How Michael Tasner grew his agency to Seven Figures
This episode is all about how Michael Tasner dove into his niche in childcare and grew his agency to seven figures. He started hustling at a young age and knows the value of hard work coupled with efficiency. If you’re interested in digital marketing in the childcare niche, Michael and I talk all about how he’s scaled it to a seven figure agency.
Outline of This Episode
[0:14] I introduce Michael from No Joke Marketing
[1:40] How he started and sold one agency
[4:20] Scaling his business to 7 figures
[6:00] Michael dove into the industry when he was 15
[12:40] Why he started coaching with me
[15:30] Implementing procedures and strategies
[19:45] Getting into the childcare niche
[20:50] How they structure their service offerings
[25:00] How they handle their core pricing
[27:15] The process of landing clients in the childcare niche
[37:10] Fulfilment: retaining and serving clients
[43:20] How Michael manages accounting
[51:15] 3 key lessons that he’s learned
Michael Tasner began his journey as an entrepreneur at 15
Michael knew at a young age that if he was going to get the things he wanted in life, he was going to have to work hard. His parents were in civil servant positions and didn’t have a lot of extra money to purchase things that weren’t necessary. So he got a job at a drugstore making $5 an hour. It just wasn’t cutting it. So what did he do?
He went to his local library and found a book all about front page web design. He posted a flyer at his local post office and landed his first gig. He picked a number off the top of his head—$1,200—and his business was born. Listen as we talk about the learning curve he experienced, diving into SEO, and the crazy ways he got paid.
Navigating the childcare niche
Michael admits that he didn’t choose the childcare niche—it chose him. Someone he knew in a mastermind group that he was a part of connected with him and mentioned it was a great niche to jump into. He and Michael ended up forming a partnership and grew a business together. It’s a difficult niche to navigate, so how do they do it?
Michael bases his pricing on the size of the childcare center. They start at $1,500 a month plus ad spend. Because most childcare centers reach out when they’re struggling and barely managing to pay their bills. So they expect results. The goal is to streamline results for them and help them nurture and convert their leads. Michael and I talk more about their pricing structure and how the enrollment process works—don’t miss it!
Separate the niche form the noise
Landing clients can be tough in an industry with a tight budget expecting immediate results. Michael likes to utilize cold email to generate leads. He’ll buy a list, keeps the emails short and sweet, and lets them know they can reach out and he’ll give them a call. He also started doing paid traffic—because you have to utilize what you’re advocating for, right?
The game is constantly changing and your business must be set apart from the rest. Michael knows that everyone is doing cold emails. So to up his game he started speaking and conferences and events. He’s launched videos that he makes available weekly, and even sent out their first magazine. If the client knows you are truly specialized and know their niche, they’re more likely to go through you.
Want to hear more about how they handle serving clients, accounting, and more? Keep following along with me!
The 3 key lessons that Michael has learned
Michael’s top takeaways from the years he’s spent in business:
Always be prospecting. Connect with Childcare centers on LinkedIn. Be monitoring your budget and ad spend. Strategize ways to drive new leads to the business.
Michael advocates follow the profit first method—twice a month, he allocates money into different “buckets”. He always puts money into the profit bucket first. After all, you build the business to serve you, not the other way around! Money also goes towards operating expenses, taxes, payroll, etc.
Choose a niche. I preach this every single day, but choosing a niche is so important to the efficiency of your business. Do you want to build a seven figure agency? Start with this principle.
As always, I hope that you’ve found some valuable insight and resources in this agency success interview.
This is the seven figure agency podcast discover the strategies and techniques to grow a highly successful and profitable digital marketing agency with your host, Josh Nelson.
Well, hello and welcome. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of the seven figure agency podcast. This is part of our agency success interviews series, where we interview highly successful digital marketing agency owners from across the country. Today I’m super excited to be interviewing Michael Tasker from no joke marketing. Michael, welcome to the show. Introduce yourself.
Hey, everyone, thanks so much for having me. Always happy to be here and support Josh and all things seven figure agency, especially with all that he’s done for myself and everyone listening. So I run an agency, as Jeff said, called, no joke marketing. We’re virtual so we’re hundred percent virtual is physically and based in Buffalo, New York, as you can tell by the beautiful bridge by me. advantage, I guess about having a green screen and you can teleport wherever you’d like. It works nicely. Definitely. Definitely. So but in in the agency game since I was 15. So kind of, on and off again, but grew, the first agency that I started was called test solutions.
That was for 15. You say more about that?
Definitely. And just can’t get enough of all things, agencies and marketing and so on. So
very cool. So so full service digital marketing agency, based in Buffalo, on these kind of talk high level about the revenue of the company, what size operation you run at this point?
Yep. So we work primarily in the childcare niche. So that’s a niche, we work with daycare centres, childcare centres, typically multi locations, and that makes up about 50 plus percent of our revenue and clients. And the other is just kind of the legacy stuff that that most agency owners at least initially seemed to, seemed to have been just different niches and businesses that anyone that typically says, Hey, I want to do some marketing or could use some help, as long as they have the budget, at least historically. Not necessarily in the last six months, but historically, before that we would take their business. But we we definitely are a seven figure agency. And a lot of models. That thanks really goes to Josh and just the structure and systems and a happy to give more of that stuff out as well. But happy to be part of the seven figure agency club so to speak. So
Well, I mean, it’s a massive accomplishment, and kudos for you to think kind of get there. I know that you had a successful agency, and then you sold it. And you started again. And it was, I think, probably like a three year journey to this back to this kind of level. Right?
