ReadItForMe is an awesome platform that summarizes great non-fiction books into 10 to 15 minutes teaching videos. The way they do it is absolutely fantastic. Within a very short period of time, you can learn concepts and ideas that would otherwise take you hours to grasp. Here’s a short interview with ReadItForMe founder Steve Cunningham. It’s yet another great example of how an entrepreneur has taken his passion – the need to grow through books – and turned it into a real business. Here’s the interview…
Franz Wiesbauer: How did you come up with the idea for ReadItForMe?
Steve Cunningham: Years ago, I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with presidents, CEO’s, and leaders of organizations and while sitting in their offices, I’d notice bookshelves with all sorts of books on them. Of course, at the time I was young, I was just starting in the family business and I was reading a lot of books as well because of the way that I thought I needed to learn. So I would often ask them “What did you think of this idea in that book?” and they would look at me blankly and say “Well, I haven’t read that one yet.” Then I would say “Okay what about this other idea in this other book?” and they would look at me and say “I haven’t read that one yet either.” What I eventually realized was that these people were so busy that they would buy these books with these great intentions of reading them and they wanted to stay up with the latest knowledge but they literally did not have enough time to get to read them. So I recognized that there was a need there. They had the desire to learn the stuff but there simply was not enough time. I also learned that there were services out there that would do something similar to what I was thinking of however we decided to take a unique approach and produce videos as opposed to just PDF’s. We know that people spend a lot of time on the road and commuting in the mornings and spend time at the gym and we wanted to give them something that is a more visual way to learn on the go while still retaining the ideas and concepts from these best selling business and personal development books. It really just started as an idea then we launched the first one a few years ago. Initially, the idea was that we were going to use this to attract clients to our digital marketing agency. Rather than being an actual service, it was going to be essentially content for our own marketing strategy. Soon we discovered that people wanted to pay us for the service so we thought that was probably a good thing to do so we called some venture capitalists to ask what our business law was and we didn’t have one and although we are slow learners, we eventually learned that this is a viable business opportunity and we turned it into an actual business and we haven’t looked back since.
Franz Wiesbauer: How many people are working for ReadItForMe?
Steve Cunningham: We’ve got a small team. There are about ten people working with us here some of which work solely for ReadItForMe and some work with our marketing agency as well as ReadItForMe.
Franz Wiesbauer: Would you be willing to share the number of users you have presently?
Steve Cunningham: Sure. We have better than 10,000 users at the moment and growing everyday. We are really happy that this has spread throughout the world and people from all corners are using it and telling us how much they like it and how it has positively impacted their lives. Also, I get to talk to great people like you and it’s fantastic.
Franz Wiesbauer: Do you read all the books yourself? As I understand it, you are the person who reads them aloud. Are you reading all of them and producing all of the videos or do you have other people reading the books for you?
Steve Cunningham: When we started out, I was doing everything. As you can imagine that was quite a task. I was reading the books, summarizing them, and producing the videos. Over time I have started taking pieces of that and giving it to members of our team. Today, I still read all of the books and for some of them I do the summary and for all of them I do the voiceovers but we are using our creative team now in order to produce the videos so it is certainly much less arduous for me today than it was a few years ago.
Franz Wiesbauer: How do you pick your books?
Steve Cunningham: We pick our books in a few different ways. When we first started out it was just me literally picking out the books that I wanted to read and hoping that other people would want to read them as well. Then as we evolved and built a community around us then we started to get a lot of feedback from our users giving us a lot of suggestions. We get a lot of suggestions each week about what books we should be doing next so that’s another way we select them. The last way that we select them is when we are approached by authors and publishers as they are launching their books before they even hit the market we will read them and review them and id we think they will be a great fit for our community then we will include those as well. So really we use a mix of all three ways for the selection process.
Franz Wiesbauer: How do you market your business? Do you have any advertisements?
Steve Cunningham: No. Everything we’ve done up until this point has been completely by word of mouth. We do have some affiliates that are working with us but we haven’t done any paid advertising yet simply because we haven’t had to. I’m sure that as the business grows we will start to look at those avenues a little bit more closely. We know them well because we are a digital marketing agency as well. Mostly right now it’s just by word of mouth and then we’ve got a back end funnel that we take people through once they’ve signed up for a trial. We typically allow the word of mouth and our affiliates to bring us the traffic and then we work on closing them once they are here.
Franz Wiesbauer: Thanks a lot Steve
Steve Cunningham: Thank you Franz