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Eric Siu

Eric Siu lives his life as if it were a game. It’s no surprise that he is a big gamer, but he’s also an incredibly successful marketer and businessman. Eric runs a marketing agency, a software company, and is the host of two successful podcasts.

116 - Leveling up in life
116 - Leveling up in life

116 - Leveling up in life

Ep
116
Jan
13
With
Eric Siu
Or Listen On:

How to level up in life

Have you ever heard of The Game of Life? It’s a multiplayer board game that was invented by Milton Bradley in the 19th century. The idea was to simulate a person going through all of their life experiences. School, marriage, jobs, and so on. And you, the player, get to decide what they do.

Eric Siu lives his life as if it were a game. It’s no surprise that he is a big gamer, but he’s also an incredibly successful marketer and businessman. Eric runs a marketing agency, a software company, and is the host of two successful podcasts.

And the secret to his success? Gamification. Applying the concepts of leveling up to yourself and your business. Everyone starts as a Level 1, but how far you go is up to you.

In this episode, Eric and Chris go deep into marketing tactics. From targeted ad buys to good old SEO and everything in between. But most importantly, they talk about what you can do with your creativity and how to apply it to marketing.

Thank you to Gusto for sponsoring this episode.

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
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Episode Transcript

Eric:
It's the same thing with business. You get a job, maybe you start freelancing, get some clients on the side and then from there you start to build out your agency if you want. You can start to build out products if you want as well. You can keep leveling up to the point where you go build a networks effect business or a SpaceX. But you can take it as far as you want, you just got to keep leveling up. You don't deserve to get to the next level until you beat this one.

Greg:
Welcome to The Future Podcast, the show that explores the interesting overlap between creativity, business and personal development. I'm Greg Gunn. Have you ever heard of the game of life? It's a multiplayer board game that was invented by Milton Bradley in the 19th century, and the idea is to simulate a person going through all of their life experiences; school, college, marriage, jobs and so on. And you the player, get to decide what they do along the way. Now the reason I ask is because today's guest lives his life as if it were a game and it's no surprise that he's a big gamer. But he's also an incredibly successful marketer and business man. He runs a marketing agency, a software company and is the host of two podcasts that frankly put our download numbers to shame. And the secret to his success, gamification. Applying the concepts of leveling up to yourself and your business.
You see, everyone starts as a level one, but how far you go in the game is up to you. I wonder what level Elon Musk is? It's got to be like 9,000 and something. In this episode, he and Chris go deep into marketing tactics from targeted ad buys to good old SEO and everything in between. And most importantly for you, my dear listener, they talk about what you can do with your creativity and how to take it and apply it to marketing. So, fire up your console or PC of choice and please enjoy our conversation with Eric Siu.

Chris:
So this one's a little unusual and a little different because I've already been on your show and know a little bit about you. But Eric for people who don't know who you are, can you quickly introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Eric:
Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Eric Siu, just an average guy and the areas I operate in are all around marketing. So I have a podcast called Marketing School. I'm like the Chris Stove, but or Asians.

Chris:
Wait, wait, wait.

Eric:
So for marketing. We're both Asian.

Chris:
We're both Asian.

Eric:
Yeah we're both Asian.

Chris:
Yeah.

Eric:
But, yeah I've got a podcast called Marketing School. The other one is called Leveling Up and then a couple of businesses software company and it's all tied to marketing. I just invest in marketing companies. So I just like all things marketing.

Chris:
Okay. I'm trying to figure you out. I'm going through your LinkedIn page and there's a lot there to just wade through. You're involved, as far as I can tell, at least two podcasts right? Leveling Up and Marketing School?

Eric:
That's correct.

Chris:
Okay. So that's that part. Then there's several companies that you're either the CEO of, founder or something. So help us understand your financial, your business empire if you will?

Eric:
Yeah. I think the easiest way to understand this and I was talking to my business coach yesterday and he actually helped clear this up quite a bit.

Chris:
Okay.

Eric:
At the end of the day if I were to say the umbrella, this spaceship organization is basically saying my job is to level up marketing businesses, right? We're just buying and building marketing businesses. So I have an operator that runs the agency, Single Grain. Then I have an operator that runs the software company called ClickFlow. And then beyond that my focus right now is really just on creating content and doing deals. So looking for other companies I can buy and then plug them into the ecosystem because the deal here is that as our audiences continue to grow we'll be able to serve the audiences in these different ways.

Chris:
Do you own Single Grain or do you run it as the CEO?

Eric:
I own Single Grain.

Chris:
You do. And did you start this company?

Eric:
Okay, so there's a story behind it.

Chris:
Yes.

Eric:
I guess this will definitely be an inflection point in my life. So, Single Grain I took over the business in 2014 and it was a failing SEO agency. At the time there were four other partners. Actually my podcast cohost Neil was one of the partners as well. So because the company was basically insolvent, Neil actually as a good friend he pulled me aside and said, "Hey, you know what, I think it might be time to go find another job because this thing's worth nothing right now. There's no brand equity. There's nothing." And then me being naïve I said, "Hey, why don't I just do it on my own?" And so I basically, this is my first M&A deal. I'm air quoting right now because I had no idea what I was doing. So I told, I said, "Hey Neil I'll buy your share for one dollar, for 10% of the company and another dollar for the other partners." The rest was through I was going to pay through the profits of the company. And I put in a contingency that if the company failed I would owe nothing. So they took the deal and then I actually tanked the company even more the first year I took it over.

Chris:
Okay.

Eric:
So I'm happy to go into that more, but that's what happened.

Chris:
Wow, okay. So this is complicated. So, you were working at this company and then it was insolvent and you instead of running for the hills as Neil had advised you to do, you actually doubled down and said, "Look here's a great idea. It's a failing company and I'll run it better." And you actually ran it worse for a year until you figured it out.

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
Okay. A lot of things to understand here. So before we get into all that stuff because it's like I'm thinking you still look like a relatively young person and I'm looking at your resume in terms of your educational-

Eric:
So do you.

Chris:
Well, looks can be deceiving sometimes, right? But here I'm digging through your LinkedIn profile. I see that you went to UCSD right? And you studied economics and history and I'm like okay, this is a little different than what you're doing today. And then I think you did some program at MIT, an entrepreneur's organization master program for two years, is that right?

Eric:
Yeah that's supposed to go for three years, so this year we're paused. But I'll have two more years after.

Chris:
Okay, so you're still going through that?

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
So that tells me something. That tells me you're still a relatively young guy. Do you mind me asking how old you are?

