An Interview with Daniel Flynn – Co-founder of Thankyou
In today’s episode, we hear from Daniel Flynn, co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou a social enterprise that sells consumer products like water, nappies, hand sanitiser and much more here in Australia and soon to be New Zealand. They give 100% of their profits to end extreme poverty.
Daniel closed day 1 at our event, a couple of months ago, with the most remarkable of keynotes.
The title of his talk was Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones and he spoke about the story of Thankyou, from the very beginning (8 years ago), when Daniel and his co-founders were in their early twenties and stepped up to start Thankyou.
His session was remarkable and the most highly rated session of our event this year. In fact, it was right up there with the best session we’ve ever had in terms of ratings.
In this interview Daniel shares a few highlights from the event but also gives advice on:
- Comfort zones
- The importance of being a learner
- Celebrating the wins before moving on to the next thing
- A powerful tip for those struggling to have enough time
- A tip for confronting fear
The other voice you’ll hear in this interview is Karly Nimmo who helped me out by interviewing some of our speakers from the event this year. Karly is another of our speakers and is from Radcasters.com – a podcasting school.
There’s lots of goodness in this interview! It goes about 14 minutes, and at the end I’ll chime back in with a few thoughts on what they covered.
Further Resources on an Interview with Daniel Flynn Co-founder of Thankyou.co
Daniel: I know it’s a numbers game in blogging and online it’s all about the numbers. When it comes to making a difference, I love the thought of the one. If we can impact the one person, it doesn’t sound like much. If everyone did that, our world would look completely different.
Darren: That was the voice of Daniel Flynn, founder of an amazing organization by the name of Thankyou who we are so lucky to have as a guest on our episode today.
Welcome to episode 165 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, and job board as well as a series of ebooks, and I keep forgetting to say a real book that you can find on Amazon called ProBlogger. They’re all designed to help you to grow as a blogger. To create your audience, to build engagement with that audience, and to make money from your blogs. You can find all the information you need about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Particularly look for the start here page if you’re new to ProBlogger.
In today’s episode, we do hear from Daniel Flynn, the Co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou, a social enterprise that sells consumer products. They started out selling water but have moved on to many other products like hand sanitizer and even recently have launched a whole baby line of nappies and other baby products. They sell here in Australia and soon to be in New Zealand and I suspect you might see them oversees internationally over the years too.
They give 100% of their profits to end extreme poverty. Whilst they started out small as just a three young people in their early 20s, they have really found a foothold here in Australia and they’re in all major supermarkets.
Daniel closed day one of our event a couple of months ago, the ProBlogger event, with the most remarkable of keynotes. The title of his talk was Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones. He spoke about the story of Thankyou and took us right back eight years ago when they started out, when he and his co-founders were in their early 20s and they stepped up and started Thankyou. His session really was remarkable. He was the most highly rated session of our event this year. In fact, it was right up there with the best sessions we’ve ever had over the seven years of the ProBlogger event in terms of ratings.
In today’s interview, Daniel shares a few of the highlights from the event but also gives us some advice on getting out of our comfort zones, the importance of being a leaner, celebrating the wins before moving onto the next thing which is something I’m guilty of. He gives a powerful tip for those struggling to have enough time in whatever it is that you’re doing. Whether you’re starting a startup like he has been for the last eight years or whether you’re a blogger or podcaster or something else. He also gives a tip on confronting fear.
The other voice you will hear in this interview as you have heard in a few previous interviews is Karly Nimmo who helped me by interviewing some of our speakers at the event this year. Karly is another of our speakers and is from radcasters.com, a podcasting school.
There’s a lot of goodness in this particular interview. It only goes for about 14 minutes but they do pack a lot into it. I do encourage you to stick through to the end. I would chime in at the end with a few thoughts of what they covered. There’s a few things that he said that I was furiously taking notes on and want to apply in my own business and life.
I hope you will enjoy this interview. If you do want to find out a little bit more about Thankyou, you can find them at thankyou.co. I’ll talk to that at the end. I’m going to hand over to Karly and Daniel.
Daniel: My name is Daniel Flynn, one of the Co-founders and Managing Director at Thankyou. We’re a social enterprises that sells consumer products and gives 100% of the profit to helping end extreme poverty.
Karly: You were totally a highlight, by the way. I went to your session. Can you tell us a bit about what was it on?
