Business Not 101

Finding the right path for your SaaS with Gia Laudi co-founder & CEO of Forget the Funnel

October 20, 2022 Olivier Bousette Season 3 Episode 24
Business Not 101
Finding the right path for your SaaS with Gia Laudi co-founder & CEO of Forget the Funnel
Show Notes Transcript

I've been building and launching brands online since Y2K was a thing. In 2009, I started working with tech startups and SaaS companies and never looked back.Because SaaS lives and dies by the value delivered to customers — and retention over time — marketing's impact on revenue extends far beyond the more traditional acquisition focus. In SaaS, marketing (whether you call it that or not) has a huge role to play, and a critical seat at the table. To me, that makes marketing & CX in tech one of the most innovative, interesting, and increasingly in-demand areas of specialization.It was while leading Marketing for Unbounce (a largely marketing-led SaaS) that I discovered customer experience mapping. One where the entire relationship with customers — from experiencing the problem to engagement and expansion — is measured notbased on transactional moments and business metrics, but instead on customer’s success milestones.I realized that if I could operationalize the process of helping customers reach their goals, we'd reach ours. And we did. The following year, we grew revenue nearly 900%.Since then, I've worked with SaaS teams like Sprout Social, Appcues and dozens more to take customer insights and turn them into revenue-generating outcomes. 

Twitter @ggiiaa 

Outro: Pitch deck in 60 seconds.  We want to thank our sponsor Pitch 2.0 a fully automated pitch creation and monitoring system, so you can focus on your product and not on your deck. Found at

Want to Create a Digital Business Card? Website: Create a free account: Shop NFC business cards: Wave for Teams:



Olivier: Welcome to business, not 1 0 1 hosted by me, Olivier Bousette, founder, entrepreneur podcast creator. In this episode, we explore the founder's journey from their aha moment to the roadblocks and problems to what they would've done differently in hindsight, and the unique solutions they came up with. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Hi, GIA, how you doing?

Gia: I'm great. How are you?

Olivier: Excellent. Thank you. Thank you for joining us on business. Not 1 0 1. So let's get right into it. Give us your 60 second business pitch.

Gia: I'm gonna do my best. So my company's called forget the funnel. I'm the co-founder my business partner and I. Started the company together when we both had left our in-house roles at softwares and service businesses and recognized that there is a, a problem with marketing and tech in general.

And we were [00:01:00] Really sort of focused in the early days on helping those marketers inside of SaaS companies be successful inside of tech companies be successful. It's evolved over time, but really what we're doing now is helping these SaaS companies. These teams think more strategically about marketing less spaghetti at the wall style marketing, less.

You know, generic growth tactics less copying what everybody else is doing and really looking to their customers to identify their best, biggest growth opportunities. As we have a way of sort of you know, operationalizing that and systematizing that where we, you know, we have a very specific approach to doing very rapid customer research so that it can then be operationalized so that a team can act on it with a lot more confidence and a lot.

Clarity and a lot more effective because it's rooted in not only what their customers want, but also puts the team in a position to really understand the value they're they're [00:02:00] providing. And yeah, it's been going super well so far. I mean, we work with amazing SaaS companies and we've been around for about five years now and it's going super well.

I mean, we love the work. It's super gratifying as well, so yeah, that's. Maybe not a pitch, but that's

Olivier: Yeah. No, that's really good. Since you started that this business, did you pivot or was it more going the same direction or did you feel like at one point I had to adapt and change from what I was doing before.

Gia: We've definitely adapted over time. Our mission has stayed the same. So it's, it's funny. We revisited this not so long ago. Well, I mean, we do it annual, we, we, we sort of look back annually, right. And we started with this mission to really. I hate the word empower, but enable you know, support teams at these tech companies, especially customer facing people within these tech companies.

So I, you know, I say customer facing that means marketing. That means customer success you know, product marketing a lot as well. And that has been our, our [00:03:00] mission all along is to better support those people within these tech companies. Now, tech just happens to be the industry that we know super well.

So when we started, it was, you know, helping these marketers inside tech companies to get more support mentorship and also a sort of bigger piece of the pie or a seat at the table or whatever you wanna call it because inside of tech companies, as I know that, you know, quite well, you know, engineering and product sort of rain, Supreme, the, you know, those are the highest paid people in the company.

Everybody looks to product and. For growth typically inside of a company. So or, or sales sometimes as well, but that's a bit of a different vein. So our mission was really to support those in-house teams. That mission has not changed, but how we do it has definitely changed over time. When we first launched it was.