Eric:
I'm 34.

Chris:
Okay. Still very young in my opinion, 34 okay. So 34 year old guy and in 2014 I'm going to do the math here, that's six years ago. So you were what, 28?

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
Okay so you're 28 and you decide, "I'm just going to buy this company." What were you thinking?

Eric:
So, that's a really good question and the way I was thinking at the time was if the company failed it would be a valuable learning experience. And if the company worked out, so it's asymmetric upside for me. If it worked out, I would basically be able to take the cash flows to reinvest it into other areas that I thought had more durable revenue sources or more exponential revenue sources, because as a services business you're kind of, it's very linear growth. So for me coming from SAS I'm used to exponential. So that was the thesis and thank God the thesis worked out because I was thinking from an investment standpoint, and I recommend this book called Dhando Investor. But, heads I win, tails I don't lose much. That's how I was thinking about it.

Chris:
Right. Okay. So you're using a lot of terminology my creative community might not totally understand.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
So when Eric's talking about asymmetry, he's talking about low risk and very high reward. He builds very smartly and this is probably your business acumen prowess at play here where it's like if it tanks I don't owe you jack. If it works out, then it works out for everybody. But then I'm happy to pay you at that point and you have the capital to do this.

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
But I'm just thinking, I don't remember what I was doing when I was 28. But, how much money do you have to actually say I can bankroll this operation?

Eric:
Yeah, so it was ... So thankfully even though the company was doing poorly, we still have cash flows coming in.

Chris:
I see.

Eric:
It's just we were churning customers left and right because the SEO work that we're doing became invalid due to the Google algorithm. So, we had to find a way to turn the ship around by doing something else.

Chris:
I see. Okay, so there's cash flow and when you say churn, again a term maybe some of our audience might now understand, it's just you're acquiring and losing customers on a very fast rate. The churn rate generally speaking in the service industry, you want it to be as low as possible. You want long client retention. Okay, so there's money coming in. You're going to assume that and if it went sideways and you went really into the red, did you have a backup plan on how you would pay this off?

Eric:
Yeah. So the debt if the company failed the amount that I owed to other people was nothing.

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
And so I would just let the company fail and then I would be free basically and I always knew I could go back. My fallback would be because at the time, by the way, as I was failing I did get a job offer that was like, "Oh, we'll pay you a million a year and we'll give you a bunch of bonuses," right? I verbally said yes to that.

Chris:
Wow.

Eric:
This was right in the middle of it. And then the day after I said yes, I was like, "I can't do this. Something just doesn't feel right to me. I can't do this." So then I'm like, "I'm going to stick it through." And that's what happened.

Chris:
What kind of job-

Eric:
Smart or not.

Chris:
Okay. What job does a 28 year old person get that's offering them a million dollars a year? That's a hard job offer to walk away from.

Eric:
Yeah, well I'll tell you what. I think and I'll try to make this more practical for everyone too because I think anyone can do it. I'm saying that, but if you look at my background, going all the way to I almost dropped out of high school and I almost dropped out of college too because all I did was play World of Warcraft and go to the poker room. So this was a VP of marketing job at one company and their initiative, because their initiative was in this online education thing and my background was in online education. So, they really wanted to pursue me for that and that's why they were willing to offer the big bucks.

Chris:
Okay, so if it doesn't work out for either one of us, you'll have to connect me later on so I can have a million dollar a year.

Eric:
Oh, please. You already have the brand. I think that's the playbook right? Everyone in Silicon Valley now is talking about this one man media company concept and it's just basically you're building the leverage from media, right? You're doing all this content. People know you for that. And so I think as long as you do that it's going to take you time to get there and I'm sure you talk about this. You should have that defensible mote around you.

Chris:
Okay. So a couple other things I got to say because at the jump you said I'm Asian just like you. So, if I'm going to peg you and put you into a little box here, you're going to be somewhat conservative, risk averse. You want to just show up, do the job. So you don't sound like a typical person who fits in that box. This is super risky, walking away from a million dollars secure job offer would make my dad faint. It would be too much for his heart to take. So what is it about your DNA, how you grew up that you just say to yourself in this moment where you're looking down the barrel and you say, "That might be fun. Let me just go down that direction."

Eric:
Yeah. Well, I think there's a couple things to unpack there. So yes, you're right I think our conservative parents would be like, "What are you thinking? You want to go for the safe route." But when you think about it, it's like is it really the safer route? Because what could happen to that company? And actually what I predicted was correct. The person that ended up taking my job, ended up I think he was forced out. And then what happened was that company ended up, if you look at their glass door, I'm not going to name the company, it basically tanked.

Chris:
I see.

Eric:
So I could feel that there was something off as well. So I made that bet to not take that job.

Chris:
I see. So you were talking about the job offer you were turning away the million dollar job offer, something didn't sit right in your gut. Do you remember what it was that sent signals to your brain like, "The money sounds really good, but something about," what was that something? Put your finger on that if you can.

Eric:
Yeah, sure. So, the late Tony Shay said, "Culture is the number one thing," and I actually was listening to a podcast with the CEO of Cisco and he's like, "Yeah, culture is tough." People pay a lot of lip service to that, but when I walked into the company I did a two day interview. So they put me through the grinder for the entire day for two days.

Chris:
Of course.

Eric:
And I just could tell I was like, "I don't think people are too happy here." I could just feel there was a lack of energy talking to all these people. So that to me was just wrong. And so it's a gut feeling type of thing.

Chris:
Okay. I was checking out your site recently and you were talking about the things that you learned from Tony Shay. So when I listened to that I was like, "Oh, there's some crossover here." Because I really admire Tony and what he's done or what he tried to do.

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
So it was a tragic thing for all of us to find out. I was tearing up and I don't tear up toward strangers. But, my interaction with Tony was this. I ran into him in person and he says, "Chris, you need to read this book. It's going to change your life." And he's a person I looked up to. He's a business person. I'm like, "That's hyperbolic isn't it? A book is going to change my life." So I don't read it, okay? And another person who's working with me at that time said, "Hey Chris there's this guy Tony Shay Delivering Happiness. He's on a book tour. I have an extra ticket, do you want to go to this?" And that's when I'm like, "Okay, the universe is telling me something right now. When two random people who don't know each other tell me I need to read this book." I read the book, it does change my life. It changes my company and the entire trajectory of what it is that we do. And I actually got to see him in a very intimate revenue, oh, venue prior to him selling to Amazon. And so he was a wonderful down to earth, very almost monotone in his delivery. It's just this is how I see the world, unaffected. And so that's how it impacted me. What did Tony do for you on a personal level besides what you already talked about in your podcast?

