Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to maintain work life balance, especially when you are just starting a project or company. Reminding yourself why you are doing this and taking a minute to appreciate those around you is something I recommend everyone does.
Co-Founder and CEO, Nate Flanders, has owned, operated, and scaled multiple successful companies that range from online marketing agencies to software development & sales companies and most recently has entered the blockchain industry.
As of 2017, Nate changed his career path entirely into a new venture as the Director of Operations of Decent.bet and Co-Founded the largest and most active Cryptocurrency community – Crypto Coin Trader.
Most recently, Nate has Co-Founded a second generation digital asset exchange within the cryptocurrency industry, Mandala Exchange. Mandala aims to disrupt the current crypto exchange market, as well as aiming to become one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to become fully compliant with the SEC.
Where did the idea for Mandala Exchange come from?
Mandala was born from our experience as market participants in the cryptosphere. I co-founded CCT, Crypto Coin Trader, a Facebook group for investors and traders, when bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies began making their way into the mainstream. It was the sheer volume of questions and issues that individuals were constantly facing that made it clear I had to take action. Those that have been around the block(chain), and especially those new to the market were facing a myriad of problems from a lack of customer support, unusable tools, no resources or strategies. Anant Handa, my co-founder, and I have known each other for some time and through our shared passion for the blockchain space and our experience with trading, investing, we decided to start Mandala. Mandala is a revolutionary platform, designed for everyone, where our focus is breaking down the barrier to entry, driving accessibility and fostering adoption.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I think a lot of how we start our day and whether or not it is productive depends on how we ended the previous. It is very important to me in my life to maintain as much organization as possible, and doing that comes from having a continuous action plan. At the end of the day, I prepare the next, ready to knock tasks off the to-do list, but still able to stay focus on the big picture. With a nightly evaluation, I know where my attention and focus must be, day to day, and week to week.
I start my day with my family, I say good morning to my wife, my son, Nash, and despite how busy we get, staying connected to those who are important to us is essential in keeping a clear and focused mind. Of course I connect with my team and review any messages from overnight, but one of the most important things you can do in any industry, is dedicate time to reviewing current events. I start my day reviewing the news, crypto, business, blockchain, tech, and world news. Current events provide us with context and staying in tune helps me keep Mandala flexible and ahead of the curve and able to pivot.
Of course there is the minutia of the daily grind, the things that need to get done. It’s my passion for the industry the drives me, and passion for what I am doing that drives Mandala. Find something you love to do and productivity becomes second nature.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My team. A solid team that shares your passion and vision, that’s how ideas come to life. The concept may come from me, Anant, or someone else. We never stifle a good idea and we always provide the resources to accomplish them! Creativity needs to be nurtured, and skills and ability recognized. At Mandala, and for me personally, success is about the people you surround yourself with.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The shift towards regulation, although it may be dry for some, it is very exciting. Reasonable and thoughtful regulation will help legitimize blockchain technology and digital assets, securing their place in business and across economies. Specifically the shift from ICO (Initial Coin Offering) to STO (Securitized Token Offering) is a trend I have been following closely. Industry leaders are forgoing semantic gymnastics and instead embracing regulatory frameworks and maturing the industry. It is wonderful to see a shift towards professionalism, creating a positive change for such an infant industry.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like to learn and I find simply talking to people is one of the best ways I can fully leverage my curiosity. People specialize in what fascinates them most and I think being able to engage in real and meaningful discussions regarding various subjects has helped me greatly through my journey as an entrepreneur. Part of this comes from recognizing my own strengths and weaknesses. I certainly am not superhuman and so finding people who are both talented and passionate about what they know and do, and then engaging with them for their expertise is possibly one of the most important habits I’ve learned over time. It comes down to building your network, in the past it was a rolodex and today it’s about the people you know across various online platforms – the key is to never be afraid to pick up the phone.
What advice would you give your younger self?
“Hey Nate, there really is something to this blockchain stuff” … I’m kidding, I think the advice I would give to my younger self would be to never give up, and to focus on continuous improvement. Most importantly, never forget to have fun along the way. We get one opportunity to experience life and if life is just simply a daily grind, you will lose your passion. Indulge a bit, take the time to enjoy the people in your life and never be afraid to experience new things.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I think the opposite is true. Of course we all have to network, push forward and find opportunities, and a lot of that does come from the people you know and the contacts you make. However, time and again, I would take an expert over a socialite. These are the people who can help you realize your vision, bring your ideas to life and can share in your passion.
As a business leader, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I dedicate time to my family and friends. While I know it sounds small and even a simple gesture – it goes back to how I start my day. The people in my life are part of my journey as an entrepreneur. It’s with their support that I am able to do what I love. Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to maintain work life balance, especially when you are just starting a project or company. Reminding yourself why you are doing this and taking a minute to appreciate those around you is something I recommend everyone does.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Recognizing talent has been a staple in the businesses and organizations I’ve built. Rewarding and acknowledging the people who are with the organization long enough to prove they are dedicated and capable can be a huge benefit to any operation. These individuals know the in’s and out’s, they have become accustomed to the culture and just like anybody else, they are on the lookout for opportunities to fully leverage their skills and abilities.
What is one failure you had as a business leader, and how did you overcome it?
At times I’ve taken on too much, becoming hyper focused and letting other parts of my life fall to the wayside. Organization is how I have overcome these difficulties. Organization at home and in my life has helped me to organize the way I work and the business I am building. It might sound simple, but depending on the pace of your lifestyle, adjusting habits, creating new ones and having an open mind are part and parcel with success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
We have a continuously growing list of blockchain platforms, tools and resources, but nobody helping businesses integrate. In theory the technology is not overly complex, but implementing these tools and resources is. I would like to see some organizations focused on business level adoption. Help clients determine if they even need a blockchain platform, and which ones are right for them and their business models. Consumer adoption of cryptocurrency is only half the battle, business implementation is a large part of the next steps.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought some yard equipment. I love doing work around the house and on my property. It’s something manual that helps me disconnect for a short period of time. I get my headphones on and do some landscaping. It is an opportunity for some, “me time”, where I can unplug, blow off steam, and still feel productive.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Currently, a lot of the work we do is online and done by our team remotely. We have built our teams in real-time communication infrastructure around Slack. Of course we use email, cloud storage and are integrating a project manager – but the slack platform has a lot to offer in centralizing and streamlining team communications.
What is your favorite quote?
Someone once told me, “Stay uncomfortable,” meaning don’t get complacent, find opportunity and don’t wait for it. When I get that feeling, I know it’s the right path for me, doesn’t matter how hard, I start to pursue it.