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Jim Twerdahl

Hey everyone! In today’s episode I share the mic with Jim Twerdahl, president of many companies, including JBL, Marantz, and a biotech startup.

Tune in to hear Jim discuss the importance of referrals and professional connections for faster growth, the marketing lessons he’s learned from being president of JBL and other companies, his process for hiring and interviewing executive candidates, and why most startups fail by getting diverted by too many potential opportunities.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Why Entrepreneur Jim Twerdahl Credits Never Having Breakfast Alone to His Business Success TRANSCRIPT

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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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The Importance of that One Key Takeaway

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to teach at USC. I was teaching an entrepreneurship class and I spoke for about an hour and a half. It was good. But did they leave the class with a takeaway?

And then I went to an Entrepreneurs’ Organization event the other day where I got to hear this entrepreneur speak about how he’s been through a lot of different things. He talked about how he’s had crazy experiences (like completing five Ironman events)—basically his life story.

Entrepreneurs' Organization

While he was speaking, I was sitting there thinking, “Okay, what am I going to get out of this? What is the big takeaway? How am I going to pick out what’s really important in this overflow of information I’m receiving?”

Take podcasts, for example. I listen to them at 2X speed. Podcasts are sometimes 1-2 hours long and I don’t need all that content. I just want one idea to take away.

And that’s what everything comes down to: that one thing, that one key takeaway.

Related Content: 10 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Productive All Day Long

There’s Only So Much Time in the Day

Of course there is a trade off to this kind of hyper-efficiency: I don’t retain as much information and my comprehension is probably a bit diminished.

But if you can change the way you think about your daily activities and measure what you’re doing in terms of depth rather than breadth, then being able to fully and deeply take away just one thing means you are good to go.

That’s what I think about every time I do my Marketing School and Growth Everywhere podcasts. If I can just give you one thing to do, one idea you’re inspired by, one key takeaway—I know I’ve succeeded.

Related Content: How to Use the 2-Day Rule to Build Habits and Increase Productivity

A Book Recommendation

There’s a book related to this concept called The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. It’s about productivity and how to prioritize and be really efficient with your time, and it applies to your entire life.

The One Thing

For instance, whether I go to a networking event or a conference, I just want to meet one person. Instead of trying to “spray and pray” by handing cards out to a bunch of people, I want to just meet one great person. That’s it.

In the long run, going deep with any kind of relationship pays off. It’s a lot more rewarding and fulfilling. One key takeaway, one thing—that’s all you need to eventually taste true success.

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:

The Power of Mastermind Groups

I started throwing founders’ dinners a couple years ago and they’re extremely powerful. Just yesterday, I attended a YEC dinner and there were 30 or so entrepreneurs in one room. We ate really great food in Marina Del Rey, we got to talk with like-minded people, seeing what they’re up to, and seeing how we can help out.

When you’re in a group full of entrepreneurs, whether that’s Young Entrepreneur’s Council or Entrepreneurs’ Organization or another group, you don’t hear much about politics, religion, gossip, or anything that people may normally use to small talk their way through a dinner. Everyone’s just so busy trying to get something done. As a result, these dinners are all about helping each other out and creating lasting relationships.

It’s not even about networking as much as it is about cultivating long-term friendships that can last a lifetime. There are a lot of people in my YEC group who I think are going to be lifelong friends of mine.

Learn More: The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group

How to Set Up a Professional Event or Dinner

There are a lot of creative ways you can go about getting the people you really want to talk to and learn from all in one room. The company that helped set up the YEC dinner in Marina Del Rey is called Place Holders. They’ll go out there to the location and set up your meals and everything. I think they’ll get the space booked for you, too.

Other times, the YEC guys will book an Airbnb or something similar. You do have to make sure that it’s a really nice spot. We had a rooftop, a fireplace, and a really long dinner table. There was even a pool.

Often, the hosts will use the space for several days to make their money back. For example, they might invite a bunch of YEC entrepreneurs together for a free dinner. But they actually booked the place for three days, and they’re going to run paid courses or workshops on the other two days.

On the other hand, you could take the more homey route and just invite people to your home. I know YEC people who will cater the food or even just cook the food themselves. They might invite 20 to 30 people to their home for dinner.

