How to run a portfolio business? Timothy Bosworth, Think Big Be Big

Tim bosworth

How do you startup a successful dating site, consultancy, blog and create a series of children’s books? Impossible right?

In this interview with Timothy Bosworth from Think Big Be Big, we discuss what it takes to have a portfolio career; how to act on your entrepreneurial impulses and Tim shares the methodologies he uses to get so much done.


Success Lessons Learnt from Poker

Winning hand.
Winning hand.

Winning hand. Photo: Jonathan Rubio








I love business and sporting analogies – they’re usually pretty inspiring, if sometime contradictory. I came across these inspiring list of Poker strategies that transfer to the business world of an entrepreneur and found them really, really inspiring. Hope you enjoy them

Market Evaluation:

  • Table selection is the most important decision you can make
  • It’s ok to switch tables if you find out it’s too hard to win at your table
  • If there’s a lot of players who are irrational of inexperienced, it can be harder to win


  • Act weak when strong
  • Act strong when weak
  • Know when to bluff
  • Help shape the stories people are telling about you


  • Always be prepared for the worst possible scenario
  • The guy who wins the most hands is not the person who makes the most money in the long run
  • The guy who never loses a hand is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run
  • Go for positive expected value, not what is least risky
  • Make sure your bank roll is big enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking
  • Play only with what you can afford to lose
  • Remember it’s a long term game, you win or lose individual sessions, but it’s the long run that matters


  • Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see other people making money from them
  • Figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high
  • Don’t cheat. Cheaters don’t win in the long run
  • Be flexible, be patient and think long term
  • The players with the most stamina and focus usually win
  • Differentiate yourself – do the opposite of what everyone else on the table is doing
  • Hope is not a good plan
  • Don’t play too long – it’s much better to take a break or have a rest for the night, then come back to the table

Continued Learning

  • Read books from other people who have done it before
  • Learn by doing, theory is nice but nothing replaces actual experience
  • Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players
  • Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good & you’ve not more learning to do – you might’ve just got lucky
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice


  • You’ve got to love the game
  • To be really good, you’ve got to live it and sleep it
  • Don’t be cocky, don’t be flashy; there’s always someone better than you
  • Be nice and make friends – it’s a small community
  • Share what you’ve learned with others
  • Look for opportunities beyond the game you sat down to play
  • You never know who you’re going to meet, in new business partners or contacts
  • Have fun! The game is a lot more fun when you’re trying to do more than make money


  • The game begins before you site down in the seat
  • The most important decision to make is to know what table to sit at, this includes knowing when to change tables (you can make 9 times as much sitting with inexperienced players with lots of chips vs. a table with experienced players with few chips)
  • It’s never too late to change tables

Hope you enjoyed these. Big props to the very inspirational Tony Heish for these, taken from his book: Delivering Happiness – I highly recommend you check it out – I read it his weekend while travelling the Scottish highlands and it made for a fantastic weekend.

What do you think? Please commend below:

If you don’t listen to these 4 podcasts now, you’ll hate yourself later

Marketing podcasts
Marketing podcasts

Goooood morning! (photo: cogdogblog)








Podcasts are a fantastic way learn great new information while on the go. Since getting my iPhone I’ve been hooked and I now listen to about 10 hours of podcasts a week. In this post I’ll tell you about 4 podcasts you’d be crazy to miss.

Why do I love them so much?

  • Many have amazing free content
  • Many of the better podcasters (see below) give away their best tips during their podcasts – tips that you can put in practice straight away to get closer to your goals
  • Great way to learn while in the gym/cycling/walking/on the train etc
  • Did I mention they’re free?

Here are my favourites I highly recommend you check out:


1.    Mixergy

Learning from the people who have ‘done it’ is one of the best ways to get insights into how to achieve success.

On his Mixergy podcasts, Andrew Warner interviews pretty much every successful Web 2.0 entrepreneur going Time Ferris, Gary Veynerchuck, Jimmy Wales – if they’ve launched a successful company – chances are they’ve been interviewed here.

Listen to it for: To learn how to be successful. Find it here

I love marketing

 2.    I Love Marketing

Joe Polish and Dean Jackson give real marketing advice – on direct response marketing (the type that really works). They start from the basics and introduce step by step how to create a hugely successful marketing plan.

Joe Polish is the marketing advisor to Richard Branson, among others. This Podcast is a way to get advice from one of the world’s leading experts, who might be a little outside your budget otherwise.

Listen to it for: Step by step guide to amazing marketing Find it here

IBM3    Internet Business Mastery

The very first podcast I listened to, I’ve listened to every episode at least once. Each one is packed full of useful tips. Sterling and Jay are really down to earth guys who it’s impossible not to like.

Listen to it for: If you’re a newbie to internet business or blogging – start here

Find it here

smart passive income podcast

4    Smart Passive Income

Want an example of how to be authentic on the web? Check out Pat’s site and podcast – packed full of useful information on everything from blogging to how to create an iphone app to affiliate marketing. Great example of a nice guy crushing it with his internet business.

Listen to it for: Inspiration and information Find it here

Any podcasts you listen to I should check out? Post them in the comments below

7 Reasons why MBA’s suck for entrepreneurs

startup mba
startup mba

Typical day in business school...












Two years ago I became an MBA graduate from Durham University. It was without doubt the best year of my life – I learned, grew, worked hard, bonded, made great fiends, fell in love.

Despite all these things – if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and have plans of taking over the world, I recommend you forget about doing an MBA.

Why? put down your GMAT test book and I’ll tell you…

Before I do so I want to thank Jason Freedman and his blog: The Humbled MBA – this post was inspired by one he did recently. I agreed on almost every point and it felt better to think I’m not the only one out there that thinks MBA’s (or most university in general – but I’ll save that rant for another time) are useless for MBA’s.

But I digress – quickly, to the 7 reasons why you MBA’s suck for entrepreneurs

1.    False sense of entitlement

Maybe I’m just hyper sensitive because I feel strongly about this – but I just cringe when people introduce themselves by saying

I’m so and so, my startup is xyz, and I have an MBA from University of crap

Like wow, what do you want – a medal?

Most MBA’s work hard to get into and out of business school. Respect to that – I went through it too. And, although having an MBA proves you’re pretty smart – it doesn’t say shit about how good an entrepreneur you can be. And if you were an experienced entrepreneur, you’d know that.

Unfortunately most MBA’s (especially the recently graduated ones) don’t get that you’re just as likely to fail with your startup after graduating from business school as before you went in. They think that success is just a formality after they can put an MBA on their business card

I know because I was that guy.

2.    Wasting time on theory

Theoretical models. Like really, what is the point?

Before I get burned at the academic stake, I say this purely for startups.

Someone should do a survey of how many times entrepreneurs use theoretical models in their business. Sure, they look good on business plans (more on them later) but other than a few basic ones (4 p’s, Porters etc) who uses them when running a startup?

Isn’t a startup about trying things, iterating and trying it again till it works?

The core methodology I’d like to see in an MBA is the Lean Startup Methodology. How many times do you think this was mentioned during my MBA?

Not once.

This needs to change.

 3.    Professors that suck

I don’t mean to sound harsh. Most professors are great at their jobs (academia), but unless they’ve set up a successful business I don’t see them qualified to teach people about entrepreneurship.

I learned ‘nice’ theories in the entrepreneurship module about ‘the strength of weak ties’ among others. I didn’t learn one thing that would make me more successful setting up a business tomorrow.

Add this to an ostrich like (head in the sand) professor who wouldn’t let students research on Wikipedia because she doesn’t believe in it accurate (despite the Nature study that proves otherwise). Sounds a lot like the record label owner who won’t release mp3’s because they believe them too low quality i.e. out of date and should retire

This needs to change.

 4.    Information (case studies) are out of date

For a new theoretical paper or case study to be accepted, it needs to pass through a rigorous peer to peer process that involves academics reading and giving feedback, sometimes numourous times, before it is accepted. This can take months, commonly years!

This means by the time a theoretical paper or case study is accepted and published, it’s already too late.

This needs to change.

 5.    The business competitions are pointless

Coming from someone who won four startup business competitions in 3 different universities as a student, I see myself reasonably skilled in doing well in student startup competitions.

Problem is, they’re pointless. Well almost*.

Every student startup competition I’ve ever encountered has been one format:

  • Submit a business plan. It’s good enough you get to
  • Pitch to panel of judges

Problem with this is that business plans are pretty useless for a startup business (unless you’re looking for a loan). You’d be must better off spending that time talking to prospects,  putting together a really rough prototype/web page and asking people if they’d buy it. If not, why not and iterate.

Being able to write a great business plan and being able to start a profitable business are two very separate things.

A student startup competition would be much more effective if they were judged mainly on how many orders they received. Real life orders. Not theoretical financials.

This needs to change

*they do have a little value: you get $$$, something for your CV and your professors & parents will think you’re great. Which all has a bit of merit – just don’t get the illusion that all you need to do is launch it to have it succeed.

 6.     Case studies are pointless

During my MBA we studied Harvard Business School case studies based on the most interesting strategic lessons from the 90’s and early 2000’s.

The 90’s and early 00’s – that’s up to 20 years old!

How many disruptive, innovative startups are based on principles from 20 years ago? Hmmmm – let me think about that one.

This needs to change.

7.     No one tells you what you ACTUALLY need to know

You’ll learn lots about Nash equilibrium, HR theory and Feud’s influence on Marketing. All interesting stuff.

But you won’t leave the classroom more prepared to starting a world conquering startup business.

Stuff they should tell you (but don’t – well, at least not in my experience)

  • What sectors are tipped to grow large over the coming years
  • Different business models, which to use when, and how to deploy them
  • What business types have the largest opportunity for growth
  • How Angel investors and VC’s operate and choose their investments

This needs to change.

Caveat: Not all business schools appear to suck at entrepreneurship, some in fact appear to be amazing (Stanford, Said & co) – the majority unfortunately conform to the above.

Thinking of doing an MBA or do you teach MBAs?

Some suggestions:

  • Make it mandatory that Entrepreneurship lecturers have launched at least 1 very successful business. Preferably multiple.
  • Entrepreneurship is about Just in Time (JIT) learning – not abstract learning, meaning you learn it as you need it. Students should have to participate in real life startup case studies and learn the skills/relevant knowledge as they are putting into practice!
  • If you are going to do an MBA – choose your school wisely. I’d recommend looking for a large portion of the course dedicated to technology/innovation – this is the stuff you’ll use for your world changing startup
  • Startup competitions should only be partly about the business plan – the real test should be about the prototype/web page and how many people are interested in buying it – or better still HAVE bought it!

