We discuss spiritual entrepreneurship and helping course creators thrive with Simplero CEO Calvin Correli in this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Calvin shares his story and some of his ways of approaching life and business from a spiritual perspective. He talks about how to integrate spirituality into entrepreneurship and to inform decision making in business.
Calvin grew up in Denmark, and he has always been around computers and software. Both of his parents were early on the computer bandwagon. His mother started a software company in 1980 and grew that to 50 people. Calvin was working as an entrepreneur, and he was struggling. So he worked with a spiritual teacher, and that led him towards the realization that the tools he had could be useful to the entrepreneurs he saw struggling in business. This led him to the online course world in 2008, and eventually he created Simplero.
The focus of Simplero is to make running a business online exponentially simpler with an all in one platform for delivering your courses and online content. Simplero is your consultant for everything from marketing to sales statistics. They provide you with a website, affiliate tracking, email marketing advice, and so much more.
Calvin has formed most of his business model around serving the customer and making the product efficient and easy to use for them. He shares the struggles he has faced with doing that. Achieving a balance is what is necessary to create harmony and create an efficient system and product for both you and your customer. We all get caught up in our ego and our feelings unintentionally, and this causes us to feel stress and feel badly about ourselves at times.
Chris and Calvin dive into the psychology behind decision making in business. Calvin recounts his experiences with understanding the difference between his spiritual side and his analytical, left-brain side. He shares how he incorporates both into the way he runs his business, and how his product serves his customers.
Serving your customers to the best of your ability is what makes you successful in business. Calvin has kept this close to his heart when creating his business model. He often tries to put himself in the customer’s shoes when developing new tools for Simplero. Having the most interactive features and the most customizability is not always what makes for a good customer experience. Sometimes choosing ease of use can yield better results for your business.
Chris and Calvin discuss how not forcing things in business can also be good for healthy growth. Calvin shares his encounters with business partners and employees where he did not try to force any result, and ultimately it turned out favorably for his business composition and all of the people involved.
To learn more about Calvin Correli check out CalvinCorreli.com. He has everything from a blog, podcast, and music there. You can sign up for his email list and respond to one of the emails to contact him personally. Also check out Simplero.com to figure out if an all-in-one software business platform is for you.
You can post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.
Chris Badgett: Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMS Cast. My name is Chris Badgett and today we have a special guest, Calvin Correli from Simplero. How you doing Calvin?
Calvin Correli: I’m doing fantastic. Hi Chris, it’s great to be here in your company.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, Calvin has something similar to what we have at LifterLMS. It’s a platform-
Calvin Correli: Oh my God, are we competitors?
Chris Badgett: We are.
Calvin Correli: Oh God, that means I hate you now.
Chris Badgett: We’re gonna talk about why it’s cool and why we’re okay with that. Simplero is a all in one platform for delivering your courses, your online content. It’s a complete marketing solution as well. We’ll get into that in a little bit, but first we’re gonna get into Calvin’s story and some of his ways of approaching life and business and dig into that. Talk about some lessons learned and have some conversations that might benefit you as a online course creator, a membership site owner or someone needing to do digital marketing.
Calvin, welcome to the show. Tell the listener out there a little bit about who you are, where you came from and what makes you tick as a human being.
Calvin Correli: I grew up in Denmark and I grew up with computers and software. My mom started a software company in 1980 and grew that to 50 people. Both my parents were pretty early on to the computer bandwagon, it’s not like super early. I loved that. I was working as an entrepreneur for myself for many years with software and it was always a struggle. That led me to coaching and working with a spiritual teacher, and that led me to realizing that these tools that I had learned would be super useful for other entrepreneurs that I saw who were also struggling.
That led me to start to do online courses back in 2008, which led me to create Simplero. That kind of took over and became a business of it’s on and that’s been my focus for the past several years. What I realized about myself at one point is that I’m really about being of service to people. Just knowing that I’m serving people better than they’ve ever been served before, that makes me super high and excited.
I also realized that I have these kind of two sides to me, which was like the spiritual side where I feel in contact with something deeper and connected with trying to figure out what’s really going on inside of people and connect that at that level, through the heart if you will. Then there’s the other side of me that was very left brained, very business and programming and numbers and all that stuff.
