How Jason Built $500K/Year Social Media Marketing Agency

do you want to start and grow your own social media advertising company from the comfort of your home with little or no money [Music] in just two and a half years socialistic's revenue nearly quadrupled with jason's e-commerce company progressively tracking towards the one million dollar mark one of the things that makes us really unique is we're a month-to-month agency how are you able to quadruple your sales over the last two and a half years being on on your way to a million dollars usually monthly retainers for the types of clients that we work with range anywhere between two to five k a month jason's innovative thinking and can do attitude has created a lifestyle for him where he can manage his full-time service company from anywhere in the world where there's an internet connection so where are you at today as far as how many clients you're servicing and how's that changed from when you started because we're virtual because i have a team that's spread across the entire world right we're always open and on this episode he's going to take us through all the necessary steps to creating and starting a successful marketing agency everybody always asks us what is the best client for us it's really three things but that's because that margin was huge but now you've taken that big margin and reinvested it back into the business the biggest piece of advice that i got that i really got on board with charge what you're worth you'll be able to find out how he was able to secure an oppressive list of clients like the air force trupanion and habitat for humanity to name a few [Music] you guys we got to be quiet because of the environment that we're in but let's go meet jason he's right there that's the man we're about to interview i'm talking hi jason how are you doing hey good to meet you yeah absolutely french is on mine for sure thanks for your time uh in a couple minutes can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the social uh media marketing company how that all began for you yeah and why i'm originally from chicago and moved to seattle for microsoft and worked at microsoft advertising office for mac this was around 0.607 before social media was really taking off and got in on it early and launched social media for office for mac their last physical product and then turned uh that into basically a career i just kind of stuck with it i was unfortunately one of the layoffs of microsoft back in 09 they laid off like 5 000 people for the first time ever and i was a casualty of that and they ended up hiring me back so it wasn't the worst thing in the world but i had a year to uh basically kind of figure things out and i started to blog started to really learn about social media and built a following and really that was a big uh launch launching point for me in terms of social always wanted to do my own thing and then it was about almost two three years ago that the timing was right in my life to kind of take that leap and i launched a socialistics a social media agency and uh we've been we've been kind of taking off ever since [Music] jason let's talk about your target audience did you decide on who you wanted to target prior to opening this up on a bigger scale where you are now or how did that evolve for you good question i knew that when i started an agency i didn't want to be a generalist uh so there's kind of two paths that a lot of advice these days talks about if you're gonna start an agency either pick a niche or pick a specialty right even and even better do both because if you want to stand out that's that's the best thing to do uh is in terms of a differentiator i ultimately decided to focus on social media that's kind of where i had made a name for myself and uh and then kind of evolved into b2b so now we're a b2b social media agency predominantly we have b2c clients so we took it even a step further because doing social media well in a b2b of environment is is much more complex than b2c there's longer customer life cycles you're having to engage a longer period of time versus point-and-click product purchasing so we really decided to kind of pick a specialty and kind of stay in that lane and it's been hard because we've had clients that oh do you do this well we can but i've learned that you really have to work hard to kind of stay in your lane i mean you can build partnerships to kind of deliver other things but if you really want to continue to be a successful agency you really need to stay in your lane be the very best at what you do for who you do it for and that's going to allow you to continue to grow as opposed to just having to fight for every piece of business that's out there which isn't a scalable strategy in my opinion [Music] right what do you charge for your services and how do you come up with sort of those price points sure so it varies it's been uh a lot of testing and figuring out how to deliver on what we do it's really time-based you know you try to figure out how how long will it take the folks that i have on this to do this type of work and we've kind of tested that back and forth uh usually monthly retainers for the types of clients that we work with range anywhere between two to five k a month okay and what's the time commitment on on those they're getting a team they're getting an account manager social media manager a paid ad strategist that are attacking the work for them that are putting in roughly 30 to 40 out 34 30 to 40 man hours in a month in a month okay so to do the work we're middle of the road okay let's say industry-wise when you look at the industry you've got your giant agencies you know they're gonna they're working with the nikes and the kochs of the world they're you know those positions have unlimited budgets yeah you know 50 100 000 a month and then you've got your folks that are just starting out you know one person operation maybe just graduated college can't do as much as we can they're probably gonna charge you half that roughly or maybe a little bit less but you get what you pay for right and that's all and it's all about the results as you mentioned it is right you can spend five grand get nothing back you could spend two and get right as long as you can demonstrate roi to a client they're gonna you know you're gonna be comfortable with what you pay for that sort of thing how about cost of starting a marketing agency like this are there any particular costs that you didn't anticipate and incurred i bootstrapped what