I list out all the momentum we have at the company. Then I identify the positive things I can control. Examples include:
“We have 5 contracts out to leads worth over $50k.” Action: Send email follow-ups.
“We have 6 speaking gigs lined up in Q2.” Action: Schedule social promotions for the talks.
“We’ve doubled growth and haven’t even started marketing yet.” Action: Create SOPs for how to run your content distribution strategy.
“Three clients just told us how happy they were to be working with us.” Action: Ask them for testimonials.
This simple exercise immediately changes my mindset from thinking “oh no, this is so hard.” to “Damn we’re so close to taking off.” It also removes me from the day to day and puts me in a strategic mindset.
It doesn’t guarantee things will get better but it shifts my focus to being proactive rather than reactive. And to focus on the high impact items that can help us grow.
I constantly see people quit on their companies too early. Sometimes it’s justified but other times it’s because they focused on the negative that comes with the chaos of running a business. The truth is they were a few steps away from turning the corner and really growing.
So the next time you get beat up as a business owner or you’re facing a near-death experience. Ask yourself how you can play offense.
It might be the mindset shift you need to get to the next level.
I’m busy. You’re busy. We always have an excuse to focus on the urgent and ignore the important. My excuses are endless.
🔥 Client fires. 📕 Slack attacks. 📧 My endless pursuit for inbox zero.
I rarely pause to reflect on what I have done or NOT done in the past 12 months. Did I focus on the important?
So here’s my attempt at reflecting on 2019.
GrowthHit Named FORBES Agency Partner
FORBES named us an agency partner. This doesn’t mean much to me. (It’s just something my Mom can understand!) What I like is that we saw 4 rounds of funding for our clients and our team got bigger and smarter.
GrowthHit hired two executive level hires and two part time contractors. We now have a rockstar senior team that’s positioning GrowthHit to be a leading CRO agency. I’ve never been more excited about our team and future.
Highs & Lows of Being a Founder
Running a business is full of surprises. One minute you’re closing an exciting partnership and the next minute a client loses funding and cannot pay you. One client will sing your praises. Another client will text you at 3am with life or death emergencies.
The days can be so eventful and extreme that it makes me immune to the high highs and the low lows of owning a business. Sometimes I feel brilliant and other times I feel like a complete moron.
It’s hard for people to really understand the ups and downs unless they know the pressure of managing payroll and keeping a business moving forward despite your own uncertainty.
It’s damn challenging but extremely fulfilling.
31 Speaking Engagements in 2019
Speaking took me every where from San Francisco for a workshop with Sephora to Peoria, IL for a talk at Caterpillar. This year I landed my first international speaking gig in … Cancun, Mexico #Tequila. The ANA named me one of the top 3 speakers. I love teaching but I hate being away from my family and living in airports. It’s a tough balance.
The Growth Marketer’s Playbook Turns 1
In 2018, I wrote The Growth Marketer’s Playbook and it got to #1 on Amazon for 72 glorious hours. A year later I am still seeing momentum and the book continues to open more doors than I realized. From bigger clients at GrowthHit to getting an AMA with GrowthHackers. I (finally) think it was worth the two years it took to write it.
Launched Funnel Teardowns
Funnel Teardowns is a content site that dissects the hottest 🔥 marketing funnels on the web. We analyze the websites of VC-backed startups, direct to consumer brands, and high-growth SaaS apps. It’s the best marketing case studies on the web.
Why would we do this?
In a world with unlimited competition for attention, you must find a way to deliver value to your customer before they ever make it to your product pitch. At the end of the day, all businesses will be media companies. We’re betting on this as our form of media.
Hired an Executive Coach
As I listen to impressive founders, I noticed they have one thing in common: they all have executive coaches. So I engaged one myself. His name is Rick and he has been a game-changer. He has challenged how I approach problem solving by using frameworks and mental models for each issue.
Plus, it’s nice to have a 3rd party look at my business and tell me if I am crazy or if this is just normal.
Went All-In on “Systems“
Behind every successful founder is a successful system. It has taken 3 years for this thought to get into my thick head. But, it has finally stuck. After hiring a rockstar COO (sup Yoni!), systems and operations are my #1 priority. Here are the books that have inspired this: Atomic Habits, GTD, Traction, and Scaling Up.
