Will Bunker

How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

You know, we had that experience where we built that first idea which took four, five months to even program it and then you’re sitting there and you realize you have no customers. And so, the thought that occurred to me is, if I don’t learn how to market, then all the stuff we did to build the site is for nothing. That launched me into getting very serious about digital marketing.

Would You Like to Plug Your Current Business or Product? What Do You Have Going On?

We’ve started GrowthX Academy which teaches people three different roles which we feel are critical to growing startups – sales in biz dev, digital marketing, and design. We want to create talent for our ecosystems so that these great companies that have good products don’t die on the vine because they can’t sell them or reach their customers effectively.

What Are the Top Three Qualities That a Growth Hacker or a Growth Marketer Should Have?

I think that you have to be extremely intellectually curious. What worked in 1995 won’t work in 2017. And so, teaching yourself constantly.

I think another issue is understanding that all of your ideas are hypotheses and acting appropriately – you know, not getting too attached until you get the feedback, the users that tell you you’re going in the right direction.

Another quality that matters greatly is your mental flexibility and ability to accept that feedback in a way that’s constructive. It’s super easy to get your feelings hurt. We’ve all had that situation where a potential customer writes that long email about how bad you suck. In there, there’s some truth that you can act on if you can control your emotions and then look at it, “Okay, what is this person really trying to tell me is wrong with the product and can we fix it?”

Which Daily Habits Have You Installed to Maximize Your Results with Clients?

I am a very deliberate learner. And so, I have a flashcard system; I’ve got 45,000 facts in that system. I probably spend 30 minutes a day reviewing technical material within that system so that my skills stay fresh with things that have longer range value. I read probably two to three books a week so I set aside daily reading time so that I’m inputting new things into my brain and making sure that I stay relevant.

What Are the Top Three Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Growth Marketing?

Well, the biggest one is to overcommit early. It just takes a while to build a great product and find product market fit and it’s super easy to get excited and want to push yourself to that next level that leads to investment. If you do it prematurely, you’ll kind of flame out. You see a lot of companies that get a great initial curve off of some growth hack but they don’t build the real value to the end customer and it fails.

Another big mistake is see is arrogance. You know, it’s interesting; it’s easy to be good at some pieces of this and then get the attitude that founders to listen to everything you say or their crap and it’s hard to understand all the constraints you’re going through as you build a business. And so, learning more empathy toward the other team players and understanding what makes their job work so that you don’t come across as a jerk is a big one.

And then, overreliance on one channel, especially early stage. There are lots of ways to go to market and all of them work under certain circumstances. And so, having the ability to switch a context so that you’re doing the right role channel for a particular startup.

What Are Some Resources that You Would Encourage People to Explore?

Being the big reader that I am, the last couple of books that blew me away were Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Punch – kind of a long title but super interesting read on how to fit your message within a particular medium and how to be sensitive to how the medium works. I read one recently, it wasn’t a great read but, man, is it working! It’s How to Get to 100,000 Twitter Followers. I’m rapidly approaching 10,000 up from three, four weeks ago. Combined with Gary’s book, for the first time, I’m starting to feel confident through social market messaging versus just trying to advertise down those channels. That’s something by the end of this year, I’d like to have 10,000 followers from Quora and 100,000 followers on Twitter. I’m just trying to read resources around that to make me better.

Sujan Patel - Visual Summary

Sujan Patel

1. How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

I started off in SEO years ago in 2001, 2002, made an e-commerce website. This was before the luxury of Shopify, Big Commerce and those types of companies. So building it using a lot more rudimentary platforms. I put a lot of money into it, I was in high school and college. I built the website, no one came, I had to figure out a way to get people there. I stumbled on SEO. The business failed but I successfully kick-started my SEO career. As SEO has evolved over time, it’s become really just all things marketing. And so, over time, I expanded beyond SEO to just all things digital marketing. Growth has always been something I’ve been measuring myself against – what is actual growth numbers? There’s a lot of fancy numbers and things you can measure against, but at the end of the day it comes down to growth, which is really why you’re doing digital marketing in the first place. So growth is a new name for something I’ve been going off of, I call it ROI, fast-paced marketing. That’s kind of my entry into growth and digital marketing.