Yeah, it definitely took took some time. But I think what I realised with the first agency was and that first agency got to seven figures as well. But I did everything wrong, every single thing was so we didn’t have a niche. So we had give or take, I mean 50 clients at a couple thousand dollars a month each. But we probably had 45 different niches out of 50. So one huge financial advisory firm. United capital was a client of ours that had billions and assets to Joe the Plumber for examine it, we literally had just clients all over the place and, and never, never was able to scale to the point where I could see myself getting out of the business. I was literally still doing all the strategy calls myself every single week and ever hired, we had kind of quote unquote, account managers, but all the clients that wanted to work with me, and I just never never was able to make that transition. So my vow with a second agency was to make sure I actually did things the right way. So focus on the niche and focus on systems and processes and all that good stuff.
Well, it’s great to get there to get there twice at one time, kind of like scattered in this time, you know, a little more structure a little bit more as a systematised obviously, more niche focused. How long did it take to get to seven figures in the first attempt? And then how long in this second month? I’m just curious.
I mean, the first attempt, it probably took me, I mean, five, six years, we kind of capped out at 600 $700,000. And then we were able to I did a lot of speaking back, then I still do a lot of speaking. And I was able to go and secure. I mean, magically about $100,000 a month of reoccurring revenue from one speaking gig, but I did, wow. So that then we kind of finally push that mark. And the second go around, took about two and a half, three years. Nice. So it’s same kind of thing. But I initially built no joke marketing as more of a lifestyle business. So I really didn’t intend on scaling it to seven figures and hopefully figures. But I kind of made that decision in the last year and a half two years that I’m in a lifestyle business is great, but unless it’s feeding your entire lifestyle, I mean it, it doesn’t, it’s never going to get to that level. So
that’s, that’s kind of that piece.
Excellent. So you’re able to kind of make that happen twice. Now, this time with the completely virtual team. That’s, that’s awesome. You know, before we go too deep, I’d love to hear you said you started when you were 15 k talk a little bit about that, like what kind of things you were doing in your, in your infancy sort of speaking in the agency?
Yeah, man, it was, it was kind kind of fun in the sense of, I really didn’t grow up with much money. My parents are both blue collar, they both worked for the county. So kind of civil servant kind of positions, which helps when you go to retire because you get a nice pension in insurance for the for the rest of your life. But they both work jobs that they weren’t really thrilled with. And I realised that if I wanted to not even just have the finer things in life, but if I wanted to be able to buy another pair of Nike sneakers, for example, because my friends had three pairs of Nike shoes, and I had the ones from last year, for example, that I had to come up with some way to make some extra cash. So I tried doing the whole you go work not at fast food. But I worked at a accurate drugs, which I think got bought out by Rite Aid or Walgreens or whatnot. But I’m like making whatever it was $5 an hour 515 them, you work 40 hours, your paychecks, like $150 or something, and then it was fine. But I’m like, how is this going to scale? So I went to the public library and found a huge book on website design, and particular the front page, right page, the good old days. So in those days, the CDs were in the back of the books. So literally took out the CD, plopped it into one of the computers there because we couldn’t afford a computer at that time. And just kind of read the book and taught myself front page, which anyone knows front page, I mean, it’s drop and drag. And so then I went on eBay, and I bought some templates actually don’t have it in front of me. But I it was one of those like thousand and one fonts and clip arts like the little like, you’ve got mailed animated jet, like, the ugliest stuff, but like 20 plus years, 20 years ago, I mean, this was everybody wanted a website. So all that I did then from there, I went and put up a flyer at the post office and said, do you want to be on the web, I can make it happen. And put my my parents phone number because I didn’t have a cell phone. Yeah. And within two days, I got a phone call for a tax lady. And her name was Wanda gates. And the crazy thing is back then I probably could have had like any domain name I wanted. And just being a kid and literally was 1516. And I go, well, let’s do something fun. So we registered, I want to do your taxes, calm, like stupidest domain name ever. When I probably could have had like NY tax code, right? That would have been
a super valuable asset in the future. Oh, registers like
Oh, I love it. So and then I went back to the library and said, Well, how much is it going to cost and I said 1200 dollars, completely made up a number. Oh, that sounds cheap. And cut me a check for the whole thing. I mean, that was I mean more money, that money for a 15 year old 1200 bucks. So I use that to buy my first computer contacts, which is out of business now but bought my first computer and registered in AOL email and just kind of started growing a little bit from there. I mean, back then again, it was you could put the whole put up a website. And I mean, you were number one in Google for SEO and the whole keyword stuffing and all of that. So like buffalo web design, I was number one without doing any work. And it really just kind of kind of grew from there. I mean, I made some pretty good money at that age and continue doing it through college, but really kind of pivoted more to the marketing side. So I still tried to dabble in websites. But I’m not a programmer. I mean, I can’t programme to this day. I mean, I can’t even programme CSS. But I then taught myself Dreamweaver was the other programme. So I kind of graduated from front page to Dreamweaver. And similar to kind of bought templates and just kind of learned how to manipulate templates, but kept doing a little bit of that and realising now that the website game was changing faster than I could. I mean, people were coming out with a lot more nice looking stuff. And I mean, I like why does their site look so much better and yours doesn’t really look that good. And I really didn’t evolve with the times. But I pivoted almost everything then to to marketing. So SEO and paid traffic. It’s really the pivot. And, surprisingly, the and I know we’ll talk about lead source for kind of where am I getting my leads now. But my number one lead source when I first started off or kind of not necessarily ran at 15. But few years thereafter was actually Craigslist. And my secret sauce, and probably still works today. But I would post in the partner section. And I would say willing to barter website design for.dot.or question mark. And some people I mean, they had some pretty good stuff. So I bartered for coins, vacation rentals, I sent my parents to a timeshare in Florida. I got I still have them. Some guys sent me like $3,000 metal detectors for a metal detector site. But then there were a lot of people that like wow, I ruined everything to barter, but what’s the cash price? or they’d say, Well, I can give you a week and a timeshare. And then what’s the rest of the cash. So I would kind of use the barter to disarm them. And then more often than not, it actually ended up turning into into cash and nobody else is doing it. So that’s kind of that paid for my college tuition. candidly, was all the websites stuff that I was just cranking out these websites at $2,000 or 1500 bucks a pop.
