The Bootstrapped Founder

Andrew McIntosh is a first-gen entrepreneur. And so am I. And we both needed help along the way. From building a sustainable and inclusive community for first-gen entrepreneurs to discussing the power of business coaching and growth mindset, you'll gain valuable insights into the world of entrepreneurship without a safety net. Learn from a successful underdog's story and get inspired to take your own entrepreneurial journey to the next level. No matter what your parents say.

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The blog post:
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My course Find Your Following:

This episode is sponsored by! Go to to get started with making sure you run a sellable business.
  • (00:00) - Introduction
  • (02:08) - Learning by doing by making mistakes.
  • (06:04) - The importance of having a support network.
  • (10:43) - Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster.
  • (14:07) - Have you always been crazy or is this a new development?
  • (20:41) - Coaching vs. coaching.
  • (24:28) - Building a digital community that is asynchronous.
  • (28:19) - Community building and accountability in business.
  • (32:47) - Entrepreneurship starts with a community.
  • (37:35) - Share your wins and losses.
  • (42:20) - Entrepreneurship as a vehicle for freedom.
  • (49:35) - Getting people to the point where they graduate.
  • (52:41) - The importance of sharing your story and building a community.

Creators & Guests

Arvid Kahl
Empowering founders with kindness. Building in Public. Sold my SaaS FeedbackPanda for life-changing $ in 2019, now sharing my journey & what I learned.
Andrew McIntosh
I ❤️ 1st Gen Entrepreneurs •

What is The Bootstrapped Founder?

Arvid Kahl talks about starting and bootstrapping businesses, how to build an audience, and how to build in public.

Arvid Kahl: Welcome to The
Bootstrapped Founder. Today, I'm

talking to Andrew McIntosh. He
is a first generation

entrepreneur. Andrew leads a
community of people just like

himself. And in fact, myself
too. I'm also a first generation

entrepreneur. And it's very
likely that you are one, too.

Andrew and I talk about dealing
with families that don't

understand why we do what we do,
finding the people just like

ourselves, and how we can build
profitable communities to help

our peers that really need help.
And before we get to our

conversation, let me introduce
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you. All right, here is Andrew


So what's the most common issue
that first generation

entrepreneurs run into that
founders who come from

entrepreneurial backgrounds,
families that have an

entrepreneurial background
rarely ever experienced? What

have you found?

Andrew McIntosh: Well, for me,
this all starts back in 2006

when I started my business. I
got connected with this other

guy who was a few years younger
than me. And it turns out, he

was a second gen entrepreneur.
I'm a first gen. And it really

kind of made it obvious the
differences between all the

things that he had. And let me
preface this by saying I'm not

going to mention this person by
name. But he was undoubtedly a

hard worker, he was undoubtedly
smart. But he had all these

advantages that I didn't have.
So what I mean by that is, every

time I talk to this guy, I would
see him probably every month or

two. And in 2006, he was
building websites for a living.

And if you recall in 2007 is
when the iPhone came out, right?

So he pivots to I don't do
websites anymore. Now, I do

apps. And every time I see him,
he's on to some other completely

different, you know, wildly
different app idea. And it would

never, whatever he had would
never last more than a month or

two. And I was always like, man,
you need to sit down and just

focus, just stick with
something, just stick with one

thing and do it really well.
Well, then one day, this guy he,

like falls off the face of the
earth, doesn't respond to calls

or texts or anything. I don't
know what's happened to him. And

then I find out through the
grapevine. He's already sold his

business for seven figures. This
is in 2008, probably. And I was

like, what? What gives? How, you
know, at this point, I'm three

years into my bootstrapped
business. I'm an IT guy by

trade. So I'm just fixing
people's computers. But a few

years into my business, I'm
still doing this full time and

then cleaning offices with my
wife after hours, like we're

just barely scraping by. He's
already sold his business. He's

like 26 years old and early
retirement. And I'm like what

gives? So come to find out after
the fact, his dad was the CEO of

a pretty sizable company here in
town. And his dad was floating

him financially. He was covering
his apartment and all of his

personal expenses. So this guy
actually had, it's like, he had

50 darts in his hand and he
could just keep throwing them

until he hit a bull's eye.
Whereas I'm standing over here

going, I got one dart, man. I
got one shot at this, you know

and so on reflecting on that
now, just kind of looking back.

It's like, again, not trying to
minimize what he's doing because

if he wasn't smart and
hardworking, like this never

would have taken off, right? But
he was able to get connections,

his dad was able to pull some
strings, help him find his first

few clients. Here's my
accountant. Here's my lawyer.

Here's how you set up an LLC.
Here's how you market yourself,

here's how you sell. Here's the
education you need to be able to

develop apps. Here's all these
things none of which did I have

when I started my business,
right? So for me being the first

in my family to start a
business, my parents were like,

super proud, like and
supportive, which was awesome.

I'm very, very grateful for
that. But in terms of

mentorship, support, advice,
connections, financial backing,

I had none of that whatsoever.
So in the long term, I think it

was actually a good thing for me
because it's kind of that

bootstrapper mentality. You
know, it's not just the

financial aspect of it, but it's
also learning by doing, by

making a bunch of mistakes. You
know, I kind of learned

everything the hard way, it's
the school of hard knocks,

right? But I couldn't help but
look back on it. Now that I've

sold that business all these
years later, which I know we'll

probably get into. But it's
like, man, if I had had access

to some of those types of
connections, my first few years

in business probably would have
gone a whole lot smoother and

been a lot less painful and
gotta change the trajectory even

better than what it was.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, yeah,
absolutely. That really rings a

bell like with me. That is my
experience too. My family was

they're hard workers, right?
Like, people work hard. They try

to make a living but they did
not have any knowledge outside

of their domain of work that
they were in. So when I tried to

start things that were outside
of that, I think I'm glad they

were kind of supportive to begin
with, right?