Moved Into a House #FamilyMan
After college, I went to Dallas and then to New York City. That meant my living arrangements got smaller and more expensive. Now that I’m married with two little girls, it was time to grow up.
My wife and I are living in a house for the first time since we were 17. I thought I would hate getting out of downtown Seattle but I absolutely love it. Plus, I can geek out on security cameras so I know exactly when our UberEats arrives.
Basketball = My Meditation
As I break up my day into what gives me energy and what takes it away, my weekly basketball games are at the top of the list for energy creation. It’s my meditation that helps me clear my mind. So many founders burnout because they don’t take care of themselves. I (attempt) to build this into my calendar every week.
And Last . . . Meet Wren!
We welcomed Wren Holiday Huffman to our family this year! According to our doctor, my wife and I went from “a couple with a kid” to a “real family of four.” It’s a blast having two little girls. But, this dad / founder thing ain’t no joke. It does feel that when you go all in on one you’re neglecting the other. The four burners principle is very real.
And my oldest, West (2), is just as curious as she is hilarious. And she is always down to party. Even if that means riding around in the Shaggin Wagon on Halloween night!
How I Self-Published My Book to #1 on Amazon (and Beat Seth Godin for 72 Glorious Hours)
How have authors self-published on Amazon and catapulted their book to the #1 spot?
And, how did they become a bestseller without a publisher or a big budget?
That was the question I was asking myself when thinking about writing a book.
There has to be a path to launching a book that doesn’t involve lots of money and old school publishers. I wanted to take what I know about launching brands with my agency GrowthHit and translate that into a book launch on Amazon.
One problem: I know nothing about writing a book and even less about how to self publish.
Fast forward 422 days. After countless hours of research, writing, recording, and promoting, I was #1 on Amazon and ahead of Seth Godin for 72 glorious hours.
Yes, I have the screenshot to prove it!
Here’s exactly how I did it so you can do the same. (Seriously, if I can do it then anyone can.)
The short version:
Write a Book Worth Reading
Determine Your Platforms for Sales
Price Your Book Competitively
Design a Page Optimized for Conversion
Identify the Right Amazon Category for Your Book
Design a Thunderclap Launch Plan
Schedule a Product Hunt Launch
Design an Email Automation Flow for Your Lead Magnet
Engineer a Referral Mechanism
Push a Book Launch Promotion
Go on a Podcast Roadshow
Book Review Blitz & Give Books Away for Free
Paid Ads on Social and Amazon
It’s that easy.
Now, the long version. These aren’t necessarily in order but I want to provide some insights from my experience that can hopefully help you self publish a book and blast it to the top of Amazon without any help from a publisher.
Here we go.
Write a Book Worth Reading
For the past six years, I have been teaching founders and marketers at General Assembly, Techstars, the Associate of National Advertising (ANA), WeWork Labs and more. I’ve led international workshops in five-star resorts for executives and I’ve taught to an audience of two 18-year-olds in a basement with no AC.
From CMOs to the unemployed with an idea, I’ve worked with people at various steps of the growth journey and I’ve learned a lot by teaching. Along the way, I’ve been able to see what helps people learn and grow a business themselves.
After making 600+ slides worth of digital marketing presentations, I thought it was time to package up what I’ve learned and share it with aspiring marketers outside of the classroom. That was the main goal of writing the book. It took me a year longer than I thought to produce it but it happened.
Tip: It’s easy to start writing a book. It’s hard to finish a book. The best thing I did was to create a little social pressure on myself. I did this by sending an email to my list that I was writing a book and launching it that next summer. People would respond asking me how it was going. That actually lit a fire under me to make sure I wasn’t a liar and I actually delivered.
Determine Where to Sell Your Book
I knew I wanted to self publish but I struggled on whether I should just sell the book exclusively on Amazon or sell the book on my own site. Amazon has the market and the credibility while my website allows me to have better margins and I own the customer data. I decided to sell my book on both for one reason. I don’t solely care about sales. I care about getting the book to as many people as possible.
