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GOLD! CHECKLIST: How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency & Hit $5K in Less than 90 Days

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alekssiht

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Is it realistic to get an agency to, 6-7 figures net, starting from ground zero. I mean, with little to none contacts at the beginning? Maybe my question is, building everything from scratch. Good contacts, clients etc. I am getting this inpression that people put all the success to contacts at the beginning.
 

Sean Marshall

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Is it realistic to get an agency to, 6-7 figures net, starting from ground zero. I mean, with little to none contacts at the beginning? Maybe my question is, building everything from scratch. Good contacts, clients etc. I am getting this inpression that people put all the success to contacts at the beginning.

Just like literally any other business, it all depends on how hard and how smart you work.
 

Clinton7

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I want to target interior designers in Canada. Do you guys think it is a good niche?

Also @Sean Marshall, how do I craft an email that would have high rate of response and success? I have been sending emails for sometime now but I get zero response.
 

Joker_P5R

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I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. It's basically the story of how I started a digital marketing agency to be able to do cool stuff. And I would like to give you a nice little checklist that you could use as well if it interests you.

I started my business in 2010. Since then, I reduced my own work load to less than 10 hours a month, lived in Mexico for 4 1/2 years, traveled to 15 countries, and am prepping to head to Scotland for 6 months in Sept - all together with my wife & 3 kids.

I cracked the code to scaling a service-based business using detailed systems (a fancy checklist on Asana) and a good team (all based in the Philippines).

I made $2,450 in my first month. Not crazy I know but it was a big deal for me just starting out. More importantly, that number increased every single month afterwards.

At about month 11 is when I read The Millionaire Fastlane and it completely changed how I viewed my business. I made a bunch of changes based on MJ's advice and started hitting 5 figure months about two months later.


DOES IT FOLLOW MJ'S COMMANDMENTS?

I need to mention that a digital marketing agency does NOT follow all of MJ's 5 business commandments. It breaks one - Barrier to Entry. Basically, anyone can do this. They really can.

BUT, that's also the catch - most people DON'T ACTUALLY EXECUTE! You can give them all the tools, step-by-step instructions, templates, etc and they still won't do anything. I know because I offer a course giving people literally everything they need and only a handful of people actually do the thing.

So in a way, the barrier to entry commandment is almost a non-issue. Besides, there's more than enough business out there.

With the other commandments (time, scale, control, & need), this kind of business passes with full marks.


MAKING $5K IN UNDER 90 DAYS

Why $5,000? Two reasons:
  1. It’s usually enough money for most people to quit their jobs to focus full time on the business
  2. It’s totally realistic & achievable
This is a number that most people can hit with some focused work. How fast you’re able to hit $5k is up to two things:
  1. Your Prices
  2. Your Hustle
Obviously, the more you sell, the more you’ll make. Keep in mind that some services typically cost more than others (for example: websites cost more than social media management)

Like I said, I made $2,450 in my first month. How did I make that money? I networked with people I already knew and got in touch with a few key business owners. I shook hands and spoke with everyone I knew.

Simply put, I hustled.

Hitting $5K in under 90 days is totally doable. I have students in my course that have done much more in less time.


WHAT IS AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY?

Before I give you a checklist, I have to answer, what is an online marketing agency?

There are a lot of names for this kind of business - internet marketing company, digital marketing agency, online marketing business, and more. They’re all the same thing.

In a nutshell, it’s a service-based business that manages the online marketing activities for companies of any size that are in need of growing their presence online – which is all of them.

This includes services like SEO, social media management, reputation management, website design, and more.

You can choose to focus in on just one branch of online marketing (like website design or SEO) or you can choose to do it all.

As the business owner, you’re responsible for creating the services that your clients will choose from.
Then you will need to recruit a team of people to do the actual work. You can even hire salespeople or a sales company later on and scale it infinitely.

There’s no shortage of businesses that need help with their online marketing so the sky’s the limit. There’s also no shortage of people who can do the actual work and you can contract them relatively inexpensively.

*NOTE: Building an online marketing agency might not be your passion.

It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that it offers you a way to sell a valuable service to real people who pay real money. You can quickly build this business, scale it up, and then do whatever the heck you want!

QUICK BENEFITS OF AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

The benefits primarily include:


  • You can get started for less than $300
  • Extremely low overhead
  • Large profit margin - you literally set the prices
  • Huge potential - an extra $50K/year or $500K/year - it's up to you
  • Work online
  • Flexible schedule

Benefits.png


THE 5 S's OF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

Starting and running a digital marketing agency breaks down into what I call the 5 S's.

1. Setup
2. Sales
3. Systems
4. Staffing
5. Scaling-Up

5-S.png


I'm going to break down the checklist into those 5 groups.

The rest of this post is literally made up of the steps you can follow to start your own digital marketing agency. If you have any questions, obviously I'll be paying attention to this thread. I won't hold anything back.

Just ask.

***

SETUP
This portion is to help you get started by establishing your business services, messaging & branding, website, and so forth. The goal is to move quickly to hurry and get to making sales.



  • Start thinking about your business brand including your business name. Think about what kind “feel” you want your business to have. Write out at least 10 possible names.
  • Look up “online marketing company” and check out the first few sites – the goal is to get a feel for what they do and what you’ll be doing.
  • Consider taking a class or two on Udemy.com or Lynda.com to get an overview of the online marketing world. Strongly consider also going to QuickSprout.com/University
  • Think about an industry you might like to serve (i.e. – chiropractors) and then look up “online marketing for chiropractors” or similar terms and study what comes up.
  • Write out (or type out) your motivation. Why are you interested in starting this business? Answer this with something more specific than “to have more money”. Get as specific as you can. Don’t skip the mental work!
  • List out the amount of money you would like to make in your first month, second month, following months. Include your first year’s goal.
  • Go online and look up other online marketing companies (again) – jot down everything that you like and that you would like to emulate.
  • Start thinking about what sets you apart. Ideally it can be summed up in one sentence. i.e. – “We provide SEO services for dental professionals”. This is your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Come up with your 3 packages. List out the services that each package entails. Yours may be just offering social media or just website design or whatever. Be sure to be detailed - list out everything.
  • Come up with your package pricing. Decide what you think is valuable for all parties involved and use this as a starting point (you’ll most likely adjust this as you get more experience). Use this pattern: $499/$599/$999 OR $999/$1199/$1699 and so on.
  • Identify and write out your USP.
  • Write what your ideal client looks like – the more details the better.
  • Decide right now you will stay true to your niche and not take on anyone and everyone who needs help “online”. It’s better to focus on a core audience to avoid wasting time and money. Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • Come up with your business name. Come up with your business tagline (if you need one).
  • Pick your colors. These can literally be your favorite colors. Don’t stress on this one.
  • Get a logo done (use 99designs.com, Upwork.com, or Fiverr.com) – don’t do it yourself unless you’re a graphic designer.
  • Write up your business plan. Print it out. Change as necessary. Just answer the following questions:
    o What is your company name?
    o What is your company tagline?
    o What services do you provide? What problem do you solve?
    o Who is your target audience or what does your ideal client look like?
    o What is your USP?
    o How much do you charge?
    o What is your monthly revenue goal?
    o How many new or repeat clients do you need to achieve this goal?
    o How do you get new clients?
    o How will you fulfill your services? Who makes up your production team?
    o Who are the other key players of your team? List their names and titles.

  • Set up your corporation (use LegalZoom – for now, just get a DBA and then incorporate once you’ve brought on a few clients and know this is going to work for you)
  • Set up your business checking & savings account. Set up your PayPal (or Stripe) business account.
  • Acquista il tuo nome di dominio (usa un registrar come GoDaddy.com). Acquista il tuo hosting (usa un host affidabile e conveniente come SiteGround.com. Configura il tuo sito web (usa Wordpress: è semplicissimo e tutto ciò di cui hai bisogno). Il tuo host dovrebbe avere un'installazione di Wordpress con 1 clic.
  • Crea una home page, una pagina sulle informazioni, una pagina dei servizi e una pagina di contatto per iniziare. Questo è il minimo. Imposta le tue piattaforme di social media (pagina aziendale di Facebook, Twitter, Google+/YouTube, LinkedIn tutti un must. Pinterest, Instagram, ecc. sono bonus).
  • Acquista i tuoi biglietti da visita (e nient'altro) Usa VistaPrint.com perché sono super economici. Ordina solo 250 per le tue prime carte. Puoi modificare alcune informazioni in seguito.


SALDI
Questa parte è per aiutarti a iniziare a fare vendite, la linfa vitale della tua attività. Se non stai vendendo, non hai un business.



  • Ottieni la tua prima vendita (lavora sulla tua rete personale per iniziare - crea un elenco di 10 proprietari di attività commerciali che conosci o che i tuoi amici/familiari potrebbero conoscere e avvicinati a loro offrendo loro uno sconto o un valore aggiunto per iniziare).
  • Completa il lavoro della tua prima vendita e assicurati di ottenere risultati! Se non sai come fare, vai su UpWork.com e assumi immediatamente qualcuno – vedi la sezione successiva.
  • Documenta tutto il tuo lavoro: ne avrai bisogno per scalare e costruire un team.
  • Ottieni rapidamente i tuoi prossimi 3 clienti. Vai agli incontri di networking nella tua zona. Considera di unirti alla tua Camera di Commercio locale e possibilmente a un gruppo BNI o a un altro gruppo di networking.
  • Usa directory online come Manta.com per trovare più aziende nella nicchia prescelta. Quando trovi le loro informazioni di contatto, rivolgiti a loro portando valore: crea un sito web di prova con le loro informazioni, elenca suggerimenti specifici per aumentare il business o condividi esattamente come potrebbero modificare la loro presenza online per aumentare il traffico e la conversione, ecc. Pensa al valore!
  • Raggiungi le associazioni nella tua nicchia prescelta e offriti di tenere webinar gratuiti.
  • Ottimizza il sito Web della tua azienda per raggiungere la tua nicchia di destinazione e indirizzare il traffico verso di essa: disponi di pagine specifiche sul tuo sito Web che puoi classificare in Google per il traffico organico (ad es. una pagina su "Servizi di ottimizzazione dei motori di ricerca per chiropratici"). Quindi mettilo in classifica e raccogli i lead.
  • Continua a cercare le Camere di Commercio nella tua zona e altri mixer e opportunità di networking. Cerca di creare incontri 1-a-1 con potenziali clienti, ma solo quelli nella tua nicchia. Non perdere tempo con nessun altro!
  • Organizza concerti e lezioni di insegnamento per arrivare di fronte a molte persone contemporaneamente. Sii il più utile possibile. Dai via le tue cose migliori gratuitamente - sii incredibilmente dettagliato.


SISTEMI
Una volta che hai delle vendite in arrivo, devi assicurarti di documentare tutto e creare sistemi in modo che gli altri facciano il lavoro per te. Ciò include anche stabilire quali strumenti utilizzi nella tua attività. È semplice ma incredibilmente importante.



  • Creare un manuale di vendita e un manuale di produzione. Sii dettagliato e usa gli elenchi puntati.
  • Configura la tua email di lavoro (usa le app di Google o anche solo Gmail per semplificare e instradare la tua email Nome@Azienda.com attraverso di essa)
  • Crea il tuo account su Asana.com: è gratuito e sarà il tuo strumento di gestione dei progetti. Assegna a ogni nuovo progetto il nome del tuo cliente. Ogni progetto è un cliente e elenca nel progetto tutto il lavoro che hai detto che avresti fatto nell'elenco dei servizi.
  • Imposta l'archiviazione dei file utilizzando DropBox o Google Drive.
  • Imposta la tua contabilità con Quickbooks


PERSONALE
Ottenere una squadra in atto per fare il lavoro per te è la chiave per la tua crescita. Devi assumere, formare e guidare i membri del tuo team. Non appena possibile, assumerai più membri del team per assicurarti che tutto il lavoro venga svolto in modo efficace.



  • Crea un organigramma aziendale con te come proprietario. Creare una posizione di direttore generale con posizioni dirigenziali anche nelle vendite, produzione/operazioni e finanza.
  • Elenca il lavoro per il tuo primo lavoro (basato sui tuoi servizi nel tuo piano di gioco). Quindi vai su Upwork.com o OnlineJobs.ph e pubblica il tuo lavoro.
  • Intervista i tuoi primi 3 candidati. Assumi 1 ma tieni gli altri due in una lista ristretta per quando ne avrai bisogno in futuro. Iniziali a tempo parziale con l'aspettativa che facciano di più presto.
  • Assumi il tuo primo dipendente o appaltatore - generalmente si tratta prima di un membro dello staff di produzione (non dovresti fare la produzione effettiva oltre il tuo primo cliente).
  • Prenditi del tempo per allenare il tuo primo membro della squadra. Perfeziona i tuoi sistemi e assicurati che possano funzionare indipendentemente da te il prima possibile. Usa Asana (o Basecamp o Trello) per gestire tutto. Se sei preoccupato di tenere traccia di tutto, considera l'utilizzo di HubStaff.com.
  • Non appena entrate e necessità lo giustificano, assumi un altro appaltatore. E poi un altro. E un altro.


SCALA IN SU
Una volta che le vendite stanno arrivando e un team e i sistemi in atto, è il momento di aumentare. Questa sezione riguarda il perfezionamento dei processi in modo da poter gestire 5 o 500 clienti mentre il lavoro per te rimane lo stesso. In altre parole, è così che guadagni di più lavorando di meno.



  • Perfeziona i tuoi servizi: producili! Quando effettui la mappatura dei tuoi servizi, assicurati che la tua offerta sia la stessa per tutti. Se scegli un servizio come la SEO, ad esempio, è relativamente lo stesso indipendentemente dal settore in cui si trova il tuo cliente. Non abbinare un servizio al cliente. Abbina il cliente a uno dei tuoi servizi preesistenti.
  • Affina i tuoi clienti: va bene e molto necessario per la crescita della tua attività essere esigente. Stai lontano da qualsiasi client "ad alta manutenzione". Scegli in anticipo come gestire la comunicazione con i tuoi clienti. La maggior parte va bene con la posta elettronica.
  • Perfeziona i tuoi sistemi. Cerca modi per risparmiare denaro, aumentare la produttività e così via. Quando possibile, sostituisci lo sforzo umano con software e lavoro automatizzato.
  • Affina le tue vendite. Spendi soldi se necessario in pubblicità, mirando sempre alla tua nicchia/industria ideale.
  • Non appena hai almeno 90 giorni di risparmi in banca, hai effettuato almeno 3 vendite (con molto di più in cantiere), prendi in considerazione l'idea di andare a tempo pieno con la tua attività. Se hai un altro significativo, assicurati di essere sulla stessa pagina.
  • Supera le consegne con i tuoi clienti. Se la relazione c'è, prova a chiedere un rinvio ma solo se hai già fatto un ottimo lavoro.
***

Questo è tutto! Basta vendere. Ci sono un sacco di attività commerciali là fuori. Non intendo minimizzare affatto, ma davvero, non sono nessuno di speciale. Non sono come la maggior parte degli imbroglioni di successo in questo forum. Sono un tipo piuttosto mediocre che è riuscito a creare un bel business.

