Making It: How to Be a Successful Online Entrepreneur
Your Definition of Making It Is Always Evolving (Danny Iny)
July 30, 2021
How does a high-school dropout found an education company that’s recognized as the top of its field? To find out, we turn around the microphone on Danny Iny, executive producer of all Mirasee FM Original podcasts. Danny dropped out of school to start his first business, and for decades was the youngest guy in the room.
Episode summary: Danny Iny is a serial entrepreneur who runs a business called Mirasee, which serves visionary businesses and entrepreneurs who have something of value to share with their audience. He’s also the executive producer of all Mirasee FM Original podcasts.

“Making it is not a permanent state,” says Danny. Instead, on your path to making it you’re going to stumble and fall, over and over again, until you learn how to not stumble. “It’s all a kind of curriculum, a learning opportunity that’s really, really important and really powerful,” he continues. And it’s important to understand that your happiness and fulfillment aren’t necessarily tied to your bank account balance. In this episode, Danny shares the story of how he started his entrepreneurial journey as a young boy, and how his view on business success and making it has evolved since becoming a father.

“For me, what matters is the contribution, feeling like I'm making a difference to someone. And growth for myself.” – Danny Iny

Guest Bio:

Danny Iny is an educator, author, and entrepreneur who is on a mission to reimagine business and transform education. His love-hate relationship with education began when he dropped out of high school at age 15 to start his first business. His frustrations with education were driven home many years later when he completed his MBA from Queen’s University School of Business.

As the founder and CEO of Mirasee, a business education company, Danny has developed innovative training programs that have raised the bar for online education. These include the Course Builder’s Laboratory, Business Ignition Bootcamp, and ACES Club. Over 5,000 value-driven entrepreneurs have enrolled in these programs.

Danny is a sought-after expert known for his knowledge, insights, and integrity. His published books include Leveraged Learning, Teach and Grow Rich, The Audience Revolution, and Engagement from Scratch!.

He has guest lectured at institutions including McGill and Yale universities and has spoken on stage at various industry conferences and at Mirasee’s biannual live event, LIFT. His writing has appeared on Inc, Copyblogger, Success, and other websites.

Danny’s entrepreneurial journey has had many twists and turns. He built Mirasee after his previous startup imploded in 2008, leaving him $250K in debt. But he’s fond of saying that “failure is only failure if it happens in the last chapter; otherwise, it’s a plot twist.”

Today, Mirasee is a seven-figure business with 30+ employees distributed all over the world.

His latest book, Online Courses A Business Parable about Creating Freedom by Teaching Your Gift,
is based on a decade of research, testing, and working with thousands of students. Online Courses reveals the opportunities and challenges for online course creators in today’s market, where people around the world are waking up to the power and excitement of online education.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:


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Music and SFX credits: 

1. Track Title: Sweet Loving Waltz
Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

2. Track Title: The Sunniest Kids
Artist Name(s): Rhythm Scott
Writer Name: Scott Roush

3. Track Title: Coffee And Cigarettes
Artist Name(s): Reveille
Writer Name: Brendan St. Gelais

4. Track Title: Red And Blue
Artist Name(s): Federico Ferrandina
Writer Name: Federico Ferrandina

Episode transcript: Your Definition of Making It Is Always Evolving (Danny Iny)

[00:00:06] I'm Danny Iny, and this is making it the show that offers tips for making it online. I run a company called Mirasee. I teach people how to grow their online businesses and particularly how to create online courses. 

     So I've been an entrepreneur, I like to say for longer than my adult life, I quit school when I was 15 to start my first business. Um and an early memory is that I was involved in the telecom startup. So you know, we were negotiating with one of the big telecoms in the region and we, me and a business partner who was a quote unquote grown up, Um we go to this meeting, it's it's like an evening meeting. And it's the two of us and maybe eight executives around the table. And I remember this so vividly, the person who was running the meeting, his assistant comes in, she says would any of you gentlemen like coffee? And then she turns to me and says, if you like, I can get you a hot chocolate. And you know, I was mortified, my face turned red. I was the youngest guy in the room for a very, very long time And now I'm in my late 30s, this is the oldest I've ever been, which is a joke, but not a joke, but being the youngest guy in the room and being the guy that you know, and being an entrepreneur is usually not most people's path of least resistance to success. There's a lot of uncertainty there. I could have, you know, I could have been a doctor, I could have gone to business school, I could have not dropped out of high school, right? There are a lot of things I could have done and so you know, combine the uncertainty and the second guessing with being the youngest guy in the room and you come up with a real chip on your shoulders, right of like you know you got something to prove and combine that chip on your shoulders. That's something to prove with some successes and you can develop a massive amount of arrogance right? It's like I knew it, I told you I'm just smarter than everyone, right? I can figure this out in a way that nobody else can. 

