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When to hire an agency with Tash Todd Williams, Word Of Mouth Collective

Today we’re mixing things up and learning from Tash Todd Williams, founder of digital marketing agency Word of Mouth Collective.

I’ve known Tash for circa 10 years now and have had the absolute pleasure of watching her journey from launching a fashion publication that she exited before she was 24, to today running a successful digital agency with a special love for female founders and entrepreneurs. Today she’s coming on to share part of that journey and a bunch of interesting tips and advice for early-stage bootstrapped founders including where she sees a lot of small businesses go wrong, the challenges that founders have in today’s landscape post iOS apple updates when it comes paid marketing and when a small business owner should actually be looking to engage an agency.

One thing we often hear on the podcast is that founders regret having spent on an agency too early on in their journey. In this episode, we explore the best time for bootstrapped founders to actually make this move and start working with an agency. At which stage in the journey it would pay off. And this is all about looking at tipping points of scale. There’s one scenario where you’ve just raised and you have a lot of capital so that’s totally separate. When you have strong KPIs to reach and the capital to get there, it makes a lot of sense to hire an agency. It's not these founders, but rather the bootstrapped founders we often hear about regretting investing in an agency early on. At this point, it becomes more about which stage of business you will be ready. If you’re running lean and doing this alone, you can come to a tipping point where you do not have the time and resources to upskill yourself and you have too many moving parts in the business. This would be the point to consider outsourcing to an agency. As Tash says, they're not in the business to bankrupt anybody. Audit yourself, audit where the business is at, and based on that draw conclusions if this actually makes sense for you.

So many gems in here, I know you’re going to love her!

And btw, are we friends on TikTok? I’m having so much fun on that platform, Id love to connect and see what you’re creating on there too. Find me at @dooneroisin in all the places.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