Eric:
I think for me I guess internally it's just looking at because I'm Asian-American and I'm looking and we're Asian right? So there's not a lot of us that are "successful" entrepreneurs. So, at least to me he gave me a lot of confidence at that age because I was about 23 years old or 24 when I listened to Delivery Happiness. He gave me that confidence like man, if I just put the effort in I'll probably be able to do something amazing on my own, in my own right. I think that went a long way and I think a lot of the things that he said around, "Hey this is specifically what I did around culture, also ready this book Tribal Leadership." Right? And I mention in the video he's so generous to the point that he bought the rights to that book and gave it away to everyone. Who does that? There's no financial upside to him to do that. So I think the selflessness was also very important for me to understand.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I know that you speak a lot because I am looking at your resume, you're everywhere. Was there a moment when you actually got to meet Tony or crossed paths in real life?

Eric:
No. The only time I got to cross paths was when we were both at this conference at sea, called Summit at Sea. Then I saw him from afar and I didn't realize until later that it was him. But aside from that, nothing even close.

Chris:
Okay. So, let's get into this book that you wrote called Leveling Up and you're applying some of your passion and love for games and trying to map that to life. What's the big idea of this book and why did you feel like you needed to write it?

Eric:
Yeah. So I think one of the most important things if I'm thinking back to me as a teenager or in college is it ultimately comes down to the right habits. Yes, you got education first, but you've got to have the right habits. And most, look over three billion people in the world have played games. There's a big connection, when you think about life as a game it becomes a lot easier, right? So in the book I basically talk about these different power ups to acquire right? We talk about resilience, teamwork, all these things. But, you make the connection between gaming, so I'll share an anecdote around gaming and it connects directly with something from business and then there's something to do afterward. So for me at least, if I have the understanding that all the things I was doing growing up, all the time I spent playing these MMO's these first person shooters even though my parents told me it was a waste of time, that actually was what helped me gain the confidence I needed, right? We're talking again resilience, consistency, communication, all that stuff. If I had just known that earlier and then understood that gaming is a gateway to real life just like sports is, then I probably would have been even more confident and I think that's super necessary for people.

Chris:
Okay. I'm a gamer. I grew up playing games and I love video games. Unfortunately, I don't have as much time to play in these days as I used to and there area lot of wonderful things about it and I've read research papers about in terms of it hitting certain parts of your brain, some cognitive development. Understanding worlds, understanding and adapting to constant change because I think, I don't know exactly when it happened. But there was this wonderful transition from when you needed to read books or instruction manuals to play a game, and then to the games teaching you the rules as you go without you even really learning that these are the rules. They would slowly unlock levels and abilities. And so it wasn't too much at once. And so, if you have to read instructions today for a game it just means it's really poorly designed. But there's something really wonderful about it. There's also something on the dark side a little addictive and antisocial, especially if it's not an online game where you can actually interact with other people.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
And so help me as a gamer or maybe as a parent of a gamer to extol some of the benefits and map some of them out for us in terms of what you see the correlations are?

Eric:
Oh, yeah for sure. So I think, A I agree with you. I think anything if you do it, if you go overboard it's too much. Even if you play sports you're going to injure yourself if you go too much. So everything in moderation. When I think about, we'll use [inaudible 00:18:16] as an example. So this is the precursor to World of Warcraft.

Chris:
Okay.

Eric:
So I spent a lot of time there and there's this tournament called the best of the best. So you get to compete with the best people in your class, let's say Chris you're a warrior, I'm a warrior. We're going to fight for this title and then you can be Chris the warrior at the end. I was creamed in the preliminaries and by the way let me just I don't want to go too deep into it. But, let's say Chris you're a level 60 I was level 55. You're at the highest level, you have an advantage over me. That's why I got destroyed. I had an equipment disadvantage. I had a strength disadvantage. But what I did was I got lucky with the ceding. So I got to copy one of our rivals and I just copied our tactics and I just did it better than her, right? And then I actually beat her very barely and then I beat everyone else, right? That to me is Steve Jobs says something about everything is a remix, right? Everything is a remix. There's not a lot that's really new and then even a lot of these investors you should be cloning all the time, right?
I realized that at that moment. I was like man I don't need to be original. I can just copy right there. And that lesson has stuck to me. It's not saying I copy a lot, but I'm saying there's a lot of inspiration, a lot of iterations in business that we're all just working on, we're building on the shoulders of titans. That's one example right there. And I think another example is around learning. When you gamify things, or even with working out like this bike back here, when my friends and I we compete all the time. My friends are like look at my stats, why are you so weak today. Blah, blah, blah. It's like there's that competition, the gamification. When you're educating people and you're adding games around it, it becomes more fun. And so that's how and probably the biggest thing I would say Chris and let me know if I'm rambling here, it's the same thing with business.
You start off with you got to build the right habits and then you get a job, maybe you start freelancing, get some clients on the side. And then from there you start to build your your agency if you want. You can start to build out products if you want as well. You can keep leveling up to the point where you go build a networks effects business or a SpaceX. But you can take it as far as you want, you got to just keep leveling up. You don't deserve to get to the next level until you beat this one.

Chris:
Okay. I'd like to spend a little time talking about this thing of in terms of adapting an opponent's strategy or tactics and then seeing where you can improve upon it. It sounded to me like you just needed to tweak it just a little bit. You didn't need to start over. You didn't need to go through rounds of trial and error and losing. So you saw something and then that was a signal to you that in the real world it's like that too where is Facebook original? I don't think so. Facebook just did what MySpace did a little bit better and cleaned it up. And then MySpace did what Friendster did, but just a little bit better and changed it for artists and musicians. And so we're going through these cycles, right? So, the people who can then refine it to a point in which all the little parts that weren't working are gone, then they're probably going to have a winner on their hands if they stick with it. And so that's what you're talking about, right? In terms of copying, because it's a charged word and I want to make sure people understand that.

Eric:
Yeah. By the way that's a really good point. I think cloning or copying sounds, it definitely sounds charged. I think human beings are very adverse to that. But then you realize that's really what's going on in the background.

