Back in 2008, Kean Graham was working as a digital marketing manager, but lost my his job during the global financial crisis. With his career on hold, he decided to do the one thing he loved: travel. Standing on a mountain overlooking Machu Picchu, Kean realized he never wanted to stop. From that day forward he’s been combining my passion for entrepreneurship with his love of travel.
Over the past seven years Kean has lived and worked in more than 70 countries, while 70 of his staff also live and work in another 30. While his decision to become a digital nomad was initially a lifestyle choice, it has become a distinct competitive advantage for his company. By traveling across the globe Kean has been able to network with like minded individuals and recruit top talent, regardless of geographical constraints. Giving his team location and schedule freedom has also made them more productive and satisfied with their work. Today, Kean’s virtual office has grown into a 7-figure business.
- Who is Kean Graham?
Kean’s humble beginnings began in university. He used to be shy and introverted and by exploring business in university, Kean was able to come out of his shell and ended up landing a job as a growth hacker before that was even really a term. After getting laid off during the global financial crisis, Kean booked a flight to Peru to find himself on a five day backpacking trip.
Kean realized that he was actually a happier person as an extrovert once he managed to meet like minded people. This inspired him to be more social and really get to know more people. This mindset shift gave him more confidence and optimism towards being an entrepreneur.
- Can an introvert build a business?
It is possible for introverts to build successful businesses but it has to be tailored to the personality of the founders. It will be more important to bring on other people or founders that compliment your skill set with a more extroverted personality.
- Tell us about your journey towards designing your life
Kean’s initial goal was to build a business around the lifestyle he wanted to live. He tried many different methods but eventually refined his model down to increasing measurable revenues of his clients with digital means. Kean used his previous employer as the case study for his new business and managed to increase their ad revenue considerably.
- How do you find the courage to be an entrepreneur?
Kean’s parents ran a bed and breakfast deep in the wilderness so his childhood was more entrepreneurial than most. This definitely gave him an edge later in life.
- What have you learned in the process of executing your idea?
By using his previous employer as a case study and knocking the results out the park, Kean was able to leverage that success into other opportunities. The key to designing your life is to just start doing something, and once you start working you will see new opportunities to create unique value for your industry.
Start with something. Make your best guest and take the first step. Once you take your first step, the goal begins to materialize. Take action instead of just talking about it, learn from your mistakes and be opportunistic.
- How much planning do you do?
Kean gives himself enough flexibility to keep things interesting but he generally knows where he is going to be in six months time.
Kean didn’t expect for his business to grow into what it has, he just had the goal and direction that he wanted to go in and kept taking steps towards it.
- Kean’s Takeaway
If you don’t have an idea yet, write down every idea you’ve had and do the research. Just enough to narrow it down to one or two then reach out to potential clients and assess the opportunity within. Once you find the one that feels right, dig in and commit. Learn how to bring your client’s value and keep working at it. Get started and stay started.
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