For Chris Reynolds, the digital entrepreneurship dream came somewhat easily. He took the manifesto of Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek and made it a reality, traveling the globe as a location-independent entrepreneur.
But something was missing—the people he'd left behind at home in the US.
As a natural extrovert, Chris was driven to connect, so he made it his mission to bring entrepreneurs together. That could mean tapas hopping in Barcelona, hang gliding in Brazil, or climbing the tallest mountain in Costa Rica to raise money for charity. Or—why not?—getting together and using a high-tech brain scanner to learn how to optimize neurological health.
Through it all, he's aligned his own needs and desires with his work as a community builder.
He started building communities to scratch his own itch for belonging and ended up creating some amazing community programs. He's got a lot of stories to tell and lessons to share, and they're all waiting for you in this episode of The Community Experience.
Chris Reynolds, MBA, is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance tactician, international keynote speaker, and founder of The Business Method Podcast & the M3 Entrepreneur Community. Chris' business and events help entrepreneurs optimize their productivity to reach peak performance consistently, and scale their businesses rapidly using research-driven techniques.
Chris has been a location-independent entrepreneur for nine years, living in multiple countries and traveling the world during that time. He has created ten business accelerators in Spain, Brazil, and Thailand while interviewing over 400 successful entrepreneurs and high performers on his podcast, including Laird Hamilton, Steven Kotler, Jim Rogers, John Lee Dumas, and many more.
Chris was an official juror of the Global Startup Awards in 2019, and he currently focuses on helping entrepreneurs get to the top of their game in businesses and life through consulting, masterminds, online courses, and live events.
In This Episode
- How Chris became a “lifestyle entrepreneur” and built his business
- “Tapas hopping”
- Creating a niche community of nomadic entrepreneurs
- Embracing shorter-term involvement as a community member
- Optimizing neurological health with a community brain scan event
- Mastermind calls … with VR goggles! (And is it worth it?)
- How Chris plans out his events—official and unofficial—each year
- Questions community founders should ask themselves
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss [Amazon affiliate link]
- Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult by Shaahin Cheyene and Chris Voss [Amazon affiliate link]
- Horizon Workrooms on Oculus Quest
- WAVI Brain Activity Testing
The CX 027: Gathering Nomads through Tapas Hopping and More with Chris Reynolds
Chris Reynolds: So we do the monthly mastermind calls and we now do those... I haven't told anybody this now, because it's kind of the secret, but we can let the cat out of the bag. We bought Oculus-
Jillian Benbow: We won't tell anyone. Go on.
Chris: We bought Oculus VR goggles for all our members. And so, now we've been doing our mastermind calls in virtual reality.
Tony Bacigalupo: In this episode we're going to be talking with Chris Reynolds and we're going to touch on a topic that has come up a lot in our conversations, which is aligning your own needs, your own pains with what you do as a community builder. Chris has been somebody who has had an incredible story traveling the world, doing all kinds of incredible experiences, but he also felt a lot loneliness along the way. Started building communities to scratch his own itch, his own need for finding people and finding belonging and found that he was far from alone and ended up building some amazing community programs.
So he's got a lot of stories to tell a lot of lessons to share, and we can't wait to share it with you. So let's get into it with this conversation with Chris Reynolds on this episode of the Community Experience, episode 27.
Chris Reynolds, welcome. Thank you so much for joining.
Chris: I am honored to be here. Thank you for having me, Tony.
Tony: All right. And we got Jill here as well.
Jillian: Hello. Hello. I'm excited for this episode.
Chris: Hi, Jill.
Tony: Tell me a little bit about just your brief bio, life story. And in particular, how community kind of came into how you do things. When did you start kind of doing community type things, gatherings, and yeah? Let's start with that and dig in from there.
Chris: Yeah. I guess you can call me a lifestyle entrepreneur starting in… I started as an entrepreneur way back in 2007, but became a location independent entrepreneur in 2011.
Tony: Lifestyle entrepreneur in 2007 was like an epithet in certain circles. Did you ever catch that?
Chris: I don't think I became an official lifestyle entrepreneur till like 2011. So it took me a while to kind of get through it. But you're right. I think, though, there's a certain type of entrepreneurs that are out there that just are naturally lifestyle entrepreneurs. And for me, entrepreneurship a lot of it is about living better and finding better ways to live and helping other people do that as well.
So when I became an official lifestyle entrepreneur that was post breeding like the four-hour work week, and then starting to travel the world and building business while traveling the world. And I did that, I guess you could say I'm still doing it. So like 11 years or 10 years now or something like that. And I did it abroad mostly through COVID. I've been hanging out in Austin, but soon, in a couple months, getting ready to go back and do my international wild adventures again. But community is also always played a major part of that, because one of the, I think, most important when I first left the US and I was living in Costa Rica on a beach with no community, I was really lonely.
And here I had established this "freedom and lifestyle" to work abroad. And this was in 2011. So it wasn't nearly as popular as it was today. And I was like here I am in paradise, but I'm not happy and I couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy. And I had missed like, I had left Phoenix to go to Costa Rica. So I had missed my like-minded entrepreneurs and personal growth friends in Phoenix a lot.