2. Could You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Company, WebProfits?

WebProfits is a growth marketing agency. When I say growth marketing, I mean we don’t do fluff, we don’t focus only on one channel, we can’t help with just SEO and PPC. When we help companies, we’re going to help them with all things growth, and we peel back the layers of going into the organizations – what else can they be doing on the customer support side? So we’re looking at all parts of that funnel, more than just driving more traffic or increasing conversions. And the services that we provide right now: one is content marketing, which we provide à la carte, and the other is called Fluid Marketing. Really what that means is we come into an organization or if we’re talking to a potential client, we want to understand what they’re struggling with, what are their channels that got them there, what are big opportunities, and we’re helping with all things growth. Our fluid service will adjust over the month to what we focus on. So we may start with an heavy emphasis on let’s say Facebook ads because that’s a great opportunity. But 3-6 months in, that’s gonna be on optimization mode, we’ve done a lot of the work, we may shift our focus to SEO or content. So we really focus on an omni-channel approach, leveraging any advantage a customer has to grow.

3. What Are the Top Three Qualities That a Growth Hacker Should Have?

Number one is hustle. Hustle is, I think, lacking in most people, not just marketers. What I mean by hustle is you gotta figure stuff out. I get lots of emails lately around people asking me questions and my response is Google it! Learn as much as you can by reading publicly available information and I guarantee there is publicly available information on every topic. You can be an expert coin collector. I want to help.

Ask people for help once you’ve gotten stuck or you’ve gotten to a point where “I got this, this, this information, this is what I’ve done, I’m stuck can you help me?”. That, to me, is hustle. People go immediately to the easy route. So that’s number one, the hustle, it’s working long hours and doing things that suck.

Some of my biggest success in marketing has been with working with customer support, it’s come from sending cold emails and doing the dirty work that you would probably outsource to a VA myself. Now, at some point, we’re going to scale those channels or tactics. But at the end of the day, it was the willingness to put in that hard work and doing it.

Number two is agility and understanding that it’s not necessarily tactics or certain channels that are always going to help you grow. You’ve got to think beyond the channel and think really to growth, what is going to help a company, your company, or whoever you’re working with to grow. That may not come from things you’re used to. So when I say agility, it’s the ability to move around, being uncomfortable, doing things again that are not sexy.

The last thing is testing. To be honest, nobody has a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. Why work with me over someone else? It’s probably because I’m more relevant, I have more experience. Again, that can be said for someone else. Really, there is no silver bullet. Digital marketing has become so complex, it’s just as complex as offline marketing, and if not even more. It’s saturated, people are moving fast, you’re competing with people with bigger budgets. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and learn and test new things, because you’re going to find things that work and then you gotta figure out how to scale them.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

Honestly, there are so many people, I really love what Hiten Shah and Stellie are doing on the startup chat. Hiten is from Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg, and Stellie is from Close.io, great podcasts and great community around startup people. It’s not really what they say, it’s what they do, and it’s the fact that they’re solving problems which is awesome. I’ve been bringing people to that community. Obviously, Neil Patel. Dan Martell is a great guy, he’s taught me a lot, he’s with Clarity.fm. He taught me the power of mastermind dinners and networking and really just going out there, and even simple things like how to ask for advice. Guys like Gary Vee are awesome inspirations to see what they’re doing. Again their hustle – I work probably 50% if that of what Gary Vee works, and that teaches me how to be a better hustle. These days I look at their actions and the little things they do outside of that which really inspire me. Morgan Brown is another great guy and Sean Ellis, creating a great community around this. There’s so many people so it’s hard to list off these things.

