Bacon Wrapped Business With Brad Costanzo
BWB Dan | Startup Success

Dan Martell Of Clarity Reveals His Framework For Success In Startups And In Life


For the past few years, I've personally been using a website called to seek out experts and also to be sought out and give advice to other business owners and entrepreneurs. I've been recommending this company to everyone I know in the industry.

That's why I was honored to sit down with the Founder of Clarity, Dan Martell, who recently sold the business to, thus continuing an impressive run of starting and investing in businesses. Dan has personally done over 1,500 calls on Clarity and it’s not hard to see why.

Over the last decade Dan has built five businesses, raised venture capital twice, and personally invested in 33 other companies as an angel, and more on the way!

Landing in rehab as a teenager for drugs, it was during this time that Dan learned to code and changed his path forever, coupled with his entrepreneurial drive and spirit.

Dan shares his remarkable story as well as amazing and powerful insights, revealing what makes him tick, how he stays on top of his game, what he really wants out of life, and what's next in life after Clarity.

Some Topics We Discussed Include:

  • How Dan rebuilt his life and started and sold multiple companies (and failed at several along the way)
  • Why he got bored of the beach after selling Clarity and what he's doing about it
  • How a simple quote about goals from John Assaraf changed Dan's life forever (and could change yours)
  • Dan's daily habits that he credits for his success above all else
  • Why hiring people who “play” at things you consider “work” is one of the key strategies Dan uses to leverage his time, strengths, and passions
  • How Dan delegates everything unless it creates value or time with his family
  • Where Dan's “puck is going” now that he's sold Clarity

To learn more about Dan Martell and the companies he built, visit

About The Guest: Dan Martell

BWB Dan | Startup SuccessWhen I was 17, I started my first tech company… FAILED. When I was 19, I started a hosting company… FAILED. I tried consulting for 3-years after that… HATED IT. When I was 24, I started a SaaS company called Spheric Technologies… MY FIRST SUCCESS. But I almost crashed Spheric into the ground…

I’d bootstrapped the company from the ground, up. But in spite all the growth, we were starting to stagnate. No matter what we did, we couldn’t identify our biggest opportunity to kick-start sales. Everything was disorganized because we were fumbling around in the dark. We’d just threw money at the wall to see if anything would stick.

Dan Martell Of Clarity Reveals His Framework For Success In Startups And In Life

One of the cool things about this is I’m interviewing the Founder of His name’s Dan Martell. Once more, I’ve been a fan of the service that he built, the Software as a Service, which is a place where experts go to gather and give advice for years.

It was a real blessing to get to meet Dan. We got to talk and then we decided to do this interview together. I wanted to get in there and pick his brain about some of the challenges and successes that he’s gone through.

He’s built five businesses alone or with his team. I believe he said two or three of them failed and two or three of them were wild successes. He sold three of his businesses, one being

Although he’s still very closely involved with them, he’s moving on to some new ventures. That’s one of the things we’re going to talk about. Dan has angel-funded 30 different companies.

He’s originally from Canada. It’s everywhere I see Dan’s profile in his bio, he’s always like a Canadian entrepreneur, like that matters. Bottom line, he’s a great entrepreneur.

He’s somebody we can all learn from, especially when you hear his struggles and when you hear how he started. For instance, you may not know this, but he was in jail when he was a kid. He was a juvenile delinquent and that’s where he learned to code.

He came out of this and he built multiple multimillion-dollar businesses. A couple of things you’re going to learn is the mindset that went into creating this, where the spark of inspiration came. What he did when he didn’t know where else to turn.

What his philosophy on the type of business you should be building, how he feels about that after the exit moment that a lot of us entrepreneurs would love, to exit a business for seven, eight, nine figures, and What’s Next. We’re also going to talk about What’s Next.

I’m going to pick Dan’s brain for some cool bacon-wrapped strategies. These are the strategies and tactics that these folks don’t like to tell everybody, but I’m going to force him to tell me this one.

It is so awesome that it is going to change the way that I start to deliver information once I wrap my mind around this. If you’re selling anything at all, then you’re going to want to pay attention to the advice that Dan gives.

He even said, “People don’t usually get this out of me, it’s something big, but I want you to hear it because it will help you as well.”

Dan Martell is the Founder of Clarity, Founder of Flowtown, and a lot of companies. Without any further ado, let’s try to jump over here and talk to Dan.

Dan, welcome to Bacon Wrapped Business. How are you?

I’m doing great, Brad. Thanks for having me.

It’s cool to have you on the show. Several years ago, I found which was your company. You’ve since sold it, which is great. I was an evangelist for it. I was telling everybody that, “You guys need to go out and jump on this thing right now.”

Even for the smallest reasons, personal, like to have a profile up there, is it was great for personal branding and SEO. I put my thing up there and after two weeks, it was number three or number four for my name.

It’s a great way to put yourself out there like, “This guy is actually an expert in all this stuff and he’s charging money so he must be good.” It was neat and then I found a lot of people had discovered me.

I want to talk about what you’re doing, but it’s important for people to understand what you built prior to this because it leads to what you’re working on. Explain Clarity in a nutshell.