Daniel: I ought to share our journey, of Thankyou really. The theme of the talk was around turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. I think our journey like maybe many people listening, it wasn’t a smooth sailing. We had so many moments where we wanted to give up. These stumbling blocks for us were big enough to give up but we pushed through. We learned from them each time and now we have a pretty interesting story that is succeeding in some of the biggest supermarkets in Australia, products that are outselling global competitors. We hear a lot of nice things that about the organization which is amazing but that’s after eight years.
The journey of persistence, of getting up and going again. That’s what I shared today, and also just really putting the thought out there that we can all make an impact bigger than just us.
I know where it’s a numbers game in blogging and online, it’s all about numbers. When it comes to making a difference, I love the the thought of the one. If we can impact the one person, I know it doesn’t sound like much. If everyone did that, our world would look completely different. We can never just look at big problems and be paralyzed, we’ve got to take a step out, share some stuff like that.
Karly: My next question was really what would be one thing that you want them to take away? I guess that would be one person can make a difference.
Daniel: Look, one person can make a difference. It’s the thing really of our organization and our brand. It’s a real takeaway. I think the other thing, the event, not a business head on but essentially that growth mindset on. We talked about getting out of your comfort zone and staying out of your comfort zone. Really, that’s our journey.
Even today, we do launches that get great PR, great marketing, and great cut through but they are so uncomfortable. They really stretch us but if you’re going to make your idea and dream reality, you’ve got to get comfortable with that very uncomfortable feeling.
Karly: Yeah, for sure. For me, what I took away was that idea of disruption. You’re like, “How can we do this differently?” “How can we cut through?” That was so powerful to hear. Also, I just think like that story of failure. Everyone on the stage, myself included, have had that. That slugging that through but moving forward regardless. Then not allowing failure to define your future and make that up yourself.
Daniel: I think it is the story of every great organization, dream persons. Some people get a quicker trajectory, a quicker initial launch. I definitely sat back for years in the edge and then going how come they got to just year one, a million this or that. Everyone has a different journey, a different story. We got to embrace the uniqueness.
Karly: What has been a highlight of you from the comfort so far?
Daniel: At Thankyou, we talk about learning. It’s one of our values which sounds like a bit of a boring value for such a disruptive organization. Learning is what we had to do at the beginning because we didn’t know what we were doing. It’s what we have to do now still because we still don’t really know. We know more than we knew, but every single day is an opportunity to learn.
I think for me, I was in Nathan’s session yesterday and I was literally just like, “My mind’s going to explode with all the things we need to do to improve.” He’s just sharing all the journey of founder and essentially all the case of success.
I’m messaging a marketing manager. Do we have this? Are we using this? Are we using that? She said yes to a lot of stuff but there are still things that we learned. I think conferences, podcasts, blogs, it’s about continuing to develop because if you don’t grow, you will not be able to grow your idea kind of further than you grow.
Karly: I think it comes down to session here or the conferences. This reminds you of the possibility and opportunity.
Daniel: Yes, it does. I think when you see someone else’s story, you bump into someone else, they could be a speak, they may not be. I’ve had some great stories off the stage that you go, “Huh, that is awesome.” It motivates you, inspires you, or it challenges you. How can I think different?
Karly: Cool, love that. Have you had any major a-ha moments while you’ve been here?
Daniel: When I got up on that stage, I thought to myself a few things, one this is a big room of people. I’m new to blogging. You’re interviewing a blogger here, don’t ask me too many questions about. We have an organization that’s parting with bloggers, parting with influencers. I say influencers, I mean like you could have ten people following you, that’s influence. You have 100,000, that’s influence.
To stare down that stage and to see how many different influencers are in different circles? This is amazing, so cool as a community. For me, it’s like Thankyou could go so much further if this community backs it. For me, I was like, “Wow, our world is big even here in Australia.” It’s just so cool to see the diversity.
Karly: One tip for someone who’s just starting out on their journey, whether that be a blog, a podcast or a startup venture.
Daniel: So many tips, I’m just going to give this one. The tip to get started is get started. Get out, get off, just do it. It is the hardest part. There’s so much build up to that moment of actually starting. In fact, I met a girl yesterday. She was like, “Ohh yeah, I’ve got a blog post.” She hasn’t publish them yet. I get it, it’s a scary moment, the very first post, the very first page, it’s so scary. If you don’t hit that hard, you’re delaying your learning process, you’re delaying everything you need.