Arvid Kahl: Because I want to
talk about this too because

Andrew McIntosh: Right

that's something a lot of people
struggle with, like they have no

support, in addition to having
no mentorship, no guidance and

no actually like actual help,
actual, initial fundamental and

foundational knowledge that
might travel in there from from

their family. They don't have
access to any of this. I, at

least, had a supportive family
in a way. And I kind of wanted

to talk about this. I think
mentorship and guidance,

particularly, they are a must
have for entrepreneurs, like

they definitely need this. And
at some point in our life,

hopefully, we find that
somewhere. A lot of people have

the advantage of having it with
their parents, which is great

because it kind of permeates
your whole education, right?

It's not just you turn, like 21
years old or something. And then

somebody comes in and gives you
kind of the pamphlets that you

need to read. And now you know
everything. It's been instilled

in you if you have parents and a
family that has this kind of

approach to life. But if you
don't, at least having

alternative groups of people
that can bring this into your

life as early as possible, that
would be great. At least, that's

what I want entrepreneurs to
see. So I do want to talk about

the actual support network too,
right? Because that mentorship

guidance, that's kind of
intellectual. But there is an

underlying feeling for me that I
have only recently in the last

couple of years develop that I
feel surrounded by supportive

people. Because I didn't really
have that before. Short

excursion into my family story,
like I said, everybody is kind

of hard working and working for
the government or working for

private enterprise somewhere but
in a paid position just really

as an employee. So when it came
to just understanding risk,

financial risk or even
understanding money,

understanding like how money has
this cumulative effect, if you

invest it, it becomes bigger
instead of if you just save it

and never touch it, right? There
are these narratives, these

stories that we have in our
lives, where our families are

kind of telling us a thing that
worked for them. But in the end,

we need a different story. So
how does kind of support

network? How can you build this
if you don't have that in your

family? What are your
suggestions when you need that

support network, but you can't
really source it from your


Andrew McIntosh: Well, it's
interesting, I'm finding that

there's kind of two camps when
it comes to your family and your

support network as a first gen
entrepreneur. Either one, your

parents are like mine or yours,
where they're supportive of what

you do, but there's a danger in
that. Because in some cases,

they think you hung the moon,
they think you're just

fantastic, right? They love you.
You're their child and they

think you can do anything, but
then they fail to point out to

you the pitfalls or the mistakes
you're about to make or the

things that you're doing wrong
because they don't know any

better, right? So they give you
this false sense of, you know,

confidence, perhaps as you're
going into this or it's the

other camp where they're overly
critical of you. And they know

what your shortcomings are and
they think that you're not cut

out for this and they'll make
comments like you sure this is,

you know, this business is
really gonna work out for you?

And like maybe should just go
back to a day job and that is

super discouraging for people.
And so for me when I think about

a support network, you know what
I'm already witnessing happening

in this community that I've
started which is still in its

infancy, frankly. But you know,
a lot of people talk about

imposter syndrome, right? And we
see it openly discussed on

social media and things like
that. It's super, super common

thing. But once you kind of rub
shoulders with your peers and

you know that they have it too,
but then you see what they're

able to accomplish in their
business, there's kind of this

sense of like, okay, yes, maybe
I'm the first in my family to

start a business. I am the
Trailblazer here, but what I'm

doing isn't actually all that
different from what he's doing

or from what she's doing. I'm
also saying where, you know, I

talked about this a lot.
Entrepreneurship is a roller

coaster, man. I mean, it has
higher highs and lower lows than

just working in a normal day
job. And when you're

experiencing those lows, it's
like everything feels like it's

crashing down on you. You know,
you start to question, it's not

just imposter syndrome. It goes
way, way beyond that. You're not

even thinking, am I an imposter
here? You're thinking is this

whole thing gonna come crashing
down? Is it even going to be

able to pay the bills by this
time next month? And all that

self doubt starts to creep in.
And that can actually lead to

depression, you know, where you
find yourself struggling to get

out of bed. So when you're
talking to people who aren't

entrepreneurs, then all they're
focused on is the fact that,

yeah, you know, you're depressed
and here's how we can, you know,

try to fix that or whatever. But
when you're talking to people

who've been there, done that,
have experienced the same exact

thing and have gotten through
the other side of this thing,

they can validate the way that
you're feeling. They can tell

you that it's going to be okay
and you actually believe them

because you know, they've
experienced it for themselves.

And it's like that can make or
break your mental and emotional,

you know, outlook on whether
your entrepreneurial journey

here is actually going to, you
know, fall off a cliff or if

it's actually got a happy ending
on the other side.

Arvid Kahl: That just speaks
right from my heart, like I've

experienced the exact same
thing. It's understandable that

people who have a nine to five
job cannot relate to this

really, like they don't have
this fundamental risk in

anything they do. That what
they've been building for years,

might just come crashing down on
them, like immediately and

forever. We had this with our
business, too. It felt after a

while, that we had something
really valuable, that if we

stopped working on it for a
couple days, we just implode.

And that is a risk that most
people who have a job don't have

like they think about job
security and how quickly can I

find another job doing the thing
that I'm already doing right

today? But for a founder, the
risk is so much more intense.

And that is something people
just really don't relate to,

right? Unless they have done
this themselves, which as I said

earlier, if you had that in your
family, people will raise you

with that understanding that
certain things. You know, they

will come they will go. That's
fine. You will find another way

or invest your time wisely. And
then kind of diversify because

they understand the concepts
underneath these. But if your

family doesn't have this and I
come from a family like this,

they looked at me like why would
you do this? Why wouldn't you

just, right? That's always the
argument, the default path. And

I'm thinking about like Paul
Millerd spoke here, the Pathless

Path. I read that recently. And
he puts that so clearly, you

have the default path that
everybody takes where the

outcome is guaranteed if you
follow these steps and for most

people, that's their work life,
that their whole work experience

is that default thing. And for
you to take another path, being

kind of non compliant, that
often creates some kind of

emotional distress that most
people deal with by just kind of

isolating you to the side. Like
I've seen this in families. You

have a lot of when it's
Thanksgiving dinner and people

ask you what you're doing? And
you tell them, oh, I'm building

a business and they just look at
you like, I don't know, should

you really let's just talk about
something else, right? That kind

of sucks and not having this.
That's frustrating. And it's

good to have community for that.
I think it's necessary to even

have the impetus and the
motivation to keep working on

your thing. And for that you
need people around you.

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah. So when
people come into my community, I

asked them to create an
introductory post, you know,

tell us a little bit about
yourself. And I ask a series of

questions, you know, to kind of
help start the conversation as

to what you do and why you do
it, what industry you're in, who

you serve, all these things. But
at the end, I asked this last

question. So as a first gen
entrepreneur, have you always

been crazy? Or is this a new
development, right? Because the

truth is, you have to be a
little bit crazy to take on a

venture like this as if you're
the first one in your family to

do it. Because you're right, the
safe option is just well, let me

rephrase that the "safe option"
is to just take a job, which

this is a whole other
conversation, I think is a

totally false sense of security.
I mean, just look at all the

layoffs that are happening.
You've got all your eggs in one

basket. Things could be going
great for 20 years and then you

get a new boss. And now
everything changes overnight,


Arvid Kahl: Yeah, job security,
this is really a mirage at this

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, exactly.
Whereas if you're an

point, right?

entrepreneur, you know, in my IT
business before I sold it, I had

45 clients and my largest client
represented 8% of my revenue. So

on my worst day, I can lose 8%,
like the chances of me losing

100% of my income overnight,
were virtually none, right?

That's not true if you work a
day job, end of tangent. But I

think yet to be the first person
in your family to go start a

business, you're a little bit
crazy because this is totally

uncharted territory. It's scary,
it's stressful. It's fraught

with risk or at least perceived
risk. And you don't have a

roadmap, you know. You don't
have this like clearly laid out

path to get from point A to
point B. You feel kind of blind

as you're going through doing
this. And that to me is kind of

where just having that network
of fellow crazy people like,

hey, you know, even if it's the
blind leading the blind, at

least we're all in this
together. But that's not the

case. It's, you know, you've got
your peers, you can bounce ideas

off each other, they can tell
you if what you're saying is a

bad idea. And they're not going
to hold back the way that you

know, someone who is a close
family member might or they

might be supportive in a way
that a close family might. And

just being a help you validate
your ideas to know that you're

not alone. To help, you know,
kind of decipher the crazy, I

think is just a huge benefit.

Arvid Kahl: I guess that's very
much true, like particularly

from the perspective of somebody
who's not doing it. It

definitely looks crazy. From the
inside, it just looks ambitious.

I think we just reframe it as
something positive, right?

Andrew McIntosh: Right! Yeah,
these are people who get it, who

get you, you know, because I do
think that if you're an

entrepreneur, there are a pretty
decent group of people who are

what I call accidental
entrepreneurs. You know, they

were kind of had a change in
circumstances, lost their jobs,

whatever and sought out
entrepreneurship as a backup

plan. But then there are others
who are kind of born this way.

You know, they just, they enjoy
building, they want to be able

to build something for
themselves. They don't like

making other people wealthy.
They just want to build

something that they own, right?
And for those, I think it just

it does wonders for your mental
and emotional state to be able

to rub shoulders with like
minded individuals so that it

just makes the whole thing a
little easier.

Arvid Kahl: I assume you were
trying to look for these people

and you couldn't really find
them. So you built your own

community around that. Is that
right? How did that come to be?

Like what's the spark that made
you make that choice to build

the 1st Gen Entrepreneurs Community?

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, so it's
interesting. So I started my

business in 2006. I sold it 15
years later. So I'm jealous of

guys like you, two years. That's
impressive. For me, I'm a slow

learner. So 15 years was my
journey. I actually hired a

business coach, though, after I
had been in business for about

six or seven years is when I
hired this guy. And it was

awesome. Like, I finally had
that he was like a father figure

in a business sense. And it did
wonders for my mental and

emotional state like I could,
I'd be freaking out about

something. And he would help me
understand like, this is not as

big a deal as you think it is.
And here's why. And here's what

you need to do. He was like the
psychiatrist. I could lay on the

couch, so to speak and just, you
know, pour my heart out. Because

you can't share these things
with your employees, you'll

freak them out. You can't share
these things with your family

because they won't understand.
And it was just like, it was

phenomenal. I would absolutely
recommend that someone get a

business coach. But here's the
problem. I would have hired him

much earlier in the process if I
could have afforded it. He was

like $1,000 a month. And that
was a decade ago. And that was

his discounted rate because I
was still small potatoes and he

was trying to help me out. And I
couldn't help but think what if

I had had access to that type of
mentorship and support from day

one? Like my first five years
would have been completely

different. And so after I sold
my business and I was thinking

about what I want to do next, I
kept kind of reflecting on that.

And reflecting on that story I
told you earlier about that

second gen entrepreneur. I
actually was describing myself

as a first gen entrepreneur. I
just kind of, after repeating

the story of enough times, I
kind of coined that term and

immediately had people send me
DMS, like, hey, I've never heard

it put that way, but I'm a first
gen entrepreneur. And then you

instantly realize we all have
the same emotions and the same

struggles in common. And so my
thought was, man, if I can do

something that gets people that
mentorship and advice and

support to help you just keep
your sanity the way I got with

my coach, but do it in a way
that's accessible for people

who, you know, inside their
first five years, I would have

jumped at that opportunity if I
had had it. So that's kind of

how I came up with the idea.

Arvid Kahl: That makes a lot of
sense. That's just yet another

way of an entrepreneur finding a
lack somewhere, just filling it

with a product or with a thing,
right? A solution to a problem.

I love this. And I love, the
coach thing always, it blows my

mind to just only have learned
about this over the last couple

of years. Like I'm like, almost
40 now. And most of my life, I

thought I could do it all or I
had to do it all. I had to be

able to do it all, deal with it
all just all by myself and

nobody should need to help me.
Otherwise, it wasn't my

accomplishment, which is
obviously bizarre. So thinking

about coaching or therapy, I
kind of feel that coach of yours

is both therapist and coach at
the same time. That should be

way more normalized and there
should be also more accessible

ways like the one that you're
providing for people to get at

least a glimpse of this. Just
even the presence of it, knowing

that it exists, probably changes
your mind in a certain way. So I

love this. How are you building
this kind of coaching guiding or

guidance mentorship into your
community? How are people

helping each other there?