My personal story is like a lot of entrepreneurs. I had a colorful childhood, challenging environment. I got put in group homes, foster homes at a young age. It got bad. I ended up in jail a couple of times. I went to rehab at seventeen years old.

It was in rehab where I discovered programming, this book on Java programming, and then the internet when I got out. It changed my life and it probably saved my life because it gave me something to focus on that was obviously not illegal, that I felt passionate and excited about.

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I’ve been super fortunate and blessed to have gone on to build five companies since then, one of them being Clarity. I’ve raised money for Mark Cuban. I got to spend a week with Richard Branson at his house in Switzerland.

It’s crazy to even think again. I come from a small town of 80,000 people in the middle of nowhere to having these opportunities and experiences. I feel lucky and that was the inspiration for Clarity.

Clarity was a marketplace for entrepreneurs to get advice from other entrepreneurs over the phone, to grow their dreams, and hit their goals. That’s what we did. We raised $1.6 million in funding. We grew it to 50,000 experts within two years, 300,000 calls.

It got acquired by a great company called, which is the largest startup community in the world. It allowed me to fulfill that passion and mission which was a lesson I learned when I was seventeen when I was in rehab.

The reason why this place worked for me was all the staff as drug addicts. They had a philosophy that unless you’ve been in that hole you’ve tried to climb out, it was hard for you to scream down telling the people the different places. Put your hands and your feet to get out of it if you’ve never done it yourself.

For me, that resonated and when it came to business, that same philosophy of getting advice from people that have been through it before they’ve had the success that you admire is the right way to get advice. That’s why we built Clarity. I was living in San Francisco at the time.

There was an abundance of amazing knowledge and experience and I thought, “What would happen if you could unlock all this advice, experience, and knowledge and make it available for the rest of the world, for people that need it most?” That’s what we did.

One of the hardest things in the past has been, “How do I get connected with people who can help me out?” You have to be crafty in order to do that.

One of the best things I’ve ever done is start a podcast like this because it allows me to connect with individuals like you and other people so that I can get on there and talk to them.

When the Clarity marketplace came up, you realized that there are people out there. They’re willing to help. They’re willing to give a hand.

Most successful people like to give advice, especially if people are paying for it, if they’re demonstrating that they want it. It’s not simply, “Can I pick your brain?” which is the worst thing.

The truth is, is people that have gotten success like myself, we know we’re only there because of a thousand other people that spent fifteen minutes to an hour time teaching us, sharing with us, supporting us and lifting us up.

The unfortunate part is, without the monetary friction or filter, it’s hard to decipher if somebody truly needs you and your advice at that moment versus somebody that’s got an ulterior motive.

They’re trying to sell you something, they want to pitch you as an investor. They want to get an introduction to somebody you know in your network or whatever it is.

We never figured out a way to do it through other means, although there were creative ideas, we came up with using social networks, graphs and stuff. The money one was a no-brainer.

It turned out to be a great way for people to also raise money for the charities of their choice which is a big piece of Clarity and our mission in life. It allows people to make extra income to do what they love to do, which is give advice to other people.

BWB Dan | Startup Success

Startup Success: Successful people are where they are because of other people that spent time teaching, supporting, and lifting them up.


This unlocked a whole new segment of people. A lot of Clarity members were not full-time consultants or experts. They were entrepreneurs that felt like this is a great tool for them to make themselves available without distracting them from their primary business.

That’s how I use it. I put my Clarity profile on there before I was an official consultant because I thought, “It was a great place to be.” What gave you the initial idea? What was that spark idea to said, “I’ve got something here?”

The way I built all my companies has always been solving a problem that I’ve had myself. That’s first-order filter. What happened is, after I sold my last company, Flowtown, in 2011, I got an influx of emails from people asking to pick my brain, have coffee, or what it is.

I wanted to reply and engage in all these people but there was no way. There were 150-plus emails of people who want to get together in person.

What I did as a developer, I sat down and I built this simple call app. It was a link with a form where you put your name, number, and reason for the call. It would queue up all the requests and then whenever I was free, I would try to call them back.

It would proxy my cell number so it uses a 1-800 number, call both parties and if they were free, it would connect us and if they weren’t free, it would call the next person. It was cool because it would tell me, “Calling Brad to talk about his new podcast.” It would tell me that before it called them.

It would be like, “Connecting Brad.” I’m going to be like, “You want to talk about your podcast?” It was this neat, almost like call system. I had it for probably about six weeks. I plowed through all those email requests to pick my brain.

One night, I decided to go to the roof of my house and tweet it out to my Twitter followers. Prior to that, I was using an email privately. I went to the roof and I tweeted out and I said, “If you need startup advice, schedule me here.” I spent three hours talking to twenty entrepreneurs all over the world.

One of the things I read that you had said in some of your blog posts or podcasts, the stuff I was doing for my pre-research on you, is when you did sell your company, one of the big realizations that you had was you’d probably retire if you want but, “Crap, I’m bored.”

