Danny Tran: Life Beyond The 9 to 5
Danny Tran was 23 years old when he was fired from his job without warning. It wasn’t the best day of his life. At that moment, Danny was over $100,000 in debt and had only $14 left in his bank account, plus an old laptop.
Like many young professionals, Danny had no idea how to take the next step in his professional life. However, going back to the 9-5 life was not an option. Danny wanted to live life to his full potential, and that’s when the European Innovation Academy crossed his path.
Four years later, Danny’s life has completely changed.
We caught up with the young entrepreneur to hear everything that’s happened since that fateful day. Check out this interview and get inspired to change your own professional life.
Why did you join EIA, and what did you expect to get out of the program?
Danny Tran: I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship. And being from Silicon Valley, it was pretty much the norm to have big aspirations and chase crazy ideas. So prior to joining EIA, I thought this would be my one opportunity to finally start a REAL business. After hearing so much about the academy and its mission, I was 100% confident that EIA was THE study abroad program I needed to join. Four years later, looking back on it, I can confidently say that it was one of the best decisions I made in my college career.
What were the most valuable learnings from the three weeks?
Danny Tran: I’ll share the three main things that stick with me to this day.
#1 – You are more capable than you realize
Mindset is the one thing that will set you up for success over and over again. That summer at EIA was pure hard work, sweat, tears, and lack of sleep. But in a few short weeks, we pulled it off with a fully functional minimum viable product, given all the pivots, changes in team members, and random obstacles that came up on a regular basis. Mind over matter is the name of the game.
#2 – You are as good as your team
Don’t try to be Superman… Instead, build a Justice League. Play on your strong points and fill the gaps in your weak points. Yes, it’s important to be scrappy and wear many hats as you start. But eventually, you’ll need to completely focus on what you’re good at and let your team handle the rest. You’ll scale much faster that way.
#3 – The key to success is solving problems
Don’t just start a business to start a business. How much you get paid is in direct correlation with the size of the problem that you’re solving. With this comes falling fast and falling forward. Constantly test and learn more about your target audience’s desires and relevant struggles. In other words, sell the problem you solve, not the product.
3. What happened after EIA?
Danny Tran: After EIA, I stayed in the high-tech startup scene for a few years. I got ridiculously passionate about marketing and growth hacking and became Head of Marketing and business development at Qvivr, a financial technology startup backed by Khosla Ventures. I helped develop and launch a few amazing products with a great team there. After two years with the company, I decided to pursue entrepreneurship full time and launch my own companies.
4. How has your experience at EIA helped you in your career and life afterward?
Danny Tran: EIA sparked the biggest entrepreneurship fire in me, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. I can confidently say that EIA is the reason I’m in this position now, and with all the success I’ve seen in the past few years.
Four years after joining EIA, I’ve launched multiple 6-figure companies in the online space, ranging from e-commerce to agency work to consulting, generating over $2 million for our brands and clients to date.
Some companies I currently run are:
Highstoke Media: A full-force digital marketing agency that helps businesses generate more customers-on-demand and sales through paid advertising. We recently helped one of our clients land a deal on ABC’s Shark Tank!
Client Takeover: My flagship coaching program dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs digital marketing and how to build their own profitable online businesses. To date, we have over 2,000 members in our private community, and we’ve launched over 100 advertising businesses.
WARLD: A California-based lifestyle brand creating travel-inspired products for the next generation. To date, we’ve crowdfunded over $100,000, partnered with a global charity and 100+ social influencers, and shipped to 100+ countries worldwide. We are also the creators of the “WARLDWIDE Scholarship,” which presents students the opportunity to travel and volunteer in underserved communities overseas.
Now I’m able to travel the world and build impactful businesses at the same time… And that has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.
5. What advice would you give to people who are thinking about applying?
Danny Tran: Applying to EIA is a no-brainer. Where else will you find an entire academy filled with other passionate and aspiring entrepreneurs? Attending EIA was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. If I had chosen another study abroad program, I would probably never have pursued a path in entrepreneurship, and that seems terrifying to me.
If you have the chance, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you. Not only will you meet lifelong friends and build extremely valuable networks, but you will also learn so much more about the possibilities out there, and you will be on a better career path than most.
Feeling excited about Danny’s story? Check out more stories from participants on our blog and get inspired to take the next step!