And so, I started to do these trips to where those people could come on trips with me, so could get like my dose of community and people while being abroad and have them go on a fun adventure as well. And we would do these cool charity events like climb to tallest mountain in Costa Rica and raise a bunch of money for children with developmental disabilities. Go to Peru and start a homesteading land and raise money to build a sustainable farm. Go to Spain, go on a big trek together and build, raise money and build a home for slave children in Ghana.
So this was all me unconsciously, trying to bring my community to where I was, right? Because I was, I found this secret out. I could work anywhere in the world online. I could build business. I could have fun, have these adventures, but even like the typical backpackers while traveling abroad weren't quite as like-minded as the entrepreneurs, the people that like really love personal growth.
And so, in 2014, I was living in Barcelona and I had a friend come and stay with me for the month. And for that month we set goals together. We enjoyed the city together. We tried to learn new languages together like Spanish and we had a really good time. And by the end of that month, I was like, "Why aren't more people doing this? Why aren't more people living together in different cities around the world building business and having fun at the same time?"
So then, I was like, "I don't know. I should do this." And so, I launched a business called the Entrepreneur House. And it was really my deep longing to bring entrepreneurs together around the world, create these business accelerators to where we can build business together, and do it, and have a really good time. And so, I had these month long, the Entrepreneur House was a month long event. It would be in different cities around the world and entrepreneurs would come together. We would organize the apartments or the house or wherever we were staying. And we would set goals together, build business, mastermind.
And so, I ran that for three to four years and after that time, I got a serious girlfriend and I was like, "I can't… This is kind of like living in a fraternity house." So I was like, "If I'm going to have a solid relationship, I need to rearrange his business model." So I took all the productivity and optimization stuff out of that and made that online stuff, continued to scale and build a podcast. And it's kind of morphed into what we have now today with the Business Method. The Business Method Podcast, and then the entrepreneur community that we run. So short, as short as I could put it for you guys. So yeah.
Jillian: It's a whole lifetime in that.
Chris: I know. Yes. Yeah.
Jillian: That's amazing. I love that you found a way to like identify what was missing, and then bring it into your life. Like [crosstalk]-
Chris: I really think it was unconscious, though, Jill. Like it was-
Jillian: Yeah, but even so.
Chris: Yeah. It was a longing for like, "I need my people." Because I'm naturally an extrovert and a community builder and I long for that so much. And it was like, "I've just got to do something, because I'm drowning here without having my people around me."
Jillian: Yeah. Well, and it sounds like, correct me if I'm wrong. So just for context, when you were first in Arizona and went to Costa Rica, I think you said that first time and started this. The business you had then was helping other entrepreneurs?
Chris: No. It was Niche Websites Online.
Jillian: Oh okay.
Chris: It was way back in the day. Yeah. Niche Websites Online. Yeah. Just, yeah.
Jillian: Gotcha. No. I think it's great. I mean you had those people in your life in a geographical location. You moved geographical locations, realized the importance of them, and then whether unconsciously, however it happened, it's beautiful. You found a way to bring those connections, but also in like a pretty unique way, because you have that in person component that like our community is fully digital.
I love… Jumping ahead, we'll talk about this in a bit. But you do a lot of very like very in person. What's the word I'm looking for? Just, intimate sounds kind of weird, but intimate like events where people can really have that like actual relationship building face to face, which is-
Chris: Connect and bond. Yeah. It's really essential because I noticed like as the age of the digital entrepreneur started to grow and grow, I realized that this wasn't a thing that was going to go away anytime soon, but there was a major lack of people bringing these entrepreneurs together. And I just knew kind of deep down inside like I could do that. This is an easy thing for me and I could get a bunch of entrepreneurs and throw an event in Barcelona or Thailand or Brazil. And we could go tapas hopping in Barcelona and go to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand and go hang gliding in Brazil and do all these really fun things that people really, they loved to do, they wanted to do and they needed more of it. So I just started doing it.
Jillian: Tapa hopping is now my next big check goal for things to do.
Chris: I might be in Barcelona this summer so you should, you come along and we'll go tapas hopping.
Tony: Tapa hopping is already the front runner for the title of this episode right now.
Chris: There you go, tapas hopping.
Tony: Might confuse the listener, but Rob say, "I'm into it." But you're talking about topics that it's just reminding me how much overlap there is between, first of all, entrepreneurship where you oftentimes can feel a little bit alone running your own business, remote work, which everybody's kind of dealing with in their own way. And then, travel also, which sounds so wonderful and so romantic. And then, you could be out there experiencing something beautiful and feels super lonely.
And so, it's interesting to see how those, all those different things can kind of combine. We see how tech has enabled more nomadism, more entrepreneurship, more ability to move around, and it just seems to be leading to, yeah. Now we need to figure out how to not be lonely while we're doing it too.
Chris: It can be very lonely in the nomadic world. Digital nomads are out there and they're looking for communities and there's not a lot of community builders. They're getting more and more popular, but now I base my travel completely around communities. So I don't really go anywhere unless I know there's a community there that's already established that I can connect to. Unless it's like a weekend adventure or maybe just like a bucket list thing that's a week that I go somewhere to do.
So for example, my lease ends in Austin at the end of February, I'm going to go down Playa del Carmen. There's an event down there. I've got a bunch of friends there. I've actually, out of all my travels never been to Medellin or Columbia, so I'm going to go… There's a lot of entrepreneurs down in Medellin. Lisbon is big on the list. Like there's a lot of entrepreneurs that are in Lisbon now.
