A journey of self-actualization.

Tag: How To Build A Business

How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Scaling The Company

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one. Several articles ago, I outlined three different critical weaknesses. These will cripple me…

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one.

Several articles ago, I outlined three different critical weaknesses. These will cripple me if I don’t master them:

  • My psychological weaknesses
  • Branding
  • Scalable business processes

I’ve already touched on my psychological weaknesses, as well as my branding. In this article, I’m going to explain how I’m scaling.

How I Started

So, for the first four years, I was taking direct contracts. This both brought in money and served my long-term branding.

I started with small single jobs. One at a time.

Then, I started taking larger contracts. Some of them corporate.

Those contracts served my long-term branding. This is because once you get a 5-star review, it’s yours forever.

People see it; it makes it much easier for them to trust you. And when they trust you, they buy from you.

It doesn’t matter what it is that they buy. In this case, it would be my skills as a marketing strategist.

But, the same pattern could apply to any conceivable product or service.

The problem I’ve faced up until this point, though, has been how many clients I can take at one time. I touched a bit on why I need to be the face of my marketing firm.

Why Scaling Is Critical

There are only so many hours in the day. And because most clients demand that it’s me who works on their businesses, I can only delegate but so much.

The client is speaking to me because of my branding. They may know that I have a team, sure.

But, it’s me they trust. It’s me that caught their attention enough for them to offer the contract.

And if it’s me they think they’re contracting with, I can’t delegate everything off. If I delegate all the work, then it’s not really me that’s serving the contract.

I would have taken the contract under false pretenses. It’s a form of false advertising.

So, this means that, no matter what, I have to be hands-on with the work myself. To some degree or another.

Some clients allow me full use of my team while contracted with them. Some don’t.

Thus, no matter what I do at this business stage, there is always a cap of how much revenue I can bring in at any one time. It’s based on how many hours I can devote to each client per week.

And each have their own respective needs.

Reaching The Next Level

For four years I considered different ways of reaching the million-dollar mark. No matter how I did the math, there was just no way I was going to be able to take on enough singular contracts.

Even if I jacked up my rates, I would be able to make over six figures per year. But, I wouldn’t make millions per year.

In theory, I could just promote my Upwork profile. I already receive about 15 or more job invites per week.

So, whether I’m able to get the conversions isn’t the problem. It’s how many can I handle at one time before I implode from the stress?

I knew that it was possible. But, it’s a puzzle, and a damned difficult one.

Thinking Differently

I realized that I had to change my perspective.

First, I had to let go of the fact that I could only work on but so many clients at one time. Even if I had jacked up my rates.

I am not scalable. A business is scalable, but I am not.

Thus, it’s natural to have a salary cap while working in this manner, trading my personal time for money.

So, there’s that.

But, there are other means of pulling in passive income with the same branding.

Not everyone can afford me at $60+ per hour to work on their individual contracts. Yet, they do indeed desire my skills.

They need my skills.

Considering Price Points

So, what about those people? Do I just blow them off?

Or, can I make them a different offer respective to their price point? By “price point,” I mean what they can afford.

Only a small percentage of the population can afford a $100 per hour marketing strategist.

Only a little larger percentage can afford a $60.

More can afford a $20. But, would you really want a strategist that only charges $20 per hour?

I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you can tell that they’re new but with impressive ideas.

Though, always keep in mind that ideas are one thing; experience is another.

You get what you pay for in the marketing industry, most times.

Think about that for a second. A good marketing strategist can make a business untold amounts of money.

If you are an experienced strategist, you’re not going to settle for anything under $40.

Why? Because there are far more startups than marketing strategists in the world.

Dreamy-eyed entrepreneurs with big egos are a dime a dozen. Good marketing strategists are not.

How I’m Scaling

So, here are the ways that I’ve thought to scale:

  • Writing books
  • Creating mastermind groups for different niches
  • Constructing online courses
  • Creating marketing software
  • Affiliate endorsements for a percentage of sales

Do you notice what they have in common?