What are your thoughts of the value of businesses schools for startups? Are you a graduate who since started a business? I’d love to know what you think – post your comments below

Startup SEO – Beginners Guide

Startup SEO
Startup SEO







Following on from last week’s post about Startup Marketing for Twitter, here’s part 2 of my startup marketing fundamentals: Search Engine Optimisation

In this post you’ll learn all the fundamentals of what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you should be doing for your startup

Search Engine Optimision (SEO) is really important because it helps people find your website on Search Engines (Google, Yahoo etc). So when they search for something, this happens:

Startup SEO guide


Obviously, if you’re on the top of the first page of Google, more people are going to your site.

With that out of the way, let’s jump right into what you need to do. Don’t fear SEO – it’s really quite straightforward – just follow the step by step guide below to unleash your SEO awesomeness! Want to do some background reading first? Check this out: The Beginner’s Checklist for Learning SEO

SEO is mostly broken into 2 sections: Onpage and Offpage SEO.

1.      Onpage – you set up once and don’t need to check too often

2.      Offpage -  you set up once and add to contantly

Find out more about these here: The Beginner’s Checklist for Learning SEO I’ll explain how to do each now….

OnPage SEO

Step 1: Keyword Research

This is the foundations – to find out what words your customers are using to find products/services like you. Good news is that once you have this set up once, you can leave ti work for the most part. Many people think this is one of the most important parts – I’d tend to agree. Here’s what to do:

  • Set a goal e.g. What do you want visitors to do?? Read stuff? Buy stuff? Signup for an email address??
  • Brainstorm and write down search queries you think your customers will be looking for e.g. Got a pie shop – maybe pie mad people are searching for ‘chicken pies London’ or ‘best pie London’ – get the idea??
  • Input these chosen keywords – Sign up forGoogle Adwords and learn how to use the provided “keyword tool” – it’s really easy to use. Tip: make sure you set searches to ‘exact’, not broad to see how many people are searching for these keywords. Learn how to useWordtracker (paid) and/or theKeyword Difficulty tool (free).
  • Extract the best results (most searches) into a spreadsheet
  • SERPs – sound like scary tech lingo?? It’s really not – it stands for: Search Engine Results Pages i.e. the results that come up after you did a search on Google. So, do the SEPS for your keywords – Who are your competitors, make a list of these
  • Look at your competitors:
  • Look at their keywords
  • UseYahoo Site Explorer to find the sources of your competitor’s links – Record the sources of links your competitors have and save them for later.
  • Search for our site to see how it ranks. Use command e.g.: “” Record these results.
  • Step 2: Other Lovely Stuff

    •   Look at the design of the site – anything that sucks? Got lots of content that will engage customers? If not – you’ll need it so add it now
    • Sign up and verify withGoogle Analytics,Google Webmaster Tools, andBing Webmaster Center – This important – will tell later why
    • Let Google Analytics run for two weeks before doing any SEO
    • These two weeks will give us a baseline with the data collected
    • Recommended we screen capture results and file these to record progress
    • Relook at visual design of site – any glaring issues that will negatively impact on bounce rates etc?
    • Next go to input
    • Action any suggestions
    • Send report by email and file for future reference
  • Check cross browser compatibility – look to see if site looks same/good on different web browsers e.g. check Internet Explorer 6,7,8,9, Firefox, Safari. Or  try this tool – it should hel
  • Create policy only to use website specific email addresses with signatures from now on – make sure you have an signature with your web address on it that goes as standard on every email (never know who might see that email)
  • Look at exisitng HTML code (right click, view source) – and see what needs to be added/changed. Keywrods from step 1 will come into play here. NB: If you are getting lost here – talk to your webmaster
    • Should be able to acheive the ‘Key objective’ (mentioned above) from the homepage
    • Keyword in title tag (unique for each page, include keywords)
    • Keyword in H1 on each page
    • Keyword in text
    • Optimize URL permalinks to ‘pretty premalinks’ e.g. change to
    • Use 301 redirects if you rename pages
    • Relook at information architecture – as few clicks as possible
    • On all images, make sure to include keywords in alt tags and in filenames
  •  Change a meta description (If you are getting lost here – talk to your webmaster) – This is the little snippet that Google shows on their search engine – so influences if people click though to view your site.
    • Need to make it interesting
    • Include some keywords but must make grammatical sense
    • Remember that no 1 purpose of this is to get people to click through
  •  Add company address and phone number – this should be done on every page (as search engines read this) – include in the footer. Particularly important for local businesses as you never know which page customers will arrive from
  • Add a robots.txt – Helps crawlers find their away around your site
  • Add sitemap – - again help crawlers find their way around site
  • Offpage SEO

    Here’s where’ll be concentrating on building links on other websites pointing to our site

    • Choose anchor text you’ll be using: select main keywords and use these. An example of anchor text is: Find a developer (see the way I’ve created a hot link of keyword text
    • Add website to the major search engine’s local listings – These are really important for ranking – especially local businesses -but non local too

    Some other, less important but still beneficial: (this can be time consuming so I’d recommend asking a VA to do these)