Personally, I prefer to keep things intimate because I find that once you have more than eight people, it starts to become a little disorganized. I want to get people to actually know each other better. That’s not saying that more people can’t work; it’s just harder for people to get to know one another on a personal level.

The Best Way to Get People to Interact

I saw something interesting yesterday at the YEC event. We were nearly 75% of the way through, when the hosts suddenly said, “Everyone that’s an extrovert in the room, raise your hand!” And a bunch of people raised their hands. Then they said, “Okay, extroverts move around.”

The extroverts moved around, changed seats, and naturally started to build new relationships that way. Even if you talk to somebody for less than five minutes, you’re able to help that person out. In return, they’ll think of ways to help you out, too. The key is to help without expectations.

The Power of Masterminds

I’ve talked about masterminds in the past. You should always have a checklist of how you want to set things up, because there are always logistics that you need to plan and prepare for when you get a bunch of people into one room.

Also, masterminds aren’t just limited to business owners. Let’s say you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, for example. You can still find other people who are aspiring entrepreneurs and set something up where you cook together and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. For the dinners that I throw, I’ll gladly pay for it myself because, quite frankly, people probably aren’t going to pay to eat my food!

The trade off for me is I’ll throw it near my place, which makes everything much easier for me. Even so, these dinners can typically run anywhere from $500-$800 each time I throw them. You might be thinking, ‘That’s a huge expense.’ It is definitely a big expense, but if you throw these mastermind dinners, connect people, and have no expectations, things are going to come back around to you in the end.

When it comes down to it, the foundation of all meaningful business transactions and referrals is trust and respect. According to Harvard psychologists, people work with you because they like you and respect you. Goodwill always repays goodwill.

I believe in this so firmly that I’ve been running Growth Everywhere for three years and haven’t even tried to monetize it. Neil and I are running Marketing School for free for the same reason. We know that by providing free value and spreading goodwill, we’ll earn back the money we’ve spent tenfold down the road without having to gimmick or hard sell anyone.

Learn More: How To Run Masterminds That Actually Bring Business Benefits (Templates & Agendas Included)

Entrepreneurship Can Be a Lonely Game

Here’s the funny thing about being an entrepreneur. You may get into it because of some idea you have about unshackling yourself from the 9-to-5 lifestyle and living the life you want or pursuing your dreams. But ultimately you’ll find that you’re probably a workaholic. Most entrepreneurs are just working all the time with their heads down. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely game.

So to be able to just get together for one night once a month with a group of like-minded people is really powerful. That’s why you join these groups. That’s why I go to conferences and throw events and monthly happy hours, too. If you’re based in the LA area, feel free to reach out to me, find my contact information, tweet at me, whatever. I’ll invite you.

When I map out kind of what I’m going to spend on these events, it’s probably going to be around $25,000 per year. But at the end of the day, I know as long as it feels right, as long as you’re getting good feedback from people, you’re doing the right thing. It will pay off in unexpected ways in the long run.

Sneak Peek: Marketing Reality TV?

Before we finish, I wanted to let you guys know that I’m thinking of doing a 12-episode miniseries where I go into companies and try to figure out what their marketing issues are in real time. We figure out what their growth issues are, find out what their business model is, and then help these companies grow. Our goal is to determine what kind of marketing engine would help that business grow most.

We’re looking at companies that have a great product and that are interested in growing. I’m just trying to gauge the interest level right now, so I’m surveying my email lists. If you are interested, just leave a comment. If we get enough interest in this, I’ll go ahead and spend the resources to make it happen.

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:

When Business Growth Stalls: Persevere or Give Up?

Almost six years ago, when I was at Treehouse, I saw growth stall out at a large scale for the first time. Treehouse had 50-60 people back then, but we only had five months’ of cash in the bank.

Before I came on to help with marketing, growth had already been for two years. Our business was teaching people how to code online, how to do web design, how to ideate a great product, how to build a great team, etc. But for whatever reason they couldn’t make marketing work.


Digital Marketing Is Crucial to Growth

Dave McClure said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the biggest issue startups face is that most of them absolutely suck at digital marketing. They have a ton of cash, but often misspend it wildly. This wouldn’t be as big of a problem if digital marketing weren’t absolutely crucial to growth.

