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Raising capital is an essential part of a founder’s journey, and until recently this process has been rife with barriers due to legal restrictions since the Securities Act of 1933. Enter today’s guest, Howard Marks, who has been working to democratize the capital raising space in his capacity as CEO and founder of StartEngine. Howard’s firm helps startups raise capital more easily by utilizing recent Reg D, Reg Crowdfunding, and Reg A Plus legislation, thereby bringing them closer to achieving their dreams. We kick off our chat with Howard hearing about his fundamental mission to help all entrepreneurs succeed and the amazing updates at StartEngine since the last time he came on the show, such as how they have raised over 150 million dollars so far! He talks about the extremely low price point StartEngine sets funding barrier at, before sharing the three things that any company seeking funding should be doing. We get into some of the legalities around capital raising in the history of the US, and Howard reiterates how recent lifts on restrictions is allowing StartEngine to remove the barriers to deal flow for angels. He shares some of the ways he vets new companies looking to raise capital and also talks about common mistakes entrepreneurs make during this process. Our conversation digs a little deeper into Howard’s philosophy of setting an ‘impossibly’ high goal for his company, and he explains how it all fits into the foundational ideas of the American Dream. Our chat winds down with some of Howards most favorite books, useful tools, and an argument for why Tesla is such an inspiring company. Make sure not to miss this great conversation about new developments in the capital raising space!


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Liam Boogar-Azoulay MadKudu

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Hey everyone! Today, I share the mic with Liam Boogar-Azoulay, the Head of Marketing at MadKudu, a service that helps companies grow sales by consistently generating relevant conversations with qualified leads.

Tune in to hear Liam discuss how MadKudu uses the past to predict the future, how the business’ success triples each year and how they keep improving upon their business model.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

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GE Here’s Why Focusing Too Much on Conversions Can Actually Hurt Your ROI

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

Creating a lucrative and scalable revenue model can be difficult, especially if you focus on the wrong end goals.

Brands often fail to generate a decent Return On Investment because they are too hung up on specific elements of their sales funnel. A preoccupation with certain types of conversions is just one of the reasons that your ROI can collapse.

Don’t Become Obsessed With Conversions

Andrew Baird wrote an insightful LinkedIn post about the pitfalls of focusing too heavily on conversions. He asked a client for financial details, which apparently took the client by surprise.

“‘Why do you need to know my financials? Don’t you just need the conversion stats?’ the client asked.”

Baird pointed out that conversions themselves didn’t necessarily mean much if they failed to generate money. You can suffer a negative ROI if you are selling low-ticket items or can’t turn many of your leads into sales.

“Increasing conversions when every sale makes you very little (or loses you money!) won’t help,” Baird writes. “Equally if your conversions are at 75% [then] starting with conversions won’t give you the biggest bang for your efforts.”

Conversions are essential events in your revenue model. However, a specific conversion is useless if you view it as the ultimate end goal.

Learn More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!)

How Valuable Are Your Conversions?


Do you know what your conversions are really worth? There’s no point in prioritizing them until you know, because determining the value of them is necessary to estimate your ROI.

It’s important to remember that most of your leads will never translate into sales. According to research from Marketing Sherpa, only 7% of leads turn into paying customers. Of course, this is a rough estimate, and conversion rates vary by industry and company. But it shows that the vast majority of conversions never generate any revenue.

Here is the equation you must follow to calculate your lead value:

Lead Value = Lead Conversion Rate * Average Sale from a Conversion

ROI = Lead Value / Average Cost of Generating the Lead

The math behind this model is simple, but these equations can be difficult to apply in real-life situations. Remember that some leads will convert to sales more easily than others. Also, some leads are more likely to convert into higher-paying customers.

You need to understand how certain types of traffic convert and how many of those leads will turn into paying customers.

For example, let’s assume that you are setting up a Google AdWords campaign. You bid on one keyword for $0.40 a click and another for $0.30 a click. You might find that the conversion rate (possibly an e-mail opt-in) on your landing page is 20% for both of these keywords. However, the lead-to-sales rate is 10% for the first keyword but only 5% for the second keyword.

The average revenue from leads generated with the first keyword is $30 and $20 for the second keyword.

In this situation, you’re paying 33% more for every lead that you generate with the first keyword that you’re bidding on. However, you are generating three times as much revenue from each lead with that keyword. This means that your ROI is over 130% higher by bidding on the keyword with the higher CPC.

If you were focused exclusively on generating as many conversions as you could for the lowest possible cost, you would actually be generating a much lower ROI.

Read More: Here’s How to Use Web Analytics to Boost Content Marketing Performance

Why Is an Obsession with Conversions Problematic?

There are several reasons that a preoccupation with conversions can actually be counterproductive. Here are some issues that you need to be aware of:

Conversions are arbitrarily defined

You could consider any action that a user takes to be a conversion. Subscribing to an e-mail list, submitting a quote request, or simply visiting your website are all examples of conversions. Unfortunately, none of these actions by themselves yield revenue.

You could easily increase your conversions just by setting lower goals when defining conversions. For example, instead of counting quote requests, you could focus on the number of users that show any interest in one of your products (such as asking a question about the product).

You’ll probably have a higher number of conversions, but you haven’t improved the effectiveness of your marketing funnel.  

Free Bonus Download: Get this handy checklist of 15 simple and actionable ways to increase the numbers in your sales funnel. Click here to download it free.

Lead quality varies

Some conversions are much more valuable than others. You might encourage 5,000 people to subscribe to your e-mail list, submit a quote request, or take some other action, but few of those leads will ever pan out. Your lead-to-sales conversion rate might be especially low if you make the following mistakes:

Some brands are tempted to make these mistakes because they want to pad their conversion numbers. This can be particularly problematic if you’re relying on a marketing team that’s compensated based on the quantity rather than the quality of your leads. This is why many brands with affiliate programs compensate their affiliates for sales rather than leads.