About 10 years ago, I realized that I had completely suppressed the spiritual side, and I definitely very much suffered at these two sides of my being and I decided that this is … I realized that that’s what I’m about. I feel like that’s my purpose here, is to really combine these two sides, so being spiritual, but not in a way that doesn’t compromise my business brain. It just informs that part of me and we make it work very beautifully together.
Chris Badgett: That’s cool. Let’s dig into that. One of my favorite words is integration. How do you integrate spirituality and entrepreneurship? Has there been some struggles in that, or once you just accepted that they’re gonna play in the same sandbox it’s just the way you role. How does it play out for you?
Calvin Correli: I would say yes to both if I can. I think anyone who’s on a spiritual journey that it’s not a one time thing. It’s just like meditation. The way meditation basically works is, you come back to the breath and to that feeling of presence or … One way I like to describe it, it’s like allowing everything to be as it is. Letting go of all resistance to anything being the way it is. Then you get caught up in some thought somewhere. You get down and then all you need to do is just bring the focus and the awareness back on the breath and get back to that place of allowing everything to be as it is.
That’s what life is like. That’s what meditation is like. That’s what every day of my life is like. I’m like, “Oh my God, I just realize di got lost in thought,” like, “Breath, come back.” Even when I’m working, even when I’m talking to someone. It’s the same. You will get lost in thought. You will get caught up in ego stuff and get triggered by all things and then it’s like … Might take you for a ride that actually lasts a few months or if might just last a few moments depending on what’s going on, so yes, it has been a struggle in that way.
On the other hand, it’s also been pretty easy. After that moment of me realizing that, everything started to click together because before that, everything I’d done had been about proving myself or becoming successful, making money. I felt like I always had to accomplish something or become something in order to feel that I was worthy or I was good enough. Once I realized, well, that pattern must still be there, but what I really want to create is to create the products that I would love to use. To create the business that I would love to work in and be a customer of. To create the products that I would really love to see, versus like, “Let me try to make something that’s gonna make money.”
Let me figure out what is gonna make money doesn’t interest me a whole lot because what’s the point of making money if it doesn’t allow me to do something that I want to do? Then there’s like, “Go to work and make the money so you can go on vacation.” That was never appealing to me. I love creating things, so I just want the money to enable me to create the things that I want to create because I enjoy creating stuff.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Let’s talk a little bit about how the spiritual piece can inform decisions in entrepreneurship or even just knowing yourself and knowing your values inform entrepreneurship. One example I would just throw out there is, you mentioned in the beginning of the show that we’re in fact in some ways competitors, but for me, the spiritual person in me, the values in me, I really care about course creators and these creative education entrepreneurs. As long as whatever we’re doing is in service to them, that’s really my highest and best use. I heard you were a great guy to talk to, so why would I not do that because we may be competitors?
That’s one way for me. What about you? How does that spiritual nature inform business in a unique way perhaps? Or a counterintuitive way?
Calvin Correli: Well, on many levels. This is definitely one of them. I want to support people who are creating things, wherever they’re creating things. You’re creating your work and your piece of art, your product and that’s amazing. More power to you. I think there are several levels. Apart from what I just talked about, there’s also for me that as a founder, as the entrepreneur, there’s that part where whenever I’m faced with some kind of challenge, I will tend to address it at multiple levels. I like to think of it as body, mind and spirit.
At the body level if you will, there is like, “What are the concrete action steps that I can take that are gonna make a difference here?” An example could be hiring. Finding really good talent to hire and to work with was a struggle for me for quite a while until the last year basically. Beginning of last year that really transformed. The action level is like, “Let’s write an ad,” or, “Let’s run some kind of recruiting,” or like, “What are we gonna do for this?”
The mind level would be like, “What kind of beliefs and thoughts do I have around this topic?” One of the things that was challenging me was, “I don’t feel like I’m worthy of working with [good 00:08:58] people,” or I’m like, “Who would want to work with me?” That kind of thing. That’s good to look at.
The level of spirit would be just like dropping the words and going even deeper into like, if I had put myself … For example, one of the things I love to do is imagining myself being where I would want to be with this. Working with amazing people and having this great chemistry and all that, which is exactly what I have now, which is amazing. Then just notice what happens inside of my body. Where is my body getting contracted and what does it feel like that may be connected to or familiar to? Just sitting with that, eyes closed and just exploring and loving everything that comes up in that process. I call that the spiritual level.
