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Journey to $100 Million

Author: Erik J. Olson & Kevin Daisey

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Accelerate your entrepreneurial journey by learning from our mistakes instead of making them yourself.

Join Erik J. Olson and Kevin Daisey, the founders of Array Digital, through their ups and downs and lessons learned as they grow their digital marketing agency to $100 million in revenue. In each daily episode they'll discuss what's working now, and what's not. They'll share entrepreneurial and marketing tips and tricks picked up while becoming a dominant player in the ever changing digital marketing industry.
183 Episodes
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In a previous episode, Kevin talked about all we have done to create buzz for Array Digital within our operating area. In episode 183 of Journey to $100 Million, Kevin talks about how this buzz has impacted our sales! Creating awareness for your company is no easy feat, but the rewards you gain are well worth the hard work and dedication.As we follow along our sales process, we are starting to see that prospects are recognizing our company from our podcast, social media, meetups, and all of the other business ventures we have capitalized on. Even our sales manager Glen experienced this while prospecting right when he started working for our company! This prospect knew who Array Digital was because Erik had previously invited them to Marketers Anonymous, and it garnered attention. This individual felt more comfortable with us, and knew where we stood within our industry. Because of this, it was very easy for Glen to talk to this prospect and get a meeting set up. We are starting to realize that this buzz we have created is helping us out on the sales front. Take our Marketers Anonymous meetup for example. Most of our clients happen to be marketing directors and managers. These individuals are usually the decision makers in the bigger organizations, while the owners are out of the picture. Marketers Anonymous allows for us to meet a lot of these marketing directors and managers due to the atmosphere we have created, while also impressing them with this meetup we have created. While at this meetup, it also gives us the opportunity to get in front of these new prospects to warm them up, gaining leads and referrals. Not only that, but when companies are ready to make a decision in their marketing, we are starting to see that they come to us because we are fresh in their mind. When you do good work, it gets noticed, but you have to put it out there!This attention is only going to increase, because we are not slowing down - we are constantly pumping out this content! It is definitely a win for our sales team when you are able to walk in a room, and the prospect has already heard about our company, knows who we are, and see us as experts in our field. The buzz we have created has been a huge help, and we are excited to see what else is headed our way because of it!—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
Have you ever been pleased to be disappointed? This is kind of an odd question, but in episode 182 of Journey to $100 Million, Erik talks about a situation where he was disappointed, but came to the realization that this specific feeling of disappointment was actually a good thing!We previously had gotten a deal for a relatively small amount of money: $1,200/month. This was a good deal, but it just wasn’t that big compared to the deals we had recently been getting. We had recently been getting multi-thousand dollar deals (per month) upwards of $10k a month from certain clients. So for us, getting a $1,200 a month deal for a project with a year long minimum engagement felt like a disappointment. It just didn’t seem like the size of projects that we had been getting.This was interesting to Erik, because after he got over his initial disappointment of getting this new contract (which didn’t make any sense to him,) he started to embrace it! Erik realized the reason he was disappointed was because it had meant that Array Digital had transitioned from doing small projects for smaller clients, to bigger projects for bigger clients. At that moment, Erik realized that it was a good thing that he was disappointed, because it meant that we were no longer settling for small projects! That being said, we will still take on small projects, we are not cutting them off. But, we are going to start to do larger projects more often, that are also more meaningful to us. At the end of the day, Erik was very happy and pleased with the fact that he was disappointed. This meant that Array Digital was growing as an organization and felt more confident as to the kinds of projects we could receive. Once we felt more confident in what we were doing, Erik knew that meant we would inevitably get bigger deals. We knew we were going to get bigger clients because we are ready for bigger clients - and that is exactly what has been happening! This was a very interesting situation for Erik to see unfold. A year or two ago, a $1,200/month deal would have been seen as a big deal for us. We would have thought that this was a big dollar amount in the past, but now it does not have the same allure as it used to. We are getting used to gaining these bigger deals, and we are eager for more! So now, it is slightly disappointing when small deals come through, but we are very happy with this disappointment. —Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