Chris:
It is. Well there's the truth and there's our perception of what we want it to be true and the truth is people have forever copied the behaviors and acts of other people. It's how we're here, it's why we're not still rubbing two sticks of wood together because we're like we saw that and we improvise and we change it a little bit. And through that that's how progress is made. But, especially for creative people that word just it's like a shock to the system because it suggest a lack of original thinking. It suggests laziness and just trying to take shortcuts which most of us aren't there for. But there's, like the expression goes, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. You don't need to make a YouTube if YouTube is really good and if you see I think an area for improvement which maybe Vimeo saw. They don't have the same success, not even close, but they're like we'll create higher quality compression ratios, but nobody will be able to find a video.

Eric:
And by the way they still do well.

Chris:
I don't know how that's possible, but I'll take your word for it right, because I'm frustrated.

Eric:
We're talking hundreds of millions.

Chris:
Really?

Eric:
So I was just as surprised as you are. But anyway.

Chris:
Yeah, okay. So we digressed there, right?

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay, so now in terms of your business right now you described two companies, at least two companies I can understand and two podcasts. One company's a service. You referenced it as an agency where you do digital marketing for clients and you come up with strategy and creative and you do production and you take it end to end, right?

Eric:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
So for people who don't understand, what do you mean digital marketing? What the heck? So in layman's terms, please describe to us what is it that you do at this agency?

Eric:
Yeah, so this agency I'm going to assume that your audience understands what design agencies do. So I'm just going to compare it in that context.

Chris:
Yeah. That's fair.

Eric:
So you go to Chris. Chris used to have a design agency, right? You still do maybe. So, kind of. So you love Chris, you follow his stuff and like hey he knows what he's talking about when it comes to design. I want his company to help me, right? So the same idea here.

Chris:
I see.

Eric:
With my podcasts, with my audiences, they come to me for help with marketing. More around running their ads whether it's Facebook or Amazon ads or doing SEO work which is more what I'm known for. But actually to give you an example you want an example of how this copying thing plays into this-

Chris:
Sure that'd be great.

Eric:
Okay. So, when I took over Single Grain, again earlier I was mentioning how the revenues are linear, meaning that every time I close a new client I'm going to have to think about adding new people, right?

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
Versus software you grow and not so much. So, I looked up another company that was an agency and I have a friend that has an agency, they only have 25 people and they do 25 million dollars a year. So, the revenue for employees is very high. Usually with agencies it's 100 to 200 grand. So, I was like okay, why don't I just take that business model, apply it for our agency because our agency focuses more on software or big tech, and just focus on those types of companies with that model. And that's just a remix right there. Nobody else is doing that.

Chris:
So you have a friend who's doing really well so you're like, "Let me understand the structure of this." Then take that same structure, but apply it to your specific niche, or market, or your services. Totally makes sense to me.

Eric:
Right.

Chris:
Okay. But, okay so you said you primarily help people with SEO which is what you're known for. So SEO is search engine optimization is how Google finds you, right? Is that what we're talking about mostly?

Eric:
Yeah, so I would say 20% of our revenue is SEO. Now 80% is paid media, yeah.

Chris:
Okay. So paid media is the stuff that, especially right now in this time with Black Friday, you're noticing a lot of things following you around. It ads targeting. You're like, "How do they know I like that?" It's probably somebody from Eric's company or somebody like that who's like, okay there's a cookie. We see that you like this and we want to make sure we serve relative content to people who are interested. And so you're running these campaigns for your clients, right?

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
Okay. So is it mostly Facebook and Instagram?

Eric:
It's mostly Facebook, Google. There's a good chunk of Amazon.

Chris:
Okay.

Eric:
And then sometimes we'll try these other platforms like Pinterest.

Chris:
Well tell me how Amazon works? I didn't know that Amazon was marketing to me like that. The same thing?

Eric:
Amazing, their ad business is growing very quickly. But it's very simple. It's basically you can select, it's like the old days of Google ads where you put in a key word and then they'll just show you for relevant key words.

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
It's as simple as that. They're ad platform is not super sophisticated, but I think it's number three or number four right now.

Chris:
Wow and knowing Bezos it'll be number one pretty soon.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
So when I'm on Amazon and I see something that I'm searching for and this is promoted, that's what's happening. Somebody has targeted that key word search term and then they want to put that up and they'll pay pennies per views or something like that, right?

Eric:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah if it's video or if it's a click, whatever.

Chris:
Okay. So, typically speaking, what is the sweet spot for you in terms of the clients that you serve that you're buying ads for?

Eric:
Yeah. I'll have to check if they've put together a new ideal client profile. But last I checked we primarily focus on the big tech would be the Ubers, the Amazons of the world. And then we focus on a lot of software companies, ideally they've raised over 10 million dollars or they're doing over 10 million dollars a year and they're spending at least $30,000 a month.

Chris:
Is that your minimum threshold?

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
Okay. So they have to be willing to spend about $30,000 a month in ads. So are you advertising an app or to log in or register to a software, is that the idea?

Eric:
Yeah, basically so one client as an example they're big in the streaming world. And so we're just doing free trials for them. And in other cases we actually have a client that sells healthy food and that goes directly to just the product pages.

Chris:
I see. And as the person who's running these campaigns, are you held accountable to the metrics they would consider successful?

Eric:
Yeah that's a great question and I think I'm trying to make this helpful for people looking to start a design shop as well, because the reason why I hate traditional agency models is because the incentives are misaligned. Meaning, that they'll pay us let's say $5,000 a month. We run the ads, [inaudible 00:27:45] metrics. At the end of the day, we don't have any skin in the game, right? So if we fail, we don't have any liability and they're just like, "Okay, screw you," the relationship ends. And our revenue potential is capped. Now if I'm Chris and I say, "Hey, by the way for my designs," and this is probably harder to do it this way. But if my designs help you perform, I want a bonus right here. So it makes you another 100% I want 20% of that, right? It's a lot easier when it comes to marketing, not so much for design. But you probably know more than I do.

Chris:
Yeah, so you're doing something. One of my former tenants, this was their business model. They run Facebook ads. That's pretty much what they do and they could not hire enough people fast enough because their performance was tied to how well their conversions worked. And they basically sold on the premise of conversions. You have a product. If we believe in the product, we'll take it on and we'll figure it out. We'll do as much work as necessary until it starts converting better than what you're converting at now. And they get a percentage of the improvements. And so we're talking about accountability. I mean you're putting everything on the line there. So you have something similar, right? So do you have a baseline where they have to pay you and whatever you perform above you get a percentage of?

