I will be dialoguing with Andrew Lee Miller, also known as “Andrew Startups”, to give you some proven and actionable advice around how to bootstraps to reach success. Andrew has driven growth for 3 multi-million dollar startup exits in both Dubai and Silicon Valley, with really low budgets…which means he’s proficient in much more than scaling paid advertising. He’s a growth hacker.
Welcome, Andrew. We are so excited to have you.
Hey Manuj. How are you? Thank you for having me.
All right, great. So let’s dive in. So you are obviously a real bootstrapping master. I heard a couple of your podcasts interviews, and you said that you started your first startup and you move to Nicaragua. and you started working remotely. So tell us about your journey on that first one adventure of yours.
Yeah, so you know, as everybody does, you know, you start out working for people. I mean, some people go straight into entrepreneurial stuff, but I think it’s easier to work for someone else doing it, learn from their mistakes and then become an entrepreneur later, but either way and in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, we always say there’s no such thing as failing. You’re just getting learning and data. But so for me, I was head of marketing of many companies for like the first six years, not many companies, but a few different projects for the first six years of my career. Three of those I was lucky to take from you know, pretty much being first 10 employees to an exit. So I was a part of three exits, really quick, all focused on leading the growth and heading the growth teams at these companies. And I realized, okay, I think I have a knack for that, like you said, this early-stage startup stuff. So meaning like, I’m the first person to take over just the messaging, build and launch paid and unpaid campaigns, at whatever budget constraints that we have. And, you know, I think a lot of it is just being comfortable in that hyper-growth stressful phase. I’m just naturally working at that speed, I guess. So, after the third exit. Yeah, I was like, you know what, I’m just going to be a consultant. Now, I don’t think I need to work with one company at a time, I haven’t proven track record. So I found a company that was willing to take a risk with me remotely, and they weren’t going to pay a huge amount, but they you know, they wanted to see the metrics and see the performance. So I moved to Nicaragua to make the costs, life balance work for me. And that was it that enabled me to just be able to focus on providing really good value for that client. I worked for them for six months from Nicaragua, crushed it, they grew 300% they had to then hire someone in the house. So I helped him with that hiring, training and handing off the things I was working on. And I was like, wow, this is quite a package of service for interim CMO solutions or interim growth leads solutions remotely for companies. So since 2016, I’ve pretty much been doing that. And just been getting better and better at creating more and more value for companies and working with higher ticket startups to which culminated last year, I launched a dating app for Tinder and match group in LA and took seven months I actually moved there was the head of the project, and ended up getting internally acquired by their parent company. So now I’m just focused on working also with corporate incubators to like inject the startup ethos, help them learn how to move efficiently and skip the bureaucratic decisions and just move, move, iterate, take that data, and move quickly. So that’s pretty much where I am.
That’s awesome. So it seems like you’re quite passionate about travel and adventure. Is that sort of weave into your goals as you transform your life?
Depends on what day you catch me and what how long the airport security for me at a certain point, you know like recently in Tel Aviv I had speaking engagements last week and I got searched for four hours and I’m like I’m never traveling again and then now I’m like, there are beaches that are calling my name. No. I think work comes first. And that’s the thing that people don’t know about what’s called a digital nomad. You see these pictures of people working from the beach. I don’t go to the beach with my laptop. I’m not getting sand on my laptop. I don’t go to the beach that much. Even when you live that way. I’m focused on work. No, I’m passionate about my work. But because 90% of my projects are remote. It makes sense for me to spend time out of the United States and places that are more affordable even no matter what price point I’m at. It’s nice to settle down. I spent three months this year in South Africa. Beautiful country, spent two months in Mexico and now I’m back in the United States for some meetings and speaking events, but so I love to travel, I think the job avails that, but you have to have the background and a proven track record to be able to back it up. So I would say 10% of companies that I end up talking with are like we’re not okay with you being remote. And I have to say, I’m really sorry, but that your spot you should be metrics based when you’re looking at growth people, you know, like, what, what industries have you worked with? What results have you proven? And if the numbers are there, then doesn’t matter where they are?