Are you creating buzz for your company within your community? In episode 181 of Journey to $100 Million, listen in as Kevin explains how we have done absolutely everything we can to create a name for Array Digital in our operating area. The region we mainly service is made up of 7 cities, and is referred to as the Hampton Roads area. We have done everything we can to hammer away and create a buzz about our company within our community in order to get the word out about who we are, and what we do!One of the ways we started to create buzz, was by creating a bold mission statement. Our mission is to dominate digital marketing in the Hampton Roads area. We have made this statement public, and it is completely out there including our social media platforms as well as our website. Not only that, but we created an even bolder vision statement. Within the next 10 years, we hope to grow to $100 million in recurring revenue. Stating this vision is one of the many ways we hope to stand out amongst our competition. A couple other tactics we have used here locally includes a nonprofit giveaway contest that we run. What we do is give away a website and marketing guidance for free to a nonprofit organization that wins our giveaway contest. This giveaway is for a good cause, and we love giving back to our community - but it also creates a little buzz and gets people to know more about us. Additionally, Erik and Kevin apply for awards. Erik and Kevin apply for these awards personally as entrepreneurs, as well as apply for company awards within the industry. We have won lots of awards on both sides, and that has helped in the Array Digital branding.Another great way that we have created awareness within our industry, is by Kevin and Erik holding board positions for multiple organizations within our industry. Erik and Kevin hold positions on boards like The Entrepreneurs Organization and the HRIC (Hampton Roads Innovative Collaborative) which allow them to make even more connections within our industry! Not only that, but this podcast/flash briefing you are listening to right now is another way we have created buzz! Journey to $100 Million gives Array Digital another outlet to get out into the world and talk about what we do! Furthermore, Erik, Kevin, and even our team members speak at multiple events! This allows us to get in front of large groups and talk about what we know, whether it be entrepreneurship or digital marketing. Erik and Kevin are both open to speaking on a regular basis, so send them an invite! But, we don’t just love speaking, we also hold meetups of our own called Marketers Anonymous! At this meetup, we bring in expert speakers around the area to talk about marketing and new trends within the industry! This has been huge for us, and has allowed us to get in front of people that we want to do business with and creates even more awareness on a much higher scale!There are many more things we do on a regular basis to create buzz like our expansion to Orlando, or our 100-150 social media posts a week. We are doing just about everything we can to create this awareness so that we can continue to grow as an organization. While we implement all these different strategies in order to talk about ourselves, we are not just all talk. We are walking the walk, and out there doing every single thing we say. Are you doing anything to turn some heads and get someone to notice you?It has been huge for us, and Kevin highly recommends it!—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer
Here at Array Digital, we have what’s called a KPI dashboard. KPI stands for key performance indicators, and this dashboard is a collection of those KPIs. In episode 180 of Journey to $100 Million, Erik shares with you all the benefits that come along with measuring and tracking your performance through KPIs. Every Wednesday morning we look at and review our company’s KPIs after spending Tuesday afternoon gathering the data. We have a spreadsheet that is shown for the whole company at once, and it has about a dozen KPIs on there. These KPIs vary from things like how much new revenue we’ve collected over the last week, how much we’ve lost, NPS (net promoter score), the number of times we have posted on social media, and a whole bunch of other stats.This started about a year and a half ago. Back then, we did not understand what KPIs were important, and what were not, but over time we continually refined our KPIs, and every quarter we updated our goals. We also have these KPIs color coded to where if we are below our goal, the KPI is automatically turns red, and if we have reached/exceeded our goal, the KPI turns green. What we noticed is that our KPIs always start off red at the beginning of each quarter, due to our goals being stretch goals. We are constantly stretching our goals in order to get better, stronger, and faster.Over the course of the quarter, those red KPIs start to turn green and stay green if we do everything right, but sometimes they go back to red and toggle for a while before stabilizing as green. Recently, for the first time ever, our board was 100% green! This was very exciting and surprising for Erik because these goals were stretch goals, but also because the team was excited about achieving these goals as well. He was overjoyed to know that these KPI goals meant something to the entire team.If we did not have a KPI dashboard, Erik is not sure how we would be able to measure success. We