The counter to that is it doesn’t matter. These guys are all great and inspiration, you can read all the knowledge you want on growth hacking and growth, but at the end of the day, it’s not about what you read, it’s about actions, testing, and then figuring stuff out, then scaling. At the end of the day, execution is the key, and these people personally inspire me to execute.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

One, don’t believe everything you read. It’s probably true, but it’s very situational. Everyone write an article on how Hotmail did this, or how AirBnB grew by this, or how my company did this and that happened. Look, it probably did happen, use that for inspiration. Minimize your reading or silo it so that you’re reading maybe one hour a day and not throughout the day. Tip number one is focus on execution and try to read less, don’t ever thing you’re going to get the same results. Think “Oh, this is something I can test.”

Number two is split up your ideas and planning. That is right brain and left brain thinking, meaning your ideas should never be limited, but you don’t want to execute and plan when you should execute your ideas when you’re thinking so freely. You need to write everything down, so many people make this mistake is that they may be great at executing, but they don’t execute on the right things. And I’ve made this mistake many many times. In fact, I make it probably fairly often because I work on so many companies. But at the end of the day, let your right brain be creative and brainstorm ideas, write them down in Excel or on a napkin, but make sure you come back and you think about what’s the impact of that, maybe even sleep on it, and the next day plan when you can execute those based off of resources required and the impact it’s going to have. I emphasize the impact, because tactics are never going to be a winning strategy.

That’s kind of my last piece of advice. Whatever you’re doing is getting old. Digital marketing and growth moves fast. The lifespan of a tactic or strategy is getting shorter and shorter and that’s ok because the resources and tools and avenues for us as marketers to grow and leverage is getting bigger, so it kind of counters things out. So always be thinking about what the next thing is going to be, and think of how you can test. So, that way, as you have scalable channels that you’re working on for your business that are consistently growing or predictable growth, you’re also testing in new channels that may be unproven but you still have proven channels on top of unproven ones. So you have a chart, of graph of consistent growth, and then you have these crazy graphs of ups and downs of things that could work. And realistically, probably you’re not going to get everything you test to work, maybe one or two out of ten, and that’s ok, you still have the consistency. So combining those two is very powerful. Never rely when you’re done or out of scalability on your current channels to then start testing, you’ve already lost a strong foothold on growth.

I recommend that you spend 25-30% of your time in the exploration phase. This will also help you and your team be creative and think outside that box, because frankly as a marketer the worst thing you can do is not innovate because six months or a year your strategy is going to be either milked completely dry or not as scalable. If you look at Facebook ads, years ago they were the hottest thing, you could get clicks for cheap. Now you’re paying more than Adwords sometimes and how much things cost. Things get expensive, and if your economics don’t work out, if you’re not first there or early in, you might be starting at $6 CPCs and that may never work for you.

Aaron Agius - Visual Summary

Aaron Agius

1. How Did You Become Passionate About Internet Marketing?

Initially, getting into it I was living in Thailand for a good six months, I sold everything I owned, went over there with my girlfriend at the time, and we decided we needed to find a way where we could do that for as long as we wanted, which was basically earn a strong currency, live in a weak currency. Essentially, you can live like a king in Thailand on very little money.

So my girlfriend at the time is now my wife. She was in marketing and I was in IT. We decided that we could combine our skills and we did a lot of online research, trying to find out how people are actually making money online. And so we decided we’d give it a shot. We flew back to Sydney, and for the next year my girlfriend supported me while I spent every day learning everything I could about Internet marketing.

About four months in, we made 40 cents online, and I was jumping around, high-fiving, celebrating, because we know now what we knew then: the Internet can be highly automated and almost infinitely scalable. And the very next day we made $400 online and it just continued from there.

Following that success, I couldn’t help myself, I wanted to keep going and going and I just haven’t stopped.

2. Would You Mind Telling Us More About Louder Online?

We’re a search and content marketing company. As you’ve mentioned in the intro, we worked for funded startups through to some of the biggest companies in the world. We’re a distributed team throughout the US, Australia, Asia, a number of different places. Most of our clients are in the US, some in Australia, some in Asia, and around the world as well.

What we do is we drive a positive ROI to our clients for their marketing spend. Clients come to us wanting brand awareness, wanting leads, traffic, sales, and we find a way to do that through fantastic content and search marketing.