Puoi fare lo stesso. Basta seguire la lista di controllo sopra.

Se hai domande, chiedi pure!

-Sean

Ottimo post, @Sean Marshall

Puoi condividere i tuoi risultati, il portfolio del tuo lavoro per i tuoi clienti con la tua agenzia?

Se clicco sulla tua biografia vedo il link del razzo di famiglia che è un sito Web che vende un corso di marketing digitale.

Puoi mostrarci il tuo lavoro per i tuoi clienti?

Thanks a lot!
 

Sean Marshall

Independent since 2010
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I want to target interior designers in Canada. Do you guys think it is a good niche?

Also @Sean Marshall, how do I craft an email that would have high rate of response and success? I have been sending emails for sometime now but I get zero response.

If you feel that interior designers in Canada have the budget and see the need, then go for it!

As for crafting emails, I've never built anything on cold email so I'm not the best person to talk to about that. But I do know it's a crazy numbers game AND you have to lead with an offer that you can back up.

Like, "We'll book you 10 interior design client appointments in 30 days or we'll give you a full refund"

Just an example.
 

Joker_P5R

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Feb 4, 2020
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I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. It's basically the story of how I started a digital marketing agency to be able to do cool stuff. And I would like to give you a nice little checklist that you could use as well if it interests you.

I started my business in 2010. Since then, I reduced my own work load to less than 10 hours a month, lived in Mexico for 4 1/2 years, traveled to 15 countries, and am prepping to head to Scotland for 6 months in Sept - all together with my wife & 3 kids.

I cracked the code to scaling a service-based business using detailed systems (a fancy checklist on Asana) and a good team (all based in the Philippines).

I made $2,450 in my first month. Not crazy I know but it was a big deal for me just starting out. More importantly, that number increased every single month afterwards.

At about month 11 is when I read The Millionaire Fastlane and it completely changed how I viewed my business. I made a bunch of changes based on MJ's advice and started hitting 5 figure months about two months later.


DOES IT FOLLOW MJ'S COMMANDMENTS?

I need to mention that a digital marketing agency does NOT follow all of MJ's 5 business commandments. It breaks one - Barrier to Entry. Basically, anyone can do this. They really can.

BUT, that's also the catch - most people DON'T ACTUALLY EXECUTE! You can give them all the tools, step-by-step instructions, templates, etc and they still won't do anything. I know because I offer a course giving people literally everything they need and only a handful of people actually do the thing.

So in a way, the barrier to entry commandment is almost a non-issue. Besides, there's more than enough business out there.

With the other commandments (time, scale, control, & need), this kind of business passes with full marks.


MAKING $5K IN UNDER 90 DAYS

Why $5,000? Two reasons:
  1. It’s usually enough money for most people to quit their jobs to focus full time on the business
  2. It’s totally realistic & achievable
This is a number that most people can hit with some focused work. How fast you’re able to hit $5k is up to two things:
  1. Your Prices
  2. Your Hustle
Obviously, the more you sell, the more you’ll make. Keep in mind that some services typically cost more than others (for example: websites cost more than social media management)

Like I said, I made $2,450 in my first month. How did I make that money? I networked with people I already knew and got in touch with a few key business owners. I shook hands and spoke with everyone I knew.

Simply put, I hustled.

Hitting $5K in under 90 days is totally doable. I have students in my course that have done much more in less time.


WHAT IS AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY?

Before I give you a checklist, I have to answer, what is an online marketing agency?

There are a lot of names for this kind of business - internet marketing company, digital marketing agency, online marketing business, and more. They’re all the same thing.

In a nutshell, it’s a service-based business that manages the online marketing activities for companies of any size that are in need of growing their presence online – which is all of them.

This includes services like SEO, social media management, reputation management, website design, and more.

You can choose to focus in on just one branch of online marketing (like website design or SEO) or you can choose to do it all.

As the business owner, you’re responsible for creating the services that your clients will choose from.
Then you will need to recruit a team of people to do the actual work. You can even hire salespeople or a sales company later on and scale it infinitely.

There’s no shortage of businesses that need help with their online marketing so the sky’s the limit. There’s also no shortage of people who can do the actual work and you can contract them relatively inexpensively.

*NOTE: Building an online marketing agency might not be your passion.

It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that it offers you a way to sell a valuable service to real people who pay real money. You can quickly build this business, scale it up, and then do whatever the heck you want!

QUICK BENEFITS OF AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

The benefits primarily include:


  • You can get started for less than $300
  • Extremely low overhead
  • Large profit margin - you literally set the prices
  • Huge potential - an extra $50K/year or $500K/year - it's up to you
  • Work online
  • Flexible schedule

Benefits.png


THE 5 S's OF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

Starting and running a digital marketing agency breaks down into what I call the 5 S's.

1. Setup
2. Sales
3. Systems
4. Staffing
5. Scaling-Up

5-S.png


I'm going to break down the checklist into those 5 groups.

The rest of this post is literally made up of the steps you can follow to start your own digital marketing agency. If you have any questions, obviously I'll be paying attention to this thread. I won't hold anything back.

Just ask.

***

SETUP
This portion is to help you get started by establishing your business services, messaging & branding, website, and so forth. The goal is to move quickly to hurry and get to making sales.



  • Start thinking about your business brand including your business name. Think about what kind “feel” you want your business to have. Write out at least 10 possible names.
  • Look up “online marketing company” and check out the first few sites – the goal is to get a feel for what they do and what you’ll be doing.
  • Consider taking a class or two on Udemy.com or Lynda.com to get an overview of the online marketing world. Strongly consider also going to QuickSprout.com/University
  • Think about an industry you might like to serve (i.e. – chiropractors) and then look up “online marketing for chiropractors” or similar terms and study what comes up.
  • Write out (or type out) your motivation. Why are you interested in starting this business? Answer this with something more specific than “to have more money”. Get as specific as you can. Don’t skip the mental work!
  • List out the amount of money you would like to make in your first month, second month, following months. Include your first year’s goal.
  • Go online and look up other online marketing companies (again) – jot down everything that you like and that you would like to emulate.
  • Start thinking about what sets you apart. Ideally it can be summed up in one sentence. i.e. – “We provide SEO services for dental professionals”. This is your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Come up with your 3 packages. List out the services that each package entails. Yours may be just offering social media or just website design or whatever. Be sure to be detailed - list out everything.
  • Come up with your package pricing. Decide what you think is valuable for all parties involved and use this as a starting point (you’ll most likely adjust this as you get more experience). Use this pattern: $499/$599/$999 OR $999/$1199/$1699 and so on.
  • Identify and write out your USP.
  • Write what your ideal client looks like – the more details the better.
  • Decide right now you will stay true to your niche and not take on anyone and everyone who needs help “online”. It’s better to focus on a core audience to avoid wasting time and money. Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • Come up with your business name. Come up with your business tagline (if you need one).
  • Pick your colors. These can literally be your favorite colors. Don’t stress on this one.
  • Get a logo done (use 99designs.com, Upwork.com, or Fiverr.com) – don’t do it yourself unless you’re a graphic designer.
  • Write up your business plan. Print it out. Change as necessary. Just answer the following questions:
    o What is your company name?
    o What is your company tagline?
    o What services do you provide? What problem do you solve?
    o Who is your target audience or what does your ideal client look like?
    o What is your USP?
    o How much do you charge?
    o What is your monthly revenue goal?
    o How many new or repeat clients do you need to achieve this goal?
    o How do you get new clients?
    o How will you fulfill your services? Who makes up your production team?
    o Who are the other key players of your team? List their names and titles.

  • Set up your corporation (use LegalZoom – for now, just get a DBA and then incorporate once you’ve brought on a few clients and know this is going to work for you)
  • Set up your business checking & savings account. Set up your PayPal (or Stripe) business account.
  • Buy your domain name (use a registrar like GoDaddy.com). Buy your hosting (use a reliable & affordable host like SiteGround.com. Set up your website (use Wordpress – it’s super easy & all you need). Your host should have a 1-click Wordpress install.
  • Create a home page, about page, services page, & contact page to start. This is the minimum. Set up your social media platforms (Facebook business page, Twitter, Google+/YouTube, LinkedIn all a must. Pinterest, Instagram, etc are bonus).
  • Buy your business cards (and nothing else) Use VistaPrint.com because they’re super cheap. Only order 250 for your first cards. You may change some info later.


SALES
This portion is to help you start making sales - the lifeblood of your business. If you’re not making sales, you don’t have a business.



  • Get your first sale (work your own personal network to get started – make a list of 10 business owners you know or your friends/family might know and approach them offering them a discount or added value to get started).
  • Complete the work of your first sale and be sure to get results! If you don’t know how to do any of it, go to UpWork.com and hire someone immediately – see next section.
  • Document all of your work – you’ll need this to scale & build a team.
  • Get your next 3 clients quickly. Go to networking meetings in your area. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce and possibly a BNI group or other networking group.
  • Use online directories like Manta.com to find more businesses in your chosen niche. When you find their contact info, reach out to them leading with value - do a mock-up website with their info, list out specific tips to drive more business, or share exactly how they could tweak their online presence for increased traffic and conversion, etc. Think value!
  • Reach out to associations in your chosen niche and offer to give free webinars.
  • Optimize your company website to reach your target niche and drive traffic to it – have specific pages on your website that you get to rank in Google for organic traffic (i.e. – a page on “Search Engine Optimization Services for Chiropractors”). Then get it ranking and collect leads.
  • Continue to look up the Chambers of Commerce in your area and other mixers and networking opportunities. Look to set up 1-on-1’s with potential clients but only ones in your niche. Don’t waste time with anyone else!
  • Set up speaking and teaching gigs to get in front of a lot of people at once. Be as helpful as possible. Give your best stuff away for free - be incredibly detailed.


SYSTEMS
Once you have some sales coming in, you need to make sure you document everything and create systems in order for others to do the work for you. This also includes establishing what tools you use in your business. It’s simple but incredibly important.



  • Create a sales manual and a production manual. Be detailed and use bullet points.
  • Set up your work email (use Google apps or even just gmail to make it easy and route your Name@Company.com email through it)
  • Set up your account in Asana.com – it’s free and it will be your project management tool. Name each new project after your client name. Each project is a client & list out in the project all of the work you said you would do in the list of services.
  • Set your file storage using DropBox or Google Drive.
  • Set up your bookkeeping with Quickbooks


STAFFING
Getting a team in place to do the work for you is key to your growth. You need to hire, train, and lead your team members. As soon as possible, you’ll hire more team members to make sure all work is being done effectively.



  • Create a company org chart with you as owner. Create a general manager position with manager positions also in sales, production/operations, & finance.
  • List out the work for your first job (base this off of your services in your game plan). Then go to Upwork.com or OnlineJobs.ph and post your job.
  • Interview your top 3 candidates. Hire 1 but keep the other two on a short-list for when you need them in the future. Start them off on a part-time basis with the expectation of them doing more soon.
  • Hire your first employee or contractor – generally this is a production staff member first (you should not be doing the actual production beyond your first client).
  • Take time to train your first team member. Refine your systems and make sure they can operate independently of you as soon as possible. Use Asana (or Basecamp or Trello) to manage everything. If you’re concerned about tracking everything, consider using HubStaff.com.
  • As soon as revenue and need justifies it, hire another contractor. And then another. And another.


SCALING-UP
Once you have sales coming in and a team and systems in place, it’s time to scale-up. This section is all about refining your processes so that you can handle 5 or 500 clients while the work to you remains the same. In other words, this is how you make more money while working less.



  • Refine your services – productize them! When mapping out your services, make sure your offer is the same to everyone. If you choose a service like SEO for example, then it’s relatively the same regardless of the industry your client is in. Don’t match a service to the client. Match the client to one of your preexisting services.
  • Refine your clients - it’s OK & very necessary to the growth of your business to be choosy. Stay away from any "high maintenance" clients. Choose early on how you will handle communication with your clients. Most are just fine with email.
  • Refine your systems. Look for ways to save money, increase productivity, and so forth. When possible, swap out human effort with software and automated work.
  • Refine your sales. Spend money if necessary on advertising, always targeting your ideal niche/industry.
  • As soon as you have at least 90-day’s worth of savings in the bank, have made at least 3 sales (with a lot more in the pipeline), consider going full-time with your business. If you have a significant other, be sure to be on the same page.
  • Over-deliver with your clients. If the relationship is there, try asking for a referral but only if you’ve already done a great job.
***

That's it! Just sell. There's plenty of businesses out there. I don't mean to downplay it at all but really, I'm nobody special. I'm not like most of the successful hustlers in this forum. I'm a pretty average dude that managed to create a sweet business.

You can do the same. Just follow the checklist above.

If you have any questions, just ask!

-Sean
@Sean Marshall

I write my answer again; I don't know why Chrome translate it automatically...

This is a great story, inspirational and I hope to be able to do the same you did (even if I live in Italy and you cannot start a biz with $300. You need at least 5.000 €)

Anyway, can you share with us your results with your customers? Your portfolio?

If I check your bio, the link "familyrocket" brings me to a site with a digital online course for sale.

Can you show us your actual work for your customers?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Clinton7

New Contributor
May 29, 2021
23
5
12
If you feel that interior designers in Canada have the budget and see the need, then go for it!

As for crafting emails, I've never built anything on cold email so I'm not the best person to talk to about that. But I do know it's a crazy numbers game AND you have to lead with an offer that you can back up.

Like, "We'll book you 10 interior design client appointments in 30 days or we'll give you a full refund"

Just an example.
Thanks for the response. So what strategies would you give me for getting my first clients?
 

Michelangelo1997

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 26, 2021
14
5
15
I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. It's basically the story of how I started a digital marketing agency to be able to do cool stuff. And I would like to give you a nice little checklist that you could use as well if it interests you.

I started my business in 2010. Since then, I reduced my own work load to less than 10 hours a month, lived in Mexico for 4 1/2 years, traveled to 15 countries, and am prepping to head to Scotland for 6 months in Sept - all together with my wife & 3 kids.

I cracked the code to scaling a service-based business using detailed systems (a fancy checklist on Asana) and a good team (all based in the Philippines).

I made $2,450 in my first month. Not crazy I know but it was a big deal for me just starting out. More importantly, that number increased every single month afterwards.

At about month 11 is when I read The Millionaire Fastlane and it completely changed how I viewed my business. I made a bunch of changes based on MJ's advice and started hitting 5 figure months about two months later.


DOES IT FOLLOW MJ'S COMMANDMENTS?

I need to mention that a digital marketing agency does NOT follow all of MJ's 5 business commandments. It breaks one - Barrier to Entry. Basically, anyone can do this. They really can.

BUT, that's also the catch - most people DON'T ACTUALLY EXECUTE! You can give them all the tools, step-by-step instructions, templates, etc and they still won't do anything. I know because I offer a course giving people literally everything they need and only a handful of people actually do the thing.

So in a way, the barrier to entry commandment is almost a non-issue. Besides, there's more than enough business out there.

With the other commandments (time, scale, control, & need), this kind of business passes with full marks.


