Danny Iny of Mirasee is a life long entrepreneur. Over the years he has been able to figure out what works when it comes to business and built a multiple-seven figure company with a team of over 30 people world wide.
Danny's company, Mirasee, helps customers build a profitable business through education, coursework, and coaching. Mirasee's methods offer a hands on appoach with students meaning they'll get a personal coach in addition to the trainings.
Here's what he has to say...
Why did you decide to start an online business?
That's an interesting question. I’ve been an entrepreneur for longer than my adult life. I quit school when I was 15 to start my first business. So why start a business? That was always the default. A lot of people need a reason to be an entrepreneur as opposed to having a job, this was always the default. I’d need the reason to go get a job. That would be weird to me.
Why an online business? Why the current business? It’s actually a funny story. My background is trying to build bigger funded venture-backed tech startups. The last one that I tried to build in 2007, 2008 - we raised a bunch of money and the markets crashed and it fell apart all around me. I walked away from that with about a quarter of a million dollars in debt.
That’s financially devastating. When it falls apart that way it’s like going through a really bad breakup. It’s just really emotionally tough. You’re not ready to go out there and start dating right away so as I was looking for like, “What I should do next?” I was looking for the online business. I liked the idea that I could do it on the side, I didn’t have to raise much money, the stakes were lower. It was more casual. It was basically my rebound business, but it worked out.
What are big projects you’ve been working on?
The thing that has really been top of mind for me is Teach and Grow Rich. It just came out in second edition. I published the first decision in September of 2015 and it was very well received - a couple of 5 star reviews which I’m very gratified by.
It was very much a manifesto - it was like my best ideas and thoughts on the topic and I published quickly, self published, because it was timely. I wanted to get it out there. Over the course of a couple years and tons of reader feedback and working with thousands of aspiring course builders I just had a lot more to say. So the second edition is literally three times as long, it’s a lot more meat on the bones, and it just came out. So that’s all of my focus and attention.
Who is Teach and Grow Rich built for?
Teach and Grow Rich is designed for anyone who is intrigued and interested in the idea of building and selling online courses as a way of generating income through impact.
Why online courses for you? What drew you to that platform?
It’s not mutually exclusive at all, we do publish content on our blog and podcast and YouTube, etc. A key distinction I make in the books is the difference between information versus education.
Both are important, both are valuable, but they serve different purposes. Information is great for expanding people’s horizons, showing them what’s possible they didn’t know before, integrating new knowledge into existing expertise.
It is not good for taking people from a level of capability to a higher level. Information alone cannot affect that kind of transformation, for that we need education. Information is typically cheap or free, education commands a premium.
Information is something we share a lot of, but it can only take people so far and if we’re going to take responsibility for the success of our community as a leader should then you need to provide a richer experience.
And that means either working with them intensively through a private coaching, mentoring, consulting capacity that doesn’t scale, or designing an educational experience that does.
When you were getting started with your businesses, were there any consistent struggles that you found yourself having to deal with and overcome?
That’s a really interesting question because I find that life keeps bringing you the same struggle until you figure it out, and then that stops being a struggle so life brings you new struggles. And that’s how life is. As long as you’re growing and taking on things that you haven’t done before.
I can’t point to any one thing because I’ve been fortunate enough to experience enough things that come with a wide variety of challenges.
Was there any one moment where you realized “This is actually working, this is a real thing?”
There is a lot of little lightbulb moments like that. Again, speaking to the psychology of being an entrepreneur: Being an entrepreneur involves a lot of failure. It involves taking on things that are hard and haven’t been done before. What that means is if you’re dreaming big enough, your failure rates are going to be pretty high. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just part of the course.
Eventually, you’ve kind of done it long enough that you have a good ratio of successes to failures, but when you’re just starting out, it is mostly just failures.
You have a vision for what you can create, but it’s not really there yet. What I’ve found is that a lot of early stage entrepreneurs develop this need for validation so when something does work there is kind of this internal voice that’s like, “Ah ha! I told you! I knew I could do it!”
We latch onto all of the little wins to say, “Yes, it’s working, I’m on the right path.”
Sometimes it’s big things, sometimes it’s really little things. But it’s very important to celebrate those wins.
What is the best part of running your own business?
It’s the freedom to do the things that you care about and that matter to you. Part of that is about lifestyle design, and for some people that means living out of a suitcase and traveling the world. I have small children - that’s the last thing I want.
For me it means I can go home in the middle of the day and play with my kids - that’s what I want to do.
I live in Montreal where the weather is very extreme depending on the time of year. In the winter I’ll stay in and work because what else am I going to do - and in the summer it’s beautiful and I can take off work and take my kids and go to the park and I love that I can do that.
In terms of the actual work, I get to decide what work I want to do and who I want to work with. It’s such a privilege to do work that you find meaningful to deliver and you’re doing it for people who you believe what they’re trying to do and you appreciate the interactions with them and they appreciate what you’re bringing to the table.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The key is to get started. People are afraid that they’re going to get started and they’re going to stumble and they’re going to fail. That’s par for the course.
There is a quote - I forget who said it - but it’s, “If at first you don’t succeed you’re running about average.” And that’s important to keep in mind, right? You need to skin your knees a bit, you need to get some of those scrapes on the way.
Just get out there, try something. If it doesn’t work, that’s OK. Learn from it and try something again. The biggest difference that I see between the people who ultimately build something meaningfully successful and the people who don’t is that the people who do have a bias towards action. Not if, but when they stumble they pick themselves up and keep on going.
What are your big plans for the future?
I’m always pushing to reach more people and to refine and improve my message. I talk to students sometimes who are like, “Oh look, you’ve built so much! You’re so successful!” and I’ve been fortunate to have some level of success and I’m very grateful to have a team of people working for me and to work with a lot of students who are doing really great things building and selling courses using my methodologies but when I look at the grand scheme of things at the opportunity of the world I’ve done like this much of it. We are always pushing much harder to grow and reach and impact more people.
The way we do that is working with students. A big part of why I’m excited about teaching people to build and sell courses is because it’s the first domino. I get to knock over that domino that empowers people to knock over their dominos - I just want to do more of that.
Danny was interviewed as a Change Maker - a featured entrepreneur in Teachable's weekly email newsletter - Make Change Weekly. The Friday roundup features curated content to make money outside of the 9-5. To sign up for Make Change, enter your email below.