The positive ROI is a key point of difference for us. So many people talk about ranking or traffic, and in the end, what does that matter to a business who’s just trying to grow their business? So we focus on what matters to the business and the end goal for them, and that’s how we make our clients happy.

3. What Are the Top 3 Qualities That a Growth Hacker Should Have?

There’s a lot of qualities. Someone in that position or title needs to be doing a number of different things. Some of the most important ones: data-driven. Don’t just rely on hunches, and actually do the work, put the effort in, get the data and make decisions based on that data. So very data-driven, that’s the first thing.

You definitely need to be creative, that’s the next thing. Once you got the data, you need to come up with great ways to try and manipulate it and use it to your best advantage.

A third thing, wanting to explore, being curious, and having the inkling that there’s something down that path, and really trying to research and going that way, then going the next way. Just exploring data. Curiosity I’d say is the next key thing.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

You mentioned Neil Patel previously, we’ve done a number of things together, a number of big content pieces, and we’ve worked together in a number of different ways, there’s a lot to learn from Neil. He’s been doing this for a very long time and he’s everywhere. I’ve learned a lot through him and through different connections that he’s introduced me to.

The other person is Andrew Chen, who’s been working on Uber.

Just great information at a really high level from both of those people, so two people I’ll be keeping an eye

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

The three pieces of advice are all very closely related.

The first thing I’d say is don’t get caught in marketing tactic hell, so trying to think a thousand different things and try a thousand different things at once is inevitably is gonna cause you to do them all at a very shallow level and likely to be unsuccessful. So know about them, but part two is go deep into each channel and get as close as success as possible, and make sure you systematize it and have a team that can operate that for you so that you can move to the next channel or the next tactic. And once you’re able to see success across those, then you’re going to be winning.

I guess the third part, and this is a really part, build virality into your product or service. Make sure that it’s part of the product, that sharing is part of the product, that inviting other people is part of the product. Building that in from day one is going to enable a lot more success down the track.

Wes Walls - Visual Summary

Wes Walls

1. How Did You Become Passionate About Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing?

Before I discovered digital marketing, my big career passion was music. So actually I went to school for music and spent many years focused on that. One of the things that I love about music and attracted me to that is obviously, among many things, the creating aspect and the idea that you can sort of marry the creative and the technical to produce something that people can experience and listen to.

There was always that attraction to merging creative and technical I think. So when I decided that music wasn’t something that I was going to do as a long-term career, I was looking for something else and digital marketing was a natural fit just because of that.

When I started it was sort of an emerging field, a lot of people were learning what it is and developing the concept of digital marketing so there were a lot of opportunities, and in Montreal where I was living, the digital marketing community was very well becoming friendly and it just felt like a natural direction to head in.

2. Would You Mind Telling Us More About Your Role at Bandzoogle and Your Work With Other Companies?

I’ve been with Bandzoogle for about a year, and before that I was working with a startup called LANDR. The role really is pretty straightforward, it is helping to grow the company and the bottom line at the end of the day.

Practically speaking, what it comes down to is as a growth hacker, it is sort of bringing all the skills that I have and everything that I’ve learned working in the past at agencies specializing in various areas of digital marketing and bringing all that in and becoming a generalist, to pull everything together and do as much as you can with those skills. It’s everything from planning, the big picture, understanding where the business seems to go, working with key stakeholders in the business, so everything from that to, because we’re a small thing, to doing most of that as well. I’ll bring in specialists when needed, for design, copy, videos, or whatever, into projects.

But aside from that, it’s everything from tracking, analysis, strategy, planning, execution, and the range of tactics that run the gambit, from paid ads, analytics, copywriting, design, PR, outreach, tactical SEO, project management, conversion optimization, email marketing, among many other things. It’s using everything, pulling all the stops to grow the business.

Bandzoogle is a platform for musicians who need a website, essentially, so if you’re a band or any kind of music artist. It’s a platform that has everything you need to promote your music and sell your music in one package. You don’t need any technical skills to do that, for most musicians they don’t necessarily have a lot of technical skills, obviously.