Eric:
Yeah, you know what? So I think one thing that designers could do, so I'll give you the structure but also designers can be doing conversation rate optimizations meaning those design landing pages that convert better and I know a company in Atlanta what they do is they'll say, "Hey whatever baseline you're at, that's fine. But over the next 12 months we want 25% upside for whatever we do. I don't care where you're running ads or whatever, we're basing it on conversion rate." So that way you're aligned. In terms of our structure, you could very ... The riskiest thing to do is you say, "Hey I'm going to front the ad spend." So you could be tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands a month before you even get paid. That's the riskiest part. But what you could do is say, "Hey you know what? Chris, why don't we do this a little bit at a time. Whey don't you pay us 10 grand up front. We'll run the ads for a week. If you like how it goes, we'll continue on and then obviously we're going to kick you back the money each week." But that way you're giving an advance, and so we both have some skin in the game and it's not as risky.

Chris:
Yeah. I think I may not have described what the other company my tenants were doing, correctly. They don't front any of the ad money. They front all the creative fees. So they say, basically we don't charge you any creative fees. We're only going to take a percentage of increase conversions. So if your baseline is 10% and it goes to 15%, they're basically going to take a percentage of the five, the difference, which is 5%.

Eric:
Got it. Chris that's creative work.

Chris:
Yeah it's creative work. They run the videos. They write and they produce the content. And they do whatever they need to do. So sometimes they're testing 30 different ad sets a day for one client and it's nuts the production they go through. Very different business model, but I admire it because you can totally see them scaling and they were growing like crazy.

Eric:
Skin in the game.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. I think it's wonderful and it's something that I think a lot of creative people are overlooking in terms of an avenue on how to apply that creativity. More often than not, we put our energies towards something we make and then it goes away. But the problem with that is that asset rarely ever generates more money for us after it's delivered. Once it's delivered your earning potential is gone, right? You have a much smarter business model. I don't need to tell you that. You already know that. So, hopefully we're going to get some people who are interested in this. So, you I was just checking with your Marketing School Podcast. How many episodes are you up to? Because I was like, "Oh, my God."

Eric:
Geez, well-

Chris:
It's like over 400, right?

Eric:
Well I think we're over 2,000.

Chris:
2,000?

Eric:
Oh, no sorry, sorry. Probably over 1500.

Chris:
Yeah there's a lot of episodes. Now they're much shorter. They're about 10 minutes or so and so maybe that's part of the strategy too. Maybe we'll talk about that in a second. So, you've been doing this for a long time and now before I know who you were, I recognized the name Neil Patel. I don't know how I know him, but his name's out there in the universe. So, for a period of time Neil was an owner of Single Grain because you bought him out for a dollar, right?

Eric:
Yep.

Chris:
Is he still involved with Single Grain or not anymore?

Eric:
He's not. Actually so here's ... Talking about, I'm not going to say he copied me. He actually he saw the revival of Single Grain and he actually he won't mind me revealing this. He actually offered me to be the CEO of his new agency that he's starting. He started it three years ago and it's actually very large now and we'll just leave it at that. Hundreds of employees, offices around the world and all that. So, he is not involved, but he saw what happened and he's like, "Oh, yeah I'm going to go back and do it again," and he made it happen.

Greg:
Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back with more from Eric.
Welcome back to our conversation with Eric Siu.

Chris:
So I'm listening to this right now and I'm looking around myself as a designer listening to this podcast and I'm thinking, "I don't have that kind of success." What do I need to know to be a player in this marketing game? What do I need to know? What are core skills or things I need to just know. Like yeah, if I know this then I have a shot at making it in this world. What do I need to know Eric?

Eric:
Yeah, so I'm going to broaden it to the spectrum of business. I think obviously there's a lot of traits and put those into the book as well. But we're talking about someone that has a growth mindset and a beginner's mindset and I'm sure everyone or most people know of that here. I would say for marketing I as a marketer, most of your experiments that you run are going to fail, right? So let's say you run an AB test, you tried all these different things. You're lucky if eight to 10% of them work out. So, you become number to failure and I think the reason why it's worked out for people like Neil and other people like that, it's because they'll fail and they'll move onto the next thing. And also these types of people when it comes to marketing, it's also they're willing to change their minds quickly, right?
So I'll use Neil as another example because whenever he presents me data or I present him data, we have strong views but we're very quick to change our minds if data is presented to us. So I would say the final thing is this, the sooner you start the better, right? So whether it's starting to create content or your business, because what we've seen with business is it typically takes three years to start to get going. With content, probably one to two years if you're lucky, maybe three. So it's the same thing as investing. It just compounds over time and most people aren't willing to let time, let things marinate.

Chris:
There's a lot of things that you said there. But, let me rephrase the question. The question maybe is like what makes a mediocre, average person who does marketing, digital marketing, versus someone who does it really well? Because I could listen to this and somebody's like, "Well why would I hire Eric and his team? I'll just hire cousin Vinny and Vinny will do it." What are the differences that you bring to the table that somebody who doesn't know what they're doing or hasn't been doing it long enough or hasn't been playing at this at a high enough level, what's the difference?

Eric:
Yeah. I would say the biggest difference if I'm looking at again we'll just use the two marketing school people, myself or Neil. It's we're not just marketers, you have to think like an owner as well, an owner mentality. Meaning that you are constantly, you don't go to a nine to five job and that's it, right? Even when I was working nine to five, I would have side gigs, side hustles on the side and I would be testing a lot of things on my own. I remember one night it was broke, I paid $4,000 for an eCommerce magic website and I learned the value of choosing your partners and not trying to change designs or optimize things too quickly, right? But I ate dirt. So you have to be willing to do that which is why at Single Grain we tell people, we say, "Hey, you should have a side gig because if it works out, more power to you. By the way if it just continues to generate some additional cash, we're going to learn from that. We're going to benefit from that." So it's the rapid learnings and people need to put themselves in that position.

Chris:
Okay. All right, so if I'm just really enthralled with what you're saying, where do I learn to do what it is that you do? I mean when you hire people do they come in from a school or a program that teaches them how to do digital marketing, or do you pretty much say you have a core set of skills we're going to take you through the Single Grain process? Is that what happens?

