Known more widely for his role in the sitcom ‘”The Office,” actor Rainn Wilson has also become an entrepreneur with launch of his site SoulPancake.com. The site racks up around 1 million page views a month, says Wilson.
In an interview with Bryan Elliot of Behind the Brand, he reveals his philosophy about online startups:
SoulPancake is a social platform for people to access and share content about “life’s big questions.” And it’s become a safe haven for discussions and ideas that may be too touchy for some settings. The site has also become a brand, with a unique style combining deep and meaningful concepts with a playful presentation.
SoulPancake stands out among a sea of comedy sites and memes, offering a more thoughtful look at today’s issues while still maintaining an understanding and accepting atmosphere. The site’s YouTube page offers programmed content like Kid President, Joy Bomb, and Life’s Big Questions, and boasts over 1.3 million subscribers.
When asked what advice he had for up-and-coming online entrepreneurs trying to create the next big thing, Wilson explains:
“They want to monetize, they want to be the next Twitter….but everyone is out there trying to do that…I could have made a lot more money with the site, or with the brand, doing comedy…But this is a passion project, it’s a passion that I have; but it is opening a lot of doors…we kind of have a niche.”
Wilson goes on to advise entrepreneurs “follow your bliss” adding that this is still possible on the Web. Most great ideas come from this approach, he argues, and from filling a need the founders themselves have. As an example, Wilson mentions social networks like Twitter or Facebook founded from a simple desire to share information with friends or family.
Wilson’s approach boils down to being happy doing what you do. Choosing an idea only based on its profitability is not always the best idea, he adds. Sometimes, following your passion is the best way to find that niche that will eventually prove most rewarding and profitable. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and blaze your own trail.
I came across Soul Pancake via the adorable Kid President. I had no idea it was owned by Rainn Wilson.
Following my own creative ideas/desires/dreams, and forging a niche from that, is the way to go for me.
Amazing. Sometimes, you really don’t have to be the next big thing. You just need to support the people that wants that.
AJ & Serenity Services
This reminds me of a book by Scott Fox titled “Click Millionaires”. In a nutshell, it’s a book on how you can use the Internet to make money for yourself. One of the tips offered is to take one of your hobbies or passions and figure out how to use the Internet to make money with this (whether it’s golfing, art, etc.).
I would agree that you don’t want to go into a specific niche or opportunity just for the money. If you don’t truly enjoy what you’re doing, then you’ll be miserable. In my case I enjoy reading, writing, making websites, and also personal development material. My partner enjoys social media, art, photography, and other similar subjects. We’ve combined both our interests and passions into an online business that can help other entrepreneurs (online or offline).
My partner and I would encourage anyone to read any of Scott Fox’s books.
Rainn sounds super down to earth and he is bringing back entrepreneurship to reality. I believe there is a fine line between seeing what the market is currently offering and just copying.
Yes, you might want to be the next big social media platform but for what reason? Because you are passionate or because it’s cool, hot and the latest trend.
Rainn’s SoulPancake sounds like a great place to start.