Better Sales Funnel Planning

So, if you shouldn’t worry as much about your site’s specific conversion numbers, what should you put your energy into instead? The following suggestions will help you better create and optimize a fully-functioning funnel:

Determine which conversions matter most

As mentioned above, conversions are arbitrarily-defined concepts. If you truly want to make your sales funnel work effectively, you’ve got to isolate specific conversion cases and determine exactly which conversions mean the most for business.

Following the description above, opting in to an e-mail list, submitting a quote request or taking other actions (from downloading case studies to making sales) all constitute conversions. And if you focus exclusively on boosting conversions, you’d treat all these options equally, even though — from a business standpoint — they don’t all make an equal contribution to your bottom line.

The point of this article isn’t to convince you that tracking conversions is useless — far from it. The goal is to help you recognize that you need to be more exacting with your measurements. It’ll take some time and effort, but it’s crucial that you identify what a given conversion means to your business in terms of dollars and cents so that you can focus your marketing efforts on the conversion types that move the needle most.

Plan strong TOFU, MOFU and BOFU content

If you aren’t familiar with these acronyms, here’s a breakdown:

We aren’t just talking vegan protein sources here — we’re talking about the content that’s needed to guide website visitors through all stages of your buying process. Each piece of the puzzle is important, and yet TOFU and MOFU content is often set to the side in favor of a focus on conversion-driving bottom of funnel content.

Take a critical look at the content on your website. Can the pieces you’ve created be used to attract a larger audience, as good TOFU content can? Do they help visitors get familiar with the features and benefits of your product or service, as in the case of effective MOFU content? If you’re all about the CTAs and getting viewers to take that last step (BOFU), it may be time to build out your content strategy.

Read More: How We Instantly Raised Average Order Value by 10% [case study]

Invest in proper attribution

As you’re expanding your content approach, take a careful look at how you’re attributing your conversions. In that rush to drive conversions and figure out what contributed to them, many marketers give full attribution to the last touch — the final blog post that was read, the final CTA that encouraged action or some other far-down-the-funnel variable. And why wouldn’t they? It’s by far the simplest approach.

That said, it’s a woefully inaccurate way of assessing the value of each piece of the funnel. Instead of putting all your emphasis on encouraging and tracking conversions, give at least some of that energy to the process of investing in and implementing multi-touch attribution technology. Doing so becomes more essential every day in this omni-channel, omni-device world.

Free Bonus Download: Get this handy checklist of 15 simple and actionable ways to increase the numbers in your sales funnel. Click here to download it free.

Don’t Neglect Your Sales Funnel

Generating leads is essential if you want to earn sales down the road. However, even the most targeted leads don’t turn into customers on their own. You need to carefully nurture them before a sale is made.

If you want to have a workable sales funnel, then you must execute every step correctly. You need a strategy to engage your leads and encourage them to take the next step. This process can take months, so make sure you’re committed to your goals. Keep track of your leads, define how you acquired them, and split test different variables in your marketing funnel to make it as effective as possible.

Have you found that focusing too much on conversions has hurt your ROI? Feel free to share your comments below.

Image: Wikimedia CommonsFlickr

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

It’s enough to strike fear into even the most experienced of marketers and bloggers. It can seem like torture by tedium. It’s often the stuff of nightmares. What is this unholy monster?

The content audit.

A well-executed content audit done on an annual basis can deliver big insights into your website’s blog and content marketing strategy that far exceeds its ho-hum reputation.

Too often, we post something and then never go back to it again. Years later, it’s outdated, stale, and completely irrelevant. Good practice demands that we return to our content periodically to ensure that everything is as fresh and beautiful as the day it was released to the world.

A content audit involves taking a look at all the content on your website and assessing its relative strengths and weaknesses in order to prioritize your future marketing activities. It’s a qualitative assessment and evaluation based on the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you select beforehand.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

This process should not be confused with a content inventory, which is simply an accounting of all these different assets. In other words, it’s a quantitative collection. Although a content inventory is part of the audit process, the audit itself goes much further in depth. The Content Analysis Tool (CAT) can make content inventories a snap. When you start off on the right foot, the rest of the journey is that much easier.

When performed correctly, a good audit will help you to answer questions about the content pieces on your site:

An audit will tell you where you need to focus your future efforts in terms of both an SEO and content marketing perspective. And it can even give you insight into potential changes that will improve your lead generation, sales, and marketing processes.

Before Beginning Your Content Audit

If you’re struggling to understand your visitors’ behavior on your website or why your current marketing initiatives aren’t working, a content audit is easily one of the best things you can do for your business.

But before we get into the step-by-step process of conducting one, you need to answer a few questions.

Why Am I Conducting a Content Audit?

There could be any number of reasons. There’s no one correct approach for conducting a content audit – the exact steps you’ll take will depend on your reasons for undergoing the process in the first place.

Typically, content audits are conducted for two primary reasons:

Of course, there’s no reason you can’t do both. While you’re digging through your SEO metrics, it’s easy to jot down your content marketing data as well. Or you might be approaching your content audit from a slightly different perspective. Whatever the case may be, being clear about your intentions ahead of time will help to streamline the process and minimize extra effort. Know why you’re doing before you start doing it.

What Resources Do I Have Available for My Content Audit?

A good content audit is a time-consuming process. If you’re currently swamped with other priorities, undertaking such a massive project may not be the best use of your time or energy. If you can’t devote the proper resources to it, it’s better to wait until you can.

But if the project must be done, keep in mind that you do have options. Instead of undertaking the entire audit process by yourself, delegate some of the data-gathering steps to another employee in your organization or to an outsourced worker hired through sites like Guru or Upwork.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

You also have the option of completing only small sections of the audit at any given time, or paying for tools that help to automate parts of your research process (gone are the days of having to manually sift through everything yourself!). More on this later.

What Do I Hope to Get Out of My Content Audit?

Before you begin, be clear about the reason you’re conducting a content audit in the first place. If you aren’t going to take action based on the data that your audit produces, you might as well skip the process altogether. An audit for the sake of an audit is a waste of time and resources.