Worse, there still aren’t many schools that teach you this marketing stuff. There are good message boards out there like:

There are also a lot of courses out there, too, like:

Figuring Out What the Hell Is Going On

Anyway, going back to Treehouse. When I first got there, I said to myself, “Okay, I need to stop the bleeding right now.” So I decided to shut down the ads. Not too long after that I got promoted to lead the marketing team and the original marketing lead of two years instantly quit. So there was literally no onboarding and no knowledge transfer.

Learn More: How to Onboard New Hires

I had one month to both onboard myself and figure out what was going wrong. The CEO even pulled me aside and said, “If we don’t figure out numbers this month, we’re going to have to let you go.” So less than a month into my brand new job, I was already almost on my way out. For that entire month, I was just trying to figure out, “What the heck is going on?”

When your back is up against the wall, how do you react? You can either piss your pants or you can do something about it.

At the time we had a 4-day work week and I was putting in 7-day work weeks. Moral of the story: when you’re trying to figure out why growth is stalling, you might have to put in the extra effort. You might have to say goodbye to some of those weekends and goodbye to spending a lot of time with your friends. This is your baby right now, and you’ve got to save it.

When growth stalls, you have got to be willing and able to pull out all the stops and put in the time. I shut down advertising. I was working a lot. I didn’t ask my team to work overtime. I was just putting in the additional hours myself.

In hindsight, that was probably the wrong move. I probably should have told my team, “Hey, guys, it’s on us to save the company. We’ve only got five months worth of cash left in the bank. Let’s buckle down and do this together.”

How We Reversed Treehouse’s Fortunes with Marketing

After cutting down on ad costs, I started looking at the numbers. I pored through the analytics, AdWords, and every ad campaign we had been running. Facebook ads weren’t good at the time.

What I found was that we were seeing some semblance of traction with YouTube advertising. Based on the numbers, and because I really had nothing to lose, I decided to double down on YouTube advertising. And that’s exactly what skyrocketed our user growth and took us to the next level.

Related Content: A Step-by-Step Checklist For a Successful YouTube Ad Campaign

We also started looking at SEO. I kept asking myself, “How can we improve our SEO?” The first thing I did was bring in a managing editor. We hired a bunch of writers from a bunch of different web design sites, too. At the same time, we didn’t want to rely 100% on YouTube, so we diversified our ad channels and did a site redesign.

It all ended up working out for us and within that first month we were able to double our numbers. The month after that I think we were able to double our numbers again and we just kept growing and growing. Today, Treehouse is a $100 million dollar company.

Long story short, if your growth is stalling and your marketing is failing, you really only have one option: look at the numbers and act accordingly. You have to be willing to shut things down, stop the bleeding, and hire and fire as needed. You have to be willing to believe in what the data is telling you and stick things out until good things happen.

How We Saved Single Grain When It Was in the Red

Fast forward to Single Grain, a digital marketing agency that I run. When I came to Single Grain, it was doing even worse than Treehouse was. It was actually in the red. I had to figure out how to turn things around dramatically, and fast.

Keep in mind that the Treehouse turnaround happened in about eight months, though things started to really turn around in my first three months there. When you have a good product and a good team, fixing the marketing isn’t that hard.

But before I came to Single Grain, there were a lot of issues with their internal processes and deliverables. It was primarily an SEO-focused company and Google’s Penguin Update basically stomped all over their services.

What Single Grain did in the past just wasn’t working as well anymore. Clients weren’t seeing the results. So when I came to Single Grain, I decided we had to shift direction. We had to add services like pay-per-click and content marketing. At the same time, I decided to shut down our primary lead source (ads) because we were becoming too reliant on it.

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

I wanted us to become self-reliant, so I started to diversify our lead sources and our organic traffic began to grow.

Top Digital Marketing Companies of 2017 - Single Grain

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

I started the Growth Everywhere podcast at the same time, and fortunately I was meeting a lot of great people. I also joined Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Young Entrepreneur Council.

Basically, I did everything I could to not put all our eggs in the same basket.

And it was tough. Making too many drastic changes is never a great idea—especially if you have a lot of people on a team. It can ruin the culture and that’s exactly what happened at Single Grain.