Just cranking them out.
That’s awesome. I’d love to hear that we get since we get some people on with slide. How many of you guys started with front page and Dreamweaver and some of these tools, as I remember, I was tooling around did in front page when I was like when I was like 16 and 17. So that That’s funny. And so for these humble beginnings, so it was seven figure digital marketing agency serving mostly like the local childcare space. Amazing. Kudos, congratulations. So I think you and I started working together about three years ago. What was it that you were looking to sold? At that point? Were you just starting this new agency or kind of where were you at in your, in your development at that point?
I’ve always been a huge believer in investing with coaches, masterminds, mentors, etc. I had the first agency, I really didn’t do that the agency that I or the group that I did join that was extremely impactful is EO organisation. Yeah. But you’re so you’re surrounded by business owners doing at least a million dollars a year or more. However, the challenge with that is that they’re going through similar life things and kid challenges or marriage issues or financial. So there are those kinds of things. But I mean, I couldn’t sit down and say so. Did anyone get hit with the recent Penguin update or something like that? I mean, though, what are you talking about? Penguin, penguin? Yeah. So there, it was helpful, kind of emotionally, but I never had a sounding board or anyone to add, you always want to be looking for people that have been there and done that, that are succeeding at a higher level than you. I mean, otherwise, you’re kind of playing the opposite game. So what I loved about EO was that there were a lot of mostly, pretty much everyone in the room was doing 5,000,010 million there. One guy doing 40 million in revenue and different niches, but just was good to be around that energy. So in terms of joining, join the course initially. And that’s kind of how I went through that, like all this contents great, and then came down for the equivalent of a discovery day, I know now you’re doing these killer two day events and things like that. But back then it was one day, and just got to see how much of a well oiled machine that you had, and really was more so the systems I mean, I knew that I wanted to grow. But I knew that I needed to see what someone else that was succeeding at a higher level was doing. So because if you’re succeeding at a higher level, either they know more than you do, they are doing things more efficiently than you are that there’s something else that that you can learn from from that particular person. So I think I committed to the mastermind, and was one of the first out of 10 people are silent it at that point. Yep. And then obviously, it’s it’s evolved substantially from there.
So it’s I mean, critical insight there, guys. I mean, you want to get around people that are more successful than you, you want to try and learn from people that have accomplished what you’re looking to accomplish. It sounds like that’s what what you’ve done. So the key things you wanted were it was systems procedures, how you can build this without kind of blowing yourself up. What things do you feel like you’ve implemented that have helped make that a reality for you here in the last, you know, especially the last 24 months or so,
I mean, the biggest stuff for me has been the swipe and deploy. Oh, I and I know that the seven figure agency and yourself and the team have put a much bigger emphasis on here’s everything on a silver platter. So if you’re in the mastermind, and I know that you can get rights to leveraging your book, for example, or Here you go, you can take this webinar that I just did on paid traffic. And here are all the slides. I mean, rebrand them for your niche. Here’s all the emails, here’s the click funnel opt in, I mean it, that kind of stuff that that’s what slows me down. And what slows most other entrepreneurs and digital agency owners is that we’re we’re always looking to get into the weeds because we enjoy the weeds the most, or most people. So it’s like the thought of some of us getting in there and noodling around with Click Funnels is actually enjoyable, every, every one of us loves that. But I like to get in there and noodle around with Facebook ads, I know you do it as well, it’s not the primary thing that you do. But it’s like you like to still be still kind of make sure you have your chops, and that you can still be able to kind of challenge your team on these things as well. So but with that said, I mean, the time to build out the landing pages, write the copy, do the slides, mean, you’re talking a month to my like, it’s, it’ll get put down to the bottom of the priority. So the webinars I use pretty much every webinar, if not all of them that you’ve put in there, that’s been one of my favourite assets. Nice. Here, the webinars, do a webinar a month your swipe and deploy, so that I can literally there, I could do a webinar on the next two weeks, if I wanted, if not less than two weeks would simply be because I had to schedule my calendar and make sure I had enough time to blast the list. But it wouldn’t take me two weeks to get everything ready. So that pieces has been really great. But even just the I love being able to have access to people that have been there and done that. And that was again, what I didn’t have previously of,
Hey, is there a better way to do something?
And it’s not that we have to constantly try and find a better tool? Because I know that’s also what a lot of us, we get into analysis paralysis when it comes to Well, what should we use sem rush to you spy food? Should we use my like, and then you’re spending at South and stuff that’s overly important. But if you are in that spot of Hey, I’m like, look like right now, for example, we’re using agency analytics. And it’s, it’s okay, but I can go on the mastermind. And even I know what Josh uses. It’s a great tool. I can go on there and and say not just what tools everyone using. But why do you like it? What’s it good for to really just speed up that process? Because I mean, that stuff again, takes most of us we could be analysing CRM tools for months. And it’s just not the best use of our time. And if someone’s already been down that path, you might as well leverage that. That knowledge,
no doubt so so kind of a swipe, deploy a shortcut, move things forward faster. We’re kind of the main, the main things for you that you’ve been able to execute.
Yes. And also a lot of the checklists. I mean, you have some stuff in there about some of the checklist like the account manager checklist. And I gave all that right to my account managers and said, go listen to this nice and follow that checklist. And so I think I’ve given a few people on my team access that in their particular role by operations guy going, going watch this, your on your onboarding stuff that I put right into Infusionsoft to kind of have that red carpet onboarding experience. For example, I know that our team has that into practice as well. So for me, it’s it’s if I can, if there’s a shortcut.
That’s always the path I’m going to take.
No doubt. Awesome. So let’s talk a little bit about how you wind up in the in the local childcare space, and how did you choose that niche? How did you kind of get into that?