On Amazon, I sell the ebook, paperback book, and audiobook for around $11.99. It’ll be very easy for you to just do the ebook and ignore a paperback version and an audiobook version. For me, I had to have all of them for a couple of reasons.
First, if you’re going to spend all this time writing a book go all in and make it a paperback book. It’s rewarding to have your first proof mailed to your front door. (Even if you find a typo on the first page as I did.)
Amazon has some impressive tools that make it actually very easy to turn your ebook into a paperback book. For more on publishing your own paperback book, check out this guide on how to self-publish a hardback book.
As an audiobook power user, I consume most books through audible so I wanted to make sure I made a version for someone like myself. Plus, I wanted to test all potential channels with my book launch.
You can record an audiobook at a pace of 8,000 words per hour. This is assuming you’re a flawless reader. Turns out, I am not. It took me under 6 hours to record the book. Instead of renting out a recording studio, I took a $90 microphone, a pop filter, and my free Garageband software and recorded it under my dining room table surrounded by couch pillows.
It felt more like a fluffy death sauna than a recording studio. But, it worked.
For the final recording, I leveraged an agency to edit the book for Audible and other audio platforms. Here are the best resources for how to record an audiobook yourself from TCK Publishing and Self Publishing School.
On the book website here, I sell everything mentioned above (ebook and audiobook) plus some bigger ticket items. That includes my online growth marketing course, growth templates, and 100+ growth tactics. The price ranges from $29 to $487 based on what the product you want.
How should you process orders on your website? I ended up using Gumroad to sell the book on my own because it is hands down the easiest tool to use for processing orders. It integrates with all platforms and you just pay a percentage of the transaction.
For your first book, go with the easy solution unless you have tech resources or unlimited time. Don’t reinvent the wheel and make something custom because there are so many other things that you need to get right. You can go custom on your next book that’ll be a NY Times Best Seller.
How to Price Your Book
I mentioned prices above but let’s dig into my thought process. I decided to have two very different strategies based on the two platforms I was targeting.
With Amazon, I wanted to be affordable and on-par with other books in my category. This is despite the fact that I am taking a smaller margin because I am not selling exclusively through Amazon with KDP Select. (More on deciding to sell exclusively through Amazon with KDP Select here.)
My goal on Amazon wasn’t sales dollars. It was awareness, order volume, and reviews because that helps become a best seller. I sold an ebook, paperback book and an audiobook with prices that were the average of the top 10 books in the category. See full pricing here.
The book website is where I wanted to have better margins while offering more content. (This is the point of self publishing!) For pricing on my site, I followed the structure laid out by Nathan Barry in his book Authority and had two products.
With product #1, I did an ebook, an audiobook, growth templates, and 100 growth ideas. The prices were $89 but marked down to $29 during promotions.
For product #2 the Growth Package, I did everything in product one plus my custom online growth marketing course. The price was $499 but I marked it down to $89 during promotions. The Growth Package was hands down the most popular product and the product that made me the most money.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book that educates people then it is a huge miss if you don’t make a premium product with an online course. It’s easy to make, it’s how people want to learn, and it’s where you’ll make all of your money.
Design a Page Optimized for Sales
Before we send traffic to the book page on Amazon, it needs to be designed to convert. There are consultants that specialize in just writing copy for Amazon book pages. It’s an art and science.
The more I learn the more I realized that the very first sentence of your book description was everything. This one section can make or break your page because it’s the part that helps get the attention of the reader. The common theme was to lead with a benefit-focused sentence that helps the reader understand what they’ll become after reading your book or what they will gain from your book.
Here is my first sentence:
“Imagine if you had the exact playbook used by today’s top startups to grow a business online.”
In addition to winning over the customer, include keywords that will help Amazon rank your book based on relevant searches. I made sure to do keyword research (using Google Keyword Planner because the google searches overlap Amazon searches according to my little research) and I include relevant phrases that were also covered in the book. Examples include “growth marketing” and “startup growth”.
For additional social proof, you can also include your own editorial reviews on your Amazon page. This helps build social proof into your page. For me, I was able to get three authoritative people to help.