Any of the following are potential content audit goals. You may have others that are not on this list, and you’ll likely have more than one in mind as you go through it.

That’s the theory. Now let’s put it in practice.

Meet John, Our Hypothetical Business Owner

To help illustrate how to do a content audit, we’ve created John, a business owner with a heart of gold. He runs a small software company that’s developed an SaaS budgeting tool.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

He’s invested in content marketing for about a year, but he isn’t sure whether all the time he’s spent blogging, creating videos, and releasing infographics has paid off. As a result, he decides to conduct a content audit to see how his individual content pieces are performing and what – if anything – he should do differently in the future.

Because John only has five employees – all of whom are busy wearing multiple hats already – he decides to take on the audit process by himself. Because he’s a busy guy, he keeps the scope of his audit small, checking only the content he’s created in the past year and tracking only a few variables that indicate success to him.

Remember, the size and scope of your audit is completely up to you. This is not an all-or-nothing scenario. Do what you can when you can do it.

We’ll revisit John a little later on.

The Content Audit Process

If you’ve finished your homework (you did answer the questions above, right?), it’s time to get started. Try the following three-step process to complete your website’s first content audit (and feel free to amend it for subsequent ones):

Step #1 – Create a Spreadsheet of All Your Content Assets

Unsurprisingly, the first step in completing a content audit is to find all your content. You have two different options for doing so:

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

Enter or import all the URLs you find into an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet, leaving plenty of columns for the data you’ll gather in Step #2. Or, if you’d rather not reinvent the wheel, you can add your links to any of the following freely-available content inventory and audit templates:

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

Most audits use a spreadsheet to organize the data, but it’s not the only way. If you despise Excel for some reason (no judgement), you could opt for the WordPress Content Audit plugin. This tool allows you to create a content inventory directly in the Edit screens in WordPress. Set a few conditions, and you’re good to go.  

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

Just go with whatever you’re most comfortable with. Set yourself up for success by using the tools and methods that work for you.

Which brings us back to John, our savvy business owner from Seattle. Because his site is small and he’s pressed for time, he uses Screaming Frog to create the URL list pictured below:

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

To upload your CSV file into Google Sheets, go to File > Import > Upload and select the saved file from your computer. Easy-peasy.

John is well on his way with a handy list of all his URLs. Step 1? Check!

Step #2 – Gather Asset Data

Remember those columns I mentioned earlier? Now’s the time to set them up and fill them out.

The exact data points you’ll want to gather will, again, depend on the goals of your audit, as well as the complexity you want to achieve. Although the lists below may look daunting, it isn’t necessary to collect data on every possible variable. In fact, you may be able to achieve the goals you set for yourself with only a handful of possible data points.

Potential SEO data points to gather (many of these are automatically generated by Screaming Frog):

Potential content marketing data points to gather:

Other items to track:

Once you’ve selected the data points you’ll measure as part of your content audit, label a column in your spreadsheet for each one.

Now comes the fun part time to do the heavy lifting of data collection (and yes, “fun” is subjective)!

Let’s get back to our pal John…

Since his primary goal is to determine what’s working with his current content marketing strategy, he decides to evaluate the following metrics:

While he could track other pieces of data as part of his audit – and probably glean additional insights from doing so – analyzing only this limited number of metrics makes it possible for John to complete his content audit while juggling his other responsibilities. The way he looks at it, he can always go back and add more to his analysis if he has the time down the road.

To find the data points he’s decided upon, John uses the following resources:

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

Learn More: How to Set Up Goals and Funnels in Google Analytics

Once John is done gathering this data, he goes back through his list and assigns a score to each page on an “A – F” rating scale of his own creation.

Pages that receive “A” scores are his cream-of-the-crop, top-performing pages, while those that earn “F” scores are ones he’s embarrassed to find on his site. He also adds a note to his spreadsheet showing the date that his audit was created for the purpose of planning future audits.

And even though John didn’t do this, you could also head over to the Google Search Console to pull even more conveniently organized data. Click on Search Analytics, select Pages, and check Clicks, Impressions, and CTR to get a quick snapshot of how individual pages are performing.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

There’s a “Download” button at the bottom of the page if you want to export the data as a CSV file and add it to your ever-expanding spreadsheet.

Step #3 – Analyze Your Data

If your site is large, expect the data-gathering process to take a long time. It’s not uncommon for audits to take days, weeks or even months to complete, depending on the size of the website and the organizational resources that are available for the process.

But even if your content inventory is completed quickly, you’ve still got another important step to take – actually putting all your information to use.

To be sure you’re getting something substantive out of your content audit process, you need to establish a set of recommended actions you’ll take once the audit is complete. And in order to do that, you need to dive into the data you’ve collected in order to draw conclusions.

It could be as simple as adding one more column to your spreadsheet: “Action.”

Here, you make the call as to what should happen to each individual content asset, like:

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules that say, “If your content data indicates [this], do [that].” Instead, you’ve got to look at the data you’ve gathered and see if you can identify any trends that could inform your eventual recommended actions.

Take a look at John’s spreadsheet below and see if anything jumps out at you:

Here are a few observations you might have made:

After further exploration, John decides to take the following actions after the completion of his content audit:

An audit might focus on content quality, the customer experience, content performance, or any combination of these.

Use the results of your content audit to come up with 5-10 actions you’ll take after completing it, based on any patterns that emerge from your data.

Then, set deadlines for yourself in order to put these actions into play and block out whatever time you’ll need to do so on your calendar. Add a deadline right into your spreadsheet (when it comes to columns, you can never have too many!).

Analysis Paralysis: What It Is and How to Avoid ItOne important thing to note here. When you’re staring at the mountains of data your content audit may generate, it’s easy to find yourself struck down by analysis paralysis. Basically, there are so many conclusions you could draw and so many things you could do, that you wind up doing none of them. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap.

Content marketer Pawel Grabowski offers many helpful suggestions to combat analysis paralysis, such as focus on what’s most important, break decisions down into bite-sized steps, and don’t worry about being perfect!