i did i mean it was definitely a slow build i started with uh it was kind of a side hustle to begin with right there's certainly a cost involved i mean it's it's a lot less expensive than a brick and mortar startup when you're having to pay rent and you have physical things that you kind of have to surround yourself with because you can do this with a laptop in the middle of a parking lot and people are i mean there's plenty of examples of agencies or consultants that are um that are basically doing this sort of thing as long as you have a laptop and the smarts you know and that's really all you need i mean there's you know you're gonna have to pay for things you know tools and things of that nature to kind of deliver what you do but cost is not a prohibitive factor in starting an agency it's really just having the experience and the passion and the entrepreneurial chops to just kind of go after it so where are you at today as far as how many clients you're servicing and how's that changed from when you started well we are our client we have about between 15 and 20 right now currently okay currently and uh how much do you think you need to get to a million um probably twice that i would say with 50 clients i would say between 40 and 50 clients roughly now that depends too i mean once you start to make a name for yourself um you might get into a position where you can you know start to charge a little bit more yeah you know you become a little bit more value of a known commodity and um so it really depends you know i'm not good numbers i'm not going to raise rates unless it feels right unless i feel like we've evolved and we're worth that i always want clients to feel like they're getting value from us um so you know it's not for me it's not about greed it's about consistent healthy growth that's in the best interest of the business and servicing our clients [Music] how are you able to quadruple your sales over the last two and a half years being on on your way to a million dollars yeah it's been an interesting 2020 uh before the pandemic hit we were on a trajectory to to probably hit a million by the end of the year okay um we had really kind of crossed that that threshold then then it hit and lost some clients um just due to financial reasons yeah just like everyone else given the choice between spending money on marketing and keeping people employed you know they're going to take the latter yep some sense of normalcy will return but that normalcy will be different than it ever was i think companies are starting to realize well we kind of need to get back to business so we've seen we've seen things pick up quite dramatically over the past month even we're back over half a million and uh there's a good chance that we could still crack a million by the end of the year that would be awesome a lot of that might depend on you know market environments but we're we're pushing hard to continue to grow at a pace that makes sense for us we uh we don't take every client it's got to be a good fit so we've had a natural kind of growth [Music] one of the things that our viewers i think would really love to know given it's a business is your profit margins in this industry do they vary why what are yours your profit margin in the beginning it kind of fluctuates if you're a one-man show it kind of starts where it's pretty high because you're just charging for your time and you don't have a lot of hard costs then when you kind of break through and you're needing to pull people in to deliver on the service and maybe you're sliding more into business development ceo president territory where you're handing off the day-to-day stuff and then you're starting to invest in maybe a little bit more technology to do what you're doing you go from a really healthy profit margin to a good razor thin but that's because that margin was huge but now you've taken that big margin and reinvested it back into the business so it's almost the expense of a it's like here you're going to go down to here and then that's scary but it is and then but you ha this is unavoidable like if you want to be more than just the one person you have to take that leap to here and then what happens is every client you add then your profit it almost doubles we were hovering around 15 ish these days we're at about 35 okay i'd love to get into the 40s which is totally doable [Music] and one of the things that makes us really unique is we're a month-to-month agency we don't require our clients to commit long-term is that pretty unique for the industry it is and other agencies don't like that they don't like that because the reality is a long-term contract only benefits the agency right and i completely get it if you're looking to kind of sell your business someday it's going to be more mark it's going to be more marketable to buyers if you have clients that are committed to long-term contracts but it's been interesting that since we started that way and it's really been a disrupter for us to help us grow you would ask how have we been able to 3x forex yeah it's things like that i mean you have to disrupt i mean i'm a huge fan of the whole idea of disrupting an industry you know one of my favorites like when you look at um like uber for example i always think about them or whenever they invented that or however they're sitting in a room and they just thought to themselves what is everything that people hate about getting a taxi or getting a ride somewhere what would be the best way to do that like what would be the best user experience and i wanted to take that kind of mindset with our agency like what do clients hate about working with agencies if they could design an agency and they work with them in the perfect way what would that look [Music] like how many people do you have working with you for you currently um how did you find them any tips and tricks on who to hire uh how do you look for and how that's a great question so every time you retain them sorry yeah i have a team of six right now we're actually looking for another uh because we're growing pretty quickly finding great talent is one of my favorite things when i was at microsoft early in my career that's one of the things that i learned i took away from that more than anything i went through their recruiting um training and interviewing and i learned a ton about how to find the right people and and how to manage people and how to take care of people i'm authentic and i care about people like if you're in my inner circle you're going to