MAKING $5K IN UNDER 90 DAYS

Why $5,000? Two reasons:
  1. It’s usually enough money for most people to quit their jobs to focus full time on the business
  2. It’s totally realistic & achievable
This is a number that most people can hit with some focused work. How fast you’re able to hit $5k is up to two things:
  1. Your Prices
  2. Your Hustle
Obviously, the more you sell, the more you’ll make. Keep in mind that some services typically cost more than others (for example: websites cost more than social media management)

Like I said, I made $2,450 in my first month. How did I make that money? I networked with people I already knew and got in touch with a few key business owners. I shook hands and spoke with everyone I knew.

Simply put, I hustled.

Hitting $5K in under 90 days is totally doable. I have students in my course that have done much more in less time.


WHAT IS AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY?

Before I give you a checklist, I have to answer, what is an online marketing agency?

There are a lot of names for this kind of business - internet marketing company, digital marketing agency, online marketing business, and more. They’re all the same thing.

In a nutshell, it’s a service-based business that manages the online marketing activities for companies of any size that are in need of growing their presence online – which is all of them.

This includes services like SEO, social media management, reputation management, website design, and more.

You can choose to focus in on just one branch of online marketing (like website design or SEO) or you can choose to do it all.

As the business owner, you’re responsible for creating the services that your clients will choose from.
Then you will need to recruit a team of people to do the actual work. You can even hire salespeople or a sales company later on and scale it infinitely.

There’s no shortage of businesses that need help with their online marketing so the sky’s the limit. There’s also no shortage of people who can do the actual work and you can contract them relatively inexpensively.

*NOTE: Building an online marketing agency might not be your passion.

It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that it offers you a way to sell a valuable service to real people who pay real money. You can quickly build this business, scale it up, and then do whatever the heck you want!

QUICK BENEFITS OF AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

The benefits primarily include:


  • You can get started for less than $300
  • Extremely low overhead
  • Large profit margin - you literally set the prices
  • Huge potential - an extra $50K/year or $500K/year - it's up to you
  • Work online
  • Flexible schedule

Benefits.png


THE 5 S's OF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

Starting and running a digital marketing agency breaks down into what I call the 5 S's.

1. Setup
2. Sales
3. Systems
4. Staffing
5. Scaling-Up

5-S.png


I'm going to break down the checklist into those 5 groups.

The rest of this post is literally made up of the steps you can follow to start your own digital marketing agency. If you have any questions, obviously I'll be paying attention to this thread. I won't hold anything back.

Just ask.

***

SETUP
This portion is to help you get started by establishing your business services, messaging & branding, website, and so forth. The goal is to move quickly to hurry and get to making sales.



  • Start thinking about your business brand including your business name. Think about what kind “feel” you want your business to have. Write out at least 10 possible names.
  • Look up “online marketing company” and check out the first few sites – the goal is to get a feel for what they do and what you’ll be doing.
  • Consider taking a class or two on Udemy.com or Lynda.com to get an overview of the online marketing world. Strongly consider also going to QuickSprout.com/University
  • Think about an industry you might like to serve (i.e. – chiropractors) and then look up “online marketing for chiropractors” or similar terms and study what comes up.
  • Write out (or type out) your motivation. Why are you interested in starting this business? Answer this with something more specific than “to have more money”. Get as specific as you can. Don’t skip the mental work!
  • List out the amount of money you would like to make in your first month, second month, following months. Include your first year’s goal.
  • Go online and look up other online marketing companies (again) – jot down everything that you like and that you would like to emulate.
  • Start thinking about what sets you apart. Ideally it can be summed up in one sentence. i.e. – “We provide SEO services for dental professionals”. This is your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Come up with your 3 packages. List out the services that each package entails. Yours may be just offering social media or just website design or whatever. Be sure to be detailed - list out everything.
  • Come up with your package pricing. Decide what you think is valuable for all parties involved and use this as a starting point (you’ll most likely adjust this as you get more experience). Use this pattern: $499/$599/$999 OR $999/$1199/$1699 and so on.
  • Identify and write out your USP.
  • Write what your ideal client looks like – the more details the better.
  • Decide right now you will stay true to your niche and not take on anyone and everyone who needs help “online”. It’s better to focus on a core audience to avoid wasting time and money. Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • Come up with your business name. Come up with your business tagline (if you need one).
  • Pick your colors. These can literally be your favorite colors. Don’t stress on this one.
  • Get a logo done (use 99designs.com, Upwork.com, or Fiverr.com) – don’t do it yourself unless you’re a graphic designer.
  • Write up your business plan. Print it out. Change as necessary. Just answer the following questions:
    o What is your company name?
    o What is your company tagline?
    o What services do you provide? What problem do you solve?
    o Who is your target audience or what does your ideal client look like?
    o What is your USP?
    o How much do you charge?
    o What is your monthly revenue goal?
    o How many new or repeat clients do you need to achieve this goal?
    o How do you get new clients?
    o How will you fulfill your services? Who makes up your production team?
    o Who are the other key players of your team? List their names and titles.

  • Set up your corporation (use LegalZoom – for now, just get a DBA and then incorporate once you’ve brought on a few clients and know this is going to work for you)
  • Set up your business checking & savings account. Set up your PayPal (or Stripe) business account.
  • Buy your domain name (use a registrar like GoDaddy.com). Buy your hosting (use a reliable & affordable host like SiteGround.com. Set up your website (use Wordpress – it’s super easy & all you need). Your host should have a 1-click Wordpress install.
  • Create a home page, about page, services page, & contact page to start. This is the minimum. Set up your social media platforms (Facebook business page, Twitter, Google+/YouTube, LinkedIn all a must. Pinterest, Instagram, etc are bonus).
  • Buy your business cards (and nothing else) Use VistaPrint.com because they’re super cheap. Only order 250 for your first cards. You may change some info later.


SALES
This portion is to help you start making sales - the lifeblood of your business. If you’re not making sales, you don’t have a business.



  • Get your first sale (work your own personal network to get started – make a list of 10 business owners you know or your friends/family might know and approach them offering them a discount or added value to get started).
  • Complete the work of your first sale and be sure to get results! If you don’t know how to do any of it, go to UpWork.com and hire someone immediately – see next section.
  • Document all of your work – you’ll need this to scale & build a team.
  • Get your next 3 clients quickly. Go to networking meetings in your area. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce and possibly a BNI group or other networking group.
  • Use online directories like Manta.com to find more businesses in your chosen niche. When you find their contact info, reach out to them leading with value - do a mock-up website with their info, list out specific tips to drive more business, or share exactly how they could tweak their online presence for increased traffic and conversion, etc. Think value!
  • Reach out to associations in your chosen niche and offer to give free webinars.
  • Optimize your company website to reach your target niche and drive traffic to it – have specific pages on your website that you get to rank in Google for organic traffic (i.e. – a page on “Search Engine Optimization Services for Chiropractors”). Then get it ranking and collect leads.
  • Continue to look up the Chambers of Commerce in your area and other mixers and networking opportunities. Look to set up 1-on-1’s with potential clients but only ones in your niche. Don’t waste time with anyone else!
  • Set up speaking and teaching gigs to get in front of a lot of people at once. Be as helpful as possible. Give your best stuff away for free - be incredibly detailed.


SYSTEMS
Once you have some sales coming in, you need to make sure you document everything and create systems in order for others to do the work for you. This also includes establishing what tools you use in your business. It’s simple but incredibly important.



