#72: How Eric Siu Saved a Failing Company and Took It to Success

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Our guest today shares his story of business success, and how he founded his company - Single Grain.

Eric Siu is an expert in entrepreneurship and marketing. In today’s interview, Eric shares his journey and valuable insights on building successful businesses, taking care of employees, and leveraging the power of podcasts to reach a wider audience.

Eric Siu is the founder of the digital marketing agency Single Grain. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School & Leveling Up, which get over 2.1M monthly downloads combined. Over the years, Eric has helped companies such as Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Salesforce acquire more customers.

Eric also hosts a marketing mastermind where the best in media, marketing, and business get together twice a year in Miami and Beverly Hills. He is also the author of 'Leveling Up: How to Master the Game of Life'.

He also speaks around the world on marketing, SaaS, and business. Eric is also a member of communities such as YPO and TED.

Learn more about Eric: http://www.singlegrain.com


Speaker A [00:00:00]:

Welcome to the creator's adventure, where we interview creators from around the world hearing their stories about growing a business. Today's guest helped companies like Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb to acquire more customers. And he shared an interesting idea with me that people might actually prefer AI generated content to content created by humans. So I'm curious of what you guys think about that Listen to this episode, and then let us know. Hey, everyone. I'm Brian McInulty, the founder of heads platform. Let's get into it. Hey, everyone. I'm here today with Eric Sue. He is the founder of digital marketing agency, Single Grain. He also hosts 2 podcasts, marketing school with co host Neil Patel. And leveling up which get over 2100000.0 monthly downloads combined. Over the years, Eric has helped companies such as such as Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Salesforce acquire more customers. Eric also hosts a marketing mastermind where the best in media, marketing, and business get together twice a year in Miami, Beverly Hills, and he is the author of Leveling Up How to Master the Game of Life. Eric also speaks around the world on marketing, SaaS, and business, and he is a member of communities such as YPO and TET. Eric, welcome to the show.

Speaker B [00:01:21]:

Thanks for having me, Brian. Happy to be here.

Speaker A [00:01:24]:

So my first question is for What would you say is the biggest thing that either you did or you're doing that's helped you to achieve the freedom to do what you enjoy?

Speaker B [00:01:34]:

Taking over this ad agency called Single Grain, which is a complete turnaround project, making it go from bad to worse. Sticking it through, hiring a great team, and thank god we hired these people because without them, we wouldn't have been involved to turn it around. So obviously, I I think for me, really for anybody, it's really the moments of adversity that teach you a lot. And, yeah, that was 1 of those moments.

Speaker A [00:02:03]:

Cool. So we saw actually, you bought your company Single Grain for 2 dollars back in 2014, And you mentioned how it used to be a SEO company and the brink of bankruptcy. So can you give us some background of of what happened there and how did you transform it into the success of today?

Speaker B [00:02:20]:

Yeah. So first and foremost, what I'll say is anything that goes wrong is my fault at the end of the day, and anything that goes right is because I was lucky enough to hire some good people, and it's that's what it comes down to at the end of the day. And so I was actually hired into the company when I was I think I was 26 or 27 years old, and I came in as the number 2 for the company. And the reason why I was hired in was because the work we were doing no longer relevant because Google's algorithms changed, and the work that we're doing didn't work anymore. So, basically, it was rendered ineffective overnight. And so I was tasked with kinda help turning things to help turn things around. And 6 months into it, the original founder of the company decided that he wanted to step away. And Neil, my podcast cohost, actually took me aside because he he has some equity in the company. He said, hey. It might be time for you to step away because there's no brand equity here. You should just leave. And so the way I looked at it was, why don't I try it? And worst case scenario, it's gonna be an an an NBA for me. Best case scenario, there's unlimited upside. And so to me, that seemed like a bet that was that was worth taking. And I basically paid 1 dollar for Neil's shares, so 10 percent, and another dollar for his partner's shares. So Heat and Shaw, who's he's well known in Silicon Valley circles. And then the rest was seller finance or the business. So 2 dollars, and the rest was seller financed. And, again, almost took it to the brink or put made it go from bad to worse, and thankfully, we turned it around.