Honestly, it was just a content series of Claire, my business partner, myself. We had a, a, you know, a weekly workshop series where we would bring people on, or we would talk about a given [00:04:00] topic to just support those in-house marketers that evolved into a training program. So cuz it was just a content series and then we, we launched a training program.

And that went quite well. However, we did hit this point where we recognized that unfortunately like the, the, there were there, there are roadblocks that people in house will hit. That is, it's really hard to sort of get past without a lot higher, like more support. So just a training program isn't typically enough.

And so then we rolled. A community to sort of compliment the training program so that they could get that regular support. And we still do that to this day. But then we had, we made another shift when we recognized that. There's a lot of founders coming into this training. Like we're not here for founders.

We were here for in-house teams, but there's a lot of demand from founders. And so eventually what we did was we started offering services for companies. And so we work directly with companies as well. We were doing it individually. Then we got business married and now we do it [00:05:00] together. And that's been since about 2019.

And then in 2021, we added another sort of offering as well, which was for consultants in the space. So people who do what we do SAS consultants, SAS marketing, and growth consultants. We now train them on our framework that we developed, which is what I was describing before that, that sort of process of learning from customers, operationalizing it for teams.

So we now train and, and teach other. Consultants had to do the same thing. So we have a certification program that we rolled out last year. So we still do all three of those things, but they, you know, they sort of rolled out at various times in the business over the last, well, five years.

Olivier: That's really interesting. That's like, so I see the, the transition and, you know, you sort of brought up roadblocks and I it's, one of my questions is like, what was one of the biggest roadblocks? And, and obviously you you've sort of answered that, but.

Gia: I was, I was actually referring more to the roadblocks that our customers hit, because it [00:06:00] can be, it's a, it's a tough world. It's tough to be a marketer inside of a tech company. Even that's, you know, just as true today as it was when we first launched. So there's a lot of roadblocks on that side, but yeah, I recognize you're asking about, you know, the roadblocks that we hit,

Olivier: Correct. So what was some of your roadblocks as the organization, as you guys were growing? Because it's something that I think a lot of people don't realize startups and obviously in coming into a new tech or a new field do hit a lot of roadblocks, both, you know, on personal level and as well on a corporate level.

Gia: Mm-hmm so on the business level, roadblocks, I guess we might have been a bit naive to think that. Content alone could help solve, you know, some of these problems that we were seeing when we first launched the response was, was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. We got a lot of response from in-house folks who were really, really struggling.

[00:07:00] I mean, I, one sticks out in my mind that I always sort of referred back to as you know, this, this woman who was. Crying in the bathroom that day, and then saw that we were launching this content series dedicated to in-house marketing people. And she decided to like, not quit her job. We got so many emails like that when we first, first launched.

And so that was really the, the way that we thought we were gonna like that that's the path that we thought that we were on. But what we realized, and this is related to their roadblock is that That's not often enough. They do need more support than that, you know, content alone. Isn't gonna be able to make a sort of cultural shift inside of these companies and that's really what's needed.

So in recognizing that we, we, my business partner and I, we sort of married what we're both great at. She brings this a long background. An amazing experience. I, with customer research and I'm more on the like strategic operationalizing team side of things. And so we married those two things and that was the [00:08:00] way that became the way after we made this realization that we Can help companies sort of shift the way they think about growth.

So that was a, a very real roadblock that we hit, where we knew we had to sort of, we didn't, we didn't give up on our in house folks. We still have our community today. It's amazing our training program's still available. So we still do a lot of that, but we're not as focused on growing that we're, we are just continuing to support them in the background as best we can, but then we're also available to sort of come in and try to.

But well change things at the, at the sort of, you know, the, at the, from the top with that, with the founders and the, the CEOs and the CTOs. So that, that was a pretty distinct shift that we had that we knew we had to make.

Olivier: That you know, this is a great point and this is off my questions. Now I'm gonna go a bit deeper on that one, but. Are you, do you feel as an organization, you spend just as much time with the marketing department and the people you're working with daily, but as well, having to [00:09:00] go and change the mindset of the C-suite because I find that there's a, there's a big break between marketing.

What, what C-suite wants for marketing, what marketing can go back and achieve. And there's this gap that sometimes an outsider needs to go and fill. Is that the case for.

Gia: It it's a massive gap. The thing is, is that we don't typically have to do much work at all with the marketing team. The, a lot of the time the marketing team already knows what's needed. They just are struggling to get the buy-in. The clout, the internal, you know, sort of clout in order to. You know, in like communicate the change that's needed the part of the, the root problem here that I, you know, haven't mentioned, but that is a big problem in tech particularly, is that because techn, because founders are so often product and technically sort of focused, there is at the outset of a company, a, a big misunderstanding.

