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Gretta van Riel

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Gretta van Riel, a serial entrepreneur from Australia who built SkinnyMe Tea, The 5th, The Drop Bottle, and Hey Influencers from scratch.

Tune in to hear Gretta share how her entrepreneurial journey began with a love of tea, how she gained over 16M followers on her social media channels as an influencer marketing queen, how she grew SkinnyMe Tea’s revenue from zero to 600K/month in just six months, and opens up about her $1.3 million dollar mistake—a hefty loss that came with some valuable lessons.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Gretta van Riel Built 5 Multi-Million-Dollar Enterprises in 5 Years TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Influencer marketing is all about creating and nurturing relationships.
  2. Don’t stick with one account. Have multiple accounts in the same niche that can support each other in growing and engaging an audience.
  3. If you made a mistake, own it, forget about your ego and just move on.

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Amanda Bradford - The League

Hey everyone! Today I share the mic with Amanda Bradford, CEO of The League, a dating app for aspiring power couples.

Tune in to hear Amanda share why her dating app for intellectuals has a 500K wait list and how it’s converting in high volumes, the effects of monetizing the app for both men and women (especially in regards to user habits), and the value of finding the right people to ramp up your company’s growth.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: CEO Amanda Bradford Shares How They Raised $2.8M in Funding for Exclusive Dating App The League TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Using professions, social graphs and educational institutions as data to match results in a much higher conversion rate.
  2. The emergence of the smartphone and the latest cutting edge technology has transformed dating—people have a much wider pool to choose from.
  3. Finding the right people for your organization is an uphill task—you need to invest a considerable amount of time and energy into the search.

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Matthew Barby - HubSpot

Hey everyone! Today’s episode is with Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth and SEO at HubSpot, which is an inbound marking and sales platform.

Tune in to hear Matthew share the various SEO strategies he has employed in and outside of HubSpot (plus his most successful campaign to date), how you can write for top publications, and the importance of knowing the fundamentals of link architecture and Google algorithms so you can solve your own SEO problems, not just employ the tactics.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: HubSpot’s Global Head of Growth & SEO Explains Why Backlinks Are the Most Effective Factor for Ranking

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Experimentation should be carried out with these factors in mind: replication, scale, resources employed and potential reward.
  2. HubSpot is planning on being laser-focused on the content that is considered “top of the funnel”.
  3. Understanding the fundamentals of link building and Google algorithms will prove more successful than just employing the tactics.

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Rodrigo Fuentes

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Rodrigo Fuentes, CEO of ListenLoop, which zeroes in on account-based marketing for B2B companies.

Tune in to hear Rodrigo break down how account-based marketing works, how a background in electrical engineering and law led him to a B2B retargeting startup, how one ListenLoop client saw a 22% increase in web traffic engagement with ABM, and what their most effective customer acquisition method is.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How ListenLoop Uses Powerful Account-Based Marketing for B2B Companies to Stay Ahead of the Curve TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Account-based marketing is a strategy that will target specific accounts and it can be segmented into different bio personas.
  2. Account-based marketing can be done alongside other advertising campaigns.
  3. The type of marketing campaigns you need depends on whether you’re a B2C or B2B company and the type of accounts you’ll be pursuing.

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Zack Onisko

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Zack Onisko, CEO of Dribbble, an online community for web designers to share, receive support, and post/find jobs.

Tune in to hear Zack talk about some of the trends and constants that he’s seen around growth in the last 15 years, why he believes that the key to growth and success is focusing on developing a product so good that it can’t be ignored by the market and how Dribbble is killing it on a global scale with literally zero marketing efforts on their part. He’ll also share what Dribble has up its sleeve today.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Zack Onisko Shares the Trick to Getting Dribbble Millions of Visitors per Month with Zero Marketing TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Everything begins with a business model and audience—this not only decides your growth strategy, but your entire business strategy.
  2. Your product design and the quality you provide is what will impact your growth the most.
  3. If you’re producing high quality content, this will drive your success and people WILL notice you.