In hindsight, although things still worked out in the end, I probably should have done things a little slower. I probably should have gotten people’s feedback and spent more time talking to the team. But I just figured, “Hey, we need to move really quickly.” And so we did.

We already knew SEO wasn’t going to cut it for us anymore, so first we bet on content marketing. That didn’t work out so well. But when we bet on pay-per-click—that’s the main service we offer today, paid advertising—it worked out really well for us and today it’s our biggest service.
Single Grain PPC services

We had a lot of process-oriented issues to fix, too. Operationally speaking, there was no documentation for a lot of the things we did. Financially speaking, it was a house of cards. Overall, the Single Grain turnaround took a lot longer than the Treehouse turnaround. I took over Single Grain 3 years ago and we didn’t really start seeing very positive results until about 1 year ago. So the turnaround took 2 years total.

Double Down on What Works

Long story short, double down on what’s working and ignore the rest until you’re profitable. Move faster, too. I should have moved faster on a lot of important things. In hindsight, I probably should have let people go faster instead of trying to let them hang around and protect their paycheck.

What I learned is that as a business owner, you obviously want to protect your employees. But you can’t try to play God or anything like that. This is why layoffs are a thing. Sometimes, you have to do what’s necessary to preserve the company. You may have to let people go, and you will definitely have to make tough decisions.

My advice: make the tough decisions faster. Don’t be afraid to do that, because there’s no silver bullet that’s going to get you there. It’s all about persistence.

Power Through Things and You’ll Make It

At many points at Single Grain, during that 2-year turnaround period, I could have chosen to give up. Even in the first year when I didn’t own the company yet, I could have chosen to give up. I could have thrown in the towel.

Ironically, before I came to Single Grain I wanted to see if I could save a company that was on its way down. This wasn’t the smartest move on my part.

Think of it this way: if you want to go from -$100 to +$100, you have to make $200. But if you go from $0 to +$100 you just have to make $100. From an investment standpoint, it’s far easier to start from zero and get into the green than it is to start in the red and do the same thing. When you do that, all the momentum is working against you.

Learn More: Why You Should Run Marketing Growth Experiments Every Week

That’s what happened with Marissa Mayer and Yahoo. She was very well equipped to run that company and she turned it around a little bit in the beginning—but it was too little too late. Eventually Yahoo was sold to Verizon and it was a pretty significant loss at the end of the day.

Even though Single Grain is now successful, my recommendation would be to start from scratch as a business owner rather than buy and try to fix a failing business. But if you’re going to try to save something or grow something that’s stagnant, you’ve got to power through it. That’s ultimately the best recommendation I can give as a fellow business owner.

Most people give up too quickly. Most people throw in the towel too easily because they can’t take the pain. But if you can take the pain and you can weather the storm, you’re going to be that much better at business than 99% of the competition.

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:

The Power of Blocking Out Your Time for Business Growth

Today, I’m going to talk about the power of blocking out your time. I feel like this is probably the third time I’ve addressed this, but it’s such an important subject that it’s worth revisiting.

I was doing an Entrepreneurs’ Organization meeting recently and one of the topics we discussed was productivity. One thing I brought up was blocking out and being very intentional with your time.

Learn More: The Best Way to Be as Productive as Possible Every Day

As you get older, more experienced and better at what you do, more people are going to want your time. They’ll want to pick your brain. They’ll want to take you to coffee and pay for your $5 coffee in order to get massive value in return, which is probably not a great trade for you (because your time becomes increasingly valuable).

That’s why I try to block out time for emails. So at 10 a.m. I’m checking emails for the first time that day. Then I might check emails again at 1 p.m. or so. I might spend 30 minutes on that each time. Having a calendar blocked out with what you’re doing at any given hour is super important.

I block out time for my one-on-one calls. I block out time for writing my book. I block out time for meditation in the morning. Oftentimes, I’ll miss some of these things, but to have it in the calendar where it’s constantly being repeated and constantly being reinforced helps quite a bit.