Speaker A [00:03:51]:

Wow. Yeah. So we saw actually in a podcast interview with you that you mentioned before that, you were actually fired from your job when they found out about a side hustle you were doing. How did that experience shape your kind of mindset and determination as an entrepreneur?

Speaker B [00:04:09]:

I mean, I thought it was great when I was fired. So I was I think I was 20 24, 25 years old, and I was getting bored at my job. And, I guess, you could say I I had the entrepreneurial itch that was scratching away. And 1 of the leads actually reached out to the front desk of the office. I was working at this company called Break Media. So it's like a media company. And the COO calls me in and shows me a printout of the landing page and says, is this you? And I was like, yes. And he said, okay. Well, effective immediately, we're gonna be letting you go, blah blah blah. And instead of crying about it, instead of doing what people do nowadays, it nowadays, it's like they're gonna sue you or whatever. It's like, oh, I feel free. And so at that moment, I just started to work on myself, and I started to, you know, do a lot of outbound and, you know, pretty pretty quickly, I think, within a month or 2, with me writing answers on Quora or recording answers for people, recording kind of outbound email recording videos to send outbound to people, I was already making, like, 30, 40 grand on the side, and so it was a blessing to disguise. So I would just encourage you if something bad happens to you, think about you can reframe how you look at it, or you can kind of soak like other people and try to get back at the other person, but it's usually not worth it. Yeah.

Speaker A [00:05:23]:

Yeah. It's great advice. So you work with major companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb to help them acquire more customers. Would you be able to share maybe, like, 1 or 2 standout marketing strategies or campaigns that yielded remarkable results for those companies?

Speaker B [00:05:38]:

Yeah. So 1 company it's it's not 1 of those companies, but 1 that comes to mind is It's a survival website, and we basically took it from 0 to about 4000000 visits a month just from SEO. And that took about a year and a half, and that was just solely on the back of a solid content strategy and solid SEO strategy.

Speaker A [00:06:01]:

Wow. So I'm I'm curious what does that look like more in-depth because I had the opportunity last year to speak with Chris, 1 of the cofounders of ClickUp. And I asked him I told him, like, what I'm doing in my business, and I asked him, like, I know I need to do more of something, but I'm not sure what it is in terms of marketing. And he said, like, more blogs. And, like, whatever you're doing now more, and he he said how, like, everyone in the company was writing blog posts even if they weren't marketer or writer, and, like, how that was a big driver for them. So what did that look like for this company? Like, how was it mostly blog posts? Was it social media content? Was it all the above? And, like, how much exactly?

Speaker B [00:06:43]:

It was all blog posts. It was about 11 articles a week. And then as the site became more mature, about 50 percent of those articles were updated. And now that site's starting to layer layer on AI enhanced content. What I would say, though, is it worked really well also because that niche is not super tapped into. Like, when you're writing content in a competitive niche, let's say, in marketing. Everyone's writing about this stuff, so it's way more competitive. When it's newer niche, let's say you're talking about AI or talking about blockchain or something like that, you're gonna have a chance to re inquire because there's just a lot of that content that's missing or or not available yet, and Google's trying to index that content. Even though this is a strategy that works, I were you, Brian, if I were starting from scratch today, I would not do blogging. I would probably pick something else because it's just getting you more competitive. And the the way SEO is done, I believe, is gonna be completely different in the next 2 years.

Speaker A [00:07:34]:

Yeah. Yeah. So I'm curious on your thoughts on that. So what do you think AI is going to do to SEO. So, like, right now, with our blog, we don't have any, like, AI kind of content, but I really think, like, gonna be hard for Google to actually distinguish what is AI content, what is not. Because even, like, I've seen this AI checkers and things like that, but Like, can it just be, like, ask the AI to rewrite it slightly or with the certain criteria? And then it's kinda hard to tell. So feel like there's just gonna be this huge, huge amount of content produced even more than now.