It’s not all about the exit once you get done, especially when you’re young and you’ve got a lot of creative energy. What was the biggest epiphany you had when that happened? I know there are a lot of folks out there, a lot of startups, founders, and people who are the end-all, be-all.

The Nirvana for them is to get that exit so they don’t have to hustle or at least they think that. What was the biggest epiphany you had when you’ve sold everything?

I was 28 at the time that my third company, Spheric, got acquired. It was May. Summer was around the corner. I decided to buy a hot tub, a wakeboarding boat and a cottage. I thought, “What more could you need?” I was a pretty young guy. I had probably, one of the best summers of my life.

Come August when everybody was done through their vacations and people started going back to university or back to their jobs, I thought, “It was probably the most unproductive last four or five months of my life as well.”

Obviously, I’m capable of solving problems and creating value. I accomplished something I never personally even thought I could do, let alone other people. We had won all these awards and I got recognized as the top entrepreneur in the province and eventually in Canada.

Going through what I did in my younger teenage years, I didn’t want to waste my life. That’s where the original hustle came to create a business. It was like, “Once I got to this point where financially I didn’t need to work,” I also had to ask myself.

It’s like, “Am I going to waste my days by not having an impact?” There’s actually a great quote by John Assaraf who’s a native of San Diego. I never met him before. I read it in some book that said, “Ask not if you’re worthy of your goals. Ask instead if your goals are worthy of your life?”

That quote set me on a mission to buy a plane ticket, move to San Francisco, and take a stab at what I always admired, building a software technology company in the heart of where the smartest people in the world come together to do that.

Financially, I was okay, but I was a big fish in a small pond, like taking myself out of that scenario and going to a city where I didn’t know anybody, didn’t know one person and seeing if any of my crazy ideas will hold water.

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That quote set me on fire to try it out. It was pretty cool. After I started coming off Flowtown, three years later we ended up raising money and sold that company. It was while doing Clarity when I raised my round of funding.

I got them to wire the money to my hometown because I built Clarity out of Canada. That was the plan. I never thought it would work.

If they ask me like, “Why are you moving to San Francisco?” I was like, “Someday, I’m going to go learn and I’m going to bring everything I learned back to this small town of people and teach all these younger kids that were like me that didn’t have any people building technology companies around them.”

I remember the day when one of my investors asked me, they’re like, “Where is Moncton? Why am I wiring my money there?” I’m like, “This is part of the deal. I want to build my company there. There are a lot of reasons for that.” That was near five years after the fact we came full circle.

That’s the whole concept of the serial entrepreneur, people who start, sell, etc. There is no real endgame for people like us.

When you have the drive and the skills necessary to build something of value, especially to build something of immense value then you’re done, you don’t lose those skills, you don’t lose that drive and ambition. You don’t lose because it’s never about the money.

This is the thing about retiring. What I do every day, what I did for my whole life is an extension of who I am. You can’t keep me away from doing what I do because I absolutely love to do it. I find me a whole idea, not giving up and creating the most boring meaningless life.

That’s not what I lived. I don’t think that’s why I was given a second chance to do. I can’t do it to myself and my family. I’m not happy. You read the blog post I wrote and I took six months off. I was going to take a year off. I lasted six months and realize I am not happy.

I’ve experienced that. I know exactly where you’re coming from. You said something like, “I’m not an expert because I think I am. I’m an expert because I know I’m a student.”

That was the thing that actually got tweeted out a lot, “I don’t think I’m an expert as I know I’m a student.”

Being a constant student has been one of the biggest best things I’ve ever done for my own success. How that affected you? What are you learning? What are you excited about?

If somebody asks me, they’d go, “You seem like a guy that makes decisions fast.” That’s true. They’d go, “Are you always like that?” It took me back because I’m like, “I had to think about my thinking framework.”

Here’s the way I am, long-term strategy and starting a company takes me a while. A while could be three months. To some people, that seems fast but to me that’s slow.

“This decision took me six months,” but once I decide, I’m full-on, possessed, consumed, “Screw anything else in my life.” Obviously, my family is still important, but like social events and all that other stuff.

I wrote that post, I’ve been on a tear. I’m dissecting this industry. Some people called it the expert industry, some people call it online marketing, media companies, online education, content creation, whatever you want to call it.

Becoming a student of that industry and trying to make a list of all the strategies I’m going to have to figure out plus all the content I’m going to have to create. Figure out how can I have the most impact as possible.

What I’ve been learning a lot lately is crazy stuff like, how do you conduct a three-day seminar? How do you get in front of a group of people, keep the energy high, transfer knowledge, and teach adult education? I’m not a formal teacher. I’ve never taught anything.

I build companies. I have to think about, “How do you create frameworks, design content and ensure that things are landing and sticking and being able to for the people hearing it to teach it to other people, and then write it?” Someday, I’ve got to write a book. Discipline every day.

BWB Dan | Startup Success

Startup Success: Solve your own problems. Find the pieces that resonate with you and put them together.


I write 1,500 words every day. It’s like get them done and a lot of that turns into blog posts or stuff I’ll keep for later. I’m in this amazing creative space and it’s been super fun, but it’s all new to me. That’s why you reached out because you read the blog.

