Sean Evans has been a serial entrepreneur practically his whole life. His first company was started during his second year of attending business school in Oregon. Sean sold that business and leveraged the profits from the sale to move to the warmth of Southern California – all at the age of 25. Sean moved to pursue two things; First, life in a warmer climate. Second, Sean was pursuing his next ventures.
Sean is currently based in San Diego. He tells people all the time – San Diego [California] has everything anyone could want in a big city and nothing you don’t. There’s the big city vibe. Then also the safe community feel of Little Italy or Coronado Island. To Sean, San Diego truly is a great city! San Diego cultivates entrepreneurs and combines a surf culture mentality with hard work and ingenuity. Not to mention the 78 degrees and sun year-round.
“l Iove the idea of starting a business and creating a community and a product/service where there formerly was nothing!” he says. Every Thanksgiving during his childhood Sean would visit his family’s cattle farm. He saw it change from its humble start into the Winery that now stands in that same location. Sean Evans grew up in Davis, CA – just between 45 minutes or so from Napa Valley. His love and knowledge of wine became the foundation for his latest venture, My Wine Society, which received a huge $16M valuation in 2019.
My Wine Society is a multi-channel media platform and community that aspires to be known as the Barstool Sports for wine lovers. Starting out as an online publication, My Wine Society now helps wine lovers connect online, at home, and in person. Available as an iPhone app, My Wine Society is also connecting with fans through their monthly wine loyalty subscription, and through live events known as Blended Festivals featuring wines, culinary experiences, wellness lounges, and live performances from the world’s top musicians like Kaskade, Nelly, Lil Jon and more.
Where did the idea for My Wine Society come from?
The name of our company is My Wine Society, a social engagement platform for the global wine community. I launched the app to be the mobile solution for wineries to have a platform for member and fan engagement AFTER they left their tasting room.
A big issue I was hearing from my interviews with winery owners was that they didn’t know how to connect with millennials. Multiple wine companies were struggling with the same issue of reaching people after a great experience and some fine wine in a tasting room.
The My Wine Society app solves both those issues.
Passionate wine drinkers now have a virtual space to share their wine journey stories, track their tasting notes, win free prizes, and visit wineries around the world – all from their phone!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days are fairly structured the same when I have work.
6:00 AM – I am getting my workout and prepping my day.
8:30 AM – I am in the office, through my first cup of venti iced coffee and through at least a dozen emails.
12:00 PM – Go on a power-walk through SD Downtown/Little Italy area
6:00 PM – Wrapping up my day and making sure I completed everything I needed to to make this company successful!
7:00 PM – Heading to my workout.
8pm/9pm- I’m settling in for some mental relaxation. Usually, this time is spent on non-world news, looking at my schedule for the next day, and probably a glass of wine!
There’s always wine.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’ve been maintaining a single google document where I keep all my hunches – ideas for all my companies, articles, speeches, software features, marketing, and more. My mind is constantly on thoughts of progress. Notes are important to see entrepreneurial growth on any level.
I also like to text my ideas in our staff group chat because we are always sending each other ideas to improve the business and grow and we keep each other focused.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The growth of digital platforms and creative brand activations in the Live Events Industry is exciting to be observing. The blending of the separation between digital and actual experiences makes business opportunities even more interesting!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My greatest success is the ability to learn from my mistakes and never making them again. Successful entrepreneurs would tell you that mistakes are easy to come by and people love to point them out when you make them. I don’t want people to point them out for me.
I try to learn the lesson and apply it so I never make the same mistake twice.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It may sound like very familiar advice – be patient. Life is long and if you try to get everything too fast, you end up doing a lot of things poorly instead of a few things really really well. Take your time, have a plan, and be patient.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I actually have a saved station on YouTube that plays motivational talks from the likes of Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk. I listen to it every morning after my workout while I’m getting ready. I’ve heard most of them before but I find that starting the day with someone in your ear reminding you to be positive and to chase your beliefs and never waiver.
I think it’s important especially as an entrepreneur as you tend to hear “no” or “that’s not possible” or “that’s too hard” a lot!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Businesses do not operate themselves. Finding the right people to make the business simply what it is today is an important strategy. Years of networking and talking to people really show you how to choose them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Every step of the way is a new challenge, especially with this project. There has never been a social media app for wine ever before. We’re intending to disrupt an industry. By definition, there is no blueprint. Getting others to believe in the project proves to be difficult sometimes. We’ve tackled that through sheer enthusiasm and hard work and once you get a few people to buy in, the rest seem to follow!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google! Specifically Google Tasks. Google has almost every business need covered.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My father has been published 6 times, so I would probably recommend one of his books. “Caribbean Prisoner” was just released and is a great one. His name is Scott Evans.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s more of a poem than a quote. There is a line from the poem Invictus by William Ernst Henley. That reads ”…It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, for I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul…” it reminds me to never play the part of the victim and always control my own destiny:
- Everyone is either going into a crazy time in their business, coming out of a crazy time, or they’re in a crazy time. No matter which part of the storm you’re in, it will come and it will pass.
- It’s important to keep a level head and just keep pushing forward. I’ve never closed one of my companies, even in the worst of times.
- You’ll always find a way back into the light and be successful as long as you keep moving forward!
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.