Rank #1: 137: Building a 35+ person remote content agency with Devin Bramhall of Animalz
Aug 01 2019
Rank #2: 126: 7 LinkedIn Outreach Frameworks that generate results Part 2
Jan 24 2019
Rank #3: 140: Marketing for consultants with Michael Zipursky
Oct 02 2019
Rank #4: Badass branding and packaging services with Pia Silva
Pia Silva and her partner are the owners of Worstofall Design, an agency that builds badass brands without the bullshit.
Pia's model is extremely unique. Instead of being a traditional branding agency, her and her partner work in a unique way. They do 1-2 day intensive branding sessions with their clients called "BrandUps" where they build the client’s entire brand and strategy right there in person.
They charge $10k per Brandup and regularly schedule 3 of these per month. That means in roughly 6 working days per month, Pia and her partner generate $30k in revenue!
In this interview, we dive into how Pia created this model, and how others can use elements of this in their own business.
For full show notes go to jake-jorgovan.com/podcast/080 ...This episode is sponsored by Outbound Creative
Outbound Creative helps agencies and consultancies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach campaigns. Learn more at OutboundCreative.com.
Mar 07 2017
Rank #5: 072: Russ Perry on starting and scaling a productized design service
Russ Perry is the founder of Design Pickle, a productized graphic design service.
Design Pickle can free up your marketing team to work on bigger initiatives, while they take care of things like business cards, brochures, posters, etc. It’s amazingly simple: just sign up and get matched with a dedicated designer for unlimited designs at a flat rate of $370/mo.
You’ll really get some value out of this episode if you want to productize a service. We dive into how Russ started Design Pickle, scaled it to over $100K in monthly recurring revenue in 1.5 years, challenges he’s faced and big insights/ideas he’s discovered. His thought process in starting the business was fascinating.
Highlights of this episode:
[3:25] Scratching an itch: After closing his agency, Russ sought a simple way to find vetted help for quick graphic design work (ie, business cards, brochures, etc). As a consultant, he developed a system for doing this stuff (ie, business). His clients were having success with it, so he moved into branding this service and launching it to the public. Plus, Russ loves pickles. So, voila, Design Pickle.
[6:00] Starting DP was really scary. Russ was facing unemployment and dreaded getting a job. He thought long and hard about what kind of lifestyle he desired. As a consultant, he discovered that managing production design met most of his lifestyle requirements. The business structure really came out of this clarity about his ideal lifestyle.
[9:25] A financial model is the only business plan you need (how you will make money). Russ discusses how he priced the service, and quickly raised prices, allowing for investments in growth.
[11:40] To acquire initial customers, start with a very simple solution. Then it’s all about getting out there and communicating that value. Russ was the best spammer alive. Almost got kicked out of a professional organization for it. Also, be profitable, so you can invest in strategic growth opportunities.
[14:15] In less than two years, Design Pickle has steadily and consistently grown to over $100K MRR, 1000 signups and 380 active users!
[15:15] Lessons from running a crappy business, and having a strong culture, has allowed Russ to grow the business so quickly. It’s all about the people. Keep it simple and stay the course!
[18:15] On avoiding going into other directions...Why not start CopyCucumber.com? Because he’s barely scratched the surface with Design Pickle.
[19:25] Being removed from day-to-day tasks is huge in ensuring the ship is running smoothly and in moving things forward. Russ’s role: Mechanic of the Pickle Machine, Voice of the Brand, Front Line of Sales, Strategic Navigator.
[21:10] On managing a team across the world. Besides the 2 others in Arizona, all the designers and managers are in the Philippines. The team is like a family, though, Russ realized when he was able to go to Philippines for the first time. Moving forward, he’ll be investing in meetups, conferences.
[24:20] Clients’ deserve respect and to be shown that their work is important. Put your all into the work and build relationships.
[26:15] To grow your agency, get out and meet people in the flesh. Be real. Russ’s secret: he goes to conferences and gives out free pickles. People eat them up.
[28:20] Everyone want to have fun, connect with real people. Plus, engaging people with authenticity and developing real relationships helps if things go sideways.
[29:40] Going forward, it’s all about finding more people they can help, taking the time to reach them, and communicating the value in Design Pickle.
