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2 Lessons from the Best Founders I’ve Worked With (8- and 9-Figure Self-Funded Entrepreneurs)
One of the reasons why I decided to start & run an SME-focused marketing agency is that I get to work directly with business owners or…
One of the reasons why I decided to start & run an SME-focused marketing agency is that I get to work directly with business owners or founders.
I don’t come from an entrepreneurial backgorund, so the only way I could learn entrepreneurship was by copying and emulating my most successful clients.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve been fortunate to work with one founder who started & grew a SaaS business to $100,000,000 in annual revenue and another who built an ecommerce business to $10,000,000 in annual revenue.
After working with over 50 clients, I couldn’t help but notice that their unique behavior, apart from their results, stood out like a sore thumb.
And I’ve started to believe that these are the traits that led them to their success.
This article is my attempt to articulate two of their most distinct habits, and how we can all learn from them. Let’s start with the first.
Triangulate and Launch Fast (Be Productive, Don’t Over-rationalize, and Learn from the Market)
“H” was the best entrepreneur ever I worked with, not because he built a 9-figure business, but because he was inhumanly productive.
I remember a regular Monday when I recommended that he make three landing pages and five long-form ads for his marketing funnel.
By Tuesday, he was done with 3,000 words across his landing pages and 1,500 words across the long-form ads. By 12nn. He started on 8am.
This came as a surprise because I always felt that I was a productive person; but this freakshow took it to the next level.
I couldn’t understand how he did it until I started noticing something that annoyed me:
“Kenn, look at what this guy is doing” — *shows landing page*
“Kenn, I like his funnel here. Do you think it will work for us?” — *shows another landing page*
“Kenn, I saw this new format — long-form sales page on a free ebook. What do you think?” — *shows a book*
“Kenn, do you think this kind of story from XXX works? — *shows another page*
Initially, this annoyed the crap out of me because I felt that he wasn’t trusting my ideas.
If he hired me to be his consultant, why does he have to look for random references, right?
But I eventually realized that he needs those references to help him decide what format and style to choose for this work. And my role in the engagement was to choose what are the best references and why they are the best references.
It all started to make sense for me when he kept talking about “copying” and “building on” existing funnels from other people.
But it didn’t stop there.
What was crazy for me is that he kept doing this non-stop. He kept throwing ideas almost weekly and we found ourselves building a new marketing campaign or evolving an existing campaign every 2 weeks.
The best word I can come up with to describe this behavior is “Conceptual Triangulation”.
He would normally take two or more marketing assets, find patterns across those assets that validate a concept, build a system around that concept (e.g. a copywriting system for his sales pages), and then just run with it.
He never thought of any concepts or theories of his own. He always looked at other people in the market and just learned from what they did and remixed it into a new plan that’s new yet rooted in ideas that’s proven in-market.
But that’s only his starting point.
Because after he has that idea, he would release a new funnel or a new landing page within half a day. In about 4 hours. He also did free youtube videos and maintained a blog.
He was crazy productive because he modeled an existing format, just filled in the blanks, and didn’t overthink if it would work or not. Putting it out in market ASAP and seeing how the market reacts will answer that question.
When I saw that, I realized that was his “superpower” and I tried my best to copy it in my day-to-day work.
So much that I’ve tried to build it into an organizational development system that can you can read here.
But H’s story is for founders who love to do marketing work with their bare hands. What if you don’t and you’re better at leading and working through others?
This is where my second story comes in.
Stubbornly Open-Minded (Innovate by Always Testing Out New Channels & Ideas — even if it doesn’t make 100% sense to you)
The second story is about “L”. He doesn’t have the same marketing chops as H; but he has the same triangulation mindset:
He would look at the market for best practices and businesses to model instead of relying on his own theories
Whenever there was a new feature in Facebook or Google, or a new channel that’s emerging like chatbots, he’ll dive right in and figure out a way to integrate it in his business
He likes to read and listen to podcasts (in fact, he became a client of mine because he heard about me in this podcast episode: https://unofficialshopifypodcast.com/episodes/4435cb6b-4435cb6b)
But once he has that new idea or concept in his mind, he’ll push — HARD.
I’ve met people who were stubborn with their own views; but this guy is a different and weird kind of stubborn — if there’s a new idea or a new best practice, he wants to try it out and he wants to see it in market ASAP.
Let’s call it “stubbornly open-minded”.
They understand markets evolve all the time and there is a glass ceiling if you stick to old practices and routines for years.
Sticking to old routines may work if you’re in a traditional business like hardware retail or houseshold repair; but even they are slowly getting chipped off by specialty ecommerce stores and robotics.
Traditional brick & mortar just has a longer evolution cycle than digital businesses.
Growth is Under your Nose (Ever Wonder Why Many Billionaires and Millionaires Are Undereducated?)
Over the years, I’ve learned from “H”, “L”, and countless undereducated billionaires that the answers to the “rapid growth problem” can’t be found in a guru’s management theory book.
The best growth plans come from an open mind and it comes from the humility that the great plans you’ve made a year before may not work a year from now.
Markets always evolve, and you should too.
But you don’t have to go at it alone. If you’d like to grow your business faster, cut your learning curve, and get a wealth of new ideas to try on day 1, book a complimentary 30 minute consultation with me and let’s talk on how I turned these two insights into solid growth plans for my clients.
Our results speak for themselves: