Growth Hacking Like A high-Performance Serial Entrepreneur, with Dan Martell. | Yuli Azarch

Growth Hacking Like A high-Performance Serial Entrepreneur, with Dan Martell.

Yuli Azarch Yuli Azarch | June 24, 2019 | No Comments on Growth Hacking Like A high-Performance Serial Entrepreneur, with Dan Martell.

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“So it doesn’t matter where you’re at in life. There is always another level, another area of identity that you need to get to. And you just need to learn to build the pattern and the skills to get there.” — Dan Martell.


Dan Martell is a serial entrepreneur, a husband, and a father. He is a five-times founder, an angel investor with over 40 investments. He became a millionaire at age 27 and he is currently working as a coach to high-performance SaaS founders.


What we discussed on the show?


Dan’s Background.

When Dan Martell was 17 years old, he got into a high-speed chase with a stolen car. He was high on drugs, and he was carrying a handgun in his backpack. He came across a police roadblock, where he decided to bust through that. To make the story short, Dan ended up in the back of a cop car.

He woke up sober the next day in a jail cell in Eastern Canada. He got sentenced about 16 months total and did 11 months at the correctional program.

At the end of the program, Dan found an old 46 computer with a yellow book on Java programming sitting right next to it. He opened the book, followed chapter one, and got the computer to say “Hello World.” That event got him thinking a lot about computers.

He got out of rehabilitation around 1997. After that, he discovered the Internet. Programming became his new addiction, and entrepreneurship the ultimate personal development program.

“ Once I got it and got the computer to do the thing, then I was like “can I build an app”.

Soon, he started to build simple applications, such as FTP servers apps, CD burners, etc. At that point, he was ready to start asking and developing a passion. Dan has always had that entrepreneurial blood, unfortunately, nothing he did was legal for a long time. His dad used to tell him when he was a teenager, “Dan, if you could only figure out something you’re passionate about that, isn’t illegal, I think you do really well in life.”


Entrepreneur’s Problem Solving and Passion. 

According to Dan, people take for granted today’s ease of exposure. Podcasts, anybody can download it, pictures, take it on your phone shared on Facebook, and the whole world can see it. Dan was building stuff on the internet, where he could grab a link and share that with anybody to see what he had built.

And that’s how Dan got into building companies. It was all for fun. According to Dan, he never cared about how much money he was making, he just loved building stuff.

“ Every business I’ve ever created to this day… was built to solve my own problem. I have never done anything for the money. It turns out that, that is an incredible way to build a company”.

According to Dan Martell, too often people fall in love with a solution and not with the problem. He is always willing to iterate around multiple solutions so that he can find the only solution for the problem.

Dan thinks that passion is what gets you throw rough times. Because as you are building your business, there is going to be a point where it is going to be so hard and everything will be against you succeeding. So passion is what gets you to move forward and to take another step.

Dan believes that you need to solve your own problems because that is a good place to look for things that you might be passionate about working on.


Going Through The Rollercoaster.

According to Dan Martel, there is the pendulum effect, where you swing from exclamation mark (!) to question mark (?). You might wake up in the morning with the exclamation mark, and you feel amazing and ready to take over the world. And later on, you’ll swing to question mark (?) where you start asking “why am I doing this? why is it so hard?.”

These back and forth swings are like a roller coaster. When these moments happen, Dan recommends:

  1. Focussing on the “why”.
  2. Make a list of accomplishments.
  3. Ask yourself, who can you help.
  4. Move your body.
  5. Do the uncomfortable.

According to Dan, you’ve got to look through your vision. As an entrepreneur, you get knocked down constantly, so you have to learn how to get up and keep focusing on your vision. Dan Martell also suggests creating a list of accomplishments. So that in those moments you can go back and remind yourself that you are a badass.

And then, the third thing is, ask yourself who can you help. Too often we are looking inwards and we have to start giving out.

“And if you do those three things [focus on the why, accomplishments list, and help somebody], I think it resets and gets you from the question mark phase over to exclamation mark really fast”.

For more information on how to deal with setbacks and stress, refer to Dan’s blog post. “Under Pressure, the solution to stress.

Another great advice from Dan Martell is to always “go out and move your body.” If you just got some bad news, go get your running sneakers on, get outside, and go for a run. According to Dan, it is hard to feel bad about your situation when you got your sweat on.”