Speaker B [00:08:08]:

Yeah. So I'm not so much worried about the content being or duplicate content checkers or Google or whatever being able to catch these. And they've kinda said it in their terms as well. They said, hey. As long as the content is good, as long as it's helpful to people, that's what it's all about. And, like, they changed their stance from a year ago. And if you think about a Brian do you really give a crap if your computer or your home is built by a robot? You probably don't. In fact, you're probably a little more comfortable knowing that there's precision that's tied to it versus the you know, many mistakes that human beings make because that's just how we are. We're we're flawed. Right? But when you have a machine doing it, they're just guided to do 1 thing. It's probably gonna be better. Like, when you think about a calculator, for example, it's always gonna do math better than you. And so my my my point in saying all this too is that you know, even us, we're enhancing the content that we're putting out using AI. So marketing school every day. That's a daily podcast. We're enhancing that with AI now. And we're doing programmatic SEO. We're doing a lot of things, but I believe that there's this 1 to 2 year honeymoon period where the people that have a strong domain authority, like a strong website, and they're producing a lot of this content. Sure. They're gonna reap the rewards on this, but search as a whole is going to change in the next couple years because the whole concept of these 10 blue links when you search for something, that's gonna go away. It's obviously, you're already starting to see things are becoming more conversational. And then there's threads to kind of, you know, continue to follow-up through. And that is going to be the new experience for search in at least for the next couple years. Starting in the next couple years.

Speaker A [00:09:40]:

Yeah. So so how do you prepare for that if if in the future, instead of googling something, people are going to ask chat GPT or or some kind of conversational AI? Yeah. So

Speaker B [00:09:52]:

even if you use chat GPT or BART right now, when you search for the top marketing podcast or you search for the top digital agencies, you'll actually see marketing school pop up, and you'll see single brain pop up. Usually, when you enter that query, And so I've talked about this with a handful of founders, but what we believe you need to rank highly in these interfaces right now, and I know this is not your question directly, but is it's it kinda doesn't change. Right? We're talking about citations here. So the number of reviews that you might have, the number of links you might have, the number of times you were kind of mentioned on the Internet versus other competitors, And that seems to be the case because that's how marketing school has thousands of reviews and thousands of mentions, thousands of pages. Single Green has, like, a lot of links. It's it's has strong domain authority. And so I think that's that's where if you wanna optimize for it, that that's where it's it's it's going. But I think also, III also think it's it's it's it's a tip of the iceberg. I think if if you and I, like, any prediction we're making right now, it could be completely different. Like, there was no chat GPT a year ago. And so the news cycles for all this AI stuff, they're, like, 24 hour news cycles. So it's really hard to predict, but what I can say for sure is the way we've done SEO for so long is gonna change. Because if you think about it, it's it's actually fairly archaic. It's the same user experience from when I was a kid When I first logged out the Internet when I was 8 or 9 years old, Altavista, Lycos, whatever, it's the same stuff. It's it's bound it it's time for a change.

Speaker A [00:11:23]:

Yeah. Yeah. That's a great point. So what would you suggest, like, knowing all the work that goes into helping these larger companies with their online presence and and traffic. What would you suggest, like, the the average individual creator work on or focus on?

Speaker B [00:11:41]:

So I would say you're talking about from a content creation standpoint?

Speaker A [00:11:47]:

Yeah. Yeah. For, I guess, like, organic reach in general.

Speaker B [00:11:50]:

Yeah. So would say for me personally, I'll just kind of experience here and and say what we're doing right now. Our pillar content starts from the podcast, and so marketing school or leveling up or me interviewing someone or even in this case, Brian, the reason part of the reason why I'm doing this I mentioned before we started the show is I wanna post produce this content so then I can throw it up on shorts or I can throw it up on onto my podcast. Because it kills 2 birds with 1 stone. And so for me, it makes a lot of sense to start with a video podcast and then cut it up for shorts for discoverability and also have 5 minute clips and maybe even the whole podcast as well. And that way, you're kind of killing many birds with Stone. Right? And and mister Beast himself, for those that are familiar, he he's he has said that podcasts he said this lesson a year ago that podcasts are o p. And so That means OP means overpowered. And so that's why he started doing a bunch of interviews. But I think doing that is good because organic reach on shorts is really good. And so that's by the way, I'm making this blanket statement I'm just seeing in general right now. But if I was doing B2B, for example, I might be targeting more LinkedIn. I might be targeting more Twitter because get good organic reach there, and that's what it is. And so it just depends on where your audience is hanging it out. That's marketing 01:01. And don't necessarily need hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. You just need your first hundred or first thousand true fans, and then you're good to go. So long story short, I'd focus on where the organic reach is, whether it's, you know, TikTok, whether it's YouTube, whether it's LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever. And and go from there. I would not start with SEO just because it's getting more and more crowded, and the game's gonna change quite a bit.