Most musicians would prefer to spend their time making music, not necessarily learning how to make a WordPress website. Bandzoogle allows people to not have to do that, so everything is drag-and-drop, really easy to use, very low learning curve, and there’s no need to look around for all sorts of solutions, everything is there, ready to drag-and-drop into your website. That’s the idea of Bandzoogle.

It’s really a time saver. I remember that myself, as a musician, obviously promoting yourself as an artist is a pretty important thing, and a website is a really key part of that. There are obviously many other things that you need to do, but a website is sort of a keystone. I remember spending quite a lot of time myself learning how to use WordPress and build a WordPress site, looking at WordPress templates, learning to play with HTML and stuff like that. Personally I would have liked to save myself a lot of time and Bandzoogle would have been a good solution had I known about it back then.

3. What Are the Top 3 Qualities That a Growth Hacker Should Have?

I think there’s probably more than three, but I think from my perspective, one of the things that is a daily challenge as a growth hacker is there is no rulebook. You have a challenge, you have a problem to solve, but there is no rulebook for solving it. So I think having that sort of analytical problem solving ability is an important thing. So being able to, first of all, creating a framework for where you want to go and where you’re starting from, developing a process for how to get from A to B without any sort of reference in terms of how to do that or you’re trying to do necessarily. So it’s really being able to work with stakeholders to create your own objectives, getting to know what your objectives are, getting to know what your metrics are, and figuring out for yourself how you can move your needle on your metrics. So I think you need to have some good analytical problem solving skills to achieve that and be successful in your role as a growth hacker.

I think definitely creativity is an important one. No matter how many skills you have, technical skills you have, how much planning or strategy you do, if you’re not able to put together a compelling campaign, you probably aren’t going to see much movement on what you’re trying to do. I think there’s an art form to good marketing and I think having that creative ability to create good marketing is a good quality.

The last thing is, this is the best way I can say it: having a fire under your feet. You need ideas obviously to start from, but ideas are the easiest things to come with. The hardest thing to do is actually getting stuff done. Even not necessarily knowing what the outcome will be when you start. It’s not always clear how things are going to work or what exactly you’re gonna do. So having that fire under your feet to just do stuff, because you need to do a lot. There is a lot to do. That sort of idea of moving fast, failing as fast as you can, learning from that, and getting better. So having a good strong pace is important, getting things done and moving quickly.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

This is an interesting one. I have to give some credit to my colleague Justin Evans, who I worked with at LANDR, he’s one of the co-founders of LANDR. At the time I was moving from an agency role to a role where I was more of a growth hacker in-house and working closely with Justin among other people. Justin is very masterful at the art of marketing and compelling messaging. And I really learned how powerful and effective that can be when it’s done right.

Creating something that really resonates with your audience when you communicate it in a certain way. I don’t think he would define himself as a growth hacker, but I think as somebody who does that myself I learned the power of that. From Justin I also learned not to be afraid of even your craziest ideas. No matter how big and crazy your ideas might be, just embracing those big crazy ideas and oftentimes those end up being the ones that are producing the most amazing results.

I have a couple of other ones here. I think neither of them are actually growth hackers but there are some good lessons that I’ve learned from them in my journey.

There’s a guy named Michael King, he’s a SEO thought leader. I was following him a lot for a while because he was the first to promote the idea of researching for SEO and combining that with audience personas to create a framework for not just optimizing for keywords and SEO, but also for user experience, from the search engine results page all the way through to the end results of the user is hoping to achieve. And the reason I mention that is the idea of merging these two different ideas in a creative way and the tactical and creative aspect to that. Even though I don’t think he would call himself a growth hacker either, that quality of creatively coming up with these sets of solutions for problems and challenges, especially in the case of growth hacking it would be in an applied sense to specific business metrics. I think that’s the definition of a good growth hacker.

