Building The Tech Tribe for MSPs – TubbTalk #51

TubbTalk 51 - Nigel Moore of The Tech Tribe

TubbTalk sponsored by Avast Business bannerIn this episode, Richard speaks with Australian, Nigel MooreTubbtalk 51 - Nigel Moore of The Tech Tribe of The Tech Tribe for MSPs.

The Tech Tribe is an online community for IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

Nigel always seems to have a fresh perspective and a knack for making teachings sound like something completely new so he’s made a huge impact on the wider MSP community in recent years.

His knowledge and his confidence, however, have been hard-won.

Around 12-13 years ago he found himself the proud owner of a ‘half-baked’ (his words!) MSP. It was a real baptism by fire and Nigel had to very quickly find his feet in the business world if he wanted his MSP to grow.

And like so many of us, he says he made a ‘bajillion’ mistakes along the way.

An Interview with Nigel Moore

On realising that loneliness is actually freedom

One of the things that Nigel struggled with most in those early days was the feeling that he was going it alone, that no one around him was on a similar path.

He says, “being around people of a similar mindset, whether they’re in front of you, behind you, alongside you… I think for me, the hardest part was finding those people and being able to get into space where I could get rid of my ego and learn from them.”

It wasn’t an easy process and Nigel would constantly question whether running a business was the right thing for him.

So how did he turn it around and push past the doubts?

His moment of clarity came wrapped up in a job offer. Nigel’s mentor at the time, a woman who’d helped him kick start his business, was running a large hospitality business.

“She could see that I was going through struggles and trying to figure out where the hell I was and trying to figure out what was going on in my world.” So she offered him the position of IT manager in her business and offered a salary 5 times larger than his business was bringing in at that point.

“When you’re earning a small amount of money for a lot of work and then you get thrown this thing on the table, it kind of forces you to dig really deep into your whys and your reasons for doing what you want to do.

When you're earning a small amount of money for a lot of work and then you get thrown this thing on the table, it kind of forces you to dig really deep into your whys and your reasons for doing what you want to do. Click to Tweet

That was the point where I then had to sit down and think “Okay, well, I’ve got this awesome opportunity here and five times what I’ve ever earned before and go back to just having a job and only working 40 or 50 hours a week instead of the 80 hours a week that I’m working at the moment. But I will report to somebody, and I will not be the master of my own destiny and I will not be able to make every decision and is that something that I am happy with?

For me, when I put on my personal thought hat, it wasn’t. I wanted to be the master of my own destiny.”

Nigel realised that for him that meant leading and running a business; he knew that it meant tapping into his skillset and unrealised potential to lead a tribe. It was the desire to leave a legacy and go all-in on something that he knew could have a huge impact.

The Tech Tribe for MSPs

And that is exactly what Nigel is doing with The Tech Tribe for MSPs.

In describing his inspiration, he says, “what drives me is when I know that I have been on the floor, caught up in the foetal position crying because I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. I know there is a pile of other people around the world right now this very instant that is in that exact same position. There are a lot of them out there in our space, I now know that I can help them get through that faster than I got through because I didn’t have those support structures around me.”

Of course, the decision to found The Tech Tribe wasn’t based on altruism alone; Nigel has found a real passion for coaching. After taking his foot off the gas of his MSP, he began sharing his knowledge of running his own business with other MSPs in his sphere of contacts.

Not only did he discover that he loved teaching, he realised that the people he was helping were getting great results.

Before long Nigel decided to sell his MSP and throw himself into the development of a simple forum-based community that would later become The Tech Tribe.

Nigel describes The Tech Tribe for MSPs as “the community and programme that I wish I had access to when I first started my journey…we want it to be the best resource for nimble MSPs”. (Nigel likes to call MSPs who do typically under 5-10 million as nimble rather than small!). It offers loads of resources and access to experts to help MSPs with everything from the sales process to trusted contractor agreements.

It’s good to share

Nigel has often been questioned about his willingness to teach people who would have, at one point, been his competition, but he has no qualms about sharing his knowledge.

He says, “I remember this one guy going to one of my first ever user groups, and, funnily enough, this gentleman now is a Tech Tribe member and an awesome guy. But back then I met him at an industry event in the Microsoft building, and I was talking about managed service agreements. He goes “I’ll just send your mine”. My jaw dropped to the floor. This is a competitor that’s going to give me some of his stuff and that then opened this whole world of these people that are freely willing to give and not receive anything in return.”

I find in the MSP space it doesn’t matter whether you’re next door or you’re on the other side of the world, people share so incredibly freely. I love that about the MSP space. Absolutely love it.

I find in the MSP space it doesn't matter whether you're next door or you're on the other side of the world, people share so incredibly freely. I love that about the MSP space. Absolutely love it. Click to Tweet

I think one of the biggest reasons is that most of us come into this space because of that want of helping other people and that we’re tech geeks at heart. We’re not business people by nature, we didn’t start off as business people, we started off as technicians and wanting to help people. So whether that person is a client of ours or a competitor of ours, we still want to help them and that’s what I love about it.”

Tribal Elders

With an industry that places so much value on service and sharing, it’s little wonder that Nigel has managed to convince so many MSP experts to join The Tech Tribe as tribal elders.

Tribal elders act as leadership stewards in the community and they all have a certain level of experience of growing, running, selling or acquiring an MSP. They’ve been in the trenches for a long time.

You’ll find people like James Stackhouse, who is an MSP marketing wizard, Todd Kane, an operations guru, Craig Sharp, Jamie Warner and of course Richard himself (If you’re interested in how I ended up joining the Tech Tribe, read my article on The Tech Tribe – An Awesome Community for MSPs).

And Nigel promises more still to come. He says he’s looking forward to supporting growing MSPs and removing all of the sharks from the industry: “as they say, a rising tide floats all boats and the people that are going to be around our legendary elders, and all of the other people that give their advice freely, are in for a fun ride!”

Why a paid group?

Of course, with this emphasis on the desire to serve, some of you may be wondering why The Tech Tribe for MSPs is a paid group. Then again, with access to so many experts, you might equally be questioning why it’s so inexpensive!

Nigel isn’t a fan of free groups (Reddit and Facebook, he’s looking at you!); he thinks they’re little more than a distraction for most business owners.

Nigel says, “when you start charging people access to something, the quality of the interaction goes up, and magic starts to happen.”

In one fell swoop, you lose the freeloaders, the trolls and the circulation of bad advice. The Tribe has had over 18,000 posts to date and they haven’t had to moderate a single one.

But while he feels it’s important to charge for entry to the group, he has no plans to start charging a fortune.

He wants the community to be accessible to as many MSPs as possible, especially the small, nimble businesses he talked about earlier.

Nigel knows that a $1,000 a month price tag would exclude the very people he most wants to help: “the people that are back in the shoes I was once in”, the people with the unrealised potential.

His overarching philosophy?

“The more we can help out those behind us, the more we can create this awesome space. This awesome industry.”

Want to find out more about Nigel and The Tech Tribe? You’ll find all of the contact details you need in the show notes.

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