Awesome. That’s great. So yeah, I mean, just wanted to highlight that you can follow your passion, you can do good work, and everything is possible these days, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort. So that’s awesome.
Yeah, you hit a nail right on the head there. Passion is really the right thing you know, like so. People often ask me, How am I able to work so much. I mean, I’m approaching 80 hours a week average this year, but, but work to me is not Skype and sending emails work to me as if you have to put on a uniform. Go and put on a smiley face. So I can work 24 seven because I’m doing what I love. And that’s the secret.
Yeah, that’s very important. So you, you know, a lot of young entrepreneurs in the audience professionals in the audience. And that’s one thing I always say, you know, I have everybody who talks to me about Okay, what, what should they do? What should be the next step? So I always tell them, you know, go reach out inside yourself and try to find out what, you know, what is your passion and then just close your eyes and just start doing that work? Because, you know, even if, initially you don’t make money, your passion will drive you and you are the process, right?
Yeah, the famous I think it was Steve Jobs or some famous savant of business once said, What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and money was no longer the focus, like you won the lottery for a billion dollars like, really think what would you do with your time, that’s what you should be doing? Whatever that is, and as I said, you can start your passion, you don’t know how you’re going to make money on it. But eventually, the money will come if the results are there. So focus on it even as a part-time thing, and then figure out how to make money from it later.
Very good advice. All right. So let’s turn to your growth strategy. So you obviously drove three companies to hyper-growth, and you did it at a very small budget. So tell us a little bit about that. Like how do you achieve that kind of result with minimal investments?
Yeah. So going back, I’ve helped dozens of companies scale three I was three companies I was full-time Head of Marketing for so there are only three exits that I really claim were caused by me. But you know, even last year, I had one project that was internally acquired. Last year, I had a client in Australia that I helped scale from seed to A-round very quickly. I had another client in Spain last year that raised $20 million off the back of my only one month of my customer acquisition cost. We’re driving down there. So what I do is unique in the sense that I am strategy and implementation and execution in one person. So that right there is the mind-blown moment for most entrepreneurs and startup founders, they’re used to working with a strategy consultant, and then having to implement themselves or finding an agency or junior marketer, an intern that will implement the strategy. So, I am the One Stop Shop, I have experience which, you know, worked in multiple countries, I think I’ve worked on almost projects in almost a dozen countries now, and have done every kind of industry and price point and really, you know, like 13 years’ experience in early-stage startups, you’re going to see everything so I wouldn’t call myself a b2b marketing expert, but I’ve had a project that exited in b2b in the SAS industry, so very varied interests and background and constantly seeking out projects that I haven’t mastered yet. So that way I can continue to build that tool chest there. So I think that’s a couple of the unique things but really growth hacking is all about just being very data-driven, very aggressive, very open to testing everything and just being real numbers based. So it’s more of a science and an art form, I would say somewhere between traditional marketing and development, you know, like, I’m not a developer, but I sit cross-part cross-departmentally with developers often and work to build scripts that will scrape mobile numbers off of our competitor sites, or, you know, one-click post content from your site onto an existing marketplace with your target demographic. So, growth hacking is sometimes even offline marketing, we figured out a way to give out flyers at scale to our target demographic somewhere or we figured out a way to hack event marketing for this business. So it’s really about being more than just a digital marketing expert. You know, I can do PR I do SEO myself, I can optimize an app for the App Store, but I can also go to speaking events if that’s what needs to be done for the company. So that one-stop-shop. And really, as I said in the beginning, understanding that stressful, fast hyper-growth phase and how I have been able to provide help to founders rather than stress them out more that comes with experience.
That’s great. Awesome. So you mentioned a lot of growth hacking techniques. How’s that? different from traditional marketing?