Typically not always, this doesn't always happen, but often it happens. There's just a misunderstanding about the value of [00:10:00] marketing and it tends to be an afterthought until it's an emergency right. It becomes this thing that like, well, shit, we should, we needed to do this yesterday. But also there is a shortage of experienced people.

In tech in marketing specifically. Cause that's what I found when I left my in-house role as a VP of marketing in late 2016, early 2017, you know, I made this, I made this announcement that I was leaving my in-house role and my inbox just exploded with, can you help us come work for us? Because there there's just not that many people that have that much experience in this very, quite young industry.

So. Founders are often hiring people who are less expensive because the, the experienced ones are unavailable and crazy expensive. So they'll bring in these like mid or junior level sort of marketers. And so those marketers can't get the buy-in that they need internally. They don't have the clout internally to sort [00:11:00] of You know, push some of those projects forward.

So typically when we're working with a company, we don't need to convince marketing that this stuff is valuable. They already know. So we've sort of like we have direct ties to those people in house and to those marketers and NCS managers and product marketing managers. But when we're working with companies, we have found that the best way to drive change is directly with the founders.

Typically the CEO CTO once we can sort of shine the light on what they're missing everything else is just much easier.

Olivier: That's really interesting. Yeah, like it's that's what I was curious, cuz I, I, from the way you were talking, I felt like it was like, oh, well, most of my time is there to convince. The post cuz people already know. That's really an interesting, I never thought about that.

Gia: Yeah, there there's there's a bit of a light bulb moment when talking with especially CEOs Is, or with founders typically when I'm having, you know, just introduction conversations with them. Typically I'm talking to founders when they're in a [00:12:00] position where they know their company could be doing better or could be growing more quickly, but they have this lack of, of confidence that.

They're doing the right things on the marketing side, they are feeling a little bit like they don't know what they don't know. And to their credit, they're like, okay, this is, you know, I've gotta find out what that is. Like, what's this missing piece. Is there something missing? They're just, there's this uncertainty that they're on the right path or that they're marketing is doing the job it should be, or, or is doing as much as it could be.

And so typically when I get on these calls, It goes, the, the light bulb moment happens very, very quickly when I ask just very simple questions, like, okay. So in order for me to, to understand your business, I need to understand the day that your customer decided to solve the problem that your product solves.

Can you tell me about that day? I like nine times out of 10, they can't answer that question. And so they realize [00:13:00] right in that moment. Holy shit. No wonder, I don't, I don't have, you know, feel a good sense of confidence about our marketing. Cause that's where marketing like lives and breathes in that moment.

And so if you don't have that intimate sort of understanding of that customer, And what that feels like for them and, you know, the solutions that they're currently using, that they fire in order to hire your solution like that. That's where marketing lives and breeds. And so the founder very quickly recognizes holy shit.

Even if at one time, sorry, swearing is, not. Okay. Even if at one time, They understood who their customers were. And you know, what that problem was that they were solving typically when a company, you know, evolves and the team changes and the product evolves, cause products are always evolving. You tend to lose sight of that.

And so I'm always sort of applauding them for like, Coming back to, to coming back to the roots of like, oh yeah, this is what we do. This is who we serve. And if we can, you know, deeply understand this customer and that moment, then we can not only meet them where they are. [00:14:00] Out in the world, but we can help them understand how we are gonna, we can solve their problem.

We can show them, you know, exactly what they need to see. Once they get into our product, you know, what should we show them for second, third, you know, once we've solved that problem for them, we understand what that better life looks like for them. It's like helping them reconnect with that with their ideal and best customer always makes sense.

When you explain it in that way. And so they typically, there's a, a light bulb moment there and they recognize right. Without answering this question without having this understanding, we're never gonna know how to do marketing effectively.

Olivier: Yeah, that's brilliant. And what I always kind of laugh about is because it takes somebody from the outside to come in and tell them that while they have people inside that they're paying that I found that often it's the C-suite comes in and sort of throttles that and says, no, no, like, let's look at this a bit more in detail. And it's like, if you don't know what you're doing and you're not giving them resources, don't expect miracles either. So it's a weird with marketing

Gia: two sides to that coin,

Olivier: yeah. Yeah, [00:15:00] exactly.

Gia: It it's. I think that there's a or not. I think I see all the time of the frustration with the C-suite not being addressed, head on, like, you gotta remember that your job is also to market marketing. Within your company that is on you. That's your responsibility.

That's part of the job. And if you are not, you know, communicating on behalf of marketing or if you're not aware of what is keeping your CEO up at night and you can't connect those dots for them, that's on you. That's part of the that's part of the job that comes with experience, obviously that also comes with competence.