None of them require my full presence.

I can dump a ton of knowledge and experience into a $14.99 book.

A $199 to $2,000 course is just as scalable.

These can reach people at varying budgets. I am not scalable, but different slices of my experience are.

You can also make countless dollars with creating your own marketing software. This would require building an R&D team for my marketing firm, but it can and has been done before by others.

Mastermind groups for different niches don’t need much of my time. Yet, they can hold thousands of members for a much lower monthly price than hiring me full time.

In mastermind groups, entrepreneurs can speak to me directly, but in a scalable way. It’s a class in which I can give advice to multiple people at once.

We can brainstorm ideas. What I say to one person can benefit another.

And everything’s personalized because people are paying for it in a controlled environment.

As the audience I build over time grows, I can then recommend to them the courses, books, etc. of other marketers. I can give my endorsement to my following, for a percentage of proceeds.

That’s affiliate marketing. Something I can make money with, continually, by just a single tweet or Facebook post. Much in the same way that people like Elon Musk make tons of money by just tweeting about a flamethrower.

The Obstacles I Have To Overcome To Scale

There will be many obstacles I’ll meet along the way. I’ll write about them in the next post.

But, in the meantime, do you see any holes in my logic? Do you have any ideas that I might have left out?

Let me know in a comment below.

If you liked this article, read the next one for more. Follow updates on the story of my goals to do so. Leave a comment with your thoughts, and I’ll respond.

No Comments on How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Scaling The Company

How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Overcoming My Mental Weaknesses

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one. I have three main obstacles when it comes to raising $10 million with…

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one.

I have three main obstacles when it comes to raising $10 million with my marketing firm:

  • My psychological weaknesses
  • Branding
  • Scalable business processes

My Psychological Weaknesses

If you’d like to read about my mental weaknesses, click here.

I am my own arch nemesis. Always have been. I’m afraid to put myself out there the way people like Sam Ovens does. Or Tai Lopez, Alex Becker, or Elon Musk.

There are many weaknesses that affect my productivity, but they are not critical. Only two are.

The two crippling weaknesses I have are the following:

  • How speaking to people drains my energy.
  • How I fear negative judgements.

If you understand my backstory, you’ll see that I’ve had to overcome a lot to get to where I am today. I didn’t have the same start the many other millionaires and billionaires have had.

I wasn’t given very nourishing parents. They’ll likely tell you that they were nourishing, and they won’t necessarily be lying to you.

My mother gave what she could, considering the limitations of her own perception. As well as the limitations of the strength of her sense of self. My step-father took care of me only out of obligation. It’s a long, sad, chaotic story.

From a history of child abuse and poverty, I’ve developed many mental inhibitions. I am aware of my inhibitions, which is why I can articulate to you my weaknesses.

Many would already call me successful, and I would agree with them, to an extent. Few people are able to figure out how to make six figures from their living room the way that I have.

However, what I’ve achieved so far is not enough for me. I want the next level.

Overcoming Extreme Introversion

So, the reason why I’m writing this blog is to break through my mental barriers. While providing value to others.

My mental anguish runs so deep that I’ve had to burn the time it takes to write over 300,000 pages of self-reflection. This is not an exaggeration. I’ve tried to launch several versions of this blog. I’ve written several editions of my memoir.

And I have hundreds of thousands of pages of rants and stream-of-consciousness writings. I use them to self-critique. To self-observe, and thus self-innovate and actualize.

To highlight where I’m lying to myself about my own capabilities.

Posting some of it for others to see has allowed me to gain constructive criticism of my character. Pingbacks about my sanity.

It’s also one of the best methods I’ve experienced for learning, in general. And releasing stress in a healthy, non-destructive way.

This means that I could have progressed in the maths, and different branches of science. If I had a better start, I would have.

I’ve had my IQ tested. Both before and after having skull tumors removed.

I could have been one of those kinds of people who wins the Fields medal.

But I’ve had to channel all the energy that those kinds of people put into their studies differently. Since an early age I’ve had to put more energy into repairing myself, than those subjects.