Eric:
Yeah. So, two things there. A, there is a massive gap in the market. You obviously know there's Lambda School right now. So down the road the plan is to have marketing school with the income share agreement, so to fill that gap. On our side when we hire it's more so we're looking for it depends. If they're more senior we're looking for the skills already and then we'll indoctrinate them for the first 30 to 60 days. So we have a policy that says, "Hey in the first 30 to 60 days you actually cannot make any suggestions. You cannot." You basically can't talk, just listen right? Because oftentimes too many people come in and they bring their baggage. Anyway there's a lot to go with there. But it's just focus on learning.
And then for younger people, let's say people starting out let's say an intern. We will put them through a three month ringer where we don't make them get coffee or anything like that. It's just straight up you're going to learn a ton. We have an entire curriculum built out, and then you're going to be doing actual work as you're learning. And we have a very similar curriculum for our leaders too. So we have a leadership curriculum.

Chris:
Wow. Did you develop this yourself or did somebody on the team help develop this?

Eric:
Yeah, so the intern one that was more so on my side. The leadership one I actually pulled inspiration from the CEO of SalesLoft. So it's largely his template, but with modifications from my side.

Chris:
Okay, interesting.

Eric:
There's copying for you again.

Chris:
Yeah, it is, right? It's really not copying. It's like the thing about creativity is your ability to draw from places in which people aren't looking and find the connection to the thing that you are doing. So if we're on Instagram and everybody is looking at the Instagram post and just doing the same thing which we see a lot of, I'll refer to it as the attack of the clones. Somebody does something, picks a certain type face, and then everybody uses the same type face. It's like, "Okay that's derivative and then not necessarily looked upon with funness." But if you go out and you watch a movie and you see a color pallet or an interesting way of presenting something and you bring it to Instagram and you adapt for that, that's really where people are like, "Wow that's really fresh. It's new, it's interesting. It is and it isn't. It's something they saw and it's something they were able to adapt that you couldn't see. That's where that spark is and I'm sure that's really what you're doing, right? You see something and we need to apply that, yeah.

Eric:
You know what happened? When you brought the carousel thing, when we talked about that, what happened was I brought that to Neil and we kept talking about it and all of a sudden you see all these marketers doing the carousels. So that's you, by the way.

Chris:
And I got it from somebody else, so it's like that's just what it is, right? So we're all learning and growing and it keeps moving and you want to be able to do that. Okay, so you were saying Neil is running a very successful company. From what I can tell you're running a very successful company as well and I wanted to ask you a couple of questions. How, if any, impact has COVID made with the way you run your company, on revenue, on client and are people tightening up and they don't want to spend money what is the impact on your business for the last seven years or so?

Eric:
Yeah, great question.

Chris:
Or seven months, I'm sorry. Seven months.

Eric:
Okay. So, COVID when it first hit I was really scared. I was preparing everything and I'm sure you were too. But I would say largely because we work on the digital ad side, it's been good for us across the board. And when I look at other agencies that do not work in eCommerce or it's SAS they generally do well. So it's been a boom. What I will say though in the very beginning I learned from other entrepreneurs that you need to cut and you need to cut fast and do it all at once. And so I did that, but I would just say that I'm glad I did that because it worked out for them longer term and it's better for us long term as well. So, yeah.

Chris:
Okay, so you have to make some adjustments right at the beginning and your advice to other entrepreneurs is don't do it piecemeal. Do it all at once. Be decisive that way people aren't panicked like is it my turn next? A lot of people who advise owners say the same thing. As soon as you know you should cut because it's dipping into whatever severance package you might offer them. It allows them to get on the market quicker than everybody else because when the market is really hungry there's not much you can do because all the jobs are gone essentially. So cut early, cut fast and be very decisive right? Do it quick.

Eric:
And more than anything, I mean they're looking for leadership. I think that time in February I don't know I think me being more paranoid in February, I had already started to make preparations. Started giving everyone these stipends and everyone's like, "He's overreacting." And then boom it hits and it's like, "Okay guys, we're shutting everything." Basically we shut everything down before the stay at home order in California. But once you start to say that hey guys, and I'm sending them weekly newsletters and we're staying on top of it. We're connecting with everyone individually. I think they're looking at you for those first 60 to 90 days on how much is this person going to support us. I think that goes a long way.

Chris:
Yeah. Now are you guys still working remotely or are you returned to the office?

Eric:
We are going to ... we are not going to go back to the office, even though it's nice. But, yeah it's what I wanted to do over the years and finally this has accelerated it. I don't know about you.

Chris:
Well yeah I'll answer that in a second. So did you give up the lease on your space? Because I think when I went to talk to you it was the building right next door, right? Across the way?

Eric:
Yeah. I think there's a pending legal battle coming.

Chris:
Okay, so I shouldn't talk about this?

Eric:
No, you're fine. I think they're going to have their battles with everyone in there.

Chris:
Yeah, right. Landlords, people who hold large real estate that are over leveraged, are probably I hate to say this, it's going to be a huge domino effect. I'm a real, I own property too so I'm like dang my tenant's sweating me too. So it's like this is going to be an economic catastrophe that ripples in which that we're not even fully aware of just yet.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay, put that aside. So what happened with us was I was like we're in education. I wonder how this is going to impact it. I think people still want to learn, especially now. But, maybe they're thinking about can I buy food? Can I keep the heat on? So we were a little concerned. Essentially early on we just sent everybody a note saying I think this was just a week before the stay at home order came down, which was, "Everybody get whatever you need from the office. Bring it home and work from home. We'll figure this out later." And about a month or two into it I said, "This is it. This is permanent. If you have personal items at the office, go get it. We're going to have to figure out what else to do with the building." So I own the building. So I can't kick myself out, not yet and nobody is looking for space. So we're trying to use the space in more creative ways. So the entire building has been turned into production studios for basically two people.

Eric:
Nice. Well I'll tell you what, maybe I'll pay you some rent for using that studio.

Chris:
Well we're setting things up. So hopefully it'll be this media hub and we just have to adapt, right?

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
And office space maybe that wasn't ever such a great idea and COVID really tested that.

Eric:
You know what would be a good idea? There's a lot of these people in Hollywood doing the content houses, right? So if you had your own version of a content house there, super.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah, unfortunately it's just such an expensive content house right now. So we're like what are we going to do? I should really be leasing the building out if somebody were interested. That would be the best use of our money that way I could hire more people do to what we need to do. But, if nothing changes and nobody's renting, we're going to have to figure out that content house idea. Okay. So, this idea of running ads to help me grow my business is fascinating. When I ran my design service studio, running ads to attract advertising agencies didn't quite click for me. Now, we're talking about traditional advertising in magazines, press releases, sponsoring functions and events and things like that. I could never see the ROI in that because I was thinking they know what this is. People don't hire us based on that. Now this is a new era where we can do highly focused targeted ads. If we wanted to spend all of our money and focus one big client, we could do that for a really, really long time. So if I run a creative service company, can I use ads, like Facebook ads to help me grow?