For the book website, I wanted to factor in the best practices for CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) that our firm, GrowthHit, uses for clients. Here are the five things I settled on for the page:
A Benefited-Focused Headline
Free-Access to Chapter 1
A Compelling CTA (Call to Action)
Social Proof with Testimonials
A Timely Book Promotion
Below is a look at two parts of the landing page for The Growth Marketer’s Playbook. But see the entire page here.
Identify the Right Amazon Category for Your Book
As I dug into the Amazon ecosystem, I realized how thoughtful you need to be when deciding how you go-to-market. For example, if you want to be a NY Times bestselling author then you need around 10,000 pre-sales of your book on Amazon just to get considered. That’s pre-sales.
That’s not happening.
My main goal was to own a category for 3 hours so I could be #1 in the Amazon charts and call myself a bestseller. (Yes, it’s trivial and dumb but you have to have goals.) The main drivers of that ranking are the following:
Number of orders
Number of quality reviews
Competition in category
The first two are obvious but that last one was fascinating to me because there are so many categories and your choice can make or break your launch. Amazon allows you to select up to three categories. However, there is a hack where you can request even more categories.
To understand what categories to select, I took the books I viewed as competitors and analyzed the three categories on their Amazon page. From there, I clicked on each category to see how many books are in this category and how long the top sellers have been in the top ten spots.
If it was highly competitive and changed a lot then I would want to stay away. If there was no movement in the category but also no high-profile books then it might mean that people don’t search in this category. In addition to that, you can select different categories for a Kindle book, a paperback book or your audiobook. Yes, it’s overwhelming.
As an example, you can target the marketing sub-category that’s under the entrepreneurship category or you can go after the direct marketing subcategory under Business & Money. It gets pretty messy once you get into it.
I wanted categories that were in the middle. Meaning they had high demand but weren’t packed with best selling authors. This resource was one of the best guides for helping me hone in on the right categories for my book.
Design a Thunderclap Launch Plan
My goal was to be the #1 book in marketing on Amazon and hit 5 figures in sales during our launch sequence. As a marketer of big brands, I wanted to take a consumer product launch approach to self-publishing a book.
After realizing that I need lots of momentum on launch day in the form of reviews and sales, I strategized a “thunderclap” launch series that would help make a lot of noise to produce immediate reviews and sales to jump up in the rankings.
This strategy included a pre-launch email sequence to existing subscribers, a blitz of emails to thought leaders, hyper-targeted ads on social, a product hunt launch, a podcast roadshow, and a referral mechanism with a giveaway to all users. The goal was getting sales and reviews within the small time frame, 24-72 hours.
I ended up getting 19 5-star reviews, $13,000 in sales at launch and I was trending as the #1 book in marketing for 72 hours.
Where did I do wrong? My big oversite was accidentally launching on the same weekend as Seth Godin. Doh!
If you don’t know Seth then just type “Seth Godin” into Google and note all the best selling books he has written.
Design an Email Automation Flow for Your Lead Magnet
With lots of initiatives leading to email signups on the book website, it was extremely important that I designed an email automation strategy that would help maximizes purchase conversions and Amazon reviews.
I made a 5-part growth lesson email series. The goal was to showcase a preview of what’s in the book, add value to customers, and get them to take action. The email series was dripped over 5 days with a content download or growth lesson every day. On the last day, I included a promo code to nudge people to convert.
Here is a look at the email flow.
In addition to a promo, I also baked in a referral mechanism into the email sequence. More on that next . . .
Engineer a Referral Mechanism
I had a limited budget so I knew I needed to get creative by turning customers and visitors into marketers.
With direct to consumer brands like Harry’s and Girlfriend Collective, the most successful product launches involve a referral campaign with a strong incentive to share. This type of growth loop at launch is designed to turn customers into marketers with 24 hours of making a purchase.
I wanted to create something similar to my book launch. I leveraged Gleam.io to make a book launch giveaway. If you did a tweet, Facebook post or email about the book then you would be entered to win a free $5,000 Growth Plan from my growth agency. This resulted in 501 entries and created social buzz for me on launch day.
Here is a look at the referral mechanism we made.
I served this referral mechanism up three different ways:
(1) As a dedicated email in the launch sequence
(2) On a landing page after someone purchased the book from my book website
(3) Pushed this out on social and on community forums
As a result, this created buzz on launch day with tweets like the following.