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Trial Week: Putting Your Candidates to the Ultimate Test

If I had to guess, I’d say that your hiring process goes something like this: you throw a job posting on Craigslist, Monster, Indeed or LinkedIn and expect people to come through. You go through a bunch of resumes, call up some of the better candidates, then invite your favorites to an interview. You might even do some reference checks, and then you make the job offer right there.


I think most of us can agree that there are ways we can improve this incredibly-important-but-quickly-becoming-outdated hiring process.

So how do you make this old way better? Let’s talk about the concept of trial week.

What Is Trial Week?

Most companies do a 3-month trial, but trial week is even more high stakes. Have your final candidates come in and work for you for a week. Put them on your team and see how they work, interact and communicate.

Basecamp does something very similar for hiring. After looking at resumes, they interview candidates using Skype. And they take their time with these chats. Let’s say you’re at a conference or you’re travelingyou chat for a bit, then travel a little, then a couple hours later you can come back and continue the conversation. It’s not even like you’re driving them through an interview process; it’s more like a long email chain, just through Skype.

When it seems like there’s a fit, they move a candidate into a trial week.

After the interview process, they might say, “Hey, we’ll pay you for a small project.” This lets Basecamp continue to evaluate all the small nuances of a candidate, like how well they communicate with your team, how well they do their work, how well they fit with the culture, etc. They also compensate these people so they’re not wasting their time.

What We Look for During a Trial Week

When we put somebody through trial week, we think about how they are as a fit within our team. Just because somebody produces great work doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a long-term fit. If they’re annoying, even if they do the work well, they’re not the right fit. If they spend all their time thinking about themselves, their output and their performance rather than the goals of the team, they’re not the right fit.

Now let’s say we’re looking for a PPC person. We’ll run them through an interview process, talk to them a little bit, and then we’ll give them read-only access to an ads account and ask things like, “What would you fix about this? What opportunities do you see? What are we missing out on?”

We want to see if this person can open our minds up a little more, if they’re going to teach us something, and if they actually know what they’re talking about. Because there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in marketing interviews.

Let’s say you’re looking to hire an operations person. You can run them through a situational interview with a trial week. You can also have them do the actual work. Maybe have them look at your P&L or your balance sheet and have them make some recommendations. Give them some homework, too.

I’ll outline all the situations to a candidate and ask them, “What would you do here?” Then, afterwards, “Based on this, what kind of project do you think you can work on where we can evaluate whether you’re a fit or not?”

Don’t Hire the Wrong Person

The tricky part is figuring out the right workload balance. You want to have people complete projects that show their true skills. But at the same time, you don’t want to make it too extensive since a lot of people that you’re interviewing have full-time jobs. In some cases we’ve found really good people, but they don’t have the time to work on projects.

All in all, I can’t stress to you how important trial week is. Just recently, I almost made a mistake in hiring. This person did really well on the video interview and wrote an in-depth PowerPoint presentation. Then we put him through trial week and the communication skills were just not there. There were a lot of different issues.

We avoided hiring someone that looked really good on paper but wasn’t actually the right fit thanks to the trial week process we had in place.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

Using the Hiring Funnel to Hire the Right People Every Time

Whenever we’re looking to expand our team, we make sure to follow the “Hiring Funnel” model, taking several steps to ensure that we’re finding a great fit for our company. The funnel model works by narrowing down your objective (and your candidates) with each step until you filter out the best of the best.



To lay the groundwork, we use a tool called Workable, which allows us to manage all our hiring candidates. Workable will post to multiple job boards, like Indeed or LinkedIn.


You can also have a widget that sits on your site, like we do in our job section. We also re-target people who visit our job section more than three times because at that point, we know those people are probably looking for a job.

Learn More: Forced Hiring: An Amazingly Effective Way To Find The Best Hires

First, Fill the Hiring Funnel

In the very beginning, you’re just looking to fill the top of your funnel with applicants. There are several ways to do this. You can blast out to the job boards or use AI resume screening. You can laser target people that fit a certain description. I’ve had one of my assistants do cold outreach to people through LinkedIn before. All these methods work to start filling the funnel.

Keep in mind that many of these applicants will be unqualified because they don’t fit the job description. We’ll often put specific instructions in our job descriptions and if they can’t follow those directions, it shows right away that they won’t be a fit.

