Spencer Fry

Founder Spotlight: Spencer Fry

Why did you start Podia? What was it about the idea that made you want to go all in? 

The story behind why I started Podia has been top of mind for me lately, as I just wrapped up writing an internal wiki doc on the “History of Podia” for our employee onboarding process.

I started working on Podia for many different reasons. The one that most heavily influences how I still feel about the company today is that empowering creative entrepreneurs to make a living doing what they love means the world to me. Today, we do that by helping them create and sell online courses, downloads and memberships.

Helping other people become successful entrepreneurs and shake themselves free from the grip of a 9-5 job is what every entrepreneur wants to see more of in the world.

For years before starting Podia, a week wouldn’t go by where I wouldn’t have coffee, lunch or drinks with an aspiring entrepreneur. They’d share their story with me, I’d help where I could from my own experiences, and I’d leave that meeting feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of our world.

Podia gave me the opportunity to extend helping one aspiring entrepreneur a week to helping thousands.

What motivates you?

When you’re working on something you love, it’s easy to stay motivated. I love everything about working on Podia: our team, our product, and our customers. 

If I had to narrow it down, though, it’s when a customer writes to us on live chat, email or in an NPS survey about how much they love us and how we’ve changed their lives for the better.

I can be having a crummy day and a simple note from a customer can pick me right back up and remind me about all the good we’re doing.

What’s one piece of information you know now that you wish you had known back when you started your company? 

I try not to dwell too much about previous mistakes or things I wish I had known earlier, because I really believe that your present success is attributed as much to the things that went right for you as the things that went wrong.

Starting a company — especially one that’s now 19 people — has so many different stages with different challenges you have to overcome, that it’s hard to narrow it down.

One thing I wish I’d known is just how much a company’s culture changes from ten employees to twenty. We have a great culture at Podia, but it requires more time and action as you grow, not less. Culture can never be set on autopilot.

Just in 2019 alone, we doubled our headcount, and that led us to working on lots of new culture, HR, and onboarding docs which we didn’t have previously, including our first company handbook.

A tip for other entrepreneurs: I just finished reading Ben Horowitz’s book What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture and that’s been really helping me think through the kind of culture I want Podia to have now and into the future.

What do you like to do in your free time away from Podia?

A lot of my free time is spent with my fiancée, friends, and dog. Other than hanging out with people and my dog, I try and get on the squash court once a week.

What are the most important traits for an entrepreneur?

I wrote on my blog back in 2016 that the most important trait for an entrepreneur is persistence. Many entrepreneurs expect there to be instant success when they launch their product, but it so rarely ever works out that way.

It takes years for most companies to get off the ground, and you can’t be discouraged when things don’t go as well as you’d planned.

This is especially true in 2019, as there’s so much competition for everyone’s time that breaking through the noise takes even more persistence.

Stick with it!

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