As long as you’re tracking your metrics and regularly revisiting the content audit process, you’ll see these shifts occurring and be able to remedy them long before they become big problems plaguing your site’s performance.

Taking Your Audit Further

If you’ve caught the auditing bug while going through the content analysis process, you can always take the skills you’ve learned to expand your audit beyond the borders of just your website.

Look at Your Competitor’s Websites

So now you know everything there is to know about your own content. But unless you have a truly unique product or service, you’re not the only show in town. You have competition for customers.

The performance of your content will always be tied, in some ways, to the content that your competitors put out. Even if their pieces don’t directly prevent visitors from seeing yours, there is a limited number of consumers out there and they all have a finite amount of attention. If they’re using all their energy focusing on the competition’s content, they may not have enough mental focus left to pay attention to yours.

Conducting an audit of your competitor’s content is similar to assessing your own, but with a few limitations. There are a few metrics that you may not be able to pull without having direct access to your their website and accounts. Bounce rate, average time on page, and conversion rate are three in particular that are difficult to discover without accessing the site’s Google Analytics profile or marketing automation account.

But that said, there are still plenty of different things you can track. You can evaluate the number of links pointing at your competitor’s content pages using tools like Majestic Site Explorer or BuzzSumo’s Backlinks.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

You can measure social shares by looking for a share counter on the post itself, or entering the post URL into a service like BuzzSumo to see a detailed breakdown with their Most Shared feature. It might not be a complete audit, but even conducting this limited level of assessment will give you plenty of actionable data on areas where your competitors are currently outperforming your site.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

What works for them? Can you improve on it in some way (the Skyscraper Technique is a fabulous way to bring in oodles of traffic)? Which sites are linking to them that might potentially link to you if approached with a powerful piece of content or a fantastic guest post idea?

Track Offsite Content Performance

Another way to expand your content audit is to include your off-site content assets (if they’re relevant to your audit goals). For example, if you’re assessing the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, you’ll want to include as much data as possible on any infographics, slide decks, or other external content pieces you’ve released to promote brand recognition and viral sharing.

Again, your ability to track the metrics listed above on these content pieces will vary based on the sites hosting them. Gather what you can, but also look for other types of data that are unique to external content sources.

As an example, looking at your Google Analytics account should show you the number of visits that each external piece sent to your site. Comparing referred visits across external content pieces can be a great way to determine the direction of your next big content release.

Check out Reporting > Acquisition > Channels for a general breakdown of traffic by organic, direct, referral, and social (and select Referrals if you want to see the specific points of origin).

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

And if you utilize custom URLs with UTM parameters, for example, you can instantly see what content is sending the most traffic your way from offsite.

Expand the Audit Process to Other Marketing Channels

In addition to assessing your offsite content pieces, you can apply the audit process to your other marketing channels. If you run print ads in trade publications, try to determine how many inquiries you’ve received from each ad (hint – this is easiest to do if you record the source of your first touch with a new prospect in your CRM after your first conversation).

Or take a close look at your e-mail marketing campaigns. Is the content in your autoresponders still up-to-date? Do you have some messages that have a higher open rate than others? Services like MailChimp and AWeber have robust analytics at the ready.

Read More: 5 Ways Cold Emailing Can Help Generate Backlinks

In Summary

When it comes down to it, a content audit isn’t just a one-off process that you conduct once in a blue moon. It’s a mindset that you should apply to both your website content and the other marketing channels you use.

By carefully inventorying your existing content pieces and assessing the data you’ve gathered for each item, you can make informed marketing decisions that will help you to save time, cut costs, grow your brand, and improve your overall advertising ROI.

And remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Content audits can take many shapes, routes, approaches, and scopes. It all depends on your needs and your goals.

What content audit tools do you use to make it go a bit smoother? What insights did your last audit reveal?  

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels in Google AnalyticsGoals matter – just ask any Brazilian soccer fan. Without concrete goals, you have no good way to track your progress or ensure that you’re achieving the things you’ve set out to accomplish. Instead, you just cross your fingers and spin your wheels on directionless projects.

And when it comes to measuring specific goals related to your website or Internet business, content may be king, but Google Analytics is Parliament. This incredibly feature-rich program is free to use and can provide you with a wealth of information on how visitors are interacting with your site. It’s a “must-have” for website owners who are serious about making decisions based on measurable data instead of ill-informed hunches.

There are other platforms available — Clicky, Piwik and Kissmetrics for example — but let’s not kid ourselves. Google is where it’s at, so it makes sense to go to Google for our website data. You don’t go to McDonald’s when you want a steak, right?

And while Google doesn’t release any official numbers for the service, industry watchdogs estimate that somewhere between 30-50 million websites use Analytics as of late 2015.

Google Analytics V5 was launched in March 2011, but was not made standard until much later. Universal Analytics was announced in October 2012, and is currently the only supported version of the tool. In addition to “regular” Analytics, Google introduced the Analytics 360 Suite for those enterprises that want a bit more horsepower.

To clear up any confusion and to help you incorporate this powerful analytics suite into your business strategies, we’ve put together the following guide on how to set up goals and funnels with Google Analytics.

Getting Started

I’m going to assume that you’ve already set up your website with your tracking code (check out this walkthrough if that sentence made you tilt your head and say “huh?”).

In order for Analytics to receive data, you need to add a unique tracking code to every page of your website HTML. You can find it on the Admin tab, in the Property column, under Tracking Info.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

If the thought of working with code makes you break out in a cold sweat, you can opt for an easier plugin implementation, like the very popular Google Analytics by MonsterInsights.

Either way, your tracker needs to be installed before you can start taking advantage of all that Analytics has to offer, goals or otherwise.

And while you’re at it, consider a few of these mistakes to avoid in setting yourself up. Analytics has been around long enough now that there are boatloads of tips, tricks, and best-practice advice. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the basics and the more advanced features to truly harness the power of the platform.