[32:30] Cash flow is a challenge in expanding with sales/marketing/advertising. Always stay ahead of hiring, so you can handle the work if you take on new clients. The current model can handle doubling or tripling, but beyond that, it may need investments in software and other things to continue growing.
[35:25]Design Pickle offers a 14-day, risk-free trial. If you email Russ and let him know you signed up from the podcast, you’ll get a free pickle!
[37:10] For agencies: You can use DP for client work...but Russ recommends getting a feel first, so the team can get to know you and your brand before taking on your client work.Learn More:
- Instagram: @designpickle
- Instagram: @russperry
- Snapchat: @designpickle
- The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber
Outbound Creative helps agencies and consultancies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach campaigns. Learn more at OutboundCreative.com.Be kind and share with others
Sep 29 2016
Rank #6: 071: Jason Swenk on starting, scaling and selling a digital agency
After growing Solar Velocity from nothing to an 8-figure agency, selling it and getting bored on the beach, Jason Swenk began helping other agency owners. He now teaches the lessons he’s learned along the way at JasonSwenk.com.
Jason shares his incredible insights in this episode, oozing with his spunky personality.
Highlights of this episode:
[4:10] It all started with a NSync parody site, then he started making $500 websites, quit his job at Arthur Andersen before they destroyed the world, and in 2-3 years was making $200K websites. So thanks Justin Timberlake!
[6:00] The company really took off once he started examining what we didn’t want to do (working with clients), and put systems in place so the business could go on without him.
[7:20] He kept upgrading the offerings based on what clients needed. As your price increases, so too does the need to communicate how you are unique.
[8:40] To really scale, the Agency Owner (does everything) needs to transition to the Agency CEO (focuses on vision, strategy, coaching). The first step is hiring a project manager!
[11:50] Assume you’re project manager will screw up. If you’re scared of that, get out of business. Jason encourages (one-time) failures for learning purposes. Systems>>Talent.
[14:30] Everyone on his team took personality tests, and they tried to find people to fill in the gaps. It’s more important that a new hire shares the company’s core values, then technical know-how. Value-based hiring led to Solar Velocity’s becoming the Best Place to Work in Atlanta, which snowballed into better & better people applying.
[16:20] He replaced Quarterly Reviews with Quarterly Coaching, because employers are your #1 asset, so management’s job is not to condemn, but to help make employees better and achieve their goals. Your office environment should reflect your personality. Be yourself. He made a fun environment, and those that didn’t like it could leave.
[19:20] Growth revolved around generating the pipeline through 1) strategic partnerships (not just trading leads, but building practice areas to specialize in), 1) outbound strategy, and 2) inbound strategy (gotta capture that info!) and 3) strategic partnerships- which is not just trading leads, but actually building practice areas to specialize in. They specialized in Sitefinity.
[22:00] Partner with an up-and-coming technology (not Wordpress or Facebook). Help them out before expecting anything in return. That’s what they did with Sitefinity- when they had success with it for a client, they made a case study to help Sitefinity communicate their value better. So Finity sent them Hitachi, Legalzoom, and other amazing clients.
[24:35] Successful people make money, but significant people affect other people/businesses by helping, not just taking...Helping>>Selling
[25:40] Don’t reach out to everyone. Go after a select few. Do extensive research. Think about who would need your service (ie, companies spending $10K+ on AdWords)? Provide value in the initial touch, and make a foot-in-the-door offer. DO NOT SEND A PROPOSAL!
[31:40] Chances of making money are 20X after they buy the foot-in-the-door offer, and you can qualify them. There is no bad agency client...only a bad prospect or a bad process.
[32:20] Building processes is about diving deep after a project is completed, to see what went right and what went wrong. Map it out and make adjustments. It takes a lot of f**k-ups.
[33:45] “If something were to happen to me, would this company survive?” worried Jason. Employees are like family, so it’s not just about you.
[35:15] Jason assisted with sales, just to bring in his colorful personality and make sure everyone was doing their job.
[36:10] They sold the business to a strategic partner who wanted to get into what Solar Velocity was doing. Only 0.25% of agencies get sold, so don’t feel like that is what it takes to “make it.” Money doesn’t ensure happiness.
[37:00] When considering selling, if they ask you questions, ask the same questions to them. And if people start asking to buy on the low, go through the process and learn from it. It won’t hurt, as long as you don’t give up valuable secrets.