And that comes, that's assuming that you're, you are put in a position that You know, somebody's gonna receive that information to, so it's definitely a two sided coin. And I try as much as possible to remind inhouse folks of that, because it's easy to. Just complain. Just like it's easy to complain about clients, right?

It's easy to, it's easy to complain that like they don't get it. And, [00:16:00] but at the end of the day, you know, think about it like a marketer, be a marketer about it and sell your ideas as if you are, you have to market it because you do at the end of the day. There's a lot of of our earlier workshops were focused on like, How to talk to your boss and find out what is keeping them up at night, finding out what are the numbers that they look at every day and every time you talk to them, connecting what you do to that just like keep working cur keep working towards that.

Keep reminding them what. The path that that is that you're on stop talking about email, open rates and click rates. Nobody, they don't care start speaking their language and, and being cognizant of who your audience is. Marketers are really good at that, but they tend to forget it when they're dealing with their boss or even like a client sometimes.

Olivier: That's that's brilliant. Yeah, that's so true. And there should be a course for marketers on how to sell their services back to their own company

Gia: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, we've got stuff on that. We have workshops on that actually. How, how to manage up. It's I'm trying to remember [00:17:00] what the category is in our, but I forget the There's a, a resource library full of workshops, and a lot, a lot of them are focused on that. Especially in our early days, we were very focused on exactly that helping marketers do that.

. Yeah, it's a big problem.

Olivier: Yeah, that's really interesting. So to switch gears a little bit now one question I always like to ask people is if you can leave yourself a voicemail, go back in the past and say a 30 or 60 second voicemail that says. You know, look out for X, Y, Z, what would it be

Gia: Oh boy. Sorry. How long ago at my

Olivier: anytime in the past to say, Hey, before I start this project, I'm gonna go down this path for X amount of years. Be careful of this or lose this instead.

Gia: I definitely. So it it's interesting that I, I think this is partially due to my long history in marketing. So I've been doing marketing since like, like Y2K is a thing. That's my, that's my, like, it's been a long time since I've done marketing. Haven't always been working. I [00:18:00] I've been working with SAS companies since about 20.

20 10 20, you know, in the early 2010s. So my introduction into SAS, which is based on a recurring revenue model I'd already been doing marketing for about 10 years. I fell in love with this recurring revenue model because I was like, . Finally, the world understands that marketing doesn't end at acquisition.

And so I became a little hell Bentt on. Not necessarily describing it as just marketing. I, you know, I, I was trying to zoom out and say, you know, this is like holistic and it's about customer experience. And you know, it's not just about marketing, but my mistake was that that is the, that is that what I was describing before.

Like not meeting people where they are in order to solve. In order to help companies shift culturally to a more customer led approach, you have to meet them where they [00:19:00] are and typically where they are, is thinking about, or, or having an uncertainty about their marketing. And so probably the voicemail would say something along the lines of like, you know, just because you've been doing marketing so, so long doesn't mean, you know, you have to change that necessarily.

Cause I sort of shied away from this idea of like being a, a marketer. Into, you know, being more like holistic and customer experience. But I it's a, I've been reminded time and time again that no, you have to meet people where they are. And the current mindset that they're in is about this uncertainty about marketing.

So, you know, if you help sort of shed light on that and help them come to that aha moment, like I was describing a second ago that opens the door to the rest, but anyways, it would probably be that.

Olivier: That's a great one. Yeah. That's that's brilliant. I love it. So now I'll switch gears a little bit in your industry, in your, what is one trend you guys are very excited about or something that's, [00:20:00] you're making you nervous about?

Gia: Hmm. So I would say over the past few years, I'm very, very happy to see that customer research has. Like permeated in marketing. Finally, cuz customer research has always been a really important part of product. Customer research has always been a really important part of customer experience and even customer success.

I imagine to a certain extent, but definitely part of product, but it's finally making its way over. To marketing in the last few years. So marketers are now very excited to talk to customers. They understand the value in not making, you know, assumptions or, you know, validating we're developing, you know, really strong hypotheses about what they should be experimenting with in marketing.

And that's great. I do love seeing that. I mean, I've, I've got some charts that even show like, you know, customer research for marketing has increased over the last few years. That's really, really positive where. It becomes problematic is in the operationalizing. I mean, there's like a, there's a few, there's a few ways that it can become problematic.

First of all, the re [00:21:00] re good research is really, really hard to do. So it's really easy to mess it up. And then you've, you've had this long project where you spent all this time in doing interviews and coming up with questions, and then you record them and you have the transcripts and, you know, you try to, you, you look at the transcripts and then you're kind of.