So a lot of people say that the niche, the niche chose you, but I kind of fell into it in a partnership with another gentleman in the mastermind. And so kind of ended up he said, Hey, this is a good niche to look at and ended up partnering. And I ended up focusing on that particular niche. I’ve been in a couple other niches and I think it’s one of those where we’re always questioning the niche. I know a lot of you are in that space, that we always think that the grass might be greener in a different niche. And there are many days when I think that but kind of smack myself around a little bit and say, Well, how many? How many businesses are in that niche? How many do I have as clients and you’re like, you haven’t even touched 1% of the niche, for example. So
that’s kind of how I moved down that path,
kind of stay stay focused, right? Definitely. So can you talk a little bit about what your service offering looks like, like what it is you do for your clients, and when you know, kind of how you structure your service offerings.
So our our core programme is paid traffic, and we call enrollments on demand. And it’s we made this switch strategically to really focus on paid traffic. So we offer SEO, we offer social media, we offer web hosting, web design, so we have all of those. And that’s more of the legacy stuff that we have. But the only thing that we sell now on the front end, is the enrollments on demand system. So it’s not just paid traffic. It’s the system. It’s the autoresponder emails on the back end. It’s all of that stuff that they’re getting nice that when we’re going toe to toe with another agency, where we’ve got all the historical data, we know what’s working, what’s not working, we can get results quicker. And I know that you’ve posted a few things, but it definitely agency game has definitely shifted drastically, even the last six weeks months. And it’s just been going on for a while. But it’s no longer can you just say I gave you 100 leads like it’s just that doesn’t work anymore. Yeah. If those I mean, you can do it for a month or two. And you can get in the argument with the client mates to I gave you three grand and you promised me 3050 leads you swell, I gave you 100 leads. So my fault you suck at closing leads. So that used to be able to to work, but then you’re going to turn and burn the clients. And we realise that most of our clients are massively impatient. And one of the things that isn’t necessarily a great thing with this particular niche is most people come to us when their enrollment is suffering. So they don’t tend to come to us when they’re doing really well. And then they want to go to the next level. They tend to come to us when they have capacity for 120 enrollments, and they’re at 40. And 40, barely pays the bills. So it does put us into a tough spot. But they could care less about SEO working and 3456 months, they could care less they need
patients on demand as it were.
They want their enrollments on demand enrollments on demand. Well, there were there are people that use this in the patients on demand. That’s for another, another niche, but I’ve seen people use that phrasing but they want they want their phone to ring. Yeah, it does put some pressure. I mean, I in full transparency that the first couple of months can be dicey. And I’m not in love with that pressure. So that’s why we’re trying to continue to streamline the results piece and make sure that our paid traffic team is delivering on on all cylinders, so to speak. Mm hmm. But again, that they Yeah, their website might look like crap. But they don’t want they don’t they they might not even have the money. They get us a couple of enrollments and let’s talk right. Oh, that that’s really been our focus is not just getting them those leads, but then literally being on top of them. I mean, the status of that lead, how many times have you followed up? We’ve drafted own scripts for them to use on the phone. So we’re really trying to take our
our deliverables up to another level.
Nice. I think this is what the smart agencies are doing, guys, you know, they’re they’re not just thinking about the leads are thinking strategically, how do we get the lead? How do we nurture the lead? How do we help them convert the lead? How do we hold them accountable to it have best practices and their follow through and their follow up? So great, great insights on that front. So the the enrollments on demand is the main thing, it’s like a paper like the landing page type strategy, can you talk a
little bit about how you price for those types of programmes. So we’ve emitted varies based on the size of the centre, one location, multiple locations, etc. But the starting price is 1500 dollars plus and spend. We’ve been playing around a little bit with a couple of different models. There’s another gentleman that I know does it in a different niche where he charges $9,000 for three months, including ad spend. And then he kind of allocates the resources accordingly. So maybe $2,000 a month towards them and the other thousand for for ads, for example. So we’re exploring a few different options. But most of the centres that come to us are typically the 1500 dollar a month range plus ad spend. The challenge again, this niche has been that for a lot of them, that’s actually a stretch. So if I were to come at them and say you need invest three grand a month of ad spend, it just there are very few childcare centres that are investing more than a few thousand dollars a month total. So it’s it’s a definitely a tough niche. But once you get them some enrollments you help the centre go from 40 enrollments to 60. Those enrollment that’s 20 enrollments times 678 $900 or more a month times, typically 10 months, potentially times two more years, if they come in at a year old or I mean, they could come in at an infant and stay for five years. So the lifetime value could be substantial. It’s typically the 1500 dollars plus ad spend. And that will upsell a website for a couple thousand dollars, for example, will bolt on SEO if needed for 997. We’ve been trying to Crank that 1500 dollar a month plus ad spend price point if there are smaller centre one location, for example. Nice.
Excellent. That’s that gives a pretty good idea. We understand what the Nisha is we understand kind of what the what the service offering is. Now the question everybody wants to know is, how do you land clients? How do you get these clients attention? How do you how do you convert them into these retainer based clients?