Related Content: The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: How to Juggle Multiple Projects and Have a Life, Too

Let’s say you’re a business owner on Friday afternoons or all of Friday you just block out time for a strategy session where you can think about how to improve operations. I actually know somebody who blocks out his whole Wednesday just for strategy, and he delegates more client work that day. Those days are really important, because that’s when you come up with great ideas that you can implement for the business.

I cannot stress this enough—blocking out time is super important. Make sure that you do it.

Here are a few more ways I block out my time. For “Webinar Wednesdays,” I try to block out time to do live webinars. When people try to schedule a call with me, I’ll send them my ScheduleOnce link. Typically, the call will only be for 15 minutes because I find that you’re able to get to the point in 15 minutes. Let’s be honest—some people like to ramble. That’s why you keep it at 15 minutes and use a scheduling solution like ScheduleOnce or Calendly, which will sync with your calendar and even build in delays between calls if you need that.


Learn More: 10 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Productive All Day Long

If your calendar is not set up and if you’re not being intentional with your time, everything’s just going to be all over the place. Before you know it, it’s already 5 or 6 p.m. and you were just shuffling around little tasks that don’t really move the needle because you’ve been focused on compulsively checking and answering emails.

But if you start blocking out your calendar, if you start being intentional with your time, and you do it for over a year? You’re going to reap the rewards and your life will be way better.

Learning to block out your time is free, but the returns are priceless.

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:

Why You Should Be Spending More On Networking

Let’s dive into the concept of investing in yourself.

Not so long ago, I thought paying a couple thousand dollars for a course, or a couple thousand dollars for a mastermind, or a couple thousand dollars for a conference was just insane. Why would anybody pay that amount of money when you can learn this stuff for free online?

But in the past couple years, my investments into groups like Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which probably costs about $8,000 per year, and Young Entrepreneurs Council, which is like $1,000 per year, have paid off so many times.


The Value of Joining Masterminds

Compared to when I first came into Single Grain, I didn’t know a lot of things related to business processes. Basic things around operations, finance, even something like a 10-week cash flow document—I learned all these skills through my EO forum.

I learned all these processes because these guys already had that experience. The guys in my forum are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. They’ve all gone through a lot of these things, and they were able to help me sidestep a lot of mistakes that I would have made on my own. Quite frankly, as a business owner, that’s worth more than a couple thousand dollars, right?

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that without Entrepreneurs’ Organization, my company wouldn’t be around today, because I wouldn’t have been able to sidestep so many mistakes. And it’s not just avoiding mistakes that makes groups like EO worth it—the camaraderie of working with other entrepreneurs who understand what I’m going through is priceless.

Learn More: The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group


Being able to build relationships with people, working closely with people in my forum…it’s been a really rewarding experience to do exciting stuff with really smart entrepreneurs and be a part of this organization where there’s 10,000 people worldwide. And they’re all just trying to create great businesses and add more value to the world.

If Young Entrepreneurs Council can get me into even two publications as a contributor in one year, it’s already more than paid for itself, right? But it gives me much more than that. I’m able to drop into Summit at Sea in Miami and text everyone and all of a sudden we’re all hanging out together. That’s powerful. And when I went to San Diego for Traffic & Conversion Summit, I did the same thing, I looked up who in YEC was there and we all got together.

How Much Are You Willing to Spend on Opportunity?

Summit at Sea is anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. But to be able to meet with so many great people on that boat, where I literally want to have lunch with every single person, makes it more than worth it for me. It was like: “Oh, there’s Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. There’s Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance over there. Gary Vaynerchuk is standing over there. And there’s Eric Schmidt from Google.”

So, even though that event was quite expensive, I’ve started to build lifelong friendships from that. And it’s because of those interactions. Same thing with Traffic & Conversion conference. This time, I took my team, because I knew they were going to learn a lot. And we bonded together more as a team and just had a good time together. Whatever they decide to do with their career, I hope this was a good stepping stone for them to learn a lot. 

The moral of the story is that a lot of these expensive investments might not pay off immediately for you. These things take time to manifest. Sometimes, it might take a year or two to close a deal. And that’s okay. I don’t go to these events just to say, “I’m here to get more business.”

Related Content: Why You Should Set An Agenda & Focus on Team Building at Conferences

Building Goodwill Is Priceless

Ultimately, at the end of the day, I know that the more relationships I can build, the more people I can help. It all comes back to building goodwill, right? Your compensation in the future is based directly on the value that you’re adding to people in the present.