What do I do with this? Or, oh, I botched that interview or whatever, like it's a time consuming task. So research is very easy to mess up is one sort of you know, I don't wanna say trend, but it's like, you know something to look out for. But the other thing is that. Whether or not you've messed up the research or not like the actual conducting of the research or not putting it into action is also very hard to do.

And that's actually why we came up with this framework that we did was because research is so bloody valuable, but if it sits on a shelf, it's for nothing. So that's what we're seeing a lot of right now is that research is happening and people are talking about it and they're excited about it.

And that's fantastic. [00:22:00] But it never really sees the light of day and it never really gets operationalized. Beyond like a campaign or, you know, something very specific. And even then you're lucky if that's the outcome. So it's yeah, it's it's like following through and making sure that it's actionable is the piece that, you know, we hate to see happen, cuz people invest a lot of time in doing research.

So you wanna. actually drive, you know, an impact impact revenue growth and impact growth, and make it easier for the team to work. And, you know, democratize that knowledge across the team. That's like how research should, you know, be enacted, but it doesn't always happen that way.

Olivier: Yeah. And it's true. I I've seen a lot. I was just on this event called full funnel. They were talking all about marketing and they're talking about data and, and actually. Bringing on data scientists to help companies who do a lot of data research, because it's something that they're seeing that they don't understand the full scope of the data they've just gathered from their customers or [00:23:00] from potential customers and clients and leads.

And it was this part where they're saying, if you don't have somebody who understands that you don't have somebody on your team, you could be sitting on a ton of amazing information and just not know it. And I, I agree that trend in marketing is now almost overtly data driven. Because there's so much of it, but understanding it's another.

Gia: A hundred percent. Yeah. It's this whole, like, you know, data, data driven or, you know, I, I, I, I think like data informed and customer led. Is really the better way to think about it. When I talk about customer research, data is definitely like quantitative is definitely a part of it, but qualitative to especially for marketing.

And I know that people like to think about like marketing as, as being technical and that's very, you know, pop popular right now to. Have marketing be less, you know, arts and crafts and have it be more measurable and I'm, I obviously I'm all for that, but there's a, there's a real, huge value in [00:24:00] qualitative research that I think gets missed there.

And when you become sort of data driven to a default, you can miss the sort of force for the trees. So the, a lot of the research that we do is very focused on are you familiar with the jobs to be done framework? So the type of research that we do is it can be survey based, but it's often interview based as well.

And it's really to uncover why do customers hire, like what. Do customers hire your product to do for them. They hire your, your, you know, your product to do a job for them. What is it that, what is that better life that they're trying to sort of achieve by using your product? And like, you can't get the answer to that by looking at data alone, like you'll never Be able to sort of understand what that larger story is, what that larger narrative is by just looking at the data.

You can validate that, that that story you can, you know, validate all of it with the data of course, but you'll never get to the heart of what that story is by looking at numbers alone. [00:25:00] So the type of research that we do typically recommend is jobs to be done research. That's the, actually we're writing a book on this process.

We call it customer led growth. I probably should have like blunt with that. We call it customer led growth and it's basically the combination of like Claire's skillset and, and research and my sort of operationalizing. And it's to make sure that this research. Actually drives, like, you know, change within the organization and enables your team to take meaningful sort of action.

And every time we, we do this with companies all the time, we have a rapid fire sort of growth sprint that we run with companies. That's five weeks long for four weeks, we go heads down. We look at the data, we conduct research. We look at what you're doing today. We look at your team. And then we meet together in the fifth week to run through a series of exercises with you to sort of show you like, here's what we learned about your customers.

Now let's make some decisions about, you know, which of these customers do you wanna focus on? Cause there's always a choice, right? There's always a couple of different directions to go. And once we've [00:26:00] sort of zeroed in on one customer, it becomes really, really obvious. Where we're dropping the ball. In terms of our messaging, our positioning, the customer experience we're providing with them.

Generally like the website is very obviously missing the mark onboarding, cuz obviously we work with product companies. So product onboarding is like, All these opportunities become to improve. The customer experience becomes really, really obvious and we use data to help us figure out, you know, are we doing a good enough job of helping customers get from one stage to the next And also to validate that you know, that we can measure it along the way that we're actually driving value, coming up with KPIs that are tied to customer value.

It's all very important. I just, we don't typically start there. We use data to support and, and inform and validate, but that's for us, it's not the starting point anyway.

Olivier: Yeah, but that's a brilliant point because there's so much behind it. And you just, just in your answer, there just, it's incredibly in [00:27:00] depth. Right. And, and. Who's not deep into it. It's overwhelming. And it's you need that extra. And I think this is where a lot of people are starting to realize in this.

