20 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Starting My 7 Figure Agency

Owning a Digital Marketing Agency is like finding parking at Trader Joes.  Some days, you rock up and everything falls into place – other days, it’s essentially like stepping into a scene from Mad Max.

Like with most other things in life, we must be willing to adapt and transform. Without adaptation, we run the risk of being left behind with all the other stubborn marketers who are quietly mumbling to themselves, “but this is the way we’ve ALWAYS done it.”

In my 11 years as a digital marketer, business owner, and professional problem solver, I’ve seen this industry grow in a lot of ways. I’ve also seen myself grow in a lot of ways, in order to keep up.

As I was browsing a marketing group on Facebook last night, I came across a question that took me back to my early days of digital marketing.

The question was:

“What do you wish you had known when you were first getting started?”

So, in this constantly-shifting line of work, I’ve decided to compile a list of 20 (never-changing) principles that I wish I knew when starting out.

01

The top end of the market is the same amount of work as the bottom end of the market.

02

Perception is everything! Everyone has a different standard for what things they consider “expensive”. If you asked a multi-millionaire for $100K, they’d consider that chump change. But ask someone making $100K a year and, all of a sudden, $1,000 seems like a lot.

03

Don’t waste your time at the bottom. Be a voracious learner and go straight for the top with a money-back guarantee. But, most importantly… test, test, test. People with money care more about if you’re doing the right things over whether or not you’re getting the results right away. They are always looking for that person that has the A-player mentality like them. A person capable of finding solutions to problems on their own and not waiting to be told what to do.

04

Document and case study everything. Build your personal brand to suit your personality-style and what you stand for. You can’t put a price on how much this will be worth to you in the next 5,10,or even 20 years to come.

05

If you’re building an agency, pick up the book Scaling Up and read it 6 times over. You can thank me later.

06

Money is abundant, the important part is how you go about getting it.

07

Learn to ask better questions. Tim Ferriss is a master of this.

Example questions:

  • What would this look like if it were easy?
  • If I had $10 million dollars, how would I do this differently?
  • How can I throw money at this problem?
  • If I inverted this entirely what would it look like?
08

Develop a second brain. “Zettelkasten”. Google it, learn it, love it. Ryan Holiday swears by it. I’ve developed a digital version that works amazingly for me.

09

Develop your memory. Find out what a “Memory Palace” is (or “Journey Mapping”). This will allow you to have amazing amounts of information at your fingertips.

10

Be ruthless with your filtering of people and information. It’s true when they say that you’re the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Don’t believe me? Most of the top artists in hip hop have all centered around Dr. Dre and Jimmy. Some of the top companies also originally came from the team at Paypal.

11

Copywriting and Psychology are the most valuable skills you can have. They’re 2 core things that will stay the same, regardless of what platform and market changes come your way. Learn how to communicate to people in a way that makes them want to buy from you and also learn to understand WHY they buy. These are also vital skills to have in negotiations.

12

Forget the tactics. Look at the deeper core concepts. Tactics are for chumps. Core concepts, that are applicable across multiple media, are where it’s at.

Example: You can be a terrible media buyer and still kill it when you have advertisements like the Harmon Brothers because it’s entertainment that solves a problem.

13

BE YOU. Don’t act like someone else. There are enough people in the world that like you for who you really are. Not everyone is going to like you. And that’s ok, you don’t have to waste your time with them. You just don’t gel well together.

14

Have a chip on your shoulder. Hold a grudge. Have something you need to prove. You need motivation.

15

It’s okay to start before you have goals, a mission, or values. However, having them will help accelerate you towards what you want faster. (Once you figure out what you want, that is). These things may come naturally along the way after you start your journey. But the only way to find out is to JUST START!

16

Work in 30-90 day sprints of just focusing on one core area. Focus is necessary to keep yourself from multitasking too much. Don’t make yourself busy just for the sake of being busy. That’s a recipe for going nowhere…fast.

17

You are the sum of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Pay for some damn good mentors so you become the average of them.

18

You know nothing. You aren’t even aware yet of what you don’t know. But as you learn more, you’ll develop a greater understanding of what you don’t know and it’s vast!

19

Learn how to handle finances. Make your finances work for you, or you’ll end up working for them.

And lastly, Number 20. Make it fun and enjoy it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

I hope this list has helped you. I’m sure I’ll keep adding to them as we continue to grow, learn and adapt.

Did any in particular stand out to you?

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