I also work with a healer in visualization and these things. I just find that once I start to look at a problem at all those three levels, that’s when it really starts to move. It really has.
Chris Badgett: Could you give a little more detail on how that started to move for you the way you said, I think a year ago, in terms of the hiring struggle? What got better?
Calvin Correli: What got better is the most beautiful thing because I was in this, not exactly custody battle, but I was in a battle with my ex wife over … She lives in Copenhagen with my kids. She decided suddenly at the end of the before that it would be best for our kids if they didn’t see their dad at all. Funny enough I disagreed. I ended up having to go through the legal system and they basically sided with me, so now I’m seeing them, which is amazing.
What I also did was, I had to fly to Copenhagen to got to a meeting there and on that trip, I happen to meet this young programmer and we just hit it off chemistry-wise. After I got home, I emailed him. I was like, “Hey, would you be interested in doing some contract work for me?” He was like, “Sure, why not. That could be fun.” We had like five hours a week. We did that for a while and it was like, “Dude, I want to have you full time.” A few months later, that just worked out.
What’s so beautiful about it is that I did all of this work and then the right person just showed up. It was as a response to a job ad. It wasn’t anything. It was-
Chris Badgett: You weren’t forcing it.
Calvin Correli: He just showed up and it was the exact right time. That relationship then transformed me because this guy is super smart. That showed me how important that is and how much it is to work together with someone who’s super smart. That led me to realize that another team member wasn’t working, not because she’s not smart, but because it wasn’t the right fit for her, and then on and on and then it was just a completely new time. Everybody just kind of … It just kind of happened.
We needed someone else to do customer service and I was like, “let’s ask in our community and see if there might be someone.” I hired someone [inaudible 00:12:19] as an assistant to help out with that. She was like, “I believe in this one,” and then we hired her and it was perfect. She’s still with us. It’s amazing.
Chris Badgett: That’s a great story. I think the concept of trying to force things, especially if you’re a startup, you gotta be scrapping. You’re executing all of these processes that you’ve read about, heard about, done before. Part of the spiritual approach is like letting go or let it be or be here now or whatever. It’s almost more effortless.
Calvin Correli: I love that Buddha saying, it’s like, “Not too tight, not too loose,” like how you tune a sitar. Supposedly the Buddha said … This sitar player asked him about how to meditate and how to, whatever his thoughts or something, and the Buddha answered, “Not too tight, not too loose. It’s like you do with the sitar” I think that’s the thing, you don’t want to be just like [inaudible 00:13:12], but you don’t want to hold on.
For me, it’s very much about holding on to that vision, and just showing up every day. If it starts to feel like work, if it starts to feel like not fun, if it starts to feel like a struggle, then I’m like, “Something needs to change.” I might still sit at the computer and … It doesn’t mean I walk away from the project or working at it, it’s just like, well I will for a bit, but it just means something has to change. I’ll have to find a different way around this. Sometimes I might leave it for a month or two and then come back to it if it’s still important to me depending on what it is.
Chris Badgett: That’s really cool. Let’s dig into that a little deeper. If we look at a course creator out there, somebody looking to come online or try to actually build an online business full time or one the side with education … There’s a thing I notice sometimes where some people kind of get in this make money online trap. They get really focused on that and executing on tactics that are supposed to work to help you make money online.
Through that process, people often miss their most valuable asset, which is just being themselves and really caring about their students or their learners or their perspective customers. Really focusing on their problems, not executing marketing tactics. Yeah you need to build a business, you need to … There’s certain pieces you need to put in place and best practices, but what … With your awareness in spiritual entrepreneurship and living on purpose, what are some pitfalls you see out there and how do you advise people if they’re getting a little bit off track or a little bit too focused on the money and things aren’t working? What should they do?
Calvin Correli: Oh boy, where do we start? Pay attention to your body. How are you feeling your body? If you’re tense, if you’re feeling scared, what is going on in your body? Take that as cues, as input that informs you. Oftentimes I’ll see people do things and write in ways that just doesn’t feel genuine for them and I’m like, “Just trust that you don’t have to do that and pay attention to that.”