Learn More: How to Track Your Website’s Revenue with Google Analytics

The Enhanced Analytics Goals

One of the biggest changes rolled out in version 5 was the expanded “event” goal set, which enabled you to collect even more types of data about your visitors’ interactions with your site.

This feature is incredibly powerful, as it allows you to go beyond the simple metrics that Google Analytics tracked before the update (including time on site, number of pageviews, and URL destination visits) to really get a feel for how your visitors are engaging with your site. Since then, the tool has continued to evolve, with new functionality being introduced on a fairly regular basis. The Analytics feature set is so rich that many users don’t fully comprehend everything it can do for them.

With the addition of event goals in 2011, the total number of goal types within Google Analytics now stands at four:

Templates, Custom, and Smart Goals

Goal types are organized into either Template (pre-filled configuration), Custom set-ups, or Smart Goals. The goal type that’s right for you will depend on the needs of your particular business model.

A blogger, for example, is more likely to be interested in average time on site or pages per visit than an e-commerce seller, for whom a primary metric might be destination goals that track completed sales when visitors reach a designated “Thank You” or order confirmation page.

Templates will only be provided if you’ve assigned your property an Industry Category. You can find that drop-down menu on the Admin tab, in the Property column, under Property Settings.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

No category, no goal templates (and those offered to you will change depending on which industry category you select). Template goals are arranged into four categories: revenue, acquisition, inquiry, and engagement. If you can create at least one goal in each category, you’ll get a well-rounded snapshot of your visitors and how they’re engaging with your website, product, and content.  

Once your category is assigned (don’t forget to save after making that change!), you’ll be able to chose either template or custom on the goals dashboard.   

For many users, Smart Goals will not be available. To use them, you must first meet a few prerequisites:

  1. Your AdWords and Analytics accounts must be linked.
  2. Your AdWords account must have sent at least 500 clicks to your Analytics property (your website) in the past 30 days.
  3. Your property must have fewer than 10 million sessions in the past month.
  4. You must activate Data Sharing (found under Admin > Account > Account Settings > Google products and services must be checked) for your website

Those requirements will exclude many sites, so we’re going to skip them for now. You can find out more about Smart Goals on your own should you feel analytically ambitious.

Setting Up a Goal

Now we get to the nitty-gritty. To set up a goal for your website within Google Analytics, log in to your dashboard, then click on the Admin tab in the upper left-hand corner. This is the administration section of your website’s profile, and it allows you to create goals (found in the View column) among a slew of other tasks:

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Click on Goals, and you’re whisked away to the goals dashboard. From here, you’ll see that you’re able to use up to 20 specific goals (the number remaining appears at the bottom left of your goal list) for each property. You can opt to create a new goal, or import an existing one from the woefully underappreciated Analytics Solutions Gallery.   

Either way, choose them carefully, as you will not be able to delete these later on (although you can deactivate and rename them once you’re finished with a particular goal). You’re limited to 20 goals per View. That’s it. No more.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Import from Gallery

Click the Import from Gallery button, and you’ll get a pop-up window of the Solutions Gallery.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

You can use the filters along the left, or the search field at the top left, to find whatever kind of goal you’re in the mood for. Notice that it’s already limited to Goals, there’s an Import button below each result, and you can opt to go directly to the Gallery website if you’d prefer not to work in the window (it’ll open in another tab).

The Solutions Gallery is well worth a visit. Besides user-submitted goals, you can find custom reports, dashboards, and segments, too — everything you need to make Analytics your go-to data destination.  

+New Goal

To create a goal yourself, click on the red “+New Goal” button. This will launch the goal selection screen where you’ll be able to pick either Template (as long as you’ve designated an industry) or Custom:

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Make your selection (setting up your own goal is easy if you don’t see any template for what you want to do, so don’t fear the Custom option!), and hit Continue.

Under Step 2, you’ll be asked to give your goal a name and choose the specific type of goal you’d like to create.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Not sure which one to choose? Let’s take a closer look at each type…

1) Destination

Destination goals are wonderful for tracking conversions if a particular action (purchase, download, sign-up) results in a visitor arriving at a particular page, like order confirmation or a “thank you” page.

In the web page URL field, you only need to input the extension — such as /thankyou.html — and not your entire web address (, for example).

And if you’re not sure what the destination URL is, you can quickly find out by performing the conversion yourself: go to your website, fill in the form (or download the infographic, or send a note, or whatever), and make note of the URL of the page after you complete the action. That’s your destination goal URL.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Enter the URL of your designated conversion page in the appropriate field. A destination page can be:

If you know how much a goal conversion of this type is worth to you, turn on and enter it into the Value field (for example, if you know a “thank you” page visit occurs only after a $10 report has been purchased, enter “10” as the value).

The default currency is U.S. dollars, but you can change this under Admin > View > View Settings > Currency Displayed As. And if you want to track transactions for an e-commerce site, you’d be better off installing and using the Enhanced E-commerce plugin, and leaving this blank (but that’s a subject for another day).  

A Word on Funnels

If your final destination URL is part of a larger funnel — as in the case of one-time offers, upgrades, and other multi-step sales processes — turn on the Funnel option and enter the URLs of each step in the sales path. You can add up to ten.

A funnel in Analytics must be attached to a goal. For example, to get to the “Thank You” page indicated as the destination goal, your customers might have to travel from a landing page to a sign-up page before arriving at the destination page. You would enter the first two steps into the funnel fields.  

Funnels should be used if visitors must follow a specific path to reach a destination that you want to track (be sure and turn on the Required? button). They can help identify leaks (pages within the funnel where visitors are bailing without completing it) so you can hypothesize and test ways to stop those leaks and stay afloat.

There’s a great funnel report with data for each step available under Reporting > Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization.  

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Finally, verify the goal and click save.

2) Duration

If your goal is simply to measure and increase the length of time visitors remain on your site (their engagement with it), select the “Duration” option.

Enter the specific amount of time on site — either by hours, minutes, or seconds — that you’ve set as your goal, then click “Save.” The goal will be recorded as complete only after someone hits the indicated duration.

