Marcus Taylor is today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
His entrepreneurial journey has led him through many different dots, and its the joining of his dots that are so remarkable.
He is the Founder & CEO of Venture Harbour, a digital innovation studio in Oxfordshire that has built a multi-million dollar portfolio of highly-automated online businesses with zero
funding inc. SaaS tools, comparison sites, and more recently, MacOS apps.
Marcus also developed the World's first scientifically-valid method of measuring human comfort zones and has been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30.
But his dots to success started at a very early age indeed.
Marcus started building websites at age 10 and, by age 25, had bootstrapped a multi-million-pound portfolio of online businesses with zero funding.
Like most teenagers, Marcus didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He did know he loved music, so he DJ’d on weekends, converted his mum’s care-home into a recording studio when it was empty, and taught himself to code websites for bands.
Unknown to him at the time, these side-hustles gave Marcus a taste of entrepreneurship that would turn out to be invaluable.
Instead of going to university, Marcus spent his late teenage years working at an Oxford-based digital marketing agency where he shadowed and was mentored by one of the UK’s most respected search marketers, Kevin Gibbons.
And that is the perfect place to start todays show.
So does he feel that most people have to go through that stage of "I don't know what I want to do in life" to find the real path waiting for them?
And why does he feel that most people out there are frozen in the "creating my own income is such an amazingly risky thing to do"?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Marcus Taylor.
During the show we discussed with Marcus Taylor such weighty topics such as:
How we can easily find ourselves in a position where we feel isolated and disconnected from our peer group. This is simply showing personal growth.
Why its so important to just try stuff at the beginning to find out what sticks. Don't make it perfect as it never will be.
Marcus talks about the times where he thinks that business growth occurs more rapidly by actually slowing down.
BIG NEWS: You will hear the birth of a brand new business which could take the swine industry across the world by storm....this is massive.
How To Connect With Marcus Taylor
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If you enjoyed this episode with Marcus Taylor why not check out other inspirational chat with Clayton Morris, Roz Savage and the amazing Jason Lewis
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Marcus Taylor Interview
When we're young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here's your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph 0:25
Yes, hello. Good morning to you. Good morning, everyone across the world. And welcome to the United Kingdom. Yes, we've got two sexually attractive guys from the United Kingdom on the podcast today. And it's a it's a wonderful day because we're getting a little bit of blue sky. And if you've lived in the United Kingdom this month, it's been terrible. The web it's been terrible. But now it's overcast, it's a bit blurry and I'm getting a bit sweaty as I'm recording in my laptop recording studio. So if you hear me starting to strip halfway through the show past the reason is not because the guest as he's doing anything untoward. To me, it's just a pat pat is getting a little bit hot and sweaty. But let's bring him on today's show because he is a guest, who is joining us on the show because of his entrepreneurial journey. And it's one that's led him through many different dots. And it's the joining of these dots, but it's so fascinating. He's the founder and CEO of venture Harbor, a digital innovation studio in Oxford cheer has built a multimillion dollar portfolio of highly automated online businesses with zero funding, including si s tools, comparison sites, and a lot of other stuff as well. Now he also developed the world's first scientifically valid method of measuring human comfort zones, and has been featured in the Forbes 30 under 30. But he sees dots to success, but started at a very early age indeed which fascinate me. Now he started building websites at age 10. And by age 25. He bootstrapped a multimillion pound portfolio of online businesses with zero funding and like most teenagers, he didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He didn't know he loved music, so he DJ on weekends converted his mum's care home into a recording studio when he was empty, and taught himself to code websites for bands. And unknown to him at the time, these side hustlers gave him a taste of entrepreneurship that would turn out to be invaluable. Now instead of going to university. Now you don't want to do that you don't want to do that people get out there get out on the cutting edge. He spent his late teenage years working at Oxford based a digital marketing agency, where he shadowed and was mentored by one of the UK his most respected search marketers, Kevin Gibbons, and that is the perfect place to start today's show. So does he feel that most people have to go through that stage of what I want to do in life, to find the real power of waiting for them? And why does he feel that most people out there are frozen? Or does he feel like that in the creating my own income is such an amazingly risky thing to do? Well, let's find out as we bring on to the show to start join up dots with the one hand only. Yes, the second best looking person in the United Kingdom, Mr. Marcus Taylor. Good morning, Marcus. How are you?
Marcus Taylor 3:11
Great to be here. Thanks for having me on David.
David Ralph 3:13
But how does it feel being in second place? That's not bad. You got somewhere to work towards there.
Marcus Taylor 3:18
Oh, I don't know who's been judging.
David Ralph 3:23
It's a very small judging pool, I grant you. And I've got a big gold pasir in front of me. And every now and again, I just press it and I go straight to where I want straight, fluted judges, spouse or whatever. It's brilliant. Now, let's get on with you. Because you've got so much in your, your history, and you're still a young man, You swine. How old are you?