Andrew McIntosh: So that's a
great question. Because this

thing, I like to tell people
that I am very much building the

airplane while flying the
airplane here, which the irony

is not lost on me. That, you
know, here I am talking about

entrepreneurship, the first in
your family to do it. And I am

once again figuring this out as
I go. So I guess it is what it

is. That's just who I am. But
this community is still like I

said in its early stages, but
what we're doing right now

primarily revolves around
holding weekly events. And we

just do it right there on Zoom.
We've got people throughout the

US, London, Israel, New Zealand,
a person in the Philippines,

it's basically the English
speaking world is kind of the

limit right now. And so with
these weekly events, what I'm

doing is trying to figure out
the needs of the members. So

maybe you feel like what you
need more than anything is

accountability. Well, we've got
a format just for that, where we

can kind of check in weekly and
keep each other held accountable

in a way that our friends and
family wouldn't. Maybe what you

need is to generate more
business and to do leads, well,

I'm working on a format for that
to help you do that. Maybe it's

just strictly social hour and
sometimes a place to just show

up and just kind of vent and
tell people what's going on in

your business a little bit.
Every time you facilitate

conversations like this, magic
happens, it just kind of happens

all on its own. And it's really
cool to see because as much as I

would like to take credit for
it, it's really about getting

people in a room, kind of
setting the stage for here's

what we're here to talk about.
And then you watch as

connections are made, as people
unearth these new opportunities

or share these tips and tricks
they've picked up along the way.

And we had one yesterday, that
was just like, this thing that

had been bothering one of the
members of the community for

months now. And we just teed it
up and one of the fellow members

like, have you ever thought
about doing it this way? And

he's like, oh, my goodness! You
know what I mean? And so it

really revolves around those
weekly kind of live events. I

think that that's where that
sense of community really starts

to, you know, get fostered,
those connections are made. We

also have some additional spaces
where people can post questions,

you know, so it's more of like
an asynchronous type of thing,

you know, posts and comments and
likes and that style of thing.

So there's that and there's the
live event. So those are the two

main draws.

Arvid Kahl: That is very
interesting. Interesting that

that's exactly the last thing
you were saying because I kind

of wanted to ask you about that
particular part because most

communities like in the real
world, as we have them are very

synchronous, right? You show up.
A community center is that,

right? You go to the place, some
thing is happening, a meet up or

an event where people contribute
to something and then you leave

and the communities kind of
paused until it meets again. But

in digital communities, that's
different. You have the option

to have a large synchronous part
like what you've been doing and

it kinda reminds me of a
community center because people

come to your community center in
the virtual space. And then

there's these different rooms
they can go into and do

different things. But something
is there for whatever they need.

That's really cool. And then you
have the asynchronous part where

I guess knowledge can be stored
or made applicable when you need

it, instead of having to be
present for it. I'm saying this

because I'm working through
building a similar community

centric thing with my friend,
Tyler Tringas. We try to build

something around Calm SaaS
companies right now, like

businesses that slowly build
like sustainable business models

and that stuff. And we want to
build a community based approach

as well. And we've been thinking
about this a lot. We have this

little podcast where we talk
about this every week and just

try to brainstorm a new thing in
public into being because

building in public, obviously,
it's the best thing you could

possibly do.

Arvid Kahl: The idea is that we
want to get feedback from the

Andrew McIntosh: Right

community as much as we can
before we start the community.

And that is, one of the things
that a lot of people have been

reaching out to me about is
like, hey, guys, if you want to

build a community, make sure
that it is both synchronous when

we need it, like having the
opportunity to talk to other

people when we'd have this
problem. And asynchronous for,

you talked about this. You have
a global community, people in

New Zealand and people in the
states try figuring out when

like a good time is for them to
meet, right? How are you dealing

with that? Like the globalness
of it all?

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, so that's
a great question. And it's

something that is an ongoing
thing that I'm trying to tackle.

Because I have these awesome
ideas and plans on how exactly

I'm going to fix that problem.
But it's dependent on me having

like, 1000 members in the
community, which I don't as of

this exact moment because once
you have a large enough

community, then what happens is,
is people even at the small size

that we are today, I've already
had people raised their hands to

basically, volunteers like
ambassadors, essentially. You

know, they love the mission of
what we're doing so much.

They're like, hey, how can I
help? And so if you do that, I

think what you can actually do
is you can say, alright, well,

here's a format that we've
designed for this. I'm going to

host one of these at noon
Eastern, but then this person is

going to host it at 4pm. And
this one's going to host at 7pm.

Andrew McIntosh: If you can
build the structure and then

Arvid Kahl: That was a great
solution. And kind of an almost

Arvid Kahl: Thats good!

kind of have these ambassadors,
these volunteers, you know, who

want to moderate these meetings
and you give them a little, it

wouldn't take much, you know, to
help kind of train them on what

the format looks like. I feel
like we could actually have a

calendar full of events, you
know. Every day of the week, you

might have three different time
slots and different formats. And

you can now just kind of opt in
to what suits your calendar, I

think would be the best way to
do it.

meta perspective, it's yet
another entrepreneurial thing

that nobody teaches you, unless
you have entrepreneurial your

peers, like the idea that you
can just kind of franchise out

parts of your business, just by
designing them in a process

based structure, give that to
other people and have them do an

equally good job as you could.
Because you know, in any

business, you tend to delegate
eventually. And this is just

another smart way of delegating
business work in your community

to somebody who's better at and
better for that particular job.

I love this. This is already
super helpful. Like just to even

talk about that kind of stuff
among entrepreneurs, right? This

community building right here. I
love it.