So I’m not really worried about dollar figures at this point. I’m constantly putting out content all the time, and I know that it’s helping at least one person out there. The unsolicited feedback that I’m getting from time to time for the Marketing School podcast and my Growth Everywhere podcast is all the validation I need.

Growth Everywhere interviews

I’m doing these entrepreneur happy hours once a month, where I’ll pay for drinks and food. And I’ll do these monthly entrepreneur dinners, too. In a sense, I’m investing in myself and investing in the future. Because I know that if I’m able to connect these people, great things are going to happen. Not necessarily directly for me, but there’s going to be great value created. And I just want to be able to facilitate that. I want to be able to create that helpful ecosystem.

How Much I’m Investing in Networking this Year

That being said, I obviously did the math for how much it costs. This year alone, these expenses are $20,000-$25,000. A few years ago I would’ve thought that that was an insane cost for something that isn’t delivering immediate ROI. But the way I see things now, it’s worth it. I’m enjoying the community that we’re building in downtown L.A. These things take time, just like any kind of relationship takes time to manifest and grow.

So, if you ask me whether you should pay for that $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 seminar, I’m going to say: if it’s the right timing for you, go for it.

I’ve seen people get massive value from these things. Is it worth it for you to pay $50,000 a year for a coach? Not if you’re only making $100,000 per year. But if you’re in the high six figures and this coach could push you into seven figures? Absolutely.

So take a step back and block out some time for a strategy day to figure out what kinds of conferences make sense. What kinds of events you should be throwing? What else should you be doing to enhance yourself? What else can you do to level up?

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 Scale Your Business to 9 Figures Per Year

Let’s talk about scalable processes for growing your business. Like, from zero to $1 million.

How to Get to 7 Figures Fast

The simple truth is that when you’re chasing after seven figures, it all comes down to sales. Closing, closing, closing. Barring extremely good PR coverage or sheer luck, your first 10, 100, and even 1,000 are going to be a grind.

In the early days, when you’re forced to wear multiple hats, you should also be the main salesperson. It will be hard work, but you can get up to a million. Anyone who’s providing a valuable service and who can do a bit of everything fairly well should be able to scale up a consulting business or even freelance service to $1 million per year.

Learn More: How to Market Your Consulting Company When You’re New

How to Get to 8 and 9 Figures Sustainably

Now, when you are trying to to get from $1 million to $10 million or from $10 million to $100 million, things get both easier and tricker.

I spoke with Verne Harnish, the founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization last week and asked him, “How do you go from $1 million to $10 million, and then onwards towards $100 million?”


Verne says, “$1 to $10 million is all about gross margin. $10 million to 100 is all about profit margin.”

Business Failure Is 95% Processes, 5% People

In plain English, going from $1 to $10 million is about focusing on setting up the right processes. You need to focus on putting into writing, video, or any other evergreen format the processes that your people can follow reliably.

If somebody gets sick, you can immediately plug somebody else in with the right resources for success. If somebody leaves all of a sudden, you have these processes ready to go. You also have people sitting on the bench ready to join your team (i.e. your recruiting processes).

I remember reading a tweet that said something like: 

95% of problems in a company are the processes and 5% are the people.

Most of the time it’s the processes, and most people don’t know how to set these up the right way, even if they are successful. That’s why I’m constantly thinking about processes and products, and iterating over and over.

Keep in mind that, as a company, where you were a year ago may be completely different from where you are today. A lot of your processes you used to rely on might be broken or not up-to-date, so you should be setting up and testing new ones.

Related Content: 8 Strategic Questions That Will Help You Grow Your Business

Process Audits to Foolproof Your Business

In order to grow or even just sustain your current level of success, you need to foolproof your business against turnover. That starts with a process audit at least once a quarter. Talk through it with your team. We like to use 15Five to see what people’s sentiments are, where we can improve in the company, and what things we can fix.


Another process is to just have a pulse on the company. I come into the office three times a week and ask everyone else to do the same. Three days in, two days out, and it works well for us. This is the best way we discovered to check in with each other and make sure that we’re all getting the work done.