Marcus Taylor 3:46
So I'm I'm 28. Now,
David Ralph 3:49
you're 28? And do you feel 28? Or do you feel like a haggard individual like I do, because I'm coming up? 50? I know, it's hard to believe. But I'm coming up 50. And I just thought I in many ways, life has been hard to me, Marcus, do you feel the same?
Marcus Taylor 4:04
I do. There are definitely days where I feel I'm 28 going on 50? I definitely do. Yeah, I some days more so than others. But yeah, definitely.
David Ralph 4:13
And is that because you've got a lot going on? Or is it because I think in entrepreneurship, a lot of the energy that goes out of you is the kind of doing stuff that you don't know it's going to work, you spend a lot of time playing and putting energy and funding into certain things, but actually ends up like a dead duck, do you find the same?
Marcus Taylor 4:35
Definitely. And I think the thing of entrepreneurship is, it's kind of like, it's definitely an accelerant to the, to the learning. And, dare I say kind of wisdom process. Like I think when you create companies and you create products, you just rapidly accelerate this kind of learning, wisdom process that it always feels like aging without a so you're becoming smarter, you're becoming wiser, but you're not becoming you're not becoming physically older. So it's a very kind of weird thing to like, most of my friends are like five to 10 years older than me at least just because at a sort of an intellectual level, we were so different stages. I I think that sounds a little bit. I don't want to be like mine Trump in any way. But that's kind of how I definitely how I feel. Sometimes
David Ralph 5:24
I know what you mean, because I do think there is a journey that you go on, where actually, you end up in a position where you don't feel connected to anyone you don't feel connected to the people used to hang around with because their paths haven't kind of gone in the same way. And you're not quite up to the level of the people in front of you. So you had this like this bubble of who do I actually feel closest to?
Marcus Taylor 5:50
Definitely, yeah, like definitely
David Ralph 5:52
like, you, you you were so stand by that there was a pose I thought you'd bought in asleep bear markets and just sort of just that's how pretty die get you see, it's not just flippant responses. For me. It's the profound stuff. So So when he was 10 years old, why will you not involved in like Power Rangers and things like that? Why were you building websites and creating online income and businesses or were you know, were you just playing around.
Marcus Taylor 6:19
So at 10 years old, I was kind of just starting to play around with computers. So my, my dad was a, he was a programmer at the time. And he one day he brought home This old like, RM It was like an RM Compaq computer. And he was very kind of keen to me to learn, like how it was made, and take it apart, and, you know, start to figure this stuff out. And I just fell in love with it, I just found it so fascinating how computers were made. And then it was a sort of a short leap to then start using our time it was it was Microsoft front page, these kind of, you know, very early web builders, I think, you know, when I was sort of 13 or so I had, you know, my dad had helped me build my website, I, you know, FTP up these images every, every few weeks of what was going on, it was kind of like blogging before blogging was a you know, it was a known term. And, and from there, it just, you know, just sort of, as a very organic thing, like I in hindsight, it sounds a bit sad. But when I was growing up, every Christmas or birthday, I've asked for a bigger hard drive or more RAM from my computers. It was just it was just what I love why, you know, it was very passionate about and I had no idea that it would lead on to anything that would sort of connect with a career. But yeah, this is why I enjoyed spending my time on.
David Ralph 7:45
And then do you think that's one of the issues? It's a leading question, but I speak to so many people out there. And they kind of say, Yeah, I want the perfect idea. I want to know, and I kind of want to say to them that he just do stuff, I mean something vaguely in the direction of what you like, and vain, start doing stuff and do more stuff. And sometimes because I never felt that I would be when I was in podcasting in any shape or form. I never dreamt that I was going to create a sort of multiple six figure income through talking on a microphone and being an idiot most of the time, but it just kind of lead into stuff. The dots just join up dots.
Marcus Taylor 8:23
Definitely, yeah, I think the best thing that the best like advice for you know, someone who's not quite figured that out is absolutely as you say, like just do stuff. Because everything that you do is either going to be it's going to, you know, teach you something that takes you closer to what you want to do off of away from what you don't want to do. And you know, in my teenage years, I you know, I didn't do very well in school, I came out with CS and you know, but
David Ralph 8:53
were you just bored with it? Or were you already was your mind already on to the there's what was happening in your bedroom kind of stuff?
Marcus Taylor 9:01
Yeah, it was kind of just a
sort of the book that really unlocked this, for me was emotional intelligence, which made me kind of realize like my, you know, where I have intelligence is not in the sort of the typical academic sense. But I had a lot of kind of intelligence in the in the creative areas. So I loved music, I loved creating music I loved, you know, the entrepreneurship side, like I just love creating things, and fusing creativity with technical problem solving. But that's not something that you get good grades for in school necessarily. And so, you know, it didn't in hindsight, it's unsurprising that at school, I felt very much like, you know, this is boring, this is not really a good representation of, you know, challenges in the real world. And so I wanted to just, you know, spend my time focusing on what I felt were more interesting challenges, which were, you know, I, I wrote a book when I was 16, a record label, I ran events around Oxfordshire, at least this felt to me more like kind of interesting problems and interesting challenges that I was learning a lot from.