Book Launch Promotion & Giveaway Books for FREE
During the launch sequence, I decided to offer the entire growth package at 80% off to, hopefully, make the price extremely affordable. Also, I decided to give away ebooks to specific organizations, startup accelerators, and charities.
It might sound counterintuitive to give away your book for free if you want to make money but it’s all about starting a conversation. There isn’t a better way to do that than to get your content to as many people as possible. My #1 goal was to engineer a conversation about the book on social so people would know that it exists.
Product Hunt Launch
Product Hunt is an ideal product for a launch day because you can be on the front page of the website and their users are trained to upvote and share products, books and tools they like. I wanted to leverage a trusted author to “Hunt” the product and Ben Yoskovitz (Author of Lean Analytics) was kind enough to help by sharing with his community. On launch day, I emailed my list about the launch and requested upvotes.
As a result, we ended up getting 300 upvotes.
Verified Book Review Blitz
If you could do one thing for your launch that would have the biggest impact then it would be to get verified book reviews. A verified book review is when a confirmed buyer leaves a review of your book on Amazon. There is not an easy way to get this other than asking your customers to leave their feedback.
My attempt at getting book reviews was done through manual email outreach, Amazon giveaways, and third party book review tools and platforms. The only one that worked for me was manual email outreach. The other options failed.
I was fortunate to have a database of former students that I had taught so I was able to email them, send them to my book page and then ask them to give their feedback within the Amazon reviews.
To be honest, I would do more research on this for next time because I think it would have kept me in the #1 spot for longer.
Paid Ads on Amazon
To amplify the reach of my book, I launched Amazon ads and social ads. That was particularly important on launch day because I wanted to make sure we increased our visibility to help get that #1 ranking.
On Amazon, I did a manual PPC campaign that targeted phrases and books related to my topic. I had the best success targeting marketing books that just launched and targeting keywords that were specific to my category. Those keywords include growth hacking, growth marketing and startup marketing.
Here is a look at the ad.
With Facebook ads and Instagram ads, I targeted people interested in startups, digital marketing growth hacking, Gary V, Neil Patel, Tim Ferris, founders, CMOs, engaged shoppers that bought something within 14 days, and more. I played around with US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. I actually had some pretty good sales in India but had to be careful because Facebook would push all my budget there if I didn’t set up my account properly.
On launch day, I ran one prospecting ad campaign that used a problem-solution format with a slideshow video to get them interested in the book and the concept. I sent everyone to the Amazon page.
After the Amazon launch, I switched the urls to my book website. Then I ran a retargeting campaign about the growth package with an image that reengaged anyone that engaged with the ad or my book website and didn’t purchase. The results are below.
Leading up to the launch, I decided to go on a podcast tour to help spread the word of the book. My goal was to get all the podcasts to air in and around the launch date of the book. This is easier said than done.
Podcasts proved to be very hit or miss for me. Some were extremely fruitful while others had zero sales. I used promocodes (provided by Gumroad) to track the sames on my site. I was unable to do attirbution for an Amazon sales. The ROI was pretty mixed for the most part. But, here were the top two podcasts for my book in terms of sales.
Podcast Tip: I wasn’t very strategic about having a unified message for the book and I wasn’t thoughtful in how to sell it to each audience. Looking back, I wish I would have been more prepared to endorse my book in a creative way for each individual audience.
Within 24 hours of launch, it happened! The Amazon algorithm gods decided to bless me with the #1 book in marketing / PR ahead of Mr. Seth Godin.
For version two of the site, we’ll be rolling out a new blog, our company page and one special project that I cannot tell you 😶 about yet. Get excited.
Wait, so how easy or hard was it to do this little redesign?
Most website redesigns go over budget and over time significantly. I know this because I have missed the initial “new website launch date” many times. Here is what we did well and not well. Hopefully, it’ll help you with your next redesign.