Put yourself in the shoes of your clients, of your customers, of your recipients, like, how’d you like to be communicated to? How’d you like to be treated as a customer, as a client? Make sure that you treat other people the way that you want to be treated. Not because of the golden rule, but because that’s what works. What works for you and what really makes you connect with the people that you want to buy from and make you respect them. Trust and the relationship that you have with your audience is your number one asset and it’s easier to squander than to build, but it’s easily built when you’re just being real with people.
Chris Badgett: Even this video, well this is a podcast and [inaudible 00:16:32] just be listening, but there’s a video version on YouTube. I’ve done a lot of videos for various things over the course of LifterLMS. People often say like, “I appreciate how authentic you are. You’re just talking. There’s not all this wizardry going on.” People appreciate that. Are you perhaps familiar with a Dutch guy named Wim Hof?
Calvin Correli: I’m not, no.
Chris Badgett: He’s known as the Iceman. I just took an online course from him. I’m all about online courses from every single angle, but … I took it. He does a lot of stuff with breathing, cold exposure and meditation. He’s climbed Mt. Everest in shorts, he does all these things under the ice. I went through his training program and did a bunch of cold exposure and worked through the breathing methods he does. I got a lot of the-
Calvin Correli: What do you mean [crosstalk 00:17:28] cold exposure? Like in the shower or in the bathtub with the ice cubes or?
Chris Badgett: You can go to the shower, bath. Right out my window is the Atlantic Ocean so I can actually go down to the ocean, or like a freezing river and that kind of thing, but you can just do it in the bath and shower. Through his whole thing … Once you see Wim Hof … Maybe after this interview just google and find a video and check him out.
I’ve never seen somebody in an online course format be so genuinely themselves. He’s just kind of a wild Dutch guy. He’s developed this system and he’s worked on it for years. He’s funny, sometimes he curses. He has fun, he jokes. It’s like-
Calvin Correli: What does it do for you?
Chris Badgett: It does a lot of things. It helps with sleep. It helps with stress. It helps with just mental focus. It actually helps with pain. I have chronic low back pain that I’ve struggled with for a long time and it’s helped me work on that. It has all of these different benefits. I’d say the big on though is just an overall reset of the autonomic nervous system when you go through the exercises. It’s very cool.
On the authenticity note, I’ve never had so much fun in an online course, just experiencing somebody who was able to capture that learning journey and teaching all this in an online format. It was so cool and I wish everybody could do that. All the course creators out there … Not everybody has to be all funny mountain man guy, but it’s just so refreshing.
Calvin Correli: Sometimes what happens is like … If you have a belief system that goes like, “Well, I’m not worthy of this. Who should listen to me? I don’t have anything of value.” Even though you do, but you have all these stories going on in your head. Then it might actually be a little tricky to be … Might be easier to put on the marketing persona than to actually try to connect because this stuff gets in the way. The other piece of advice I would give people is really, really investigate your thoughts.
I’m madly in love these days. Have you ever heard of Byron Katie?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Calvin Correli: Loving What Is?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Calvin Correli: I read that book first like 10 years ago in 2007. Then I kind of forgot and then I come back and then I forgot and then I came back to it. Recently like a month and a half ago, I just went on a binge and I got every single audio program on audible.com. She has a lot of recordings from live seminars and workshops and I’m like, “God, this is so awesome.” We can work on all kinds of things, but if we don’t look at our thoughts and how we’re torturing ourselves with our thoughts and keep perpetuating things that are not true and that are hurting us, then to a large extent, nothing else that we do is gonna matter.
Chris Badgett: Is that how you look at … You mentioned some things around self love and self hate. Is examining your thoughts how you become aware of that? Where do you go with that?
Calvin Correli: Yeah. It’s like noticing in your body when you’re feeling stressed and then identifying like, “What is the thought that’s causing me this stress now?” Usually some sort of resistance to something, like, “I should be different,” or, “This should be different,” or something about the future or, “This is gonna be awful,” whatever it is. The realization is like … But you need to do it as in inner realization for yourself, but it always ends back to that whatever is causing you pain is not whatever is out there. It’s your thinking that it should be different. It’s your thinking about it that’s causing this pain.