So I’ll tell you what I initially did. And then I’ll tell you kind of what we’re what we’re currently doing. Because that’s everything and seeing what’s what’s working better. So. So initially, it was largely cold email. And we bought a list. And I crafted 1015 different emails and bought another domain name because you never want to your main domain name. So I follow that that wall note process of that. I use the tool and still use a tool called Quick mail. I feel that IO and set up a gmail email, loaded it in the messages and literally have that thing start sending. And what I loved about quick mail is that it does it in small batches, and just does it on autopilot. So I I typically at least at that point, I took a much more salesy approach. Can I help if I could give you 10 more enrollments in the next 60 days? Would that be helpful? If yes, reply with three, your phone number. And I’ll give you a call. I was doing one line to line emails very short and sweet. People were applying I was calling and closing doing the demo. And from that we definitely have done a lot of webinars that those have been good lead sources. And then we also started doing the strategy that you’ve been deploying Josh, of a lot of the book, calendar appointments even before the webinar, the we use appointment core as our tool. And similar to what calland Lee, for example, those of you that like to analyse 20 different tools, but that’s a tool that I would just send that out, they could schedule right before the webinar, we have our processes discovery call strategy session. And the strategy session we’re doing the proposal, we do kind of that qualifying call first, because most of these centres, they’re just not qualified that they they’re too small, or they’re thinking this is going to be $300 a month or something like that. So we made sure that we built in, otherwise, we are blocking off an hour on the calendar when should have been 10 minutes. So that’s kind of been our process, but cold email. And the other thing that that’s really crushing it lately is paid traffic. I mean, we need to eat our own dog food. So we’re doing custom audiences, to our clients lookalike audiences on Facebook. We’re doing paid traffic on Google, we’re doing paid traffic on LinkedIn, for example. So LinkedIn for most niches works really well, we found that a child or owners really weren’t using LinkedIn as much. If they were more of the business minded person that had like, multiple locations, they were on LinkedIn. But if they were one location owner, they really weren’t using LinkedIn much. But we finally started investing in paid traffic. And I think a lot of us, we don’t eat their own dog food. And we’re sitting here telling our clients to give us $1,000 $2,000 of ad spend plus 1500 dollars a month. Yet none of us are willing to pony up 1500 2000 $3,000 a month of ad spend. So we finally started spending some pretty decent money. We dad’s and also promoting webinars promoting free downloads. And then just having those them in a nurturer sequence. We also rolled out just literally sent the first one I wish I had the copy in front of me but we sent our first magazine
physical mailed magazine nice
mailed magazine with the printer you recommended. I believe here is what plumber marketing, what is your plumbing and HVAC marketing, profits newsletter, stars is local childcare marketing engage, I think you might have used the word engagement. Yeah,
we actually the other one is called engage Yeah, for client base.
So that was the we leverage the word engage strategically from again, swipe and deploy stuff that you guys have done. But all the content is ours to forever to get it out. But we finally sent that. So it’s just as I said that the game has changed quite a bit in terms of clients demanding more, because there’s so many agencies out there, I’m finding that it’s also getting a little bit harder to convert these people. So we’re having to come out and with paid traffic, cold email,
I just shot that’s the reason you can see the nice
graphic behind me is because it’s a green screen. So if I want to magically change to whatever I am in here shooting videos. Now, once a week, I am going to deploy the strategy that I was teaching people like eight years ago, have shoot video, get them transcribed using something like rev calm, post them as blogs, put it up as a podcast, use it as social media fodder. So similar to the common earlier, we got to eat our own dog food. And then if we’re marketing agencies, our marketing should be better than anyone elses. And if you’re not updating your social media, and you know, jeez, I’d be embarrassed that they go to my website. It’s one of these days, someone’s going to call you out on that I had someone call me out on that six or so months ago, you’re still maybe we should just social media and you haven’t posted in four days. What do you mean, I should do social media. Or you’re telling me you can rank the in Google but your competitors beating you? Oh, investing a lot more in our own marketing, but in cold email about our two biggest, two biggest lead sources,
so just trying to be everywhere, they’re looking in their inbox, on their social feed, you get involved in at a trade shows or events that you mentioned speaking a little bit, you’re still getting some business from
that. We did. So I we’ve got an event coming up in October, we have joined a few industry associations and full transparency, I haven’t pushed them as much as, as you have. And as you recommend. So I think there’s, there’s not a lot of really, there’s a lot of small associations. But I do think that there’s still a lot more that we could do. The last event that I did last year and the same what I’ll be doing in October in Orlando, we picked up at least five grand a month of reoccurring. So I mean, it definitely was, I mean in one month that paid for the event and travel and
excuse me, all that stuff. So
I probably should do a lot more speaking. I mean, it’s my favourite thing to do. So and it is definitely a great way to to disarm people and get them coming up to you.
So it sounds like you’ve kind of embraced this whole idea that, yes, cold outreach is effective, you can kind of hit some, shake the bushes and get some people to raise their hands. But if you shift to a nurture on the back end of that when you send emails and you send some direct mail and you add value by putting out good content and webinars and cheat sheets, you can really start to develop know like trust where these guys start to come BU preposition to buy, where you wouldn’t have that if all you had was the cold outreach play?
Exactly. I mean, because unfortunately, everyone in their cousin is doing cold email now. Yeah. So if it’s if you can go to info USA and buy a list for a grand How hard is it for somebody else to do the exact same thing loaded into a third party tool blasted even if they get banned from the tool? There, unfortunately, these people are there’s, I mean, a lot of a bigger agent, like real big agencies that we won’t name any of those, but that have aggressive sales, people that are calling every agency or excuse me every business in the US thing, your agency Docs or your marketing socks, or you’re not on page one. And so unfortunately, that a lot of these clients are getting so numb, that I’m realising that if we’re not everywhere, they’re going to very quickly forget. Yeah. Good. Great, great insight. The only thing I would add to that, though, is the piece that does separate. Most of us if we’re following the niche strategy, then from the noise is, yeah, it’s great that that big agency is calling them but my pushback is, and so what do you mean, and they’re in 64? niches? What are they going to know about childcare? They might have three childcare centres. Mm hmm. Well, you went there. So if you know your niche, you know the lingo, you tell them that the learning curve is non existent. You have the social proof, so that the niche piece, it whereas a couple years ago, I didn’t In my opinion, I didn’t think it was as important. But with there being so many agencies, the niche piece definitely does quickly differentiate your business.
