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Wait what? Tell me about what you’re shutting down? And why?
Marc Angelo Coppola: For years I have used the guise of running a marketing agency as an economic engine for me to learn what it takes to build a real movement but now that I have learnt so much about how storytelling is done online I also realize it’s time for me to move on!
For the last 10 years I have been running a marketing agency to pay my bills and hiring all my friends to work with some of the biggest companies on the planet.
I don’t care to name drop as it’s not the point of this interview and I want to step away from this world but let’s just say we have made websites for huge companies you interface with regularly, done social media marketing for book launches NYT bestsellers and created and promoted the content of people who every entrepreneur knows and loves just to name a few.
Put in another way we have done millions in business for many of the clients we have serviced over the years out my Montreal based decentralized agency and my business has doubled in size for the last 4 years straight so I’m not shutting my doors – I am truly walking away from this world because my heart isn’t in it anymore.
Alright, how did you come up with this farm idea?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Well in truth the idea I am working on now has been in the works for 8 years now. I literally and figuratively was planting the seeds for a movement to bring people back to the land years ago by merging the need for mentorship based education with my love for sustainability and being a part of the solutions in the world.
The reason I started my online school Superhero Academy was because I was being asked by so many how I was building this movement and how others could be a self employed entrepreneur as well and well the Valhalla Movement is an organization that has always been at the core of my heart.
It’s in the research of building up a 66+ acre property into a thriving farm and eventual ecovillage that I actually learnt the ins and outs of marketing and storytelling… It’s been my sandbox for years and well it’s time for me to go back and play with the building of my new headquarters and home to legit embrace my life as a farmer.
However in a bigger picture view I farm more than just fruits and veggies – I also cultivate curiosity and farm the talents of others as I believe many of the lessons in life can be thought on a farm.
How is your endeavor different?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Well I don’t know how many social media influencers or storytellers are also farmers so let’s just say the whole concept is a bit novel but I would say I see the need for people to reconnect with community.
I have directly been behind thousands of pieces of content reaching millions, actually billions of eyeballs over the years alongside my team and well our stories, videos and memes where a farm in and of themselves.
However with that comes the simple truth that people are addicted to social media and their phones and are looking for community and connection and there is no amount of memes in the world that can inspire to the scale of real world projects.
For me building a farm that is meant to inspire others to learn about living a healthy lifestyle but also learning the ropes of entrepreneurship and storytelling is a HUGE opportunity.
To build a farm is likely the hardest business to run on the planet and yet I am here to show that it can be fun, exciting and incredibly powerful and lucrative as well because well no millenials are striving to take over their families businesses anymore and that to me is a real shame.
What’s the dream with your farm?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Simply put I want to build the world’s most innovative and productive farm and mentorship based learning centre on the planet.
A little more complex is the idea that to raise a child we need a village and if I am to have kids than I want to build the village I wish I could have grew up in and the school I wish I could have gone to.
There is so much talk about tackling massive scale problems and very few entrepreneurs willing to step into the responsibility of ACTUALLY doing something about it.
How do you creatively advertise?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Simply by storytelling – versus selling.
For me Valhalla and the work I am doing with Superhero Academy is about telling a positive story and walking the walk and letting the camera just capture the talk that it takes to make it happen.
I am incredibly passionate about video and educational content and well I credit YouTube, documentary websites, and google for being such an empowering force in my own life but there is still a sad truth out there.
That the balance between fear based or problem based content heavily outweighs the content meant to champion the solutions.
Not long ago a study found that there was 80 articles talking about the problem of climate change for every 1 talking about the solution for example.
This narrative problem is one that needs solving and those solutions need more than blogs – they need hands and shovels in the ground making it happen.
What is your core competency?
Brody Cord: Hmm good question – I think it’s the ecosystem being created here. Rather than just focusing on one core element I have approached my career in the same way permaculture approaches agriculture – which is to consider the entire ecosystem and it’s various functions versus just what I can do to “maximize” profits.
We ended up with monoculture fields of GMO crops and well that has done an untold amount of damage to the world and I think the same is happening in all industries where as I see the work of someone like Elon Musk as being a multipronged approach to solving systemic issues.
Our farm is an ecosystem for nature and for people on many levels and that is why I liken it to being like a village.
What was your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Honestly my biggest success has been in my ability to adapt to my biggest failures.
I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get things going on the real estate side of this project which ended up leading me to burn out and more of a dead end than anything and I have also spent an enormous amount of time trying to muscle my way into making things work that I should have realized was not really aligned and rather should have let my time and resources flow in the path of least resistance as water would.
Honestly what I would say I have learnt is that nature holds all the lessons. By running and scaling a farm and learning it all through hands on mistakes I have been able to expand so much in my life and it has always taught me that long term thinking is the best path forward for long term impact.
I believe it has informed me to build real relationships, real knowledge and real plans to empower way more than just myself in the short term and I am incredibly happy to know that the seeds I sowed years ago are finally at the stage for me to put my boots on the ground further!
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Marc Angelo Coppola: Find a mentor or a few!
Someone out there is doing what you want to do or at least doing parts of it and you will accelerate through so many challenges and avoid costly mistakes by being humble and recognizing there is so much for you to learn from others.
I would also add that documenting your process will be worth it in the long run too 🙂
Teach us something about networking:
Marc Angelo Coppola: Simple – the interest people have in you and your projects is directly correlated to the interest you have in them and their projects.
Be curious and ask questions as the number one way to scale your business is to solve the problems of others and to ask “how can I help you?”
What’s something new you’ve learned in the past month?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Ouffff there is a ton to share but I have been diving very deep into the world of investing and real estate lately but I would say that ironically the most valuable thing I re-learnt lately was to actually slow down to speed up.
What do you think you do better than most people?
Marc Angelo Coppola: I see people’s superpowers and potential and I am able to weave together teams of superhero’s better than most.
I am a bridger of gaps and able to bring a generalists superpower into a world of specialists that seems to be quite disruptive.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Marc Angelo Coppola: The hero’s journey they are creating for the people they serve.
I honestly think that focus on the experience of your customer from their perspective and needs and adhering to the concept that you should never send a boring email which might seem like the most micro of interactions really does scale to every corner of what you do. How you do anything is how you do everything!
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
There are too many to name but these ones all stand out:
- Atomic Habits – James Clear
- Pre-Suasion – Robert Cialldini
- 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
- Money Master the Game – Tony Robbins
- Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator – Ryan Holiday
Where do you see yourself and your project in a couple years?
Marc Angelo Coppola: Likely sitting on a rocking chair watching the bees and the birds from my porch enjoying the sounds of nature after a hard days work with a community of 150 others working the various aspects of our budding community.
That and listening to the pitches of a bunch of young social entrepreneurs looking for funding and mentorship!
Let’s be real – a real entrepreneur won’t lay out their full plan to the public like that because we all know the winds blow where they may and I am aware that I am but another seed in the breeze in the grand scheme of things!