Working to increase the session duration of your visitors (and lower the bounce rate) can have an indirect influence on your SEO. Upgrade your content, improve site navigation, make it more visually appealing, and offer more than what you’re offering now.

Again, if you happen to know or have a value, enter it in the appropriate field, although it’s much harder to place a numerical value for time spent on site. What is five minutes worth to you? Is ten minutes worth double that?  

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Related Content: 10 Ways to Measure Social Media Engagement (Plus 7 Tools to Track It!)

3) Pages/Screens per Session

Another good indicator of overall engagement is pages/screens per session. Using internal links and other calls to action to encourage visitors to move amongst the pages on your site is a good way to get people to engage with your brand and learn more about your company.

To set this as a defined goal, select the “Pages/Screens per session” option and indicate how many pages will trigger a goal completion.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Take a look at your existing stats and set a goal that’s one or two pages higher than your existing average pages per visit. You can find your current statistic under Reporting > Audience > Overview (you can also see your average session duration here, too).

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Another good stat to build out from is your Page Depth, found under Audience > Behaviour > Engagement, and then select Page Depth on the report itself. This will show you exactly how many sessions looked at one page, two pages, three pages, and so on. The more sessions with higher page depth, the more your site is resonating with visitors.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

As you make changes designed to encourage longer site visits — in both duration and pages per session — and start meeting your goals, come back and increase the amounts as needed. Always be working towards longer visits and more pages per session to truly connect and captivate your audience.

4) Events

Setting up an event goal in Google Analytics is a little more complicated, as there are several variables that can be used depending on what you want to track. An event is an action that happens independent of a page load, so you can’t use a destination as a trigger.

Counting the number of times a video is played will require different tracking parameters than will be needed to count the number of times your pages are shared on Facebook, or how often something is added to a cart.

Related Content: Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

When you click the “Events” option in Analytics, you’ll see the following screen:

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

To understand what each of these fields means — as well as how to use them to set up event goals on your site — check out Google’s complete Event Tracking Guide. Be aware that some of the information gets a little technical, and that you may need to append links or other elements of your site with pieces of code for the tracking to work properly. This goal requires a lot more than the first three types.

Each event goal is comprised of four parts:

  1. Category – the object interacted with (such as a video or pdf document). This is a required text field. You’ll likely end up using a category label many times.
  2. Action – the type of interaction (such as play, download, stop, or share). This is a required text field.
  3. Label – used to categorize and organize events (such as “Product X Launch” or “Spring Campaign” or the name of a particular file, video, or document). This is an optional text field.
  4. Value – an optional numerical value assigned to the event.

Only the first two are necessary for a goal to trigger, but it’s worthwhile to include them all to get the most accurate, detailed reports possible.

The Value field does not necessarily have to be a monetary amount, and you can opt to either input the goal value from the event value, or to enter a separate dollar value by selecting “No.”

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

If this all sounds too complicated, consider hiring a web developer (shameless plug: Single Grain!) to set up event goals on your website for you. You’ll incur a small fee to have this feature added, but the incredible amount of invaluable information that these goals can generate for you far outweighs the set-up cost.

You can find a complete list of your created and imported goals on the Admin > View > Goals page. You’ll see the goal name, its ID, the number of successful conversions in the past week, and how many goal slots you have left for a given Property.

You’ll also notice a “Recording” on/off switch for each goal where you can pause it and stop receiving data (if it stops being relevant data for you to collect).  

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

Once you have a few goals set up and doing their thing, you’ll receive data every time a conversion happens and the goal is triggered. You’ll be able to analyze and evaluate them under Reporting > Conversions > Goals on the Analytics dashboard.

How to Set Up Goals and Funnels with Google Analytics

You’ll see stats on the number of goal completions, your goal conversion rate (number of goal completions / number of visitors x 100), goal value (assuming you assigned one somewhere along the way), and total abandonment rate on the Overview dashboard (for either all goals combined, or individual goals, and you can change it with the drop-down menu directly on the report itself).

Other reports are available on goal URLs, reverse goal paths, funnel visualization, and goal flow.   


Traffic is good. Setting up and measuring conversion goals is better.

Conversion goals should be a part of any complete Google Analytics strategy and plan, as they track and monitor some of your most important KPIs. Take the time to create a few goals if you haven’t done so already, and read up on the the how and why of Analytics. It’s a powerful but still underutilized tool to help your business grow, connect, and succeed.

Now that you know how to set up goals and funnels with Google Analytics, you’re ready for a successful 2017!

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Ethan Denney

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Ethan Denney, co-founder of ConvertFlow, a new SaaS company that helps business owners convert their website visitors into customers.

Listen as Ethan shares how ConvertFlow converts better than any other conversion tool out there by showing website visitors personalized calls to action (and not the same message over and over), how they acquired their first hundred customers after winning a battle of the apps competition at InfusionSoft’s annual user conference, and how their customers are driving 30-80% conversions on the second conversion.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How ConvertFlow Customers Drive a 30-80% Conversion Rate TRANSCRIPT

Time Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Do NOT show your customers the same message over and over again, show them the NEXT step.
  2. Building your product and growing your customer base are interdependent—you need to balance your focus and energy into both.
  3. ConvertFlow can be integrated and is compatible with other tools you are currently using.

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Austin Neudecker

Hey everybody, today’s guest is Austin Neudecker, head of Growth at Rev, which provides fast transcription services for audio and video formats, translation services, and caption and subtitle services.

On today’s show we discuss how Austin went from startups to venture capital to the head of Growth at Rev, why they get 10-20% conversions even without a “beautiful” website, what their primary channel for new customer acquisition is, and the importance of learning to fail quickly.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Austin Neudecker On How Rev Got 50,000 Customers (& Doubling Every Year!) by Having the Fastest Turnaround Time & Highest Quality TRANSCRIPT

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Russ Perry Design Pickle

Hey everyone, today our guest is Russ Perry, founder of Design Pickle, a service that offers unlimited designs for a monthly fee.