So traditional marketers have budgets, so they can take their time figuring out what’s working, traditional marketers clock out at 5 pm. And don’t start working until the next day or Monday. A growth hacker never stops working. Period, even if I’m away from the computer, random ideas are flowing, and I’m like, oh, I’ve seen somebody else’s ad and I’m writing that down. Think to bring that back discussing with the team how we can do something similar for our project. And you know, I’m just really fast-paced tests are run simultaneously. I’m not frivolous, with the special I could rarely at the early stage, do we even do paid ads. We want to organically test out channels, see what’s working, see what messaging is working, and then come back once we’ve raised more money and spend then so I think traditional marketers lean on spending to move quickly or and then take their time. And a growth hacker moves quickly, fail quickly. Tests quickly, iterate quickly, and just works a lot more with dev teams to develop, you know, even marketing can growth hacking is also inside the product a lot of times, which most traditional marketers don’t touch the product at all. So growth hacker and you know, again, to all the entrepreneurs out there that are like, into growth hacker, the term is kind of dying, I’m just struggling to come up with a better explanation for what I do. Before that, we call it I call myself an aggressive online marketer, but really the growth is a lot working with the product also. So I’m looking through the product lifecycle, trying to identify where’s that aha moment where users are super happy and injected more opportunities for them to share, promote, invite, and create more vitality there. So that’s also growth stuff as well.
Great, awesome. So let’s say, you know, a new entrepreneur, or Lyft, a startup comes to you and says, Hey, Andrew, we want you to help us out in growing. So what are your first few first steps that you take to get the process going?
Well, the first thing is to identify if I have the right value for what they need. So I would say 100 companies hit me up per year that I can’t work with one because, you know, I’m most useful when they do raise the budget now. And so I’ve kind of moved my career to focus on where many of my talents will be necessary, and I’m a very talented user acquisition expert as well. So I’m trying nowadays too as a full-time consultant only works with companies that have closed at least $500,000 that enables me to run paid ads. Do the optimization is on the product that needs to be done, optimize it for search, do PR all of the above. But so the first thing is figuring out which level of my services are going to be most valuable, or if I should hand them to someone else in my network, like, you know, for instance, if they’re not perfectly aligned with my background, but if they aren’t at a funding stage yet, and they’re just bootstrapping, or they got friends and family, or they’ve raised like $100,000, I have an online course that I recommend to them. And so I will walk them through why the course is viable for them what they will learn from it, I basically put in all the strategies that I implement myself exactly which tools do you use to do your own SEO and how to do an influencer marketing campaign and how much to pay, etc, about 20 to 20 different topics in there, or offer them just hourly consulting if they’re at the idea stage. If you’re a founder that’s at the idea stage right now, obviously, you’re not going to pay $10,000 to a marketing consultant. We don’t have a product yet. So I do hourly consulting, which is not a moneymaker. Really, for me. I think I’ve got about 20 calls this year. So it’s not even one month of one real client. But it’s really valuable just to help guide people in the right direction so that they can go and finish the product and then go take the course the next level, and then use the course to drive the traction to hire me. So let’s assume you’re talking about the highest level founder just raise the money. They decide to work with Andrew startups. What’s the next thing to do? I always dive into the product first. So research, product research, market research, competitive research, keyword research, all that helps me figure out what is going on in these people’s world and this project world and then I develop a strategy next. So strategy development consists of three things, what I know will work based on 13 years experience, for instance, Google Search always works almost for any industry. So put that into the plan. Two is the things that I found in my research that are industry-specific. So you know, if it’s a travel app, these are the travel advertising platforms, we should try are these are the travel Facebook groups that we need to infiltrate in a nice word. And then the third thing is that goes into the strategy is what the founders have already tested lightly on their own. So let’s say Facebook ads or Pinterest, they know, the data was good enough to test that scale. And so I’ll put those three things together and strategy and start executing based on what we can get done as quickly as possible. And then, right, I just rushed to the execution, which is really different than most agencies, they want to string you along for 30 days before they even have to start working.