And actually, that's where I met Pat for the very first time. And so, there's things that are, but it becomes more sustainable when you start to have clear intention with your travel, because I go places that I know I'm going to be around people that lift me up and fulfill me. And I don't care about going like on another random backpacking adventure anywhere in the world, because I've done that. I've done plenty of adventures. If I'm doing adventures now it's with around people that are of like mind and people that I care about.
And so, right now we have an entrepreneur community. And one of the things we do with our events or adventures is it's bringing around all like-minded entrepreneurs that are similar level with the business that they are. And we do like we're getting ready to go to Las Vegas and we're going to drive high performance race cars around the racetrack, and shoot machine guns out of a helicopter and play laser tag in airplanes. And like these are real things. Like those are fun, interesting things. But I don't want to do that by myself. That doesn't sound fun to me.
And I think for a lot of entrepreneurs that are out there or like-minded people, like they're looking for things like that and it's essential, I think.
Jillian: Can I ask a question I may regret asking? What are you shooting at out of these helicopters?
Chris: They have like 20 abandoned targets on the side of the mountain, in the desert. So there's like an old building or an old car out there. So you're not going out there shooting animals.
Tony: A few of the people who couldn't pay the bill are running around out there.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah.
Jillian: All the churned members of your community.
Jillian: Yeah. I was looking at, so your community is M3 Entrepreneurs. M3.club.
Jillian: And it's such an interesting model. I mean I was just deep diving on this. I'm also curious about what the Austin fun and business entails. But so it sounds like, I mean you have, obviously, it must be a paid entrepreneur group.
Jillian: I'm curious about how you go about finding these members that are aligned with wanting the… The masterminds, wanting the entrepreneurial camaraderie but also who are down to get in a helicopter and shoot an abandoned building. Like what's your, how you, I guess, grown your membership to be this niche?
Chris: Sure. Yeah. One of the things I noticed while traveling the world and being a digital nomad myself is that there was a budding entrepreneur in that niche of people that had kind of like had never been around before, that the world hadn't been seen before. So people that started as digital nomads and they were backpackers traveling the world making a couple thousand dollars a month, eventually started building really incredible businesses over time. Right?
And so, five years down the road, seven years down the road, somebody who started like in the middle of Thailand, just like selling something on Amazon, all of a sudden they're selling their business for a million bucks. And so, what happened is the communities for digital nomads that are out there, for the most part, they're designed for digital nomads. That are starting out, maybe they go travel the world a year or two or so, and then kind of go back and establish their life and get married and settle down that sort of thing. But there was a small niche group of people that just continued to kind of travel or live abroad or maybe meet a partner abroad and decide to live in another country. But that started to create these higher level businesses that were making seven figures plus in a year.
And there was no community for them. They were just kind of lost out there and they would go to other mastermind or other groups and say, "This is great, but it's not quite my fit." Hop through other communities and just not feel like that was their exact tribe. And so, I just started saying, "These are actually the people that I want to surround myself with." The vast majority of my friends were that type of entrepreneur.
On my podcast, I've been podcasting seven years as well. And so, I just get to talk to all these incredible entrepreneurs that are out there. One of the series that I did was a hundred episodes with 107 figure location independent entrepreneurs. And so, I just got to know all these people. And then, eventually I started talking to my now partner and we were like, "Let's start this thing as a mastermind community." Because COVID was present at the time.
And then, all these people that we've networked with over the years that we can have a place to go to start to exchange ideas and grow while we're on lockdown. And then, that turned into eventually we could do a live event. So we did a live event and the members came to a live event and some non-members as well. And then, eventually we thought, "What else can we do to add value to the community?"
So we started adding little things here and there, turning the original mastermind group into a community, and now we're doing regular events and we're growing that community. And so, we just found like, again, I was filling my own pain points where I didn't have the exact type of people to be around the exact amount of time that I wanted to, doing the exact, the type of things I wanted to do. Just like the Entrepreneur House, so we were like, "Let's create M3 and start doing this together and build a community around it and grow it." So yeah.
Tony: I'm going to ask kind of a vague question, but I feel like there are a lot of people out there who have unfulfilled needs, especially social needs, but very few of us find the resourcefulness to recognize, "Oh, I have an unfulfilled need. I'm going to go create something that solves this." Right? That takes a fair bit of willpower and energy. Have you ever had trouble tapping into that? Were there stretches of time when it took you a while to muster the ability to take that challenge by the horns and engage with it directly?
Chris: Probably because the communities that I've built are kind of around getting to the point probably and originally subconsciously, unconsciously where I just couldn't stand it anymore and I needed to create the — solve the problem with my own type of creation. Now that being said, I know for a fact I was trying to solve that pain point by looking at other communities or even joining other communities out there.
There's fantastic communities out there that I'm currently a member of or have been in the past that I've joined and they filled a need for a certain amount of time and either I've moved on or I'm still with them, but I think like it takes the right type of individual too, Tony, because if you you're sitting there building the SaaS business and you're in Canada or Columbia or even in the United States, you don't have time to build your own community quite often, right? If you're in scaling point, like you can get to the point where the community's big, and then you can build your own community on the backside of that software business or whatever type of business you're growing.
