GE 229: How Gretta van Riel Built 5 Multi-Million-Dollar Enterprises in 5 Years (podcast) With Gretta van Riel

Gretta van Riel

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Gretta van Riel, a serial entrepreneur from Australia who built SkinnyMe Tea, The 5th, The Drop Bottle, and Hey Influencers from scratch.

Tune in to hear Gretta share how her entrepreneurial journey began with a love of tea, how she gained over 16M followers on her social media channels as an influencer marketing queen, how she grew SkinnyMe Tea’s revenue from zero to 600K/month in just six months, and opens up about her $1.3 million dollar mistake—a hefty loss that came with some valuable lessons.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Gretta van Riel Built 5 Multi-Million-Dollar Enterprises in 5 Years TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:36 – Leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:08 – Eric welcomes Gretta van Riel
  • 02:00 – Gretta started SkinnyMe Tea in 2012 while working at a print transitioning to digital agency
    • 02:29 – Gretta has always been addicted to tea; she created her own detox tea blends
    • 02:43 – People started asking Gretta about her tea
    • 03:18 – Gretta coined the term “teatox” which became a two-step detoxing program
    • 04:14 – On their first day of their website launch, they sold 4 packs of tea
    • 04:23 – Things really started going with Instagram
  • 04:38 – SkinnyMe Tea’s social presence grew from zero to 600K followers/month in under 6 months
  • 05:28 – The first year was not easy for Greta as she was fresh into entrepreneurship
  • 06:23 – Back in 2012, Instagram was in the emerging stage—not too many brands were using the platform yet
    • 06:56 – Gretta built the audience for SkinnyMe around people’s interests rather than personal relationships
    • 07:30 – Gretta was consistent in her interactions with her following
    • 08:13 – Gretta was in charge of customer service for the first 6 months
  • 08:40 – Her audience of 16M has taught Gretta that her following is more important than the product itself
    • 09:18 – The sheer size of her audience has helped Gretta establish additional brands
  • 09:27 – The 5th grew faster than SkinnyMe Tea because SkinnyMe Tea’s audience was already so firmly established
    • 09:32 – They made $100K on day 1 of sales and hit $1M in their first year
  • 10:53 – Gretta started teaching a course that broke down her ecommerce framework into six steps
  • 11:40 – Gretta’s following is very diverse
    • 12:28 – Aside from SkinnyMe Tea, they have other supporting accounts in the same niche
    • 13:11 – Vertical accounts are much easier to grow
    • 13:15 – Gretta identifies the content that is going viral by checking the hashtags of the best performing content
  • 14:07 – Gretta will soon release an engagement group or pod platform called Hey Engage
    • 14:31 – Pods are private groups of like-minded people who share and engage in each other’s content
    • 15:20 – Gretta just discovered a LinkedIn group that boosted her likes and comments
    • 16:30 – Gretta is trying to increase engagement in the pods
    • 18:38 – The platform will be niche and time sensitive
  • 19:23 – Gretta has been successful leveraging her relationships through influencer marketing
  • 20:00 – Gretta realized how powerful a thousand followers can be with influencer marketing
    • 20:48 – They were doing product gifting and it was 90% effective
    • 22:10 – The brand and the influencer need to match before proceeding to the negotiation stage
  • 22:46 – “Relationship building is the KEY to influencer marketing”
  • 22:59 – The difference between influencer marketing and performance marketing
  • 24:07 – The master plan for Gretta
    • 24:15 – Hey Influencer and Hey Engage will work together
  • 25:47 – Gretta is excited about Facebook
    • 26:05 – Facebook groups and messenger bots are huge opportunities for everyone
    • 26:19 – Gretta’s bot will be called 100 Days of Health
    • 26:28 – Facebook is a great way to diversify your database
    • 26:54 – Email rates are going down and down
  • 27:33 – Gretta’s favorite Facebook group is Badass Marketers and Founders and she’s friends with Josh Fechter, the group founder
    • 28:28 – All Things Social Media and Charm Offensive are great groups as well
  • 29:03 – Gretta shares her mistake that cost $1.3M
    • 29:40 – Gretta had a tea manufacturer from China; the quality was good
    • 30:14 – Gretta wanted to order a year’s supply of tea which was a $1.3M deal
    • 30:26 – It was delivered but the quality wasn’t what they were expecting
    • 31:31 – Gretta learned to cut losses as quickly as possible
  • 33:36 – Gretta can’t do the same thing every day—she hates routine
    • 34:16 – Gretta uses her calendar as her accountability tool
  • 34:55 – What’s one new tool that you added in the last year that added a lot of value for you? – Wunderlist
  • 36:04 – What’s one must-read book you recommend?Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  • 36:56 – Connect with Gretta on LinkedIn
  • 37:16 – Head back to Growth Everywhere for show notes and additional resources; leave a review and rating and subscribe to the podcast