Unless you address that, the tendency for all of us is to, “Well, if only I had more money or more customers or more success or different leaders or different … Or my partner was different or my body was, or whatever. Then I would feel better.” That is never true. That is never ever true. You will feel better for like 30 seconds or maybe at lost like 30 hours, but then there’s gonna be a new goal. There’s gonna be a new goal. There’s gonna be a new goal because that whole process, that’s the self hate part of it. It’s not here to make you happy. It’s here to keep scaring you and make you unhappy. You don’t have to get any amount of money or success or physical anything in order to find happiness, it’s right here, all the time, every moment.
Chris Badgett: Where does this self hate come from, or lack of that urge to push you to of the present moment to some better future state?
Calvin Correli: The urge to get out of the present moment to a future state is a belief that there is something wrong with the current moment that needs to be improved, then it’s going to be better at some point in the future. That’s just the thought that we happen to believe. An important point is that … I used to think that whenever this thought would enter my head, that something like, “Oh, this might happen,” or, “I’m a failure,” or “I’m not good at whatever.”
I thought that just because the thought enters my mind must be because there’s some truth to it, which is totally not the case. We have thoughts in our heads all the time that have zero truth value whatsoever. Getting that disconnect between, just because it’s a thought doesn’t mean I have to believe in it, and then realizing that it’s not true. Sorry, I totally lost my train of thought there.
What was your question again?
Chris Badgett: Where does the-
Calvin Correli: Oh, where does it come from?
Chris Badgett: Where does it come from, yeah.
Calvin Correli: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it comes from when we were kids. Our parents were brought up that way. It’s like, “well. You need to do this, and then you can be …” Like, “Stop doing that. Don’t so that. It’s too much. You’re like this. Be that,” and so we learned to always monitor ourselves and be like, “Oh, am I good enough? Am I not good enough?” And then punish ourselves when we’re not meeting whatever standard and rewarding ourselves when we are.
I think as kids we internalize like, “I have a need for attention or food or whatever and it’s not being met by my parents.” We just tend to internalize that as like, “It must be because of something in me. If I was perfect, if I was better, if I was good enough, then I would be …” and then that system just keeps going and going and going, and it can go for a very long time. I’ve done it for … And we all still do it. I still do it until I wake up out of it, but it’s like, get and the scale in the morning and like, “Shit. Why am I like … Oh, if only I was a few pounds lighter I would feel better.” It’s like, “You know what, actually experience tells me that I will for a very little bit and then it won’t really matter.”
Chris Badgett: Is self love basically the opposite of that?
Calvin Correli: Yes.
Chris Badgett: Like, be in the moment and everything’s okay? And go easy on yourself? Even thought you have two extra pounds, it’s okay to be happy?
Calvin Correli: Yeah exactly. Why wouldn’t it be okay to be happy? How does being unhappy make anything better? Self love ends up being everything love, which ends up being just not resisting anything. The whole thought mind and the whole ego mind is resisting what is. That’s all it is. It’s all it does and as long as that’s in control, it’s gonna find something to resist. Like, go to the most perfect, beautiful beach and the weather is amazing and whatever. There’s fresh coconut water and it’s just … Give it like three or four days, I bet you, you’re gonna find something to complain about. It’s just how it is. It’s just how it works and that’s fine.
I think the point is just like when we get back to business, it’s to always be mindful of how this stuff works and realize that it’s not … Enjoy what you’re doing right now and do things that you’re proud of and that makes you happy right now and just feel good to you to do. Building towards your business and then trust that it’s all gonna work out.
Chris Badgett: Right on. What would you advise somebody who’s building a membership site or course in terms of, get in touch with your authenticity, but then in the method that they teach or treat other people in their platform. What’s some advice you have for somebody trying to figure out, maybe they’re an expert at something but they’re not necessarily trained as a teacher, like, ow do you really connect with people in this world?
Calvin Correli: Focus on genuinely being of service to people. “How can I serve thee people today?” Let that be your curiosity. A tenancy I think that I definitely can see in myself is like, “I need something. What can I get? What can I do so I get this thing for me? Need more [inaudible 00:27:38]. I need more,” whatever it is. I’m not saying that’s wrong necessarily, but I think it’s really helpful to have that focus of, “How do I genuinely serve these people? What is it that they need? What is it that I can do? Where is the confusion or where is the thing that I can answer or help them with?” Just focus on that every day.