You’re like, “Dan, we should reconnect. I’d love to talk to you about what I’ve learned because you’ve been doing this for a while.” For me, it’s about finding the pieces that resonate with me and putting them together. This is no different than how I build any company. That’s the, solve your own problems.

For me, I write content from things that I’ve experienced and the challenges I’ve had around business, marketing, fundraising, software and that stuff. Get inspired from people and say, “This part feels good and I’m going to emulate that or model that for other parts.”

I’ve learned from everybody. I’ve probably been fortunate to meet 150 people in the industry and some people doing eight figures and some people still struggling, but each one had something to teach me. It’s been fun.

In any of your businesses, maybe a few of them, what are the cool things that you’ve done to provide a ton of leverage?

It doesn’t sound exciting, but it is the most invaluable thing that I do every day. There are two books that I know been written about this concept. One’s called The Slight Edge, the other one’s called The Compound Effect.

Start with either one that talks about the same concept, but the idea is what are some success principles or some daily habits that you’re going to do that will over time add to your success?

As an example, one of those things I do personally is I read ten pages of a book every day. It’s non-negotiable. It happens no matter what. I’ve been doing it for several years. It’s part of my approach from a business point of view.

Once a week, I organize a Founders’ Lunch or a Founders’ Dinner or invite at least four or five other people to have lunch on my house. We get together with other entrepreneurs.

Another one is, every day, I work on marketing for 30 minutes. There’s always bigger initiatives and projects, but I’ll always spend 30 minutes understanding the source of traffic, conversions, messages, making sure things are wired up.

It’s 30 minutes every day for three, four or five years is how you end up building eight-figure businesses. Doing it once a month when things are broken or things aren’t working out, I don’t think that’s how it works.

For me, I’ve decided these habits have to be something I’m willing to do for the rest of my life. Regardless of what I’m working on, I have a personal blog. That’s my outlet when I don’t have an active business.

Thirty minutes every day regardless if I have a business or not is spent on understanding how the traffic’s coming to my blog, converting my newsletter, whatever it is.

I was listening to another friend of mine named Michael Bernoff. This has been said elsewhere, but if you improve 1% a day, he’ll ask crowds, “How great will you be in a year?” They’ll say, “I’ll be 365% better.” He’s like, “No. It’s a compounding effect.”

Stuff like that resonates with me because it says something tangible that I can hold on to. I like that you said that because it’s important. I’ve got the daily things that I absolutely do. I write a little bit every day. I work out. I’ll do a handful of things every week.

I do my seven little things to make sure I do it. What are you terrible at in business? What is the bane of your existence? Every one of us has something we hate.

It’s very traditional entrepreneurship stuff. What might be useful to the audience is the way I’ve dealt with those. I have never created an invoice. I have no need to create invoices or follow up on receivables when I can build systems and have other people do that.

I try to hire people that play at the things I work. At a very young age when I was 24, I hired a woman named Sandy. She still works for me. She’s worked in every one of my companies and she is that person. I read The 4-Hour Workweek and I went nuts. I implemented it all.

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I’ve never touched mail. I hate paper. I’m a software guy so that makes sense. Every week, I get emails with all of my different mailboxes, corporations and business interests.

I don’t do anything that might filter if it’s not creating value for the world using my unique gift or spending times with my family, friends and relationship. I don’t do it. I don’t mow my lawn. I don’t clean my car. I don’t do my groceries. I don’t cook my food. I don’t do shit and I’m okay with that.

A lot of people that don’t know me very well think I’m arrogant. Here’s the way I look at it, if you catch me or if I catch myself doing it, that means I don’t respect myself and it bugs me.

If I ever catch myself in a position where I’m doing something that is not the highest use of my time and what I know in my abilities and I could have been doing that, I feel like I’ve done a disservice to the people that I serve.

I’ve done a disservice to my family, to my employees, to my investors, or whoever those people are. I know better. Now that I’ve told your audience, they know better.

I’ve struggled with that for years. I’m much more naturally exactly like yourself. There are certain things I don’t want to do. I was raised where my dad is the exact opposite like, “Why hire it Dan if you can do it yourself?”

That was instilled in me like, “Why would I pay somebody to mow the lawn when I can go out there and do it on Saturday?” Even if you love mowing the lawn, if that’s your Zen time, cool. It was not. Mine was the allergies and I was blowing up and I’m like, “I’m never going to do this again.”

I heard many people talk about it. Tim Ferriss had a podcast about decision fatigue. I have also found, the more decisions and things I have to think about or do during the day, the worse I am with the stuff that matters which is creation and selling. They’re the only two things I want to do.

Creating products or creating your service and marketing or selling your product. Those are the two things every entrepreneur should be doing all the time.

One of the problems that a lot of entrepreneurs like us have is we’re a little bit ADD. We’re so interested in everything. We’ll procrastinate. I will procrastinate by starting something else, whether it’s a new business, a project or whatever.

“I’ve got a little free time. This is going well. I’m going to start something over here.” That’s what ends up derailing. That’s indigestion. I was reading somebody else saying that, “The best thing that an entrepreneur with that can do is procrastinate with your hobbies and do that intently.”

