I am fired up to have another amazing guest on the show today. It’s definitely been a long time coming. Today I am excited to announce that I have Mark Wade on the show! This is the first time we’ve had him on the podcast, and I am so excited. He has such an amazing story, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
You’ll be able to see that everyone is human, and we all have fears and internal struggles that they have to overcome. Mark will talk about that today and how he has overcome these in his own life. He will also share some things today that he’s never shared with anyone else before.
We’re going to go through a lot of different areas in his life and paint a clear picture of how he got to where he is today and how he is overcome all the struggles and problems that he has faced. Let’s get right to it!
How Mark Discovered His Passion
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a Dr. I’ve always felt the need to feel important, of value, and help people along. I had shadowed a neurosurgeon in highschool and a cosmetic surgeon in college. Also, I have two doctorates and over 30 certificates.
So, I made the decision to join the national guard right after highschool. At the time, they would pay for your college if you joined. That was the only option I had to get my college paid for.
During my sophomore year of college, I was pulled out of my undergrad and premed classes and was sent to Iraq. During my time there, I saw death up close and personal for the first time. I realized that I hadn’t yet created a legacy that would live on. Then, I vowed that if I made it home, I would live the rest of my life doing everything I could to create a lifelong legacy.
Next, I learned so many different lessons during my time while I was in Iraq. Since then, I have always had afire within me that feels like nothing is never enough and always have the desire to continue to grow and push forward no matter how much success I see.
If I knew from the start just how difficult things would be that I had set out to do, I would probably never do it again. My business partner and I decided that we wanted to start a foreign country practice and ended up moving to Italy.
We opened a clinic there and had to do everything through a translator because we didn’t speak Italian and our patients didn’t speak English. The first year was very difficult, and we struggled to get by every month. We took loans out left and right and got personal loans from our family members for over a year. We literally invested everything we had and blew through all of our savings during that time.
How We Founded the American Posture Institute
My business partner and I never lacked ambition or effort. We were willing to do whatever it took as long as we had a clear path and knew what to do. We didn’t have enough money to invest in coaches, mentors, or training programs. Every month, we’d read a book, present it to each other, and discuss how we would implement the changes that we read about in the business.
By month six, we discovered the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and realized that we needed to hyper-specialized instead of doing a little bit of everything.
We focused on posture and quickly grew our business after that. The more you specialize and niche down, the more hyper-focused you get and the more opportunities you’ll have. You’ll be able to put all your attention to it and put all your time learning about that specific topic and working on that thing so you can become an industry expert. You’ll also be able to establish yourself in a sub-niche and give people something to know you by.
A few years after we had opened the clinic, we founded the “American Posture Institute.” It didn’t become a success overnight, but it did grow much quicker than the clinic had because we learned from it.
We made the decision to host a virtual summit and made $32,000 on the first one. We next created an online certification that was successful. From there we started running multiple summits every year and had an entire team focused solely on running these yearly summits. There was a lot of work that went into each one. It was too much work in the long run.
From there, I set out to build the first platform ever dedicated to host virtual summits. At the time, I didn’t intend to go into the SaaS industry. We built it for ourselves. Once we realized there was a need for this type of product. We then decided to offer it to other people.
We had the option to hire a CEO, but instead, I decided to step up and help run it. I got a taste of helping people get their message out to the world. Next, I would start to see the impact that these people were having and wanted more. I realized that I could make a bigger impact by helping other people get their message out. I knew I was hooked.
Mark’s Experience in the SaaS Industry
If I had any clue how hard or expensive it would have been to create a SaSS company, I probably wouldn’t have jumped into it as I did. The American Posture Institute was doing very well at the time, so it wasn’t necessarily my primary focus. When we were in practice, we could see a couple of thousand patients a week, but we could see hundreds of thousands of people each week with the American Posture Institute.
For the new software, we brought someone in to vet U.S.-based software development companies, which is way more expensive than doing it offshore. We also decided to do a discovery stage to decide whether or not we wanted to move forward.
The dev team did over 100 interviews with people who have hosted, attended, or coached at summits. It allowed us to see if there was an interest in the product and see if there is an actual need for this. The discovery process cost over $40,000. We found that there was no other product like ours. In the end, it was well worth it.
I literally wrote in story format every step a person would take as they used the software. I’m not a detailed person. So that took me forever, but I learned a lot. It took a year of development, and we soft-launched at the end of 2017. The software has been open to the public for three years. I’ve never missed a dev meeting. I love seeing the idea that I have in my mind become a reality.
How to Decide Where to Spend Your Time
Our community has grown so close over this year. More people see what we have in our universe and want to be a part of it. Don’t focus on building other people’s universe. Focus on building your own. Once you do other people will want to be a part of it! It’s all about deciding where you want to spend your time and effort.
I’m excited to announce that we’re launching the first update of our software in just a few weeks. It’s been a year in the making, and we’ve got a lot of feedback to improve it. Summits are thriving right now, especially because of the pandemic, so it’s a good time to release the next version. Summits have been around since 2005 and are not going anywhere anytime soon.
There are still days that I question what I’m doing and face challenges every day.
That was an amazing interview! Mark is a good example of how to overcome your fears, trust your gut and accomplish your goals! If anything, I hope you see that it’s ok to work and improve yourself and become a better you over time.
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Take-Aways From Today’s Episode
- How Mark Discovered His Passion (6:01)
- How We Founded the American Posture Institute (13:36)
- Mark’s Experience in the SaaS Industry (23:56)
- How to Decide Where to Spend Your Time (45:01)
“Don’t focus on building other people’s universe. Focus on building your own”.
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