Nick Gray thought museums were boring. As a business-minded individual, he couldn’t understand why anyone would be fascinated by the contents and just wanted the physically (and emotionally) cold places to “get to the point.” After a date turned into a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Nick began to be curious. He spent weekends learning more about the museum and the art, trying to understand the new world that had opened before him.
“I said look, I could go and drink and hang out with my friends at a dive bar in Brooklyn, which is what I was usually doing, or I could go drink and hang out at the Metropolitan Museum.”
Wanting to share this new passion with friends, Nick began inviting them on private tours and gradually expanded his reach from “friends” to “friends-of-a-friend” and beyond. Now the Chairman and Founder of Museum Hack, Nick’s company leads renegade tours and team building activities at some of the best museums on Earth.
“I was so adverse to making it a business. I never wanted to do that. For me, these museum tours were a labor of love, they were a passion project that I just wanted to be the best tour guide ever and share my love for museums with my friends who never went to the Met.”
Takeaways from this Episode:
- If you’re thinking about starting a business, think about what you enjoy—what would you do even if no one was paying you? Pay attention to what people ask you to do for them, especially the stuff you do for free without even thinking. This points you in the direction of your strengths.
- Disrupting yourself often allows others to disrupt themselves. Don’t be afraid to hire people that are “better” than you if it will mean growth for your business or allow you to move to a new learning curve.
- When you’re the boss, sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut. The cost of adding value can be too high if it results in your employees having less of a sense of ownership over their assigned areas or projects.
Through a combination of street smarts and passion, Nick has built a successful business model that plays into the future of entertainment and education. In this podcast, we discuss how he grew his business, what the most expensive piece of art is in the Met (it was surprising!), and how others can monetize their passions. Listen on iTunes or in the player above, and if you enjoy the show, please consider clicking here to leave us a review.
Links From the Episode and Transcript
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsengna
- Byzantine Art
- What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith
- Nick Gray (personal website)
- Mark Fisher Fitness
- Whitney’s Entrepreneurship Foundations Course on LinkedIn Learning
- Michael Bungay Stanier – Disrupt Yourself Podcast Episode 43
- Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve by Whitney Johnson
- Download the first chapter of Whitney’s book for free: https://whitneyjohnson.com/ateam
- Subscribe and Leave a Review on iTunes