Speaker A [00:13:30]:

Yeah. Alright. Yeah. That's that sounds good. I agree about the podcast, and I think that it's videos, in a way, takes more effort to do than writing something, I think. But something like podcasts are are more unique because doesn't have to be quite as planned. And, like, we're sitting here today, and we're gonna have all this content created of us talking together. And it's, like, ready to go and and be converted into these different things as opposed to, like, let's sit down and and think about how we're gonna write this article or even write a script for a YouTube video maybe. Mhmm. So what would you say about, I guess, like, to remind everyone, like, you are the host of 2 podcast marketing school with Neil Patel and Leveling Up. So if somebody was gonna get started, you you mentioned about, like, getting that first, like, thousand fans. How would somebody go about doing that? Like, what's the what's the best strategy if somebody says, oh, okay. This sounds good. I'm gonna make the podcast. We're gonna start recording this week. What should they focus on to grow that in the beginning? Did you say first thousand things? First first, like, thousand fans. You said you get that, and then you're you're pretty much set. So, like, how how do you get to the the thousand fans? Yeah. So,

Speaker B [00:14:51]:

I mean, I'll I'll just experience your hair again. It's And so the leveling up podcast that I have, I've actually been doing that for, I believe, 10 years now or close to 10 years. And when I first started that 1, I was interviewing people. I was reaching out to people. I was editing the podcast. I was also posting the show notes to WordPress and uploading it. And it was a labor of love. I've been I was probably spending at least 6 hours, maybe 8 hours a week on it. I wasn't getting paid a dime for it, and I wasn't When you when you looked at my stats after the first year, I was only getting 9 downloads a day, but I kept going. And then I went for another year, and after their second year, I was only getting 30 loads a day, but I kept going. And so, usually, what I like to say on the pot the the marketing school podcast is that it takes 2 to 3 years to start to build an audience. It wasn't until year 3 where things really started to turn around, and we started to go from, let's say, 900 or 3000 downloads a month to 70000 or so. Right? And by the time we got up to maybe a hundred thousand at the high point, that's when I started marking school. So everything just continued to compound we continue to parlay, and I just kept playing the game. What I would encourage you probably 1 of the most important things if you wanna get to the first thousand fans is consistency. But to to have consistency, that's a boring answer. Right? But in order to have consistency, you have to reframe your mind because if all you're focused on is views, views, views, views, views, you're gonna give up because you're constant comparing yourself. You're looking at other people, and you're also judging yourself or you're worried about what other people are thinking. And I learned to reframe my mindset into thinking about what the unsolicited response rate is. So what that means is people that are listing, they're commenting, they're leaving a review here and there. Like, you're getting this dopamine hit every now and then where people are actually listening to your stuff. I remember in the early days, people are like, wow. This is amazing. I don't know why this isn't getting more downloads. I don't know why this doesn't have more ratings, whatever. But I just kept going, kept going, kept going, kept going. And that's the same thing with business as well. People think, They deserve something miraculously after a couple years. With business, it takes even longer, maybe even 10 years, 15, 20 years to start to build something generational. I've learned that the hard way. I'm happy to talk about that later, but same thing with the audience. You don't deserve it just because you're putting out content doesn't mean you deserve it. It's that you're constantly going and you're constantly iterating And as long as you look at it more from, hey. I'm learning, and maybe every now and then, I get a cookie from someone instead of I need to have massive a massive amount of views, that will bring that will pull a lot of pressure off your shoulders.

Speaker A [00:17:21]:

Like that. I think that's a great way to put it. And, yeah, focusing on, like, the the couple the couple comments and and and things that you do get of people reaching out to you use using that as the motivation. I like that. And I I think it's it's important that you mentioned this whole thing too and about the the consistency even if it does sound like a a more boring answer just from saying that word, it's something that people have to realize that it is possible after those those years of effort because, like you said, like, we wanna see the the result of the the downloads and everything happening earlier. And I think that, like, just humans in general are bad at looking at change that is not linear in a way. You know? And so, like, it it starts off it can start off very slow, but as you're consistent with everything, then suddenly, like, as you say, like, by year 3, year 4, now now it's at this place that you wouldn't have imagined,

Speaker B [00:18:18]:

it might have been at year 1, for example. Yeah. Well, Brian, how long have you been doing your business for?

Speaker A [00:18:24]:


Speaker B [00:18:25]:

when we started. 2009. So, yeah, you've been compounding. Right? And sometimes it's like You just do nothing happens for the first, like, 345 years, and you think you suck, or at least I thought I thought I sucked. And then all of a sudden, magic. So

Speaker A [00:18:42]:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, definitely gotta keep at it. III think I can I can relate to that as well? Like, I I feel like, like, what I know now, I feel like I I knew absolutely nothing back when I started in comparison to that. So Mhmm. I wanna talk a little bit about, like, single grain and the workplace because we saw that you won awards as a great place to work in the last year. So can you tell us a little bit more of, like, the strategies and the practices you implemented to build a positive and, like, engaging company culture?

Speaker B [00:19:18]:

Yeah. So that actually, that award we had when we had the got that we picked that 1 up, and we had the office in downtown LA. We no longer have that office, and so it's it's a remote first environment now. But I would say for to get that award. Those are only those types of workplace awards are the only types of awards that are important to me because it demonstrates that a, if you you're you're taking care of your people. Right? And if you take care of your people, then they're gonna take care of your clients, and then, ultimately, you're gonna have a good company. So everything comes down to people. I don't care if you're a service business or a product business at the end of the day. And so for us, I think we're very intentional about the the raw raw stuff that you hear. Right? The the the core values and you hang me out with each other, like, when we got the office, we placed Smash Brothers at 5PM every single day. Right? And we'd have our happy hours. We'd we'd go to lunch together, and we work, you know, even a couple years before the pandemic, 3, 4 years before the pandemic. We were working at 3 2. So we already had a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in the office, Tuesday Thursday, Friday working from home. Right? And so we tried to be ahead of things. We try to listen to people too. And so what I would just say is, ultimately, it's if I were to leave you with 1 Rob Roth theme, it's the values. Right? And so I used to think values were a bunch of baloney. Who cares about values? But, literally, they're your operating system, and they define who you hire and who you fire. And, you know, for us, once we start to really understand who we were and we held people accountable to that standard, then, I mean, that's ultimately, like, this is people decided, hey. This is what we want. We wanna be here. And those that don't wanna align with this, they can leave. And so that's a long way of answering the your question, but it it all comes down to values at the end of the day and, you know, living up to them. And I think that's much easier said than done.

Speaker A [00:21:04]:

Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. So you're a fully remote company now. HEIGHTS platform is as well. How would you say you maintain a strong sense of, like, that culture and connection among employees when everybody's working remotely?

Speaker B [00:21:18]:

Yeah. So I would say for us, I wish we've I wish we I think we can do a better job. I'll just put it that way. So for us, what's really important is with our our people, we have a there's daily stand ups. Right? And so it's really, the daily stand ups are more so for people to have that touch point each day. And so these are only 15 minutes. And we don't even talk about the typically, with a stand up, you talk about what you worked on yesterday, what you're working on today, and the blockers. We already put that into Slack. More so, we just have a conversation. We talk about, hey, Brian. Like, what are you grateful for today, or what are you looking forward to this weekend? And we kinda go around sharing really quickly then we quickly cover whatever blockers people have or we bring up, like, a key point. If we don't have anything, we'll just leave. But there's always something to talk about within that 15 minutes span. It's short. It's snappy, and it gives everyone that kind of touch point where it felt it feels like at least you've interacted with somebody today. And we try to do that across our teams as well. Everyone's having these 15 minute touch points, and that's gone a long way. And, obviously, I I think it's it's important to have in person too where your meeting maybe once, maybe twice a year. And because that's where you actually build a relationship. And if you because if you don't meet in person, it's just Zoom meetings, Zoom is much more transactional, and you can't really go as far. And so I'm still much more of a proponent of companies that have a hybrid setup because there's just something magical about in person. Even though I'm an introvert, I think it's really important to have that human touch point somehow. So --

Speaker A [00:22:49]:

Cool. Yeah. I think, like, what we do is a we have, like, a weekly team meeting And we start that off similar to what you said, not talking about, like, oh, what's the important things we need to talk about, but, like, what everybody do over the weekend? And, like, just kind of sharing that more. And and I think, like, it's little things like that that really help make a difference in the in the culture. And then the the feeling that it's not not so rushed or, like, all about work right now and and not having that, like, connection as much with the people you're working with. We also do, like, a a annual retreat altogether somewhere for a week, and that is I think, yeah, super, super important. Really, it's a it's a great time for everybody, and it's really helps everybody connect a lot better. Yeah. It's an experience that they won't forget. So it's important. Awesome. Well, how like, what's the the head count approximately at a single green? Yeah. So we have about 60 ish 60 ish or so.

Speaker B [00:23:52]:

Yeah. I'm not counting anything else. So

Speaker A [00:23:56]:

Yeah. Yeah. That's because we're still, like, under 10 at heights platform. And so for us, I I feel like I feel like we're doing very well as far as the the remote culture. Like, I've I've always had some kind of remote team since 2009, so I'm used to it in that sense. But I also think we have it easy because we're we're not so big yet that it's it's hard to manage and and get everybody together even though we are, like, spread out kind of around the world. Yep. Yeah. Okay. That that's interesting. I I wanna get more into it because you mentioned earlier about the like, the the challenges and the adversity of of doing all the things wrong and and everything of over over all these years of of growing the business. So what's, like, what's something else on your on your mind of, like, an example of that of, like, things that you've learned and and things you've had to go through to to get where you are right now? Yeah. Totally. I would just say

Speaker B [00:24:52]:

doing the acquisitions and some of the I'll I'll tell you some of the mistakes that I made personally, it's 1 is not doing enough due diligence, making sure it's a good fit for both sides. And calling out the brokers that we're working with as well because they were trying to get the deals done so quickly. And, you know, what I've learned is is if anybody ever wants to buy a services business, and perhaps even the product business as well. If the the CEO or the founder is is central to how things are done, you have to keep them around for you know, 3 to 4 years or so and and maybe get them on get them on some type of earn out there and maybe some equity rollover as well. And so you know, those are some of the lessons that that I learned on kind of the the m and a side and also not doing 2 in tandem. We we we basically did 2 at the same time. And you know, it's when you're doing that, you're basically you're integrating 2 completely different animals into yours. 2 so 2 different machines, 2 animals, however you wanna look at it into yours, and it just creates a it creates a lot of anxiety across the board for everyone. Right? And so that's what I would say. I think, also, if we're gonna if we're if we're to do a transaction, trying to pick up something that's complimentary to your business, and making sure that it's additive. Right? And so I I think we did an we did a, like, a very okay job there, but I think we could have done better. And so that's what I would say. I mean, you know, even over the years too tied to the acquisitions as well, you know, we had we had a situation where someone came through and They basically poached clients and they poached employees, and they tried to they moved on to another company and tried to do the same thing to to them as well. And, you know, that type of stuff will happen. Right? That just you never expect it to happen to you. So just make sure that you have insurance that covers you and and then stuff like that. So I could go on and on with stories like that, but I think in both of those moments or, let's say, m and a or, you you know, that situation where the the poaching was going on, it's really about maybe you might be surprised. It's reacting in a surprise way initially. But thinking about what you can what actions you could take immediately afterwards. And so for the person that decided to poach, like, Is it worth it to file a lawsuit? Is it worth it to destroy them? Probably not because it takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of money to do so, and you have bigger fish to fry. So just it these moments force you to either mature and grow up, Or if you don't, then you stay stuck at that level and you never get past it, and that's why your business stays the way it is because you haven't gotten to the next level.

Speaker A [00:27:27]:

Yeah. Yeah. Well said, I think and, like, it takes not only the the money and time, but, like, the mental energy of either either yourself or your team to be involved in that as well. So I I think the lesson here is for somebody like, if you're just more starting out in business and saying, like, well, m and a, like, I'm not ready I'm not acquiring any businesses or anything like that yet. Like, the lesson still applies of, like, if you're gonna have a partnership with somebody or or something like that. It's the same thing of, like, realizing the capacity of how many kind of, like, part similar partners you could probably be working with at a time. Maybe, really, that is 1, depending on what it is. And then also, yeah, realizing, like,

Speaker B [00:28:08]:

how how that is and to make sure it's the right fit so that way things don't go wrong. And, Brian, I'll I'll add I'll add probably the biggest thing here, and, you know, you can you can maybe raise your hand or or you could say, no. This wasn't a problem for me. But As a younger entrepreneur, high energy, you tend to think or I tended to think that I could do everything. I tended think, oh, I'm talented. I'm, you know, I'm a learner, and I'm very open minded. And so what ends up happening is this concept of the entrepreneurial ADD, and no offense to anybody that has ADD but the entrepreneurial ADD is a real thing because you start to work on your core business and then you get bored and you start to work on this other thing and you start to work other thing. And so throughout my journey at single ring, when I took over the company, what did I do? Let's see. There was a single ring. That's 1. I started a senior living website. That's 2. Okay? I started a SaaS, started education thing, wrote a book. Right? And it did all these other does. I could just keep adding and adding and adding. Right? And had I just focused on the core business it would be even better than it is today. Right? So I'm not complaining, but I'm just saying it took a while to learn the power of focus. And it's it's ironic because I talk about how important it is to focus, and and you you I don't think you've fully seen this frame, but Warren Buffett's over there. And I always shared a story around how when reporters asked Warren Buffett and Bill Gates what the secret to their success was, they both were wrote 1 word on a piece paper separately. They didn't talk to each other or anything. And when they revealed the word, it was they both said the word focus. And you hear a lot of these stories, and they don't really resonate until you're actually in the thick of it, and you're getting slapped around and you're getting punched in the face because you decided to go against it, and now you're paying the price. And so I think that's a really important thing. And I what I'll tell you is this. Excluding myself, I mean, sure. I I screwed up, right, on that. But when I look at other entrepreneurs that tell me I have 3 businesses. I have 4 business I have 5 businesses. That's a red flag. It used to be cool to me when I was younger. I said, oh my god. That's amazing. I wanna have 5 businesses, 10 businesses. But now it just tells me you're unfocused. And when I look at the ones that are maniacally focused, like I have a buddy, his company does a couple hundred million dollars a year, but they've just stayed focused on that. Another 100000000 dollars a year. Just stayed focused on that. And I think it's all very possible through the power of compounding and the power of focus. People to get what they want. It's and it's interesting because I had a I had a dinner with some of my entrepreneur friends. We're in the same kind of entrepreneurial forum. So we we got together once a month or so, and we've known each other for a long time. Some of them I've known for 10 years or so now. And we've all kind of gotten a little older. Some people got married, kids, and all that. And we're like, man, you know, all you really need to do to win is you just need to be a little smarter than the average person, and you just need to outlast and focus. And that's it.