Otherwise, you will start other things that are going to require work. It’s always a hobby in the very beginning, “I’m going to start a podcast. I’m going to have a little bit fun with this.”

This actually happened to me. I was starting my podcast as a total side business to my normal consulting business and then I would start to get derailed. In the beginning, I had the time and then all of a sudden, it became responsibilities, etc.

I saw a little bit of that turbulence in my life until I systematized things and hired the stuff out. It was funny, procrastinate in the things you love to do.

You also mentioned something about, “Look at where you procrastinate. What do you love doing? Maybe that’s going to create an opportunity for you.”

That came from the blog post where I announced what was next for me and the journey of discovering that. I’ve built so many companies. People have sold the company and they’re in that position of, “What do I work on next?”

I always ask them, “What do you do when you’re procrastinating? What is that thing? Do you play video games? Do you work out? Do you clean your house?” It’s crazy as my wife cleans our house and I still find it ridiculous. We have a cleaning lady, but she has the need.

When she’s cleaning, I know that there’s something big going on at work that she doesn’t want to tackle. I stopped calling her out on it because I got to choose my battles. Everybody has their own thing.

BWB Dan | Startup Success

Startup Success: If you can get to a position where your life is built around the thing that you love, that’s when true work is attached to intent and meaning, and that’s unstoppable.


For me, I always found like I was offering to help somebody else, take somebody out for coffee and talk to them. Tweet out that I could be helpful and do some Clarity calls, or whatever it was. I feel like that’s sometimes a place where you can look to figure out what you should be doing full-time.

If you can eventually get to a position where your life is built around that thing that you love, that thing that you default to procrastinate, that’s when true work is attached to intent and meaning, that it is unstoppable.

Your ability to create value in the world is uncapped because it’s aligned with who you are out of a fundamental level.

Going forward in helping people and doing this again because you were helping amazing entrepreneurs, you’re doing this great stuff with Clarity. You’ve said that you don’t want to start another software company or a tech business in the near future.

The reason I say that is because I see a model for building online training courses and content and a lot of value for people. Monetizing and then adding a software product on to it as a continuity product. I’ve seen this as a trend.

Nathan Barry has an authority product. He has Laura Roeder had her influence courses and she has Edgar, a social media management tool.

There’s definitely a possibility within the next years, as I build my audience that there’s going to be a problem that I have that they might have as well. I could solve that with software. I don’t want to say, “I’m never going to start another software company.”

It may not be a traditional venture back like I’ve done for the last two companies. It would be a hybrid of that.

The model that you see going forward, for you, is it information products, consulting, public speaking? Is this the model that you’re saying?

I drew a map. It’s my world domination map. I don’t know, I’m new to this. What I did is, I find people that had the brand, the execution, the business model. The thing with the business model is not about making money off people. It’s about the opportunity to have more impact.

The more value I create, the more revenue that I can put back into the marketing and have a bigger audience. It’s pretty traditional. I found the model that feels good. I definitely got to write a book. I got to have a lot of online courses.

I’m going to be very focused on vertical topic areas. I want to do some seminars around those topic areas. I want to have an inner circle, higher-end group.

What are some of the topic areas that you feel the most passion? Business is obviously extremely broad, and you got a background with software, startups, etc. Is that your ideal?

The way I see it is, you should always focus on a niche and then expand. I’d say for the next years, it will very much be around software and innovative marketing approaches that are very unique to that world that can be applied broader in a broader sense.

I have a bunch of content I’ve already blogged about, but I’ve never formalized the training that I’ve been calling Idea to Exit. How do you go from idea to start, build, grow your company and do some outcome? Exit doesn’t mean raise money and sell. It means to build a business you could exit.

I’ve been fortunate to every business I’ve built. If I didn’t go to work or get up that day, the company continues to grow. Clarity continues to have record weeks and I haven’t been there. The team hasn’t built anything new. They’re migrating the data and the backend system.

I have a specific philosophy on how to build companies that I call growth engine to continue to grow on their own. It would be very much around that for the first two years and then broaden that out to more operational philosophies that I have around building companies, hiring, staffing and stuff.

Eventually, I want to get more into high performance. When my wife started a company, I started a company. We had a kid. We had another kid eleven months later. We built the house then when we had the second kid, we actually built a new house, all in a two-year period.

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We’re happy, we love each other, kids are great. I figured I have a lot of ideas around life lessons, especially with my background and the craziness that I went through growing up. I’ve had to grow from that and learn what patterns do I want and not repeat.

I have some passions around that I’d like to share. That might be years down the road. That’s the general themes I would say and then each one’s going to follow a very specific model.

People still don’t understand the power of video. I’m new to this. I started building my weekly video submissions, four, five-minute videos. I’ve gotten over 60,000 views. I built my email list of 10,000 people and have hundreds of thousands of people visit my blog because of videos.

I’m building relationships with people all over the world. People that email me calling me their mentor that I’ve never talked to, exchanged emails with or met in person because of the power of video.