We're very data driven in this in lot, certainly in software industry. But if it can get overwhelming and you end up spinning your wheels in the mud, you need to have an outside source to do it. And I think this is where. The industry is starting to realize we can't just handle everything in house anymore.

We can't just hire one or two people and hope to fix it. We need to have a strategy that goes over X amount of years. And I think people look at certainly SAS, they look at the short term and you're like, oh no, no, you need to look at it long term because just the amount of data you're gonna get is impossible to deal with in short term.

That's my 2 cents.

Gia: Yeah, a hundred percent. Oh, we're, we're drowning in it and it's just sitting there and it's not useful or meaningful until you can put a sort of framework around it in which to, to think about it and leverage it. And I mean, honestly, like forget the rest, you know, and until you need it, because yeah, it, it is very, very overwhelming.

Olivier: Yeah, I [00:28:00] agree. A hundred percent. Okay. We're gonna switch gears , cuz now we wanna know about you, the entrepreneur, the founder of your own business. So one question I like to ask everybody, and this is really because just cuz I'm really curious. How do you stay productive?

Because obviously you are overwhelmed with a ton of things going on, so, how do you stay productive?

Gia: It's a, it's a interesting question to think about it. Definitely something that is an ongoing thing. I definitely would not pretend for a second that I've like perfected. This one thing that has helped a lot though, is I'm lucky to have a business partner. Very, very, very lucky I'm reminded all the time.

How. Tough. It is to be a solo founder. And I am very, very grateful that I have Claire, because we've moved into, like our roles have been sort of pulled apart and now she's in a more COO role and I'm more in a CEO role, which has helped me. Tremendously because she is responsible for making sure that the trains run on time.

Right. She's, she's responsible for making sure that shit gets done. And that, [00:29:00] you know, this vision and this, this path that we're on actually like gets enacted and is, and is acted upon, which has freed me up to, you know, be in my sort of best space. And so now I, I. I'm actively, I'm tr I'm actively trying to get better at spending my time in ways that is gonna support the company and fulfills my role in thinking bigger and B building relationships and looking five years ahead, like you were just saying and not just thinking about the short term.

But really having that, that higher level sort of 30,000 foot view of, of the path that we're on. And I get to get into the nitty gritty, cuz I love that I'm a very zoom out zoom in type of person. So I love to get into the trenches and, and like do the work. But I am now relieved of the burden.

Thank God of. Those having to be responsible for all of the operations. So that has helped me hugely. And just having really [00:30:00] solid key team members. So we made a point to not bring in a bunch of like junior. People necessarily, but to hire very experienced, they're expensive, but holy shit, does it ever make a difference to work with really like solid, experienced people it's it's kind of like a first time founders, second time founders type of lesson that I, you know, tried to, tried to bring about like this time.

And so we are bringing in like brilliant people. and we're trying not to be scared off by the, the price tag of that because they bring an out outside, they make an outsized impact because they bring that experience. So that's really helped me as well to be more productive, cuz I get to sort of narrow my focus which is ironic to say, because obviously I've gotta wear a very wide focus, but I get to sort of relieve myself of the burden of some of those things that I'm just not as good at.


Olivier: That's so important to understand, you know, to know what you're good at and know what you're not good at. And it's as sole entrepreneurs that go into like small teams. We [00:31:00] tend to take on way too much and figure that we can do it all ourselves. And I think that's really brilliant to say, let it go and find somebody that you can work with and pay the price.

But with a caveat of always saying, be careful because you may hire somebody pay 'em a lot and realize you're still doing a lot of the work where a lot of people have come back and said, yeah, it's, it's a learning process. I think that's

Gia: sure.

Olivier: So what's one thing that's a time waster for you.

What's one thing you despise saying, oh, I, I burn up too much. Like for myself it's TikTok. I just like spend too much time.

Gia: Huh? I don't know. I I'd love to say something like Twitter, cuz I love Twitter. But I, I can't say that with any level of confidence, because Twitter truthfully changed my career. Like it changed my life, which is so crazy to say about like a social media platform, but it really genuinely did the amount that the people that I have made connections with my, it changed the trajectory of my life.

Like, I'm not shitting you like oh 8 0 9. The people that I. [00:32:00] Even locally. I was running events locally. The, you know, the people that I made connections with, changed everything for me. You know, introduction into sort of the tech space back then. And then all the connections I've made since it's like this, it's just this beautiful if you, if you, if you do it right.