Cool. That’s great. That’s a very comprehensive way to go about it. Now, you know, you obviously you’ve worked with many startups and what are the some of the typical mistakes that you see founders make while trying to grow their companies? Oh, wow. Do you have all day?
I think as far as marketing goes, the number one problem is not marketing soon enough. Founders are usually product-focused which is great. And you think that the product is obviously the most important thing when at an early stage startup, no matter how talented your marketer is, if the product isn’t great, and you’re not going to, you’re going to be wasting your time marketing. And honestly, that’s another thing that happens at the beginning as I go through the product, and I go, look, I know you spent three years developing this, this is not ready for market for X, Y & Z reasons. So the product needs to be great, you need to have data that people are liking the product before you start scaling the marketing. So the number one problem is going to market too soon or not soon enough. So a founder is waiting for something to be perfect. There’s another saying in Silicon Valley, ‘if you wait for it to be 100% you’ll never get you’ll never launch’. So you need to recognize that you need to start promoting your product even before it’s done. You have a landing page of coming soon countdown date, whatever it is, you’re putting out content you’re building thought leadership, you’re marketing that project as soon as possible. And then you have that list built for the launch day when the products ready. Or if it is too early, the founder was working in siloes, didn’t console with someone like me to be looked through the data. It was like we’re good, it’s good, it’s fine. It’s ready to market it. And then I go too soon and the brand gets damaged and people hate it and they hold up the dig out of. So that’s those are the most common thing. The higher level, the biggest problem I see with founders is leaning towards saying no, versus saying yes. So successful founders are finding reasons to do things. Unsuccessful founders are always like, we shouldn’t do that. We can’t do that. That’s dangerous. That’s not important. That won’t work for us. You know, I mean, like, so many times, founders have been like, you don’t understand our industry, Andrew. XYZ marketing thing won’t work. And I’m like, but you don’t know if that could be your hyper-growth channel until you test it. And I’m telling you that I’ve seen it work magically for other companies. So I feel bad for those people who maybe it’s how they were raised or what but when it comes to startups and marketing, there is no such thing as a stupid idea until you test it obviously, stupid ideas. Like you were going to punch people in the face when they walk by and hand them a flyer. There’s a high level. I mean, there’s crazy, ridiculous brand-damaging things. But those are some of the key things like if I see a founder consistently saying no to everything that I sometimes it fired clients before because I’m like, you’re paying me $10,000 a month and I’m giving you all these suggestions or recommendations, you’re not implementing them. I don’t want you to waste your money anymore. So I’ve left a couple of times, two times in the last three years, I think. But and then the last thing is at a higher level founders that think they know everything. So you know, if you’re listening to this, and you’re paying a consultant or your employees, listen to them, be open to the potential that people that work for you might be smarter than you, you know, like, especially at certain things right? If you’re hiring me and I have 13 years’ experience and you’re arguing with me on every single thing, you know, like whether you’ve been a marketer yourself or not, you’re doing yourself a disservice because I’m just trying to create value for you. So, many times founders were like, No, no, no, I’ll do this. And I’ll do that. And I’m like, well, you you’re paying a consultant. So you should lean on me as much as possible. So don’t be that guy. You know, like the most successful founders hire people purposely that are smarter than themselves at each part of the business so that they have the faith and trust that they’re working on. So don’t micromanage and don’t like to overload people too much.
I completely agree. You know, what’s interesting is because I do similar work with startups on the technical side, and I completely agree with exactly what you just said, you know, a lot of founders, they, they get, you know, to water, they drink their own cool it too much, and they wait too long, to make things perfect, and they don’t really focus on the customer. And the last point that you gave was an act like I have so many examples of people hiring me and then not listening to me based on the recommendation I was giving them ended up losing a lot of money in the process and at the end of the day, It’s all about just, you know, gaining control of the situation, I think they just want to be in control all the time rather than be open and trusting. Right. So yeah, I mean, the recommendation is like, do seek out help. But if you do find a good person, please do listen to them.
