Looking to escape the “rat race” of Long Beach, California, Gonzalez migrated to southern Utah in 2006. The friendliness of the local business community and continued efforts by the City of St. George and Dixie State University to cultivate entrepreneurial talent persuaded him to stay. “I feel very at home here,” he says. “I can just live a quiet, happy life while still being able to do amazing things.”
Gonzalez spent years grinding to build his own business, a successful freight management company. But after a while, he once again craved something new and challenging. He tracked down entrepreneurs he found interesting and asked them to share their story. In his spare time, he created a website and began posting weekly interviews.
Before long, the blog started gaining traction, and Gonzalez decided to launch a podcast. He sold his company three years ago to focus entirely on Outlier. “I haven’t looked back,” he says. “It’s been an amazing ride.”
More than 380 episodes in, Outlier On Air has earned a loyal following that spans the globe. Each session receives between 10,000 and 20,000 downloads in the first week. The podcast is available for free at outliermagazine.co or via iTunes.
“We don’t make money off of the podcast, but I like to say that we make money because of the podcast,” Gonzalez says.
Outlier’s visibility translates into exciting events for the local business community. Gonzalez recruits both homegrown and international entrepreneurs to deliver keynote addresses or lead workshops and training sessions. After their presentation, they are asked to mingle with and mentor the attendees.
Outlier conducts weekly mastermind groups, in which an advisory panel of roughly 10 entrepreneurs from all over the world meet through video chat to discuss the good, bad and ugly of starting a business. Clients pay a monthly fee to participate.
The company also offers marketing and consulting services on a limited basis. “We bring in the people, provide the platform, and then back off and let the magic happen on its own,” Gonzalez says.
Gonzalez is Outlier’s only full-time employee. He has two part-time associates and a board of directors who are each involved with their own companies.
“Outlier has created diversity in the sense that they’re opening people’s eyes to what’s out there and how you can do things a lot differently,” says Jared Goodspeed, associate director of the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative’s St. George office. “I just think there’s a huge number of people who haven’t considered the types of things that they’re bringing to light.”
Over the next few years, Gonzalez is confident that Outlier will increase in brand awareness to host events on a national scale, supporting startups and creating jobs in St. George and beyond. “Being able to see one entrepreneur with his laptop, and then two or three years later with a company and several employees, there’s no better feeling,” Gonzalez says. “Southern Utah will continue to grow in influence, in wealth and as a healthy entrepreneurial and business community, and I’m excited to be a small part of that.”