So we need community builders out there. And so, I know quite often I was looking for… I was looking at different types of organizations and going to different events to find that need for myself, and eventually getting to the point where I was fulfilled by a lot of these, but I still noticed a growing or a pain point within myself or within other entrepreneurs that I talk to.
I'll give you an example. In Thailand, every fall for the past number of years, we've done an event called Get Shit Done Live. And so, there's an annual migration in Thailand where a bunch of entrepreneurs in October, November would end up in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. And when we ended up there, people wanted to play and go see the elephants and do the tours and do all the things. But a lot of people were just saying, "Man, I just don't know where to go to get done."
And I heard it over and over, "Where can we go to get shit done while we're here?" And I just heard it in so many conversations and I thought, "Well, let's create a place where you can get shit done." So it turned out to be 10 days of entrepreneurs living… Well, we kind of rented out a resort. So we lived in the same resort together for those 10 days and we just really worked hard and I set up the facilitation so we could do pomodoros and scale business and set goals. So people can really move the needle of their business in those 10 days. That was the idea of it.
And so, it takes the right personality, but also like if you're not the personality to build a community, like start looking at other communities that are out there that can fill those needs, because fulfillment comes from being around other people. There's a certain amount of fulfillment we need by belonging to our tribes, by being engaged with the right people in our lives. You guys probably know this as well as anybody that the people you bring in your lives, they're either going to build you up or suck the energy out of you and you want to bring in as many as quite, as many as possible that can build you up and give you more energy.
And that's part of that's finding the right tribe to be a part of, and then being a member of that tribe and going to their events and doing the things that you enjoy with them.
Tony: So one of the things I want to reflect from what you just said, which I think is hugely important is that you don't necessarily see a problem and immediately try to create your own solution to it. You're probably going to start out by looking at what's already out there trying to find an existing solution, because it's a heck a lot easier if you could get away with that, but then you are going to, at the very least encounter people, and those people are going to teach you something about what is possible, what's out there? Maybe there are people that are showing up to something where that's not really the right something for some of those people, but it's the closest thing.
And I feel like that's when you start to have these opportunities and it could be that it start it's out as simply as you and one other person saying, "Hey, let's get together and hang out and do some focus sessions." And when you're topping into something that's really effective and meaningful, other people are going to start glomming onto it and demanding that we do it more often and all of that. Is that basically kind of what your experience was like?
Chris: I think so. I think it's important to note too, that today more than ever, it's okay to be a part of a tribe or a community for a certain time until that tribe or community no longer serves you and you can go on to another one. In the past, we defined ourselves so much by our tribes, like I'm Catholic, I'm Jewish, I'm American, I'm Colombian or whatever, and/or I'm of this family and this is how we do it in this family.
And then, you see people they'll get tattoos of their tribes and they'll be a member of their tribe for lifelong. But I think, and those tribes are important as well. If you feel that's right for you. But there's times when a tribe or community really serves us and there's times when it doesn't so much. So I've been part of communities where I'm like I do things with that group for maybe one event or one year or three years. And then I realize, "Okay, I'm no longer being fulfilled by this event or this community."
So then, you find another one that really fulfills you. And that's part of personal growth. Anybody that is growing continually will realize that sometimes a community or a tribe can no longer serve you and it's time to kind of take a step back and it doesn't mean you don't love the people in that community or tribe or what they're doing. It's just like you've got to follow what's right for you at that time. And then, be around the people that you're going to serve you the most to bring you up to the level that you want to go. Does that make sense?
Jillian: For sure. I mean it's even like jobs, working for companies. Sometimes it's time to move on. You've outgrown the culture, the role. It's a similar idea. I'm curious talking, just kind of jumping back to your community and the programming and events that you do. What do you think is the… Explain in your community like you have your masterminds, you have these in-person events, are you all talking to each other like a lot, like every day? Do you have a platform where people are connecting outside of when you're doing a mastermind or doing an in-person event?
Chris: Yeah. So for M3, yes, is the answer. And for M3, we have a few main things that really kind of give us our foundation. One is the community and events. Those are the things that we really focus on to make sure that there's very much like-minded people, a drop of oil and a glass of water can poison that entire glass. So that's kind of our philosophy.
So we have a couple questions when bringing people into the community that we make sure they are the right people that we ask ourselves. Then, the events, we want to do a few events a year. Both, we call those official events and unofficial events. Unofficial events are like, "Hey, guys, we're going here. You want to come with us?" And the official events are like we're organizing these, like the one in Las Vegas. This is an official event for this community.
And then, the other thing is on my podcast, the Business Method, we get some pretty impressive names on the show. So we invite the members to come in to do a private Q&A with the podcast guest. So they get access to some pretty incredible entrepreneurs to do personal Q&As with. And one other thing that we've added is brain optimization.
So a couple years ago I brought one of the top of the line brain scanners to kind of focus on my own health. And so, then we started using the device for the members of the community, because we want all the entrepreneurs in the group to optimize their brain performance as much as possible. So we're talking about now doing an event later this year that is just for brain performance. So kind of a, you go to a location and it's a brain camp where the people that are there and attendance can really get the brain scans, have the neurosciences there that can give them feedback on what they need to do with their brain so they can optimize their performance and brain voltage, brain reaction, voltage connection in their brain, the way the brain and communicates to itself, which helps manage stress and emotions and anxiety and depression and all these things that all of us experience, especially now post-COVID when working online. Right?