    • Using the comptitor analysis already completed above, analyse your comptitor links to see where they are geting their links from – see if you can replicate these (can be as easy as submitting to a directory)
    • Get more links – look for more sites that can trade links with -
    • Use this tool
    • Consider your local chamber of commerce, local networking groups, and local complimentary businesses. Search engines like to see local links pointing at locally targeted websites
  • Optimize Social Media pages to include keywords and correct links to web pages, blogs etc
  • Create and submit sitemaps – Create a sitemap Then login into Google Webmaster Central and Bing Search Webmaster Tools (remember them) and submit it.
  • Optimize site from google’s side: Do this by logging into Webmaster tools (remember we set that up). Login to Google Webmaster Tools and click on the tools menu.
    • Set corrext Geographic location
    • Enable image search
    • Begin Article marketing – create content based around the site, include back-links to the site, submit to sites below

    • Press Release: Write press release, include backlinks – send to:

    That’s it – keep adding links and you should start to see results.

    Anything I’ve missed or have any thoughts or ideas? Please post them here

    70 Kick-ass Web Marketing Case Studies

    startup ideas
    startup ideas

    If it works for someone else - use it!

    Here are 70 kick ass marketing case studies to get your creative juices flowing.

    There’s case studies for CRM, Social Media, Twitter specific, Facebook specific,  Viral, Personal Branding,  Branding, Sales, Business Plans, Crowdsourcing, SEO, Landing page conversions, Geo-location and Mobile.


    Any you can use for your startup?

    Enjoy – tell me what you think of them.


    Extending the Customer Experience
    Social Media for Customer Service
    Comcast’s Twitter Man

    Social Media

    Social Media Nonprofit Study
    How LIVESTRONG Raised Millions to Fight Cancer Using Social Media
    Cold-FX: A Fun Canadian Healthcare Social Media Campaign
    Case Study: Using Social Media to Deepen Partner Relationships, an Inside Look at the Oracle Partner Network
    B2B Case Study Online Community
    Reconfiguring a B2B Communications Function to Foster WOM
    5 Small Business Social Media Success Stories
    How Social Media Drives New Business: Six Case Studies
    The Old Spice Social Media Campaign Stats

    Twitter specific

    Virgin America Promoted Tweets
    How Moonfruit got Twitter right
    Breakdown: 4 Ways Brands Are Earning –and Buying– Followers on Twitter
    Best Buy
    Reaching Out To a Wide Audience: A Twitter Case Study
    Reaching Millions With Twitter: The Whole Foods Story
    Twitter Drives Traffic, Sales: A Case Study
    Twitter Case Study of a Commercial Brand

    Facebook page specific

    Killer Facebook Fan Pages
    Dunkin Donuts’ Facebook Campaign
    3 Things We Can Learn From IKEA’s Facebook Campaign
    Ikea Facebook Social Media


    Will it Blend? A Viral Marketing Case Study
    Weezer Viral Marketing
    Digital Branding: ‘March Madness’ browser promotion leads to 99.6% conversion rate for The Ohio State University

    Personal Branding

    Twitter: Kim Kardashian
    Lady Gaga Case Study

    Startup Growth

    Case Study: 5 Factors Behind One Startup’s Rapid Growth


    Facebook Brand Marketers
    Coke Expedition 206
    Brand Marketing: Guinness
    Best Practice
    Driving Innovation

    Web Design

    One Page Sites Design

    Content Marketing

    Content Marketing Tips
    Interview with Mark Coatney of Newsweek Magazine’s
    I now pronounce you monetized: a YouTube video case study
    Build Popular Blog
    How I Got 50k Visitors to My Blog in One Month
    Case study: the anatomy of a blog storm

    Selling/business models

    Google Marketing Case Study
    Twitter Drives Traffic, Sales
    Case Studies in Freemium: Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic and MailChimp
    Dell case study / case study


    Crowdsourcing Case Studies


    A Tweet’s Effect On Rankings – An Unexpected Case Study
    Link Bait Case Study
    A Case Study: Using Contests To Build Links
    Think Traffic Monthly Report #5
    SEO Case Study: PRSA Jobcenter
    Case study shows the SEO benefit of Twitter

    Landing page/Conversion

    Lessons Learned from 21 Case Studies in Conversion Rate Optimization
    SEOmoz Case Study
    Voices Case Study


    Early Proof That Geolocation Marketing Will Succeed
    Crocs rolls out nationwide mobile coupons campaign: case study
    Big City Burrito Builds a Viral Database With Mobile Marketing
    Mobile Marketing Case Study: Gunstock Mountain Resort (JitterGram)
    Mobile Marketing Case Study: Mobile Apps VS Mobile Website
    SMS case study – Sara Lee’s State Fair Corn Dogs
    White PaRel: Redef¡n¡ng Gouelnment
    Gommunioation Witn 0B-Godes

    Chevy Case Study: Using Mobile, Location and QR Codes to Inspire Brand Engagement
    Case Study: Sephora Offers Ratings and Reviews via Mobile
    Best Practices: Bringing Mobile Apps into Retail Stores
    Propelling the Pepsi Spirit with Mobile Apps
    Case Study: Mobile Marketing

    Any I’ve missed? Please post them in the comments

    10 Essential Marketing books for your Startup

    Purple cow

    10 Essential Marketing books for your startup

    trust agents

    1       Trust Agents – Chris Brogan/Julien Smith

    A deeper level into why social media is so important, why you build trust with your audience and how to use them both to your advantage


    Read it for: Kick ass social media strategies from one of world leaders










    2.   Permission Marketing – Seth Godin

    First of two Seth Godin books on this list, and could have been so many more. And for right reason (if you haven’t read any Seth Godin yet, you really should)

    Read it for: Every foundation you need to understand how to build a loyal following on the web








    3.       The Referral Engine – John Jantsch

    Name is almost misleading – the core principle behind The Referral Engine is that, by having an awesome marketing strategy and product, you’re more likely to get referred. Makes sense.

