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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.
186 Episodes
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How do you manage all of the things that your team needs to get done? In episode 186 of Journey to $100 Million, listen in to Erik as he explains how we track our tasking here at Array Digital, and how we previously transitioned to a new software. A task tracker is a piece of software that tracks all of the tasks that need to be done within a company, and is essential to any business.Going back to when Array Digital was a software development only company, we used a software called GitHub - which was perfect for our individual tasking when building software. As we transitioned into a digital marketing agency, we started to hack together different solutions and found the need for recurring issues, which GitHub did not offer. We did not want to switch task trackers if we did not need to, so we implemented a lot of processes in order to ensure that the tasks (most recurring) that we needed for operations could be completed.After we fully transitioned to a digital marketing agency, we realized that we were jumping through a lot of hoops in order to get our tasks in order. We knew it was time to find a task tracker that was perfect for us. Erik gave this assignment to Jamal, our project manager, to research and find a new task tracker that was perfect for Array Digital. Jamal recommended switching to ASANA, and that’s exactly what we did!Jamal laid out an entire plan to switch to ASANA. This plan was complex because we had to move every task from our old task tracker as well as the other systems we had put in place for our recurring tasks. After a great deal of work, Jamal got us all set up in ASANA. He set a date for us to switch over, and set up a training session for the team to learn this new software. After the switch date, we never used our previous task tracker again. When you switch task trackers it can be very painful and complex, like if you were to switch accounting systems. Erik recommends making sure your existing tracking system is being used to its maximum capacity before switching to a new system. Switching task trackers has the possibility of being very bad and disruptive to your business, so you want to put off switching until you absolutely need to. The key here is to be patient when switching systems - and when you do, assign a team member full responsibility, and ensure they will make it happen properly without wrecking your company!—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 a previous episode, Kevin talked about how the buzz we have created at Array Digital had a positive effect on our sales, but that is not the only aspect of our business that our brand awareness has helped! In episode 185, Kevin talks about the impacts on recruiting as a result of our brand buzz.Recently, we posted a video that Erik recorded to our social media platforms stating that Array Digital is looking to hire a sales professional. The video explained the position while also stating some requirements that we are looking for within this position. We are currently trying to grow our sales team, and knew that this could jumpstart our process. Within hours, this post got tons of exposure, with a large amount of likes and shares. We did not pay for an ad to boost these posts, all we did was post this video to our platforms, and we had tons of individuals reaching out to us! Not only that, but these resumes we are starting to receive are high caliber sales individuals that have the potential to be great assets to the Array Digital team. A lot of these individuals even have jobs that they are still in, but are willing to leave these jobs to come work for us!This goes back to the buzz we have created. These individuals want to work for us so bad because of what they have heard and think about our company. What we are doing within our community is gaining traction, and it is really starting to show. We have candidates that are reaching out to work for us even when we are not hiring! They are so eager to work for us, they are just waiting to see when we have open positions. Our buzz is the fuel to this attention, and it’s all about what we are doing out in our industry.What are you doing on the buzz front in your company, and is it affecting other aspects of your business? Are people raising their hand wanting to leave their company for you because you are doing extraordinary work? We are starting to see this happen to us here at Array Digital, and are excited to see where it takes us.—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.
Everyone once and awhile, Erik will have our team here at Array Digital post to social media on his behalf. In episode 184 of Journey to $100 Million, Erik explains some issues we’ve had dealing with Erik’s social media postings. In the beginning, Erik would have our team post every once in a while. The team would post things like if he had a video created, they would post that on his behalf. But, over time, Erik started to ramp up the quantity of social media content he pushed out on his personal brand account. Erik’s personal brand is on four main channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. As we ramped up the quantity of this content, Erik was not able to keep up with all the postings - and now we have a full time team member that takes care of all social media for us. Now, our social media expert is doing a lot of Erik’s social media posting for him. Most of these posts consist of a regurgitation of something Erik has already produced. We even use these Journey episodes as content on social media as well, creating a piece of content called an “audiogram.” Overall, the posts going out on Erik’s channels are something Erik has already said, done, recorded, or written about.There have been some instances where a team member posted on Erik’s behalf in his “voice.” What that means, is that the team member would basically pretend to be Erik. A post like this would consist of a statement that would be posted on social media, and if you read it you would have no idea if it was actually Erik that said it, or someone else. But the implication was that he was the one saying this, and that is something that Erik felt uncomfortable with.We have now learned to not do this anymore. Erik is completely fine with someone effectively repurposing content that he has created and putting it out in the world in a slightly different form - that is of great help. But, he does not want someone to pretend like they are him. It is not authentic, and Erik might not even agree with the content that is posted! This content could be a stat that Erik doesn’t know is true, could be contradicting, or maybe he does not even know what it means! Erik’s personal brand is just that, HIS personal brand! Everything that goes out on his platforms should be information that he 100% agrees with, and knows about. The bulk of what Erik has on his social media is coming from previous content, and he is comfortable with that, he just needs a little help getting it out there from time-to-time. If you have someone running your content, Erik highly suggests that you do the same thing, especially for a personal brand. For a company brand, it is a little bit different. But for your personal brand, when someone is speaking on your behalf, make sure they are speaking your words, and not words that were created without your knowledge!—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 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.
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