At first pitch, I was so nervous about it eight years ago. Really, it wasn’t that pitch that made or broke Thankyou. It’s everything that came from that. If you get started now like as in the moment you stop listening to this, get out, start the new idea or the new part of your venture. That’s one of the greatest case.
Karly: Totally. What do you wish you knew in the beginning?
Daniel: I think a lot of our failures now have really defined us and we really learned from them. I wish we knew some stuff that we didn’t have to fail so many times. I actually don’t think we’d have the strength we have now. In fact, Apple, they just launched chapter one. The only reason that’s even a book or it’s content is because we just failed so many times. Now, there’s a great story to spread. I don’t really want to undo that.
I got really challenged by our mentor once we caught up, it was the first catch up. He’s the chairman of some huge investment bank. His opening question, “Do you celebrate the wins?” I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool.” “What was the win? What day did you celebrate? How did you celebrate it?”
Karly: Yeah, that’s a big A because usually I’m like, “Wooohhh,” then move on to the next thing.
Daniel: He caught me on it. I looked at him blankly, I had nothing. Essentially I was like, “Wow.” I was the guy and sometimes I still am. I’ve got to get this out of me but when we think of wanting to grow in vision, it’s like, “Ohh yeah, it’s cool. We got a product in this one way retailer. Now, we need to outsell competitors.” Then, we need another retailer and you’re always moving forward.
If you don’t stop and celebrate the wins, you will not enjoy the journey. More importantly, the people around you won’t either. For the sake of our team, we had to stop and celebrate the wins. We got a celebration on Monday morning, two days time, three days time celebrating the big win we’ve had with our chapter one launch and baby range. We got 50 staff stopping. We’re all going out for breakfast, we are going to hang out and celebrate. You have to do it.
Karly: Totally. Actually, that just reminded me while you were speaking about that, you’ve got a young child. I have a toddler. We celebrate those moments in our lives, don’t we?
Daniel: Yeah, so true.
Karly: We really sit in it. But then when it’s our own stuff, we just move on so quickly.
Daniel: I think we move on because in our minds, people around us will celebrate, “Ohh great effort, great post, great engagement. That went viral.” You’re like, “Yeah, yeah but you don’t know how much more work there is. You don’t know how far I’ve got to go.” Sometimes just because we know that, it robs us of the moment. We got to stop to celebrate it and then go again.
Karly: Love it. What do you think has contributed to your success so far?
Daniel: Other people. I think other people have contributed to our success so far. I think from mentors as I mentioned, people who have decades of experience willing to drop one line either in person or over coffee or through a book. Some of my greatest lessons learned, I’ve never met the people but I feel like I know them because I’ve read their story. That is contributed to me which is contributed to the vision.
The Thankyou story is it’s a collective of people. From now, hundreds of thousands, really even millions of consumers to creative designers, to videographers. Helicopter pilots that once backed out our campaign flying helicopters for free with huge signs. I look at the collective of other people. That’s what made this successful.
Sometimes, it feels really lonely, especially early days. It’s like, “No one gets it. No one gets me. No one understands.” Actually, if you can move past that, for us we realize this is huge. There are so many people involved and that’s what’s built to our success. You’ve got to tap into it, focus on that.
Karly: Cool. What did you really suck at in the beginning?
Daniel: In the beginning, I really sucked at detail. This is on a personal level and I still do. I’m trying so hard. I lost my room key last night. I couldn’t find my wallet, I left my lanyard. Detail is for me a bit of an Achilles Heel. In the organizations, as we have, that’s pretty dangerous. We’ve got a phenomenal team around me who are great with detail. That’s backing kind of my weakness.
I think in the early days, as an organization, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. In one sense, we said things in meetings that we should know so it kind of sucked out knowledge. At the same time, I loved it, I love it. Because it was like, what was our weakness became our strength. We asked the things we shouldn’t have, we pitched things we shouldn’t have, and we got them. We try and replicate that now years later now that we’re growing up and we’re getting all more professional and stuff and we’re trying to keep that.
Karly: The naivety.
Daniel: Yeah, the naivety.
Karly: Lastly, there’s two main things that we kind of see. Anyone who is trying to move forward, whether it’s a blog, or a podcast, or doing a Facebook Live, that is like the time factor. Time is an issue, the other one is fear. I’d love it if you could give us a tip on how to move through both.