have defined success on a recurring operational basis based on this KPI dashboard. If something is important, and we want it done right, it must go on the KPI dashboard - because if it does not, we tend to ignore it. Not everything will go up there, but the things that we want to improve upon and are important to us, will! If it’s important, we put it on the dashboard! If you do not have a KPI dashboard, start thinking about some of these numbers you can measure, and measure easily. You do not want to have KPIs that take a week to calculate every time you collect data. Think about numbers you can easily grasp like how much you billed last week, how many complaints you got, the amount of phone calls you receive - the opportunities are endless! Start collecting this data, and show your team what is going on! Your team and business will greatly benefit from this.—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
Have you ever added automation in your business where automation was not needed? We have here at Array Digital. In episode 179, listen in to Kevin as he shares a couple examples of how we realized that you must be careful with what you automate within your organization. One aspect of our business we tried to automate was the marketing for ourselves. We are a digital marketing agency, but when marketing for ourselves, Kevin came to the realization that we went a little overboard with automation through using gated content, funnels, and other automation tools. The reality was that we did not gain enough leads to deem this automation successful. We are a very personable, face-to-face, relationship type of company. If you hire Array Digital, it is a partnership: we sit down with you, spend time figuring your company out, and we understand that hiring us is a big decision. We understand when you hire us, you are putting faith in us with your entire marketing and advertising budget.Because of this we can’t gain these types of deals by someone downloading an eBook. Yes, it will get people in our funnel, and grow our awareness within the industry, but all the work to gain this is not worth it. From the expenses of HubSpot, the content we push, and the team creating it, this automation just did not pay off. We ended up abandoning this automation about half way through, but we were stuck paying for the software. We still ended up using HubSpot for sales, but that is a high price to pay for just a sales service. Finally, the bleeding of the payment has stopped, and we learned a big lesson. Marketing was not the only aspect of our business that we were thinking about automating. We were considering automating our sales process as far as appointment setting, tasking, and reminders to call prospects and what not, but stopped ourselves ahead of time. The reality is, that Glen (our sales manager) and Kevin are the only people on the sales team. They are not yet overwhelmed by sales and leads to the point where they can’t take care of these tasks themselves. We now understand, before Array Digital goes and invests into another piece of software, it is important to take care of these tasks the hard way with the systems that we already have in place. This might be a little bit more difficult, but it’s what we must do for now. As we grow we are going to hire more sales team members, and then maybe we can put some automation in place. The key here is to be careful about adding automation too early and in places that you do not need it!—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
We recently got a loan from the bank, and Erik is pretty excited about it. In episode 178 of The Journey to $100 Million Podcast, listen in as Erik explains our reasoning behind extending the line of credit for our business. We already had a line of credit for $25k, and rarely used it. We would borrow a thousand here and there, and pay it back very quickly - but did not necessarily need the line of credit. But, the point is that it’s always there if we need it, and every time we use this money and pay it back, we are building up credit.We recently got this credit line extended, which is the loan that Erik is speaking on. We now have a $75k line of credit. We are not tapping into it anymore than we have in the past, but it obviously gives us more padding in case we need it for certain situations. The main reasoning for getting a line of credit is for cash flow purposes. For instance, let’s say you do a bunch of work for a client and complete it before you can even invoice the client. A lot of companies invoice using what’s called net terms. Say a contract is “net 30,” that means the moment Erik gives a client the invoice, they have 30 days to pay it. If you use net terms, that means that you are continuing to fund work until the client pays you back. So, you are putting out a lot of funds, and then you are waiting to get paid, equalling a cash flow problem. This is where a line of credit can be very helpful, but that is not why we extended our credit. The reason we extended our line of credit is because we wanted to hire a salesperson before our PnL (profit and loss) allowed us to do it. If our company were to grow organically, then we would wait until we had enough profit every single month on a consistent basis, and that profit would go towards the new hire. Additionally, this salesperson we wish to hire should be a positive return on investment. In other words, however much we are paying for salary, that person should bring in more than that amount in revenue. That's unlike a typical employees who, realistically, are expenses. You want to minimize expenses, but when it comes to an investment and someone that is going to return money, you want to maximize that. Because of this, we wanted to get a salesperson in place as soon as possible and before our cash flow organically allowed it, hence the reason we extended our line of credit.We have not tapped into this extended line of credit yet, it is there just in case - everything is looking good. Having this safety net in place gives Erik and Array Digital a sense of security. If you do not already have a line of credit, talk to a banker. It is easy to set up, and doesn't cost anything (unless you’ve had a balance for a long time.) This credit can give you comfort, while also helping with cash flow.