get taken care of it's small and there's not many in it but if you're in it you'll be taken care of you're going to be taken care of so i'm really lucky to have an incredible team uh right now that allows us to do like i we wouldn't have what we have if it wasn't for the people i had put around me you need to hire great people and get out of their way you know you need to trust them to do their work and to take risks and to feel freedom around what they do and how they work [Music] in terms of disrupting if you're wanting to start an agency you really need to think of what is what is everybody else not doing for us that was not doing long-term contracts right if you're trying to build something and grow and really disrupt that was that was a big thing and it still can be because most agencies still do that you want to compete with the big boys that's a way to really disrupt clients love that because they know you're basically putting the you're walking the talk you're saying i'm going to earn this work every day every week every month or you can go elsewhere so that's a big way to do it the other thing for us is really focusing on as a social media agency is real metrics clients don't want to hear about facebook likes or twitter followers or metrics that don't matter their business you can't speak their language leads customers sales you have to be able to map what you do exactly to what it is that they're trying to do really establishing their goals and objectives and making sure that you held yourself accountable to those results and then they're going to stick with you and then those month-to-month contracts that maybe keep you a little you know awake at night wondering if they're going to stick around it works itself out because if you deliver results you take care of people you're good to them they're going to stick around and you don't need those long-term contracts that's awesome [Music] our number one core value and this the stem from why i really wanted to do this from day one is the word freedom i was tired of being tied to a desk i was tired of sitting in a car for three hours going to work i was tired of my life being dictated by what i did and i wanted to flip that script i wanted to build an agency that allowed me to not only create freedom for myself to live it the way that i want under my terms but to build an environment for people to live the same way and i will go to the grave continuing to build a business that allows for that they love it they are loyal because of it we have an incredible they're an extended family attention reason right there i mean yeah you decide when you're going to hang out with your kid you decide that you want to fly to italy and spend a month there and work from there it doesn't make a difference to me as long as you're available you do great work right live your life on your terms that's really cool man so that's the that's the biggest thing that really brings me a ton of pride is to be able to give that to people to as many people as i can [Music] everybody always asks us what is the best client for us and it's really three things one they don't have to be convinced that marketing is a thing their business needs to do if i have to sell them like you should market like that never ends well because they're not going to have the patience for they'll see the value and successful the second is that they have a product or service that's wanted or needed marketing can't fix a bad business so if we feel like the product's not there yet or their website really needs some work like we advise that like we really think you need to take these steps before you throw any money at marketing because it's not going to solve your your challenges and then the third is can we help them can we actually help them are we the right fit for them and sometimes we might not be and if there's one thing that we've learned is better to say no than get into a relationship that's never going to end well because you know bad reviews bad for both bad for both sides waste of time we just won't do it so that's contributed to our the velocity of our growth like we you know if we took every piece of business that came our way we we'd be a bigger agency but i just i've had the luxury of being able to take our time to do it the right way pick the right clients and kind of continue to build off of that and i think we're now in that sweet spot where that patience and that approach is really starting to pay off for us [Music] jason what percentage of your business comes from long-term clients and as far as cultivating relationships anything specific that you do that makes clients come back the majority of our business is clients that we've worked with for six plus months okay so so that's 80 90 of what you have for sure i mean i think that you know a success a successful agency is as much if not more about holding on to clients as it is is winning new ones so it's critically important that we make sure that every client that we work with feels like the most important client you know we can't you know we don't want to lose clients for for reasons you know obviously we're not producing results that's but you know that doesn't happen with us it's uh you know the only churn that we've ever really had is because i made a mistake early on you know accepting a client paying less than they probably should be or i was a little bit iffy on their product but i'm like you know what i'm going to take a flyer on this one so that's where you get into situations where it wasn't a good fit or or i've had situations once or twice where a client treats my team poorly and i just i don't care i don't contemplate that yeah i've worked hard to build a really quality team and keeping them happy um is is critically important to me so clients treat them poorly i have a very small window of patience when it comes to this shouldn't be the case we're a virtual agency when i first started socialistics i thought okay well eventually i'm doing this out of my house then eventually i'm going to get my office in seattle and i'm going to be this you know that that's that's the path to success big brand and what i found was you know as i added people to the team and we were virtual i turned a weakness into a strength at least what i thought was a weakness oh when clients come to our website and they don't see a big fancy office or a dress that's going to be prohibited it's a weakness but a lot of things that i've listened to and read is learn how to turn your weaknesses