And so, one of the ways that… So to answer your question, I forgot your question, but now I remember, is that, yeah, we have a Slack channel and people use that to communicate. So we do the monthly mastermind calls and we now do those... I haven't told anybody this now, because it's kind of the secret, but we can let the cat out of the bag. We bought Oculus-
Jillian: We won't tell anyone. Go on
Chris: Yes. Right. We bought Oculus VR goggles for all our members. And so, now we're going to do our master, we've been doing our mastermind calls in virtual reality.
Chris: And because all of our members are all over the world, then they get to come in for a couple hours on their monthly mastermind call and feel like they're in a room together. And so, we created a private room for the mastermind and it's based in Switzerland. So we feel like we're going somewhere cool. Right?
And then, in the VR you can put pictures of all the events in the group up on the wall. And so, you go in there and you see all of our events and us having fun at our events. But then you can also share your computer screen in the virtual reality as well. So we can pop something up if somebody has a presentation or a website they want to show, and we can do a tear down in VR. So the metaverse has taken over us so that's-
Jillian: That is such an amazing practical application.
Tony: Chris, we're like on the backside of the interview here and I feel like we're just starting a whole new podcast episode. I have a lot of questions.
Chris: Yes. Go. Let's go quick.
Tony: Let's see if we can at least just compress it down.
Jillian: Talk super fast.
Tony: Talk to me about community in VR, in metaverse. You might understand why a lot of people are skeptical about VR, about this whole direction that things are going. Give me your kind of optimists case for this direction. What are you observing? What's working?
Chris: So since our community is an international community, it's important to be around and communicate and keep that continual conversation going with the members. And so, VR is just a tool to help us do that. Yes. There's liabilities. I think everybody knows the liabilities, because all of our members are somewhat… They're tech savvy. They know what's going on with everything.
But I think like as long as we do it one step at a time, we make sure everything's okay. We do everything we can to protect the members and the information that we share throughout our masterminds, and then it's okay. But yeah. There's always going to be more, with new technology there's always going to be more problems that arise and we just have to figure out how to manage as we go along.
Tony: I guess in terms of quality of connection, I'm very interested in the difference. There's in-person gathering and there's advantages and disadvantages. There's gathering over video, there's gathering over audio, there's asynchronous posting of texts or photos on like a forum or a chat group or something like that. And then, I'm sure you're familiar with some of these proximity chat apps where you kind of have an avatar that walks around in a space, but you're still kind of at your screen, at your keyboard, whereas with this, you're now putting on a headset and you're creating a more immersive sense of space and place.
So I'm curious, does it work? Does it achieve some kind of experiential difference that is noticeable compared to all those other forms of media and gathering that makes it valuable in your mind?
Chris: So I'm going to say, I think it does, but I'm also saying that we're kind of in the testing period with this as well and we're running this for few months. We just bought the goggles Christmas time. So about a month ago. Right?
Chris: For all of our members. Right? And so, yes, I think it really does, because even my co-founder and I, he lives in South Carolina. We do our founders meetings in VR now. And so, we just hop in and it feels like we're just hanging out. We're in our little meeting room, we're talking business and I get to see him. And so, it does feel like you get out of, whether you're working from home or your office, that space for the time being, and you get to be in with the people that you want to be around in that meeting for the time being.
And then, you pop them off and you're back into your normal reality. And there's limits with everything, as long as people are not going too far and spending, getting too much of the happiness-
Tony: Ready Player One. Yeah.
Chris: Right. Yeah.
Jillian: Not turning into a black widow.
Chris: Yeah. It's like you have no life in reality, all your life is in VR. You can't do that. That's not going to be a good way to live.
Jillian: Have you found a platform, like a meeting platform that you like?
Chris: We've just started off with Workroom Horizons, is that right? Horizons by [crosstalk]-
Jillian: By Oculus. Yeah.
Chris: Workroom by Horizons with Oculus. Yeah.
Jillian: Yeah. That's so cool. What a fun… I can only imagine like just being a member of your community and hearing like, "We're going to do this as our masterminds." Like just wow. It's very cool.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty fun. It's pretty fun. Yeah.
Jillian: It sounds fun. I also like the idea that you don't have to get ready on the same level, you don't [inaudible]-
Chris: You could be in your underwear, you wearing-
Jillian: Yeah. Who knows?
Chris: Your avatar has clothes on you.
Jillian: Yeah. As long as your avatar looks good.
Tony: Which does have, I've written about the accessibility upsides and downsides of video meetings and that there are huge, huge tradeoffs there that, "Hey, you can join a gathering without leaving your house." Which has huge accessibility upsides, but you need to be able to put on your camera, sit upright, be mindful of your environment, your appearance, and that can be difficult for folks who are at home. But the idea of being able to abstract out your physical appearance also comes with big tradeoffs. But I imagine for certain segments of people, it's going to be a godsend that there's probably going to be certain niches of people that are going to really love the ability to see each other without feeling like they have to literally be seen as they are in that moment.