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, that's
like meta twice there. But yeah,

so and to your point, like, what
I'm finding, too is the members

of the community have come to me
with their ideas on what we can

put forth, even on the format.
So take the accountability

thing, had a member come to me
and say, hey, I think we should

start doing these weekly
accountability meetings. I'm

like, oh, that's funny, you
mentioned it. I was planning on

doing one every month. And I was
going to build this whole system

where we can like track each
other's goals and do all this,

you know, kind of cool stuff.
And she's like, that's terrible

idea. And I just love the
brutal, most straightforward

honesty, but she immediately you
know, tore it to shreds. And I'm

appreciative of it because she
was able to like help me see

instantly, like no, short, sweet
bursts, you know, 30 minutes

every week, just get to the
point. And let's just kind of

keep the needle moving. So not
only did she help refine

something I was already working
on but then she was one who

raised her hands like, hey, I'll
run one of these. So now we're

doing two of them. And we're
taking two different time slots

to help accommodate people. So
even at a small size, we're able

to do that. And then the other
thing that's really cool and it

excites me to think what this
could become long term. I've had

more than one member already
come to me and say hey, you

know, this could be more than
just a community like this. One

person is an attorney who was
like we could provide like legal

coaching services as part of
this or financial advisors like

I can help implement Profit
First, if you're familiar with

that one. I'm a big believer in
that system and we could

actually help people with, like,
the implementation of these

fundamental things for their
business. So it goes beyond just

a community that's about
support, but it's also about,

we'll give you the playbooks or
we'll even help you with

implementation on things. So
it's like, as this thing, you

know, kind of gets Frankenstein
together, though, it's exciting,

you know, in a good way because
you're just seeing all these

ways that we can help each
other, collaborate, joint

ventures, you know, and
partnerships and all these types

of things. It's just, it's a lot
of fun if you're into that kind

of thing.

Arvid Kahl: I really love this.
I think that reminds me very

strongly of how, like human
settlements start to appear like

somebody settled somewhere. And
then people need different jobs

solved differently. And people
volunteer into those jobs,

either by having the skill
already bringing it like through

the path of, you know,
pioneering. You know, they came

with you, they had their little
wagon and they came with you on

the trail or they just learned
the thing that needs to be done

and then become the local expert
added. That feels like this

community that you're currently
building is going from little

village that just has a couple
people living in farming there

to a whole bigger like a town, a
city, maybe even with specific

people doing specific work, but
all for the benefit of the local

community. It's so awesome to
see this happening.

Andrew McIntosh: you said you're
almost 40, so we're close to the

same age. There were two video
games that I played growing up.

One was Oregon Trail. Did you
ever play Oregon Trail?

Arvid Kahl: I heard about that.
I never played it. But everybody

here in Canada talks about this
game because apparently, it's

the only game people ever play.

Andrew McIntosh: Oregon Trail
was like every grade school kid

ever who grew up you know, born
in the 80s is going to identify

with this. But basically, you
know, you're tasked with getting

all the way to Oregon in the old
wild west. And it's fraught with

like, risks and dangers and all
these other things. You know,

you can get attacked by wild
animals or you can get dysentery

and die from it and all these
other kinds of things. And I

think that that's a great
analogy for entrepreneurship

when you're by yourself. It's
just riddled with dangers and

risks, right? But on the flip
side, to your point about kind

of the village, the community
concept that's more like

SimCity. Did you play SimCity?

Arvid Kahl: Oh, yeah. I sure

Andrew McIntosh: Okay, I got you
on this one. So how cool is

that? That you can start with,
you know, didn't start with like

one little square or whatever

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, you had like
the little the home, the houses

zone, the industrial zone and
the business zone. And that was

it, right?

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, exactly.
And it starts with this small

thing. And then over time, it
just sprawls into this big,

thriving village or town or
community or whatever. And

that's what I feel like
entrepreneurship can be when

you're part of the community.
It's not just this thing, this

path that you're on your own,
you don't know what dangers

you're facing. It's like, no,
you're part of this functioning

thing where everybody's helping
each other out, which is really

cool. So thank you for putting
that idea in my head. That's awesome.

Arvid Kahl: Oh, you're most
welcome. I'm also very grateful

for you just bringing up some
city because I'm not thinking

about it. In many ways.
Entrepreneurship is just like

architecture ng are being the
architect of a complex system of

individual things that all need
an expert in them eventually,

like when you start a little
city, and on SimCity, you kind

of figure out oh, yeah, I'm
going to draw the power lines

here. And all of that kind of
stuff, you have these details,

and you need to figure things
out to understand each part of

your city. But as you scale it,
these things become more

independent units that have
their own purpose. So I'm just

thinking of my own video game
experience and how much that

actually influenced. I think I
learned that's the thing I

learned more from city about
entrepreneurship than from my

parents. That's what I'm kind of
figuring out just that. And that

is both sad. And it's both
awesome that the game the video

game can actually supply this.
Now in retrospect, that was

super helpful.

Andrew McIntosh: Yes. My parents
always gave me a hard time for

my addiction to video games. But
now I'm a grown man. And I want

this me like, look, this was
good. For me. This was good for


Arvid Kahl: It probably was
right. I think video games in

particular as interactive
problem solution scenarios, they

do train you to just never give
up like the amount of times that

I played luthier to the
wonderful Super Nintendo role

playing game. And these puzzles
in the game. They were so hard,

but I would just sit there for
four hours trying to figure it

out and eventually did and I
knew I knew that it was figured

out double because the game was
designed to be hard but not

impossible. And I think most of
entrepreneurship is really that

it's hard but not impossible.
And if it looks impossible, and

sounds and smells impossible,
then maybe you just need to

shift your perspective a little
bit and look at a different

angle, and then becomes possible
again. So, again, videogames,

probably a solution to all our
problems. That's what I'm


Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, well, and
legitimately, I think you make a

good point like there, there are
real lessons to be learned from

that. Because how many times did
you you know, throw your hands

up and throw the controller on
the ground out of frustration,

right? It happens. But then on
the flip side of that, how many

times do you actually finally
solve that puzzle, or finally

beat that boss or whatever, to
feel the immense satisfaction

that comes from that. And it's
like, that's what

entrepreneurship does, it is, it
is way more challenging than

just having a day job. But man,
at some point, you stand and you

look back on what what you've
accomplished, and what you've

built, and not just in a
monetary way, but just the sense

of pride and satisfaction that
comes from building something

that is truly yours. And it's
like that SimCity, it starts

small. And then next thing, you
know, you look back, and you've

got this sprawling metropolis.
It's just, it's so satisfying.