And I think the last one I’d mention is sort of a boring answer, but the author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries. He’s pretty well known. I mention him because that methodology is something I use everyday at Bandzoogle – coming up with an idea, developing a minimum viable product for it, whether that’s the basic landing page variant in Optimizely or whatever, something quick and easy, testing it, measuring it, and optimizing it or just figuring out what they’re not […] The idea of just failing as quickly as possible so you can move on to the next step. I think that’s a really powerful methodology that works really well for this field of work.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

The number one thing would be: being a growth hacker, every day is diving into the unknown to an extent. You might have your bread and butter channels or tactics that you know boost results. But you can never stand still. You always need to be pushing the boundaries in some way. So what that means is you’re always diving into unknown territory. Being bold and fearless is what I would say as a growth hacker, and learn to not be afraid of the dark, embrace the unknown.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago when I was starting, it was a reflexion on my growth hacking role. One of the things that really stood out to me at the time, and still is very much true today, is be prepared to use every tool that you have available in your toolbelt. So use every tool that you have, and not just once. Always be using every tool. You never have enough tools, you always have to find new ways to grow things, and you’ll keep adding new tools to your belt, so you always have to be pulling all the stops and using everything you have. Use every tool in your belt.

The last thing I would say is keep building your personal library of case studies. I don’t mean writing case studies. You’ll always be meeting new challenges everyday and as you progress and you overcome challenges, those lessons that you’ve learned will almost be inevitable and useful in the future. So when you’re approaching a challenge, being able to say that you did this, that happened, this is why it happened, it’s a lot more useful than just being able to say “If we do this, then that might happen.” You can reference something that you’ve done before, the lessons that you’ve learned. Maybe writing it down and keeping a record of the case studies. Making sure that from every challenge you encounter you make sure to learn something from it and remember what you learned so you can use it later.

Jonathan Manske - Visual Summary

Jonathan Manske

1. What is a Cerebral Sanitation Engineer?

I’ve spent years trying to figure out what to call myself, because my clients primarily hire me because they want to do better in their business, but if I call myself a business coach then that clumps me with business coaches who are working on strategies and tactics which is important but that’s not what I do. I work on the mindset, the beliefs and the attitudes that make it all possible. One day that term just came to me, Cerebral Sanitation Engineer, “Hey that’s perfect and it actually describes what I do”. That’s also memorable and it’s funny, taking out the head trash, taking out the limiting beliefs that sabotage people. Henri Ford said it well: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” People have all kinds of things like that: “Oh this is gonna be hard” or “I can’t do this” or “I don’t deserve to succeed” or “I can’t sell” and on and on and on. And that’s stuff, when it’s going on up here, it totally sabotages whatever activity we’re in. And that’s the stuff I help people change, that’s my gift. I can see what people believe about themselves and about the world and about their businesses. And when we shift that we free them up to do better, and that’s really my passion, to help people to do better so they can live better.

2. What Have You Been Doing With Businesses in the Last Years?

Entrepreneurs, business owners, sales people come to me because they’re not doing as well as they would like to. Typically, when that’s going on, one of two things is happening: either they know what they should be doing and they just can’t bring themselves to do it. “I should be making more phone calls but I can’t.”, or they’re doing the right things but it isn’t producing the traction that they want. “My gosh, I’m doing all the right things but I’m not growing, I’m not doing better, what’s going on?” So typically there is an element of frustration and they want to do better and that could “I’m doing good but I hit a plateau and I want to do great.” They want to do better and it’s not happening so they come to me and we explore “What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about the world? What do you believe about business? What’s possible for you?” All of this stuff is running outside of people’s awareness but it’s in here (their head). Once we see what that stuff is, then we can do better. In the example of clients I was talking to last week, it just wasn’t ok for her to receive. So if you can’t receive, how is money, clients and stuff supposed to show up in your life? They’re two contradictory things there, and everyone’s got that sort of stuff. That’s what I do, we figure out that stuff and we get rid of it or we upgrade it and it freezes up people to do better.