—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
In episode 177 of Journey to $100 Million, Kevin brings attention to an issue that he has seen with some of our top clients, our highest paying clients, and clients that we have built a very strong relationship with. These clients are very comfortable with us, they like us, they trust us, and have full confidence in us. So you may be thinking, what’s the issue here?Every other week we send out a digital marketing report to each of our clients sharing the clients’ data, along with a video our digital marketing manager creates explaining the successes or failures of their marketing campaigns. What we found, is that since some of these clients are so comfortable with us, they do not watch these reports. They do not interact with the reports, and sometimes it is even difficult to get them on a call or meet with them to discuss this data every month due to their full trust in us. The problem is, we still need to get in front of them, and sit down to make sure there is full transparency, as well as ensuring that there is no business changes that we are unaware of.Recently, we had a face-to-face meeting with a client of ours. When in this meeting, we asked if they had been looking at our video reports. They told us they had not been reviewing the reports, because they had been so busy due to the fact they had their best month ever in over three years! That is awesome, and they thanked us for having assisted in that - but, while we were doing a great job for them, they were not listening to our reports and recommendations or interacting with us.When we are not constantly in communication with clients, we run the risk of clients growing apart from us, or having a business change that we are not aware of. For this particular situation, Kevin talked about how a lot of great things came from this meeting. A lot of aspects came to light, a lot of positive was brought out of it, and more importantly, a lot of tasking was created due to this meeting. If we did not sit down with this client, none of this would have happened.Even though you may be performing well for a customer and doing a good job, you can’t let them fade away and have months go by without talking to them just because they are happy with your work. It is crucial to make sure you are doing something to check in with clients, get in front of them, and have them spend at least 30 minutes to an hour with you to keep the relationship going. It is very important, and it can even help you find other opportunities and improve your work. If you are off a clients radar, and not a part of the conversation, you are going to find out issues when it is too late.—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
When we are talking to a new prospect, one of the things we actively try to do is put ourselves in their shoes. In episode 176 of The Journey to $100 Million Podcast, Erik talks about the strategy we use when trying to acquire new clients. When we are selling to these prospects, we want to understand exactly what their challenges are when it comes to running their business, while also focusing on getting this prospect leads.Here at Array Digital, we work with a lot of different businesses, and we’ve seen quite a bit. We actually act a lot like consultants for most of our clients when it comes to giving them business advice. A lot of times when we are talking to a brand new prospect, we have a pretty good idea what is going on within their business, and the problems they may face. But, the best thing to do is get them to explain to us exactly what is going on. We need to understand, from their perspective, what their problem is that we could possibly assist in solving.When Erik first started off on his own, he would make assumptions on why clients were coming to him for help. Around 50-75% of the time, Erik was right in these assumptions because he had been in the industry for a good amount of time. But, the issue was, he would make big assumptions of what the full problem was, which was a mistake. Fast forward to today, and Erik tries his best to not assume anything as far as what a prospect’s problems are. He wants the client/prospect to state precisely what their problem is. We want them to talk much more than we do when we sit down with them for the first or second time in order to understand what they feel their problem is, and express their vision for the future.The key here, is getting the prospect to explain to us what success looks like, based on their budget. We want to understand how many leads they are looking for, how much revenue they hope to increase, and what their vision is. Once we know that, we are able to go back to the drawing board, look at their digital marketing presence, and come up with a plan to bring back to them. A lot of times, we hold two or three meetings before we actually ask for the prospect’s business. This is a lot of work, but it allows us to establish a very tight relationship centered around what the prospect needs. We may bring ideas to them, but we discuss it, and that allows the prospect to pick and choose what they feel is best for them. This is the best way to acquire new clients in our eyes. As Ian Altman says, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. You are about to form a partnership, and you want to understand exactly where they are coming from, and align your ideas with theirs! When you do that, it is beneficial to both parties.