current work I would love to be working on ways to enable better food labeling and information via blockchain

Whats one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think I mentioned this earlier – but managing my time to maintain focus. I remove all social media and personal emails allowing 30 minutes a day when I get home. I remove all interruptions when I am concentrating – and manage my day to only allow certain chunks of time for external communication

What advice would you give your younger self?

Take more risks, and make more mistakes sooner. It was only when I took the courage to set up on my own that I really grew as a person – I wish I’d started on that journey earlier.

Tell us something that’s true that almost no one agrees with you on?

All diseases begin in the gut. It’s a notion first put forward by Hippocrates 2,500 years ago – and it is surprisingly accurate

As an entrepreneur what is the one thing that you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Meditation. Meditation – in one of its many forms is enormously important for the mind, especially in this day and age of information overload. It is an incredibly powerful form of exercise for the mind – that allows busy entrepreneurs to distill all the chaos from the day and focus on what matters

What is one strategy that helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Hire people better than you. Most people are afraid they may lose control or authority when they encounter smarter people. However if your visions are aligned you will only grow and develop around smarter people

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome it?

There have been many, but the biggest was losing a key account many years ago – an account that had fuelled our growth at the agency I launched. We lost it because we became complacent and I had taken my eye off things.

As a result I had to let a lot of people go and re-evaluate what we were doing. It was a big blow and took some years to recover from but it allowed me to refocus and we came out stronger in the long run.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I like growing trends – much easier to compete where there is rising demand.
Not in any way novel but bilingual English Chinese childcare; the language of tomorrow is Chinese and parents who want their kids to succeed will want to give them a head start in Chinese bilingualism from an early age when children are much more receptive

What is the best $100 you spent recently? What and Why?

Bose noise-cancelling earphones – allow me to block out noise and distraction and focus. Slightly ore that $100 but worth every penny

What software or web service helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I mentioned earlier – BatchedInbox

Another – which has been around for 10-15 years, but which I can’t live without, is Google apps for team collaboration anywhere and everywhere.

What one book do you recommend to our community and why?

I just read “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott: How to Get What You Want By Saying What You Mean. It’s a great book to help you maintain good communications. I loved her openness and took away a lot from reading this– so thoroughly recommend it

What is your favorite quote?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – also by Hippocrates.

As we see day in day out in our work at TheGoodGut, food and nutrition is everything and health and disease is so closely linked to our diet and lifestyle – yet surprisingly most western doctors receive little or no training in nutrition.

Key learnings:

  • If you want both to be successful – and to continue to grow and develop as an individual, make sure you hire people who are smarter than you
  • Make sure you give yourself the tools, the support and the space to be focus and be productive. There are too many distractions today and it is all to easy to fail as a result of this
  • Focus on something you are passionate about – if you love what you do you will never fail
  • Good communication is key; be true to your word: say what you mean and mean what you say

Connect:

http://www.thegoodgut.org/
John Cairn on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-cairn/
John Cairn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/john_cairn