No doubt. Yeah. So we’ve had a good conversation around how you land clients, and you get them to kind of raise their hand. And it sounds like a very well rounded approach more well rounded than it’s been in the past. But let’s talk a little bit about how you fulfil. So how many clients? Are we talking about several hundred clients, or somewhere in that territory? Right? And you said, mostly virtual team, can you talk a little bit about how you how you deal with the real, like retaining these clients and serving these clients and, you know, keeping keeping the ball rolling in a positive direction.
So our command centres teamwork, calm, so that really has all of our systems and processes. We have a kickoff process when someone becomes a new client. So the whole send the gift basket and schedule, send the papers album filter intake forms, get the initial Paul setup, they’re assigned an account manager, so I have a couple of different account managers. So we try and pick someone that’s going to be most compatible and or whoever has the most appropriate load at the time. And then they schedule that kickoff call. And from there, it really, the relationship is on with the accountant manager. So they’re depending on the client, some of them were talking to weekly, some of them were talking to monthly, I prefer to be monthly, but we at least in the beginning, we tend to have to do a lot of hand holding the first couple of months, especially if if the centre is not in a great spot, and they need to do a bit of a turnaround there. For us to say we’ll talk to you in 30 days, just doesn’t work. So the account manager is scheduling that cadence. And the account manager also serves as the project manager. So we’ve got people that are doing the paid traffic, people doing social media doing copy doing the websites, SEO, there’s a team lead for each department. They report into our operations manager who’s also virtual. So he’s kind of keeping the the ship steering. But also we do a lot of stuff with our daily huddles. So the Rockefeller habits stuff, EOS, so a 10 minute daily huddles, so we do a 10 minute huddle. It’s actually now done by department. So traffic has their huddle. Seo has their huddle, for example, line development of their huddle, we do a weekly meeting every Monday with the entire company, we share some good news, we do something really fun called cheers for peers, where each team member can send kind of positive messages and notes. Use a really a tools called tiny pulse that allows you to do that. And then we kind of give department departmental updates. And then every Thursday, we do a level 10 meeting us level 10 meeting where we’re really focusing on solving issues. And that meaning I actually look forward to the most of all the meetings because we used to do a lot of talking. So our intake process sucks, or Oh, or we’re not getting consistent result, whatever the challenge was,
there was no mechanism to solve it, right? It was just complain, right?
It was like, all right, well, Steve, you do that or you do that, whatever, but so that these level 10 meetings have been really good. So that’s kind of been our meeting cadence. And then we use teamwork chat, which is similar to slack. So we’re on that all day long. Nice. There’s a team room there where everyone says, Hello, there’s a positive news room where reshare wins. Especially in a virtual Coulter, you need to try and have some ways to maintain and and build the culture piece. When you’re not physically together.
That’s awesome. shared some great insights there, like the command centre being teamwork, calm communication, even though it’s a disparate, you know, workforce, very, very, like day to day communication on on teamwork, chatter, Slack, teamwork chat for you guys. And then the really that I think the meeting ritual, the daily huddles, the level 10 meetings at departmental meetings are what make it work. Because otherwise, you just got a bunch of people sitting at their home office or wherever, virtually, and nobody knows what to do. There’s no culture and there’s no ongoing communication. So that’s really the key, I think that that makes this whole virtual process work, right.
And the other thing that and I have not launched it this week, and full disclosure, but one of the other things I’m going to be starting, taking a few days off next week. But a launch it the week after is a little room in teamwork, I’m going to call it tasks or stuff from Michael, for example, because I at least still as of today, and I’m okay with it. But at least as of today, I’m still the bottleneck and a lot of projects. So I’m on teamwork chat as well. But I there could be 20 different conversations going on. So I’m going to have a room where they can put everything in there. And then I’m going to start having a 30 minute meeting once a day where I’m going to go through those and just crank out as many as I can live a lot of them are you owe me a password for this. And but you need to reset the eat whatever I mean, little, little things, and then that I prioritise as a zero. But someone else might be an eight out of 10. Because they can’t do what they need to do next and tell you, I I’m aware of everything that everyone’s asking me. And I don’t. It’s not that I purposely ignore anyone. There’s only so many hours in the day. And I pick and choose what what I can can tackle. So as a way to kind of get back a little bit more into operations to kind of help speed some things along I’m going to kind of slow down to speed up a little bit. And just make sure that I’m answering some of these questions a little bit, because some of them and there are some things that I know I was asked to answer three, four days, are they somebody would have liked to have an answer? Three, four days ago. So actually not I did schedule one for today. I’m doing the first one today. So nice. Yeah. Right and take some kind of action.
Very good, great, great. I mean, great stuff, you know, you get this virtual team, you’ve got seven figure business going on, I know something you’re passionate about is is accounting and making sure your your revenues and your profitability are under control. Something that most of us in the digital marketing space, don’t even want to think about. I always want to think, go get the money, you know, revenue, revenue, revenue revenue, the fact is, if there’s no profit, it’s it’s kind of a wasted energy. Can we talk a little bit about that, and kind of your unique insights on that front?