And you know, absolutely, yeah. Yeah. And set the goals at the very beginning. Nowadays, I’m very transparent that Look, I don’t want to work with you unless you’re going to be open to doing things my way. And I’m not trying to take over as CEO, your chief everything officer, but like for this project to be most successful with growth and marketing, I am the lead. Obviously, final decisions are going to be made by you. But like, if I tell you something has worked for 10 projects like you, let’s not fight on it, let’s go test it with a few resources. See if it works, if not, I’ll step back and I’ll be like, you know, I’m glad we tested that. But most of the time I’m suggesting something, it’s worth testing. And that’s the thing that I make sure is understood before.
That’s good. All right. Great. So, moving forward, you know, I’ve heard in the startup circles that if, if I have $5 in the company, I’ll spend at least $4 on marketing. So what do you think about, you know, this perfect ratio of how much should you be investing in marketing versus other activities of your company, mainly product development?
That’s a good point. I think everything should be data-driven. So that’s my answer almost every question. But being data-driven with where you allocate the budget means that if your product is failing, and you’re seeing a bad funnel, and you’re seeing friction and no conversions, then you spend the money to optimize the product. If you’re seeing the product working great. And it’s just the business will only grow with the top of the funnel. That’s when you spend on marketing, right? So basically, you let the data tell you what to focus on. And that’s what I really try to get a hold of hammer home with a lot of my talks that I give to founders like you’re not It’s not like mafia movie does when their gut this driven people, like kill that guy or make that move or that decision with startups. And I think we have a culture that’s really focused on being macho and, and gut-driven. And like, we know what, you’re a good guy you’re hired, know, and startups, you don’t do that you’re, we’re all about being data-driven. You have a hunch, and that hunch drives you to test something. So for instance, I have a hunch that the product is a problem, then I’m going to test an iteration here in the funnel, this is where the data is showing me, then the test is showing me that there’s a mistake right here in the funnel, but that that test didn’t provide the solution. That means I’m going to hire a new product consultant, or I am going to spend time and effort with the hackathon and the company to come up with new solutions or I’m going to upgrade one tool or software to help the product, whatever it may be. So the data that helps you decide the ratio where you should spend, you should not increase your marketing until you see that conversion rate or you see the product isn’t working well enough to that, you just need to scale the top of the funnel. And with paid ads, paid ads work faster than other organic stuff like SEO or PR or whatever. So if you need speed, then you have to spend more. If you have time to slowly scale up your marketing, you can save a lot of money by doing a lot more of the organic stuff like content marketing, influencer marketing things that will pay off in the longer term. So that’s how I break that down.
Cool. And, you know, you mentioned the various type of marketing activities, content marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, is there any aspect that you think is critical? Like, you know, you cannot do without that, for example, a lot of people say, you know, email marketing is, is the key like, you know, the money’s in the list. So what do you think? Let’s say if somebody doesn’t have a lot of budgets, what is one thing that you cannot do without?
That is a great question. It really depends on the project and the target demographic and the price point of whatever the conversion is. So if it’s like a super expensive product and a difficult target demographic, then email marketing is definitely what you want to do. You just want to provide a bunch of value for free on the website, get someone’s email address, and then communicate with them over time. But if it’s like an e-commerce website, well, I guess you still won’t even if it’s like free content, blog or something, and you know, you I guess you’re right, though, for email marketing, you always want to grab people’s email. And you know, there’s no reason no case for not wanting that. But it really depends on what the conversion or what the target demographic is, as well as to what channel is like something you can’t do without. But I mean, I would always say you should always optimize your website for search, you should always optimize your app for the search for the App Store search. So that’s you know, but for me, I always start with the foundation and the foundation is like SEO, your search stuff, your email marketing stuff, your conversion rate optimization on the website, your messaging. You always have to tighten up your foundation first before you start driving traffic to a site. So that means that I want to see the bounce rate on a website below 50%. I want to see 10 to 15% of people giving us their email address one way or the other, I want to see conversions coming in. And I want to know for exactly what messaging is working and then that we’re getting organic traffic, and then I’m going to go towards driving traffic through different channels. But the as far as channels go, the first thing I always lean on is Google search, the highest intent search in general, the highest intent traffic is going to be searched after direct traffic, right? If someone types Manuj.com. They’re going to be interested in what you’re doing. And but if they, if they go to the, if they go to Google and they’re searching interim CTO solutions and they find you, that means that they are probably going to be able to convert. So that’s like the first place to start really, but that’s really just a quick title of the infrastructure, almost marketing infrastructure in the beginning. So that’s where you start. But as far as channels go, yeah searches King. So paid ads, if I had $100, the first thing I’m going to do is go to google search, because for every click, you might be able to get a conversion, like 100% return if it’s tightened enough.
