"Success is whatever you make it out to be."
Neil Patel is the co-founder of 2 Internet companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Through his entrepreneurial career he has helped large corporations such as Amazon, AOL, GM, HP and Viacom make more money from the web. By the age of 21 not only was he named one of the top influencers on the web according to the Wall Street Journal, but he was also named one of the top entrepreneurs in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine. He has also been recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama. Neil has also received Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives for his work in the nonprofit sector.
Neil, thank you for being one of our guests on Capital Network Magazine. We’re looking forward to getting to know you and hearing about some of your projects. Tell us something about yourself that can’t be Googled.
I’m just an average joe. I love watching basketball, hanging out with friends, watching movies and eating Taco Bell. There isn’t much more to me other than that. :)
The Wall Street Journal considered you one of the most influential people on the web early in your career. How did that happen and was it a conscious decision or a happy accident?
It was an accident. I didn’t really do anything, they just reached out to me.
You’ve mentioned in the past that most of your time and energy is spent trying to create a 100 million dollar company. Is KISSmetrics that company? How close are you to fulfilling that dream and what are you doing to get there?
I believe that KISSmetrics is that company. It’s growing extremely fast and we are struggling to keep up with the demand. More importantly, we are solving a big problem… we are helping businesses understand their customers so that they can improve metrics like their lifetime value and decrease their churn.
What kind of role did your family play in your approach to business?
They played a big role. My mom has been an entrepreneur since I could remember and I learned a lot over the years by just watching her.
Plus my parents gave me $200,000 to borrow when one of my first startups needed it the most.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
You need to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them over and over again.
- You need to hustle. Their isn’t enough time or money when you are starting out, so you have to figure out how to make things happen.
You need to be logical. Make decisions based off of data instead of off emotions.
How would you define success? Have you achieved it?
Success is whatever you make it out to be. As long as you accomplish your goals and you are happy, you are successful.
I myself don’t think I am too successful yet as for me it is a monetary goal.
What does your typical day look like?
This blog post sums up my days: http://www.quicksprout.com/2011/06/16/the-day-in-the-life-of-neil-patel/
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When I started to make enough money to help support my parents. That was actually my most satisfying moment in business or as an entrepreneur.
Please share with our network of entrepreneurs one of your biggest failures and what you did to overcome it?
I lost over a million dollars in a bad hosting venture. It’s a long story, but you can read about it here: http://www.quicksprout.com/2009/11/10/my-million-dollar-mistake/
How often do you blog and where do your ideas come from?
I try to blog twice a week and I get my ideas from my week. Sometimes it is from calls I have with people or problems I face… my ideas usually come from experiences.
Excluding yours, which company do you admire the most?
SpaceX. It’s a business that most people wouldn’t assume would be possible, but they did well. They pretty much can do anything space orrianted at a cheaper and more efficient rate than NASA.
Most people assumed that it was going to be a failed business as the founder is a tech entrepreneur, but Elon Musk has done extremely well from it.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
I would love to be able to predict the future. I personally hate surprises and would love to know what was in front of me at all times. Even if it was good or bad.
What’s next for you? What are you going to be doing with the next ten years of your life?
KISSmetrics is what is still next for me. I don’t see it coming to an end anytime soon and I love spending my time trying to solve big problems.
Sell our readers on why we should use KISSmetrics or CrazyEgg.
Do you want to understand how your visitors interact with your website? Do you know what’s causing them to be confused with your design or what elements are causing people them to convert? Crazyegg visualizes how your visitors engage with your website so you can then take that information, modify your design, and make your website more user friendly.
KISSmetrics on the other hand focuses on helping you improve your bottom line. What’s the point of tracking vanity metrics like bounce rates or time on site or even having 30 different analytics reports to look at. All that matters is your bottom line. KISSmetrics tells you what is causing your revenue and lifetime value to go up. It also tells you what is causing your business to lose money and what causes your customers to churn. This way you can focus all of your energy on making more money, versus improving metrics that don’t improve your bottom line.
What’s the one thing in the world that makes you happy?
I love helping other people. When I was young I thought money would make me happy, but it didn’t. Instead I found that when I helped other people out, it made me happy. So now, when I spend my life helping other people out.
From helping other businesses succeed, to just helping out a random person who walks the street, I enjoy helping others. That’s the one thing that truly brings a smile to my face.Website | Blog | Twitter