Next, the Video Interview

The next step is qualifying those people who do fit the job description and moving them to the next step: a video interview. This will allow you to get a good feel for how this person is through established questions.

The Internship video interview

The most important thing to look for when going a little deeper with hiring is someone’s ability to give examples. Ask people to give details. If they can’t give details and they can’t provide examples of what they’ve done, that’s when you know something is off.

Now, would you want to work with this person? Would you want to get a beer with this person? Would you want this person to hang out with your team? That’s the criteria you should be considering. It doesn’t matter if they’re skilled or not.

You can detect certain things when you meet people in person or when you watch a video that you just can’t get on paper, which is why it’s crucial to have this alternative form of contact. I like to follow a sequence: I usually talk to people initially through Skype.

If the video interview goes well, I might add them through Skype. We might do some text chatting here and there. If it goes well, then we’ll meet in person. Then, the next time we meet in person, I might have some of my team members sit in on the interview to see how things are going and how they feel about this person.

That’s when we’ll move to the next step of the funnel: the trial.

Learn More: How to Conduct Effective Interviews to Get the Best Hire

Finally, the Trial Period

In addition to the interview, you need to have a trial period to see if these people are as good as they say they are. The interview tells you more than plain text, but in the end, it can only tell you so much. You have to see how this person communicates, what their working style is, how they interact with the team and so on.

Also, make absolutely sure that they’re punctual. If someone meets you in person at your office, they should show up on time. Almost all my interviewees have shown up on time, except for occasional exceptions due to things like traffic. In those cases, clarify the situation with them.

Say something like, “I noticed that you were five minutes late. Can you talk about that?” Then they can explain what happened. You want to get clear and set the right tone right off the bat.

If a person shows up to the interview five minutes late, not dressed properly, and comes in with a combative attitude, you know there’s an issue.

Learn More: How to Properly Onboard New Hires so They Can Hit the Ground Running

Some Final Hiring Tips

At some point, you have to be good at weeding people out. Even if they’re in person with you, sometimes it’s just not the right fit. You should stop the interview process right then and there. You don’t want to waste any more of your time or their time.

Make sure to do your homework and do a reference check as well as a background check on your candidates. One time, we did a background check on someone we were talking to, and it turned out they were a convicted felon.

Free Background Check

Usually, the first three references a candidate gives are going to be really good. They’re going to say good things. It’s always good to ask for some other people to talk to as well, like their second-level connections. The feedback you’re going to get from those people is more unfiltered.

Make sure you’re building out some kind of hiring funnel because if you don’t have a good process established, the people you don’t want will seep through. Let’s say you only have one step. They get through that one step and you end up hiring them. They’re with you for only three or four months before they jump ship or you fire them. Then you have a major problem.

Most of the time, you’re making a big investment when you hire someone, so you want a great hire who can give you 10-20x ROI.

At the end of the day, it’s all about people and the sorts of people you want to work with. Don’t poison your team by adding bad members. Use the hiring funnel.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

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Chase Granberry

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Chase Granberry, co-founder of Authority Labs, which allows you to track rankings on Google and Bing.

Listen as Chase discusses how he built the company by hustling and being the best in the SEO software space, the value of zeroing in on one thing when it comes to growing a company, why it’s so important to track rankings, how he struggled to scale the technical side of the business when he knew nothing, and how positive thinking and reading voraciously are two key factors that have contributed to his own success.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Chase Granberry Grew Authority Labs to $3M ARR by Being the Best in the SEO Software Space TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

3 Key Points:

  1. Find your niche and do it well.
  2. If you want to learn something, read profusely about it and apply the concepts that you’ve absorbed.
  3. Success rarely happens overnight—be positive in your thinking and this will carry you through the tough times of your business.

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How to Close More Deals More Often When You’re Just Starting Out

Let’s talk about how you can close more deals.

First and foremost, I think most people think that prospecting, following up, doing sales calls, and closing deals can be pretty daunting, right? Most people don’t like to think of sales. “Oh, I’m just not good at sales” is something I hear all the time.