Sure, sure. Now, you mentioned that you know, Google search is that important, which I completely agree with. But, you know, there is a school of thought that relying on Google alone may be dangerous because, in the past, they have changed their algorithm significantly. And overnight, a lot of people lost their traffic. So how do you make sure that you know, we don’t rely on Google too much? And don’t you know, build a strategy, and just rely on Google search?
Yeah. So there’s no way around relying on Google they got you one way or the other and if your Gmail or your You’re kidding. But as far as advertising goes, you know, like, I don’t think they changed the outcome. As much as people talk like there hasn’t been a drastic thing really to happen even this year. And you can, you know, like they normally put out a blog post about what they’re about to change. Obviously, they’re not telling you exactly what. But Google search is still the king. But unfortunately, most clients want me to run on Facebook. I spent $10 million on Facebook in the last five years or something. I think Google is not even half that most people are running the Facebook, because you know, just the interest targeting you can really get in people’s face. The time in-app is crazy per user every day. I mean, it’s unheard of. And that’s why 84 cents out of every dollar spent on digital marketing now is going to Facebook, that’s a real static, just solid and advertising, newspaper or magazine. So Facebook is really the king, unfortunately. But Google, I say, unfortunately, because search is so much higher intent. Facebook is still like bombarding people why they’re looking at cat photos and their family. So they’re not high intent. But basically, the short answer is you diversify. Right. So, in the beginning, I have a small spend per channel, but I’m testing three to five channels. And then I’m seeing what’s working. And then I’m scaling those up. But the reason I brought up Google search is that it always works. I mean, it’s just about how expensive it is, right? So if someone’s searching for, you know, restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and you have an ad, and you’re a restaurant, and you’re going to convert people faster than even your Facebook page or your website coming up, because they’re right, in their face. So Google Search Ads get about 30% of the click-through. So even if you’re not your business is brand new, you can instantly start getting 30% of the traffic for any search term you want, depending on if you’re willing to pay for it.
Yeah, cool. All right. So you also mentioned influencer marketing, social media. So you know, I’ve not been very active on social media, I’ll be honest, but this year, you know, I said, Okay, if I need to grow, I need to, you know, dive in right and then I started looking at, okay, should I go on to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. So, you know, since I’m sort of more b2b, I generally settled on LinkedIn. What do you think, you know, what are the most prominent sort of platforms? And are the trends changing over time? In terms of what platform should we target?