Why did you get into this business in the first place? What is it that drew you to it? Sure it a way to make money, but I bet there’s something much deeper than that, that just lights you up about it. “I want to work with amazing people and see what they’re doing and just have fun.” Great, let’s connect with that energy and make sure that we bring that into our work every day.
Chris Badgett: I love that. One way I think to say that to is, be of value. Don’t just try to extract value, like email addresses, money for courses or memberships of whatever. You need to figure the mechanics of that, but it’s all about delivering value to the people and loving what you do.
Let’s talk about Simplero a little bit-
Calvin Correli: And just stay with it. That’s what I’ve seen over and over again in all kinds of areas. If you just stick with it, even if it’s just for your business an hour a day, even just 20 minutes a day, keep at it. Keep doing it and eventually … Keep being curious about yourself, about your s=customers, about the whole process. Eventually you’re gonna [inaudible 00:29:15].
Chris Badgett: Absolutely. I think you were mentioning earlier that you were getting around … Simplero’s about eight years old, which shows a track record of sticking with it. I’m sure there were some ups and downs in early days, maybe it wasn’t gonna work, you didn’t know.
Calvin Correli: Yeah, yeah. There were moments where I was like, “Oh shit, maybe I’ll sell this thing. I don’t want to do this anymore.” What kept me going was that I had customers and they were using it. They were excited about it and they were asking me questions and I was like, “I can’t ever let these people down. I have to keep going.” It remind me of that Steven Pressfield concept of Turning Pro. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. I have to show up for these people. They depend on me. It’s their livelihoods. They’re feeding their families and their kids through this business. I need to show up. That pulled me through it.
It’s been a few years since that. I think five years since I ever had that kind of thought or idea, but yeah, it really helped to have that relationship and that respect with and towards and from my customers to pull me through that. I’m so glad that I kept going.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. That trust that they put in you, I mean, if you needed to close it up, you can do that but people put their trust in you like you said. They’ve built their life around it so that’s a good motivator there.
Well, when I look at Simplero, I’ve done a lot of work over the years. Agency work, I have a product in the same space. I’ve been around a lot of different membership sites and online courses and marketing things, but this, it just looks like a complete end to end solution. This might be the elusive all in one platform.
Calvin Correli: Right, yeah that’s the idea.
Chris Badgett: What is the top bullet point feature areas that it addresses?
Calvin Correli: Let’s start with [inaudible 00:31:30]. [inaudible 00:31:32] all of that. The ethical [bribe 00:31:36], the whatever you give them, which could also be a [inaudible 00:31:40] course or whatever you want to make it. Modules that you’ve put on your website, all that stuff. Products, anything you want to charge for, however you want to charge it. You can sell lectures, workshops, seminars. You can sell coaching sessions, eBooks, online courses, videos, audios, drip, whatever you want. We don’t really support things that needs to be physically shipped. That’s kind of the delineation, but pretty much anything else.
To the membership sites and delivering content and a discussion forum and the membership site and all that stuff, you can do your website on Simplero as well. It’s our most recent major addition, which is really cool. It’s just beautiful, simple website builder that’s designed for what we do. It has a box for testimonials. It can show your products if you’re one of those businesses that has multiple products that people can buy and all that.
Affiliate tracking. Landing pages that you can have separate things that you can traffic to for … Squeeze pages to get emails or for a sales pages for your products. What else we got? I think we got pretty much everything that you need for that business.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Sometimes we say that the best solution is not always, I mean, it’s different depending upon what your needs are and you’ve got a really awesome, all in one platform here. Simplero hosts the website so you don’t have to deal with all the stuff like, we’re in the WordPress space. You own your website, you gotta deal with updates. WordPress is open source. Things are changing. You’re installing other plugins. That’s not for everybody.
Calvin Correli: I think for a lot of people it’s just that knowing that there’s one place to go to for support when things break, it’s like they know it’s us, and we will take care of them. We will help out. We’ll get it fixed. You don’t get thrown around between you know, “Oh, it’s not really our fault. It’s the hosting company. It’s this other plugin creating the …” whatever it is.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, let me ask you a question just as an entrepreneur, but also keeping in mind for course creators if they have a diverse skill set or knowledge base. When I look at something like Simplero, and I know just as well from being in the learning management systems space and all of the Ecommerce and all the stuff involved, it’s like an infinite … If you’re gonna do the complete solution, it’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole over here or this.
