Peter Nguyen was not impressed by his education at the University of Florida and, as an alum of the rival and superior school Florida State University, I am not surprised. (I kid, I kid.) But, what Peter was really disappointed with was the lack of focus on entrepreneurship education. He decided to change that and founded the Literati Institute, the leading internet marketing private training program where you can learn how to start an internet business. We caught up with Peter to talk Literati beginnings, lunch with Branson, and who gets him in the mood to hustle.
Tell us a little more about what inspired Literati.
The higher education system is pretty broken for entrepreneurs. I graduated with a finance degree from the University of Florida years back. As a serial Internet entrepreneur in college, almost all my knowledge, training, and skills were completely outside of the classroom. Higher education teaches you to get a job and work for corporate America. Entrepreneurship programs around the country are outdated and not very practical.
What I wanted to do with Literati is create the world’s leading entrepreneurship program that encourages people and walks them step-by-step, from A to Z, through the process of creating their own business. Our program is already doing amazing things in schools like Baylor University (ranked the No. 2 entrepreneurship program in the nation) and other top programs. We not only teach them the most important and practical things they need to know, but our students also create profitable online businesses while learning it all. We have had several students make millions from the knowledge they learned through our program, and want to replicate this around the world.
What does a typical day look like?
Most of my day still revolves around building various Internet businesses. I have a couple dozen companies and various Internet campaigns. I have project managers or partners who run the day-to-day of most of my businesses, which is almost entirely automated. We like building a campaign and have it run mostly on autopilot.
On a typical day, I try to wake up somewhat early in the morning and self-reflect, meditate, pray, and plan out my day or week. My assistant tries not to book any meetings until after 11a.m. so I can use the mornings to catch up with my own work. My schedule is pretty slammed the entire day with various meetings with partners or potential partners. I try to keep my work separate and leave it in the office so when I’m home I can spend quality time with my wife.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Whether I have a few thousand in the bank (like when I first got started) or a few million, I don’t think I have changed very much in how I start up businesses. I treat every startup like it was my first one with no money. So I am always bootstrapping. I think that’s part of my key to staying on top and building very profitable businesses early on.
There’s only two ways to make a campaign more profitable: 1) charging more for it, or 2) spending less for it. The problem with charging more is that it usually lowers conversion rates, and you need to give more value to the consumer. The great part of spending less is that it only takes a little negotiation and a somewhat frugal mindset. The consumer wins at the end if you can pass the savings.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you talk about?
I think one of my favorite guys I would love to meet is Richard Branson. I just got done reading his book, and I have even that much greater respect for him. I love that he is wildly imaginative and has a “Screw it, let’s do it!” mentality.
As a serial entrepreneur myself, Richard Branson has not only built out successful companies in one or two different industries — he’s been able to get a piece of just about any industry he enters. He’s not the biggest player in any industry he’s in, but he’s still a billionaire. I think I would love to eat one of his meals prepared by one of the cooks on his private island. I would love to get some inspiration and learn from someone like Richard Branson… see if perhaps we could work together on some projects and talk business.
Biggest startup challenge?
I think for most people, it’s the confidence in themselves that they can do it. I think that’s the number one thing I’ve noticed in the entrepreneurs and the wantreprenurs. Confident people get what they want in business. They have an abundance mentality, and if you couple that with a hunger to succeed, there’s no stopping them. Also, if you do what you love and it’s fun to you, you’re more than likely to succeed. You’ll work harder, you’ll work longer, and you’ll be more passionate about it. So when times do get hard, it doesn’t hurt so badly.
Web app or site you couldn’t live without and why.
Gmail. I think I spend the majority of my workday either sending out emails or in meetings. Although I get a few hundred emails a day, I have built in good email habits that I learned from going through Getting Things Done by David Allen. It has really helped me stay structurally organized.
What’s your music-streaming site of choice, and what’s currently playing?
Pandora or GrooveShark. I am a big fan of Jay-Z — it gets me in the mood to hustle.
What’s the greatest thing about Literati?
We actually care about our students and want to see them succeed. Not only do we have the most comprehensive material in the world, but we also have an incredible amount of successful people who have gone on to make millions going through our program.
Courtesy of Peter Nguyen | Literati Institute