The last is to do the things that make you feel uncomfortable or causes you a slight degree of anxiety. According to Dan, these are things that you are not scared to do, but just that you don’t want to do it. 


Strategic Planning.

According to Dan Martell, there are four buckets of the type of work you can do in a day. There’s administrative work which is like ten bucks an hour type-of-work. There is the work itself which is about 100 bucks an hour. Then there is the management of the work, which is 500 bucks an hour. And then there is strategic work which is the planning on how to get the outcome.

Dan believes that one thing that people make mistakes is that they don’t spend any time at the strategic side. That is where you grow as an entrepreneur, and this is where you need to spend more time. In strategic the planning you might want to involve: 

  • Annual planning.
  • 10-year vision, 5-year vision, 3-year 1-year.
  • Numbers.
  • List of accomplishments at each phase of those outcomes.
  • Mission, Vision, and Values.

“If you don’t have strategic planning, you don’t have an operating model for how to make decisions”.

Figuring out the strategy.

According to Dan, once you know where you are going, then you need to figure out the strategies. Once you know the outcomes that you want to achieve on a quarterly basis, then you would want to break it down into three rocks (things that you have to accomplish, what you do, what you want to accomplish). Dan always uses time blocks and believes 100% in the calendar.

Dan’s calendar has everything, from the fun stuff, professional, personal, family stuff, to commitments. He locks time for the things that need to get done. According to Dan, the minimum effective dose is to Plan the next day, the night before. Ideally, you’re going to front-load your morning with everything that you’ve been putting off.

“If you keep doing that [strategic thinking], eventually you get to a place where, every morning is going to be stuff that’s hard for you, but it is the most important for you to get to the next level.”

The Life Equation for Wealth.

For entrepreneur beginners, Dan advices a minimum of one hour a week strategizing. In a small business, there is not much going on, so it should be a lot less. But the more the business grows then there’s more strategic thinking in each core function of the business.

Dan Martell’s founder scorecard walks you through the four core areas. “When you the start, you spend most of the time in the admin work, and some of the time doing the actual work. And no time at management and probably no time in strategy. Then what you do is that you try to buy back some time to spend more time in the management/strategy sections.

According to Dan, the life equation for wealth is: “You start off by trading time for money, which is true for employees, freelancers, and individual entrepreneurs. Then eventually you learn, that you have to take some of that money and buy back some time.

When you start buying back some of your time from doing admin tasks to do more work and then buying back more work time by bringing on employees to do more management and eventually hiring managers, you’ll end up with time for the strategic stuff.


Building Business Opportunities.

Dan looks for a business that has high unmet needs, where he loves the problem, and are quick to buy. According to Dan, if there is a high gross margin, then he can invest in growth.

Dan recommends asking yourself “if I had a billion dollars today and I couldn’t spend it on myself, what problem would I spend it on to make better in the world.” Whatever the answer is, you should probably figure out how to be in business around that problem because that can push you forward and create something special.

Validating an idea should be done in less than 6 weeks. Dan believes that a lot of times, people try to make these tests very more complicated. Dan suggests changing the Minimum Viable Product for Minimum Viable Offer so you can pre-sell with wireframes.

Building a Better Structure.

Dan Martell believes in Neuroplasticity which is the science that states that our brains can evolve, shape and shift. Dan suggests reading, meditating, and eating cleaner. All these things helped Dan overcome challenges and build a better structure.

“When I was 27 I realized that if I want to succeed I need to learn how to communicate better, I need to learn how to lead, I need to learn how to transfer enthusiasm, I need to learn how to communicate passion. I read the books, I went to the seminars. I spent a million dollars on me.”

According to Dan, the more honest you are about yourself and own it, the better opportunities and outcomes you’ll get in life.

“I’m not here to brag but, I grew up in a town of 80 thousand people in Eastern Canada. I built two venture-backed software companies out of San Francisco, I got invited to spend a week with Richard Branson in his house in Switzerland, Mark Cuban invested in my company Clarity. Travis Kalanick from Uber was an investor and former mentor to me when I built my company Flowtown. I’ve run marathons, I jumped out of planes, I Skydive, just in the last week, I went race car driving exotic cars. I can’t even believe this is my life, and the cool part, I am just getting started”.

According to Dan, where you are today has no indication, no relevance to where you could be tomorrow.


Show Notes.


Thanks, Dan Martel.

To know more about Dan, find him through his youtube channel, his Instagram at danmartell and the newsletter at 

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