When you believe business is human or business is personal like I do, then if you’re not online, if you’re not creating video, then you’re missing this 40 Super Bowls’ worth of views happen every day on YouTube. You can get in front of your target audience for $0.20 to $0.60 a view.

Targeting that never existed before. That’s why when I look at my plan and it’s aggressive and there’s a lot of work to do, I’m so excited.

I know that as long as I produce the best quality content that I can possibly put together, create a lot of value and results for people, the medium to get that message out there is unlimited. I did not have a channel on YouTube. I had no fan page on Facebook. I had no email list.

What did you do in order to get that initial burst of audience?

There’s no burst. Every day, I write.

Are you doing any YouTube advertising for instance or are you doing any of that?

I call it the authority engine. I don’t know if somebody has that as a name. I call it that because I like it. I always think that when I name things, I have to have a visual mental model for it, so that I feel like to position.

I can see that growth engines. It’s visual that I can connect to it. The authority engine, the reason why I like that is that it applies to both personal brands as well as business brands.

When you become an authority in your industry, you’re the guy the newspaper turns to for quotes. You’re the person asked to speak at the events. You’re the person the competitors look to copy. That is a magical place to be in this world.

You put out consistent great content. That’s been one of the problems I’ve had on the show. It’s typically a weekly show, but every once a while, I’ll go two or three weeks without content, because life gets in the way.

It always drives me nuts. I’ve seen the trends. When I’m not consistent, it starts to flatten out or decrease.

People want consistency. Even if they’re inconsistent, you have to be. Here’s the number one thing, if you are in the online education space, I’m going to give you the nugget that I’ve spent more than $10,000 to figure out and hundreds if not thousands of hours of studying.

Nobody told me this. I started to see it and when I did it, it changed everything. The power in teaching is creating a framework. If you teach a topic, if you’re out there talking about branding marketing, if you have not designed a framework for somebody else and here’s how you’ve got it figured out.

When that person after hearing you once can teach their friend or their colleague. That’s the test. Design a framework, name it, define it, teach it then you know you’re onto something.

BWB Dan | Startup Success

The Micro-Script Rules

Where you connected those dots too, I call it information architecture and framework. Breaking down what you’re doing into various milestones that you must pass in order to achieve X. I love the fact that you added that they know it so well, that they can teach it to somebody else.

Even some frameworks, they’re complicated. They’re like seventeen modules. When you create them, you want to make it seem complicated because you want to show off how smart you are.

What I’m arguing is design a simple framework, Google Images, type framework. It has to be able to be taught after they heard it once.

Great book by the way, I highly recommend buying it, The Micro-Script Rules. It’s about micro scripts, whether it’s developing USPs or whatever. The Micro-Script Rules is an amazing book and one of the quotes in there was, “It’s not what people remember. It’s what they repeat.”

I remember that it’s, “Can you get them to repeat it?” If they remember it like you said with Eckhart Tolle stuff, that’s one thing, but if they can go and tell their wife or their friends, “I learned how to do this,” and all you need to do is X, Y and Z.

There’s all this stuff that I’ve started to piece together from basic human learning and psychology that we can leverage to do these things and when I started doing that, that’s when everything took off from a content point of view and my audience started to build.

Prior to that, I felt like people liked the content, but it wasn’t differentiated. It wasn’t truly creating value in their lives. It wasn’t something that they could feel like they could execute on. When I changed that, if you look at my blog post, there’s an image with drawings. I use keynote. It’s not complicated.

When you sit down, you’re starting to build a framework, how to do X, Y, Z, build a growth engine? Do you start with the end in mind?

I draw pictures. I think of what I want to teach. That one was around brands of distinction, like what makes up brands and distinction. It’s like this Trinity. I did one around growth stacking product marketing. I already have a process.

The thing is I’m trying to take all the things that I’ve done and say, “What are these functional units of action and activities that I could create?” I write them down and then I say, “What would that thing look like if it was a visual representation?”

Is it a triangle, a circle, a square, an octagon? I try to figure out if these things fit and I’ll do a bunch of iterations. I’ll use my pen and draw out different things. I’ll be like, “That looks good. That feels good.” I might share it with a friend on instant message, get some feedback, tweet and write a blog post.

There is a book and it’s all about selling or drawing visually. It’s about how to represent all your ideas in a very visual way. I’ve got it somewhere and it’s good. If you’re reading this, it’s like, “If you’re trying to demonstrate this idea, draw figures like this. Don’t do this. Use symbols like this.”

It’s how to demonstrate your ideas. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures or what you’re doing in a way that resonates.

It’s everything. If you’re a service company, your methodology is your product.

The framework A, do a visual representation and also breaking down the components in a way that it can be easily integrated and learned.

I did some training at an event I was asked to speak at. At the end of it, here’s what I did to know if I nailed it. I asked people to look at their notebooks and when I looked at it, they totally drew the framework which is great.

I took their notebooks and I said, “Can you draw it again? Here’s a piece of paper. Draw it.” They drew it. I was like, “Yes.”

I’m famous among my friends for, if I learn something new, let’s say I read an info product on a new business model. I will grab them and for the next week or two, I will sit down, and I will teach it to them. I know that subconsciously I’m excited about it and I want to share this.