3 Key Points:

  1. Influencer marketing is all about creating and nurturing relationships.
  2. Don’t stick with one account. Have multiple accounts in the same niche that can support each other in growing and engaging an audience.
  3. If you made a mistake, own it, forget about your ego and just move on.

Resources from this Interview:

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Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.

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Full Transcript of The Episode

Show transcript
Eric Siu: Got it, and we'll jump to that in a second. I mean, with SkinnyMe Tea it seems like you've got to success pretty quickly. In the first year how much did you do in terms of revenues, and where are you sitting at today?

Greta: We grew really, really quickly from zero to 600,000 a month. So, in under six months, so that grew very fast. I'd never had a company before. I was a uni student. I was used to earning all of nothing, and so, yeah. It did grow very, very quickly. I think our first two to three years were our highest for growth, and now we've kind of plateaued a bit, but it's a lot easier to manage these days because obviously we've been running the company, it's five years old now, SkinnyMe Tea. I mean, as far as people say ... A lot of people come to me and say, "Oh, it's just on autopilot now?" And you're like, "Absolutely not," but there are a lot of things that we do that are similar again and again.
So, it does get a little easier five years in, as opposed to that first year that was just insane. I was just ... I had never founded a company before, obviously, and I didn't know much about business at all. In fact, we made some absolutely monumental mistakes. The first of which being, I operated as a sole trader for the whole first year. I didn't even know how to set up a company structure, which meant that I was taxed at a individual rate, rather than a company rate.

Eric Siu: What's the difference over there?

Greta: 50% for an individual. So, that was a big one, and a lot of other things have kind of been huge mistakes that I've learnt from, especially with SkinnyMe Tea.

Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. So, first year you hit that 7.2 million a year run rate, and it sounds like a lot of success was built off of Instagram. So, what did you do in the very beginning with Instagram, and where are you at today? I mean, massive, massive audience, right?

Greta: Yeah, Instagram to begin with, it was an emerging platform probably, back in 2012, not many brands were on there at all. To put your brand on Instagram, all you did was change your username to a brand name, so we just had an Instagram called SkinnyMe Tea. I'd had a bit of success growing my own personal Instagram already because I kind of liked the shift away from the friend-centric economy of the Facebook, for example, to the interest-centric economy of Instagram. So, I started kind of building an audience around interests, rather than just around personal relationships, and I liked the idea that you could follow people that you didn't know already, a bit more like a Twitter or something.
So, back in 2012, a lot of people do that whole follow, unfollow thing through automation now ... Well, not so much lately, seeing as a lot of the automation platforms have been shut down by Instagram, but basically, it was a matter of just doing things that didn't scale. It was just interacting with the audience non stop. There was a bit of ... I would follow ... I would think like, who is my demographic? And all my friends were really interested in the Teatox, so I'd follow all of them, and I'd follow all of their friends, and then I'd follow someone from a different city and then follow them and all of their friends until I seriously felt like I'd followed every single girl around my age in Melbourne and Sydney.

Eric Siu: That seems like a lot of work, right?

Greta: It was a lot of manual work.

Eric Siu: How do you stay on top of it?

Greta: I don't know, I just did it each night after work when I was watching TV or something, it was just a very manual task at the time, doing that stuff, but then it became increasingly ... You know, to do with customer service and stuff. I did our own customer service for SkinnyMe Tea for the first six months as we grew from that zero to 600k a month. So, I learnt so much about our audience in that time, so that was really, really helpful.

Eric Siu: Got it, okay. So, I'll start with the big number first, you have 16 million people spread across different social channels. I mean, what are you able to do with that audience right now? If you can provide examples that would be great, and then I'll have a follow up to that.

