Mark Leruste is the creator of The Impact Accelerator and Founder & Host of The Unconventionalists®, a coaching business and weekly podcast helping mission-driven organisations and founders better engage with their teams and customers by turning their message into a movement. Previously, Mark was Country Manager at the Movember Foundation where he won multiple awards for engaging fundraisers and donors, raising €2.8million for men’s health and getting 110,000 people to take part. Apply today to join his Impact Accelerator kicking off January 30th, 2018: www.markleruste.com/impact.
You have many ongoing projects, one being the podcast. Can you tell us about what led to that?
I started The Unconventionalists podcast back in summer 2015 as a passion project on the side of my fulltime job as Country Manager at The Movember Foundation. I wanted to connect with people who inspired me, be it friends or influencers, and share their stories, the ups and the downs, with an audience of people eager to live a meaningful and impactful life too.
It’s been an incredible journey that has led me to do many great things I’m truly grateful for. From giving a TEDx talk at TEDxCardiff this year, to hosting Chris Guillebeau’s talk in London and working with brands such as The Guardian, VirginStartup, General Assembly or Intuit.
I’ve roughly got 90 episodes out to date and the show has been downloaded 35,000 across 100 different countries, which still blows my mind every time I say it out loud.
The words you publish – be they online or in physical form (like your book, It’s Not You, It’s Me) – always consist of one theme: they are motivational. You acknowledge that everyone faces boundaries, but insist that they should always aim high in their career. What have you experienced – or heard, or read – that had the biggest impact on you?
I think it’s an interesting point. My work may be motivational by nature, but I think it goes a bit deeper than that. What I aim to do is to show people that actually, we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 million people following you or just your mum. We all start somewhere and all have the same fears: being rejected, fear of failure, not being enough, etc. And ultimately, I believe we all want the same thing in life: to be seen, heard and loved.
In terms of what I’ve read or heard I guess a few books have had a big impact on me. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber is a great read if you want to understand the difference between working ON a business vs working IN a business.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was a great reminder that we often seek what we already have inside of us. And Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is a brilliant book on why having a purpose is key to our survival as a species.
What you say is also very accessible; it relates to audiences from a variety of ages and backgrounds. What advice would you give to writers who wish to reach a wider audience? Is there a specific approach you take towards projects that ensures this outcome?
The irony is that the key to reach a wider audience is to niche down on a group of people you feel called to serve and hang out with. Also, I think the secret to growing your audience is to come from a place of service. What I mean by that is that you have to come from a place of giving. Be genuine in wanting to help your audience. Provide them with great quality value on a regular basis. Ask them what they’re struggling with and then give it to them. There’s a book you can read by Gary Vaynerchuk called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Although it’s a little outdated in terms of social media algorithms, the principles remain the same: Give more than you ask for.
You may also want to check out the QVCA formula video on YouTube by Alex Ikonn, co-founder of The 5-Minute Journal on why high quality, providing value, being consistent and authentic pays off.
We shouldn’t forget to congratulate you on recently becoming a father. How are you finding parenthood, already being so busy with your business?
Thank you! It’s definitely a full-time job in itself and the best startup ever… luckily, my partner has been amazing in supporting us as a family as well as taking care of our little one while I try and grow my business. The one thing it’s also really helped me with is to focus, as now I simply do not have the time to engage with projects that aren’t in line with my vision for my business or don’t bring in income for our family.
Can you tell us about the next project you’re working on?
I’m really excited to announce the launch of my 8-week online coaching programme, The Impact Accelerator. Every Wednesday I will be working with a small group of mission-driven founders and small business owners to help them clarify their story, build their personal brand and create a tribe of raving fans. This is by far my favourite thing I do all year. Applications are now open, so if you’re tired of being the best-kept secret, want to stand out from the crowd and amplify your message, apply today at www.theimpactaccelerator.co!