David Ralph 10:10
But why do you think that school isn't about interesting stuff, because my son, and I'm going to be very transparent on this at the moment, I'm just teaching my son to drive. And we almost died on around about last night where he got confused on these gears, we went round it at in fourth gear, and he shouted, Oh, Jesus, I had to grab hold of the will. And it was it was a little bit scary. But we've got to this point of teaching him to drive because he found his max numerous times. And I said to him, I, I do it with you, I do it with you. And we will go through it. And so the very first night, I was into Marcus, I was going to be a match genius. And I sat there with him. I said, what we're going to be doing two hours every night. And we will breeze through this. And the first night was fine. Because I was doing maps, I thought I can understand why we would use this. This is this is good. I've been the next night I thought this is bit stupid. Unless you're Stephen Hawkins, you're never going to use this. And my motivation went down and down, even though every night I was dragging him along because I wanted to get him through. Now, if I feel like that as a 50 year old, no wonder the kids feel like that. It's just it's just boring stuff that I can't connect with.
Marcus Taylor 11:22
Yes, you know, everyone is so different. Right? Like, it's I think the the education system that we have, at the moment, it's, you know, there's a lot of remnants from the the Industrial Revolution age where, you know, we were training, we're training students due to work in factories, like the skills that we were teaching today and are not reflective of the society that we're in and, and that says, true, you know, the content as it is for the actual the structure and, you know, things like the, you know, the way that exams are structured, putting everyone through the through the same standardized tests, like none of it makes sense, objective sense, if you were to look like if, you know, if you were an alien stepping into 2019, and you look to the education system, and you were tasked with designing something that made sense for, you know, for the for the time that we're in, it would look nothing like, I would imagine that the system that we have so but it's it's, you know, it's like trying to turn around a walk in great shape, it's not a changing the education system is not, it's, it's not a simple challenge, right. So it, you know, we are in this sort of very slow process of, of fixing some of that stuff, but it really doesn't surprise me because, you know, everyone has such unique interests, such unique passions and, and so it, you know, to assume that every child is going to be engaged or willing to to learn about, you know, trigonometry and theoretical. You know, like problem solving is it just makes no sense. Like, some people just want to dance. Some people want to write music, some people want to, you know, everyone has different things. And I think it needs to reflect that.
David Ralph 13:04
I agree. Totally. I sat at the dinner table the other night with my family. And Chris hems work was on the TV and Chris hems worth of people that don't know plays for. And he's a very unattractive guy. He's about six foot five. He's got muscles everywhere. He's probably the perfect man. I hate to say that. But He's the perfect man. And I was saying to my kids, that is amazing that he looks like that. And I look like I do. Why are humans as far as I could see, the only people who can actually look different from each other? You know, you don't get a pig that's walking along, that looks really ripped, and massively, a pig is a pig. And a peacock is a peacock. And they all look the same? Why is it that humans look different? And we had this discussion for about 20 minutes all these kids within throwing their theories in why it's and I still don't know the answer. I don't know the answer. And I'm going to throw it out to you, Marcus, because you're a youngster. One is it but you never see a bath pig, but has been like, you know, looks totally different from the other peaks. Why? Why is humans The only ones who can do that?
Marcus Taylor 14:10
I have to admit, that's, that's not a question I was
on an entrepreneurship podcast, I'll have a crack at it. And in very market style of fashion, I'm going to go for a overly logical and very kind of technical response to this. I think it's from, from my understanding, I think it's something to do with the fact that I think humans are the only it's something you like the prefrontal cortex, like, We're one of the only species that can basically think about the future, if you take like a cat or a pig, they, they, they only, they can only really focus on the present moment, they don't have. Yeah, they can't think about what they want that they like to be like in 510 years. And that's an amazing gift. It's what enables entrepreneurship, it's what enables, you know, aspiration, all these things that that make humans such a relatively superior species compared to too many animals. And so I think it is this is because we can think about what we want to be like, in five years time, 10 years time, there's kind of this ability to then plan and put together a, like motivate ourselves to go to the gym or to to stick to a diet or to hustle on a project. Because we can see the possible outcome, which I think a pig would not be able to process that.
