I started WordStream in my 20s with nothing.
Today it's being acquired for $150,000,000 by Gannett.
Here are my top 4 lessons I learned over the last decade from making a baby unicorn.
1. Project a Bold Vision
I pitched the boldest vision I could possibly imagine at the time -
A $100M marketing software company!
Believers found my vision in time -
Talent and investors who in turn helped make my dream a reality.
You ask, "What could you have done differently?"
I should have projected an even bolder vision ;)
2. Embrace Epic Change
First we made keyword research tools but prices and retention were awful.
Instead of making small tweaks, we pivoted to a selling a PPC management platform.
We changed the entire product.
Big changes = big impact.
3. Find Your Unicorn Growth Hack
My most spectacular growth hack is the AdWords Grader.
We showcase the product by grading AdWords account performance.
It took me and 3 engineers just 4 months to create this.
Yet it made the company a success.
Double down on your unicorn projects. Kill your donkey projects.
4. Make Unicorn Babies
You learn so much when building a startup.
Even when they don't work out.
Don't let hard-earned lessons go to waste.
I'm building my next unicorn, MobileMonkey - a Facebook Messenger marketing platform.
It's that time again. I'm looking for believers. Talent & investor inquiries welcome!
Most startups don't end with a big IPO or acquisition.
But they're always an adventure.
And sometimes, can turn out better than you ever imagined.
I hope to make more unicorn babies.
You can too!