How to Leverage Google Drive for Success

At Single Grain, we have a ton of processes set up for Google Drive, which I copied this from a company called Guava Box. They have all their agency processes clearly documented inside Google Drive, and everyone can see them.

Single Grain Google Drive

For example, we have a single Google Drive account with folders for everything, from client onboarding to vacation policies. We have content ideation, growth experiments, KPIs and dashboards, and it’s all easy to navigate.

The best thing to do is download all this structural knowledge to one person, ideally an ops person or executive assistant, who will not only “own” this library of info, but also take the lead in getting people together to document new processes as they arise.

This type of process documentation has especially helped with sales calls. When we want our sales reps to take a look at past sales calls we’ve done, all they have to do is go find them in Google Drive. They can even watch screencast. That way, we don’t have to keep reinventing the same wheel. No one has to babysit anyone at work.

Google Drive is absolutely great for keeping educational resources for your teams in one place. We have videos, certifications, work-for-hire agreements, standard operating procedures, content promotion, etc.

Learn More: Jared Fuller On How He Skyrocketed PandaDoc from $1M ARR to $5M ARR in a Year (5X Growth!)

Make Sure Everyone Stays Accountable

Of course, the thing about free libraries is that most people don’t take advantage of them. Your job as a leader who is focused on scaling your company into 8 figures is to keep people accountable, maintain budgets, and hold your profit margin to a certain standard.

Keeping all these things in place will help you stay organized, because if it’s all over the place it’s an inefficient, hectic free-for-all. You’re not going to be able to grow because your processes are such a mess, and people are going to get frustrated all the time.

You need to have these guardrails in place to help you get to the next level.

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:

The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group

You’ve probably heard of me talk about groups like Young Entrepreneurs Council or Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Yesterday, I had a really great EO meeting. It was probably one of our most productive meetings in a very long time, and everyone present gave a lot, took a lot, and learned a lot.

It’s the kind of mastermind session that makes me realize I shouldn’t try to figure everything out on my own.

While you may not qualify for EO or YEC yet, you can start your own mastermind groups. If you just Google “mastermind dinners,” you can get a lot of good insights. There are PDFs and checklists that you can steal and you can put like-minded people together. You can throw dinners, for example. Or you don’t even have to host dinners, maybe you guys could get together for drinks and just talk it through.

The Importance of Having a Meeting Agenda

All you need to do is make sure that you set some kind of agenda when you’re doing these meetings. For example, if you’re doing a marketing mastermind, you might start with a three-minute check-in using something like an iPad timer or a phone timer. That way nobody goes overboard talking about themselves.

Maybe the next item on the agenda is to put someone in a hot seat for 20 minutes or so. They talk about one thing that they’re struggling with and everybody can jump in and share their experiences in a tactful manner. EO actually has this protocol called the gestalt protocol. None of us are allowed to share direct advice. Instead, we just share our experiences and the listeners can draw whatever is helpful for them from those experiences.

Finally, it’s a good idea to follow up after the meeting by sending the group everyone’s contact info in a group email, or maybe just invite everyone who attended to a Facebook group or chat.

Learn More: How To Run Masterminds That Actually Bring Business Benefits (Templates & Agendas Included)

Why Masterminds Are Priceless

Joining groups like EO or groups of like-minded entrepreneurs is helpful because they know what challenges you’re going through, they’ve been where you’ve been, they know exactly what’s going on, and they can speak the same language. You might have some competitors there as well, but you’re still sharing knowledge, you’re being open, you understand that there’s a lot of business out there for everyone.

Entrepreneurship, to be quite frank, is a lonely game. When you’re able to get together in a room with 10-20 other entrepreneurs, those are your brothers and sisters.

One guy in my EO forum has a business that does over $200 million per year. So there’s people of all different sizes, and it’s good to hear their perspectives. I learned all sorts of stuff that I didn’t know (like what a cash flow forecast is, for example).

Of course, not anyone can join. There are requirements for mastermind groups like these. For EO and YEC, you have to have a business that does over $1 million per year, and I think for YEC you have to be invited and for EO you go through a interview process. Overall, I’d say YEC’s online forum is probably the strongest one for entrepreneurs and EO is great for in-person stuff.