    Read it for: heaps of common sense with many examples of great tactics you can implement straight away


    4. Scientific Advertising & My Life in Advertising – Claude Hopkins

    No other book have I heard recommended by top marketers as this one. Written in 1932 and still amazingly enjoyable to read.

    Read it for: A must read for all the core foundation of effective marketing


    5.    Oglivy on Advertising

    Timeless classic #2 that is recommended by everyone in the industry. If you do any advertising you have to read this.

    Read it for: Close to everything you need to know about Advertising in one book

    Dan Kennedy on bull

    6.     How to Get Rich with Your Ideas – Dan Kennedy

    Dan Kennedy = the man of Direct Response Marketing (most effective kind). This is a good intro book to his work – good news is he has LOADS more where that came from.

    Read it for: Proven marketing techniques that work time and time again


    7.     Crush it– Gary Veynerchuck

    Perhaps tinkering more into entrepreneurship than pure marketing per se – but loads includes loads of practical marketing inside so makes the cut.


    Read it for: A turbo charge of motivation and belief

    Shama8.    Zen of Social Media Marketing – Shama Hyder Kabani

    Love Shama and her book – Social Media queen breaks it all down into steps that’s essential reading for a startup of any size


    Read it for: Everything you need to know about setting up and growing a kick ass personal, or business brand with social media.


    9.    Influence – Robert Caldiani

    Social Proof, Reciprocation, Scarcity – all the core psychological ingredients to a successful marketing campaign.

    Read it for: How to use psychology to make your marketing more effective

    Purple cow

    10.  Purple Cow – Seth Godin

    When you look into a field, you see a lot of cows – none of them stand out right? But what is there was a purple cow standing in the field – think you’d notice it?

    Read it for: Find out how to stand out from the crowd


    Any books I’ve missed out that should be on the list? Please add them to the comments below


    Twitter Marketing Guide for Startups

    startup twitter
    startup twitter

    What's with the blue bird anyway?

    Flattr this

    All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered, the point is to discover them – Galileo

    Love it or hate it – Twitter is one of the most popular and arguably, most effective, ways to market yourself or your business online. And it AIN’T going away.

    I recently been working on a Social Media strategy for a startup I’m working with, and thought it would be be useful to share the steps I went through with you.

    In this Twitter marketing guide you’ll learn:

    • Why you really need to use Twitter
    • How to set up an awesome profile
    • What you should tweet
    • How to get lots of followers
    • How to automat bits so it doesn’t drain your time
    • Some other secret tips and tricks you should know about

    So if you’ve decided to take the plunge and begin to use Twitter for the first time, or your account has 4 followers and your last tweet was 18th June 2009 – this is the guide for you.

    After all, if you’re going to use it, you might as well be remarkable at it, right?

    Why Use Twitter? (feel free to skip this bit if you’re a pro) 


    Ok first off, there’s a lot of rubbish on Twitter: ‘just cleaning my teeth now’, ‘watching Glee OMG’ etc etc – Tweets like this are probably the no1 reason you decided it’s not for you.

    Don’t do this

    If used correctly Twitter will:

    • Expand your network
    • Bring you visitor to your blog/website
    • Bring you leads
    • Allow you to connect with people you normally wouldn’t be able to
    • Allow you to build a personal/professional brand with loyal followers

    I’m not going to go much more into this, as there are already tons of great posts already about why you should use Twitter already (here’s a good one). I’ll just say the 2 main things that will happen once you start using Twitter (properly)

    1. You’ll make new leads and contacts

    I regularly meet people who tell me they get business through Twitter (that could be jobs, new clients, sales appointments etc). I rarely experience the same with other social networks e.g. Linkedin/Facebook etc

    Remember the age old marketing maxim: People do business with those that they know, like and trust – this is they reason why Twitter (and social media in general) is so powerful – as it allows you to form relationships easier. Often with ‘untouchable’ people.

    Consider the following…. Which is more effecting: replying to a prospect’s tweet to help them find some useful information, or sending them an email offering your services?

    2 .  More traffic

    If you have a website or blog, having Twitter following will drive large amounts of traffic to your site. I consistently get approx 30% of my blog traffic from Twitter

    startup twitter stats

    Google Never Lies (source Google analytics)







    Setting up an Awesome Profile


    If you want to be taken seriously and get followers, you need to show everyone you’re human (there’s a lot of spam-bots on Twitter). To ensure people know this make sure you put a little effort into your profile. Don’t worry it’ll only take a few mins and it’s a fun way to show a bit of your, or your company’s, personality.

    Quick Profile Checklist. Make Sure You:

    • Update your bio

    This is the main way you’ll attract followers and like minded people– so make sure you put your key interests/goals in here.

    Be specific in what you do/want to do and don’t be too vague e.g. startup marketing is my main area so I want to attract others who are interested in this – I’m not so bothered if corporate exec types follow me or not.

