The Journey to Founding Pray.com and What Lies Ahead.
On this episode of The Mike Thakur Show, Matt Potter joins Mike and Linda for an inspiring conversation about the evolution of Pray.com, a social impact startup whose faith-based mission makes all the relentless sacrifice and hard work not only worth it, but fun. They cover a range of topics both practical and spiritual, from defining metrics for success to the meaning of service in the context of life legacy.
Matt shares the story of how his Pray.com collaboration came into being and the providential signposts that set him on the path. He describes the demands associated with a “bootstrap” venture like Pray.com and how the platform has established a gold standard for content. In addition to offering portals through which to connect with faith communities or donate to churches, the application offers a huge trove of content for all age groups: Bible sagas and bedtime stories, music and other resources. And because Pray.com’s mission above all else is to uplift and improve the lives of people from all walks of life, much of the content is free and all of it is available at an affordable $49.99 annually – – about the price of a latte a month.
It’s a conversation that will both give you the anatomy of a successful startup (Pray.com launched in 2016) and share the very personal ways in which Matt finds deep meaning and motivation in the company’s commitment to doing well by doing good. He and his co-founders want to be able to look back and feel that they have impacted people or changed the world for the better. Much like Mike and Linda, Matt and his colleagues are all about marrying profit with purpose and embracing what is truly a labor of love.
- Pray.com has an origin story very similar to that of many start-ups.
- Started out with online communities where people could post prayer requests.
- The platform includes a charitable portal in which 100% of proceeds go directly to designated churches.
- Pray.com features “Faith Entertainment” content, including biblical sagas, bedtime bible stories, educational material for kids.
- The company has received 47,000 reviews and it’s a point of pride that they respond to every single one.
- Pray.com followed a trajectory fairly typical of any startup.
- Challenge can be turned to advantage through healthy debate.
- Pray.com’s success is built on incredibly high standards for quality of content.
- Pricing is a process that requires constant testing and adjustment.
- Pray.com measures success by, among other things, the number of customer “shares.”
- Ultimately Pray.com is driven by a mission to serve others, but tireless hard work, strategic thinking and high standards ensure the company’s growth and success.
- “Our vision is to create a world where everyone can leave a legacy of helping others.”
- “We don’t sell the Bible. We scripted the Bible — as an incredible, vivid show.”
- “We call conflict friction and friction is actually really healthy.”
- “The only way to develop the gut to make those gut decisions is to talk to the customer – being obsessed with the customer.”
- “Every individual pixel has been standard checked to make sure that we are delivering the content in the best way possible for the users so they have the best experience.”
- “Whether it’s a service or a product, you can always afford to give some products away for free for a period of time to bring more customers in the door later.”
- “You have to love what you are doing, because if you love what you are doing you will always put the maximum amount of effort into it. And that’s what it takes to make a successful business. There’s no silver bullet.”
- “Only do something you love because if you’re doing it just for the money, you will quit.”
Mike Thakur is CEO of WorkLodge and Founder at the Gabriel Project. He is on a mission to change lives through entrepreneurship and sustainable social enterprise. With experience both as an executive roles both at established companies and multiple startups (commercial and non-profit), Mike is committed to giving back and creating environments that leave people better off than when they started.
Additional episodes of The Mike Thakur Show available at: https://www.mikethakur.com/show
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