Eric:
I think it depends on who you're targeting. So if you're a designer targeting eCommerce there's a big boom right now, right? Shutterfly's exploding, or Amazon is exploding. So you have a good chance of targeting people saying, "Hey we'll do your creatives for eCommerce and we'll have a productized service for you." That's one thing I've seen working. I'll talk to you about the context of us. In general when we run ads on Google it generally doesn't work. We get a lot of riff-raff that comes through.

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
What does work for us though just because we target tech is we run Twitter ads. Some people are like, "Oh, my God Twitter's old whatever."

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
The smartest people I know hang out on Twitter. So I can target SAS founders. I can target people that have influence there. And I don't need to spend a lot and we've gotten probably the best quality leads that we've ever gotten. Most of our leads come from SEO and the content that I'm putting out. But when we run ads we're just targeting cold people, Twitter works out well. So I think it's just really important to understand where your audience is hanging out and then we're not saying directly, "Hey come buy our stuff. Come sign up for a free consultation." It's just my face and we're sharing more content on our website. So it's just go check out more stuff because those of you that listen to this right now you love Chris for who he is, and you're more apt to buy his stuff because this that you're listening to or watching or whatever right now, this is a from of nurturing, right? People talk about email nurturing. You keep nurturing people, eventually they're going to become curious and do something.

Chris:
Okay, okay. So, now that you say this because I'm on Twitter a lot and I don't remember if I see ads, but I do see tweets that are promoted. Is that what you're doing? So it's part of your content funnel. You put out something that you think is valuable and then you use Twitter to promote it. And that's targeting tech founders and tech companies so that they see that they're like, "Oh, this Eric guy is really smart. I really like what he's saying." Then they click on that and they go to your page. There's an article or video or podcast they want to listen to it. Then they're like, "Oh, I didn't know you before, but now you're a person worth knowing." That's what we're talking about, right?

Eric:
Exactly. And so the content funnel is the biggest thing. You're trying to indoctrinate people, bring them into your world and then you can think about going for the right hook or going for the ask, yep.

Chris:
Right. So you're doing I think the Seth [Goden 00:46:45] model which is you're asking them to volunteer to become a part of a long term marketing plan and you're spending a little money to get them in first to see who's interested, please raise your hand. Not literally raising their hand. And then they get into this and then you set up some curriculum. It's like learn this, learn this and then by the third learning thing they're probably saying, "We need this guy and his team to do this for us." Like that, right? Okay.

Eric:
Yeah, kind of. I would say when people listen to Marketing School, we're not until last week, we actually didn't have any community or course offering. But it was just we're going to keep giving away stuff for free and then eventually they'll become so overwhelmed that it's like we need the help, right? Plus Neil and myself, I'll be the first to say that we aren't necessary the best at forcing a sale, right?

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
We're much better at teaching people and then when they want something, sure we can close it then.

Chris:
Just so I know the economics of it, how much money are you spending a month on running Twitter ads for your service agency?

Eric:
It's not a lot. I think it's 3,000. So relatively speaking on the other stuff we spend ads for, for ourselves where it might be a little more like 30 or 40 grand, it's 10%.

Chris:
Wow, okay. And you're saying that's the best ROI aside from SEO?

Eric:
It's the best ROI in terms of spending on ads. Otherwise it's too cost prohibitive.

Chris:
Right.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. And so let's talk about the other thing is SEO, which is really making sure that you can be found for the key words. And I saw on your site you're the number one search for really broad key phrases that the phrase that pays. So you're applying those strategies to do that. So generally speaking, how does one rank higher on Google? I know it changes, but just broad concepts.

Eric:
Yeah. So those of you that might be thinking, "Oh, my God SEO is dead." Let me be the first to say as long as there is the concept of search, there will always be SEO. People always do that. So, the two most important factors when it comes to SEO are content and links. That has not changed since the very beginning. That might change in five years, 10 years, but today it has not changed. And so I'll give you a story here. When I first took over Single Grain, our blog was only getting 4,000 visits a month right? So, relatively speaking now we've wrapped it over the years. It's better now. It's about 350,000 a month. But what we did in the very beginning was I noticed we didn't have much of a cadence, right> so we were publishing very sporadically and it wasn't very helpful content and it was very short form. The algorithms now they go for quality and sometimes quality to them might be longer form and there's more keywords in it.
You want to write quality content, that's what I'm basically saying. Whether you write let's say you're a first time business owner. Maybe you only go for one really freaking good piece once a month, right? That blows everyone's mind, or it might be once a quarter or so. You don't need to try to compete with the people doing it once a week or once every day. You just don't have those resources yet. But as you stay consistent with that over a 12 to 18 month period and you start to share it with people like you got something really good on design share it with Chris. If it's really good, he's probably going to say something, right? When people send me really good stuff, I say something.
And over time you're going to start to create a mini brand for yourself. Also you're going to attract links to your website, right? And those of you that don't have an SEO background don't need to think too much about links initially. Just think about really good stuff and then people are going to cite it. Then what's going to happen is the more stuff, good stuff you create, the more links are coming to your website, the more compounds, you can create more stuff. And then whatever you tend to write automatically starts to rank. So, because we have a lot of links and content on our website, whenever we publish things around marketing, because Google sees our website as a marketing website, guess what, we rank for it to Chris' point.

Chris:
Okay, excellent. So the fundamentals of it is high quality content that teaches people don't sell them anything and do it fairly consistently whatever cadence or pace that you can do it at that's really going to drive engagement because three times people show up and then there's a long gap. You lose all that momentum. This is the compound effect. You got to show up consistently and that could be once a day. It could be once a week, once a month. But you got to just do it on a regular basis. So make that a priority, right?

Eric:
One [inaudible 00:51:06] I would add, so there's that and then in the very beginning, like very, very beginning you're probably spending this 80-20 rule. 20% time on the content, the other 80% you're promoting. You better be promoting the hell out of it, right? Reaching out to the right people, using a tool like Uber Suggest to find out people that have been talking about similar topics. You can use a tool like you can use Twitter's advanced search, beautiful tool.

Chris:
So when you say promote, what do you mean?

Eric:
So, let's say I write the ultimate guide to design in 2021.

Chris:
Okay, I like that.