And I think that, honestly, I
think video games in some ways

can can train a person to
understand that it takes that

persistency and that grit to
kind of keep going until you,

you get to the other end.

Arvid Kahl: 100% I think so. And
one thing that I also remember,

like, among my friends, I really
enjoyed, like teaching them how

to beat the level, I teaching
them, how to beat the boss and

how to play something. So that's
also something that comes to my

mind, now that I do a lot of
this. Like, as, as a person in

our community, I feel a lot of
entrepreneurs through having to

deal with all of this themselves
and having to figure it out,

they still have the sense of I
kind of want to contribute this

back to people, so they don't
have it that hard. Do you feel

that there's a stronger sense of
volunteering in your community

than it normally is available to

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, I think
that this is just one of the

core traits of, of most decent
human beings is like, once

you've, once you've gone through
something tough yourself, it

genuinely feels good to help
someone else. either avoid that

pain entirely, or just help them
to appreciate like you'll you'll

get on the other side of this
thing, you know, and that, that

whole kind of pay it forward
mentality. It doesn't only apply

to quote unquote, successful
entrepreneurs, you don't need to

have been someone who's who
built the business and sold it

for eight figures or something
before you qualify to give

advice to someone else. I mean,
I've got a couple of people who

have reached out to me who are
in that category. And they're

like, Man, I love what you're
doing, I'd like to, you know,

kind of be like a mentor in this
community. That's awesome. I'm

all for it. But the reality is,
is for the rest of us that are

still kind of boots on the
ground, you know, just grinding

this out doing it one day at a
time, there are small wins every

single day, all these little
things that you pick up here and

there that I was able to do this
quicker, or I was able to charge

a little bit more for this, or
I've used this tool, and it

saved me some time. And sharing
those wins is is super valuable

to other people. And then it
also brings you measure

fulfillment to know that you've
helped somebody else and you

just being able to foster that
is it's really cool to see,

Arvid Kahl: do you leverage that
in your community do encourage

people to share all these little

Andrew McIntosh: I have a
dedicated space called Share

your wins. And it's in there,
there's actually a little kind

of guideline up at the top that
says, share your wins for two

reasons. Number one is it's it's
spread some positivity, right.

And it's always nice for us to
hear and we're going to

celebrate along with you. But
more importantly, share what

steps you took that led up to
that win, right? Because now we

all have something that we can
we can learn from and maybe put

into use and so it doesn't even
have to be something big. Right?

There's like I said small wins
every day, little bits here and

there. And now now that just
kind of helps all of us, you

know, pick up little pieces as

Arvid Kahl: go. How do you deal
with the small losses? The

little things that don't work?
How do you encourage people or

do you encourage people to talk
about this? And if so, how?

Andrew McIntosh: So I have
another space called Share your

learns. And we don't call it
share your losses? That's right,

we call it share your learns.
That's interesting. So you know,

I personally started the very
first post inside that space

where when I completed my first
year in business I got a

surprise tax bill that I wasn't
expecting it was $14,000 and I

had exactly $0 set aside for
taxes and it just like was a big

deal right because I had I went
into debt to cover this and put

me in the hole and and all this
other kind of stuff. I still

have a bad taste in my mouth
from all these years later. So

that space isn't to just share a
story like a sob story. You

know, boohoo Woe is me. You
know, please feel sorry for me.

But it's more importantly, what
did you learn from that

experience? And how would you do
it over again, if given the

opportunity. And now there's
that Pitfall, there's that, that

thing that if you come from a
family business, you know that's

been built in, it's been handed
to you, your family is going to

have already avoided these
pitfalls, and they're going to

educate you on what to look out
for and how not to make costly

mistakes. But if you're the
first in your family to do this,

you're gonna walk right into it,
because you just didn't see it

coming. How could you you've
never done this before, right?

So sharing your learns, that's
another, you know, super

valuable thing that is just
like, here's the things to look

out for what to avoid. The
mistake I made, I paid the

price, but I'm sharing it so
that you don't have to,

Arvid Kahl: that's a good way to
rephrase it, right? A loss is

only a loss when you don't learn
from it. So just rephrasing it

into learns immediately makes it
useful. That's awesome. I think

I'm taking this away from that
little part of a conversation.

It's just like to look at wins
and losses as both like

celebrate double celebratory
write situations. That is really


Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, yeah, I
think that's a that's a great

way to put it. A loss is only a
loss if you don't learn from it.

So yeah, we'll put well let's

Arvid Kahl: let's look at
potential wins in the future. I

kind of want to know where you
want to take this community,

like what's your, your long term
vision for this? Or if you if

you even have one, because it
might just be a community of

practice, and you see where it
goes. But I do wonder, like,

where where do you want to see?
Or what do you want to see first

gen entrepreneurs in like five
years from now?

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, that's a
fantastic question that I, you