That’s why I’m just now earning my degree in physics, from one of the most elite schools in the world, at the age of 30.

I’m late to the party. I’ve not allowed my past to cripple me, but it is why I’m late to the party.

Coming To Terms With My Past

As I’m studying physics, I’m building my marketing firm to provide for my family and repair my culture.

To break the cycle that hurt me.

I want to do that so that future generations of my line can have a better chance of actualizing in that direction.

If they choose.

They won’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough food to eat. If they get sick, they’ll have medical care. They won’t have to go through what I went through in the beginning.

This has been a decision I’ve made. I’m no victim.

I’ve made this decision because I know what would have happened if I hadn’t.

If I had chosen to progress in academia before I was mentally healed, it would be another typical story. There are people winning awards of all sorts, every day, for different breakthroughs.

I knew that I would have ended up in the newspaper. Perhaps, there would have been a conversation or two in different circles about my work.

It may have inspired some entrepreneur to productize it, somehow.

But I know this:

There’s just as much a need to heal humanity as there is to advance it

There’s no point in working to save humanity if you’re not producing good humans to save, in the first place.

I may have turned out to be a great scientist, but not a good human being. If I procreated, then I would have also produced broken people.

Those broken people would have produced more broken people.

And so on, and so forth. Which leads me to ask the great philosophical question: Why?

Why care about the human species to have that kind of drive in that direction, to begin with?

Why is Elon Musk working to get us on Mars? What’s the point if broken people get on that rocket?

They will only create more broken people on Mars. And it will only end up being more of the same.

Needless wars. Broken homes. Just on a different planet.

It doesn’t really matter if we’re broken on Earth or on Mars.

We’re still broken.

What exactly are we escaping, if not ourselves? It’s not climate change. Not in the deepest truth, no.

Speaking To Anyone Drains My Energy

So, I know why I want to earn $10 million dollars. I have the drive for it. That’s not in question.

I want to earn $10 million dollars so that I can use it to rebuild my culture and reset a generational broken bone. To lay a foundation.

Then, the members of my tribe can achieve far more advancements in many directions. Beyond what only one broken scientist could ever.

But, I have a key problem: Speaking to anyone drains my energy.

Responding to comments drains my energy. Dealing with enviers on social media as I advertise drains my energy. Constantly being judged drains my energy.

Sociality itself drains my energy.

Thus, because I need to put myself out there to achieve my goals, I can only do so in spurts of energy. At least, until I can go back to non-social work, such as developing products with physics.

That’s what Wolven Industries will be for. The nature of that industry is different than the marketing industry.

In the technological industry, I can work on products and pay someone else to be the marketer.

But, I chose marketing first, because I wanted to understand how economics works.

You can read my thoughts on why scientists tend not to earn as much as marketers and celebrities, here.

So, I just have to move in baby steps during this stage, to build my personal brand.

What are your thoughts? Am I lying to myself somewhere? How? What could I be doing better?

What are some of your mental barriers?

If you liked this article, read more as I update this blog while I accomplish my goals.

Be sure to read the next one in the series.

1 Comment on How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Overcoming My Mental Weaknesses

How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Branding

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one. There is a cap to how much you can do, per client, on…

This article is the continuation of a series. Make sure you read the article before this one.

There is a cap to how much you can do, per client, on your own.

This exists because there are only so many hours in a day. You only have so much energy.

Such is the case for any business, but particularly a marketing firm.

The reason why is branding. What I’ve had to learn about what branding works to actually make money in the industry.

The Bitter Truth About Branding In The Marketing Industry

There was once a client that I worked with: a marketing startup from Italy. The CEO became a friend of mine for a time, but his ego got in the way of his success.

He didn’t want to be a leader; he wanted to be a business owner. To be hands-off, with everything scaled.

Delegation is critical to good leadership, but he had gone about it backwards.

He needed to be the front man of this specific business, but he was at the backend. This meant being in charge of sales and conversions.