Greta: Yeah, for sure. Well, I think that having that audience has taught me that ... More so the importance of audience over product, potentially. Like, just the idea of product market fit, for example, for me, I have a bit of semantic problem with it. I prefer the term market product fit because I think that it's about finding your audience, growing and establishing your audience, and then developing a product. The idea that if market comes before product, you might focus on market first, just chronologically.
So, yeah, with Instagram, that audience has helped establish multiple different brands. We used that audience as well to help us launch our watch company called The 5th Watches, and The 5th Watches grew even quicker than SkinnyMe Tea did. On day one of sales we did $100,000, and on our first birthday we did $1,000,000 in a day of revenue. So, that was a really fast growing, really exciting brand as well because basically, the way that it worked was it was through scarcity and exclusivity. So, we only sold our watches on the 5th of each month for five days, so, that's kind of the way that it worked. It was exclusive through time not by price, because the price point was quite accessible, all the watches are under $200.

Eric Siu: Got it. Yeah. You know what's interesting? I'm looking at everything that you do, we mentioned before this podcast that you're always hanging out on Facebook, you're sharing a bunch of knowledge around marketing, you're hanging out in different groups, and things like that, it's like, you hear the info marketers out there, when the people launch in courses, there's the scarcity thing. They're taking away, they're opening it, taking it away, things like that. So you're kind of doing that with Instagram, which I think is genius, but a lot of this other stuff too, it's like, you had success with SkinnyMe Tea first, and you have a template for successful e-commerce, and you're basically duplicating that across the board right now, is that what I'm hearing?

Greta: Yeah, it's a repeatable framework, for sure.

Eric Siu: Got it, love it. I think you also did a course with Nathan Chad, who we've also had on this podcast. I mean, is that basically your framework right there?

Greta: Yeah, it is. It's teaching my e-commerce framework broken down into six steps, and yeah, it's a really good one. We've only had it out for a couple of months at this stage, so, we haven't done all that much marketing around it other than to the founder database, but we'll definitely be letting people know more and more about that course as time goes on.

Eric Siu: Awesome, love it. My follow up question is, most people are like, "Oh, 16 million people, that's very daunting," right? So, probably most people here are like, "If I can have 100,000 people, that'd be awesome." So, if you were to give people kind of a framework or a process to follow, whether it's watching TV or using specific tools, how do people go from zero to 100k on Instagram, for example?

Greta: Yeah. Well, my following's quite diversified as well. It's not just obviously on the one account, that's my combined following across all my different accounts. What I've been successful in is building up accounts in the vertical that I'm interested in. So, for example, with SkinnyMe Tea ... I learnt this actually because our Instagram account got hacked and deleted when it got to 200k at the start of 2013. So, I was like, "Oh god, what is the quickest way I can possibly grow this back?"
So, I had to suddenly think of everything I'd learnt on Instagram and the way to hack that growth back as quick as possible, and that was mostly, for me, through growing vertical accounts, and then using those vertical accounts as a funnel into my main product accounts. So, for example, SkinnyMe Tea, we have that Instagram, but then we also have 10 others around the health niche, like detox tips, detox water, be-fit foods, be-fit smoothies, there's just so many different vertical accounts for us. It's about ... They're kind of closer to the top of the funnel and then we keep moving people down the funnel, and the product pages are more for lead nurturing, and then once you get them to sign up to your email database or across to your website, that's more the conversion stage for us. So, definitely developing those vertical accounts has worked really, really well.
Vertical accounts are much easier to grow because you can do things like leverage viral trending content. The way that I would identify viral trending content, it's pretty simple, follow some of the vertical accounts that are your industry leaders within your niche. You'll be able to find them, they're just large accounts. You can check in the top posts, in hashtags for example, to find them. Then, find their best performing content, say like usually they get 4,000 likes on a photo, and then one has like 12,000, that's the photo that you want to kind of repost and repurpose. So, that's kind of the main way that we find viral content, and then it's about growing that viral content again.
So, as you know, like in any kind of content marketing, when you do repurpose content, the next stage is all about the distribution. The best way that's working for distribution right now on Instagram, and we're actually releasing a tool for this on Monday, is engagement groups. So, have you heard of engagement groups?

Eric Siu: Are these the same things as pods?

Greta: Yep, pods basically, yeah.