know, honestly, I am partially
embarrassed to admit this, and

partially proud to admit this,
but like, I'm thinking about

this community 24/7, like, when
my head hits the pillow at

night, I'm thinking about what I
can, what I can do to make it

better and where it's headed.
And then when I wake up in the

morning, it's clear, I've been
processing it during my sleep,

right? And so that's a really
good question, that I'm still

trying to wrap my mind around,
like what this could be because

I come from an IT background,
right? So at my previous

company, we were fixing people's
computers, we're fixing their

printers. That's not the most
like fulfilling thing in the

world. If I'm being honest with
you, right? Nobody calls you up

to say, Hey, I just wanted to
say things are running great. I

love what you guys do. It was it
was a pretty thankless job. So

now with this, it's like the
complete other end of the

spectrum where it is so
fulfilling, to think about the

fact that you can make a
meaningful impact on someone's

entrepreneurial journey. And not
to get like too philosophical

about it. But like
entrepreneurship to me, you

know, I come from a middle
class, blue collar, Midwest

upbringing, and with that came
some limiting limiting beliefs,

you know, what I what I thought
was good money when I came out

of college, you know, what, what
it means to be wealthy terms,

like building equity for
yourself like this, none of

that. That was all foreign to
me, basically, right? And now

that I've kind of gone through
this whole process of starting a

business as a one man show,
growing it over a 15 year

period, and then ultimately
selling it, and, and rubbing

shoulders with all these other
people who who do this all the

time. It's like, I think
entrepreneurship is a very

valuable thing that can take you
from a lower class to a middle

class or middle class to an
upper class. Or take whatever

you define success as an help
you get there, it's a vehicle to

help you to get there. So
whether that's freedom of time,

freedom of money, freedom of
choice as to who you want to

work with, and what you want to
do for a living, like, once you

get a taste of these freedoms,
you never, you never want to go

back. Right? So to me, it like
brings an immense amount of, you

know, purpose and satisfaction
to know that like this

community, or zooming out a
little bit, this organization

can be something that helps
people to achieve their their

definition of success. And so
the idea of being able to help

say, 1000 people, you know,
having a meaningful impact on

their lives is like, super
fulfilling. So that's like my

big, hairy, audacious goal as
this awesome. Yeah. Now the how,

you know what, what that
actually looks like, is still

like I said, building the
airplane while flying the

airplane. So I think it's going
to be a combination of obviously

supporting people so that
they're not doing it alone is

probably always going to be the
the baseline, you know, kind of

thing. But then to what extent
can we not just give them

support, but actually help them
with the implementation of

systems that really set them up
for success, I think is, is what

I'm still kind of charting out
but that's the part that excites


Arvid Kahl: I bet has also like
that feels like it's both a

community building and business
building thing at the same time.

So it has these these two
connotations there. I do wonder

about the business part of this
because obviously, it's a it's a

community of empowerment, which
is awesome. I love that about

it, because it talks, it talks
my language, right, that's kind

of what it is. But it's also a
business. And that has to be

sustainable. So I do want to
know, if you can divulge it,

obviously, like, how do you
approach this to be a

sustainable and growing
potentially growing or hopefully

very much potentially growing
business? And what's your

business approach to this

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, so that's
an interesting one, too, because

I kind of have these opposing
forces happening right now. So

on the one hand, I, I belonged
to a, like a CEO roundtable kind

of thing. I won't name it by
name, because I don't know if

I'm gonna get myself in trouble
at some point, because I'm going

to badmouth it a little bit
here. So this unnamed executive

roundtable thing that I belong
to, for a couple of years around

2017 2018. And it was $1,500 a
month to belong to this thing.

So $18,000 a year. And they
really leaned into this kind of

exclusivity thing, right? So the
idea basically, is that if you

can afford to be in a room full
of guys who can afford to be in

that room? That they are all
doing something? Right, right?

These are all quote unquote,
successful business owners. And

so through osmosis through the
connections that you're going to

get, you might wind up doing
business with each other, it'll

pay for itself. And the truth
is, it works like it does

actually work that way. But they
are leaning into this whole kind

of exclusive thing. And to me,
that's like a boys club, like,

it really goes against the grain
of kind of who I am. I'm trying

to swing the other way, I'm
trying to be inclusive, I'm

trying to help the underdog
here, I'm not looking to take

already successful people and
just help them become even

wealthier. I'm trying to take
the people who are just trying

to provide a comfortable
lifestyle for their own family

trying to build something for
themselves, and help them out,

right? So my business model is
very different, like, at this

point in time, it's $75 a month
to belong to this community.

Wow. And so it's very
accessible, right? Like anybody

who is an entrepreneur who's
who's actually like, gotten

started, you should have 75
bucks. And if you don't, that's

kind of a whole different, you
know, I'm not in a position to

help you at that point. But for
people who are established

that's accessible and I want to
keep it accessible, long term.

But then to your point, there
becomes like the business model

for this, like, how's that going
to work? Because you really need

a lot of num, a lot of people at
that price point before this

becomes something that that you
can make long term, you know,

sustainability. So, I would like
to always have that accessible

entry point that makes valuable,
useful, tactical, tangible

resources available to first gen
entrepreneurs, I always want

that to be there. But then I
think what will happen is, is as

the community grows, and then as
members start to mature in their

own businesses, then we can
start to offer additional

services to help them with
implementation of of systems and

processes, or with you know,
kind of those a miniature

version of that, where it is
like a CEO roundtable type of

thing. But it's still a fraction
of the cost and a fraction of

the time commitment, with none
of the highbrow exclusivity kind

of vibe, because that's just not
not my people. And then if you

recall, at the beginning, I said
how much I enjoyed business

coaching and think that it's
awesome, and everybody should do

it. I'm just trying to build a
bridge to get people to the

point where they can afford that
business coach, right? So that's

that space that I'm trying to
fill. And it's it's always

evolving and adapting. And so
what it is today is maybe not

what it's going to be tomorrow,
but that's kind of my overall

vision is to help people
overcome the odds of failure,

which we both know is
statistically way too high, to

not only survive, but then start
to thrive and get to the point

where they can they can get
where they want to go.

Arvid Kahl: That's I think
what's what becomes very clear

when you explain it like this,
like the whole communities

purpose is to get people from
the point where they start at to

the point where they can kind of
graduate from the community,

which is something interesting
because most communities are

trying to be like this all
encompassing thing that just

grabs you and holds you on
forever. Doesn't sound

necessarily like that with yours
like was, is it intentional that

it's kind of this transition
there. Everything that you're

building, would you still want
to build like a long term place

for people to be, but just get
them to the point and then stick

around? What do you think about

Andrew McIntosh: I think that
it's, it is intentional to do it

that way. Because what I have in
common with all of my members is

we're all first gen
entrepreneurs. But we all come

from different backgrounds and
industries. And that's on

purpose, because now you can see
one problem getting attacked 12

different ways, which is really
cool, right? But then when you

start to get up to this point,
you know, I'm not going to be

able to tell a trademark
attorney how to handle

trademarks, right, or I'm not
gonna be able to tell a

financial adviser how to how to
build their business, I actually

advocate for belonging to two
communities, you know, mine as

kind of like your general
entrepreneurial support

community, and then another one
that's really niche and specific

to your industry, where you're
gonna have very different

conversations there. So I think
there's space for both. But yes,

if someone graduates from this
community, because they've

reached this point of success,
man, I am just, I'm in your

corner, I'm celebrating that for
you, right? Like, that's

awesome. You beat the odds,
you're enjoying

entrepreneurship, it's had a
meaningful impact on your life.