[38:55] If you don’t like the offer, stop there or waste your time. And he explains how to tell if the buyers are serious, or they just want to steal your secret sauce. And don’t get too excited during the due diligence phase--that’s when most agencies go out of business, so assume it won’t go through.
[40:45] After selling, Jason was out in 9 months. He never got his earn out (losing millions), but he learned a valuable lesson and has made that money back by teaching other agency owners through his mistakes.
[41:40] Earnouts are based on growth rate and profit margin. Agencies between $2-10M are hard to sell. Don’t sell if you’re making bank.
[44:10] So why did Jason sell? The business outgrew his partner, and he got bored and wanted something new.
[44:40] Nowadays, he helps agency owners scale, teaching them how we started, grew and sold his agency. His goal is to be the #1 resource in the world for agency owners. Check out his podcast, video show, and the Agency Playbook (12 systems to scale and grow your agency).
[47:15] Jason doesn't read. He learns from doing & failing. Just wing it.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Outbound Creative helps agencies and consultancies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach campaigns. Learn more at OutboundCreative.com.Be kind and share with others
Sep 21 2016
Rank #7: 107: Why you should talk prospects out of working with you with Jonathan Stark
In this episode, we interview Jonathan Stark who is a business coach for independent software consultants.
In this interview, we dive into Jonathan's background and how he found his super defined niche which enabled him to charge premium rates for his services.
We also dive into this concept on why you should talk prospects out of working with you. It's a contrarian concept at first but by the end of this interview, I am confident you will agree.
Jun 05 2018
Rank #8: 118: Building a community around your target prospects with Chris Ortolano
Today's guest on the podcast is sales nerd Chris Ortolano of Outbound Edge. Not only does Chris do sales consulting for companies, he's also the creator of a community I always recommend to people: Sales Stack Slack.
On this episode we learn a bit about his sales process and the buyer journey at Outbound Edge, but what you really don't want to miss out on are the tidbits about how his Slack community came together and how it brings value to over 1,500 sales professionals. Through this Slack channel the pros connect and share their knowledge, discuss tools of the trade, converse about hiring processes, leadership and more.
The biggest takeaway here is learning how to build something similar to this community so you that people gravitate towards you and seek you out as a thought leader.
Nov 14 2018
Rank #9: 059: Reinventing the agency model with Bram Warshafsky of 5Crowd
Bram created 5Crowd which I would best describe as a mixture between Upwork and a standard agency. 5Crowd goes out and wins the business of corporate clients, and then sends that work out to their community of on demand freelancers.
This model keeps their overhead low, and profitability up, and enables them to scale up and down based on their client needs.
And 5Crowd isn't just working with small companies, they are working with corporate giants. PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Hershey, InBev, and Twitter are just a few of their big name clients.
In this interview, Bram shares more about his model and we dive deep into how more agency owners can think outside of the box when building their model.
Also, if you are a freelancer wanting to work with bigger brands, then check out 5Crowd as they are eager for more talent to fill their client needs.
Mar 03 2016
Rank #10: 062: Lessons learned from interviewing 64+ CMOs with Drew Neisser
If your agency targets CMO’s as potential customers, then listen up because this interview is for you.
When I came across Drew’s book, I was blown away. In The CMO’s Periodic Table, he has interviews with 64 high level CMO’s of very big companies. A majority of which are the CMO’s from Fortune 500 companies.
Each interview focuses on one key insight or topic that these CMO’s deal with on a regular basis. The end result of all of these interviews is an incredible book that covers the wide spectrum of issues these CMO’s face.
In this interview, Drew talks about his strategy for creating this book, how he got interviews with such high level CMO’s, and how this book has had a profound impact on his business.
He also discusses the challenges agencies face when trying to sell their services to CMO’s and why many fail when reaching out to them.
This interview is jam packed with incredible insights that can drastically change your agency.