Eric Siu: I need to be in more pods, I'm in one like really crappy pod and nobody helps each other.

Greta: Oh no. See, that's the issue as well, there are a lot of problems in pods, but first I'll describe what pods are, I guess, because if some people haven't heard of them. Basically, they're private groups of like-minded people that are willing to mutually interact with each other's content in order to grow their accounts. So, basically, if we want to put it down on a really simple to understand level, you find other people in your niche with a similar sized account, and within the first certain amount of time, after you post a post, you engage with each other's content with authentic comments, and you like, and you might do whatever else is asked of you within the group. You know, if it was a product hunt group, you'd up vote. If it's Linked In, it's mostly liking, commenting, and even sharing, if you're comfortable with that.
I'm a part of some really powerful Linked In groups at the moment actually, which have increased my Linked In engagement by an insane amount. I used to be getting closer to like 10 to 30,000 views, and I think my best ever was 70,000. Now I have 14,000 followers on Linked In, I get 100,000 views on every post, and my best post has close to 500,000 view, and that's all from engagement groups.

Eric Siu: Yeah, let's talk about that. Okay, what do you do around engagement groups in Linked In?

Greta: Yeah, well, it's the same as all of them. You create a group of like-minded people from within your niche, just see the people that are also posting and getting great engagement that you follow already, and then you just approach them and you can create a group together on whichever platform. The issue is, all engagement groups are across all different platforms and there's kind of no way to discover where they are, unless you're a part of the inner circle. Or unless you go ahead and create one yourself, but then a lot of people are already a part of them, and then they won't maybe interact as much in your one.
So, basically, the problem that we're solving with our new product, which is called Hey Engage, is it's a pod discovery platform as well. So, you can go in and you can discover the pods that already exist. You can also create pods through the platform, and you can manage your pod in the platform. We have a few different things to help keep the engagement within your engagement group up, because, as you know, engagement's most powerful when it's received as close to the post being posted as possible, because the way that social media algorithms work is that the algorithm releases your post and determines who can see your post to a segment of your audience first, let's say 10% of your audience first, and then the remaining 90% that is determined ... Like, how many people of that 90% see your post is determined by how well the first 10% engage. So, that's kind of the way that it works.
So, the most sensitive aspects in engagement groups are definitely time and niche. So, time as in, you want to engage as quickly as possible, and niche because accounts engaging within your niche with your content will boost that out to your following more so because platforms, like Instagram for example, classify all accounts into niche. For example, you might notice that if you like five photos in a row of a car in your newsfeed, then as soon as you go to the explore page, the whole page is full of cars.

Eric Siu: Right.

Greta: Because it's like, well that's your niche interest. So that's also the way that it works for engagement. If you are engaging with other people within your niche, you're far more likely to get pushed out to their audiences as well on the explore page, and those audiences will also be more engaged and interested in your content, so you're much more likely to get more engagement on your post from that. You know, somebody that's interested in cars would rather look at a car post than a picture of a smoothie. So, it just makes sense. So, our entire platform, Hey Engage, is built around ... It's very niche sensitive, it's size sensitive in terms of matching accounts up of a similar size, and it's time sensitive. We have things like engagement timers that you can set, and only the people that engage within that timeframe are counted within that engagement group round.

Eric Siu: Love it. Yeah, so there's Hey Engage, is that the same thing as Hey Influencers? Did you rename it, or are they different?

Greta: No, that's different. Hey Engage is the engagement group platform, which works for any platform, and Hey Influencers is my influence and marketing company. So, one of the main successes that we've had in building our brands alongside my own social media audience has been obviously leveraging relationships and other peoples' audiences through influencer marketing. For The 5th for example, apart from launching with my Instagrams, we also launched with 30 different influencers that we'd sent out sample watches to to do anything from content creation for us through to converting through to email signups, because our signups, obviously for a launch, were a big indicator of the sales that we thought we might be able to achieve.
Well, I've been doing influencer marketing for like five years on Instagram. With SkinnyMe Tea I first realized influencer marketing was really, really powerful when a girl with 1,000 followers posted on us and we had our biggest day of sales ever, back in 2012. It was ... And 1,000 followers was an influence.

Eric Siu: How much was that? I mean, 1,000 people, how much sales did you get from that day in terms of volume?