3. What Are the Top 3 Qualities that an Entrepreneur Should Have?

Passion has got to be my number one, because there’s certainly successful entrepreneurs who don’t love what they do, it just makes sense on paper and they’re good at it. But then, they still got a gap of creating happiness and joy and fulfillment. Versus an entrepreneur who’s doing something that they got a passion for, then you make a living and you make a life, versus making a living and also having to go out and making a life. There’s a saying: “A man who loves what he does never works a day in his life.” So passion, definitely.

Tenacity. It’s not easy sometimes. Oftentimes, I’ll try something and it doesn’t work. It’s the willingness to go back and stick with it and keep hammering until you have that breakthrough.

Willingness is a huge one. Occasionally I run into somebody and they can see what’s going on but they’re not willing to do about it. They aren’t willing to stretch themselves, they aren’t willing to get out of their comfort zone and out on the skinny branches. They aren’t willing to even perceive themselves differently. And if we aren’t willing, nothing happens.

So those are my top three.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Entrepreneurs that You Learned From?

I love that question. The most famous would be Richard Branson. I actually wrote down a quote from him: “Don’t think about fun as reward, think of it as a responsibility. Fun should not just be reserved for special occasions. If you find time for it in everyday life you will be rewarded every day.” So here’s this fabulously successful entrepreneur and he built his empire on having fun. You know, we’re all gonna die, so between now and then we might as well enjoy our lives and have some fun and do some good and make a difference. And that’s definitely what Richard Branson represents to me. He’s playing, he’s having fun. And if we get into the science behind that, our brains work better when we’re having fun. Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) and other research like that. We’re more creative, we’re more effective, we’re more productive when we’re having fun. And if we’re having fun we’re enjoying life. If we aren’t having fun, we aren’t. So what Richard Branson said vitality, that aliveness, that fun to the entrepreneurial arena makes him one of my heroes.

Another hero of mine is a gentleman by the name of Dr. James Jackson. And he’s the founder of a really amazing non-profit organization called Project Cure. They’re the biggest distributor of donated medical supplies in the world. He’s delivered hope and health and wellness to literally millions of people around the world. But before he got into the non-profit world, he and his brothers developed a lot of the land in Veil and Winter Park here in Colorado. So he was an extremely wealthy man. And then one day, him and his wife had a conversation: “You know, we’re addicted to accumulation and finding the next deal, and we’re on that rat race and we’re actually not that happy” so they re-prioritized and said “That’s been about us, what if we turn our attention towards service and contribution and making a difference?” So they moved out of that arena and he did some economic consulting and some other things and he accidently founded Project Cure when he was doing economic consulting in Brazil. He went to the slum with a doctor and saw this clinic with a line of people going around the block with very little supplies. “How in the hell are you supposed to help these people? You don’t have anything. I bet you I could go to Colorado and get some supplies together and get them shipped to you.” That was 25 years ago and that’s still what they’re doing. He’s a brilliant entrepreneur, so he built Project Cure like a business as well. The foundation of all his businesses, from the investments in real estate all the way to Project Cure, is to make sure that everyone is better off. If we do a business and someone is not better off then there’s a part of us that’s going to feel bad about ourselves and be disappointed in ourselves. Joy and happiness come from being of service, so if we do a business deal and I make a killing but you feel bad about it, there’s a part of my conscience that’s gonna be bothered by that. That’s going to be a ceiling on how happy and fulfilled I can be because I didn’t make your life better.

He’s actually a good friend of mine, we get to talk fairly often so that’s a blessing in my life. He said that when they were doing their real estate deals, every time that that a deal started to bog down, him and his brothers who were his business partners would sit down and they would make a list of all the people who were involved and they would just go through one by one. “Is this person better off?” And sure enough, they’d see that someone wasn’t better off. And they’d say “What can we do to restructure this deal so that person is better off too?” As soon as they did that, the on switch turned on again and the deals went through. So extremely successful by making other people better off.

There’s that old mindset of “to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be ruthless and cruel.” That’s one model but that’s not a model I’m interested in. That’s not my people. How about we do really good and make a difference in the world and make people’s lives better, and serve and contribute and fill our hearts while we fill our wallets. And these are superstars at that, so definitely one of my entrepreneurial heroes.