Chris: Yeah. I agree completely. I agree. And our group is we're finding that it seems like our group is one of those. If it's a, maybe a group from an older generation that aren't quite as tech savvy or open to going to a meeting in VR, I could see more difficulties there or people that are in a different type of industry. But for us, like our group seems to be like a group that really enjoys it.
Tony: Love it.
Jillian: It sounds amazing. Well, and clearly like you were just saying, you know your community, that's something that aligns with your community. They're very tech-forward.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah.
Jillian: That's just cool. Now, I want to… I just wanted to like come to a meeting just to see… I'd probably get nauseous, frankly, but just to check it out.
Chris: I think it takes a little training, because when I started doing it I was getting a little nauseous as well. But my very first time, I tried to do skydiving. Like they did special ops skydiving out of a plane.
Jillian: Just jump right into it.
Chris: And I was like 15 seconds and I had to like take the goggles off. But I think it takes a little bit for your brain to kind of adapt, to be honest.
Jillian: Oh that's cool. Dang it. Another expensive toy I want to get.
Tony: Okay. So from an inclusiveness accessibility standpoint, is it possible to do a gathering in which there are some people with headsets and some people who are just on their computer screens?
Chris: Yeah. So in the VR room, a big TV screen will pop up and it'll show the face kind of like a Zoom call or this call we're doing now. That being said, I do think the people, if they don't have the VR set and are calling in via just video, it's not as immersive. Like the ones that are in VR kind of have a thing going and the ones that are in on the TV and video, if they need to be there, that's good. But if they can be in VR, I think the experience is much more immersive and-
Tony: It's wild.
Tony: It's very Meta. It's like you're calling into an in-person meeting.
Jillian: I was just going to circle back. I just want to know more details about these events. It sounds like you have one coming up in Austin or maybe it already happened. I just see January.
Chris: Yes. So in Austin, we do what we call like business and hangs. So it's just really, there's a lot of things going in Austin so it's easy. Like you just come-
Jillian: Austin's fun.
Chris: Yeah. You have barbecue, you can go do… We did virtual reality, we just… Which at the actual place, so there's a place called Sandbox VR in Austin where you can go and it's even more immersive than our own Oculus goggles. Right? So you have the pads, like a chest plates, and the wrists, and then you have an actual gun and you can go and like shoot zombies or-
Jillian: Oh my gosh.
Chris: … fight, sword fight or whatever like gladiators.
Jillian: It's like laser tag, but the new version of it.
Chris: We kind of time it with some other events that are going on so then we can have another other communities to interact with in Austin. We've done last September, we did like a luxury trip on the beach in Cabo, which was quite fun. So we did, it was a play event, but we had one morning where there was masterminds. And then, in the afternoon we rented a yacht and took the yacht out, which was pretty cool to do.
Last May, we did a kidnapping survival course. And so, we want to do like, yeah.
Jillian: That sounds awful.
Chris: We're doing one yearly, like intense adventure. So this year was a Vegas one, last year was a kidnapping survival one. Then, we're going to do one like luxury, like on the beach or luxury somewhere that could be family oriented. So some of the members brought family with them on the one in Cabo.
And then, one business focused/brain optimization event per year. And those are our three official ones. And then, unofficial ones, my partner took some of the members to Necker Island to do go meet Richard Branson and do that. That was last November. So a zero gravity experience. So there was a group that went and did, where you fly a plane and you feel what it's like not to have gravity underneath you. So those are other unofficial ones that we've been doing.
Jillian: What do you feel like the turnout is? I mean you don't need to disclose your community member like numbers and things, but is this… I would assume your community members are like this is a big part of why they're members. So they try to make it to as much as possible.
Chris: Yeah. It's depends on the events. Some events like 10, 15 people or so. So they're not huge events. As we grow and as we go, we're only two years into this community. So as we continue to grow, we'll get… I'd imagine we'll get bigger and bigger, but I don't know if we'll ever get to the point where we'll do like hundreds of people. Maybe like 40 or 50 people and kind of keep it more controlled and just making sure the right people are at the right events, if that makes sense?
Jillian: I love that. Coming from like kind of the tech rapid growth we see culture background. It's so refreshing, especially with community, because that's a great way to ruin a community really quickly. So people, community builders who are okay with slow and very intentional growth just makes my little heart sing, because it does. You can ruin something amazing when it becomes too popular when you let too many people in, especially too early. And so, it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on keeping that experience part of it as top priority.
Chris: When we started this, one of the main focuses was what can we do for the next 10 years? Is this a thing we want to do for the next 10 years? And will it continue to serve us as founders and the people that are a part of it? And so, I think anybody that's building a community like ask yourself those questions like 10 years out, will I still want to do this 10 years from now, 5 years from now?
And if you're just kind of dipping your toe in the water to see if there's a thing out there that you can make money with, there's probably, like if you're just doing it to make money, it's not the right thing, especially when it comes to building a community.
Chris: Because you want to grow with a community, you want to help build them up, you want to bring the right people together. And I think those are important questions to kind of meditate on before you make a decision on building your own community.
Jillian: Absolutely. I have a final question, and then we'll probably shift to the rapid fire.
Chris: Okay. Cool.
Jillian: But talking about, so we talked about the fun events. So tell us more about these brain scan/business events. Like what kind of agenda are we talking about? It sounds amazing. This whole brain scan idea, I'm in. So what do those events look like?