    I like to add a little something personal about me too – to give people a conversation starter if they’re looking for one e.g. I put Loves… cinnamon swirls & coffee.

    • Put your website/blog address

    This is how you’ll get lots of lovely traffic direct from Twitter

    • Use a Good Profile Picture

    Very important.

    Did you know we usually decide in the first 2 seconds if we like someone/something? Malcolm Gladwell goes into the science of this in his awesome book: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (affiliate link). So make those 2 seconds count!

    Change your profile pic to a headshot of you smiling. No sunglasses, hats, stupid poses – unless you’re sure it fits the persona you want to portray. Obviously no tops off– I actually have a mate (who will remain nameless for fear of mobbing) that thinks it’s cool to use self shots pics of himself with no top on. Dude…..

    i.e. Don’t be this guy

    • Personalise Your Background

    Change the background to a cool pic you have that says something about you – people will appreciate it. Like I did:

    startup twitter profile

    Any high res picture makes a great background










    What Should I Tweet?


    I get asked this question a lot – and my answer is: whatever is relevant to your audience


    As a rule you should share approx 10 pieces of genuinely useful information before you promote anything about yourself/your company.

    i.e. Remember that time you were at a party and you met someone that just told you how great they were…. How long did you listen to them? Did you want to talk to them again?

    Don’t do this!!



    Compare this to when you met someone who shared some insider knowledge, or told you about an upcoming event you might be interested in. You probably respected his knowledge and thought ‘here’s someone I’d be interested in knowing’.

    The same rings true on Twitter.

    If you follow a rule to share 10 -1 rule of pieces of useful info before you promote yourself, you won’t go far wrong.

    Buy what is useful info???? Here’s some ideas:

    Top Resource:

    • Check out’s ‘top in 24 hours’ – people love this stuff

    Who Should I Follow?

    There’s a huge number of people on Twitter, some more influential/interesting than others. To make best use of your time you want to be following the movers and shakers in your industry, not the ‘Billy No Mates’.

    These highly influential people are commonly refered to as ‘Mavens’. they’re people who seek out interesting information and like to share it with others. And people listen to them becuase they have built up a reputation for sharing quality information.

    A good example of a Maven on Twitter is Lady Gaga – who was reportedly paid $1 million to send 1 tweet about a U.S. brand. I make that $7,142 a character. Not bad, considering she could have sent it while she was waiting for the kettle to boil.

    There are lots of tools to help you find the important people in your industry to follow, my favourites:

    Twitter counter search – simply put in your industry/interest and see a list of those with most followers. I particularly like the way you can include location and industry in your searches. Follow users with one click.

    Tweet follow tool

    look for people who tweet regularly, have followers & are relvent to you

    Lisorious Follow lists of interesting people made from other people in your field


    Lists can be a great way to find awesome people











    Other Resources to Find People to Follow:

    also try - good for both industry and location

    How to Get Lots of Followers


    Ah the Holy Grail – how to get some followers on Twitter – I see so many people with 20 – 200 followers. It’s difficult to know how to grow beyond that.

    I myself struggled to get more than 160 followers for a long time until I discovered the strategies I’m about to share with you.

    Why more followers anyway? Well there’s a lot of merit behind the phrase ‘quality not quantity’ and absolutely, in the long run you want quality followers that care what you say and will help your cause. But without a certain number of followers, many won’t take you/your new business seriously.

    Definately a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.

    Good news is: It’s actually quite easy to grow your following really fast – you just need to know how to do it and be prepared to spend a little time at it. Ready? Let’s go………

    Step 1: Set up your Funnels

    Every single thing you own/send online and offline should have your Twitter details on it, so that people you interact with can follow you if they wish. You never know where your email/business card/blog post will go – so make it easy for people to follow you. This way everything if ‘funnelled’ back to your Twitter page.

    Some examples:

    • Your email signature (have this set to auto, so it’s on all your mails)
    • Your other social media profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, Meetup profiles etc)
    • Your blog (I use Twitter for WordPress and Follow me on this site)
    • Your website
    • Your business card
    • Your forehead (ok, that one’s taking it a bit far)

    Step 2: Introduce yourself

    The single fastest way to grow your following is to introduce yourself to as many people as possible.

    How do you ‘introduce yourself’ on Twitter?

    You do this by Following someone – this is the equivalant of shaking someone’s hand at a networking party (will tell you a ninja trick how to automate this bit later)

    This is the single fastest way to grow your following. Infact, if you are committed to the cause, you could grow your following to 1,000+ in as little as a week (slows down a bit after this, for reasons I’ll explain later).

    Why does this work? Because many Twitter users you follow will follow you back, if they deem you to be interesting/relevant to what they’re interested in.  Many will see you’ve followed them and take a split second decision whether to follow you back (see why your profile pic and bio is so important now)

    My experience is that, on average, 25% – 50% people will follow you back when you follow them.

    So, if you follow 1,000 people, approx 250 will follow you back. Follow 2,000, approx 1,000 will follow you back etc etc

    If you experience less than this 25% – 50% in follow backs, you have a problem with your bio or the info you’re tweeting.

    Step 3: Drop the Dead Weight

    Here’s the easy bit – so you should now have lots of new followers, unfortunately Twitter limits you to following only a few hundred more people than follow you back (it’s actually 10% following of however many are following you, after the first 2,000).