No information is new. We just take our interpretation of an idea or information and then share it with the world. Share on X

That’s how I learned. When I was a kid, I didn’t read until I was 23 and what changed was, I started asking myself, “How would I read if I had to teach somebody else after I’ve done reading?” I wrote about it in my blog post, “What’s Next?”

Here are the things that I know to be true. I can’t read unless I know I’m going to teach somebody else. There are all these things I discovered, one of them being I hate being on the beach every day which sounds nuts. To be able to learn and create a model feels so fun.

When one person teaches, two people learn. It is a great way especially if you set people up if you’re doing this consciously as you’re creating the courses. Tell them, “Learn this in a way so that you could go teach somebody else.”

Tell them like, “I’m going to teach this so that you not only should be able to teach it, I want you to go teach somebody else because when you do that, it will integrate so much more.”

I love Kindle. I've almost gotten rid of most of my books because of the ability to highlight in Kindle. Go online and grab all those highlights as a document. I'll take it another step further because I love mind mapping.

I’ll go to a mind map and I’ll mind map whether it’s an info product I bought, a book or whatever. The last one I did this was a book by Roger Hamilton called The Millionaire Master Plan. It’s an amazing book. It was a neat framework.

It got to the point where I could teach other people because I could sit down what would it be about and I would break it down because I mapped it out. My friends will say, “How do you know all this crap?”

It’s funny how some people attend a seminar or read a book, but they don’t internalize it. They don’t highlight. Obviously, the Kindle highlight is amazing, but even prior to that with real books, I would always write in the margins of the book, the page number, and the quote that I resonate.

It was my version of highlights before I got a Kindle. That act of taking that moment to go back, write it out, put pen to paper, it allowed me to remember these things and internalize it in a more fundamental level.

The problem with the books is I would do that and I would never go back to the book. Once it was all highlighted out, almost never reopen it and flip through those highlights I should, but I’ll do those with Kindle. I’ll grab them and I’ll play with them. I’ll grab it on my phone when I’m procrastinating.

As a marketing tip, what I do is I take my highlights and turn them into quote cards.

As a marketing tip for other people?

As you’re reading books, like Carol Dweck’s book on growth mindset which is a great book. It’s full of great quotes. Afterward, I’ll go in and I’ll produce a bunch of quote cards with all these one-liners from these authors and give them attribution.

Why I do that is because it’s who I am. It’s that passage resonated with me and my job as a content creator is to process information that comes to me in the world and put it together in a way that people that are like me or follow my style will appreciate.

We learn a lot of stuff and then we re-jiggle it. No information is new. I don’t have unique creative ideas. I’m taking my interpretation of it and then share it with people and my sphere of influence thing. That’s what I do with my highlights.

One of my favorite books is called Borrowing Brilliance. Borrowing Brilliance is a cool way. There are no new information or ideas, but what’s new is the combining of ideas and information.

When you’re trying to solve a problem, borrow from all these other places like, “Here’s how to do it. Here’s a framework by which to do it.” It’s like a six-step process to borrow brilliance, identify the problem, identify other things, and put together some what-if scenarios.

It’s a cool book and saying this makes me want to go back and reread it. It’s one of those physical books that’s I don’t have all highlighted, so I have to go reread it. The information is out there. It’s how you combine it and what you add to it.

BWB Dan | Startup Success

Startup Success: The human condition is to teach people your interpretation of the world. That’s why we have language, computers, innovation, and education.


There are two things that come to mind that do a great job at this. Jason Silva is taking ideas and concepts that he’s read out of books and he constantly gives attribution in the videos.

“Neil deGrasse Tyson said, ‘The universe is this, that, and the other.’ What that means is this, that, and the other. Ken Johnson over here said was this and according to him.”

He’s taking things that have inspired him and he’s adding his own unique spin and art form to it. There was another book by Wayne Dyer. One of my favorite books of his was called Wisdom of the Ages.

What he did is he took a book. He took 60 passages from poetry, religious texts, quotes, you name it. The book was designed to be read in 60 days. He would put a quote by Buddha. It would be a little quote and then he would give a page or two of his viewpoints in his interpretation of that.

He said, “Your goal is to read this passage, read my interpretation and then write your own interpretation. The next day, do it again.”

He goes, “It takes 60 days to read this, but it is the same thing. All the answers to all the questions in the universe or the world have been out there for a long time. Here’s my collection and what I think. I challenge you to do the same thing.”

Along the same spirit, I love that of using your Kindle highlights as quote cards to pull it up like, “Now, I’m going to talk about this.”

I believe the human condition is to teach people your interpretation of the world, that’s why we have language, that’s why we have computers, that’s why we have innovation, it’s why we have the education. It’s like our responsibility as humans, why do we have kids, to pass along and teach.

That’s one of the things I do the show for here. This is a major outlet for me to meet and talk with people like yourself but also to pass on the content to other people. The one person teaches, two people learn.

Is there anything else that you’re doing? Any nuts that you’re trying to crack in your own business? You got access obviously to probably all the expert advice in the world.