  • Create a sales manual and a production manual. Be detailed and use bullet points.
  • Set up your work email (use Google apps or even just gmail to make it easy and route your Name@Company.com email through it)
  • Set up your account in Asana.com – it’s free and it will be your project management tool. Name each new project after your client name. Each project is a client & list out in the project all of the work you said you would do in the list of services.
  • Set your file storage using DropBox or Google Drive.
  • Set up your bookkeeping with Quickbooks


STAFFING
Getting a team in place to do the work for you is key to your growth. You need to hire, train, and lead your team members. As soon as possible, you’ll hire more team members to make sure all work is being done effectively.



  • Create a company org chart with you as owner. Create a general manager position with manager positions also in sales, production/operations, & finance.
  • List out the work for your first job (base this off of your services in your game plan). Then go to Upwork.com or OnlineJobs.ph and post your job.
  • Interview your top 3 candidates. Hire 1 but keep the other two on a short-list for when you need them in the future. Start them off on a part-time basis with the expectation of them doing more soon.
  • Hire your first employee or contractor – generally this is a production staff member first (you should not be doing the actual production beyond your first client).
  • Take time to train your first team member. Refine your systems and make sure they can operate independently of you as soon as possible. Use Asana (or Basecamp or Trello) to manage everything. If you’re concerned about tracking everything, consider using HubStaff.com.
  • As soon as revenue and need justifies it, hire another contractor. And then another. And another.


SCALING-UP
Once you have sales coming in and a team and systems in place, it’s time to scale-up. This section is all about refining your processes so that you can handle 5 or 500 clients while the work to you remains the same. In other words, this is how you make more money while working less.



  • Refine your services – productize them! When mapping out your services, make sure your offer is the same to everyone. If you choose a service like SEO for example, then it’s relatively the same regardless of the industry your client is in. Don’t match a service to the client. Match the client to one of your preexisting services.
  • Refine your clients - it’s OK & very necessary to the growth of your business to be choosy. Stay away from any "high maintenance" clients. Choose early on how you will handle communication with your clients. Most are just fine with email.
  • Refine your systems. Look for ways to save money, increase productivity, and so forth. When possible, swap out human effort with software and automated work.
  • Refine your sales. Spend money if necessary on advertising, always targeting your ideal niche/industry.
  • As soon as you have at least 90-day’s worth of savings in the bank, have made at least 3 sales (with a lot more in the pipeline), consider going full-time with your business. If you have a significant other, be sure to be on the same page.
  • Over-deliver with your clients. If the relationship is there, try asking for a referral but only if you’ve already done a great job.
***

That's it! Just sell. There's plenty of businesses out there. I don't mean to downplay it at all but really, I'm nobody special. I'm not like most of the successful hustlers in this forum. I'm a pretty average dude that managed to create a sweet business.

You can do the same. Just follow the checklist above.

If you have any questions, just ask!

-Sean
Hi Sean, in the meantime I congratulate you for the path you have taken and the results you are achieving. I have some questions :
- what exactly is Asana for? is it fundamental?
-I manage the marketing part of my company with Facebook, Instagram, SEO...do you think I can really advise other companies with my amateur experience?
-Once you get the client, how long does the work take?
-How much money do you typically charge for such a service ?
Thanks a lot for the post it was very interesting to read it.
 

Michelangelo1997

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 26, 2021
14
5
15
@Sean Marshall

I write my answer again; I don't know why Chrome translate it automatically...

This is a great story, inspirational and I hope to be able to do the same you did (even if I live in Italy and you cannot start a biz with $300. You need at least 5.000 €)

Anyway, can you share with us your results with your customers? Your portfolio?

If I check your bio, the link "familyrocket" brings me to a site with a digital online course for sale.

Can you show us your actual work for your customers?

Thanks!
Ciao anche io sono italiano, sei sicuro che ci vogliono tutti quei soldi?
 

Joker_P5R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 4, 2020
32
18
42
Ciao anche io sono italiano, sei sicuro che ci vogliono tutti quei soldi?
Ciao Michelangelo,

dipende dal regime di partita iva che apri.
In regime dei minimi no, te la cavi con meno. Ma se fatturi sui 20.000 euro, praticamente nulla, devi pagare 2.000 euro di imposta sostitutiva + il 26% di contributi. Ma, in Italia, sicuramente NON con 300 dollari.
Ti servono 300 euro solo per il commercialista. 300 euro per aprire la partita iva
Poi hai i costi per il sito
Devi pagare i freelance
E non sai se fatturi.

E, conta che se apri un'attività in affiliazione, non so se devi aprirla in regime ordinario: 4.000 euro fissi di contributi INPS, anche se fatturi zero.

In Italia non si applica il concetto USA della "mancanza di volontà". Col 70% di pressione fiscale non si tratta di volontà....
 

Michelangelo1997

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 26, 2021
14
5
15
Ciao Michelangelo,

dipende dal regime di partita iva che apri.
In regime dei minimi no, te la cavi con meno. Ma se fatturi sui 20.000 euro, praticamente nulla, devi pagare 2.000 euro di imposta sostitutiva + il 26% di contributi. Ma, in Italia, sicuramente NON con 300 dollari.
Ti servono 300 euro solo per il commercialista. 300 euro per aprire la partita iva
Poi hai i costi per il sito
Devi pagare i freelance
E non sai se fatturi.

E, conta che se apri un'attività in affiliazione, non so se devi aprirla in regime ordinario: 4.000 euro fissi di contributi INPS, anche se fatturi zero.

In Italia non si applica il concetto USA della "mancanza di volontà". Col 70% di pressione fiscale non si tratta di volontà....
Ho capito, io ho già un'azienda mia quindi questi costi li ho già affrontati.
I freelance all' inizio non li prendi però credo oppure no? Comunque si certo, è sempre un rischio
 

Joker_P5R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 4, 2020
32
18
42
Ho capito, io ho già un'azienda mia quindi questi costi li ho già affrontati.
I freelance all' inizio non li prendi però credo oppure no? Comunque si certo, è sempre un rischio
Se vuoi fare come Sean, il suo concetto si basa sul liberarsi il tempo.
Lui vende pacchetti e fa fare il lavoro a freelance.
Sean fa solo network, non fa altro. E si crea tempo
 

Michelangelo1997

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 26, 2021
14
5
15
Se vuoi fare come Sean, il suo concetto si basa sul liberarsi il tempo.
Lui vende pacchetti e fa fare il lavoro a freelance.
Sean fa solo network, non fa altro. E si crea tempo
Lui fa solo la sponsorizzata quindi ? Poi il lavoro lo fa fare ad altri, ma i freelance dove li trova ? Lavorano sicuramente per qualcuno
 

PatriciaJoyBless

New Contributor
Sep 2, 2021
1
1
1
I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. It's basically the story of how I started a digital marketing agency to be able to do cool stuff. And I would like to give you a nice little checklist that you could use as well if it interests you.

I started my business in 2010. Since then, I reduced my own work load to less than 10 hours a month, lived in Mexico for 4 1/2 years, traveled to 15 countries, and am prepping to head to Scotland for 6 months in Sept - all together with my wife & 3 kids.

I cracked the code to scaling a service-based business using detailed systems (a fancy checklist on Asana) and a good team (all based in the Philippines).

I made $2,450 in my first month. Not crazy I know but it was a big deal for me just starting out. More importantly, that number increased every single month afterwards.

At about month 11 is when I read The Millionaire Fastlane and it completely changed how I viewed my business. I made a bunch of changes based on MJ's advice and started hitting 5 figure months about two months later.


DOES IT FOLLOW MJ'S COMMANDMENTS?

I need to mention that a digital marketing agency does NOT follow all of MJ's 5 business commandments. It breaks one - Barrier to Entry. Basically, anyone can do this. They really can.

