Leveling Up Aspiring Entrepreneurs Through NFTs — A Conversation With Eric Siu

This team of Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb alumni is building a new NFT community

Leveling Up Heroes

As the NFT market continues to mature and evolve, we’re seeing more and more creators test new ways of bringing value to holders beyond profile-picture digital art.

We are entering the business era of NFTs, where a token that lives on the blockchain confers specific benefits to its holders enabling a new way for brands, businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities to interact.

One such entrepreneur, Eric Siu, sat down with ONE37pm to chat about his NFT project, Leveling Up Heroes. Its focused on building the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Eric is the founder of Single Grain, a marketing agency that has worked with big-time clients like Amazon, Uber, Salesforce and more. Eric also hosts the Marketing School podcast with Neil Patel, which is downloaded 2.1 million times per month.

Eric released a book titled Leveling Up: How to Master The Game of Life in February, 2021 that’s closely tied to the ethos of the NFT project.

He said that he loves connecting people and that his gaming background gave him some advantages in the business world by gamifying his mindset, something he wants to teach others.

Eric’s goal is to help his community unlock their next big achievements in life. He aims to do so with his Leveling Up Heroes NFT by building a community and curating utility for entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and businesses.

The Leveling Up Heroes project will launch with 12,345 hand-drawn PFPs with historical gaming references as part of a free mint (max 2 NFTs per wallet) and will become available to the public on August 16th, 2022.

How Entrepreneur Eric Siu Got Into NFTs

In 2020, Eric started to hear about NFTs when Clubhouse was all the rage. In 2021, NFT rooms started to pop up and Eric “immediately wondered what the madness was about it.” He said he quickly “got it” because he came from a gaming background.

eric siu
Eric Siu

He mentioned that he used to sell digital gaming helmets for thousands of dollars in 8th grade.

For example, he sold a helmet in Ever Quest for ~$3,500.

Gaming backgrounds are a pretty common theme in quickly understanding the NFT space — those with gaming backgrounds tend to grasp digital scarcity when others don’t quite understand it.

Someone spending thousands of dollars for a digital helmet in a video game may feel like a foreign concept, but it is not new and is something that’s been happening for years.

With Eric’s gaming familiarity, he decided to learn more about NFTs and picked up a few Mooncats in March of 2021. A few months later, he got into CryptoPunks.

During the time he began purchasing his first NFTs (Mooncats), Eric had also released a book called Leveling Up, which is about gamifying life and how to play more angles to achieve success and happiness.

The leveling up, or gamification concept that Eric’s used to navigate his own life and businesses, drew a very similar parallel to NFTs:

"NFTs are the intersection of gaming and business," Siu said.

This resonates with a younger generation who grew up with gaming and Eric wants to teach it at scale and build a thriving community that can all win together.

Launching an NFT Educational Model Instead of a Traditional Online Education Model

To be honest, I actually came up with this idea in August of 2021 and I could have pushed it out at that point . . . but I wanted to do it right. At that time, I had acquired two companies, I was working on a handful of different projects. It's important to be patient and focus.

- Eric Siu, Co-founder of Leveling Up Heroes

When Eric came up with the idea to launch an NFT project in August of 2021, he knew that he had to be patient and ensure he could stay focused on building the right model for his community.

He also knew that taking the time to figure out a distribution model through NFTs, versus traditional educational content was important.

Eric is no stranger to the traditional online education model— he is a guest lecturer at USC and has built his own courses with thousands for students. He also educates for free through his podcast and YouTube content.

However, what he sees as the difference-maker with NFTs is the ability to continually develop and add utility over time with fewer limitations than the traditional online education models.

As he learns from his community and his own life experiences, he says he will have more creative freedom to bring value that a traditional online education just wouldn’t be able to offer.

Breaking Down the Utility of Leveling Up Heroes

“We have core utilities we have put together over the years, they’re not hodge-podge — they’re there to help people and businesses grow.” — Eric Siu

Leveling Up Heroes is going to lead with a free mint and includes upgrades.

There will be 12,345 free, unique PFPs (profile-picture NFTs) available via a public mint on August 16th 2022.

Holders of the free NFTs will receive a digital copy of the Leveling Up Book, access to a Discord group that will include start-up Q&A and opportunities to connect with people who have similar aspirations, and discounted access to live events.

For those who want more, there is a Magical Tier (1,500 NFTs) that provides access to the Leveling Up How to Build a Business course, the Agency Accelerator Course, How to Hire “A” Players course, and a physical copy of his book.

The Magical Tier NFTs of Leveling Up is currently for sale on the secondary market on OpenSea.

Eric continued to explain that he likes the concept of a free mint, acquiring users, and running product-led growth.

What that means for you as a holder: Eric will continue to build the product (your utility) as he learns from the community and draws from his years of experience as an educator who also runs businesses.

His goal is to see a strong community of “100,000 people or so” and “1,000 fully engaged and ultimately pushing the whole idea of entrepreneurship”.

As we continued talking about future utility and the flexibility NFTs offers, he spoke about how he could see his community investing in the top 1% of businesses that are started through this project.

He also mentioned that there are plans to document outcomes and the potential for founders in his community to be featured in his own content (which would end up being a cheat code for new founders looking to bring awareness to them and their business).

Eric’s own cheat code was being part of entrepreneur organizations, but those can be cost prohibitive for most people, so he’s created a more affordable alternative.

By making this more affordable (free is about as affordable as you can get), you can join a mastermind group that will help you create the habits to help you win, and a community of support where everyone wins together.

Closing Thoughts

“It’s your job at a certain point to pay it forward and not try to get anything back from it.” — Eric Siu

What immediately struck me from our conversation is that Eric genuinely wants to pay his own successes forward by helping others achieve their own goals.

He even started our call by saying that if I needed help with anything, I shouldn’t hesitate to reach out.

It’s clear that he wants to invest back into the people who believe in his project.

“I think we’re put on this world to level up humanity," Siu said. "What can I do? I can train and invest in the next generation of founders.”

It’s unique to hear this perspective from an NFT project founder — while most are looking for ways to get people to invest in their projects through the purchase of NFTs, especially during a down market, Eric’s mindset is to figure out how to invest in his community.

Eric also commented on the fact that the true operators of the space are continuing to innovate and build even during the down market.

Even though he wanted to launch in August 2021 (when NFT activity was a lot higher), he’s not discouraged that the market has slowed down.

Selecting the right NFT projects to put your money into, for whatever goals you might have, is about finding the right operators who are committed to you through the good and the bad.

Launching a free mint during a market downturn is an honest signal that Eric is committed to his larger visions and goals of executing this project and bringing value to holders over the long-run.

You can stay up-to-date with the Level Up Heroes NFT project by following them on Twitter here.

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