David Ralph 15:33
Well, I'm going to take this further now. So we're going to hear some motivational words. And then we're going to come back because that's what join up dots is all about, you don't want this entrepreneurial stuff you want this, this deep rooted entrepreneur concept that we've just come up with his Oprah,
Oprah Winfrey 15:47
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this. What is the next one move. And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it? Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you're not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph 16:18
Why is that if we take this pig, who's in his style, and he's looking around thinking there's gotta be a lot more to life than this. And he doesn't feel like it in all buffing that because he can't project that far because of he's he's frontal. Whatever it was, you said, You're clever markers, he's going to my head. But would we say that the pig would be a better entrepreneur because he can stay focused in the present and not get overwhelmed and focused by what hasn't been done? More than what he is doing? van? Mr. Claims Chris Haynesworth who can Buffett up with the best of them? What do you think? Is the pig the perfect metaphor? For the perfect entrepreneur?
Marcus Taylor 16:58
I would so I would argue you that the pig, maybe a happier entrepreneur, but but worse or less kind of objectively successful, what
Unknown Speaker 17:07
can you say?
David Ralph 17:09
You can't say that Marcus Kenya?
Marcus Taylor 17:13
Well, it depends on what we're comparing it against. This is pig versus human, right?
Unknown Speaker 17:17
Marcus Taylor 17:18
Yeah, yeah. So I think I think the President focus is, is the kind of that's going to be like the key to the, to the happiness component, right? Like, if you're president focused, you're likely to be be very happy. But if you can't plan ahead, if you can't look at like, you know, what's the 135 years from now, I think that's the component that that is required for building the building and great companies. And if a pig doesn't have that, then the pig is the pig is not going to be the optimal entrepreneur,
David Ralph 17:50
unless he creates a bacon company and gets all these mates to sort of, to walk into a small room and never come out again, that that's what he could do. But it's interesting, because he does that. Yeah. Does that Mr. pig? So what I think about in entrepreneurship, and I'll be interested in your viewpoint, is I have had some terrible times really, where I've been so focused on what I haven't done, because I can see the bigger picture of what I need to do. But actually, I ran around in circles not doing anything at all, I was just kind of, I lost my clarity. Have you had those times in your own life where you think to yourself, Oh, God, I should have done this. And I should have done that. But actually, if we put our pic mask on, we would have just been perfectly okay, where we were?
Marcus Taylor 18:36
Definitely, definitely unlike the I mean, the nature of the company, I run venture harbors like because we have all these different ventures that we run there there are definitely times when you know, there's there's so many different things I could be focusing on different not just within the ventures but you know, do I focus on bunch a bunch of events, you see, and often, funnily enough, it's, you know, if I go on holiday or go on a trip, and I sort of take a you know, a step back, and you realize, like, you know, like the the Oprah quote that was just play like often it there is just one thing that is the right next step. And so this is why I think it's so important to sort of slow down and you know, not be not be worried kind of, you know, going 100 miles an hour all the time, I think often just taking a step back and realizing like, okay, the reality is I'm not going to be able to do you know, 1000 things tomorrow. So what's the one most important thing that is going to take me close to where it needs to be?
David Ralph 19:37
And would that be simply knowing what your end goal is?
Marcus Taylor 19:42
That's definitely it definitely helps. I think yeah, if you know, it's, you know, it's like the classic was Alice in Wonderland, I think where, you know, if you don't know where you're going, Yeah, powerful, any powerful do like, you've got an, it's definitely going to help knowing what are you trying to achieve? Where are you trying to get? And then that's going to help you, you know, understand what are what are your possible options that you can then prioritize, and find the best one to move forward.
David Ralph 20:09
Because I am very fortunate, I've structured my whole business, but I can turn it on and turn it off. So I can go away for a month and just turn it off. And now I don't have to connect, I don't have to look in I don't have to check. And when I come back in and turn it on again. How is your business structured? Are you constantly trying to get Wi Fi in some Thailand bar? Because you have to sort of them with the beam into the office? Or can you just walk away and leave it to trusted employees?
Marcus Taylor 20:38
Yeah, so it's, it's, it's all systemized so with. So we've venture hub every year, we build a new online business, and then we aim to fully automate that within 18 months. So we only we only kind of build ventures that are by their very nature kind of passive. I'm not a big fan of the the kind of what passive because in reality is, you know, it's not passive, but in the sense that the business model, like, for example, we don't do any work with enterprise companies, we don't we serve, I think about 8 million people a year across all the ventures. Yeah, we don't need to speak to any individual customer, there's no kind of, for me, the litmus test is my entire team could go to, you know, go off to Bali for the next three, four months, and everything would still run, everything would still be kind of, we would come back and likely find the business bigger than when we left. And that's kind of what we really, really
David Ralph 21:32
would you have that urge to check in just to find out?
Marcus Taylor 21:36
Of course, of course.
David Ralph 21:38
So how long could you go without checking in.
Marcus Taylor 21:43
So I've tested this, I try to, every year, I tried to sort of go off grid, and so each year increase the amount of time. So last year, I went to the Arctic, four walls, I think it was a couple of weeks. I think the longest is probably a month but I did sort of you know, check emails, make sure nothing was sort of on fire, but didn't didn't actually have to do any work for that month.