Today we’re talking about how Russ grew Design Pickle from a one-man show to a six-figure business, how he scaled the company by going niche, the genius guest blogging strategy that got them their first 1,200 customers, and how a popsicle cart, a human pickle, and free pickles turned Design Pickle into a household name.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: From Zero to a Million Dollar Run Rate in 17 Months – How Russ Perry Scaled Design Pickle By Going Niche TRANSCRIPT

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7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

Did you know that there are only 7 Internet software/services with over 1 billion monthly active users (MAU)?

Just take a look at this:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

If you’re looking for growth in your business, the right places to look are where your target audience is already hanging out. You probably won’t be able to advertise to people directly on MS Office or Windows, but you do have a shot at finding them on platforms such as Google Search, Facebook, and YouTube.

In this post, we’ll give you 7 surprising ways to scale your revenues using paid advertising this year. Some of them involve the channels above, some don’t.

Remember, it’s about finding your right target audience.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. YouTube Advertising

I’ve been preaching YouTube advertising for the past few years and I still feel strongly about it (after all, we were able to add about $6M in annual run rate for a company just solely on YouTube ads). Here are the key points on why I think it’s particularly effective:

You can read more on YouTube advertising in my previous posts here:

Want to learn more about these channels? Sign up for our weekly live class on Wednesdays: Click here to sign up for our FREE weekly online advertising class.

2. Gmail advertising

Gmail advertising is a relatively new format that Google brought back recently and it seems like it’s here to stay this time. We’ve seen click-through rates as high as 75% and clicks as low as $.10.

But what about conversions?

On a client campaign targeting a $150 cost per acquisition (CPA), we were able to acquire leads for as low as $7.

You read that right.

You can read our Gmail advertising guide to learn how to get started.

3. Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads is a relatively new format and for the time being, it’s mobile-only.

Here’s what it looks like:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

The concept is simple:

On a recent campaign, we compared Facebook Lead Ads to a conversion optimized campaign and here’s a small sample of the results for the same client that had a target CPA of $150:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

On the conversion optimized campaign, our CPA was a little higher at $115.

What this all means is that Facebook Lead Ads is worth exploring further. On the surface level, it intuitively makes sense: if you’re able to fill out a form within the app, the conversion rate should be higher. However, your mileage may vary.

Here are two downsides to Facebook Lead Ads right now:

Want to learn more about these channels? Sign up for our weekly live class on Wednesdays: Click here to sign up for our FREE weekly online advertising class.

4. Facebook Paid Content Promotion

One thing we truly believe is that you’re going to be seeing A LOT more paid content distribution. Facebook naturally likes it when people share content because people tend to engage with it by liking, commenting or re-sharing.

In terms of engagement, direct product advertisements don’t do as well because people are naturally turned off by ads. Just think about this: Derek Halpern of Social Triggers says that 20% of your time should be spent on developing a piece of content. The other 80% should be spent on promotion.

Let’s try to break this down with some simple numbers.

You can learn about how to get started with Facebook paid content promotion here.

5. LinkedIn Ads

I must confess, I haven’t done a lot of LinkedIn advertising recently because the cost per click (CPC) rates are extremely high. BUT, if the numbers work for your business, LinkedIn might just have the exact person you’re looking for.

The one thing I want to touch upon is the different ad formats available for LinkedIn. You can use the native sponsored ad, which looks like this:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

Or you can use a large image, which looks like this:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

Some thoughts on what you can do with LinkedIn ads:

Other marketers have reported seeing phenomenal results using the image. Again, your mileage may vary, so test it!

Want to learn more about these channels? Sign up for our weekly live class on Wednesdays: Click here to sign up for our FREE weekly online advertising class.

6. Repurposing Content

Sometimes the old content filled with information that many people already know about needs to be resurfaced—after all, there’s always someone new to the game who could benefit from it. As for us, we’ve produced a bit of content in the last few years.

Just think about this: if you’ve invested a ton of time in your content, wouldn’t it make sense to extract maximum value from the blood, sweat, and tears that you put into it?

Here’s an example of an interview that we repurposed on Entrepreneur Magazine:

7 Surprising Ways To Scale Your Marketing Efforts in 2016

You can repurpose your content into infographics, videos, SlideShares, and more. If I put in countless hours to create my content, it doesn’t hurt to invest a few more to extend its reach.

7. Reposting Content (Where It Makes Sense)

My podcast, Growth Everywhere, has over 200 interviews with entrepreneurs. This is evergreen content that will stand the test of the time because they’re all ultimately short biographies with tidbits of actionable advice all over the place.

New podcast content will always continue to push my old content down inside of podcast apps so the question is: what should I do with all the old stuff that’s still relevant?

How about repost it so my subscribers can see it?

After trying this, my daily downloads has so far increased by 100% (and that number continues to grow!).

Other Opportunities in 2016

Other areas that we’ve started to dive into, but haven’t fully explored yet for 2016:

Once we’ve tested this and have more data, we’ll post our findings!

Want to learn more about these channels? Sign up for our weekly live class on Wednesdays: Click here to sign up for our FREE weekly online advertising class.
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Steven_EssaHi everyone, today we’re talking to Steven Essa, CEO of the X10 Effect and who’s also known as The Webinar Guy.

Today’s episode is really special, especially if you’ve ever thought about using webinars as a means to boost your business. Steven provides some of the most hands-on, practical, action-packed advice we’ve had in a Growth Everywhere interview. It’s full of details to help you with pricing, product development, and making more money than you would have considered possible with a webinar.

High School Dropout -> Metal Rocker -> Real Estate Pro -> Webinar Money Maker

Steven’s got an interesting history.

He started out as a kid who failed out of high school and turned to creating death metal music with his friends. The band actually became pretty popular in Australia, but things went south in 2002 when they decided to go to the US to start touring internationally.