     And you know when you are working from a place of having something to prove to other people or realistically to yourself, you're not coming from a place of service, you're not thinking about the people that you are responsible for creating an outcome for you or whether it's your employees, your team, your family, your customers, that's where you start making bad decisions. I guess coming back to the original idea of what our common mistakes along the way to making it Is that the closer you get to making it, the more opportunity there is for you to let whatever baggage you're carrying lead you to blow it. Mm hmm. My experience has been that you know whatever success you achieve, whether it's financial, whether it's recognition, whether it's um whatever you achieve it helps you become more of who you are and that's for good. But it's also for bad because we have, we all have good traits and we have bad traits and the things that you haven't dealt with, the pettiness, the insecurity, the need to prove something. And if it sounds like I'm projecting that I probably am. It just gets a bigger stage and more resources with which to play for me. 

     What matters is contribution. Like feeling like I'm making a difference to someone and growth for myself. Those are the two things that are really important for me and freedom, freedom to be able to do what I want when I want in the way that I want to take the risks that I want to take, which I guess is a bit of a misnomer because the freedom to take the risk means they're actually not that risky. That's kind of what the freedom does, that the risks, the risks. But yeah, having those things, I think you've kind of made it or at least that's how I used to think about it. It's changed for me a little bit now that I have kids as we record this. My daughter is 5.5. My son is four and what I found is that having kids, it kind of, it dials in the things that are important more and more. I see making it through a lens of, am I modeling the right things to my kids, right? Is this what I want them to grow up and aspire to? Not in terms of doing exactly what I'm doing, right? I mean, you know, if they're healthy and happy and doing something that they find fulfilling, that's what matters, but you know, am I modeling for them that I'm pursuing things that I'm excited about that I'm interested in and my modeling for them, that work is not something you have to do, it's something that you get to do and my modeling for them, that it's very worthwhile to slow down and help someone when, when there's an opportunity to do that. I think that's all a part of making it. Mhm. You know, I make enough money now, I'm fortunate that, you know, I'm not uber wealthy or anything like that, but I don't need to be right, I have a comfortable house. You know, my kids have food on the table and books on the bookshelves, those two important things in our family and that's enough. 

     So is it worth doing more? Is it worth creating something bigger for the people that we can contribute to you? For the people we can help for the example to my children, that you can reach for more and do more and contribute more? Absolutely. Is it worth running myself into the ground or being absent from my children? Absolutely not. So I don't think it's a matter of like getting to your death bed and taking stock. Like there's a scorecard of, you know, years of having made it, years of not having made it to my coming out ahead, Right? But you know, every, every moment, every year you you're either living the kind of life you want to be living and moving the direction of doing that more or not. Yeah, there's a metaphor that I give my students sometimes, but this difference between riding a train and surfing on the waves and the idea is that, you know, a lot of people conceptualize life as being like getting on a train, like riding a train, so maybe you have to run to catch the train, maybe you gotta hustle to get enough money for the train ticket, but once you get on the train you can sit back, relax and it's like you've done the hard part now, you can, you know, you're you're on the track and as long as you're sort of paying attention, looking out the window for the right stop, it's like you're good, you can you can take it easy. 

     And the other metaphor is the metaphor of surfing and one of these days I'll take an actual surfing lesson and see if I'm butchering the metaphor. But you know, I imagine that no matter how good of a surfer you are, you're never on on the board waiting for the waves to just quiet down to the water is perfectly still. So you're like, okay, now I'm good, I can take a nap, right? That's not part of the experience. The water is always changing and you're your comfort with that doesn't come from knowing that there is no uncertainty coming. It comes from trusting in your competence to handle that. And I think there's something parallel to that with making it in the sense that you don't do it once and now it's done. People imagine that they're like, well you're going to you're going to build a business and then you're going to grow at such a degree, you're going to sell it, you're gonna have $50 million dollars in the bank boom, you've made it. But there enough examples of people making fortunes and then losing them and then making them again, losing them, like it's not a permanent state and your happiness, your fulfillment isn't necessarily tied to your bank account balance. Yeah, But I guess the most important medal lesson is that the opportunities for failure tend to be cyclical meaning. If you come up to a certain situation and stumble, you're going to keep coming up to that kind of situation until you figure out how not to stumble. And so treating all of those failures, all the successes too. But it's, it's somehow harder to be self aware when, when you're being successful seeing it all as a kind of curriculum. A learning opportunity is really, really important and really powerful because whatever it is that made you stumble, you can encounter it again again again until until it stops making you stumble and then it kind of fades away and it's no longer an issue. 

     Life is a long series of steps. Life is a long series of things that you do. And, you know, there's a tendency for people to, it's called the End of History fallacy, right? The idea that everything was leading up to this point. And so whatever the thing is that you're doing right now, this this must be, you know, you're, you're living the first line of your obituary, like this is the most important thing that I've ever done. It's right now, and, you know, as I've done more things as I've achieved more things I've I've actually come to realize that there's probably more to come. There's other things, the next thing is important, but it's just the next thing. I'm Danny any and you've been listening to making it. You can find me at mira see dot com. 

Making it is a Mirasee FM original production. This episode was produced by Cynthia. Lamb Danny Iny is our executive producer. If you liked this episode, you might want to check out Just Between Coaches, the podcast that explores the really tough issues that coach's face every day. So you don't miss the great episodes that are coming up on making it go ahead and subscribe on apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you're listening right now. And if you like the show, please leave us a starred review. It's the best way to help us get these ideas to more people. Thank you. We'll see you next time.