David Ralph 22:13
Because I in my first year of join up dots literally every corner of the world. I was saying Have you got what I thought if you got one if I go and I've been on realize that most people call it with me, which was a bit strange. And you know, with me, and and Ben, I was just trying to log on to find if things were going live. And by the fourth year of join up dots, I literally thought what's the worst that could happen? a podcast episode doesn't go live, you know, no one's gonna die from the fact that podcast episode hasn't gone live, no one's going to die because I haven't responded to an email in three weeks. And I got to a point and I just felt I can deal with everything when I come back. And if that is a case that they haven't had a podcast for four weeks, then suddenly they're going to get a load of them. And they're going to have a lovely few days catching up with me. And that's how I kind of operates. And it really gives me a feeling of liberation, but also, that it's the right business for me, you know, because you've got to build the business that is right for you, no matter what happens, it can be the wrong money can be Marcus.
Marcus Taylor 23:16
Definitely. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, it's rule number one, right? You, your business has to work for you. And that, you know, that comes down to responsibility to you know, you as the entrepreneur, the person creating it, to really define, you know, why am I doing this, what do I want, and then from there, because if you don't do that, the risk is that it's very easy to build a business in someone else's image. And, you know, to follow this or, you know, whatever Tim Ferriss says, or whatever the, you know, what I was involved in Silicon Valley at the moment, but you, you follow the sort of the typical rules for how businesses are built. Whereas if you if you kind of say, Actually I want, you know, a business that allows me to spend, you know, the next year in Thailand that I want, so, you know, it completely changes what, what's the team that you build? What's the product? What's the business model, everything changes, and that's the, that's the amazing thing is like, there's no, there's no set or right way to build or run a business. You You get to make up your own rules. And so, yeah, that's that's like, an it's an evolutionary thing, right? Like you. It you know, over time you sort of grant truly define better define what it is that you want. There's, like, you know, you don't have to get all that right on day one. And there's a degree of like, making mistakes to it to refine that. But hundred percent agree, it's, you know, you've got to know what it is that you want our business.
David Ralph 24:43
And so are you past to kind of comparison virus, that you get one line, if it looks good, I'll look at what they're doing. Oh, Alice is really shabby competitive app, because somebody was reading a book The other day, and it's called the company of one by Paul Jarvis. And if you haven't read it, it's a very good book. And it talks about how so many people want growth for growth's sake, but actually, do you? You know, once once you've got your bills paid, and you're, you're in double income? Is that enough? Did you need millions of listeners and millions of base and millions. And he was talking about the apple pie theory, where, when we look at our business, it's all the ingredients laid out in front of us, and it looks really messy. But when you look at somebody else's business, it looks like the finished apple pie, and everything looks wonderful. And you can't get past your feeling of being inadequate, because you've got your fingers in that pie all the time. And it just seems kind of three quarters down or a bit messy here or a bit messy. Where did you feel that in your own business? Do you look at things and God look at fat that is sexy, that, that that business overview, and ours is a bit rubbish?
Marcus Taylor 25:55
Definitely, I mean, it's a it's a, it's never something that I mean, I still definitely have that. You know, still still go through that. But I'd say over time, I've, I've kind of developed a healthy skepticism of, you know, the sort of looking at other models and businesses and sort of assuming that that's the way to do it. I think now, it's almost the opposite. Or at least I've got a few kind of filters that I will kind of, you know, if I read a book, and it says, you know, and you know, we scaled up to 500 people and the business grew to have hundreds of millions. For me, there are filters that I will then they, you know, put on top of that and say, Well, okay, like, Do I want that? Is that? Is that in line with, with what I want over the next 510 15 years? Or say? And that helps me to sort of just filter out like, what's the right? advice for me and what, what good advice, but for someone else, but not right to me. Because I think that's the key thing that everyone is, like we say, with education, like everyone is so different. And every single business book is written from the perspective of this is what worked for that person. And that the person writing the book is likely be very, very different to you and have different motivations, different needs different skills. And therefore it's, you know, this is why I love like, when I when I pick up a book when I'm kind of seeking out education, I love to kind of understand the person behind it seemed like, Am I is it my kind of personally, am I going to really? Do we want generally the same things? Because I think that helps. It's just a filter for making sure that advice is relevant for you.
David Ralph 27:48
Because you mentioned Tim Ferriss and certainly I read the four hour workweek many years ago. And it was it was a defining book, it was totally defining. And I wonder where he's gone? Because I don't seem like he was he seemed to be everywhere at one stage. But I don't see him at all. Now did did you see Mr. Ferris? Is he still on the Ferris wheel somewhere?