In fact, I’m still like that, to this day. I tend to avoid wanting to do sales calls, but you kind of have to if you’re running a company, especially in the early days. You have to close the deals. In the agency situation, like with Single Grain, if it’s a big deal, I’m going to come in and close it myself.

But the question is—how do you go about closing deals if you’re just starting out?

How to Close Deals When Your Business Is New

If you’re starting out, I think that the one thing you have to realize is that you have to look at your sales activity. How many deals is it going to take for you, or how many calls do you have to make, to eventually close a deal? Then you can work backwards.

Make a list of your sales activities. What you can do is figure out, on average, how many proposals you have to send before you close a deal. For example, let’s say I close at 25%. That means that I need to send out four proposals to close one deal.

Well, how many discovery calls do I need to get on to eventually get to one proposal? Let’s say 1 in 10 calls that I get on actually results in a closed deal. So, to close four deals, I need to speak with 40 people over discovery calls. But how many prospects do I need to reach out to in order to get one discovery call? Let’s say 5% of my total calls will lead to discovery calls. In this case, that means I need to reach out to 800 prospects every month to get four closed deals.

There are about 20 weekdays in one month, right? That means each and every day I need to reach out to 40 brand new people and then we also need to follow up with old clients or prospects, too.

Now, let’s say you’re starting out fresh and you don’t really know how you’re going to end up converting. Let’s say you are actually not that good at closing yet. In fact, let’s say you convert at 10%. You convert 10% of your proposals into a closed deal, 10% of your discovery calls will turn into proposals, and 5% of your prospecting will turn into actual discovery calls.

That means that instead of having to reach 800 per month, you actually have to reach 2,000 per month. That means you effectively have to send 100 messages per day. Which is why prospecting is hard.

Sales Books Everyone Should Read

One book I would recommend reading is The Ultimate Sales Machine. In this book, there’s a concept called your “dream 100.” In other words, who are your 100 dream clients?

The Ultimate Sales Machine

Well, you can prospect for them by setting filters with SaaS sales software (like LinkedIn), or you could have sales development representatives reaching out. More likely, it’s going to be you doing it. Ideally, it’s you and your business partner tag teaming your ideal leads with hand-to-hand combat techniques.

I would also recommend reading From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross.

From Impossible to Inevitable

Jason Lemkin is the founder of SaaStr, which is one of the biggest software as a service (SaaS) conferences in San Francisco. I’d recommend reading that book and all of Jason’s articles on software as a service.

Those two books are going to be gold for you, especially if you’re first starting out with sales. Then you just keep doing it over time and you’re going to get used to it.

Learn More: The Sales Process that Grew EchoSign to $100M in Revenues with Jason Lemkin

Think About Content Marketing Ahead of Time

I would also recommend supplementing your sales efforts with things like inbound marketing where you’re building goodwill with people over time.


You’re doing YouTube videos, you’re doing Facebook Lives, you’re creating a lot of content out there. You’re going out there, you’re speaking at events, you’re doing podcasts, and you’re creating all this content. That’s going to take a lot of time to get that going, but ideally you get that going so that a couple years from now, you’re not going to have to rely completely on sales and ads.

Related Content: How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy if You Are a Beginner

Thankfully, the majority of the leads that we get are from inbound marketing. We get them from podcasts and we get them from doing things like this. Yes, actually doing Facebook Lives like this and rebroadcasting these or re-targeting our audience helps a lot of people who are on the fence make a decision and commit to work with us.

You can definitely do the prospecting thing, but you can see that having to send out 100 brand new emails per day and trying to personalize each and every one of them can get really tiring. So as soon as you can, I would recommend delegating the prospecting to two other people so that you can compare them side by side, and then perhaps you can focus on closing your best prospects.

Eventually, you can hand off the closing to the other people, too. At that point, you just have to focus on growing the business and making the right hires.

Using the Right Tools

There are so many different tools out there. Use tools like SalesforceIQ or some kind of CRM, like HubSpot CRM.  I highly recommend using Mixmax to follow up with people automatically. You can see who’s opening emails, when they open it, where they open it from, how many times they open it, etc.

