It’s rare that you hear of someone retiring the same year they finish college, but that’s exactly what Sol Orwell did after founding his first company at the age of 15. After finding early success trading digital currencies and domain names, Sol pioneered local search marketing in the neighborhoods of Toronto where he spent his teenage years.
Sol then spent five years travelling throughout the United States and South America as a retired digital nomad, but years on the road would take a toll on Sol’s health, especially his weight. As Sol began to research the best way to way to lose the extra pounds, he quickly discovered a lack of reliable, unbiased information in the dieting and health space online.
Ever the opportunist, Sol jumped at the chance to come out of retirement and started his next company, Examine.com, a hugely successful independent online encyclopedia on all things supplementation and nutrition.
Now 55-pounds lighter, Sol describes himself as semi-retired and has stepped away from running the day-to-day operations of his company. He still remains active in the fitness and health space and spends much of his time mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and hosting “Chocolate Chip Cookie Offs” in a quest to find the best tasting chocolate chip cookie in the world.
In this week’s episode Jay sits down with Sol to uncover:
- Why Sol decided to legally change his name
- Sol’s opportunistic approach to business development
- Why you should always separate your personal and business brands
- The importance of having fun while doing business
Listen to this episode on iTunes.
Share your biggest insight from this week’s episode with Jay on Twitter: @jaykimmer.
Links from Today’s Episode
- Read the full transcript from Sol’s interview
- Find Sol on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- See Sol’s “before” and “after” pictures at MensHealth.com
- Read Sol’s thoughts on business and entrepreneurship at SJO.com
- Check out Sol’s most recent company, Examine.com
- Devour the best chocolate chip cookie in Toronto (and possibly the world)
Detailed Show Notes
- (2:16) Sol’s nomadic early life, his first taste of entrepreneurship, and his (very) early retirement
- (3:53) Sol returns to Canada and uncovers a winning opportunity
- (5:58) Why Sol legally changed his name and retired after graduating college
- (8:18) How Sol’s parents reacted to his name change
- (10:58) Sol’s battle with weight gain and how that led him to the health and nutrition space
- (12:48) On spending serious cash to obtain the domains Examine.com and SJO.com
- (15:29) The advantage of building a business brand that’s separate from your own personal brand
- (17:38) The story behind “Cookie Life” and the importance of having fun as an entrepreneur
- (21:51) Sol’s daily routine and how setting boundaries helps him get more done
- (25:22) The best chocolate chip cookie in Toronto
- (25:36) On the tech scene in Asia and why Silicon Valley isn’t the tech hub it used to be
- (27:54) Sol’s next “pet” project
- (31:00) What Sol wants to be remembered for