Greta: Well, that was like very early on within the first couple of weeks, but I think that was the first day that we did over $1,000 in a day.

Eric Siu: Crazy.

Greta: So, we were like, okay, so this girl has posted on us. So, every time I was going through and engaging with our audience, every time I saw a girl that was quite health conscious that was engaging with us with over 1,000 followers, I'd just screenshot her account, reach out to her, and send her some tea for free, and that was kind of just the way that we started doing influencer marketing back then. Because nobody else was doing it on Instagram, you could get away with just product gifting. Now, of course, influencers, like larger macro influencers, often expect a payment for posts, but yeah, back in the day you could literally just send it out and you had like a 90% positive response rate as well.

Eric Siu: Got it.

Greta: So, that was awesome.

Eric Siu: Hey Influencers, that's basically a place where you can go and connect with influencers because they're hard to find, right?

Greta: Yeah, yeah, of course. We take you through the entire process from campaign creation, which are templated kind of campaign creation ... It's a templated campaign creation tool, so you pick from one of three different goals, whether your goal is content creation, sales, or increasing your social following, and then we take you through the entire step of ... We'd take you through step by step creating a campaign for an influencer marketing campaign as well. So, then it takes you to the find stage where you can connect with influencers, and it works from two different ways, obviously you can either reach out to them, or they can reach out to your campaign, but on Hey, you need to have matched to then go and work together. So, both the influencer and the brand need to Hey each other before it take you though to the negotiation stage, which is kind of handy.

Eric Siu: Cool. So it's like a dating app.

Greta: Yeah.

Eric Siu: Cool.

Greta: Well it does make a lot of sense that it would be like a dating app, rather than like a marketplace, because marketplaces work really, really well for things like houses with AirBnB, or cars with Uber, but people can't really necessarily be a part of the market place. The thing that brands need to stop trying to do is imagining that influencers are just like a number on a page, or a figure line in a budget sheet, they're still people at the end of the day, and relationship building is the key to influencer marketing. It's not trying to scale some sort of ROI. The confusion between influencer marketing and performance marketing is becoming really detrimental to the influencer marketing space.
Yes, there are ways to track influencer ROI, and we're building them into the platform at the moment. For sales, for example, it's through using individualized discount codes, or cookie tracking. For following, we are building a tool at the moment that can track like ... Say an influencer posts on your brand, it knows how many new followers you've gained off their followers. So, it's able to kind of show that and it really helps with diminishing returns as well. So you can see something like, the first time this influencer posted on my brand we gained 50 followers, the second time we gained 20, now we gained 3, okay, maybe it's time that we started cultivating a relationship with somebody else.

Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. I'm thinking right now, I'm looking at the stuff that you're working on, and there has to be some kind of master plan here. I can see how some of this connects, but I'm not going to make any assumptions. What is the master plan for Greta?

Greta: Yeah, well, I've definitely been more so in the ecom space until more lately, after we started Hey. So, Hey Influencers and Hey Engage will go together really nicely. With Hey, I've always focused on kind of the more multi-directional nature of influencer marketing, not just that kind of commercial relationship that's from a brand working with an influencer, but also having understood the market from both sides, as a brand interacting with influencers, as an influencer interacting with brands, I know that 80% of your time as an influencer is spent in growing your own account, and maybe only 20% is spent interacting with brands. So we want to build growth tools that help influencers to maintain the growth of their accounts as well, but definitely moving more into the educational and software, as I said, this type space, because every entrepreneur knows that if they could just clone their brain and have two versions, or three versions, of themselves, their day would just be a lot easier, and their life would be a lot easier. Basically, that's the way that I see software, as a way that you are kind of able to clone your brain, or the information that is in your brain, and activate that at scale for a lot more people than you would physically be able to reach if you were just having one on one conversations.

Eric Siu: Love it. Okay. So, we've talked about Instagram, we've talked about Linked In, but we also talked about how you're really prolific on Facebook. So, what else are you excited about in terms of business and marketing right now? You're everywhere.

