My Origin Story: How the heck I ended up building marketing teams.

When I graduated college I realized I knew nothing. I’d spent five years learning about marketing and business.

FIVE YEARS! (I know I’m slow)

That’s probably why it wasn’t until the day after I graduated that I realized just how worthless I was to potential employers. I didn’t know how to run a business. I knew nothing about creating a marketing plan.

I sure as heck didn’t have the 2-years experience most job applications required for ENTRY LEVEL positions.

So I did what most millennials do after college. I moved into my grandma’s basement and started combing through all the sales positions available, the only ones with no prior experience required.

Luckily my best friend from college hooked me up with his brother in law who worked at a digital marketing agency. I BS’d my way through the interview, got hired and then studied my full head off so I could actually do what the job required before anyone found out I was a fraud.

It worked. I went from 10 hours a week @ $10/hour to full-time marketing coordinator, to Directo of SiteBuild to COO of the company in about three to four years.


Toward the end of year four, my boss approached me and asked if me and my lead developer wanted to take the website department we had built and buy it from him and go off on our own.

Heck yes, we did! How hard could it be? We already knew how to build the sites, find the customers, etc. Running a business should be super easy!

Reality slapped us in the face a few months later when we learned about payroll, taxes, QuickBooks, etc and cash management (because you know, we were always running out of it for some reason).

Eventually, we got into the groove of running a business and set our sites on higher aspirations. We wanted to change the world. Websites, we believed, would change the online world for a company and allow them to grow and make money and achieve their mission.

I realized I needed more education to build that type of company and after a year of preparation, ran off to Austin, Texas to attend the Acton School of Entrepreneurship.

Best 9 month MBA AND education experience ever. Highly recommended it.


While I was there, the business I left my partners to run, failed. I hadn’t done the superb job I thought I did preparing for it to run without me.

After the MBA, I came back to pick up the pieces, apologize to customers, and make things right. I had no web development team. No income. Nothing.

I had 170K in school debt. 30K in credit card debt. No income and no idea what to do for a business.

My new business partner and I decided to try everything.

Websites with an Indian team!

Fail.

Content Marketing.

Fail.

Hubspot stuff…

Fail.

Growth Driven Design!

Fail.

Review & Reputation Management.

Boring. Fail.

Then it hit me.

Agencies typically suck*. They are a jack of all trades, master of none. They charge high prices and usually put the lowest cost people on the accounts. There’s such a demand for help that a lot of them just churn through customers.

CMO’s are worse. You pay someone $120K+ a year to go outsource everything to an agency anyway.

Building a marketing team internally is hard. As an owner, what do I know about marketing? Sales I’ve got nailed, but marketing is a black box to me. Who do I hire? How do I manage them?

That’s when it hit us!

What if there was a way to help businesses bring their marketing in house, affordably?

We went to work trying out our ideas on some new clients at a discount. We had a lot of failures. But after about six months of trial and error, we finally cracked the nut!

With one client we took them through our process.

First, a two-day intensive to lay the groundwork.

Then, broad training of all eight core disciplines of marketing.

Next, monthly and weekly coaching and team management around building ONE single funnel.

That client had spent $50K with an agency to build them a new brand and website and it netted ZERO leads.

After a few months of working with the internal team, they build a new funnel that resulted in over 40 leads the first month (and averages between 10–30 leads a month now depending on the campaigns be run).

And now that’s our main focus. There is now a third option. You don’t have to hire an agency or an expensive CMO. You can build your own in house and do it affordably and own the results.

That’s how you OWN your own marketing team. We’re now starting to work with other companies to do the same and it’s just plain fun and exciting.


Notes:

*Not all agencies suck. The few that focus on a niche, platform, customer type, vertical and become deep knowledge experts in that narrow space do amazing jobs and I often recommend my clients to work with them on one-off projects.

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