Before anything else, a CEO’s first duty is to bring in cash for the business. They can accomplish this in one of two ways, while delegating the other:

  • Working on the business (what I call “macro.”)
  • Working for the business (what I call “micro.”)

In this context, macro work would be developing the website. Developing content, and the strategic vision of the company.

Micro work would be working to meet the desires of clients themselves.

It’s almost impossible to do both in an effective manner on your own. Not only because each one requires its own time and effort. But, also because of the natural weaknesses of the CEO.

The CEO is human. Some may have extroverted personalities; others may have introverted.

  • Extroverts are likely better suited to work micro.
  • Introverts are likely better suited to work macro.

If we had been in a different industry, he could have focused only in macro. That would have been fine.

But we weren’t in a different industry; we were in marketing. And marketers have a terrible international reputation for being full of fluff.

Thus, clients need to see who you are, in this industry.

Think: How do world-famous marketers like Neil Patel, Derek Halpern, and Alex Becker market themselves? They’re all up in the camera. Yet, with the exception of Patel’s, their businesses aren’t themselves. They do have teams, with scaling, going on.

They’re just delegating in the reverse way that my Italian client, at the time, wanted to do it.

Why? Because that’s the nature of our industry. Because that’s what the customers want. It’s never about what we want; it’s always about what the customer wants.

The Best Way To Brand A Marketing Agency

So, for a marketing firm, it doesn’t matter what kind of personality type you have. If you want the best shots at conversions, you’ve got to put a real face at the front of your company.

This has been a huge challenge for me as an extreme introvert. I’ve tried several times to be at the helm with video content, but I fail to remain consistent with it.

This is because I haven’t mastered the ability to step that far out of my comfort zone. Not all introverts are the same. It’s a spectrum, and I’m at the extreme end. Thus, I write.

Clients want to know that the life savings they’re investing in their business are going into the right hands. Trustworthy hands.

They don’t want to speak to an avatar; they want to speak to a human.

Starting off as a freelancer on Upwork.com taught me this. I expelled enough mental energy to put up a decent intro video to my landing page.

This, combined with great copywriting, my formal education, and reviews, has worked. But they did need to see my face. They needed to see my picture, both in the profile and in the video.

Here was the video. Ignore the “Stratagem” branding. That was before we rebranded our marketing firm to OMI:

If I had hid my face with the OMI Firm mask logo only, I would have had a much harder time up until this point.

My friend, the CEO of the Italian firm, didn’t want to hear that, though. He didn’t want to be the face of his business, because that would mean speaking to clients.

If he had to speak to clients, then he was likely to have to work for them.

If he had to work for them, that all meant that he would be trading his time for money. This, to him, was not good business leadership.

I tried to explain to him the micro/macro concept. That he could work micro but delegate everything macro. But, he didn’t want hear that, either.

He wanted both macro and micro delegated, under an avatar that wasn’t even that personable.

The Unwillingness To Be Uncomfortable

Flash forward several weeks later. We’ve brought in zero sales.

Because he didn’t want to do any work himself, he burned through his resources. Imagine burning several thousand dollars on a simple brochure.

He did do some basic macro stuff, such as creating a basic strategy template. But, that was about it.

Then, I came up with an idea: Each of his key marketing strategists (including me) could represent the brand!

…but he didn’t like that, either. Because it wouldn’t be his brand that people would convert for. It’d be the individual strategists.

In that case, why would the marketing strategist pay him for the client? That didn’t make any sense.

Well, it would have if he tracked all traffic coming through the website. Then, if he gave us each a quota, he could fire us if we didn’t bring in enough clients.

This way, even if we did cheat him, he would always have a bottom line met.

But, I did see his point.

The Only Way Forward

I told him that the only realistic way forward was for him to step up and be the face of the company.

It was the only way.

But, then came his insecurities. He thought that because he was Italian, people wouldn’t take him seriously.