Definitely. So one of the books that I know Josh, had recommended recently was profit first. So I read the book when it first came out. And I don’t know, within maybe a week or two, I had almost everything in practice. I did it through a credit union. So I moved all over. We’re stuff from banks to credit unions. And that was done for several reasons. But credit unions are a lot lot friendlier when you want to have 10 different accounts. So the big thing with profit first is it’s more of the system of when the money comes in. Where does it go? Initially? And then how do you funnel it thereafter? And what should the numbers actually look like to see if you have a healthy business? So what I loved about the whole profit for system is literally it’s all about these agencies that all of us have given us, we’re here to help serve clients and make other people money and help them grow. So I’m surely all about that. But the agency is also here to serve the business owner first. Yep. And I there were a lot of I mean, most of my colleagues or friends or agency owners, and a lot of these people are on having a they’re telling me they’re having to work a second or third job. And I’m saying, Well, how do you, you’re going to work a second and third job when your agency is doing half a million dollars a year? Well, my payrolls 400,000 a year? What do you so like all of these these things? So I said, Well, let me see if this system actually works. So the short version, all of our income, gets deposited into an income bucket. And then twice a month based on certain percentages. I move money from income into the operating expense bucket, the profit bucket bucket, the owners pay bucket, tax bucket, and then kind of a rainy day slush fund bucket. So I’ve got certain percentages where I’ll move the money. And the rule of thumb is that every one of those buckets needs to get money. And it’s not Well, I think that I need let’s I’m just making simple now, your business, let’s say you’re doing $50,000 a month in revenue, might say, Well, I know that payroll is going to be 40,000. Well, if I’m challenging you saying you need your profit buckets, the first one you need to fill. And even if initially, you’re only moving 1% of that revenue, at least hit something but you have to move something into your profit bucket, you have to move something into your owners pay bucket, those are the two first, then you can move into your op x. And based on the OP x, that’s kind of how I’m doing the tax numbers. And I’m doing this twice a month. And the other cool thing is that when you move into your profit bucket and your tax bucket, I then not only do I move it from one bank account to the other at that same credit union, then there’s an auto transfer that literally comes in and takes every penny within a day out of that account. And I do with the same two days every month. And it moves it to a different bank. That is not that credit union. Because a lot of us and I will admit this, the first one I used to do my first agency, all the money was in one bank account, I’d log in and be like, Oh, great. There’s 140,000 in here. That’s awesome. And then I’m like, and then let’s just say it’s November. Oh, geez, I need like 75 grand for taxes. Or
I’ve got to pay Agha huge credit card bill, whatever it is. And you’re, you have this false sense of security because you only were looking at a big number. And I know a lot of us and it’s not a terrible thing. But I know a lot of us are not ready come tax time, we have no money set aside for taxes, or you’re hoping that it? Can I I’m an open book. I mean, a couple years ago, I had one client that would pay for the entire year in advance, I was counting on that I didn’t commit, I didn’t have enough tax money. So I’m like you there, that can’t be the right way to be doing this. So this system has been transformational. I know that Josh, you and I are going to do a webinar later this month, I actually ended up just for my own self. Initially, I became a profit first consultant. And finally decided after talking with Josh and a few other agency owners that this would be a good path to actually go and help other agency owners. So we’ll do a webinar, I believe later this month and kind of tell you the percentages and what your numbers should look like and benchmarking. Because there’s ways to it’s not that if you’re not hitting the numbers, that everything is wrong, but it’s what are some good numbers look like. And it doesn’t matter the size of your business. It’s the percentages. So even if you’re doing $10,000 a month, if you’re telling me that 90% of that is going to op x between software tools and your freelancers, and etc. And I’m going to suggest you that your op x should be 30% or 25%. It’s not that you need to instantly go from 90 to 35. But it’s what plan can we put in place. So next month is 80%. And then you can actually move some money into profit, because it has to if you’re not taking your profit in your honours pay, there’s really no sense to have an agency.
No doubt. Yeah, I think it’s one of the most powerful things in all most of us overlook is this whole accounting process. So love to hear from you guys and comments if you’re watching this now or after the fact, would it be really helpful if Michael put on a webinar that really explained profit? First, how to set up those accounts, what the proper allocations look like, and gave you some support around, really how to make sure your financial, you know, accounting is set up correctly for your agency. I see Danny’s hitting the plus button again and again and again. So thanks, Danny, I appreciate that. Um, his door says spot on profit first. Yes, please put that together. Regardless is that would be awesome. So yeah, tentatively, we’ve got this in the schedule for August 28. So you know, kind of block that in your calendar. Now. It’ll be at two o’clock.
Someone said grab me a triple triple in and get sporting the the channel the green screens, making it happen. It’s a Tim Hortons Double, double. But the other cool thing with profit first is that now I’m actually using into my personal finances. So it’s the same kind of concept of pay yourself first. But I do the same thing so that when my owners pay filters into my bank account that I’m putting, what do I need for my personal expenses? What am I putting for retirement? What am I putting for big? So it’s the same kind of methodology. But I mean, out of from a financial standpoint, it’s been the most impactful thing that I’ve ever done.
Yeah, on 100%, likewise, on on our front, so I think that’s awesome that you got that certification and that you’re willing to share this with the group. So definitely will get that we’ll get that set up for you guys. So let’s let’s kind of kind of coming to the close here. Looking back, so you’ve had two agencies go to seven figures, one was a little bit of a struggle, I mean, it’s always going to be work, but this one’s going a little bit smoother. What would you say there’s like three key lessons that you’ve taken away in the second iteration that the other agencies can learn from? Sure.
I’ll give them a no particular order. So the one I’m sure won’t be surprised. But one of the three is is always be prospecting. And it sounds stupid. I mean, doesn’t sound stupid, but it sounds easy. I would challenge everyone that’s listening live or re listening to it to actually look at, and I did this exact exercise. So I wouldn’t challenge you anything that I haven’t done, write down what you’re doing each day, hour, by hour, I mean, almost down to whatever 10 minute increments, for example, and actually look at how much of that time is being spent prospecting and it’s about not saying you’re going to be cold calling. So that’s not what I’m advocating here. I don’t do any cold. I personally haven’t done cold calling. But it’s how much time am I going on LinkedIn and shooting out personal messages to owners or childcare centres? Am I ramping my paid ads up? Am I doing anything thats related to sales and marketing. Anytime that I have stepped away, and I’ve done it a few times, all of a sudden the pipeline goes to close to nothing, because I’ve taken my eye off that ball. That is I mean, the most critical piece of of the business. So that was definitely one that massively,
massively powerful. So before we move off that point, you know, 100%, there, there’s like two things that matters the most, the number of strategy sessions you’re having on a monthly basis. So if you’re not having strategy sessions, you’re not going to land new clients, you’re not going to grow and and the activities that drive strategy sessions, right, to the extent that you’re not focusing on those two things, the growth won’t be there, the revenue won’t be there, the prophet won’t be there. So amazing. Number one, he said no particular order, but that’s definitely the right order there.