I’m new to this industry. If there’s anybody following that has a podcast, has a stage, has an audience and they’d be open to introduce me to it, if it makes sense, I’d love to do that. My philosophy in business is put something out early and iterate as fast as possible.

I’m already in the studio working on my course. I’m going to watch the smallest version of that. I’m going to iterate. I’m going to learn. If you subscribe to my blog at, I put out great useful content every week.

Give me feedback. I’m only going to learn from my audience teaching me because that’s the way I do it. That’s the areas that I’ve been thinking about.

If people wanted to exchange money with you for advice, are you doing a one-on-one consultation? Are you doing any group coaching? Are you focused on getting the digital version?

My whole philosophy around this is I want to do things that are scalable. That’s why speaking to me doesn’t make sense because I don’t want to spend 200 days a year on a plane. Occasional speech once a month for the right audience where I feel like I’m going to stretch and grow for sure.

One-on-one doesn’t work for me anymore. I am going to probably launch a group coaching program. I’m only going to offer that to people on my email list. I’ll focus on software entrepreneurs that want to either start and build a company or have one and they’re not finding the traction they need.

I should have my product launch, it’s what I’m planning. I want to do a live event in San Diego. Bringing people together and teach from the stage and get to connect.

As much as technology’s cool, it allows us to talk from different parts of the world. We met in person something happens where you connect with somebody that can’t get replaced by Skype.

It is funny, especially in tech world, marketing world or whatever. I have so many friends all over the world that I communicate with on Skype more than I do with some friends in my own hometown. When I look at some of my favorites in my phone, most of them aren’t even around here.

Most of them are all over the place. You build these connections. It’s amazing when you do have those events and you come in and you give them a big hug. It feels like I see all the time, but it’s nothing in person.

I’m a big fan of that too that’s why I started my mastermind. Occasionally, I do more events and I love it. I can’t get enough of it, especially in this world where everything’s digital and texting.

Dan, this has been awesome. I love the takeaways. There are some good stuff and you definitely delivered some bacon-wrapped value, especially with the framework stuff. That’s huge and the audience should take that and understand why that’s so important.

If there’s anything, Dan, that I can do, people to introduce you to, resources to bring you, if there’s ever a question, obviously you can reach out to me and let me know.

If there’s anybody reading this who also wants my help, you can do this a couple of ways. Email at Tell me your thoughts, insights, questions. What is your biggest challenge? What’s that nut you’re trying to crack in your business?

I’m happy to help, potentially feature you on the show, if you’re open to doing a hot seat. Actually, I had somebody find me on Clarity. This was great. They wanted to ask me some questions.

I said, “By the way, would you mind if I record this and share it on my show?” He’s like, “By all means. That was cool.” I got to use that connection, not only to help him out, but I got paid to put content out of my show.

By the way, that’s one of the ways that I help, if people want to pick my brain for free. I don’t do brain-picking sessions, but if you’re willing to do a hot seat, I’m happy to help you out. I’m going to tell the world about it.

That’s the way I do. If you want to ask me a question, do it on my blog as a comment because I’d rather answer it publicly and help everybody else out.

One of the things I found in one of your blog comments, I thought this was great, I wrote that down and I did this little search on Twitter for, “Is there an app?” This was so cool. I’ll repeat it, but you said, “Go to Twitter and type, ‘Is there an app?’” and then see what people are saying.

You can do that for every idea that you have. If you ever think like, “People must be looking for this.” If you can’t find somebody that’s ever tweeted in the history of Twitter tapping into the social consciousness in the world, then you may not want to get into that business.

If you’re very familiar with the T-shirt model, the Teespring T-shirt where it comes up with funny slogans. One of the strategies there is, “I need this shirt,” because people will post that like, “I need this shirt,” and they’ll take pictures and they’ll tweet it out.

That’s how people do product research like, “I’m going to make a note of that. I’m going to keep a record.” I wanted to leave with that little bacon-wrapped strategy.

If you like the show, subscribe on YouTube. If you’re on iTunes, hit that little subscribe button and then leave me a review.

This is the way that myself and my guests like Dan understand how much value we’re bringing to you for the cost of nothing except your time which we greatly appreciate.

Send me an email at Go check out Dan’s stuff at Subscribe to his newsletter. I’ve already been reading and watching a lot of the stuff. Dan knows how to deliver awesome value and a lot of cool stuff.

Dan if there’s anything else I can do for you, let me know and I look forward to hopefully seeing you back here in San Diego.

See you soon. I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you, everybody.

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About The Guest: Dan Martell

BWB Dan | Startup SuccessWhen I was 17, I started my first tech company… FAILED. When I was 19, I started a hosting company… FAILED. I tried consulting for 3-years after that… HATED IT. When I was 24, I started a SaaS company called Spheric Technologies… MY FIRST SUCCESS. But I almost crashed Spheric into the ground…

I’d bootstrapped the company from the ground, up. But in spite all the growth, we were starting to stagnate. No matter what we did, we couldn’t identify our biggest opportunity to kick-start sales. Everything was disorganized because we were fumbling around in the dark. We’d just threw money at the wall to see if anything would stick.

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