Greta: Facebook, definitely. It's just a huge opportunity. Again, I've spoken to so many people that have been like, "I haven't used Facebook in years, but this year I've got right back into it." They've done something really smart cultivating these kind of micro communities through groups, and Facebook groups are just such a huge opportunity right now for everyone. The other huge opportunity on Facebook right now is messenger bots as well. So, I'm having a play with my messenger bot at the moment, which I'm calling 100 Days of Health, and you get a healthy tip to your inbox for 100 days, basically. But it's just a different way to diversify your database of customers, or your database of leads, or whatever you'd like to call them.
I've always been very into diversifying the risk of my data. So, I wouldn't just keep it all on Instagram, for example, because Instagram can change their algorithm, they can delete your account, you don't own that data yourself. Email, yes, you do, but email open rates are going down and down over time. So, it's just about getting where the most eyes will be, I guess. I'd say messenger bots and messenger marketing is the single biggest opportunity behind email marketing right now.

Eric Siu: Right, totally agree with, I mean-

Greta: In terms of contacting your leads.

Eric Siu: I mean, we're seeing open rates of up to 94% and that's ... It's B to C, right? So, that's crazy, you'd never get that unless it's like email back in the day. I am wondering to, if there's people listening like, "Oh, Greta's talking about Facebook groups," so, which Facebook groups do you really like? What do you recommend?

Greta: My very, very favorite Facebook group is Badass Marketers and Founders, do you know that one?

Eric Siu: Yep, I'm in that one with you.

Greta: Yeah, yeah, and that's Josh's group. Josh Fechter.

Eric Siu: Yeah.

Greta: And he's a friend. We actually met in real life recently, which was awesome, and he's a super, super switched on guy and amazing growth marketer, and he just has a really similar mentality to me as well about founders helping other founders. So, he's always willing to kind of have a chat, and I met him up in Queensland actually, in Australia. He was over at QUT, which is the Queensland University of Technology, helping their accelerator founders learn more about community building and stuff. So, Josh and his group BAMF, so Badass Marketers and Founders, is probably my favorite, but then I'm a part of all different ones.
All Things Social Media is another amazing one, ATSM. I'm loving Charm Offensive, this copywriting group, at the moment. There's just so many that I'm a part of that I use non-stop all the time.

Eric Siu: Yeah, those are great groups. I think actually joined Charm, maybe on your recommendation, or somebody else's. We'll just say you gave me the recommendation.

Greta: Let's pretend.

Eric Siu: Yeah, let's just say that. I think it was you, 99% sure. Yeah, one thing I read before we even talked today is, one of the big struggles you've faced is a 1.3 million dollar mistake around the SkinnyMe Tea, do you want to talk about that?

Greta: Well, no, but yes. I talk about it all the time now. Obviously it wasn't the best moment in the history of the company, but learnt a lot from it. Basically, we were ... I moved to Hong Kong for a while after SkinnyMe started for different reasons, I just loved the city, and we were playing with tea manufacturing in China, like when you think of tea, you think of China, a lot of the tea is grown there. So, I was just like, okay, this is a great opportunity, went over and put in a few smaller orders with a manufacturer, and was really happy with the quality, was even having it sent back to Australia to get it quality tested as well, so that we knew that the quality assurance wasn't being gamed or anything, like it can be in China.
So, we were really, really happy, and I was like, okay, I hate distribution, I hate manufacturing stuff, I don't want to have to think about any of this again for a year, so I'm going to place a year's order of tea, and then I won't need to think about it again. So, I did that and that order cost 1.3 million US dollars. We got it delivered, and we opened it up, and it was basically like compost that had metal bolts in it, springs, E. coli. It was just ... Yeah, E. coli is a type of bacteria. It was absolutely disgusting. I wouldn't even touch it without gloves. So, obviously, had to throw it all out. It cost $15,000 just to throw it out as well.

Eric Siu: Who do you got to hire for that? Like, hey I need someone to throw this ... How does that work? Who do you look for?

Greta: It was just a garbage disposal company, like trucks that take things to the tip, basically.

Eric Siu: Wow.

Greta: That is all, there was nothing we could do with it. There was nothing that we could ... You know, because it had metal bolts in it and stuff, and E. coli, you couldn't even use it as mulch in a garden or something. It was just absolutely ruined. So, that was a bad day, but-

Eric Siu: What did you learn from it?

Greta: I think the biggest thing that I've learnt from my combined mistakes in starting startups has been basically the same thing that, to not fail overall, and to have a successful company, you need to cut your losses as quickly as possible. You need to just be like, "Okay, well that was terrible," and then just come up with whatever you can see as a solution. Sometimes that solution is just getting over it and not thinking about it again.

