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Foti Panagio is the co-founder of Growthmentor - a platform that connects founders and marketers with growth mentors. We were first introduced to Foti and Growthmentor thanks to Julian who is an active mentor on the site.
Growthmentor is Foti’s first attempt at entrepreneurship and in our conversation, we touch on a lot of topics around the early days. We go behind the scenes of the process of idea validation, transitioning from full-time employment to part-time entrepreneurship, the biggest challenges facing the business today, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and much more. As we go along, Foti shares a lot of useful resources, tools, and methods he uses to steer the growth of the business (check out a list with all the links below).
We also gave Foti the opportunity to ask you, our audience, to answer this question of the day: "What is your biggest pain point in growth [marketing] that you have right now?"
Topics we cover in this episode:
02:44 - Who is Foti and the origin of Growthmentor
05:20 - Previous startup experience
06:04 - Foti's first steps into solo entrepreneurship
08:40 - How Foti validated the idea for Growthmentor
13:50 - Transitioning from a full-time job to part-time entrepreneurship
15:00 - Balancing family and co-founder relationship with a spouse
17:15 - Splitting responsibilities between co-founders
18:50 - What's the current focus of the Growthmentor team
24:00 - Foti's current biggest challenge
26:40 - Timeframe to start monetizing
27:20 - What KPIs is Growthmentor tracking
28:22 - How are they tracking KPIs
31:15 - Plans for Startup Grind
32:36 - Nailing the elevator pitch
35:08 - Resources and techniques for starting and growing a business
37:27 - Delegating work to virtual assistants
38:00 - Following up with cold leads and personalized outreach
39:30 - Resources for growth marketing and performance marketing
40:22 - Future plans, targets, and ideas for the next 6 months
46:40 - How does Foti go around selecting mentors for the platform
50:00 - Foti's question to the audience: "What is your biggest pain point in growth [marketing] that you have right now?"
Useful Resources and Links:
Check out Growthmentor
AdWords - Google's advertising platform, useful to run A/B tests
instapages - quick landing page creation
2018 Marktech Landscape Plan - overview of marketing technologies for 2018
Trello - project management software
Google Drive - document and cloud storage set of tools
IndieHackers - a community of entrepreneurs
Zest.is - marketing content aggregation
useloom - a browser extension that to share a recording of your screen with audio and video
UpWork - if you want to look for virtual assistants
woodpecker.co - automated cold emails and follow-ups
bellcurve.com - growth marketing agency
On the crazy world of growth marketing:
I hit a nerve with Growthmentor, the brand and the messaging. People needed help with the same things that I was struggling with in growth marketing. Because the biggest problem people have, that I realized, is that there is too much choice, too many good ideas. Your attention is being pulled from all these different directions - the SEO people are going to be saying to invest in content marketing, the email list builders will be like "No, you know it's the opt-ins", the PPC will be "No it's all of it, you've got to make your funnel". It's crazy. It's so much. And if you don't have a lot of experience hands-on, it can be really intimidating.
On user testing:
If you are like in a situation that I'm in now, you have to do so many other things beyond just user testing, you have to use your gut a lot and just recognize being able to rapidly recognize patterns and what people are saying, and just go with that. Yes, sure, take notes and everything, but I think that there’s a point of diminishing returns for the organization, if that makes sense.
On two-sided marketplaces:
I really think balance is important between supply and demand. I think with two-sided marketplaces it's really easy to just fill up one side because it's easy and you feel that sort of an adrenaline rush "Oh you know I've been a thousand in supply...whatever on the demand side". You have to slow down, you have to balance. Because one side needs the other. And if you don't have both sides, you are not going to have that interaction and that engagement, that engagement is what you use to learn, that’s how you get the feedback and iterate.