Cause I know a lot of people have a terrible experience on, on Twitter, but if you do it right. You can have conversations with your idols. Like you can meet and connect with anyone on there that you want to, if you are smart about it. So I do spend quite a bit of time on Twitter. I never really feel like it's wasted time though.

What would I say? I waste my time on. Or that I should stop doing. I know it's a good question. I can't really,

Olivier: No, maybe you don't have

Gia: I got rid of Facebook a long time ago, so that's not an issue. I, I killed that one. I I'm sorry, I don't have a better answer right now. I'm sure I'll come with so.

Olivier: Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just me and Twitter or

Gia: definitely deep dive. I can definitely get into like, too [00:33:00] far into the details at times. And it drives Claire crazy, like come back out, like you're too far down. These like rabbit holes. I just really, really love rolling up my sleeves and getting into it. So probably that I should probably stop doing that as much.

Olivier: There you go. There you go. That's good. Next question. Mentors, do you have a mentor? And do you suggest to people you have a mentor or a business coach?

Gia: Oh boy, you know what? You're hitting on a very big topic for me as of late. So. I am part of a group of women business owners on slack, we're from all over the place. We call ourselves the shine crew because it's based on this shine theory of I'm sorry, I'm gonna forget the name of the, the two women that came up with this.

But anyways, one of our members wrote an a medium article about it and it's been like, It's been a thing. It's a, it's about lifting each other up, but we're all business owners and we sort of serve as like board members of each other's companies a little bit. They have been [00:34:00] wildly, wildly valuable to me.

Not, not because I can necessarily you know, not because I go to them for like specific things, even though I absolutely can, but oper leaving an in-house role, you lose your team. right. You lose that sort of the, the social. Aspect the comradery a little bit. And when you're first starting your business, it can be quite isolating.

So it was massively, massively valuable to have that group of people in my corner. But you asked us specifically about like a coach or a mentor and truth. Be told I'm looking for one. I have a few people that I look to and have relationships with, but there's nothing sort of formalized and I would love to formalize it.

And I sort of feel like it's something that. I, I, you know, it's overdue for me. I should have done this years ago and I'm often reminded that I need to do this. And I just participated in a indie founder's retreat in Italy. I just got back on Sunday from that. And we were all [00:35:00] business owners and.

Pretty well, everyone had a mentor or a coach or an advisor that they could point to. And I was like, I am really short changing, not only myself, but my business in not having a more formalized sort of approach to this. And it's something I'm thinking about a lot right now. So it's, it's very timely that you ask that.

Olivier: It's excellent. That's it's something, that's a great answer. Sorry. My dog's barking in the

Gia: that's okay.

Olivier: but it's actually a really, it's a, it's an interesting aspect it's something that I find is I'm still on the fence of like, do you need one or a mentor or something, but it's really a great answer.

Gia: I'm convinced that it's super valuable. And I'm reminded again because of this this founder's retreat that I just went on where like, People, it was a, it was a mix where some of the business owners had had their business for 10, 15 years others, you know younger businesses, but even those business owners that had been around for a long time, you know, could point to really meaningful advisors in their sort of ethos and that they had [00:36:00] relationships with that were pivotal for them.

So like I'm a, yes, you, it should absolutely be done, but I may, I just haven't, haven't done it yet. So it's definitely high on my mind.

Olivier: It's a great answer. One, the next question is if you can have a coffee with any entrepreneur or past present or anybody who would it be and why?

Gia: Oh, I am not prepared. for this at all. Wow. It's so funny. The people that I admire professionally. Partially because of Twitter. I do have relationships with, and I could have lunch with them. I mean, we're, you know, space and time, not a, not a problem, obviously, cuz they, they're not all local. I mean almost none of them are local.

That's a good question. Maybe. You know, what would be interesting? This is maybe a, a terrible answer, but, and I'm, I can't even remember how to pronounce his last name, but he wrote profit first clockwork and another book. Do you know who I'm talking about? It's my Michael. Wow. I'm forgetting his name, but he [00:37:00] fascinates me.

The way his brain sort of works fascinates me. One of the things that I thought was really interesting that he did was he wrote a book called prophet first, where he has a framework that he developed and the framework was so. Powerful and impactful for businesses that he started training other people in his, in this framework, I'm gonna call it framework, but it's called profit first.

I mean, maybe some of, you know, your listeners have heard of it before, but I would be very interested to know what his lessons were learned along that path. I mean, I, I have no aspirations. I we're writing a book, but I, my, my aspiration is not to be an author necessarily, but I would still be very interested to know.

What lessons he learned over the last, I'm gonna assume, you know, at two decades that he's been doing this. But honestly that was literally off the top of my head. I wish I had prepared for this and actually came up with a better answer

Olivier: No. That's good. And it's Mike MCAL scheme is Michael

Gia: is why I forget his name. Yeah.