I have a friend, Chris Falten, who’s with Trans America Financials. He’s a personal growth superstar, a personal growth ninja. He’s really a role model for me to see where he is now and where he came, and the work he’s done to upgrade his mindsets, his beliefs, his attitudes, to expand what’s possible for him. He’s just a rockstar at what he does. He created so much value for people around the nation through training other representatives. Hero of mine by the way he attacks personal growth and development.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs?

Number one is, 100% of success if in our heads. That might seem like a crazy statement because obviously action is important, but what determines action? Up here. If I’ve got a story that nobody wants to hear from me, I’m not going to be making very many phone calls. And that’s very often the last place people look when things aren’t going the way they want. They look at strategies and tactics, and I’m not saying strategies and tactics aren’t important, they are, but we gotta have the right mindset. So “Who am I being?” not “What is it that I’m doing?” is oftentimes where the adjustment needs to take place. So again, if I think it’s not possible for me to do this, I’m going to be right. And whatever actions I take are going to be ineffective and then I’m gonna be frustrated and disappointed.

One of my favourite questions, Matt, is “Based on these results, what must I believe?”. “Based on what’s going on in my life and business, what must I believe?”. And if we ask that question and we sit by quietly, usually an answer bubbles up. Then we see our limiting beliefs, how we’re sabotaging ourselves: “People don’t really wanna buy from me. Business is hard.” Then when we see it we can do something about it. Or so many people are stressed about time, “there’s not enough time.” And so if I’ve got that story going on in my head “There’s not enough time” then it doesn’t matter which time management strategies and time blocking and priority management. All that is going to underperform, because I’m coming from scarcity and panic. We gotta change that story to “What if there is enough time?” Then let’s all those strategies and tactics work the way they’re supposed to.

So, peace of advice number one, check up here first, “what do I believe about myself” and then change what you’re doing.

Similar to that, piece of advice number two, is people are always trying to change their behaviors. “I need to eat more healthy” or “I need to make more phone calls”, “I need to get up early”, and most of the time people fail when they try to change their behaviors, and that’s because they don’t understand that the stories that we’re telling ourselves up here drive our behaviors. So even our weirdest defectess behavior totally make sense when we understand the story in our heads. Phone calls are an easy example. If I’ve got a story that making phone calls is bothering people or nobody wants to hear from me or something lousy like that, it totally makes sense that I’m gonna procrastinate about my phone calls, because why would I call somebody who doesn’t want to hear from me? Why would I want to call somebody and bother them? So, I can use willpower or effort to try to force myself to make more phone calls but that’s not sustainable, that’s just not going to work. Or I can change the story that making phone calls is an opportunity to contribute and make a difference, making phone calls is fun, I love finding out about people, I change my story and the behavior will change on its own.

Second piece of advice, is personal growth gym. If you wanna do better, you’ve gotta change what’s going up here, and that doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by you spending time, reading, plugging in, listening to podcasts like that, using personal tools to change what’s possible for you. If I told you, Matt: “I’ve been exercising once a week for two months now and nothing’s changing”, it’d be pretty simple to solve: “Hey Jonathan, you need to exercise more often if you want your body to change.” If we want to change what’s possible for us, we gotta go to the personal gym on a daily basis, spend some time on yourself.

And my third piece of advice is enjoy the journey. You and I are both going to die, so between now and then we can either enjoy our lives or not, we can either move our businesses forward and have fun and enjoy our lives or not, enjoy the journey. I saw a video clip recently, David Ortiz the baseball player is retiring after this season, and he seems to be a lot more playful than he has been in the rest of his career. There’s a video of him, he got on base, and he’s giving the first baseman a back massage during the middle of a baseball game. He’s enjoying the ride, but guess what, he could have been doing that his whole career and you and I could be doing that our whole career, laughing and enjoying the ride.

So those are my top three pieces of advice.

It’s easy to fall in that seriousness trap, if we’re being all serious then we aren’t enjoying life. If we aren’t enjoying life, then what’s the point?