Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business. Despite what you see on Instagram no business owner achieved overnight success. It took hard work, diligence and probably a lot of failures.
I first learned about digital advertising interning for small boutique marketing companies in college. It was a great way for me to learn about the field before graduating college. I was able to see the huge growth potential and also learn that this is something that I genuinely enjoy doing.
After I graduated from college I worked for big advertising agencies in New York. While the work was fascinating I definitely didn’t see myself working for agencies long term. As an independent thinker I felt a lack of autonomy. When I was working at my second agency I started taking on small clients on the side and maintaining Google Ad accounts on the side.
Eventually in October 2017 I went off on my own and over two years as leader I would never go back to working with someone else. While the hours may just be as long (and even longer sometimes) I could never go back to not being my own boss.
Your Business Journey so far
I started my business at 24 years old with small businesses. The first one was a local business that I used to attend frequently and mentioned they needed my help with Google Ads since they knew that is what I did. The second came from a referral from that first client.
The next thing I did when I took on my company full time was get a business license. I remember going to the state court and getting the paperwork approved. I felt so accomplished a little in the dark, there was no one telling me what to do anymore, no more rules to follow, but over time I learned and found my way.
Finding clients in the beginning was a challenge and finding the right clients was even harder. Yes, I did research and talk to people but the only way to truly learn is by doing and in most cases failing. When a pitch did not get me the client or I tried a tactic and didn’t get me the results I was looking for I reflected. I did not just move on I thought about it.
That’s the same thing with successes, when I got a new client or a client achieved amazing results I thought why did that work and how can I replicate it. As I overcame the challenges of the unknown more and more of my business went from unknown to I know this.
How do you help your clients grow and achieve their goals?
Working in digital advertising is very different from many other types of advertising and marketing. When I speak to a new prospect the first question I ask is how are you going to measure success. Is it sales, lead forms, phone calls? Making sure the goal at the end of the day is clear, concise and trackable is how I achieve success for my clients.
The ads and the strategy are completely built around the goal and how I can get the most of x at the lowest cost and reducing that cost per result over time and no views or impressions is not the goal.
Experience from 0 to first 10 clients and further growth
As many people would say the first ten clients are the hardest to get. Overtime I have learned how to sell my services better and better. I wouldn’t say I get 100% of the pitches I do or sell to 100% of the people I talk to, but I definitely see a significant improvement in how I sell myself now vs. two years ago.
The first piece of advice is in order to get someone to work with you and pay you, you need to get them to TRUST you. How do I get someone to trust me? First are certifications I am Google Ads Certified and make sure to make that clear. No matter what industry you are in, passing some type of exam is extremely helpful. The second is referrals, if you Google my name “Digital Drew” you can see I have 16 Google My Business Reviews, 12 LinkedIn Reviews, 6 Facebook Reviews, the list goes on and on.
We all have our super fans, the people and clients who adore our work. Next time someone starts raving about you ask them to write an online review. It makes a world of difference and helps build that trust you need to close more business.
If you hear people say I don’t know what to write, offer to write it for them and then send it back to them to approve. The third thing is expertise. I am always reading the latest publications on Google and Facebook Ads so I am keeping up with the current trends. When someone is looking to hire you make it clear that you are able to provide them with advice and recommendations based on what you are currently learning. Just because the classroom part of your life is over doesn’t mean that you should stop learning and growing.
Keeping pace with changing technology and remain competitive?
For starters I am on the platforms every single day. I spend roughly 3-5 hours in Google Ads and 3-4 hours on Facebook Business Manager. When you spend that much time on a platform it helps me keep up with UI changes and I’m able to see how the platforms are evolving. So, I am not only selling the platforms but I am essentially walking the Talk.
I also do read industry news online on a daily basis. Search Engine Land/Search Engine Journal and The Marketing Examiner for social media. I also follow the publications on social media so there are many times I see trending articles on my feed and read them.
Top hurdles faced for business growth
The biggest hurdle I face is scaling. The reality is in order to continue to grow at some point I have to hire extra hands. Making sure as I scale that quality remains consistent is key though. I want to make sure that clients are still taken care of and are still achieving the same results even if I am not the person pulling all the levers.
Optimizations are hard, if it was business owners would be running Google and Facebook Ads themselves. However, setting up the right process documents and putting the knowledge from brain to paper will be key. I need all the information and knowledge so that way others can read my thoughts and know how to maintain these accounts if I’m not.
Core specialties and offerings to your clients
My core offerings are Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and LinkedIn Ads but what makes me different is my ability to balance creative and analytical abilities. In this field you need to be creative, to write headlines that convert and use imagery that captures your message but also be able to interpret the data that comes from it. You need to be able read five or ten numbers at a time and make strategic decisions on what to keep and what to pause.
Many people are more left or right brained but to be good at digital advertising you need to be both.
Key to motivation
I do keep myself productive and motivated one because I love what I do and two I feel a lot of joy and pride when my clients achieve success. Their successes are my successes and to know at the end of the day that I made someone’s business better is pretty damn good.
The other is knowing when to unplug. While I start working typically between 5:45 and 6:15 am it is extremely rare for me to be working past 6:30 pm. I know how important it is to take steps back to enjoy life, to destress and that way in the morning I can come back fresh, recharged and ready to start again.
The top books I have read is Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a classic but a good one. Knowing what quadrant, you are in now and which one you want to get to is extremely important. My clients aren’t the only ones with goals that they are looking to achieve.
The other is Giver’s Gain a BNI book that I was given after joining the networking organization. The principles of BNI and the book are simple give to others and you will get more way more back then you gave. That works in BNI and that works in any business.
Advice to Product Makers
Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business. Despite what you see on Instagram no business owner achieved overnight success. It took hard work, diligence and probably a lot of failures. Be patient, be resilient and don’t let anyone or anything stop you from getting back up and fighting to grow your business.
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