into strengths and that's exactly what we did i said you know what i'm going to embrace what we are i'm going to embrace the fact that we're virtual and we don't have a big fancy office why does that benefit the client well we're going to be able to be more competitive on price for you because i don't have to spend thousands of dollars on an office and all this fancy least commitments etc number two i'm going to attract better talent because i can my talent pool is the world it's not huge and and the third is just accessibility accessibility and responsiveness because we're virtual because i have a team that's spread across the entire world right we're always open if they need to get a hold of somebody or they have a question we are on it i mean literally within five to ten minutes in most cases if somebody has a question phone call email chat whatever somebody's awake somebody's working so that accessibility is a game changer so i really start to embrace that and instead of working towards this big office i'm like nope we're a virtual agency that's awesome that's so fascinating guys um i if you guys haven't yet already subscribed to our channel please hit that hit that subscribe button uh we encourage you to comment below ask any questions it definitely helps with the youtube algorithms and we appreciate you for engaging us that would be that would be cool ask questions jason's here for for all of you guys quite a fascinating industry i gotta say [Music] how you were able to attract air force as a client habitat for humanity and some of these other bigger names what's the story on that air force definitely opened some doors for us landing them was less about them finding us and more about us nurturing them they came to us very really frustrated with their current agency relationship they were sending them these 30 page reports that made no sense to them and i said well you know what what are your goals and objectives and ultimately to raise awareness of the opportunities in the air force for people to be recruited to consider the military as a career we really took the time to understand what is it what does success look like it's a great question that i always ask clients this is the best question you can ask what does success look like to you six months from now and i even frame it up further say imagine six months from now you think back to hiring us and you think to yourself hiring socialistics or insert your agency was the best decision i've ever made what would need to have happened for me to think that way so that's that's my favorite question to ask because it gets them in that state like well and then they start to really answer that question in a tangible way and then we come up with a strategy okay well based on that this is what it would take to get there and that's what we're going to be held accountable for you know when you take that approach people fall in love with you and they want to work with you absolutely you don't even have to sell them just be you know be yourself be authentic help them and then they're inherently going to want to work with you if the numbers line up [Music] so another tip for if you're an agency just starting out or wanting to start out is you really and it's hard like you got to pay the bills sometimes you got to take what you can get but you really want to put yourself in a position where you don't say yes to everybody because not everybody's going to be a fit and the biggest piece of advice that i got that i really got on board with charge what you're worth it sometimes it feels uncomfortable but you know what you're worth and you don't want to really stray from that too much because then you set the bar there and then that you know even if you try to go back and try to charge more what you're really worth it's never going to work out so always be comfortable with what you're worth as long as you're going to deliver the results and you know what you can do charge what you're worth if they can't afford it you got to pass it up and look for the next opportunity these principles are fascinating as if you're not blown away by just the simple ideas that we're talking about here and how they directly impact your bottom line of the business your scaling of the business your growth of the business mind-blowing habitat for humanity was a an event i went to a return on that yeah it was just happened to they had somebody at an event that we had a booth at and had i did a presentation there uh anytime you get an opportunity to kind of help people by doing webinars or doing a speech is a great way to get great good visibility they heard that like what they heard that one took six months though i mean i i went in i gave a proposal i just kept you know to us that's a strategic client right you know for them we we discounted it's a great cause it's feel good work that was i think i always need to have a part of that there's less about making money and more about helping an organization that really needed it and you know i'm not naive of course having habitat for humanity in our portfolio helps us that's the value for us right you know showing great work for a good cause so what i'm hearing though is like somehow they found you you were in a database but what it came down to is follow-up follow-up follow-up it's the quality of the following right you know never always being persistent i in my emails when i follow up i always say it's a yes until it's a no so i'm going to keep going yep so until they say no it's it's a yes yeah sometimes it takes seven eight times to reach out until you get the true yes i mean you just gotta catch people at the right time yeah some people take a long time to make a decision so well there you have it guys i hope you enjoyed this awesome episode with jason your mark the owner of socialistics what an incredible amount of content we heard today the questions the answers the things that they're doing to provide paramount service to their clients and what that's doing to their business i hope you took a lot out and come back and re-watch it that's what you need to do to really grasp some of the principles some of the ideas if you haven't already subscribed to our channel please do comment below engage with us it helps the youtube algorithm we do have a blog it's in the description below as well and a lot of awesome previous episodes different businesses and a lot more coming up stay tuned we're with you we're here for you take care


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