It is no exaggeration to say that Sol Orwell knows everyone in fitness. He is on the advisory board for Schwarzenegger.com, has built Examine.com into the world’s biggest supplement information site, and yet, he has only been in the industry for five and a half years.
This success is no accident. From SEO to online gaming, Sol has been building and selling businesses based out of his interests since he was 16 and retired twice now. How did he achieve this and what lessons are there for us in the fitness industry?
I spent the last week hanging out with Sol in Toronto, and took the opportunity to record an interview on the last day before leaving for the airport. We get stuck into the following topics: Building a business and network through cookies, the importance of letting employees shine, the importance of expressing gratitude daily. Controversies, the importance of seeing the bigger picture when looking to make an impact, and where Sol feels fitness professionals get it wrong.
- Sol’s entrepreneur journey. – “I make businesses around my interests.” [2’30]
- What is examine.com? “We analyze research in nutrition.” [4’30]
- On the sensationalistic headlines in the media. [5’15 ]
- At what point did you monetize your site? – “For the first 2.5 years, we didn’t make a dime in revenue.” [6’30]
- How the business was born out of Reddit. – “There’s a big problem and you do your little bit to solve it.” [8’30]
- The business case for staying in the background and letting employees take the limelight. [11’30]
- On the insane questions they get asked. [17’30]
- Sol’s background and first businesses. From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Houston, USA to Toronto. [18’30]
- The mistakes people make when networking. How to go about it in a better way. [20’30]
- “Don’t ever use the phrase, ‘I want to pick your brain,’ instead, try something different, for example, ‘I’m going to bribe you with the best chocolate chip cookie in Toronto!'” [23’10]
- “People are too obsessed with the immediate thing they can get from somebody.” [25’30]
- Sol’s morning routine. [26’30]
- How Sol’s background has affected how he sees the world. [29’10]
- Where people go wrong in the fitness industry. [31’30]
- “Our job is to get access to more people. We publish anywhere that has an audience.” [34’30]
- “If there’s one thing that humanity needs more of, it’s travel.” [39’30]
- For unbiased advice on supplements – Examine.com
- Sol’s business musings – SJO.com. He’s also arguably the most handsome guy in Toronto.
Thank you for listening! – Andy and Sol