    So by ‘dropping the dead weight’ and removing the people that don’t follow you back, you pave the way to follow more people than will follow you back.

    Make sense?

    I typically give someone 3 days before unfollowing them. Harsh but fair :)

    note: obviously don’t unfollow your key industry influencers or mavens, you’ll want to keep these at all times

    How do I tell if someone if following me? It’s really easy.

    1. Go to:
    2. Click ‘people’
    3. If you can see a DM button – then they are following you back (see below)


    Twitter Follow Purge

    Gary is following me back - we like that!











    not follow twitter

    The Guardian isn't following me back - yet :









    Ninja tip: If this all sounds like a lot od hard work, I’ll tell you how to automate this below

    Step 4 -  Engage People

    More people you get to know (engage), more followers you’ll have. That’s about it. I recommedn engaging at least one new person a day (many more if you have the time). Just make sure it’s relevent and timely.

    • @ replying to someone – the equivalent of starting a conversation with someone at a party
    • Retweeting someone’s tweet – the equivalent of giving someone a compliment for something they said at a party
    • DM (Direct Message) – Does what it says on the tin. I’m not so keen on these but they can be effective if done right.

    I use Tweetdeck everyday to engage with people on Twitter. It’s completely free and very cool to use.  Use the desktop version for best results.

    Listening on Twitter


    Did you know Twitter is one of the most powerful search engines out there for your brand?

    This is because people regularly tweet out requests for help on a certain topic. Some examples:

    • Anyone recommend a hotel in New York?
    • Know a good graphic designer?
    • Looking for a motivated intern to work on marketing project

    Think about it….If you own a business relevant to any of these- if you reply with useful information, of an offer – you’ve a foot in the door.

    You can ‘listen’ for any terms you want. This can be setup easily on Tweetdeck.

    Here’s how I do it:

    1. Open TweetDeck
    2. Click the ‘add new column’ button on the top left
    3. Under ‘search’ input a search term you believe your target market would use when looking for a product/service like your’s
    4. Monitor the searches daily/hourly
    5. Engage with people that are looking for help – it’s ok to offer your serives (it;s relevent and timely), just don’t be too pushy

    An example of ‘listening’ done well:

    Yesterday I sent a tweet asking for recommendations on work productivity tools

    howard twitter

    My Tweet yesterday



    Almost instantly I received a responce from a company called Yanomo mentioning I should check out their new tool. Think I checked out their site? You betcha!

    Why does this work do well? Becuase I had already raised my hand to say I was looking for this information. I wanted them to tell me about their product at this moment. Any other time, I’d probably ignore it

    Yamono twitter

    Good response - it was even on a Saturday!Relevant, timely....

    p.s. If you don’t use Tweetdeck, you can also simply use:


    Now with these principles out of the way, this is how you unleash auto-follow awesomeness!

    Ninja Tip #1: Autofollow!

    If you’re thinking all the points I’ve made so far sound like a lot of heard work – well, you’d b right. It takes time. Luckily there’s ways you can automate it. So a web tool does all the work for you. Nice one!

    Step 1: Get an autofollow tool

    This is the secret to growing your followers fast – and how I grew my following by 800 people in a fortnight.

    The tool I recommend is Tweetspinner (affiliate link) as it’s the one I personally use. I show in a video below exactly how I set this up for my account.

    Another options is Tweetadder – which is more expensive but have heard it’s also good.

    Both these tools will automatically search for people relevant to you based on keywords, location and what they’re tweeting about and follow them for you. Based on the principle mentioned above, many of these will autofollow you back. They also remove people who have not followed you back within a certain time period.

    So to sum up:

    • Autofollowing new followers (recommended – good karma)
    • Auto purging people that are not following you back (also recommended as you have to keep culling your list of people who are not following you back if you are to grow your list fast)
    • Auto DM response – sending an auto DM to new followers. Just make sure it’s not spammy. Too many people say ‘hi, please visit my site’ etc. that’s not cool. Be personal, Show you’re interested in getting to know about what they’re doing

    How I set up my auto-follow tool

    These tools seem a little complex at first glance, but don’t worry they’re really simple once you set them up once. Here’s how I set up Tweetspinner (affiliate link) I recommend you copy these settings:

    Now watch your new follower numbers grow!!!

    Ninja Tip #2 – Automate your tweets  



    Posting to Twitter can take time and lots of people forget – and there’s no faster way to lose followers than not posting for a month. You need to keep momentum.

    Luckily there’s ways to automate this – so you it looks like you’re sending insightful tweets, when really you’re body boarding at the beach. Nice!

    Here’s how you do it:

    Auto tweet Method 1: Scheduling

    1. Create a list of ‘evergreen’ Tweets (‘evergreen’ means they don’t go out of date)
    2. Open Tweetdeck
    3. Copy and paste in an evergreen tweet
    4. On the right hand side, beside ‘send’ click the little clock icon
    5. Schedule the time you want
    6. Hit ‘Send’
    7. Hey presto – the tweet is sent whenever you scheduled it

    Schedule button is the the right, beside 'send'

    (Extra secret tip: Statistically tweets are most likely to be retweeted at 8am, 1.00pm and 5.30pm so schedule them for then)






    Autotweet Method 2: TwitterFeed

    Twitterfeed is another awesome (free) service that sends free tweets for you. It auto-tweets new posts from your favourite blogs. To set up:

    1. Find the blogs with content your followers would find most useful
    2. Add the blog to Tweetfeed
    3. Make you click ‘advanced’ when setting up and put in via @yourtwittername – so your name gets passed along when shared (= more followers for you)

    Twitterfeed: Great way to share useful content automatically


    Tweet old post Is a great plug-in for your blog that will retweet old blog posts that new followers may have missed.