Apr 19 2016
Rank #11: New inbound clients in 30 days with Michael Gass
On this episode of the Working Without Pants Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Michael Gass. Michael runs the Fuel Lines Business Development blog, which is one of the top 100 marketing blogs according to Ad Age. In this episode, Michael goes in depth on a lot of the tactics he uses when helping companies with their inbound marketing strategies. A ton of companies have a hard time seeing the results of inbound, or the results take forever. Michael shows us some ways that inbound can be creating impact in about 30 days. For full show notes go to jake-jorgovan.com/podcast/083 ... This episode is sponsored by Outbound Creative Outbound Creative helps agencies and consultancies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach campaigns. Learn more at OutboundCreative.com. WinYourDreamClients.com
May 02 2017
Rank #12: 064: Stu Heinecke on how to get a meeting with anyone
Apr 26 2016
Rank #13: 110: Generate Leads on Linkedin with Wayne Breitbarth
Wayne has been in this game since the early days of LinkedIn. His interest started off as a hobby but when he realized people were really attentive when engaging in public speaking on the topic, he teamed up with his wife to write a book about it. The Power Formula for LinkedIn is now on its 4th Edition and has sold over 100,000 copies.
When Wayne first meets with clients (organizations, individuals, colleges and universities, and especially sales teams) all he has to do is show them how to do a basic advanced search and already they are impressed - that's how little people know about the platform! In Wayne's words: "LinkedIn is interesting and can go so many ways because it all comes down to the database it provides access to."
In this episode we dive into some unique tactics and business growth methods that you wouldn't normally think about. For instance, have you considered looking into alumni from your school to start seeking leads? Tune in to hear actionable tips and insights on ways to generate more leads and business opportunities through LinkedIn.
Sep 12 2018
Rank #14: Business development for agencies with Drew McLellan
On the podcast this week, I had Drew McLellan of the Agency Management Institute.
If you are an agency, and you haven’t heard of the Agency Management Institute, you should definitely check them out. They come alongside small to mid-sized agencies to help them run their businesses better.
Drew has been an agency owner for over 20 years now, and has a lot of experience with what makes agencies work well. In this episode, we talk about getting new clients and keeping current clients happy.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do and that you can walk away with some ideas of how to keep your sales pipeline steady.
For full show notes go to jake-jorgovan.com/podcast/084 ... This episode is sponsored by Outbound Creative Outbound Creative helps agencies and consultancies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach campaigns. Learn more at OutboundCreative.com. WinYourDreamClients.com
May 09 2017
Rank #15: 070: David Reske on building a digital marketing agency
David Reske is the founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Nowspeed.
He’s built a phenomenal business over the last 10-15 years. David is incredibly clearheaded and sophisticated about Nowspeed. But the journey has not been without challenges.
In this episode, we discuss his business, what's works, and what hasn't.Highlights of this episode:
[3:15] The kind of people you hire creates the kind of atmosphere and culture your company will have.
[3:50] Nowspeed has evolved over the years to use whatever tools are available to drive engagement, traffic and leads.
[5:00] Dave started the company with his wife, which offers great flexibility for her as a working mother. But, leave business outside the shower!
[7:20] The digital marketing landscape has grown much more sophisticated, and it’s much harder now to land the big boys as clients.
[9:00] Nowspeed differentiates itself through platinum level service and expertise that goes beyond the capabilities of most internal marketing teams.
[12:30] In his business, Dave works primarily as strategist, accountability partner, business developer, management coach, and process/service tweaker.
[14:10] It’s risky for a service business to have one customer account for a large portion of the business.
[15:25] The way Nowspeed is structured, account leads communicate and work with clients and strategy, and they manage a team of experts who work in their particular expertise to execute the campaigns.
[17:10] There’s no magic bullet to getting work. They do the stuff they offer- inbound/content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media- to drive leads. But they are also very active in partnering with other agencies/consultants to drive referrals.
[19:20] Dave spends half of his time doing strategic sales/business development. They only reach out locally, but they have leads/clients from all over the US/world.
[20:45] Dave loves integrating all the pieces of the puzzle.
[22:18] Hiring when desperate = Big Mistake! Instead, Nowspeed hires (mainly fresh college grads) and trains in classes.
[26:30] You don’t know what systems/process you need, until you really NEED them. So it’s a continuous evolution, discovering new challenges/things that need fixing. It helps to get your team involved in this.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Sep 14 2016
Rank #16: Mistakes to avoid when building your agency with Matt Inglot
On this episode of the Working Without Podcast, I had the great pleasure of talking with Matt Inglot. Matt is the founder of Tilted Pixel, and he also runs the Freelance Transformation podcast. I loved sitting down to talk with Matt about his story of how he ended up where he is today. It is a story much like my own, and it is great to hear about all he has learned from the mistakes made along the journey. There is a lot you can take away from this week’s episode on things to do and not do when starting an agency.