Well, I responded, “Sir, I’m black and I get clients. Technically, you’re a client of mine. You found me. You didn’t mind that I was black. Hired me, anyway. Italians have a better international reputation in the business world than blacks do. If there’s anyone who should be having trouble with conversions, it’s me, not you. And if you do have trouble with conversions, you should still be doing better than me.”

…by that logic, anyhow.

But, he still didn’t want to hear it.

So, what happened? We decided to do an a/b split test.

The Test

We set up two landing pages.

For one, I was the leading face; for the other, he was.

Guess what happened? Guess who got more conversions?

…well, I did.

But not because he was Italian. It was because of my branding accolades.

I had real reviews people could track. A real education people could verify.

I had a real Upwork account that people could trust, because of third-party hour and wage tracking. An actual portfolio that people could download and sift through.

In other words, I could prove that I had true experience. I could prove that I had spent genuine time in trenches. With (at the time) nearly 50 successful businesses under my belt.

So, what I had proven was that it was, indeed, a matter of branding. Not the idea itself.

People do want help; they just want help they can trust. They want someone real.

Not a robot. No one wants to feel like they’re going through a drivethrough, treated as a nonentity.

In the end, he went bankrupt, because he simply refused to get out of his comfort zone. Or, at least, evolve to what he could of his strengths, considering his weaknesses. Which is what I’m doing.

I don’t produce video content as easily or as often as I do written, because I’m not good in front of the camera. But, at least, this is really me you’re reading words from.

I wrote this. My name is on it. You can background check me.

That’s what he didn’t get. Or, rather, he did understand, but just chose not to take that path.

How I’m Branding

So, how I’m branding is first with the development of my name on the Internet. That’s what this blog exists for.

People can get to know me, the real me, with this blog. They can read the work of a man who is willing to get his hands dirty.

Even though I’m introverted, I’m tripling down on my strengths: writing, at the very least.

I may not produce a video as often, but at least it’s something. And I’m the one who actually speaks to clients when they message or call. They speak directly to me. No middleman.

Meanwhile, I am delegating as a good leader would: in macro tasks.

I’ll split my energy into 10% macro, 90% micro.

I’ve worked hard to build a team that can create other content that I can trust for the brand. I set goals with deadlines, and then step the hell out of their way.

Read the next article for more. Follow updates on the story of my goals to do so. Leave a comment with your thoughts, and I’ll respond.

No Comments on How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Branding

How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Starting Out

It sounds lofty, but not to someone like me. Not to someone who has an intuitive understanding of economics. Who has helped almost 100 businesses to grow in his lifetime,…

It sounds lofty, but not to someone like me. Not to someone who has an intuitive understanding of economics. Who has helped almost 100 businesses to grow in his lifetime, and counting.

There’s no secret for how to get rich in a legal way.

Here’s how I’m going about it:

  • Minimizing my living expenses.
  • Choosing a market of a certain size.
  • Developing a product or service to fit that market.
  • Starting small.
  • Scaling my ability to sell it, that product or service, over time.
  • I’ve written an answer that’s more in-depth, here.

There are two markets I target:

  • Entrepreneurs who are in the startup phase with their companies
  • Marketing agencies who are looking to white-label my skill

There have been exceptions to these two rules. However, these are my two primary targets.

I’ve been in business for about four years. It’s been a hell of a stressful ride.

I started as a freelancer on Elance. Then, Elance got taken over by Upwork.

I started off doing small jobs to get the initial five-star reviews that I needed for branding. Then, I increased my pricing from $20 per hour to ~$60-75 per hour, over time.

You can see my Upwork profile, here.

Meanwhile, I’ve struggled with two major problems:

  • Pulling in clients from my website, thus becoming independent from Upwork
  • Scaling how many clients I could take at one time

Pulling In Clients From My Website

Marketing the skill of marketing for marketing’s sake is a killer-complicated task. At least, in the beginning, if you have a low budget.

There is unbelievable competition when trying to pull clients from your website.

The reason why is because marketers are a dime a dozen. We all know many of the same basic tactics, which don’t exist in other industries.