Yeah, it’s really the same answer. It depends on the project and the target demographic and the price point of what you’re saying. LinkedIn, you and I are consultants, probably around similar rates. We’re working with billion-dollar companies. So LinkedIn has the highest net worth of the average user and $75,000. You can still target people at the business level on pretty much any to any platform like you can search on Instagram startup founder, and you’ll find someone who wrote startup founder in their bio. The problem is spending a lot of time on social media in general, it’s just not going to move the needle for guys like us, you know, we’re at a high level. I’m sure you’ll say the same thing with companies that I work with they come inbound so a venture capitalist in San Francisco, who knows that I drive results, refers me to the startup founder that stuck out a certain problem with their marketing. And that’s where the leads come from me. So, I believe strongly that the best marketers and to startup people, not even marketers the best people in business are not active on social media. So you’re Gary van der Chuck or Billie Jean is marketing. They’re not really doing anything for real startups. No one in Silicon Valley takes Carrie van or truck seriously. He’s never he’s not a real investor, any of that stuff and I hope he doesn’t hear this but, I had a meeting recently with a friend who’s very high-level Director of Marketing at Facebook and Victoria’s Secret. And he had never even heard of Billie Jean is marketing but they’re stuck. I spent millions of dollars on ads. So yeah, you know, as far as your social media goes, you should ground cover you should post every day. You shouldn’t really focus too much on the page, stuff beyond that. You can even me I have a $1,000 product with my course. I’m pretty active on social media. It’s almost never even drone driven customers for the course because the majority of people on Every channel are just clicking and liking and passing on. They’re not really engaging as much as you think. And I’m putting out pretty darn good content. I had a post to go viral on Reddit the other day of my top 10. Top 10 Facebook hacks. So Reddit has subreddit. So those communities are super tight. So the entrepreneur subreddit, you should definitely check that out. I think that’s incredible. But they’re hardly going to ever spend money with you, but they’ll engage with your content and help you build your brand quite a bit. LinkedIn is obviously the most valuable thing for us because we can target people by what they’re working on. But again, I almost never get legitimate things coming through social media. So if you’re a startup listening to this, and you have $100 product or your e-commerce store with many products in the net is very wide, then you should test every social media channel. If you are a product that is focused on women from 30 to 50, you should definitely be on Pinterest. If you are focused on teen users, you know, you need to look at Snapchat, if your users over 30 then you go to Facebook. So there are different channels that we think that you can hyper I pathetically expect to work better for you. But the bottom line is you should post on everything evenly in the beginning and then get that data to see what works best for you.
That’s great. Alright, so thanks for those insights. Now, obviously, you know, marketing doing work in a data-driven manner. And trying out all these different things, they come with a bag of failures, you know, you think something is going to work, and it doesn’t work out the way that you expected. So how do you deal with those failures, you know, over and over again? And how do you? How do you keep going in the face of this kind of adversity?
That’s the secret. You just keep going, man, like, first of all, expecting that failures can happen in the beginning being ready for it. Not if I always say, expect the worst hope for the best. Man. I hope this test works out but I’m not but if it doesn’t, then I know what doesn’t work and I’m getting closer. So every time you fail, you’re getting better. Closer, here’s a success, here’s where you are now you got to fail, fail, fail, fail, you’re getting closer to it every time. So I think that living in San Francisco and Silicon Valley completely changed my mindset about that, you know, or whereas most people a failure, I spent so much time on that campaign, I’m going to give up altogether. That sucks. Whereas San Francisco, you’re like, Oh my God, we failed. That means we’re probably only one or two more failures away from literally making billions or millions or whatever it is. So I think that it’s a mindset. And it’s just how you process negative information. You know, if something bad happens, there’s really no such thing as something bad because there’s just information it might come around to be a good thing later on. Because this bad thing happened. We pivoted and we ended up becoming a better product. Instagram, for instance, was originally a bourbon rating app where you would rate your drinks and like they couldn’t take off they couldn’t figure out what was working. And then they figured out that people only like the photo part of it. So what started out as a bad depressing thing, they just took everything else out and made it a photo app and obviously know how that went. So I think that mentality is the first thing. The second thing is moving quickly, right? We got the data we failed, failing quickly as a phrase in Silicon Valley, because you want to fail with his least amount of resources as possible, right? So you don’t give up on something until you know that it’s not going any further, but you don’t keep it going. Once you know, it’s not working out. So failing as quickly as possible, getting over it, not letting your ego come into it. It’s just data. Those are the main things I think to get over failure.
Yeah, I could not agree with you more. I think one of the key things that I think your message contained was always take a lesson from the failure because, you know, a lot of people they just let the failure go by and even if they are, you know, going on, in spite of failures, they, do not look back and say, Okay, why did it fail and get some lessons out of that for future us?