For full show notes go to jake-jorgovan.com/podcast/082 ...This episode is sponsored by Outbound Creative
Apr 25 2017
Rank #17: 067: Ben Lee on productizing the discovery process
Ben Lee is the founder and CEO of Neon Roots, an award-winning agile development agency.
Interestingly, the majority Neon Roots’ revenue does not come from actual developing, but rather from their discovery program, called Rootstrap, which guides entrepreneurs from the vaguest idea of an app, to a development-ready prototype.
Ben dives into how Rootstrap took on a life of it’s own, why discovery is so important, his untraditional sales team and other insights into how he’s built his business.Highlights of this episode:
[2:20] Ben has to wear pants at work now, but he did work with Snoop Dogg’s management company before moving to his new location in West Hollywood, and he talks about random run-ins with celebrities
[4:55] He and his co-founder started Neon Roots to challenge the traditional agency model, and actually practice what is preached about agile methods, lean startup, etc.
[6:00] He discusses the bloated, risk-avoidant and unhappy lifestyle common in the service industry, and how he ditched it to start something new- pioneering AR/VR before the market was ready
[7:15] Story carding and discovery was a way to qualify clients, manage expectations, and truly aligned interests- and was incredibly successful
[10:27] How the Rootstrap offer evolved, and how it was influenced by Ben’s background in hospitality
[13:50] He discusses the psychology that goes into the Rootstrap customer experience
[16:00] The Rootstrap Swag Box is a powerful component of the whole experience, triggering positive emotions, and taking on a life of its own as a storytelling mechanism- whether it’s for a 23 year-old first time entrepreneur or Tony Robbins
[19:10] Competitors talk about the Swag Box
[19:37] Discovery and other engagement activities after kickoff are all about providing value to the customer
[21:45] Rootstrap has built a reputation among VCs, from whom they get a lot of deal flow
[22:13] Brand grows in thought-leadership
[23:30] He doesn’t hire sales people, but many former participants sell for him by simply sharing their stories
[25:10] Offering free advice over the phone for young entrepreneurs who aren’t yet a good fit is great for building relationships, which have resulted in referrals several years later
[29:20] Embarrassing sleazy sales guy vs the former participants who aren’t sure their confident enough for sales
[30:39] The sales cycle involves less commitment, or going on dates before you get engaged
[32:35] They (over)deliver so much value that other agencies resell Rootstrap
[33:05] Rootstrap vs ongoing consulting, and why many Rootstrap participants don’t convert because they don’t have an internal dev team or they need help fundraising
[35:18] The solution to a hybrid agency is proper siloing. Going forward, Neon Roots will be doing more creative stuff, which can happen because the service side is completely separate- plus Rootstrap Studios in Uruguay
[40:40] Ben gives his words of wisdom to agency owners to build their way up and increase sales
[42:25] You can reformulate lean/agile methods to any industry/business
Mentioned in this episode:
Aug 19 2016
Rank #18: 128: Growing your business through a personal brand with Chris Ducker
Jan 31 2019
Rank #19: 063: Damian Thompson on Sales for Software Development Companies
Apr 21 2016
Rank #20: 114: Consulting success with Michael Zipursky
On this week's podcast I speak with Michael Zipursky, CEO, author of The Elite Consulting Mind and coach to elite consultants. Michael is in the business of helping consultants to scale and grow, to attract more clients, to increase fees and win more proposals. But mainly, his intent is to create what he has coined as 'meaningful success', which refers to not only generating more revenue but also aims to create the right business structures that allow consultants to have more freedom and flexibility so that they can do the things that bring them joy in life.
His website ConsultingSuccess.com was born out of a desire to create a place and a community where consultants can share stories of lessons learned and mistakes made while growing their business. Today there are over 900 articles, resources and videos on these topics, with aims to help consultants connect and learn from one another on how to grow their business.
Don't miss this episode to hear all about how Michael's unique experience building a successful consulting shop in Osaka, Japan taught him new ways to create and build relationships, and also showed him that being open to doing things differently can lead to more meaningful success.
Oct 09 2018