There are a lot of great events, too, where you can meet people who will change your life.

Often, the people that you surround yourself with are the ones who are going to take you to the next level.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to isolate yourself from your friends or anything like that, but you are the average of the five people you hang out with most, right? So it’s good to be with these people. I see them only once a month, but we also meet up separately and on Slack as well (I definitely recommend putting together a Slack group).

Related Content: How to Structure a Mastermind Meeting

What Masterminds Have Done for My Business

Honestly, without EO,  Single Grain probably would have tanked when I took it over because when I started, this business was in the negative and EO helped me get through a lot.

Ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know, which is why many heads are always better than one.

Keep in mind that I’ve been with EO for three and a half years, and over time your relationship with the group will change. When I started out, I was a new member learning everything I could from the vets. Today, I’m moderating a group, and I’m focused on keeping everyone in my group accountable for their own growth.

If you want to learn more about masterminds, check out Gazelles, which is run by the founder of EO, Verne Harnish. There are a lot of templates and resources that you can use, not just for masterminds, but also for setting goals for your business.

Learn More: EO & Gazelles Founder Verne Harnish Reveals How To Take Your Business From $1M to $100M

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:

8 Strategic Questions That Will Help You Grow Your Business


I am going to talk about what I do on Sundays to propel myself forward into the week. I’m not married and I don’t have kids yet, so I can use Sundays to get some additional work done and do a lot of planning around the week.

Blocking Out Time for Creativity

First and foremost, I’ll go ahead and look at what meetings I have on Monday, see how everyone on the team’s doing, and see what I can do to help out. These one-to-ones are really structured and should come with an agenda centered around the person I’m helping. So really, Mondays are for me to help people out.

Because I have so many meetings and calls during the week, I really try to work on creative stuff. For example, I can work on the advertising or creation of content for a project. I need to block out time for that because I’m doing phone calls all the time. But I don’t really like calls, so one of the things I’m trying to do right now is spend more time creating.

But the most important thing I do, by far, is reserve a strategy day, usually 1–6pm on Friday afternoons. During this time, nobody can book a meeting with me; I try to just sit and do strategy stuff. Sometimes that might eventually lead to me doing actual work.

8 Strategic Questions That Will Help You Grow Your Business

Here’s what I ask myself during my strategy sessions:

1) What am I doing well?

2) What could I do better and improve on?

3) What could I do more of?

For example, content creation’s working well for us, which is why we’re doing, besides blog postsFacebook Lives, YouTube videos, podcasts, interviews, webinars, etc. So we’re just creating content all over the place because we’re trying to establish more goodwill. We’re trying to figure out how we can repurpose this content, too (e.g., audio → transcripts → blog posts).

4) What could I do less of?

Really, I should be doing fewer calls, because the number of sales calls you have to do is directly related to the number of clients you have. But there’s still only one CEO. So, instead of jumping on daily sales calls, maybe I should be doing something that only I can do.

5) How can I 10x my business?

I recommend reading the book by Grant Cardone, The 10x Rule. What are some crazy things I can do to 10x my business?

6) Who should I be reaching out to more?

Which leads should we be reaching out to more? In terms of recruiting, who should we be maintaining the conversation with? Who should we be partnering up with more? What kind of mentors should I reach out to more? Maybe you can invite them to lunch (and treat them!) and then build a stronger bond that way.

I also mentioned in a recent post the importance of being in groups such as Young Entrepreneurs Council or Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

7) Where is my business today?

I actually just heard a podcast two days ago with Russell Brunson, and he was talking about how he has his accountant give him two lines of information every single day: how much revenue they’ve generated year to date, and how far off he is from his goal.

Let’s say you have a $10 million goal, you’ve generated 500K, so you’re off by $9.5 million. Well, guess what? That’s going to light a fire under your ass and you’re going to have to decide what you need to do today to reach your goals in the future.

8) What can I do to improve in 30 days?

This is an action plan. I’ve taken to creating strategy docs (one per week) which I review weeks or months later (sort of like a business diary). That way, I’m being more deliberate with my time and not just reacting to everything.

The sooner you can do that more consistently, the sooner you’re going to be able to either hand off your business or sell it.

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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