For instance, don’t even think about trying Google AdWords if you’re first starting out. The prices per click in the marketing industry are much higher than they’d be in other industries.

You’d be bidding against a ton of people who all have the same Google certification that you do.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible. Of course, it’s not.

You just have to be ready to enter the marketing industry from your website. You’ve got to have the capital to do it right, the financial fuel to make the cost per acquisitions.

What is Cost Per Acquisition?

“Cost per acquisition (CPA)” is a term used to describe how much money you need to invest in marketing to make a sale.

For instance, let’s say you’re using Google AdWords:

  • You’re targeting a keyword that costs $3 per click.
  • You have a 3% conversion rate. This means that 3% of people who see the ad, click on it.
  • Out of that 3% conversion rate, 15% of them actually become an interested lead.

What this means is that you’re going to have to pay $300 for 100 people to click your ad.

Then, out of that 100 people, only 15 show genuine interest enough to contact you.

Then, let’s say that only one, out of those 15, converts into a genuine contract. Your “price per acquisition” or “CPA” is thus $300.

This means, at the end of the day, you’re paying $300 per customer.

To make any profit at all, that customer better generate over $300 of revenue. Not just $301, but $300, plus whatever resources it takes to serve their needs.

So, for me, let’s say that the average contract is worth $2,000 in revenue. Some may be worth a little less; others may be worth a little more. But, let’s imagine that the average revenue generated by one client/customer is $2,000.

Moreover, let’s say it takes $200 to serve them. Excluding the price of my education needed to develop my skills.

That’s $500 I’m paying, total. Per customer and completed contract.

This means $1,500 in profit.

$2,000 – (CPA + Cost to serve) = $1,500

But, first, you need the $500 of capital sitting ready to get that first contract. Assuming that your branding is already perfect.

Why It’s So Difficult For Newbies

If your branding is bad, people aren’t going to convert, which can lead to an infinitely higher CPA.

If your CPA gets too high, you won’t be able to make any profit, even if you do land a client/customer. This means going out of business.

Why this is so hard for startups in the marketing industry is because they don’t have the branding they need. They’re new.

They have little to no reviews. Little to no content. Nobody knows them.

They have to create all the content. Earn all the reviews. To go through the process needed to come off as a truly trustworthy brand.

Then, they can hope for a CPA as cheap as $300 in an industry as competitive as marketing. Competing against other marketers doing the same exact things.

Is it impossible? No.

But, is it damned difficult? Absolutely.

And it’s not a path I’d recommend taking if my family’s food is on the line.

If You Don’t Have Capital

If you don’t have the starting capital, then you’re going to pay its equal in time. Building links in the marketing industry is just as difficult as paid advertising.

And for the same reason. Everybody in the marketing industry knows how the marketing industry works.

You have to work harder to come up with better ideas than anywhere to get links to your content.

What is a link? By “link,” I mean a hyperlink. You know what that is; we use them all the time.

But get Forbes to link back to your company. Get Inc. Magazine.

You see what I’m saying? Get those brands to acknowledge you enough to post content on their website that links back to you.

It’s damn near impossible. And most fail.

So, if time equals money, then you’re going to have to pay in one way or another:

Your time, or your money, or both.

Thus, freelancing websites are the best way to start small, in the marketing industry, at least. They typically cost nothing to get started. And you have the opportunity to pitch your skills directly to job offers.

That’s what I did. That’s how I started:

  • Minimizing my expenses, drastically.
  • Starting as a small-time freelancer.
  • Saving money over four years, and reinvesting into scaling.

By the fourth year, I was making six figures with a team that I’ve built. But I’ve still run into a problem I’ve only begun to solve:

Scaling how many clients I could take at one time.

This has been a big one. Unless I started thinking in scalable systems, I wouldn’t ever be able to break the six-figure barrier.

Read the next article for more. Follow updates on the story of my goals to do so. Leave a comment with your thoughts, and I’ll respond.

2 Comments on How I’m Building A Million Dollar Marketing Firm: Starting Out

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search