You are in for a treat today! We are over the moon to have the phenomenal Jayson Gaignard, the creator of the MMT Community, join us as our guest for the 100th Episode of the Business of Meetings Podcast!
Jayson is an incredibly inspiring individual and fantastic entrepreneur whose name we have often mentioned on the show! In this episode, he tells his motivating story, discusses the value of relationships, and shares the secret to MMT’s success. In addition, he discusses the impact of the pandemic on his business and community and talks about what has driven and motivated him over the last two years.
We hope you enjoy our stimulating conversation with Jayson Gaignard today!
Named one of Forbes “Top Networkers to Watch,” Jayson Gaignard founded one of the world’s most exclusive communities for entrepreneurs. With just shy of 19,500 applications since its inception in 2013, the invite-only MMT Community has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard University, and brings together brilliant minds from various industries for curated networking, targeted troubleshooting and custom events, both live and virtual. Jayson’s work has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Life Hacker, Business Insider, and in Tim Ferriss’s New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans. Jayson is also the founder and host of Community Made, a top-rated business podcast on iTunes.
After dropping out of high school, Jayson started a personal concierge firm. He did that for some time and then realized that service-based businesses are hard to scale. So, he pivoted and started an online product business, traveled the world, and made a lot of money. Even so, he was stressed. He also developed health problems and he no longer felt aligned with the work he was doing. He began to wonder how much it all mattered until he finally understood that money and happiness scale very differently.
When he realized his heart was not in the business, Jayson decided to scale it down to zero. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned. So he landed up a quarter-of-a-million dollars in debt.
A month or two later, an opportunity came his way. Someone he had met at an event had an extra ticket available for a Seth Godin event in New York, and it included participating in one of his workshops. Jayson had always been a Seth Godin fan, so he took the ticket.
The theme of the event
The theme of the event was the connection economy and the value of connecting with like-minded individuals.
Jayson decided to start hosting dinners and bringing fascinating people together because he felt lonely and isolated. It ended up being a great success! It became clear to him that creating a container for bringing fascinating people together, and being in their presence, was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
After Jayson had hosted dinners for about a month, the best-selling author Tim Ferriss learned that he would be banned from all retail distribution because he was the first big-name author to publish through Amazon. To combat that, Tim started a book-bundle campaign in which he offered to do two speaking engagements for people who bought 4,000 of his books. Jayson saw that and reached out to Tim to get the package. He also reached out to a friend who did leadership events in Canada with thousands of people attending.
Jayson had to stretch himself to pay for all the books, so he reached out to three friends. One of them gave him the money he needed.
The value of relationships
Later, when Jayson asked his friend why he made such a risky investment, he said he lent him the money because he was investing in him, not the business. That made two things clear to him: You never know the value of your relationships until you need it, and when you hit rock bottom, you will be left with only your word and your relationships. That also taught him that you should never turn against your word, and you should always invest in your relationships.
Jayson has learned that amazing people become even better over time! He loves finding people with low confidence, investing in them, and adding fuel to their journeys!
When he did his first event, Jayson did not know how to put on an event. That is why MMT is more like a wedding than a conference in terms of its high-touch nature.
The first MMT event
Jayson Gaignard did not have the money to pay the speakers to draw an audience for his first event. So he asked the audience to vote for the best speaker and offered a $25,000 prize for the winner. He ended up having many $30,000 speakers competing for the $25,000 prize! He also had Tim Ferriss as the anchor speaker.
As a result of Jayson’s honesty, the speakers wanted to support him. So they used their social media channels to promote the first event.
The secret sauce
MMT’s secret sauce for success is its curation process. The process only allows people who are the right fit, in terms of their core values to attend their events and become members of their community.
Raising the bar
Over the years, the curation process of MMT events has become tighter. They are serving different people now than they were before, and recently, they have grown the organization differently. Rather than putting on more, or bigger events, they now scale by raising the caliber of the people attending the events. They have also upped the price-point of the events.
Jayson did not want the pandemic to disrupt the business or the community. So he offered the community either a full refund or the option to move their spot forward to 2021. All the members opted to move their spots forward to 2021.
In 2021, they had to move the event a full calendar year ahead once again. Again, everyone transferred their spots. Even so, they lost a lot of revenue. Fortunately, the loyalty and support of the members have made things manageable.
Jason Gaignard spends ninety percent of his social time with the people in his MMT community. His love of his community drove him and motivated him to keep going when things got tough over the last two years.
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The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss