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p.s. If you’re interested in starting a blog (like this one), please read my ‘zero to blogging’ guide

How to Make a Million by 20, with Fraser Doherty


How to Make a Million by 20, with Fraser Doherty

In this interview I’m joined by Scottish entrepreneur Fraser Doherty, founder of ‘Superjam’ (which I can confirm is very tasty :)

Fraser Dohery has an awesome story: Age 14 after his Gran showed him her special jam recipe in her kitchen, Fraser started selling Jam in farmers markets and just a few years later he has grown his Jam company ‘Superjam’ into a million dollar business.

Check out the interview below – you’ll see Fraser is a really down to earth friendly guy, who also manages to have much tidier hair style than me (some birds’ nests spotted in mine)

In this interview you will learn:

– What to do when family & friends tell you to quit (but you believe you should keep going)
– How to get advice from entrepreneurs that are WAY more successful than you
– How Fraiser raised enough money to get his business of the ground, without borrowing a penny
– How Fraser got started and how he got his ‘big break’
– Why you need to focus on just 1 reason why customers should buy your product

Fraser’s links:


Fraser’s Book

Follow Fraser on Twitter

Your Turn – What did you learn from this video? Share it in the comments below

11 Ways to Get Rockstar Startup Advice

startup advice
startup advice

Decisions... Photo by Un ragazzo chiamato Bi

Have you ever wished you had access to experienced startup advisors that could help you with what you’re trying to achieve?

We’ve all been there – working on a project of some description – at some point one of the inevitable questions pop into our heads:
- Am I doing this right?
– What do I do next?
– Why do Starbuck’s cinnamon swirls taste so much better than everywhere else’s?

Trouble is a lot of the time there isn’t the right person around to help you.

Those of you who follow my blog will remember that one Friday night a few months ago, I got a little excited. A new service called Clarity had just gone into Beta that allows you to speak direct to an expert about a problem you’re having. Advice for entrepreneurs -> instantly

That night I spoke to Eric Ries, Andrew Chen and a few others about the startup I was working on (If you missed it here’s that post). Make no mistake, these are some of the top startup advisors any startup in the world could hope for. I think the ability to do this is a HUGE advantage – having access to people who have achieved what you’re trying to achieve, can really increase your chances of success

Further down this post I’ll show you how you too can talk to these and other advisors right now. Some for free, and most of them for under $10.

11 Rockstar Startup Advisors Available to Help You Now

Below I list 11 very very successful entrepreneurs, who for the first time (that I know of anyway) are available to speak to you (yes you), right now, to help you with any problem you may be having. This is not MSN/Skype chat – this is real life on the phone, human to human —– and you don’t even need to pay for the phone call.

Not believe me? Just click the link below any of the 11 startup advisors I list below, and see for yourself!

1.  Eric Ries 

Specialty: Lean Startup

Mini-bio: Entrepreneur. New York Times best selling author – The Lean Startup. Previously co-founded / CTO of IMVU.

Click here to speak to Eric

2. Hiten Shaw

Specialty: Lean Startup, Metrics

Mini-bio: Founder of KISSmetrics. Started 3 Internet companies. Love helping other entrepreneurs succeed.

Click here to speak to Hiten

3. Renée Warren

Specialty: Content Marketing

Mini-bio: Geek in stilettos. Founder of Traveler. Tall. Canadian in San Francisco.

Click here to speak to Renee

4. Tyler Crowley

Specialty: Ideation / startup advice / raising finance

Mini-bio: Founder of; previously corp dev, marketing and strategy at Reviewed and advised over 500+ startups for the TechCrunch50 & Launch conferences.

Click here to speak to Tyler

5. Ash Maurya

Specialty: Lean Startup

Mini-bio: Founder, Spark59. Author, Running Lean. Helping startups raise their odds of success.

Click here to speak to Ash

6. Benjamin Yoskovitz

Specialty: Ideation / Startup advice

Mini-bio: VP Product @ GoInstant, Founding Partner at Year One Labs (startup accelerator). Former CEO/founder of Standout Jobs (exited 2010).

Click here to speak to Ben

7. Mark MacLeod

Specialty: Raising finance

Mini-bio: Partner at Real Ventures, a Montreal-based seed VC fund which focus on SaaS, freemium and e-commerce investments.

Click here to speak to Mark

8. Dan Martell

Specialty: Startup Biz Dev / Marketing / Startup advice

Mini-bio: Canadian Entrepreneur. Founder of – Angel Investor (15 tech startups). Co-Founder of Flowtown (Acquired 11’), Founder of Spheric Technologies (Acquired 08’), Mentor @ 500Startup, GrowLabs &

Click here to speak to Dan

9. Heather Ritchie

Specialty: Startup PR

Mini-bio: Public Relations for Startups. (Media Outreach | Social Media | Communications Strategy)

Click here to speak to Heather

10. Rob Walling

Specialty: Bootstrapping / solo-preneurship

Mini-bio: Serial solo entrepreneur, author and mentor. Blogger at

Click here to speak to Rob

11. Jason Lankow

Specialty: Data-visualization / Infographics

Mini-bio: Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Content Marketing, Startups

Click here to speak to Jason

Your Turn: Did you speak to any of the people above? Where do you get your startup advice from?

20 Facebook Advertising Mistakes that Could be Avoided (pt 1)

Facebook marketing tips


Facebook marketing tips

Zucks = done well

Love it or loathe it, with 800 million users, Facebook marketing has changed the the way we socialise, interact and market on the web.

With instant potential access to 800 million+ users, who have shared enough details about themselves that could make a market researcher wet themselves with joy, it’s little surprise that Facebook advertising is one of  the world’s most powerful digital marketing tools. However everyday millions is wasted on poor Facebook marketing

So how can we do Facebook marketing better ?

Over the past month I’ve been working with a Social Gaming Startup that we’ve grown to 3 million users (1 million MAU’s) in 6 months. One of our primary user acquisition methods is Facebook advertising. In this post I’ll share 20 of the most important Facebook marketing tips I’ve learned  and mistakes to avoid

As it’s quite a lot to take in, I’ll break this post into 2 parts, 10 today and 10 in the next post.

If you’re using Facebook advertising now, I’d love too hear if you put these Facebook advertising tips into action (and the results). If you do not use Facebook advertising right now, but might in the future – I recommededn bookmarking these posts, so you know where to find it when you do begin marketing on Facebook.

Should you have any specific questions – please add them to the comments on the bottom of this page.

1.  Focussing only on CPC

With Facebook ads you pay only when someone clicks on your ad – so it’s easy to only focus solely on your Cost Per Click (CPC). However your Click Through Rate (CTR) is also very important – as Facebook wants ads that are more engaging and will prioritise AND lower the Cost Per Click price of ads that have a higher CTR

2.  Applying your Effort in the Wrong Places


facebook advertising tips

There are 3 main elements of a Facebook ad: Image, headline & text body – and not all are created equal.

-          The image has the largest impact.  I estimate 80% of the impact of the ad comes from the image. This is what does or doesn’t catch someone’s eye -> you can have a great image & crap text and still do well, but not the other way round

-          Headline – next most important à I’d give this 15% of the impact

-          Body test – least important à I’d give this 5% impact

The amount of time you spend testing and optimising your ads should be split in accordance with the above

 3.  Using Broad Demographics

Reason why Facebook CPC is so powerful – you can hyper target the users that will see your ads à meaning that only only paying when your target customers click your ads. These are typically:


Age: 13 – 17, 18 – 24, 25 – 29, 29 – 24, 25-39 etc


State (available for the US only)

Remember all that stuff the marketing teachers told you about ‘know your audience’ – this is it in action

You do know who your target audience is don’t you?

4.  Using Broad Interests

Another of the joys of Facebook ads is that you can also target psychographic information: What are your user’s interests? These are based on the pages that your users have ‘Liked’ or games they have played

Got a new Social Network for Carrot lovers you want to market? Try targeting these types of pages

 5.  Bidding too High

Facebook will give you a suggested CPC bid for your ad – do not use this bid price if you’re looking to get most value from your ads. My advice – begin 30% below the price Facebook suggest and slowly nudge upwards only if you need to drive more volume

6.  Using Dull Ass images

Remember point 2 – that 80% of impact comes from images? Well this is the moment

Use images that are bright, visually striking and stand out.

What works:

-          Close ups of people. Time and time again what achieves the highest CTR are close ups of smiling girls (however this might result in highest conversions, or CPA’s – see point 20)

-          Relevant Striking Images- time and time again, the images that resulted in highest converted click through was this image: Lessons – a close up image of a 3D football game à grabs the attention of football fans/gaming fans (our audience)

-          Ask your designer to brighten the face of who-ever is in your picture (almost a halo effect) this only works

What does not work:

-          Far away images of people – the image is small, unless it’s a close up it won’t engage people

example of facebook ad

What on earth is this picture supposed to be????

-          Dull colours

-          Logo’s, unless yours is very vibrant, it won’t catch people’s eye

bad facebook advertising

Facebook ads: What NOT to do

7.  Not testing boarders

Putting a thick border around your ads can make them much more striking – try it! We’ve found it increases conversions.


good facebook ad

Borders RULE!!!

8.  Not using consistency where possible

If you can have elements of your ad that reflect whatever you’re advertising it will result in higher conversions. People don’t like surprises. Surprises = clicks of the ‘back button’ which is bad bad. Take our game I Am Playr as an example:

We put a small logo in our ads

Facebook quality ad

Goalie with logo ---> winning combo!

As the first thing people see after clicking the ad is our logo on our accept app screen à this gave consistency of the logo to people.

facebook app permission

the first thing someone sees

Result? A slightly lower Click through Rate, but a Higher Click to Conversion rate – which is the ultimate goal (increased ROI)

 9.  Having a Lame Headline

After the image, it’s the headline that’s most important. What works well here are clear requests – questions work particularly well. When you see a question, your subconscious reaction is to answer it = increased engagement with your ad

As do celebrity names (if you have the authority to use them)

I love what Appsumo doing with this headline

Facebook ad headline

Awesome headline!!

10.  Not using the word FREE

People like Free – If you’re giving away something free, frickin say so!!!!!

I’ll post the second 10 Facebook advertising tips later this week

If you have any questions – or anything you’d like me to cover in the next post – please add it to the comments below


How to be Creative (even if you’re not the creative type)?

how to be creative

How can we become a successful creative?

Good news is that it’s not just for creative geniuses, but being creative is a skill that can be learnt by us all.

In this interview I’m joined by Jonah Lehrer, writer for Wired magazine, The New Yorker and author of many books including recently released: Imagine: How Creativity Works - and he shares with us how we can become more creative.

Before you email me/laugh OR email me while laughing – yes I’m aware that you can only see half my head in this interview, unfortunately the tripid slipped a little just before I pressed record. The GOOD NEWS is that you can still make out everything  Jonah says and it’s just TOO GOOD not to share with you just because half my head is missing – Enjoy!  

In this interview you will learn:

  • What is the no.1 most important trait scientists have found to predict success? (hint: it’s not what you think)
  • How to be Creative
  • How choosing easy buy playing hard is so important
  • Why failing fast is so important
  • Why you should never brainstorm and why you should criticise!

 Check it out:

Checkout Jonah’s Book: Imagine: How Creativity Works

Check out Jonah’s Website

Jonah in Wired:

Jonah in the The New Yorker:

Jonah on Charlie Rose (note how Charlie has his whole head in the shots – I must try that sometime :)

 Your Turn: What did you take away from this video? Share it in the comments below

The Startup Handbook

Eeeks….You’ve got here a little early

– The Startup Handbook will be ready in the next 7 days (mid-May 2012) (and yes it will be full of Startup free tools, resources and tips)

To be one of the FIRST people to get a FREE COPYsimply enter your email address below

Thanks – any questions feel free to email me personally: howard (at)



The 5 Numbers that Actually Matter

startup metrics
startup metrics

Data overload = brainmelt

What Startup Metrics do you measure?

In God we Trust – everyone else bring data – W. Edwards Deming

In our online and tech world we now swim in an ocean of data – we could literally spend all day analysing it. I’ve spoken with some successful entrepreneurs about the importance of this in the past, but not all data or metrics is created equal

– so which of these numbers actually matter?

Well there’s no shortage of metrics you could be looking at each day: Coo-ing as they go up, and rationalise if they flat line or fall. Some classics for these are: Reach, page impressions, Facebook likes, Twitter followers.

Now I don’t want to say that these don’t matter a shit, as they do – a little. But the point is that you can experience hockey stick growth in any of these and simultaneously go out of business.

Therefore they are probably not the most important metrics you need to be looking at.

Most startups fail – this is a fact. This is not because most startup founders are not smart,  – most startup founders are smarter, more dynamic and more driven than their corporate counterparts – in my opinion it’s because their lack of focus on the things that really matter.

The following 5 key metrics are the things that really matter (however few startups looks at them). Have a relentless, lazer focus on these startup metrics, and you won’t go far wrong.

These 5 startup metrics are as follows:

1.  Acquisition

At what price can you acquire a new user? Every business needs new users – and the lower you can acquire them for the better. This can be vastly different across product segments and user demographics – for example the cost to acquire a for a blog will typically be lower than for an ecommerce store (due to increased value of a user in the marketplace)

By optimising your acquisition (typically on a Cost Per Click basis) and decreasing the cost of user acquisition – you increase your profit margins.

 2.  Activation

Not all users that land on our website or app will signup. Activation is the % of users that move from the landing on your site/app to a predetermined point where where they have interacted more deeply with your business (usually becoming a registered user, playing a game, doing a first check in, personalising their profile, signing up to your email list, installing your app etc. )

Even if you’re marketing department is acquiring customers really cheap – if you’re not converting them into activated users – your Cost per Acquired user (a number infinitely more important than Cost per Click) will be too high

This is where the famous ‘funnel’ comes into play: visualise your activation funnel with conversion percent at every step – and optimise.

 3.  Retention

Retention is simple. It is also the single most important metric of them all.

What % of this week’s new users return in the next week.

This is the single most important signal to tell you if your product rocks or sucks. If your retention is too low (it will be when you launch) – you have to keep pumping an ever increasing number of newly acquired users into the top of your funnel to keep growing.  This is an expensive tactic.

Chances are you’ll run out of money that way.

If you can achieve a weekly retention rate of 20%+ – you’ll do well.

How to increase this key metric: Make your content/product more awesome, and sprinkle in some retention mechanics (emails etc) for good measure

4.  Revenue

Pretty self-explanatory – what’s your average revenue per user (ARPU)?

Focus relentlessly on increasing this figure.

5.  Referral

How many new users does each user bring to your business (virality)?

This is normally measured as a viral co-efficient.

If your viral co-efficient is 1 or above it means every one of your users brings another new user to your business – you will grow exponentially (note: this is very hard to do, some companies that have achieved this are – Skype and Hotmail)

These 5 startup metrics are commonly referred to as AARRR (Startup Metrics for Pirates)

See more about them here:

Startup Metrics for Pirates
View more presentations from Dave McClure

The principles that apply to a startup are often instructive for established businesses as well. Those who are interested in a deeper study of these principles should consider courses from either an MBA or a master of organizational leadership program.

 Your turn: What numbers of metrics do you monitor?