WHAT WE DID WELL:
👍 We removed features (and pages) to hit our launch deadline #noscopecreep 👍 We had the designer make two completely outlines to pick from before we went really deep 👍 The designer did multiple check-ins to mitigate any “surprises” 👍 Set hard deadlines for each milestone
WHAT WE DIDN’T DO WELL:
👎 We didn’t nail down the copy on each page which impacted design more than I thought 👎 We went over budget by $1k because we had changes during development 👎 We didn’t get to update every page we wanted bc of the above changes
Hope that helps!
As a bonus, here are five growth articles that caught my attention.
The Hard Truth Every Founder or Startup Employee Needs to Know about Money
It’s about to get awkward.
Yup, we’re talking about money.
How much money do you make? And does that income get you to “your number”?
From breaking even every month to F-you money, what are you really working towards?
Sadly, most people haven’t thought through this question. Even though we spend most of our waking hours doing this thing called work. We don’t have a plan for our income or for our number.
For whatever reason, it doesn’t feel natural to talk about money.
So, what is your financial goal? What is your number?
Is it cash-flowing $2k a month with your side hustle or is it hitting $1.75 million in the bank?
Do you want just enough cheddar to pay the bills?
Or, are you looking for the exact amount of gold coins that enable you to tell your obligations “peace out” and then Scrooge McDuck into your pool of gold?
It’s that number that should drive your financial goals as a founder, a side hustler or an employee.
As a bootstrapped founder, this was the talk I had with my wife before going all in. My personal number sits between breakeven and Scrooge McDuck.
The Truth: It’s Not About Your Number. It’s About Your Lifestyle
Before we get into your options, let’s talk about that number. How much money do you really want?
Actually, scratch that.
It’s not about money. It’s about your lifestyle. What do you want to do and how much do you need to support that?
Maybe you want to work forever at a big company.
Or, you want to retire early on an island in the Caribbean.
Maybe you want to spend half of your time working and the other half volunteering at the local YMCA teaching kids how to widdle wood.
For me, I want to own what I do and have the luxury of choosing what I do with my time – ideally traveling with family, working on passion projects and playing basketball against other washed up dudes still holding on to the dream.
The real question for me is this: How much do you need to support the lifestyle you want?
Money doesn’t bring you happiness. It brings you options. What are your expenses and how much extra cash do you need? To keep it simple, lets talk about lifestyle expenses in the following buckets:
My friend, also a bootstrapped business owner, and I are good examples of two very different lifestyles from a cost perspective. I live in a city that has the highest housing growth in the US. We don’t have any family close by so our childcare expenses aren’t insignificant. Plus, we’re a family that enjoys eating out, shopping (one of us may have a shoe problem) and we love traveling. Those decisions (city, family, travel) have raised my monthly expenses compared to most people. Esh.
On the flip side, my friend lives in a small town in a house his family owns and is close to grandparents. His family also likes to travel so they have that as an important line item. It’s smaller because they love road trips which are cheaper than flights. Those decisions alone have put his lifestyle expenses much lower than mine. So his break even number is much lower.
Here is a simple breakdown of two scenarios
Obviously, these expenses don’t include things like any car payments, healthcare costs, entertainment, groceries, car payments, Parkour lessons, etc. But, you see how certain lifestyle decisions have a huge impact on your number.
Based on your lifestyle expenses, that is the starting point for your break-even costs and then you can start to think about the original question. What is your number?
Let’s break down your number into three options:
Option 1: Break-Even
With the exercise above, you can start to figure this exact number out. Simply put, you’re making just enough money to pay for your monthly expenses but an unexpected surprise would rock your world. A water pipe breaks in your new home, someone in the family is laid off or you find out you’re having triplets. #blessed
Option 2: I’m Feeling Comfortable
You’re kind of rolling in the dough. You’re able to pick up the tab on group dinners without blinking an eye and you’re looking at options for a rental property. You could take time off of work for a little bit and you’ll be okay. But, not too much time because the money will run out.
Option 3: F-You Money
You hit a big exit with your company or you’re cash flowing at a rate that far exceeds your expenses and it’s not slowing down. Teslas, yachts and a timeshare on Mars might not be that crazy.
Now that we know the options. Let’s talk about how we reach to those outcomes. Let’s attempt to answer that specifically for people in the startup community.
What are your options for hitting your number?
Obviously, there are lots more than the three but I am laying out three scenarios for income.