I guess my question would be from a software company perspective, how do you prioritize things in your product roadmap and make sure only the essential features stay in or that you build towards and make sure … Because, it’s like … If I were to talk and name brands and stuff like that, this is like a combination of Infusionsoft, Leadpages, membership site stuff, I mean, all these other disjointed things, and you were able to bring it all together. That’s hard to do. It’s really hard to do.
Calvin Correli: It’s a lot of work. I can attest to that.
Chris Badgett: How do you stay focused and how do you prioritize it? Is it really just as simple as staying focused on what your customer needs without having to go anywhere else? Is that it?
Calvin Correli: It really helped that I was doing this business on my own to begin with, so I really understand it and I really know … I have a good strategic mind, so I have a really good sense of what you need and what you don’t kind of thing. We put a lot of effort into comping up with the simplest solutions that we can. I see a lot of programmers that have this tendency to just write more code and more details and more features than are needed and it ends up being really costly for everybody. It’s costly to do and maintain and users get confused and stuff.
I’m not gonna say we always get it perfectly, but that’s what we really strive to do. I built this pretty much solo for like five or six years and so it had to be simple enough for me to build and maintain on my own. I didn’t have the luxury of a large outsourced team or whatever [inaudible 00:36:40].
We have a pretty good sense from a big picture place. I’ve spent quite a bit of time really digging into the vision for this product. What it is, what it isn’t and how it all hangs together. That’s stayed fairly consistent. I did it pretty early on and stayed very stable so that’s testament to the quality of that which is very, very helpful. I think that’s the biggest danger, is when the vision keeps shifting around, then you can kind of see that in the product over time and it just becomes this mishmash.
Our customers, they keep telling us what they want to see and it’s one of the things that we enjoy the most, is that close collaboration with customers. Just, what was it, yesterday or the day before? I think it was the day before. It was like, finally the [Nth 00:37:39] customer was like, “Hey, you know that pre-header in the emails that people can see in their Gmail inbox under the subject line or whatever email they use, I’d really like to customize that and be able to decide what it’s gonna say. We were like, “Yeah. You know what, let’s just get it done,” and so, mix that down and you get it done in a few hours and push it out.
When those moments happens, where it’s just right there and the customer is asking for it and we’re like, “All right, let’s just get it done.” Then we can do it and we can get back to the customer and say, “Here you go. It’s done.” That’s what we live for. That’s the most fun thing ever. That can be small things or biggish things or things that seem very big, but end up being very small. They’re also the opposite, that seem very small but end up being very big.
Chris Badgett: For those of you listening, go check it out at simplero.com. S-I-M-P-L-E-R-O.com. Just to close it out Calvin, I want to thank you and honor you for coming on the show. Sharing your experience and just jamming together about all these issues that entrepreneurs and educational entrepreneurs specifically face and how you’ve dealt with them and stuff like that. I love your last point about staying true to the vision, like it’s more effortless if you really get clarity of your vision and then just stay with it. If you’re clear with it, it’s probably gonna stick for a while if not your whole life. Could you for us, just kind of as a parting thought articulate that vision that has stayed true for you over these years and how you wanted to serve?
Calvin Correli: That’s a very good question. Are you looking for something specifically that you saw, or are you just like-
Chris Badgett: You mentioned that because your vision has been the same for the past-
Calvin Correli: Right yeah, yeah. Okay, got it. I don’t know that I can necessarily. For me, I’ve done this with other entrepreneurs where I start some business and then you get lost in the details and you kind of forgot what it was all about. What I’ve done is, I’ve brought usually like a founder team together in a guided meditation and then, “Close your eyes,” and then I would guide them through this process of reconnecting with that moment.
I think about it this way, is like we’re getting touched by something that inspires us literally to start this business. Bringing people back to that moment of connecting with, “What made me want to do this?” It’s a very felt thing. From there, I’ve seen these amazing processes of people just realizing and started to cry and having these, “This is what it was all about,” I guess got lost in the struggle. It’s a very felt thing, but the idea is to take someone who’s really good at what they have to teach and offer and really care about that. Care about their audience and how they can help them.