Marcus Taylor 28:10
I think it probably goes with his with the books he's been out because I think the last one he did was like, try try with mentors are tools of Titans. And it's sort of like when he's got a book coming out of you know, naturally sort of see a bit more of him. But um, yeah, I mean, on the on the Tim Ferriss thing like I for a long time that was like this really aspirational model to be able to, you know, travel around the world and run a business and I sort of did that a few years ago. And I just to be honest, I just found it a bit boring. I remember being like, on a train in New Zealand or something and just being like, I actually just love to be, you know, like you said, like, you go everywhere, and you've got to spend, you know, the first half an hour hour of the day finding some way with Wi Fi. And then they're screaming children and I just got very over it very quickly and was like now I'd actually just like to have a, you know, my own office that's kind of I've got a routine every day. And you know, I've got small team that are exceptional building products, building products. And so that for me was another one of these things where, you know, just going through that and try it made me realize this is not like, necessarily for someone This is perfect for someone like before I work week is like the ultimate ideal. Whereas it's not for me like I've tried it and realized it's not it's not fulfilling.
Yeah, it's you know, each each to their own Really?
David Ralph 29:35
Yeah, I know, I agree with you totally. I don't do anything away from my office. I just leave it totally. And people say to me, oh, when you're on vacation, are you going to be recording now I'm no, I'm on vacation. I'm not going to be doing that? Well I started doing now is actually adding a couple of business things in because when I can claim back the travel and business expenses, you know, that kind of stuff. So I do. Yeah, I do wangle something at the beginning of the holiday and at the end, and so I'm in New York suddenly, few weeks time, and I'm going to be recording a couple of podcasts, but then have three weeks in between doing nothing. So um, so but that kind of works out quite well. But away from that. Just happy holiday. Because I I was in was a in St. Lucia, my daughter was getting married in St. Lucia and I was in a complete funk. And so I walked away. By the time I came back from this this wedding, and I've been out there for 12 days. I literally had a year of content came to me. Well, I'll just be strolling around of it. I need a pad. I need a pad I need to write it down. You know? And it was it was just like ideas coming to me because I left it that's got to be the big wind Marcus, isn't it for anyone building a business to actually leave it behind?
Marcus Taylor 30:49
Definitely Yeah, I mean, like every everyone's gonna have like that different you know, different motivations. But but for some people that you know, absolutely.
David Ralph 30:59
I love that. But everything you pre-emptive everyone's different. Everyone I don't I just say it and expect? Well, way Yeah, to buy into it. And if I don't buy into what the old Ralph masters saying, then that not my kind of audience, they're not markers. So are you aware of what other people think and stuff when you help with your mates? Do you kind of go to you should be creating your own businesses brilliant, or do you just keep all your advice to yourself,
Marcus Taylor 31:27
I tend to keep it keep it to myself, really, because I
definitely early on I you know, I was I was sort of the sort of perspective that you know, everyone should be an entrepreneur, this is gray. And, you know, this is the sort of the right way of doing it. But then I kind of, I think a sought after meeting a few people who are, you know, the very, very successful, but in different ways, like I think different people, you know, have different priorities. And, and entrepreneurship is just an option. Like, it's not, it's not the sort of, at least in my view, it's not the kind of the ultimate thing to aim for. It's just, you know, for someone who likes to create things, and, you know, build things in exchange for creating revenue streams, that's brilliant, but if he, you know, if I'm thinking about, you know, my own family and my own circle of friends, I you know, if you, if you are someone who just loves caring for people, and, you know, whatever it might be, then maybe being a Carrey is like the ultimate version of success for you. And building software product products is going to be really unfulfilling. So you know, it's, I think I've just sort of come to the realization that is, is entrepreneurship is brilliant. And it's, I think, generally, it's a healthy thing for most people to at least try. Because there's just so many lessons packed into it. And in a way, it's kind of like going back in time, because if we, if we go back, you know, thousands 10s of thousands of years, effectively, everyone had to be on entrepreneur, in order to survive. That was that was sort of, yeah, you know, effectively where we all come from. But today, there's, you know, there's, there's a lot more options, how you express yourself and what you do to feel fulfilled. I agree
David Ralph 33:14
with you totally, but what, I spend so much time now talking to people saying, I don't think you're right for it, I really don't think you're right for it. But I don't think they should be unhappy in a job either. And that's the thing that I've become really aware of, in the last year or so I, I went up to London, and I met some of my mates who I first met when I was 16 years old. And we worked but not West Bank in 41 Library. And we met in the same pub that we used to meet in when we were in our 20s they were still moaning about the same thing. It was still I've got another 10 years, and then I can retire. It was exactly the same miserable conversation. I don't get back, Marcus, there's so many jobs out there. But you just do something that makes you happy. Even it doesn't earn you as much. Surely it's about being happy and not just going Oh, yeah, another 10 years. I mean, I can get my pension and I can get this, I just couldn't do it.