Eric Siu: Right.

Greta: Or sometimes it's obviously solving some kind of problem that led to that. Obviously, you're never going to repeat the same big problem twice, but that's not really the main learning that I learnt from that happening to me. It was honestly just that, like, things just happen again and again, and if you're still kind of getting over the last one, then it'll just slowly but surely pull your resilience down, but if you can just get over them really, really quickly, like I honestly just ... I'll do everything, cry, and be like super upset for a couple of hours, or even a whole night sometimes, like one day is my longest mourning period that I allow myself to have, and then the next day I get up and I'm kind of like newly inspired again. It's kind of chaos theory stuff, like, you know, what goes down must come up, type of thing, rather than the other way around.

Eric Siu: Yep.

Greta: So, I don't know. I think that definitely just trying to cut your losses as soon as possible, and admit when you have made a mistake and just don't have an ego in it. Just be like, "Okay, that was my bad." Don't try to blame it on other people and stuff, you're just going to spend so much more time getting over it, and then you lose all that time, and the opportunity cost is huge.

Eric Siu: Totally, so suck it up and get over it, right?

Greta: Yeah, literally.

Eric Siu: Cool. So, we're going to work towards wrapping up here. Just a few more questions on my end, but I'm really wondering with the different companies that you have, the new Hey Influencers, Hey Engage as well, how do you structure your day?

Greta: Yeah. It is dependent. I can't do the same thing every day. I can't be like, this is my morning routine, this is my evening routine, this is what I do during the day. That's just not the way that my brain works, it hates routine. As soon as I get into too much of a routine, then I kind of get complacent, and then I can't be motivated enough to keep doing what it takes to do all of this, but I have incredible teams, of course, that are so, so helpful throughout everything. In terms of the day, just, for me, if it's not in my calendar, it's not going to be done. I just use my calendar as my accountability tool, and I'm just entirely accountable to my calendar. So, I'm very careful about what gets added in there and what doesn't. So, I just use my calendar as much as possible and work from there. I know what my basic outline of my day will look like from my calendar, and then as priorities move and get shifted, so does the calendar.

Eric Siu: Great. Makes sense, I'm the same way too. So, what's one new tool that you've added in the last year that's added a lot of value? So, you can't name your own tools. An example might be like Evernote.

Greta: Well, what would one tool be? God, I use so many different tools all the time.

Eric Siu: Or your favorite one.

Greta: My favorite would probably be ... And it's apparently about to get scrapped by Microsoft, but I like Wunderlist. I have lists for everything. Usually I have like a million tabs open in my browser, and to be able to close a lot of those tabs I add them into their corresponding lists in Wunderlist. So, I would definitely say that is a tool that I cannot survive without, but apparently it's getting scrapped by Microsoft, so RIP Wunderlist.

Eric Siu: Oh, that sucks. Well, come on over to Evernote. Great.

Greta: I use Evernote as well, of course.

Eric Siu: Oh, I didn't know they could be used in conjunction.

Greta: I use Evernote for different things, like product planning. I would start a product Evernote and then have different notes on all different parts of the product. I just use the tools differently. Wunderlist I just use for lists.

Eric Siu: Got it, okay. Makes sense. Final question from my end, what's one must read book you'd recommend to everyone?

Greta: Well, as a marketer I would say the book that changed my perspective of marketing the most was probably Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Have you read that?

Eric Siu: Yeah, by Robert Cialdini?

Greta: Yeah, yep. Just honestly, that's like my marketing framework now. I literally go through and tick off certain parts from that book. I'm like, okay is there ... I'm running a viral marketing campaign for referrals, is there reciprocity in here? Is there scarcity? Is there social proof and liking? I honestly go through and check my marketing communications to make sure that those techniques are in there because they do work so well.

Eric Siu: Love it. Great, well Greta, this has been incredible. I think we can talk forever, but I mean, all good things have to come to an end. So, what's the best way for people to find you online?

Greta: Probably Linked In would be one good way. I'm definitely doing a lot more in my Linked In at the moment. So, yeah, just Greta van Riel on Linked In, and just follow me there.

Eric Siu: Great, well Greta, thanks so much for doing this.

Greta: Thank you, Eric, thanks for having me.

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