Olivier: I've seen his book, but I've not read it, but

Gia: [00:38:00] Yeah, it's super interesting. And it's like, the topic of the book is one thing. I mean, it's interesting in and of itself, but that's not actually my interest in talking to him. It's more how you run a sort of like multifaceted business like that because that's definitely the path that we are headed on and we don't.

Have that all figured out yet. So anybody who runs a sort of multi revenue stream multi-faceted multi-product type of company I'm fascinated by because it scares the shit out of me. Like knowing how to manage all of that and have it still feel cohesive. Not have it be overwhelming and chaotic at the operations level is something that I'm, I'm thinking about a lot these days, just because we have these multiple offerings.

So I'm, I'm thinking a lot about how to make it cohesive and, and work together without driving the team crazy and it like everything supporting each other, creating like an ecosystem.

Olivier: Yeah.

Gia: bus business is like that. That's what I'm looking at.

Olivier: Yeah. And it's business growth. I get it. Sort of this [00:39:00] literally leads into my next question. Is, is there a book weather fiction, nonfiction that had a direct influence on you as an entrepreneur and that you would suggest our listeners to read.

Gia: I feel like I wanna scroll through my audio books. It's a good question. Similarly to my answer about profit first April Benford's book obviously awesome. Which is, I don't know if that's, if you're familiar with it or if it's ever

Olivier: No, I've never heard of it.

Gia: Okay. So April Dunford who I'm lucky to call a friend, wrote a book called obviously awesome.

In 2019. And it's about positioning. Similarly to what I just mentioned about profit first. It's not the topic of the book that inspires me so much as her path. And what. Her book represents in this sort of evolution of her business. And what she's sort of done with it's a brilliant book, very, very smart.

And that's part of why I'm like. I'm so I impressed by it continuously is because it was so well thought out. Like it was short because of her [00:40:00] target audience. She thought about it as a product. The, the, you know, it's a very breezy read. It's just, was just very well done. And so, yes, the book itself is valuable.

I recommend it to every company that I work with, cuz it's about positioning, right? Like positioning your business. So it's very valuable for everybody to read, but more so what impresses me about it is what the book. Like what the book sort of represents in her business. And that is inspiring to me.

And I guess the same thing for pro for profit first, very, very similar. I just finished reading the gap and the gain. Also very important, especially for business owners to remember your wins and not just look at the next thing that you need to achieve and not, you know, get bogged down in what you have not achieved, but actually taking time to acknowledge what you have achieved.

And, and I think that we forget to do that a lot as business owners, we're always thinking. We're in the gap a lot in thinking about what the next milestone is, and we often forget to celebrate our wins. So that's [00:41:00] another one that is a, a, a really good one

Olivier: That's that's by Dan Sullivan, I think.

Gia: That's right.

Yeah. Well, Dan Sullivan was a part of it, but the guy I'm, I'm terrible with names. Wow.

Olivier: Yeah. I only remember it. I saw I haven't read it either, but that's really great.

Gia: I just read it recently. And it was, it's a good reminder, especially as a business owner to celebrate your wins. It sounds like a very simple concept, but some of us need it, like beat into our heads and I definitely did.

Olivier: Yeah. Celebrate every single little step forward. Yeah. It's really important. Cause we, we tend to like live in a bubble when we're doing our startup or something.

Gia: yeah. Yeah.

Olivier: Well, that was wonderful. So I have one last question. How could people reach out to you? What's the best way they can reach out and, you know, connect with you.

Gia: Sure. Well, my email address is GIA. Forget the So GIA, forget the Obviously our website, there's lots of resources in there about marketing tech and SAS customer research, product marketing lots of, lots of workshops. They're all pretty well video based in there. [00:42:00] Also if any of the sort of customer research and operationalizing customer research and, and meaningful sort of growth and, and like team team enablement stood out to anybody, then I would definitely recommend getting on the wait list for the book which is also available on the website.

So forget the Definitely. And then maybe the other best way, maybe the best way would be Twitter. Like I said before I'm always on theirs and that's gig G I, I a a is my Twitter.

Olivier: Excellent. And we're gonna be putting all that information on our details page. So that's perfect. I wanna thank you so much for taking the time. It's been an amazing conversation. You thank you so much.

Gia: Thanks so much for having me. It was great.

Olivier: Thank you for joining us today and listening to this episode of business, not 1 0 1. I hope that this interview gave you some invaluable insights and that will help you along your business journey. If you have any questions, comments, feel free to reach out to me and as always, please like share and follow.

Thank you and until next episode.