Chris: So this is new and we haven't had one yet and we're just formulating one right now. And so, a couple years ago, I bought a, what they call WAVi brain scanner. So it's a $14,000 brain scanner. And I bought it for a couple reasons. One, originally what I wanted to do is work on my own brain health. And also then I wanted to get some keynote speaking engagements and go around the world and scan, and talk about brain health for entrepreneurs, and then scan their brains.
And so, make it part of the business. So what happened is I had a bunch of things planned. I had events planned out-
Tony: This sounds like a killer set up for an evil villain plot, by the way, just saying.
Jillian: Oh, geez.
Chris: We're working with the evil villains of the world, right? So what happened is I had an event, a bunch of events scheduled and then COVID hit, which wiped out everything, all in-person stuff. I couldn't scan people's brains.
So I kept it at the house, and then I'm here in Austin so I would have friends come over from time to time and start to scan, and I would scan their brains. And then, we would monitoring their progress. So after brain scan, we then give it to a neurologist who's been in traumatic brain injury for the past 15 years and has read like thousands of scans.
So he gives a really in depth review, video review of a person's brain. And so, we would monitor a person's growth and changes in their brain over period of time. And so, then I started to do it. I was like, "Why don't we just take the brain scanner?" Because it just fits in a carry on little bag.
And I was like, "Why don't we take the brain scanner and just, in our events we'll scan the members of M3's brains, because why wouldn't we want to optimize our own communities' brains as best as possible? You that just makes sense. So I had a guy on the podcast recently who's a neuroscientist and he has a brain gym out in LA. And what we're doing is talking with him about doing a summer event where we take, we do an event there for entrepreneurs, members and non-members, and we go there and we do a couple different types of brain scans real time.
And then, also there's multiple brain scans that you can do. I have one device, he has a different type of device, which gives you different readings. And then, you get a protocol on exercises and activities and supplements that you can do to really optimize your brain voltage in the way your brain communicates with itself. So that's what's in the works for this year.
Jillian: May I recommend you do that event in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Chris: So you can join.
Jillian: I'll help you-
Chris: You can still come, Jill. You can still come.
Jillian: I'll help you with things in exchange for a scan.
Jillian: Have I found the practitioners in the state? Yes, I have or the people who offer it? Maybe I have. This sounds amazing.
Chris: Yes. Yeah.
Jillian: Oh my gosh. I feel like I could just ask so many questions and I'm going to stop myself. We may have to have you back, Chris, because-
Chris: I'd love to.
Jillian: … I just want to talk all about the details of your community. And the fact that you're doing all this in-person stuff in pandemic, but able to do it. That's amazing. Like good on you.
Tony: Can we do the next interview in-person and one of us is hooked up to the brain scanner while we do the interview?
Chris: We can do that.
Jillian: Can we all be hooked up to a scanner and talking-
Chris: You guys want to come down to Austin? We can do that.
Jillian: Heck yeah.
Chris: You can come to our events in California. Yeah.
Jillian: My bestie lives In Austin, by the way.
Tony: I miss Austin violently. Yeah. I can't wait to get back there.
Chris: Yeah. That'll be fun, guys.
Jillian: Right? Tony, I'm going to hand the rapid fire over to you.
Tony: Well, thanks, Jill. All right, Chris. So the rapid fire is quick little questions that might be really easy for you to answer, might be questions you wish you had more time to answer, but you don't. You just got to answer them and that's how we're going to bring this in for a landing. Are you ready? Are you feeling good?
Chris: Ready. And let's do it, my man.
Tony: Excellent. When you were a little child, Chris, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Chris: Baseball player.
Tony: Ooh. What position?
Chris: Ooh, second base or shortstop. I liked outfield as well.
Tony: Community, how do you define community?
Chris: I think a community for me is an extension of family. And so, we have our family that we're born with and some of us connect with them really well, some of us don't. I do fortunately. But also you have extensions of yourself. Like none of my family members are really entrepreneurs. And so, I need my entrepreneur family. I need my personal growth family. I need my core people in my life.
And so, for me, community and any group that I join, I have to feel like it's an extension of my family in order to really feel a part of it.
Tony: Beautifully put. Succinctly put. Appreciate that. We're going to go to bucket list next. And first on the bucket list conversation is something that is or would be on your bucket list that you have done.
Chris: Okay. Yes. So this is easy for me, but I have a lot of them, but I'll just say, I walk the Camino de Santiago, which is a 500 mile pilgrimage in the north of Spain. I did that back in 2013 and 2014 both. And that was really fun.
Jillian: That's on my bucket list. I'll have to talk you-
Chris: Oh, yeah. We could talk more about that, Jill.
Jillian: Have you done two different routes or did you do the same one?
Chris: No. I did the same route the same time. Yeah, or same route each year.
Tony: So cool. The next question is, I'm very curious about this one. What's still on the bucket list for you?
Chris: Oh, that's a good question. Get married and start a family. There you go.
Chris: That's one of the biggest ones.
Tony: I recently got engaged. So I'm with you on this big time.
Chris: Congrats, man.
Chris: Congratulations. That's exciting.
Tony: It's an incredible adventure already. Let's talk about books. Do you have a book that you're either reading right now or just an all-timer that you just can't wait to just share with the world?