And I think that's awesome.
That's like my mission. I think

what will happen is that if
people get to that point, by

that point, 75 bucks or whatever
it is, is like no big deal. And

they're probably gonna stick
around just now purely out of

loyalty and wanting to pay it
forward and help other people.

And if they opt in to do that,
then that's great. Those are the

kinds of people I want around.
But it's not some design where I

want to just get my get my hooks
into you and keep you around


Arvid Kahl: That's, that's nice
to know, it does remind me of

when we built feedback Panda, we
had a couple of conversations

with customers who cancelled the
product, because they found an

actual full time teaching job,
because they now had the time to

actually be using a product,
they had the time to file

logistics send out their their
CVs to companies and stuff. So

we enabled them to find a better
job that made using our product

not necessary anymore. This is
the happiest kind of churn that

I've ever seen in my life is
people graduating beyond needing

the product. So this sounds like
you're you have a different

similar mindset here, too, as to
if that is the success story,

right? The success story is
being at a point where you don't

need the community anymore, at
least not in a sense that it's

like, necessary to your
survival. You still need it for

different things. It's kind of
the pyramids, right? The you

know, the you know, which
pyramid ticket escaping my mind

right now.

Andrew McIntosh: But well, yeah,
that's just called being a good


Arvid Kahl: Yes, again, that is
something that not everybody in

business has, like, for some
reason, people have been

trained. And it kind of harkens
back to what we initially talked

about, like the default stories
that we tell each other, like, I

have heard so many stories about
cutthroat competition, and about

like never sharing your story
with anybody, again, coming from

a family where people protected
what they had, because they

needed to have control over the
little things that they had

control over, right? They had no
expansive abundance mindset that

just didn't work for them. But
in our world now in the digital

economy, or even just our
economy that we're in an

abundance mindset is extremely
helpful, like sharing your

knowledge, sharing your story,
getting people involved getting

their buy in, and then having
them help you help them like

that is that is the kind of a
never ending cycle of growth,

that people who don't have that
experience would never think

about. It's a concept that is
just unimaginable to them. So

it's nice to have people in the
community. And it's nice that

you are building this community
for people, I'm really, really

happy to hear of this to know
that this is a concept, because

I am a first gen entrepreneur,
but I write, but I've never

expressly seen myself as one.
It's nice to know that the

concept exists. And now I have a
phrase to describe it to people.

That is That is really cool. And
I think with this Where Where

can people find this community?
Where can people find more about

you? Because I think you're such
a wonderful bridge into the

community that is the bridge to
their, their future capacity of

paying somebody to help them
with their business as a coach,

like where can people go to find

Andrew McIntosh: Alright, so I'm
going to be very careful this

time. I was on a podcast a few
weeks ago that has a pretty

sizable following. And he asked
me that question. And I

completely bungled it. I was
just like, oh, just just get in

touch with me on LinkedIn. And
then I realized after the fact

that like, that was the lamest
call to action of all time,

right? And I'm i I'm still
beating myself up over it. So

here's what I'm gonna do. My
website or the website for the

first gen entrepreneurs
community is first gen dot biz,

and that's the number one S T G
n dot biz. I'm just going to

leave it at that because that is
a living, breathing website

that's going to change over time
and you know, how we how we

position the community and all
that is going to change. But if

you just come away with that one
thing, then we're going to

continue to make more resources
available with time, whether

it's courses and newsletters and
community and all these, you

know, kind of cool things that
we're building.

Arvid Kahl: That's a good call
to action. I think that you

didn't watch this one, this,
this one is perfect. And it's

also a great domain that is, as
a spectacular, short and

extremely clear domain name for
a project like this.

Andrew McIntosh: And I'll be
honest, I don't know I just kind

of stumbled on the term first
gen entrepreneur and then people

immediately started latching on
to it. And then I stumbled on

like that domain name was
available. And it just really

feels like I fell backwards into
this thing. But I love it. I

love the brand. I love how it's
self explanatory. And I love how

it connects with people, they
instantly go, that's me. And we

both know how we how we feel
about our journeys, just just by

a name. So I'm thrilled to have
it. Yeah,

Arvid Kahl: I'm so thrilled to
have had you on the show.

Because Thank you just so much
for explaining all these things

and letting me dive into your
community and learning from you

about building community,
learning from you about being an

entrepreneur and fostering
community. That was wonderful.

Thank you so much for being on
the show.

Andrew McIntosh: Well, thank you
very much. And let me just toss

it right back at you like the
bootstrapped founder, you've got

the same thing going there were
like the instant I saw that and

like, oh, that's me, you know,
and you know what, that you

know, what that entails, you
know, the emotions that come

with it. And you know, that when
you when you go to your website,

or you listen to your podcast,
you're gonna get real meat on

the bone in terms of the kind of
content it's this isn't fluff.

This isn't Frou Frou stuff. It's
like, I want to help the

Bootstrappers the underdogs, the
people that are doing this the

hard way to succeed. And so I
think I think we're both like,

that's why we're hitting it off.
So well. But thank you so much

for having me on the show. An

Arvid Kahl: pleasure. Thanks for
that, too. I'm glad that that

resonates with you just as much.
I should start a community

probably right. What do you

Andrew McIntosh: It's a good
idea? I'm here.

Arvid Kahl: Oh, I'll give it a
go. Thanks so much for being on

the show.

Andrew McIntosh: Yeah, thank

Arvid Kahl: And that's it for
today. Thank you for listening

to The Bootstrapped Founder. You
can find me on Twitter

@arvidkahl. You'll find my books
and my Twitter course there as

well. If you want to support me
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Any of these things, will help
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so much for listening today and
have a great day. Bye bye.