Alright, so let’s go to number two. Number two, what would be the the profit first stuff I talked about? I the first agency I never looked at, I looked at the numbers, I only looked at what was in the bank. I never had, I never put money aside for profit ever. It was whatever’s left over, if anything at the end of the year after paying taxes was my profit. And for the last year and a half, two years, I’ve been taking my quarterly quote unquote, profits, large dividends, and using those for fun things and not absolutely not putting them back in the business. So fun things. I mean, I know I just want to up to another training course today and invested some money, but that sure as heck didn’t come from my profit. So the profits for going for family vacations and all that kind of fun stuff to actually recharge your battery and know your agency’s I love sitting back saying the agency paid for that through profit. That would be number two.
Yeah. So I mean, on that point, like really, that the fact is what somehow entrepreneurs are programmed to think, Oh, I’m going to make money. I’m going to plough back into the business. I’m gonna reinvest in marketing, I’m going to reinvest in tools, I’m gonna reinvest in whatever, and thinking that that’s the right play. But the fact is, if you don’t make having a profit built into your into your day to day process, if you like, make it a habit, it’ll never happen, right? You’ll just be making money without having any show for others. I think, Jay Joko, he wrote, oh, we’re supposed to get paid for this. Oh, all right. Great stuff. Let’s go to number three.
Just to add one 110 second comment to that one. I mean, I everyone says Sunday. And I have said for many, many, many years, and this is one of my first business coaches probably 15 years ago. He said, I think I be challenged me on something that I’ve been saying for six months that I was going to do. And he said, You’ve been saying that Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, like, whether I don’t remember what it was, but, you know, Sunday never comes. So it’s we’re going to we could keep telling yourself and there’s different growth strategies and schools of thought you could say pour every penny back, if you want to be a agency is going to grow to 100 million. And so if that’s the path to run, then you can take that path, but I’ve been more kind of build a nice lifestyle business that that can grow and scale. The third one,
I don’t want to use the one that everyone always uses. But
I mean, it’s the riches are in the niches. And I I never thought that. And I question myself often. And I think it’s probably entrepreneurial add, but the riches are in the niches and the people that I am seeing that are it’s not even you might not have the biggest agencies, I don’t think that you’re going to you’ll grow the biggest agency by being in one niche. But you’re going to have the highest profit margins, you’re going to have more free time, you’re going to be able to remove yourself from the business, because you can actually build those systems at scale. Otherwise, you’ll I mean, again, you could build a bigger agency by 20 different niches at $10,000 a month, for example. But you’re going to be having constant headaches, and you’re constantly reinventing the wheel. So when I really did start focusing more than niche, that was really when things started to click because that we can have a paid traffic campaign live and only for 48 hours. If you’re coming at a new niche. Let’s say I wanted to take on a chiropractor, for example. I know a little bit about chiropractors, but I mean, it’s going to take me weeks to set up the campaigns and landing pages and know what I can and can’t do. And there’s there’s no scalability, then who am I team is going to have to know what language to use and have to hire a copywriter and all of this stuff. So the riches and I know it’s obviously what you preach and have preached. I’m definitely the live in tear. Those would be my my big three.
Awesome stuff. So I think those are those are a great three, thank you very much for sharing. So as I mean, as we wrap up there any other like nuggets that you’d like to drop on the group before we wrap up today’s session?
No, I mean, I think the I think the only thing that I would probably just say it’s about the execution. I mean, a lot of us, a lot of us talk, I used to be the same I made this year, my year of action. I’ve been talking about getting an MBA for years. And even though I don’t see immense value in being a business owner with an MBA decided I’m like, now I said this year is the year of action. So I’m doing that I was talking about hiring a salesperson, stop talking make it happen. So it’s you’ve got to be focusing more on the strategic action. I mean that words are words are cheap, stop talking about, well, Sunday, you’re going to get the CRM, someday you’re going to do text message, or someday you’ll do a webinar. It’s not you’ve got to work 90 hours, it’s just you got to be a little bit smarter in what you’re focusing on. And that’s, that’s kind of been my mantra this year. And we’re on definitely on track for another great year. So
nicely done. Well, congratulations on taking action and for growing seven figures, I know that this is really just the tip of the iceberg for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with the group, your success, your struggles over the years. I think a lot of tremendous insights here. People are posting in the group. This is awesome. Thank you so much, really looking forward to the profit first webinar. So thank you for doing that. For those of you listening to this now and after the fact. Be sure to tag Michael on Facebook, thank you for sharing. He’s a super willing to share individual. So if you get questions for him, I’m sure you can, you can reach out to him, he’d be glad to glad to help. So that’s a wrap. I’m Michael, thank you so much. We’ll see you guys on a future episode of the of the seven figure agency podcast. And be sure to mark your calendars for that webinar and look for some communication on that front later this month.
Sounds good. Thanks, everyone. Have a good afternoon.
Thanks, guys, will help you get value from this session. If you’d like more ideas, strategies and techniques on how to more effectively grow and scale your digital marketing agency. I’d like to invite you to go to seven figure agency com, they’ll you’ll find a training series completely free of charge that walks you through how we were able to grow our agency from zero to over $300,000 per month in less than seven years, and how we’re adding clients on a consistent basis. So we walk you through, you know the quickest way to position yourself as the expert in a particular market and proven models to get customers coming to you preposition to buy. So if you get value from this and you like more, you can go to seven figure agency.com there’s a free video series for you there. Just get there you’ll enter your name, your email address, and you’ll get access in the next couple of minutes. So thanks for joining us. Go to seven figure agency.com now and we’ll talk to you soon
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