Marcus Taylor 34:12
Yeah, no, hundred 100%. Like, it's, it's, at the end of the day, like every everything that we do is an exchange to be to be happy, right? Like it's the whole, every time you buy something you're exchanging, you know, yeah, amount of money for something that creates a feeling that that makes you happier. And at the end of the day, that's that's the one sort of thing that it's the one kind of common thing that among everything we do, like I'm an entrepreneur, because in some way, the what that gives me makes me happy. If that's not the case for you, if you aren't doing something that doesn't make you happy, then yeah, change that. But that's definitely a sign that but I guess from a entrepreneurship being a entrepreneurship is an option. It's not, it's not necessarily the option. You may be working in that west bank or you know, whatever it is hating your job. But the the answer for you may be that, you know, it could be something completely different could be going working as a as a nurse or a doctor or like it, but it for you is just what makes you happy. It's not necessarily that entrepreneurship is a really cool one like it's, you know, it's a very good and generally universal option, but not not always the right answer.
David Ralph 35:27
And then where do you come up with your ideas? Because it's all I have to say, yeah, we create a new business each year. But it once you get the ball rolling, did they just keep on coming to you? Or do you sit there going, Oh, my god, oh my god. So what we're doing next year,
Marcus Taylor 35:44
there's a few things that we do to kind of,
kind of accelerate the process. So like, for example, we we pinched from Google, this, this like ratio of like 70% of our time and budget is spent on growing our existing portfolio. 20% is on like our most recent ventures, and then we spend 10% of our time and budget on like just creating new prototypes. Also, we so we take the whole team away to like an Airbnb, somewhere twice a year for like four days. And the purpose of those trips is we have, we have like a little 24 hour hackathon, where we just build, build up ideas. But I would say it's got easier over time, because now now, we mostly just building things that we want for our own portfolio. So things that would help us grow our other 889 businesses that we have, yeah, and generally, if it's something that helps those businesses, then then we sort of put it out to the world and say, you know, something that other people want. But in the early days, that was obviously a little a little bit harder to do. And so early on, it was definitely a little bit more leaning on intuition. And, you know, just following there's, I mean, there's also a ton of great frameworks out there, like we, you know, we applied a lot of stuff for my Lean Startup scaling up, then ambitious stuff. And that was very, very helpful for making sure that, you know, the ideas that were coming up with are not just good ideas, but also good business ideas. Um, but but now it's a little bit different. Now, it's kind of a bit more of a structured approach to r&d.
David Ralph 37:25
I love that. So you've got all these businesses operating, and then you look at their weaknesses, and then go, let's turn that into a strength, which actually helps the whole unit is getting stronger all the time.
Unknown Speaker 37:37
David Ralph 37:39
Tell you what you should do is your next thing, you should create a Jim of the peaks, I think, I think that you would be the person that would be now but to make this work, now, I've heard this.
Marcus Taylor 37:49
Will you be my co founder, this feels like it needs to be a joint project.
David Ralph 37:52
I'll be I will be up to my neck and not. And yeah, so don't forget that the Baptist Muslims, pigs known to man I think, is an image is a logo anyway, isn't it? It's a logo, but would work,
Marcus Taylor 38:06
the logo, the logo would be great. I'm very excited by how we can depict a very buff pig.
David Ralph 38:14
Well, I'm glad I've made another man excited that that's really that's really made my day. But let's play some words now. And these are the words from Steve Jobs. He said these back in 2005. And they're more more relevant every time I hear them. Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs 38:28
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph 39:03
So when you look back to that 10 year old boy asking for really crappy and bizarre Christmas presents, can you can you join up all those dots all the way along the line? Did? Did they all make sense? Or are there some, some big ones, but do and a lot of them have no connection at all?
Marcus Taylor 39:19
It's a really weird journey. I mean, in as you know, the quote, brilliantly kind of says like, in hindsight, it all makes sense. And there's no, if you take any one of those thoughts out, if you take any one of those, those failures, or those big moments that just felt like they were slowing you down at the time, then suddenly it doesn't that it starts to not add up. And you realize that I might not be here if it weren't for that. But yeah, it's strange. Like I until I was like 1617, I was dead set on being a music producer. And building like MySpace websites for bands and figuring out HTML for Neo websites like it was it was very, very strange and a massive tangent to what I'm doing now. But if I hadn't have gone through those, then I wouldn't have had the experiences that enabled me to create the ventures that we have created.
David Ralph 40:13
And his own overriding big dots where you kind of have that, that that that was where the old became sensible to me, it certainly made sense.
Marcus Taylor 40:23
And I think the big dot for me was was discovering online marketing and SEO, because that was the that was the thing that's kind of like, it's still as relevant today to what we're doing as it was when I first discovered it when I was like 16 1516 years old. And it's what enabled me to connect with the people that had the biggest impact. And I think that's often the thing, like it's, the event itself was not necessarily too impactful. But it's it's the people that that event that led to me meeting and connecting with, and it was those people that have, you know, the major impact on on the path that I ended up taking.