—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
In episode 175 of Journey to $100 Million, listen in to Kevin as he talks about a very exciting comment that a prospect shared with us. Kevin recently met with a prospect for a second time, that happened to be a franchise business with a couple partners involved. Over the course of these meetings, Kevin and our sales team had been spending about an hour per meeting talking business & marketing, sharing how Array Digital could help their organization.What happened that was so exciting, was that this prospect called us a strategic partner for their business. Why is this so important? Because Kevin strives for prospects to think this way about our company. Not only that, but we still have not sold this prospect yet, they are currently in the sales process, yet still referred to us as a strategic partner. Furthermore, they also referred to our competition as vendors, allowing us to stand out. We have been trying to drive home this message that we are a strategic partner, and Kevin was flattered to have already been referred to this while still being in the sales process.Array Digital is not interested in being a vendor, one-off, or a project based company. We strive to be partners and that’s it! If you are not interested in being a partner, participating in the marketing campaigns & strategy meetings, or participating in the monthly calls that we require - odds are that you are probably not a good fit for us. But in this case, even just halfway through the sales process, this prospect already identified us as a strategic partner. We still must talk about budgets and solidify a basic strategy for them, but we hope to sign very soon, and are excited for the work our future holds.This was a huge win for Kevin. He really wants everyone to understand the type of business that we are running. We aim to run a company that gets results, and builds not only partnerships, but long-lasting relationships as well. That is how we will continue to grow this business. As we go through our new sales process, making this clear will be a huge step within the process. It is very exciting to have a prospect identify us as a strategic partner up front before we sign them, and it offers a clear difference between us and our competitors.—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
On this podcast, you may notice that Erik talks a lot about mistakes we make. It is essential to discuss these mistakes in order to understand the things you could’ve done beforehand to avoid them. In episode 174 of Journey to $100 Million, listen in to Erik has he explains the importance of recognizing the mistakes you make within your company.Once we make a mistake here at Array Digital we like to rewind and figure out what happened through a root cause analysis. A root cause analysis is figuring out the main reason for this mistake/problem. After we realize we’ve made a mistake, our first step is acknowledging it - something that a lot of companies do not tend to do. Some people will try to cover it up, or make an excuse. But, when Erik started Array Digital, he decided that we are going to be truthful and honest when mistakes are made. You must acknowledge these makes so you can be introspective and figure out what happened.To figure out what exactly happened, we conduct a lessons learned session. In this meeting, all of the stakeholders internally involved in the mistake or project get together and descontruct the situation. If we receive feedback from a client, we will also look into this and decipher what it means for our Array Digital team . We like to not only figure out what we could have done better, but also what we can do moving forward to ensure the same mistake does not happen again.Every person screws up, every company screws up. You must own up to your mistakes if you want people to consider you authentic. Owning up and fixing these mistakes will allow your company to grow and get better over time. The last thing Erik wants, is to have a company 5 years down the road making the same mistakes. Once you acknowledge that these mistakes are made, you are able to fix them. Array Digital is getting smarter, better, and faster - but that is only going to continue to happen if we recognize our mistakes. In your business, recognize the mistakes you are making. Focus in on the mistakes, figure out what you could’ve done to avoid them, and then put a process in place so that you will never make that mistake again. If you do that, you will win - and win BIG!—Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.— Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.
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