Speaker A [00:31:16]:

Yeah. Yeah. That's great. I completely agree, and and I can relate to that early on in my business. I thought, like, okay. We're we're not only gonna be a web design agency. We're gonna do everything. Multimedia of, like, print design, web design. We can do video production. We're gonna do music. We're gonna do all these things. And in a way, I think that it's not the worst thing for an entrepreneur to to try all these different things because you learn what you enjoy doing or what you don't enjoy doing, and you learn things through that. But when when you found that thing that you you're ready to kinda commit to and you you think has a lot of potential, then you gotta realize that, okay, you gotta focus on this because then, like, I I can say the same thing in a test to, like, how I agree with you now. Like, All the other stuff is done in HEIGHTS platform is my focus, hundred percent. So, definitely, it's super important. I think, like, there's a distinction maybe that the the newer business owner or newer entrepreneur doesn't maybe consider, which is that, like, yes, like, you as an individual have this incredible potential to to create and build something very, very successful. And, like, accomplish all these things. But you can do that when you're focused on a specific thing, not spreading yourself across

Speaker B [00:32:38]:

everything. And it's it's kinda hard to figure out that distinction until you realize, like, 0II tried all these things, and it's none of them are going anywhere because I'm not focused. Well, totally. I mean, if you have, like, 1 resource over here and then you're just going a lot faster versus if you split it to 5 and it just moves a lot slower, It's like you're splitting your your bandwidth with your Internet, and it's it's obviously gonna be slower. So yeah. And by the way, to counterpoint to to kind of what you're saying, we're not not really a counterpoint, but You mentioned that you had an agency and you start adding all these services. I actually think that's okay. You focus on the agency. It's it would just not be okay if you yourself was trying to do all of it. Because if you had you did a really good job with hiring where you had a good people team that you could hire talent around it, But, you know, there's caveats to all this is what I'm saying to the audience.

Speaker A [00:33:24]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's a great point. And, yeah, I also like about the just the consistency and and and and how you said, like, just a little bit smarter and then working at that and being so consistent. And, like, the that that connects to both points of 1, if if you wanna grow and be successful and be just this world, like, known thing with your business compared to somebody else, and that other person's always focused on that specific thing. Then, like, how would you beat them if that is their only focus and you're spread across 20 different things? And number 2 is, like, if you just keep at that thing longer than other people are willing to or everyone else is giving up, then it's very likely that

Speaker B [00:34:08]:

you'll eventually get to appointment success. Yeah. Most people are impatient. So they the most people won't wait, so by default, you will win.

Speaker A [00:34:15]:

Yeah. Interesting, like, kind of analogy I thought of about that. So, like, anyone who's who lives in or has been to, like, a very big crowded city, if you think of all the people walking on the sidewalk at any time and think to yourself, like, well, can I walk as fast as, like, the fastest 1 percent of people that are walking here? And can I walk that way, like, the whole time that I'm out and, like, the whole time that I'm out and, like, be that 1 percent above everyone as far as walking speed? Not not going for a jog or something, but, like, walking faster. And I think, like, the answer is, like, yeah. Of of course, I could do that. But the reason why it's it's easier than it might seem is because other people aren't trying. And I think it's like that in business too. A lot of people aren't trying to do that. So sometimes they try for a little bit, and then they stop. But if you're consistent at that, then you can win with that consistency.

Speaker B [00:35:10]:


Speaker A [00:35:12]:

Cool. Alright. Eric, I like to have every guest ask a question to the audience on the show. So if you can think of anything to ask the audience whether it's, like, something you're curious about, something that's more, like, introspective, you want everyone to think about, What would that be?

Speaker B [00:35:28]:

I would encourage everyone to look at the mirror maybe tomorrow morning and ask yourself whatever it is that you're working on right now, is it something that you're really proud of, and is it something that you'd be proud of looking back maybe in 10 years, 20 years or so. And if not, what are you gonna do about it?

Speaker A [00:35:51]:

Like, great question. Alright. Eric, thanks so much for coming on. Before we get going, where else can people find you online?

Speaker B [00:35:58]:

Yeah. They can check out the marketing school podcast or on YouTube and follow me eric 0SIU on Twitter or Instagram.

Speaker A [00:36:06]:

Alright. Awesome. Thanks, Art.

Speaker B [00:36:08]:

Thank you.

Speaker A [00:36:10]:

I'd like to take a moment to invite you to join our free community of over 5000 creators at creator climb dot com. If you enjoyed this episode and wanna hear more, check out the HEIGHTS platform YouTube channel every Tuesday at 9AM US Central. To get notified when new episodes release, join our newsletter at the creators adventure dot com. Until then, keep learning, and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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