    Other resources



    Last Note: These automated tools are great but they can’t be the only source of content for your account: Make sure to mix with a healthy dose of real human conversations :)




    Final notes:

    Most of us agree that Twitter holds great potential for those that utilise it correctly. However, it can be on big time waste if you don’t use it strategically and deliberately.

    If you follow the above steps you will see success with Twitter – just keep at it. And don’t forget to:

    • Be relevant
    • Be human
    • Don’t spam (that includes auto DM’s)
    • Use tweetdeck & other col tools to manage your tweets
    • Have fun
    • Make friends

    Would love to hear any other tips and tricks you might know. Also please post your successes here in the comments

    Good luck!


    Five reasons why every entrepreneur should get a job

    startup job

    Photo by michelhrv


    Entrepreneurs – go get a job!

    Heresy! What, a job you say?? But I’m an entrepreneur – I’m driven by my vision, I set my own rules and play my own game. It’s why I do it!



    Well, unless you have already floated, exited or are riding the hockey stick growth (or either of these are just around the corner) – I recommend you do the unthinkable, and get a job.

    OK, well there’s a little more to this, I’ll explain…..

    I believe getting a job can sometimes bring you closer to your entrepreneurial goals than working for yourself.

    This is important as we entrepreneurs are impatient beings. Yes, we are told: ‘there are no mistakes, only experience’ and that we must ‘fail our way to the top’ etc, and we’re ok with that. But we still want to succeed, like, yesterday.

    So unless you are on a rocket to the top (with proven traction, not ‘it’s going to happen tomorrow’), maybe a job is the best thing for you.

    There is a caveat here (and a big one) – it’s a job in a rocket powered startup (just like the one you want to build).

    No banks, insurance companies, pizza delivering [insert ‘normal’ job here – no matter how well paid it is] – these will bring you backwards.

    So why would it be better to get a job at a startup? Here are my top 5 reasons why…….

    1. Learn from the Best

    This is a bit of a no-brainer right? When you’re working at a startup that’s growing/got funded/attracting buzz [delete as appropriate] you’ll be under the wing, daily, of great people who are doing exactly what you want to do down the road.

    Soak it up baby. This is mentoring on steroids – and you’re getting paid for it. Nice!

    2. Make Great Contacts (likeminded people)

    If you haven’t realised yet that, even with this age of internet, it’s your real life networks that are your key to success, well – you should.

    Working in a high growth startup you’ll be rubbing shoulders with likeminded people with great ideas and drive. Not only will you be working with these people in your team, but many startups these days are housed in some form of incubation centre where you’ll be working side by side with other startups = more opportunities to expand your network.

    I’m currently working in this space three days a week and it’s awesome.

    Who knows – you might meet your next co-founder.

    3. $$$$$$$

    Make money, pay off debts, and create a solid base for your next startup move.

    If you’re already a successful entrepreneur with bags of cash and a Porsche, skip this one. For the rest of us………

    There doesn’t seem to be an exact equation to startup success but if there was it’d go something like this:

    Ideas + perseverance (time) + mistakes – income = success

    So while we know we gotta keep at it and mistake are the only route to success, mistake rarely = bulging bank balances.

    So after you’ve made a mistake (i.e. failed startup)……… take stock, lick the wounds and regroup.

    Having a job where you’re getting paid means you’re not only learning for the next time, but you’re also paying off the credit card(s) and creating a solid base to springboard into your next startup.

    You’ll feel better too (so will your girlfriend/boyfriend).

    4. Allows you to Experiment

    No doubt you devour learning (books, blogs, podcasts etc) and you hear of great ideas all the time. Experiment!

    Seriously, working with someone allows you to put into practice all the things you’ve learned. Want to try out that Product Launch Formula or new Twitter strategy? Now’s the time….What could be better!

    Just make sure you:
    • Take note of what works and what doesn’t (and why)
    • Create procedures so you can recreate the ones that work next time when you want to do them again for your own business

    5. Restates Important Habits

    Ever have the feeling you’re burning a lot of rubber but not making much progress? If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re working LONG hours, often by yourself. How do you know if you’re working on the right things?

    We’re heard the one that success is ‘10% inspiration and 90% perspiration’, right? Well I’d argue that perspiration isn’t enough – you also gotta be uber effective, concentrating your time in the right areas.

    Sometimes in startups we can spend a lot of time working by ourselves – bad habits can creep in easily and working with a team, under experienced leaders will help you spot and correct them.

    For me, it was having the rights focus in the right areas: spending 20% of my time on the most important things to get 80% of the results (I have a tendency to ‘go deep’ and want to learn everything about an area, when I should be moved onto to the next task to make faster progress).

    For you it might be something else: timekeeping, thinking big, being social etc.

    Believe me, there’s no better way to learn (or relearn) these than working under a team with clear and ambitious goals.

    Any other good startup job tips or resources? Please add them in the comments below