Long story short, everyone I’ve interviewed on Growth Everywhere gets their first 100 and even 1,000 customers by doing hand-to-hand combat.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

How to Recruit Great People to Your Team

Let’s talk about how to recruit great people to your team. One of the key realities to building up any type of company is that you can only go so far on your own.

It doesn’t matter how good you are individually. You might think you’re a really great individual contributor, but when you don’t have a team around you, or you’re not open to sharing information with people and bringing great people on board, you’re not going to be able to grow. Every step up is going to be a burden.

This might seem obvious to some people who have successful businesses already, but it’s less obvious to freelancers and small business owners who are just starting out. I used to think that because I was a really good individual contributor, I could hack it on my own, and that the quality of my team wasn’t as important (I know, crazy, right?).

Tribal Leadership

There’s this book called Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan that everyone should read. Basically, it talks about how there’s five different stages to companies.

Tribal Leadership

At the third level, individuals are thinking they’re really good because they’re tasting success. At the fourth level, the whole company thinks they’re good. That’s a really good confidence level to be at. And at the fifth level, we’re talking about world changing stuff like NASA, for example, where you’re coming together to find a deeper, more impactful purpose.

How to Find Exceptional Talent

The billion-dollar question is: Where do you go find great people?

For me, it’s always been really good referrals, just asking people if they know anybody. But you can’t really rely on referrals all the time. You have to have a reliable, inbound way of bringing in high-quality applicants, too.

We use a tool called Workable, which allows us to post jobs efficiently. From there, we can qualify people. I can add multiple users, and I can move applicants to different phases. If they pass the phases, we move them to a final screening.


After that we’ll move them to a tool called Spark Hire. Spark Hire will run them through a video interview process. This is excellent for lower level to mid-senior level hires.

Spark Hire

For right-hand-man-level hires who can really take on lots of different projects, help with IT, help with recruiting, and help with the financials for the company, there are multiple interview processes. You might run them through a test for a week or two. In this case it might be for an entire month and you might want to consider paying them for their time.

I remember reading about how Uber’s CTO was interviewed for 30 hours by Travis, the CEO. They were having a conversation the whole time and they knew this was kind of a big deal, so that’s what it took.

You have to do a lot of reference checking, too. Extreme reference checking. You have to ask the references for additional references when you’re looking to make this kind of hire.

Learn More: Forced Hiring: An Amazingly Effective Way To Find The Best Hires

Ask for Help with Hires

Don’t be afraid to blast your email list and ask for referrals. We found some good people from our email list just by saying we’re looking for very specific talent. Often, it’s the subscribers that follow your stuff who are also your biggest advocates.

We often build a custom audience of people who have visited our jobs page and we re-target the ones that come back. Maybe the people who came in the last 30-60 days or so. Maybe you spend five dollars a day. It’s much better than spending $500 bucks for a random job post on some random job board like Monster.

I’m not saying the job boards don’t help. LinkedIn certainly does. We’ll buy those postings in bulk, like 10 in one year. That way we save some money, because recruiting can become very expensive very quickly.

One of our current clients right now is called Lever. One of their competitors is called Greenhouse. You can check out those two companies if you have some money to spend on recruiting tools and services. I think it’s a couple thousand per month.

What a Leader’s Role Is 

Once you surpass a million dollars per year in revenue, your job as the leader of the company is to keep looking for the best recruits. It’s all about building a brilliant team around you.

Keep in mind that recruiting is both an art and a science. You’re never going to bat 100%. You’re going to miss and, yes, it’s going to cost you. In some cases, you might reassign somebody you just hired. In some cases you might have to let them go.

Related Content: How to Onboard New Hires

Whatever the case, keep in mind that you have to have a good process first. If all of a sudden you have to let go of a bunch of people at the same time, you’re going to lose a lot of confidence in your team, and vice versa.

When you’re the leader, people do look at you differently. You’re not an individual contributor anymore and you can kind of hide in the weeds. You have to take that into account, too. How you behave really affects the company. It’s why Glassdoor has a specific metric for CEO approval rating.

The people on your team are going to mimic your behavior, so it’s really on you as the leader to make the right decisions, make them quickly, and constantly iterate on the company and on your own role as the CEO.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

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