Daniel: I think the most powerful word in building ideas, running businesses, organizations, blogs and anything, the most powerful word is no. I know it’s wishing gets the opposite, it’s yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes I’ll do it, yes to opportunity, yes, yes, yes. Actually though, if we become yes people, and I was one big time. Now, I say no a lot. It kills me but I want to say yes to that person or that opportunity. If you do, you rob yourself of the time it takes to deliver what you need to deliver.
You might be pleasing a whole bunch of other people and other groups, but you’re not actually delivering what you know you need to deliver. The power of saying no to something else to protect your time is so crucial. That’s time.
When it comes to fear, this is really personal. I bumped into [00:16:43] yesterday who’s on the panel about 15 minutes. She’s on the panel with our brand director Justine and my wife. She said, “I’m on a panel with you and your wife and I’m so nervous.” I said I know what you mean, she’s a bit surprised.
The fear thing, it can get all of us. In the early days, I said I’d never do public speaking. I shared this is the room yesterday. That for me was in year 10, 11, I haven’t develop this really strong list. I’m so self conscious of my words. I did speech pathology and that eventually kind of helped. I didn’t want to get up in front of more than three people. What if I messed up my words?
I think now I get invited, sometimes they introduce me as a professional speaker. I’m just thinking LOL in my head, like this is ridiculous. I’m speaking to a few hundred or ten or a few thousand people. I’ve had to overcome this fear. We all must. I think, how do we overcome fear? Of course, surround ourselves with great people who believe in us. There are moments before a talk and I’ve looked at Justine who’s one of our co-founders but also my wife. I’m like, “Man, I’m scared.” “I know you’ve got this.”
I should know I’ve got this but that encouragement to kind of push that fear aside is really powerful. Protect your time, say no. Get great people around you because fear does come after all of us but we have to push through to achieve anything remarkable.
Karly: Cool, thank you.
Darren: I just love that interview with Daniel and Karly and love the session that Daniel did at the event. You can actually get access to that session by purchasing the virtual ticket for our event which gives you access to that session and all the others that we did over the two days. You can find more information on how to grab that at problogger.com/virtualticket.
There are a few things in that particular episode that I felt almost compelled to write down and really ponder. One of them particularly was the idea of celebrating the wins. For me, that was something that I found really hit home for me because I’m someone who does celebrate the win in the moment but always am looking on to the next thing because I do have fairly long term plans. I think I need to perhaps just pause and celebrate a little bit more particularly with my team. It’s something that I’m going to take away from that particular one.
Also love the idea of making a difference to one person. I actually said this at a conference a few years ago. If your blog just has one reader, that might be enough. That one reader might just be the reader that takes your advice and changes their life because of something that you say. That one reader might be the person who has an amazing network and passes on word to their network of your blog and could be that one person that you need to tip your blog into having lots of readers.
That one reader might be someone who becomes a friend, a partner, business partner, personal partner. That one reader might be enough in many ways. Many times, we do as bloggers struggle with the idea of needing lots of readers. It might just be that the one that you have is the right reader. For a variety of reasons and particularly in terms of making the world a better place, Daniel is certainly on about.
The advice of getting out of your comfort zone and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable is so important. I particularly liked his tip about saying no. Again, that’s something I struggle with. I’m a yes man. Often really struggle to say no and it really reminded me of what I was talking about just an episode or two ago about me creating my schedule. Really, I guess in creating a schedule, for me to manage my time, I’m thinking about what are my priorities, what do I need to get done. Creating a schedule around those things, in many ways, that was saying no to other things, other things that would cramp those priorities out.
For me, that’s a practical way of saying no. I don’t have an opening in my schedule to be able to take on the opportunities that come my way if they’re not aligned with my priorities. Maybe that is a way if you do struggle to say no, maybe you could put a schedule together that helps you to say no and to gather those things that do really need to happen. If we become yes people, we rob ourselves of the time it takes to deliver what you know you need to deliver. Those were the words that I wrote down from Daniel.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you want to find out more about Daniel and Thankyou, please check them out at thankyou.co. If you want to connect with Karly and learn about podcasting, you can check out radcasters.com. If you want to check out the virtual ticket for the ProBlogger event, it’s problogger.com/virtualticket.
I hope you enjoyed today’s interview. We’ll get back to you in a couple of days time with another teaching episode here at problogger.com. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll chat with you soon.
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