Scenario 1: The Employee with Golden Options
Scenario 2: The VC-Backed Founder with an Exit Plan
Scenario 3: The Bootstrapped Founders with Cash Flow Dreams
Now, let’s dive in and see the pros and cons of how these options get you to your number.
The Employee with Golden Options
You’re an employee at a high growth startup. You have chosen to live off a startup salary with the hope that the value of your future stock options will lead to the land of milk and honey (or financial freedom).
Pros: Taking on less risk of a founder but still get to participate in the upside.
Cons: 90% of startups fail. You get diluted during fundraises. Plus, a vesting schedule makes you work 4+ years for your options.
The VC-Backed Founder with an Exit Plan
You’re a founder that has raised sophisticated money from a venture capital firm and you’re looking to exit through a sale or IPO. Your recent funding has extended your runway but it has diluted your shares and set your valuation to exit much higher.
Pros: You’re the majority shareholder and if you strike it big then it’s life-changing. You have extended your runaway with the influx of cash and can (finally) invest in quality developers, sophisticated software and the much-needed ping pong table.
Cons: Again, 90% of startups fail. Also, your new board might fire you if you don’t deliver.
The Bootstrapped Founder with Cash Flow Dreams
You have an idea and decided to roll up your sleeves and fund it with your own money or with cash from the project.
Pros: You own 100% of your business so your exit number or cash-flow number is much more attainable than a VC-backed business.
Cons: Don’t stop making money. If your cashflow goes away then your business goes away. Oh, and 90% of startups fail.
So, what path did I pick to hit my number?
My Final Answer
I have opted for option three. For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about the lifestyle and I’m playing the long game. I want to work on projects I am passionate about and I want the freedom to push them in whatever direction I please. I’ve been inspired by people like Rob Walling, Dan Andrews and, obviously, Tim Ferris. These guys have bootstrapped ideas into successful businesses built around their lifestyle.
So what’s your number? Or more importantly, what lifestyle do you want to support?
A brand launch is a lot like getting up on stage as a stand-up comedian.
No matter how confident you are that people will love your material, you can never quite shake the fear that all you’ll hear is crickets when get on stage.
According to Five By Five Global, three-fifths of people weren’t aware of any new launches in the past 12 months, which doesn’t make for great reading if you launched something last year.
But that doesn’t mean what you’ve created is bad. It means that it hasn’t been marketed right.
To show you how to avoid the deafening silence of no one noticing your product, we’ve picked out seven of the most successful launches of recent years to inspire your launch efforts, along with some tips on how to implement the tactics.
How do you keep your marketing team focused and on track with a clear plan of action?
Sadly, most people don’t know how to make a growth plan.
Worse, they end up going to google and typing “growth plan” or “marketing plan” and it takes them to a black hole of outdated templates and tactics.
To help, I’m going to go deep on how to make a growth plan for one lucky company, ConvertKit. I am a fan of this company and it’s founder, Nathan Barry. Hopefully he sees this as a compliment to his tool.
The growth plan will go into detail on everything from value proposition and analytics to how to setup a landing page and what growth experiments to run.
I want to mention two webinars I’m in that might be helpful for you. One is with an impressive founder and another is about metrics that matter for ecommerce startups.
I’ll get to those in a second.
Quick Side Note . . .
I’m very bullish on webinars for B2B companies (including GrowthHit, our growth consultancy) because webinars are a powerful way to engage potential customers while building trust. Live video + free educational content = a good first impression.
So there you have it – some insight into our growth strategy at GrowthHit. More webinars to come in 2019.
. . . Alright, Side Note Complete.
Lets get to the webinars.
First, I was able to chat with Chrystien Guyton of The Rewrite Summit to talk about my path to starting GrowthHit. She’s hosting a 7 day virtual summit where she’s interviewing founders about how they changed their career paths and started their own thing. Our interview goes live next week and you can join here.
Second, I’m doing an online session with Gorgias called 8 Metrics to Measure as Head of Ecommerce. We’ll get tactical on how Shopify store owners can grow sales by being data driven. It launches on Feb 11th at 1pm PST so RSVP here and set you alarms people.
As usual, here are five articles that caught my attention this week.