Chris: Yeah. There's another one. There's a lot too. So I'm just finishing the book called Billion. It's about a guy that sold a billion dollars in nootropics in the '90s before he was 22 years old. And that's a fun and exciting book. Like it's just a thrill seeking book and true story. And there's business lessons integrated in the book as well. So that's my first one comes to mind. And of course, like being a location independent entrepreneur, I have to drop The 4-Hour Work Week. That's all-time favorite for so many people.
Tony: Yeah. You seem to be one of the shining kind of examples of somebody who really took that book to heart and hit the road and built something. That's amazing.
Chris: And then, I read it like four or five times. I love that book.
Tony: Let's talk about… This is another really good one for you, in particular. If you could live somewhere other than where you live, what's the first thing that pops into your head?
Chris: Barcelona and Tuscany, my two favorite places on earth. So right now I'm in Austin, but I'm starting to migrate toward, back towards Europe to spend the summer in Barcelona. And I'd like to buy a villa in Tuscany here in the next few years.
Tony: Tapa is life.
Chris: Yeah. Tapas life.
Tony: Yeah. That's it. Okay. Going deep for the last one. How do you want to be remembered?
Chris: Great question.
Tony: Thank you.
Chris: I want to be remembered as somebody that does everything they could in their life to spread more goodness, joy, and happiness and light in the world.
Tony: You almost got me to utter a profanity, which I rarely do on this program. Heck yeah. Way to go.
Tony: Rock on, Chris. Where do we find you on the internet? How do people get your links, your socials? Yeah. What do you want to shout out for us?
Chris: Yeah. You guys like TheBusinessMethod.com for the podcast, we have our events there for entrepreneur events, M3.club if you're interested in our community. Again, any of our events, non-M3 members are welcome as well. So we just like to bring, yeah, but you do have to be an entrepreneur. We just like to bring great people together and that's it. That's all I got, although you can find everything else through those two sites.
Tony: Wonderful. Chris, it has been a absolute pleasure. Hope we can do this again and see you in the metaverse.
Jillian: Yeah. Thanks so much, Chris.
Chris: Bye, guys.
Tony: Okay. So that was our conversation with Chris Reynolds. And gosh, I'm glad we interviewed him, because I feel like if I read about him and all of his adventures, I would be like rage jealous of all of the fun things he's done. And now I'm like, "Ah, no. I like that guy."
Jillian: His journey into community I found fascinating and probably the main takeaway from talking to him was just his ability to, well, one, he followed his dreams and the life he wanted, which I always have mad respect for.
But then recognized where the void was and started creating organically this community that's become M3. And it's great. I mean you can tell there's a lot of passion. There's a very focused, very niche segment of entrepreneurs and yeah. Like gold star, that's how you build a really, really tight knit community.
Tony: Yeah. And having that alignment with his own interests, it's just… If you're going to try to go into a community with this, “I believe that there's an untapped market segment for community.” It's going to be a lot harder unless you find a way to incorporate the kinds of things that are resonant to you ideally, and then to also the members of your community. And he has a good example of that.
And I think the fact that he continued to be curious and explore and look for ways to evolve where it's not just the need he originally he had, but how that need evolves over time. And even recognizing that there's a need to be able to explore and experiment in a way that is very distinct and different from what the core offering is.
Jillian: Yeah. The whole evolution of the M3 community is just, it's such like a perfect hero's journey when it comes to community creation. I'm sure there were trials and tribulations along the way to make that metaphor actually work as I'm thinking about it. But yeah. It's a smart way if your goal is actual sustainable community. And like, to your point, if your goal is untapped market, immediate profits.
It's not the way to go. And your community will not be what this community is. And let's talk about those events.
My gosh. I mean he and his community have just figured out a way that works for them. And I love that it's, we have a few events a year that are in-person in various locations, and if you can make it, you can make it. And if you can't, no worries. And some are more casual, some are more brass tacks, but it just seems like it's really, it just flows. It really works for everybody. And that's hard to do. It sounds easy. That is incredibly hard to do. So props to Chris.
Tony: Yeah. And I also wanted to call out the service orientation he mentioned right at the top that a lot of what he's done is organized around, "Let's go to this beautiful, fabulous location and do something beautiful and fabulous, and also do something that's incredibly service oriented and helps a lot of people." And that just sounds… It makes it so much better. I'm sure that's a better experience for everybody.
Jillian: Well, and it just goes to show, like he really understands his niche of community. Like it's not just that they're digital nomads. It's not just that they care about meeting in a preferably tropical place it sounds like. It's that and the commitment to service. And so, that like serve first mindset. It's fabulous. Got to love a niche, an incredibly like intelligent niche community. And this is a great example for anyone that's ever thinking, "Oh, I should niche down more." Like this is fine tuned.
Tony: So we'd love to hear more about how this landed for you. The wonderful sweet listener out there, tag us in team SPI on Twitter and let us know what's landed for you. Let's keep in touch and rock on. Keep doing the amazing things that make you, the world around you better by being a community leader and member. And we'll catch you at the next episode.
This has been the Community Experience. For more information on this episode, including links and show notes, head over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/listen.
Tony: Are our executive producer is Matt Garland. Our series producers are David Grabowski and senior producer Sara Jane Hess. Editing and sound designed by Duncan Brown. Music by David Grabowski.
Jillian: See you next time.