One of the other things backtracking a second … I’m not very good at being short. One of the other things was that I really … I had this vision in 2008 of how I wanted to do my part in transforming consciousness on planet earth through entrepreneurship, so I create these businesses and products that touch peoples’ soul in a deeper way. It’s funny, Steve Jobs actually talked about that, like products can have a sense of enlightenment about them that affects people.
Simplero is one of those things and I realized that instead of my sitting down and doing one on one transformational work with a bunch of people, I could write software that enabled other people to do transformational work with people. Basically, anything where you have that openness to change. Whether it is learning something new, there’s an openness, there’s an expansion. I love that so I want to support that in any way.
The vision is really for anyone who has that aura about them of wanting to teach to expand themselves and their clients lives et cetera. I want it to be super easy for them to go in and … We take care of all the things that can be automated. All the things that are technical, and you can just focus on building your relationship with your audience and transforming their lives and transforming yours in the process.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome-
Calvin Correli: That’s very sharp.
Chris Badgett: In the spirit of staying with what is, I’m gonna ask you another question because it’s coming up for me. I think you just mentioned it. You referenced Steve Jobs saying how products could have a spirit. I also heard you say in another video or something about that, products having a soul or your business having a soul. Could you speak to that a little bit? You’re the creator of Simplero. We’re entrepreneurs, we have companies, we have businesses. The people out there listening are creating their own membership sites or course or education companies. How can this concept of the business or the work [of art 00:43:14] having a soul, can you help shine a light on that just a little more before we go?
Calvin Correli: For me it’s where I go to when I need to make decisions about it and also for motivation. It’s a place that I go very often. It’s like, “This is what this is about.” There’s me and what I’m about as a founder, and then there’s the product and the company and what they’re about. It’s really tuning in to a very felt sense of, “What is it?” It doesn’t necessarily have words, but it really helps me make decisions and get into a more grounded … I like to think of it as like employing my whole mind, body instead of just my mind. Letting my mind be part of my body and letting my body and all the awareness that’s in my body be part of my mind and inform decisions. It’s hard to put in words. It’s very operational, it’s very practical in making choices.
Chris Badgett: What’s that feeling? I know what you mean, like if you’re at a great … If you’re in a great company or having some kind of great experience with a product, whatever that is. There’s a feeling. It kind of has its own vibe-
Calvin Correli: [inaudible 00:44:45] often I can feel it, like restaurants. You go into some place and you’re like … you get a weird feeling like, “I’m not really getting a read on what is this, what’s going on and, how do they want me to feel?” That kind of thing versus some other places that are just beautifully designed and you’re like, “Ah, okay, yes. Here it clicks in.” Might not be my taste, but at least I know exactly what’s going on here.
Chris Badgett: I have a theory with restaurants and actually just cooking in general, that one of the best things to do to make great food is, it has to be made with love. You can tell. I can tell this-
Calvin Correli: Which is why it’s completely crap that we pay … Cooks are generally paid minimum wage and when you tip, it doesn’t go to the cooks. It only goes to the wait staff by law and all that stuff. It’s pretty messed up.
Chris Badgett: Right, for sure. Well, Calvin Correli ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming on the show. Where else besides simplero.com can people go to find you and connect with you on the web?
Calvin Correli: Well they can show up at my door. That would be awkward, we haven’t talked before. On the interweb, you may find me at calvincorreli.com, which is my full name. I’m sure you’ll put a link somewhere. I have a blog and I have this video show that I do called The Calvin Show. I have a newsletter there as well that I write to occasionally. Please feel free to write me back. If you hear this, email me. The easiest way is to get on the newsletter and then you’ll get emails from me and then you can just hit reply and I’ll respond. I always respond to my email.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, thanks again for coming on the show.
Calvin Correli: That’s a big promise. Do I have to do it forever now?
Chris Badgett: Yup. This video will be live forever. Well thank you and have a great rest of your day and we should do this again sometime.
Calvin Correli: Thank you so much Chris. It was really fun. I was really glad to meet you and thank you to everyone who listened or watched for sticking with us and for being here and for doing what you’re doing.