How to start a digital marketing agency

Show notes from podcast episode 112.

Determination and energy, keys to a successful entrepreneur, can also lead to overcommitment. Letting scope creep get the best of you can lead to clients demanding more of your time for the same price, and may negatively impact the work you’re producing. 

Today’s caller, Nico, is just a few months into his digital marketing agency but has already landed luxury clients like Ferrari and Maserati. He is doing nearly $10,000 a month in revenue all from his bedroom living a lean lifestyle at his parent’s home.

With this newfound business, he’s finding himself struggling with time management and committing to a set direction to grow his business while sticking to what he does best. 

Even though Nico is on a monthly retainer with most of his clients Nick suggests tracking his time so he knows where he is most profitable and what customers may be costing him money to service. 

Customer’s are as needy as you let them become and if they get used to instant responses and drop everything kind of service they will grow to expect it and your life will become a stressful mess. 

Nico is suffering from scope creep – taking on work of all kinds without being sure that it is in his wheelhouse and his highest value per hour work. Nick suggests hiring out and outsourcing the lower skilled work so Nico can focus on his core competency:


Its fine to cast a wide net and dote on his clients. He’s 21 years old and growing something special. But as time passes and he grows his business he will have to pick and choose carefully what kind of work he takes on and what he spends his time doing.

Nico also discusses in this episode how cold calling and walking in businesses earned him these early clients. Connecting and speaking with the clients in person was all it took to convince them to give him a shot.

Nick also discusses getting serious about a morning routine free of distractions. That is when the deep work should happen because you are less likely to get distracted by customers or general surprises of the day.


Tracking time for your own benefit [7:20]

Customers are as needy as you let them become [14:15]

Nick’s podcast, book, and routine recommendations [17:00]

The fascinating story of how Nico’s agency [20:20]

The decision tree of your business’ future [27:20]

Also referenced:

Scaling Up Your Business Podcast: How to Plan Your Week for Success

Tim Ferriss podcasts with Ryan Holiday: One and Two

Tim Ferriss podcasts with Seth Godin: One and Two

Nick’s booklist.

November 13, 2019 12:52 pm

How to start a junk removal company with Casey Walsh

Casey Walsh went from almost dropping out of high school to the owner of a junk removal business that brings in $4MM a year at an 18% profit margin. Stand Up Guys Junk Removal operates in 6 states and has 7 locations.

In this episode Casey shares how he overcame obstacles to start the business as a 19 year old in Marietta GA. He grew the business slowly and about 4 years ago began to rapidly expand and there is no end in sight.

He has 54 employees and a lot of this episode is devoted to managing, hiring and motivating those folks. Casey has a special connection with his people.

October 16, 2019 9:28 am

Why real estate should be the end goal of every entrepreneur – with J Scott

J Scott, host of the BiggerPockets Business podcast, bestselling author and successful real estate investor came on the podcast today! It was an incredibly insightful episode about the business of house flipping and real estate investing in general.

We discuss:

  • How he left his corporate job in Silicon Valley (Ebay) and moved to Atlanta with no plan
  • He and his wife Carol got started and documented their journey of buying and flipping houses
  • How to source deals in today’s tight real estate market by finding off market properties
  • The difference between active and passive income and how you should nurture both of them
  • How to creatively finance deals with very little of your own money down
  • How relationships with your local bankers is key because they don’t sell loans to Fanny and Freddie so they can set their own guidelines
September 25, 2019 9:21 am

Why right now is the best time in history to buy a business – Nick Bradley

10,000 American’s retire every day. Many of them are service based entrepreneurs with no plans to pass along their business to the next family member or friend.

Its a buyers market and businesses are cheap. You can often buy them with no money down and pay for them over time.

Nick talks about how he sources deals, analyzes 20 at a time and picks and chooses what to pursue. This episode will get you fired up and ready to look at some businesses to potentially buy!

September 18, 2019 1:42 pm

Customer entitlement and how to deal with it – the customer isn’t always right

In today’s day and age some customers are really entitled and take advantage of a lot of businesses because they can get away with it. Amazon and the big dogs just write it off as losses but its harder on the smaller guys. While being respectful and treating them fairly don’t be afraid to stand your ground and avoid being walked on. I had a customer make outlandish demands of me just yesterday and blackmailed me threatening facebook photos. I responded that I don’t appreciate the threat and while I’m happy to work out a fair solution that is not how we do business.

It amazes me the amount of customers that emotionally bully and harass my customer service reps. I listen to the recordings and it makes my blood boil. Screaming. Yelling. Name calling. That stuff has no place anywhere let alone lashing out on somebody who is just doing their job.

The bottom line is the customer ISN’T always right. When you make a mistake man up and do the right thing. But if you’re getting take advantage of have the guts to walk away even if it means saying goodbye to a large chunk of revenue and taking that negative review.

Saying NO is a skill that takes time to develop and it applies to basically everything in life. Taking on new customers is no exception.

Part of the problem is our inability to manage expectations. We naturally want to over promise and make sales and tout low cost and a quick timeline and amazing service. Things are stressful for you and the customer when you are constantly playing catch up and trying to meet those expectations. There is a fine art to closing deals by delivering the bad news or a worst case scenario right off the bat. I’m still working on that and I’ve gotten a lot better and sleep a lot easier at night and have a lot of surprised happy customers at the end and less fires to put out.

Scope creep is also huge. Customers want more and different and other and this and that. Not all of it is profitable. The extra stuff often causes more problems and more refunds and more wasted time. Track your time and spend it where you are profitable.

You should spend a good deal of energy vetting the customers. Its a two way street. It has to be a good match and a win win and anyone in business knows that some customers turn out to be a loss. Figure out how to spot them, get them out of your business and find a way to spot them before they become your problem.

Another thing to point out is that many business owners get emotional about getting every customer in the first place. We get a feeling like we have to win every customer at all costs and we get upset when we lose one.. Getting past that is part of the evolution.

To avoid the headaches before they start you have to realize that every customer isn’t for you. The negotiators aren’t for you. The picky ones aren’t for you. The customers that want the extras that aren’t in your wheelhouse or aren’t part of your core business aren’t for you. Your ideal customers want to pay a fair price for a lot of value.

September 9, 2019 9:08 am