They arrived just when the music business was collapsing, and had terrible luck. Sitting in his apartment, he decided he would go back to Australia, start a business, invest in real estate, get rich, and never have to worry again.

So that’s what he did.

Except it wasn’t smooth sailing from the get-go. He tried lots of different business models from building a website, to network marketing, to building sales pages, but he couldn’t get anything to work.

Finally, in 2008, he came to the epiphany that he shouldn’t have to figure things out on his own if there were people out there who’d already done it, so he went to a seminar that changed his life.

He applied what he learned about internet marketing to his boss’s business and quickly generated $100,000+ in sales.

After a while, he gained the confidence that he could do things by himself, so he quit his job and did his very first webinar six months later. He made $594 with only 15 people on the call, and found webinars to be a really easy way to market and promote products.

Ever since, he’s made tens of thousands of dollars from automated webinars, and even had a business partner do $120,000 in sales with just 13 people on the call.

Now, he works on facilitating webinars for companies he owns 50% of by helping people who are experts sell their products and help their audiences without having to worry about online marketing, because he takes care of that for them.

He’s got five companies that do anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 in revenue per month.

Why Working with Gurus is So Great

Steven says he works with passionate people who have a good to guru level of expertise and who like working with customers.

Their only problem is they don’t have an online marketing background, so it can be hard for them to find clients so they can continue doing what they do best.

Because a lot of passionate people love doing what they do and don’t want to learn internet marketing, they’re happy to give someone 50% who can do it for them.

Last financial year, he’d helped so much that he did $2.2 million in sales.

Balancing Teaching & Selling: A Webinar Formula for Success

Steven says he totally disagrees with the theory some webinar pros have about never teaching too much so you can draw people into your product.

In business, he says, you know you don’t make sales every single time on the first try. And if people don’t get true value from your webinar, they’ll never show up for another one.

He says you want to have people engaged and taking notes on what you have to say, and gives an outline for a webinar that will keep people hooked:

Live vs. Automated Webinars

Whenever Steven launches a new product or service, he always does a live launch. He says live webinars get the best conversion because they have a better energy to them and people feel like you’re there with them.

But in order to scale and not spend all your time doing webinars, Steven suggests doing two live webinars on your launch day (letting people choose which one they attend), and pick the one that converted the best and use it for the replay.

Getting Quality Traffic to Your Webinars

I told Steven I was having a hard time getting people to my hiring webinar based on Facebook advertising, but it turns out Facebook advertising may not be the most effective way to go.

The easiest way to get targeted traffic, he says, is via trusted email. Either your own email list or the email list of someone who has a related target audience. In fact, he said that if you don’t convert at least 10% from any person’s email list, he says that the person who sent the mail doesn’t have a good relationship with the people on their email list.

By using a Joint Venture partner with your webinar, you usually pay out 50% of your commissions, but with Facebook ads, you have to pay even if you don’t make any money.

If you’re able to show the potential JV partner that you’ve got great value that their audience will love, and offer 50% of the commissions, they’ll be more likely to agree to help you promote your webinar.

He says that just finding 3-5 people to promote your webinar for you can give you a huge boost.

But you’ve got to remember to follow up… follow up is really important. For example, he said he has one JV partnership that could do $2 million of sales in just two weeks, but it took him three years of nurturing that relationship to land the partnership.

Playing With Product Pricing

Steven says that $297 is the first price point he tests… most people will spend up to $297 without any hesitation.

After the first 100 customers, he bumps up the price to $497, which is the next bracket, and is the last of the group most people fall into… which is those that don’t have more than $500 in their bank account at any given time.

If the conversions stay the same, he hikes the price all the way up to $997.

He suggests hiking the price from $497 directly to $997 instead of something seemingly safer like $697, because once you’re out of the bracket of people who have $500 in the bank, you’re out. Because by the end of the webinar, people have already made up their minds that they’re in and are telling themselves a story to justify the purchase.

Offering a High-End Premium Service

He says it’s amazing how many people will pay a premium to have hand-holding done for them… especially those who don’t have the time or the desire to do yet another course.

In fact, by not offering a high-end profit-maker, you’re missing out on a lot of people willing to pay you loads of money.

All you need to do, he says, is put together a different webinar, spinning the content of your original one, place a different marketing hook on it, and offer the bigger program at the end instead of the smaller one.

Finding Quality JV Partners via Podcasting

Steven says that if you’re an expert and you’ve got a product to sell, then you should look for people who have podcasts, because they’re always looking for people to interview. If you give them an interview and provide value to their listeners, they’ll love you. (It’s true.)

And usually, at the end of every podcast, as a sign of reciprocity, the host asks where their listeners can find out more online, which is when you can talk about your webinar and give the url for people to look up.

Some listeners will check out your webinar, and a percentage will buy. After about 10-20 interviews, this really starts to add up and word spreads.

In return, Steven says if you’ve interviewed someone on your podcast, you have every right to reach out to them and ask them to promote you. They’re far more likely to work with someone who’s interviewed them than some random person sending emails.

A Sample Email to Potential JV Partners

Hi [Firstname],

I hope you are well. I’m a big fan of your work.

My name is [blank] and I specialize in [this area].

I recently created a webinar titled [insert title], and I’m selling my product called [name of product] in this webinar. This is converting very well, here are some statistics and numbers on the webinar:

There’s great content in there that your list will really appreciate. Would you be interested in arranging a joint venture webinar to your list?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
[your name]

According to Steven, most people won’t respond even if you know them. Mostly because they’re so busy doing their own thing.

That’s why follow-up is so important. A phone call is best, but email works too.

Advice to His 25-Year-Old Self

“Enjoy life more and don’t take everything to seriously. Work hard.”

“Find something that makes money. Start investing in real estate younger. Start building a business on the internet.”

Basically, have a back-up plan in case the music doesn’t work out.

One Must-Read Book

Steven recommends Cashflow Quadrant because it was the first book he read to understand the mindsets of different people who make money.

It taught him a lot about hiring and about himself as someone who was moving from being an employee to being self-employed.

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