BUT, that's also the catch - most people DON'T ACTUALLY EXECUTE! You can give them all the tools, step-by-step instructions, templates, etc and they still won't do anything. I know because I offer a course giving people literally everything they need and only a handful of people actually do the thing.

So in a way, the barrier to entry commandment is almost a non-issue. Besides, there's more than enough business out there.

With the other commandments (time, scale, control, & need), this kind of business passes with full marks.


MAKING $5K IN UNDER 90 DAYS

Why $5,000? Two reasons:
  1. It’s usually enough money for most people to quit their jobs to focus full time on the business
  2. It’s totally realistic & achievable
This is a number that most people can hit with some focused work. How fast you’re able to hit $5k is up to two things:
  1. Your Prices
  2. Your Hustle
Obviously, the more you sell, the more you’ll make. Keep in mind that some services typically cost more than others (for example: websites cost more than social media management)

Like I said, I made $2,450 in my first month. How did I make that money? I networked with people I already knew and got in touch with a few key business owners. I shook hands and spoke with everyone I knew.

Simply put, I hustled.

Hitting $5K in under 90 days is totally doable. I have students in my course that have done much more in less time.


WHAT IS AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY?

Before I give you a checklist, I have to answer, what is an online marketing agency?

There are a lot of names for this kind of business - internet marketing company, digital marketing agency, online marketing business, and more. They’re all the same thing.

In a nutshell, it’s a service-based business that manages the online marketing activities for companies of any size that are in need of growing their presence online – which is all of them.

This includes services like SEO, social media management, reputation management, website design, and more.

You can choose to focus in on just one branch of online marketing (like website design or SEO) or you can choose to do it all.

As the business owner, you’re responsible for creating the services that your clients will choose from.
Then you will need to recruit a team of people to do the actual work. You can even hire salespeople or a sales company later on and scale it infinitely.

There’s no shortage of businesses that need help with their online marketing so the sky’s the limit. There’s also no shortage of people who can do the actual work and you can contract them relatively inexpensively.

*NOTE: Building an online marketing agency might not be your passion.

It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that it offers you a way to sell a valuable service to real people who pay real money. You can quickly build this business, scale it up, and then do whatever the heck you want!

QUICK BENEFITS OF AN ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

The benefits primarily include:


  • You can get started for less than $300
  • Extremely low overhead
  • Large profit margin - you literally set the prices
  • Huge potential - an extra $50K/year or $500K/year - it's up to you
  • Work online
  • Flexible schedule

Benefits.png


THE 5 S's OF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY

Starting and running a digital marketing agency breaks down into what I call the 5 S's.

1. Setup
2. Sales
3. Systems
4. Staffing
5. Scaling-Up

5-S.png


I'm going to break down the checklist into those 5 groups.

The rest of this post is literally made up of the steps you can follow to start your own digital marketing agency. If you have any questions, obviously I'll be paying attention to this thread. I won't hold anything back.

Just ask.

***

SETUP
This portion is to help you get started by establishing your business services, messaging & branding, website, and so forth. The goal is to move quickly to hurry and get to making sales.



  • Start thinking about your business brand including your business name. Think about what kind “feel” you want your business to have. Write out at least 10 possible names.
  • Look up “online marketing company” and check out the first few sites – the goal is to get a feel for what they do and what you’ll be doing.
  • Consider taking a class or two on Udemy.com or Lynda.com to get an overview of the online marketing world. Strongly consider also going to QuickSprout.com/University
  • Think about an industry you might like to serve (i.e. – chiropractors) and then look up “online marketing for chiropractors” or similar terms and study what comes up.
  • Write out (or type out) your motivation. Why are you interested in starting this business? Answer this with something more specific than “to have more money”. Get as specific as you can. Don’t skip the mental work!
  • List out the amount of money you would like to make in your first month, second month, following months. Include your first year’s goal.
  • Go online and look up other online marketing companies (again) – jot down everything that you like and that you would like to emulate.
  • Start thinking about what sets you apart. Ideally it can be summed up in one sentence. i.e. – “We provide SEO services for dental professionals”. This is your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Come up with your 3 packages. List out the services that each package entails. Yours may be just offering social media or just website design or whatever. Be sure to be detailed - list out everything.
  • Come up with your package pricing. Decide what you think is valuable for all parties involved and use this as a starting point (you’ll most likely adjust this as you get more experience). Use this pattern: $499/$599/$999 OR $999/$1199/$1699 and so on.
  • Identify and write out your USP.
  • Write what your ideal client looks like – the more details the better.
  • Decide right now you will stay true to your niche and not take on anyone and everyone who needs help “online”. It’s better to focus on a core audience to avoid wasting time and money. Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • Come up with your business name. Come up with your business tagline (if you need one).
  • Pick your colors. These can literally be your favorite colors. Don’t stress on this one.
  • Get a logo done (use 99designs.com, Upwork.com, or Fiverr.com) – don’t do it yourself unless you’re a graphic designer.
  • Write up your business plan. Print it out. Change as necessary. Just answer the following questions:
    o What is your company name?
    o What is your company tagline?
    o What services do you provide? What problem do you solve?
    o Who is your target audience or what does your ideal client look like?
    o What is your USP?
    o How much do you charge?
    o What is your monthly revenue goal?
    o How many new or repeat clients do you need to achieve this goal?
    o How do you get new clients?
    o How will you fulfill your services? Who makes up your production team?
    o Who are the other key players of your team? List their names and titles.

  • Set up your corporation (use LegalZoom – for now, just get a DBA and then incorporate once you’ve brought on a few clients and know this is going to work for you)
  • Set up your business checking & savings account. Set up your PayPal (or Stripe) business account.
  • Buy your domain name (use a registrar like GoDaddy.com). Buy your hosting (use a reliable & affordable host like SiteGround.com. Set up your website (use Wordpress – it’s super easy & all you need). Your host should have a 1-click Wordpress install.
  • Create a home page, about page, services page, & contact page to start. This is the minimum. Set up your social media platforms (Facebook business page, Twitter, Google+/YouTube, LinkedIn all a must. Pinterest, Instagram, etc are bonus).
  • Buy your business cards (and nothing else) Use VistaPrint.com because they’re super cheap. Only order 250 for your first cards. You may change some info later.


SALES
This portion is to help you start making sales - the lifeblood of your business. If you’re not making sales, you don’t have a business.



  • Get your first sale (work your own personal network to get started – make a list of 10 business owners you know or your friends/family might know and approach them offering them a discount or added value to get started).
  • Complete the work of your first sale and be sure to get results! If you don’t know how to do any of it, go to UpWork.com and hire someone immediately – see next section.
  • Document all of your work – you’ll need this to scale & build a team.
  • Get your next 3 clients quickly. Go to networking meetings in your area. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce and possibly a BNI group or other networking group.
  • Use online directories like Manta.com to find more businesses in your chosen niche. When you find their contact info, reach out to them leading with value - do a mock-up website with their info, list out specific tips to drive more business, or share exactly how they could tweak their online presence for increased traffic and conversion, etc. Think value!
  • Reach out to associations in your chosen niche and offer to give free webinars.
  • Optimize your company website to reach your target niche and drive traffic to it – have specific pages on your website that you get to rank in Google for organic traffic (i.e. – a page on “Search Engine Optimization Services for Chiropractors”). Then get it ranking and collect leads.
  • Continue to look up the Chambers of Commerce in your area and other mixers and networking opportunities. Look to set up 1-on-1’s with potential clients but only ones in your niche. Don’t waste time with anyone else!
  • Set up speaking and teaching gigs to get in front of a lot of people at once. Be as helpful as possible. Give your best stuff away for free - be incredibly detailed.


