Self-made entrepreneurs are sharing thousands of dollars worth of business advice for free on Clubhouse

  • Clubhouse is a platform for entrepreneurs to seek out professional advice for free.
  • The app hosts “clubs” where founders can hear from experts about how to grow their businesses.
  • One UK-based club with tenured speakers offers targeted advice to members from varied backgrounds. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

If you hadn’t heard about it yet, Clubhouse is social media’s latest up-and-comer — an invitation-only, audio-based social networking app launched just last year and now valued at $1 billion. 

Home to “rooms” where speakers can mount a “stage” to talk about almost anything, the app gives a platform to invitees interested in the same topics, from sports to entertainment and business, to get together and have a chat.  

Within the app’s more business-minded clubs are topics like entrepreneurship, networking, and real estate, where members can follow along and listen in on talks led by anyone from investors to founders and, in some cases, even billionaires. 

In the sea of talks hosted by and for hustlers determined to grow and improve their networks, businesses, and personal brands are a number of self-made entrepreneurs who host weekly — sometimes daily — conversations that bring value to entrepreneurs in the form of Startup Radio. 

What is Startup Radio?

A UK-based club of 14 entrepreneurs from varied backgrounds who have all weathered the real ups and downs of being in business, the hosts of Startup Radio have raised a combined total of over $200 million in funding, and share “good old fashioned free help” on topics from branding to raising money and public speaking. 

Simon Squibb, Jessica Butcher, Michael Litman, and Dan Murray-Serter are a handful of the Startup Radio speakers who land onstage on a near daily basis, offering advice to inquisitive entrepreneurs. Squibb “fell into entrepreneurship to survive,” he told Insider, after leaving school and home at 15, and has since founded 18 companies, invested in 68 startups, and achieved freedom to retire at 40 after selling his company, Fluid, to PricewaterhouseCoopers. He’s been offering entrepreneurs help for free through a network called The Purposeful Project for over a year. 

Murray-Serter, Butcher, and Litman bring a similar sense of entrepreneurial insight and engagement to the table. Among their many ventures, Murray-Serter co-founded UK shopping app, Grabble, and today is the founder of “braincare” company Heights as well as the host of the UK’s top business podcast, Secret Leaders. Butcher is an angel investor and founder of three companies, including augmented reality company Blippar. Litman, having started out in advertising and public relations, went on to found 6 startups across tech and digital production, and was named one of Insider’s 30 most creative people in advertising under 30 in 2015. 

These founders are typically joined by other serial entrepreneurs and business pros like Jimmy McLoughlin, a former business advisor at 10 Downing Street, Rachel Carrell, founder of Koru Kids, and Beta Lucca, cofounder of Bossa Studios. The group’s aim is to have honest conversations about what it takes to build and grow a business. 

“Because frankly, it’s not that easy,” Butcher told Insider. “You can’t buy the skills you need in a course, but you can do it with the right combination of determination, knowledge, and support.” 

The group is also looking to combat what they see as a potential danger of Clubhouse: people peddling “get-rich-quick schemes and funnel selling,” said Squibb. 

“I’m very, very allergic to all the ‘self proclaimed millionaires’ hosting millionaire rooms who seem to be infesting Clubhouse and sending potentially vulnerable people through sales funnels to make them rich,” Murray-Serter said. “As opposed to what we’re doing at Startup Radio which is helping people for free, no agenda, no lies, and no false prophets.”

Advice on networking: The power of Karma and building a personal board of advisors

Butcher is most frequently asked about mentoring, she said, and the advice she gets the most positive feedback on is when she refers to her own personal development strategy, which consists of building a “personal board of advisors” and “working karma throughout that network.”

In other words, she said if you give as much knowledge and assistance as you can to others, you’ll likely find that inspiration, tactical, and emotional support will come flooding back.

“Fostering a network of people who share your values is everything in business,” Butcher said. “I guess my friends and I feel like we’re trying to spread some of that karma on Clubhouse right now to new networks, and sure enough, I’ve already collided with people there who I’m brainstorming new ideas with.”

Follow your passion, but know when to move on

Litman’s advice for entrepreneurs is twofold: follow your energy and know when to call it a day.

“If you have an idea that keeps you excitedly up at night and waking you up early in the morning thinking about it and working on it, it’s worth pursuing further,” he said. “Even if it’s around your job. But give yourself parameters and boundaries.”

For example, he continued, give a side project six months, and if you’re still loving it at the end of that timeline, think about whether you want to make it your main gig. 

And know when to call it a day, Litman continued. “There’s a fine line between dogged persistence and stubbornness versus knowing when to kill a project or a startup. When it’s your own startup it’s incredibly difficult to see it objectively when you probably don’t have a plan B and you’ve spent quite possibly years and a lot of money trying to scratch an itch and solve a problem that for whatever reason is no longer sustainable.”

“Being able to see if something isn’t working, calling it a day, and moving on to something else is as much a skill as setting it up in the first place,” he said.  

Take advice from people who share your morals and goals

Squibb’s best advice is that before taking advice from anyone, an entrepreneur should do their research. “I always say only take advice from someone who has a life you want, as well as your moral code,” he told Insider. “Many should consider purpose over profit and that you should try to buy time rather than sell time long term.”

Murray-Serter drives home the point that an entrepreneur should be sure of a speaker’s values and agenda before taking advice from them. In the context of navigating Clubhouse, he advises that listeners ask this question of any host: “Are they really there to help you, or is their business literally selling to you?”

Advising against “toxic rooms” he said try to sell audiences secrets on how to become a millionaire, Murray-Serter said Clubhouse listeners shouldn’t pay for advice. “If you feel like you’re the product, you are. You deserve better than that. A group of us at Startup Radio will give you same information for free, and have brought together some of the top entrepreneurs in the UK and Europe to offer insights and wisdom.” 

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