David Ralph 41:05
I love what you're doing. And it just seems so controlled to me, I know that it would have been quite messy at the beginning. But now I keep coming back to what we just spoke about that your business is getting stronger and stronger by your ability to play and become more creative. This seems to me perfect in many ways, Marcus?
Marcus Taylor 41:26
Definitely. Yeah, it's, I mean, being in it definitely still has its sense of being kind of chaotic. And, uh, you know, and so many things that are not controlled day to day, but, but overall, like, if I look at it from a sort of a year to year basis, we, you know, we are just, we, you know, we were doing exactly the same as what we did, when we started, which is, you know, we have this, this kind of mess of problems. And we're just picking it and day by day just, you know, building systems that, that make those problems, obviously, in the future and just over time that that builds strength in the company, and allows us to move to where we need to
Unknown Speaker 42:05
David Ralph 42:06
and would you ever have any desires to create like, offline products, you know, like, a sexy home vo or something that would solve a problem in the real world.
Marcus Taylor 42:17
In the in the wise words of Justin Bieber, I would never say never, never say never, like I have no, no aspiration at the moment. Although I would say this morning, I randomly assembled my, I've just bought one of these, I don't know if you've heard of these rich, rich wallets. It's like a minimal wallet that only stores cards. And I've got a My phone is like a Motorola Zed play thing, which is I got a hole in the back. And I assembled my I sort of like attach my wallet to my phone and have like unintentionally built something that I think is very, very interesting. So you never know, you never know this, this could be a really interesting product. But for now I love the software world I find it technically very difficult. But equally, like very creative. And that for me is like the sweet spot.
David Ralph 43:13
Yeah. And I can hear you smiling as you say back. So it certainly does light you up a great place to be? Well, this is a great place to be because this is a bit that we've been building up to that we called a sermon on the mic, when we're going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Marcus, what age would you like to speak to him? What advice would you give him? Well, we're going to find out because I'm going to play the music. And when it buys you up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Marcus Taylor 44:05
Okay, so 16 year old markets, the the thing that I think I have, I have learned and what I would want my younger self to know is it's it's just as easy, or just as hard to achieve something that is that is 10 times bigger or 10 times more ambitious than it is to do something that is 10% bigger or more ambitious. We're like, at the end of the day, we all have the same 24 hours, we've all got the same amount of time. And someone told me recently I think the the world economy is something like $3 trillion are exchanged every day. If you can't tap into that, then it's it's all about how you're spending that there's 24 hours. So my one piece of advice would be how do you or why do you need to think 10 times bigger, rather than 10%? Bigger?
David Ralph 45:01
We need advice and also for the young markers when you made that dodgy bird in that bar in Oxford when you were about 22. That's all right. That's the way you can have those kind of nights. But get back on to the game. Would that be right Marcus.
Marcus Taylor 45:17
I was very lucky to meet my my sweetheart who I got engaged to on Friday. So I should probably be very careful. Oh, congratulations.
Unknown Speaker 45:28
David Ralph 45:30
I just made that up. If she listens to the show tomorrow, which I made up I don't know anything about Marcus's backstory, I promise you, I promise you he's a good egg. Marcus was the number one best way that our audience can connect with you. So
Marcus Taylor 45:44
the best way to reach out is on the venture hub.com website, you can drop me a message from that.
David Ralph 45:51
Brilliant, very short and sweet. And of course, we'll have all the links on the show notes. And, Marcus, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Join up dots. And please come back back again when you've got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots, and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Marcus Taylor, thank you so much.
Marcus Taylor 46:10
Thanks for having me today. David.
David Ralph 46:14
Mr. Marcus Taylor from Oxford cheer. And he just got engaged. So congratulations to Marcus. He's he's he's life is spreading out in front of him. And he's got a wonderful business. He's got a lovely lady. You know, that's what life's all about. And can you hear him smiling when he was talking about his business? He just come across, but he was somebody at the right place. But of course, you know, always at the right place at the beginning. And even if you try stuff, and it doesn't work out to be right, then leave it behind. But what I find so much in join up dots is stuff that I tried for years ago. That wasn't right. It was right. But I wasn't right. I wasn't in the right position. I wasn't in the right place, or whatever. Because now you look at it. And you Yes, I've already done that I can bring that back in and provide more and more value to your customers or by that experience that you had. So he is playtime people it's playtime, and don't think it has to be perfect cuz he doesn't. But it has to be something and get out there and start seeing what's on alpha and start making your life a happy one. Because that's what it's all about. Until next time, thank you so much for being here. Come across to join up dots and get on the free training and the free courses. I'll be delighted to see you I try to speak to as many of my listeners as I possibly can. And I'll be here again with a new episode very, very shortly. Look after yourselves. Cheers. Bye bye.
David doesn't want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he's put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we'll see you tomorrow on join up dots.