SYSTEMS
Once you have some sales coming in, you need to make sure you document everything and create systems in order for others to do the work for you. This also includes establishing what tools you use in your business. It’s simple but incredibly important.



  • Create a sales manual and a production manual. Be detailed and use bullet points.
  • Set up your work email (use Google apps or even just gmail to make it easy and route your Name@Company.com email through it)
  • Set up your account in Asana.com – it’s free and it will be your project management tool. Name each new project after your client name. Each project is a client & list out in the project all of the work you said you would do in the list of services.
  • Set your file storage using DropBox or Google Drive.
  • Set up your bookkeeping with Quickbooks


STAFFING
Getting a team in place to do the work for you is key to your growth. You need to hire, train, and lead your team members. As soon as possible, you’ll hire more team members to make sure all work is being done effectively.



  • Create a company org chart with you as owner. Create a general manager position with manager positions also in sales, production/operations, & finance.
  • List out the work for your first job (base this off of your services in your game plan). Then go to Upwork.com or OnlineJobs.ph and post your job.
  • Interview your top 3 candidates. Hire 1 but keep the other two on a short-list for when you need them in the future. Start them off on a part-time basis with the expectation of them doing more soon.
  • Hire your first employee or contractor – generally this is a production staff member first (you should not be doing the actual production beyond your first client).
  • Take time to train your first team member. Refine your systems and make sure they can operate independently of you as soon as possible. Use Asana (or Basecamp or Trello) to manage everything. If you’re concerned about tracking everything, consider using HubStaff.com.
  • As soon as revenue and need justifies it, hire another contractor. And then another. And another.


SCALING-UP
Once you have sales coming in and a team and systems in place, it’s time to scale-up. This section is all about refining your processes so that you can handle 5 or 500 clients while the work to you remains the same. In other words, this is how you make more money while working less.



  • Refine your services – productize them! When mapping out your services, make sure your offer is the same to everyone. If you choose a service like SEO for example, then it’s relatively the same regardless of the industry your client is in. Don’t match a service to the client. Match the client to one of your preexisting services.
  • Refine your clients - it’s OK & very necessary to the growth of your business to be choosy. Stay away from any "high maintenance" clients. Choose early on how you will handle communication with your clients. Most are just fine with email.
  • Refine your systems. Look for ways to save money, increase productivity, and so forth. When possible, swap out human effort with software and automated work.
  • Refine your sales. Spend money if necessary on advertising, always targeting your ideal niche/industry.
  • As soon as you have at least 90-day’s worth of savings in the bank, have made at least 3 sales (with a lot more in the pipeline), consider going full-time with your business. If you have a significant other, be sure to be on the same page.
  • Over-deliver with your clients. If the relationship is there, try asking for a referral but only if you’ve already done a great job.
***

That's it! Just sell. There's plenty of businesses out there. I don't mean to downplay it at all but really, I'm nobody special. I'm not like most of the successful hustlers in this forum. I'm a pretty average dude that managed to create a sweet business.

You can do the same. Just follow the checklist above.

If you have any questions, just ask!

-Sean
Wow . I love your post. Thanks @Sean Marshall
 

Michelangelo1997

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 26, 2021
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Li trova sui siti di freelancing.
Ma tu, che azienda hai?
Mi riferivo al fatto dei lavori, come fa a prenderli? fa sponsorizzazioni di qualcosa? non l'ho ben capito.
La mia azienda si occupa di vendita su Amazon e posseggo un brand di prima infanzia, prodotti per bambini, tu?
Li trova sui siti di freelancing.
Ma tu, che azienda hai?
 

Joker_P5R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Feb 4, 2020
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@Sean Marshall

I write my answer again; I don't know why Chrome translate it automatically...

This is a great story, inspirational and I hope to be able to do the same you did (even if I live in Italy and you cannot start a biz with $300. You need at least 5.000 €)

Anyway, can you share with us your results with your customers? Your portfolio?

If I check your bio, the link "familyrocket" brings me to a site with a digital online course for sale.

Can you show us your actual work for your customers?

Thanks!

Hi @Sean Marshall

It's the Joker again...

I'm curious and inspired by your work.
Can you share with us your work for your customers?

Because if I check your website, I only see a digital marketing course for sale...

Many Thanks, it will be inspirational for me
 

Sean Marshall

Independent since 2010
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Aug 17, 2011
236
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San Diego, CA
Hi @Sean Marshall

It's the Joker again...

I'm curious and inspired by your work.
Can you share with us your work for your customers?

Because if I check your website, I only see a digital marketing course for sale...

Many Thanks, it will be inspirational for me

I think I've said this in this forum somewhere before, but I'm not comfortable sharing my clients here. I've been burned before by people trying to poach them. It doesn't work. My clients literally tell me.

Hope that doesn't sound crass but I will give you pretty much anything else you'd like to know.
 

Joker_P5R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 4, 2020
32
18
42
I think I've said this in this forum somewhere before, but I'm not comfortable sharing my clients here. I've been burned before by people trying to poach them. It doesn't work. My clients literally tell me.

Hope that doesn't sound crass but I will give you pretty much anything else you'd like to know.
You're right, it's legit.

But only some screenshots, hiding the name of your customers.
I mean, you sell a digital marketing course that reproduces your method.

I just want to see your method in action for actual companies in various markets, not only the people that surely are satisfied of your digital marketing course and write their review for the course.
 

Sean Marshall

Independent since 2010
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 17, 2011
236
1,541
466
San Diego, CA
You're right, it's legit.

But only some screenshots, hiding the name of your customers.
I mean, you sell a digital marketing course that reproduces your method.

I just want to see your method in action for actual companies in various markets, not only the people that surely are satisfied of your digital marketing course and write their review for the course.

This is a free post where I break down my business model but there's absolutely nothing proprietary about it - which is why I mentioned in the very first post that it breaks MJ's Barrier to Entry commandment. Anyone can do it.

I'm no different from any of the other schmucks out there promoting how to start a digital marketing agency. I have no secret sauce. I have no secret methods. Literally everything I learned came from Google & YouTube and actually doing it.

I just happen to have been successful with it because I sold. A lot.

I mean, I've had the business for 11 years now. It's still what puts food on the table for my family. Over the years, it's changed from starting as just a social media management to website design to SEO to FB ads to all of that together.

What do you want to see? Screenshots of FB posts for a hair salon? SEO results for an adhesive manufacturing company? A website that we built for a dentist?

It wouldn't really matter.

This post is pretty much the same as the course - I just go a bit deeper with the same concepts and share templates, etc. (Side note - I sell the course for $99 - NOT some ridiculously inflated price like many others I see online from people with way less experience). It doesn't recommend any one specific method of agency.

Like this post, it breaks down the core components of what you need to do in an organized way. That's it. This gives everyone the flexibility to choose their own kind of agency.

Want to start a social media management agency? This will give you some structure. Want to start a website design agency? Same.

This post (& my little course) just gives some much needed structure to starting the business (instead of having to search Google & YouTube for everything like I had to).

But just for fun, for anyone reading this post - I feel that the best specific kind of agency to start right now would be an ad leads conversion agency. Meaning, at least when getting started, ignore social media and SEO and all that and focus solely on booking appointments for your clients. Use software like ALAN, ClickFunnels, GHL, or whatever. Then set up funnels, run ads, automate as much as you can, show a tangible ROI, and actually drive real revenue.

In my own agency, we're currently migrating all client services over to just that. No clients really care about those cutesy LinkedIn posts. They only care about the phone ringing more with new customers.

But I digress. Anyway, that's it. No secrets. If this is something you're interested in doing, cool. Otherwise, I might recommend looking at the other fantastic content on this forum. Hope this helps!
 

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