Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

[Interview] Neil Patel: Investor, Entrepreneur & Blogger Extraordinaire

by Kristen Bradley of

Neil Patel is a former top 100 blogger (a feat he achieved at the age of 21), investor, and successful internet marketer. He has consulted for numerous Fortune 500 companies on SEO and is the co-founder of KISSmetrics.

I sat down with Neil recently in San Diego to see what he’s up to now.

Why do you think the philosophy of being cheap works well in your industry?

As the saying goes, it’s easier to save money than it is to make money. I don’t mind spending it, but I prefer spending it wisely. Being cheap or frugal is a great way to save money, which can make a big difference on your bottom line.

The big misconception about being cheap is that you get what you pay for, but that isn’t actually true. You can get some really good deals out there.

What have been some failings or setbacks in your career so far, and what did you learn from them?

My biggest set back was that I lost a million dollars on a web hosting business in Rockwall Texas. From it I learned that you don’t invest in ideas, you invest in people. Ideas can change over time, but good people will always stick it out until they can figure out how to make a business succeed.

What sacrifices have you had to make in order to be successful?

I didn’t get to enjoy my teenage years like most people. I was always working… even when I was in college. Don’t get me wrong, I would make that sacrifice again, but you should also have fun when you are young.

Do you think there is a pattern or formula to starting a business and being successful?

There could be, but I don’t know of one. You just have to make sure you are always hustling, you are moving fast, and you aren’t wasting too much money. And most importantly, your business needs to be solving a problem that others are experiencing.

Q. How does your cheap philosophy affect hiring employees, and how important have good employees been for your success?

The one thing I am not cheap with is employees. I am big believer in hiring people who are smarter than you, which can cost a lot of money. You can reduce their wages by giving them equity, but good employees (or team members) cost money.

Although you have several projects and businesses already in progress, do you have any additional projects in the works?

I recently invested in one of my buddies companies. It’s actually a poker informational site called Online Poker Lowdown. I’ve been a big fan of the poker industry for a while now and I thought it would be fun.

You suggest “sucking up” to make connections, but what about doing favors for potential or current clients? Would this have a negative effect on success?

I don’t think it has a negative effect as long as you don’t do too much for free. If you do too much, people will start taking it for granted.

What type of marketing strategy would you suggest for a small business owner?

There are a lot of different strategies. My favorite is too leverage SEO, start blogging, and most importantly start leveraging popular social sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Where could a reader go to learn more about you and your companies?

My startup that I co-founded is KISSmetrics and I blog at Quick Sprout.


This guest post was written by Kristen Bradley of, an agency that issued surety bonds across the nation. helps new and experienced entrepreneurs meet legally required bonding regulations every day. The agency works to ensure business professionals have the tools and information necessary to excel in today’s challenging business market.



This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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