Eric:
I'll reach out to design influencers such as yourself and other ones and saying, "Hey, guys I put this together what are your thoughts on it?" And then you might respond back and be like, "Hey, would you mind linking or tweeting it?" So maybe I'll have a soft ask and a hard ask because the link is annoying. And your conversion rate might be 10% or so if you're lucky. But you are in effect you're begging, but at least you're giving some type of value.

Chris:
Right. Okay, just for clarification, my ask is very hard. I do work out. He said ask, right? He said soft ask and a hard ask.

Eric:
So my ask sounds like ass, yeah.

Chris:
Yeah I know. Even if you pronounce it 100% perfect it's like what? What did he just say? All right so it was an ask, with a K. So yeah he's being very clear and sometimes he's also asking indirectly like hey would you consider it? Okay. I totally get it. I want to ask you about stats. Can we talk about stats?

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. And if I ask a question you don't want to answer, just say no and we'll edit it out.

Eric:
Sure.

Chris:
Okay, so first one is there are two podcasts like you have all this time in the world. So you're running two podcasts, one with Neil and one on your own called Leveling Up and the other one's called Marketing School. And I think Leveling Up is newer, is that right?

Eric:
Leveling Up is older. It used to be called Growth Everywhere.

Chris:
It's older?

Eric:
That's seven years old.

Chris:
Growth Everywhere, I see, okay. So you're into what is it a couple of thousand episodes between the two?

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah, okay. So can I ask you because I'm just going to talk shop with you in terms of podcasts. I've only got one podcast and it feels like it's a lot of work to make. Okay, you're in the thousands, I'm in the hundreds like we just crossed the 100th episode. What stats can you share with us? I noticed the episodes are shorter and I think that's by design and it's smart, you can release more content. It's not going to kill you to make. Very, very smart, I get it. Where are you ranked and what are you in terms of what category? Just give me some of the stats please.

Eric:
I'll share all the stats, yeah.

Chris:
Okay.

Eric:
So we are number four. We hover between number four and number six for marketing in all of Apple. So number four out of 100, the top 100. And then for Leveling Up I think I'm in the top 200 or so if I'm lucky. And then in terms of I think you asked about downloads too, right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Eric:
So, on average so we get about 1.5 million downloads a month, but I'll caveat obviously we have a daily episode. So usually we'll average about 25,000 downloads per episode. And then for Leveling Up, which I actually preferred the audience of Leveling Up more because they're more techy people. Also more affluent. But, so that one's about 80,000 downloads a month.

Chris:
80,000 downloads per month or per episode?

Eric:
Per month.

Chris:
Per month, okay. So, I see. This must be some insider's guide to podcasting because you're the second podcast person I've talked to who does daily episodes. But that person's episodes are even shorter than yours. So they'll do really one long recording and just chop it up and just do it that way. So do you see an advantage to that?

Eric:
Yeah, so when we first started the podcast we were thinking okay, everyone is doing these interview podcasts right now. How do we zig where other people are zagging? So the thesis was again you have two people that understand marketing really well, but they're also both operators. And we can just nerd out on stuff the whole time. We don't really do many interviews or anything like that. And then let's just do it daily for five to 10 minutes and that at the time four years ago was novel. Nobody else was really doing that. And we just found out that oh, my God it's just compounding a lot faster. So why not keep doing it?

Chris:
I see.

Eric:
And by the way, I'm about to do two more podcasts now that I just got invited to do and the reason for that, the thesis here is I had a guy Anthony [Pompliano 00:55:27] a couple of weeks ago he was like, "Look." I'm like, "What do you do everyday?" He's like, "All I do is I create content because it brings me [inaudible 00:55:32] I get to meet cool people and it's leverage." I'm like, "Holy crap, I should just be focused on creating content."

Chris:
And how much prep do you do in terms of writing, preparing, producing, researching for each one of these episodes?

Eric:
Yeah so I remember when I interviewed you on my podcast here, so for you for interviews for Leveling Up I'll spend probably at least 30 minutes to an hour, if not more preparing. Just to research how the guest is. And then for Marketing School we do no prep. The only prep we do is the headlines. That's the hardest part.

Chris:
So you and Neil will just get together and like what's on your mind today?

Eric:
So what will happen is my team will put together 15 headlines and then we'll just edit the headlines and then it's basically whatever we want to talk about.

Chris:
I see. I see. You write the headline first and then that drives the conversation?

Eric:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Okay. And are you doing this in the true partnership where Neil has to come in and here are the things I think I want to talk about? Yeah?

Eric:
Yeah. So it's driven by what we both are comfortable talking about. So that's why whatever I want to talk I move it over to Leveling Up now.

Chris:
I see.

Eric:
But, yeah.

Chris:
I see. Okay, that's great. And then I noticed on both the podcasts you run ads at the beginning and so I was like, "Okay, this is interesting." And are you making a lot of money running ads on your podcast?

Eric:
I'll tell you how much we make. I think that's where it's going.

Chris:
I want to know, yeah.

Eric:
Okay. So, these numbers are public. So, for Marketing School the deal we have is for $720,000 a year for the ads. And then for Leveling Up it's basically close to 100 grand a year.

Chris:
When you say the deal, are you working with a broker to sell ads?

Eric:
No, we went [inaudible 00:57:18] direct. It was actually somebody that listens to the podcast, so.

Chris:
Oh, wow. So you brokered the deal yourself then from somebody who was a fan.

Eric:
Yes.

Chris:
And was like we need to advertise on you. I love that.

Eric:
Yeah.

Chris:
Wow. That's really cool. So okay. I mean somebody who's listening to this could be just really content with just doing $100,000 a year doing podcasts. So maybe this is one formula. So, in the spirit of what Eric has shared, if you see a framework here that you could borrow it, modify it and apply it to your own niche, you might do really, really well. And obviously you are a very smart business person. You've got your hands in many different things, very successful person. Now how can people find out about A, the book and more about Single Grain or the ClickFlow website? Tell us.

Eric:
Yeah. I think the best way to find all the stuff so go to Levelingup.com. You can get a free chapter of the book or you can just go to your favorite online retailer. Leveling Up Eric Siu and then if you want all the other stuff just follow me on Instagram or Twitter @Ericosiu and I'll respond and with whatever you need. If you have questions around marketing, business whatever, happy to help.

Chris:
Perfect.

Eric:
My name is Eric Siu and you are listening to The Future.

Greg:
Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Future Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Borrow for editing and mixing this episode and thank you to Adam Sandborn for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to Thefuture.com/heychris and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit Thefuture.com. You'll find video courses, digital products and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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