Yeah, if you don’t do that, then you’re bound to fail again. So yeah, you got to get there’s a lot of people don’t know that there’s value in your failures you’re learning. There’s a famous quote from the guy that started PayPal, Max Levchin, he was like my first startup failed miserably. The second startup did pretty well but eventually failed. The third startup was a terrible idea just failed. The fourth startup did pretty well. But again, failed at the end of the first startup was PayPal. So you like just keep getting closer and closer to winning, you never give up. And that is really the number one thing that separates the people that make 10s of millions of dollars from their startup from everyone else, like even me. A lot of people ask Andrew, you’ve been working with successful startup founders for so long. Why? Why don’t you have your own startup? Why don’t you find anything? And the answer is I don’t have the ability to work on something for 7 to 10 years. I know that I like to work with startup founders from three to 12 months. I’m not going to be able to work on a project for longer than that. And the most successful startup founders are literally headed down the same path. For seven to 10 years as long as it takes. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re a new startup founder and you’re hoping to get an exit in two years, you’re working on the wrong project. You need to be ready to work on something for five to 10 years. And if you are, and you’re unwilling to give up on that mission, no matter how many times you have to go back for fundraising, you have to move in with your parents to make the money work, whatever it is, you will get there eventually.
Yeah, awesome. That’s great. All right. It’s been a great, insightful interview. Thanks a lot for sharing all that information. Is there anything that you may want to add to that which I haven’t asked? And also, please do let us know how people can reach out and what kind of services you can provide to startup founders.
Yeah, exactly. Actually, I’m going to go above and beyond and I would love to give any listener a 25% discount, which is a unique discount exclusive to Manuj and his tetra noodle following and podcasts on the growth hacking course that I have. So like I said, nowadays after so many successes, to be a full time consulting with startups on between 10-$15,000 a month that might sound crazy. But last year, I had my clients raise $25 million off the back of what I do. And I’m working with companies that are raising at least 500,000. And in the first month, I can normally reduce their customer acquisition costs in half. So I provide a ton of value for corporate for fast hyper-growth companies. And I also work with corporate incubators to launch their startups inside. But that, unfortunately, means I can’t work with all the early-stage startup founders who are just at the idea stage or have some money and they need to learn how to do the growth hacking internally. So last year, I spent six months developing a course 45 videos, 60-page workbook, a private entrepreneur community set hours working with me as a consultant as a mentor. And I have about 15 startups that have gone through that program already this year. They basically take the classes they can either purchase, the lower end is $1,000. They get access to every lesson tool recommendation template example from my career that they can use to then growth, hack their own growth, or at the higher end of $2,000. And I sit with them, audit their business review their campaigns, they get set certain hours booked with me on top of the course. And then I guide them through taking the course and unbelievable results so far, Manuj news, the companies that have gone through three of the companies have already raised funding so that they figured out how to grow organically using this course. And then they that traction enables them to go and pitch to investors and show them Wow, look at we’re growing organically already. And they raised that money from there. So that’s the most important thing. I want to try and get out there to early-stage founders because you can get an intern, I’ve helped companies, get interns and use the course as the salary for the intern. So you get an unpaid intern for two months to come and execute these growth strategies with you in their office. They’re learning how to start a startup from you and then they’re also learning marketing techniques from me in the course of and then at the lower level, I also do hourly consulting. So if they just want to book an hour of my time, they can get in touch with me at Andrew startups on Instagram on Twitter on Andrew startup.com. Or you can even email me me@Andrewstartup.com. So we’d love to chat with any early-stage startup founder that needs help with marketing. And even if you need product help, I have an unbelievable partner that does MVP design and development. And if you need a CTO, talk to Manuj.
Yeah. All right. That’s awesome. That’s great. Thank you so much for coming on to our show and sharing all your wisdom.
Thanks a lot. No problem. Thank you for having me. Take care.