GE 198: Sol Orwell Shares the Secret to Getting 2M Visitors Every Month On a Nutrition and Supplements Site (podcast)

Sol Orwell

Hey everyone, in today’s episode, I share the mic with Sol Orwell, the founder of Examine.com.

Listen as Sol shares how going from fat to fit led him to create a 7-figure nutrition business, how he built that business off of his Reddit followers, how Examine.com generates 100% of their revenue with just 3 products and why his quest for independence is the guiding principle to how he runs his companies.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Sol Orwell Shares the Secret to Getting 2M Visitors Every Month On a Nutrition and Supplements Site TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:43 – Leave a review, rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:02 – Eric welcomes Sol Orwell
  • 01:20 – Sol is an immigrant who was born in Pakistan and has lived in Saudi Arabia, Japan, and USA—he is currently residing in Canada
  • 01:49 – While in high school, Sol stumbled into virtual currency and MMO sales because of online gaming
    • 02:14 – Sol also gained experience in domain names and local searches
    • 02:53 – Examine.com was created because Sol gained weight and he wanted to analyze nutritional supplements
  • 03:20 – Sol wants to make an impact on the world and share what he knows
  • 04:03 – Examine.com’s focus today is how to generate consistent revenue and build their brand
    • 04:20 – They are planning to have a product out this year
    • 04:35 – Examine.com has been featured on many different media outlets
  • 05:16 – The domain name is an asset and spending on it is a worthwhile risk
  • 05:26 – When the site reached 10,000 visitors a day, Sol asked customers what they wanted and he responded
    • 06:06 – Sol was able to build a subscription service and he connected with organizations that specialized in fitness and exercise
  • 06:23 – Sol met his co-founders at Reddit and realized that people were always asking questions, but were not using the search function
    • 07:04 – People were getting tired of answering the same questions and this is what caused Sol to build Examine.com
    • 07:24 – Sol’s co-founder was 2013 Moderator of the Year
    • 07:55 – Sol and his team announced in Reddit that they were building a site and people started linking to it
    • 08:08 – Since they were already part of the Reddit community for a long time, people knew who they were and trusted them
  • 09:37 – Content generation should NOT be the focus—it should be updating your own content and networking and building relationships
    • 10:17 – It was easier to get people to link to them because of their strong community
    • 10:57 – They are always pre-promoting
  • 11:18 – What’s one big struggle you had in growing Examine.com? – People were cynical of who they were so they had to prove they were an authority
    • 12:18 – Sol and his partner didn’t want the site to be about them, so they went with a generic brand
  • 12:54 – Examine.com has researchers, editors/reviewers, copy editors and those who send the e-mails
    • 13:26 – They do not work on rigid time schedules
    • 14:03 – Examine.com also has doctors that they can consult
  • 14:32 – How did you go about finding contractors? – Look for other people who are already doing the work, but who are unknown to others
    • 15:13 – Sol looked for people who already have a site or a blog and are doing the research, but who may not necessarily have an audience
    • 15:22 – Since they have already built their brand, people want to be associated with them
  • 16:00 – Why the decision to start to move away from Examine.com? – I got into Examine.com because I needed to lose weight, but I am not the expert
    • 16:57 – It has always been about finding the best people and providing them an opportunity
    • 17:08 – Sol was able to move on from the projects because he has found people who are better than him
  • 17:32 – When they were starting Sol’s partner, Kurtis, focused on the research while Sol did everything else
    • 18:04 – Kamal is running Examine.com and he only met Sol after two years working on the site
  • 18:38 – Sol pays others more than he pays himself and they become the face of the company
  • 19:02 – Kamal is the face of the company and gets exposure everywhere
  • 19:41 – Sol is currently working on speaking engagements, writing, and finding out ways to make an impact
    • 20:12 – Sol wants to intercept social enterprise with entrepreneurship
    • 21:19 – Sol wants to make a big impact and share the value of giving rather than the “me” approach
  • 21:35 – For his speaking engagements, Sol talks about entrepreneurship
    • 22:11 – In Mastermind Talks, you know who you are meeting with and the conversation is always about getting value
    • 22:45 – There are also private invite-only events where you get to spend days with interesting people
    • 23:31 – Doors open when you are more focused on meeting people rather than thinking about monetizing
  • 24:15 – Eric got connected with Sol because of a conference that was recommended by Noah
  • 24:40 – What’s one big change you made in the last year that’s impacted you or the business in a big way? – Sol uses a productivity journal and this helps him know what needs to be done the following week
  • 26:35 – What’s one must-read book do you recommend? – The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro
  • 27:58 – What’s one blog or podcast that you tune into everyday? – Farnam Street and Ribbon Farm
  • 30:06 – Contact Sol at his website
  • 30:18 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

  1. It’s important to invest in a community—being plugged in jumpstarts your potential for growth.
  2. Finding the right people for your team and trusting IN them is crucial for the growth of your business.
  3. Doors will open if you focus more on building relationships rather than just thinking of ways you can monetize these connections.

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