I'm Tash Todd Williams, I actually co founded this business with my brother and a lot of people think we're absolutely mental for working together as siblings but it's worked for us over the last almost five years. Word of Mouth Digital in a nutshell is 3 60 so it's anything you can think of along with this sort of digital ecosystem journey from web dev to C. R. 02 paid, all things paid and then content, so your front facing customer facing stuff in between that there's a lot of other stuff and we sort of say we're we're at its core masters of problem solving, not necessarily masters like one specific skill set. We've got very very talented people in our team that will serve as those individual needs. But for me the beauty of it is finding the problem which is often like how to best effectively scale our clients and what's the solution that's really us in a nutshell. I love that. That's so exciting, I'm so happy that you're going to be on the show digging into all these things relevant for everyone listening I'm sure. So we met like a million years ago, It was like 20 10 when I was trying to think about it earlier today, it must have been, it must have been like you guys should see baby do. I had some pretty wild fashion choices but it was a very long time ago, I Have a photo of me from that fashion week when we first met and I am wearing I'm dressed like very gothic and wearing like 100% all black and then I have these bright neon at the time I had hair like down to my neck a line and I have these bright green neon like hair. Um I mean now it's back on trend and you probably get more cool these like clip in hair extensions and I was looking fire. I mean that was like a different time for so many reasons and also like such a different stage of business for both of us. So it actually feels like almost like two different people, things Have changed a lot. I mean that's 12 years ago, that's like a long time instagram, It was early days of instagram, that was so much fun. You were working on a different business back then Breakfast with Audrey, take us back to even earlier before breakfast with Audrey. What was getting you excited about starting a business? Like what was going on in your world that made you launch that, you know, I think there was one thing that my dad would always say to me the whole time I was growing up, he hated working for other people. And so he would drill into me if you can work for someone else, if you can work for yourself, work for yourself, don't work for someone else. And so I think there was always like a seed that he planted genuinely from when I was five years old. And I grew up in a very like sort of very focused rigid environment, focused on education. We went to selective schools in Australia, that's sort of like have to do a test to sit um to get into the school. So I grew up in like quite a rigid environment where success had one measure and I having hated it, that's just not how I'm built, I don't like structure in that way. I have a d d. I have been diagnosed even though I am really smart and I can excel, I needed to do things differently. So like everyone else I went to uni and I was like this sucks, I hated and I was just desperate to find something that was different. So I just went in and interned for who would then be the team. I work with a breakfast with Audrey at a different business they owned which is a very early stage aecom we're on like we would do our artwork on paint, that's how early stage it was. Um And I literally was wild, I would literally intern there for free and they like the model was very smart, we were um buying end of season stock from Australian, like premium retailers, so at the time that was like floor would josh goot very early stage money skillings. A lot of these businesses are now gone and no longer um and we would buy them for like crazy cheap prices per piece in cash, take them shoot them in the warehouse in Surrey Hills and then upload them. So all props to the, found like Sean who founded the business, it was a really smart venture. Um And I kind of just got, I loved fashion. Um I loved the way that there was so much fluidity and like my one day my job was shooting aecom the next day, it was buying the next day, it was, you know, running ads online. So I think I got kind of wet my whistle there and I got excited and so I quit uni. I never finished wait, we have to stop for this, wet your whistle business that, that I'm using that from today onwards. Guys, wet your whistle is going to be my new thing, It sounds dirty, but it's not that you wet your whistle, go continue and I quit. I quit uni. Um and I, in my early stages, I lied about that a lot. Um I lied about that getting jobs, so sorry to all my former employees because I was, I was so terrified of, like, there's a lot and still, now there's a lot of stigma about not finishing university if you started it and particularly how I grew up like education and that check of approval from the university was vital. So I was actually embarrassed now, I'm like, who cares? And I honestly, when I'm hiring people, I that's not something I look at at all, but certainly at the time, it was a different time, as we said, it was a long time ago. So that's kind of where we ended up before bait up breakfast with Audrey and the cult like why we started breakfast or tree was, we found a need when we were running that company was called my clotheshorse and we realized it was only at the time, aside from like your vogues one or two websites where you could place editorially or with ads or with ADM um and get any sort of success on return as a brand or as a business. And we were like wtf how do we, That was before facebook, that was before, like that was pre the era of like the rise of digital marketing as it is today. So we had to find smart ways to get our word out there. Um and that was one of the ways was like placing like um missy confidential, like that was this sort of like sale website, that was probably the only place unless you were cool enough to get into vogue, which we weren't. Um So that's why we started it um and it was like totally lean, super hacky. Um as I said, the first iteration of that breakfast forgery website was built like designed on paint, that's that's like how lo fi this was um and that was with one of the other girls that worked with us and and so were you like a founder of that business or like a business partner within it. Yeah, so there was two financial backers and they were Macquarie bankers and I have a lot of love for them to this day, I think towards the end it became very difficult because our understanding of the industry was so dissonant between, I mean I was 20 and also I had no idea what I was doing and they're like you know 50 year old businessman and Macquarie Bank. So like their KPI S and goals and mine at the time was so different that that was actually one of the catalysts for why we sold. So it was myself, these two lovely guys who I adore um And then two other girls that worked with us and Katie shout out, there was various movements within the business. Katie exited at some point as did pip and I sort of stayed on to the very end um and we built that up over a number of years and at the time like facebook growing, facebook organically was easy. So I think when we exited the business we had 50,000 followers, we had a huge TDM database and extremely strong search relevancy because again like there was not a lot of people focusing on independent digital publications in Australia. What was the acquisition process like at that time? And are you able to share like you know what you sold it for? Is it still running like what's the kind of what happened there? So it is still running um I think that the acquisition process for that was actually quite unusual now um as business owners were often acquiring companies or selling stuff, the way we treat it is very different. That was sort of um again pre like startup Rose culture in Australia. So the understanding around that raising capital obviously there was that in place, but like what we knew then totally rudimentary to what we know now the resource and education level when it comes to this sort of thing is like so vastly different. So that process we actually found very difficult. It was very hard to find a buyer. People didn't really understand the industry. Um we shopped it around to lots of people including some like big entrepreneurs. Now we spoke to like jane Lew, that was this early stage her running show po, which was actually called show pony. Um and like she was interested but it just, I think people like I don't really get this. Um and they did, they weren't sure of the value, but it's a testament to the business. Was that because of the like, was it because of your picture? Was it because just of the time where people were like two, it was just media businesses weren't a thing at that time. No, I think it's probably both. I think like at the time some Rando 20 year old girl and 2 50 year old men pitching you a fashion publication. I mean it had stats and facts behind it, but I mean, I think just the understanding of how that could have been leveraged and I honestly sometimes wish that was I still had because I feel like the power of the database alone would be so valuable. But yeah, I think it's a mixture of things. Like honestly, like my selling capability from them to now, like I like I was not experienced, I was not as confident. Um you know, I didn't know how to speak to like a six year old Ceo at the time. Yeah, really great learning curve. Yeah. Like I also had a lot of impostor syndrome back there. Like I was plagued by insecurity and I mean that stuff I just don't really care about now. If I could do it all again, I would have done so many things differently. The pitch deck, the way we framed it, the potential value to investors or to our buyers. Um, but we eventually found a lovely lady who had her own a com business. She was very forward thinking and I actually think back on it now and I think, you know, that was a big risk for her. Um, but she leveraged it into something that's still long standing. Um and she used it to amplify her product um, in her profile. So she's done an excellent job. I'm actually not really sure where they're at today. I mean I think Covid has put a lot of spanners in a lot of works. Um, but up until pre Covid, it was still operating successfully. That is so cool. What a great learning experience, especially as a 20 year old young women going through these things that I'm sure felt like, you know, really big hurdles at the time, but looking back, it was like the most amazing opportunity to be able to hone this skill set that you now really have and foster that entrepreneurial spirit that you had 100% I think you know the other thing, this is something I always tell younger people trying to sort of break into this space is when we started that and you would have felt exactly the same way, I mean influences were a dirty word, like no one like we sort of were considered influences slash bloggers, that's what we were called at the time and I remember my first fashion week how mean people were to us and how dismissive um and Like I was at the time then like 19 thrown into Australian fashion week working alongside like Christine, centenario and all these really, really incredible powerful women and not saying Christine was amazing, she has always been a lovely Um but I think that skill in and of itself, like if you can go into a room and have the wherewithal at 19 to pick up a conversation with anyone and hold your own like that is something to hone because now I don't get scared to walk into any room with anybody, you could put me in the room with Elon musk, I mean it'd be wild, but I wouldn't be intimidated because at the end of the day, like once you learn you've got nothing to lose and the potential downside is not that bad. There's a lot of freedom in that. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I'm sure you remember, Yes by now you have heard me talk about our newest partnership with athletic greens, a product that I started taking last year when my gut health issues were at their peak. And why I love this company is because it was started when the founder was experiencing a ton of gut health issues himself and ended up on a complicated supplement routine to recover that cost him an insane amount of money per day, Like $100 per day. He created athletic greens to help other people like him and like me have an easy nutrition routine for a much cheaper investment into your health. I've been taking a G1 since last year and it's been just so easy to build into my daily habits for female startup club listeners. Athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D. And five free travel packs with your first purchase, All you have to do is visit athletic greens dot com forward slash startup. Again, that athletic greens dot com forward slash startup to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. Since then you've done some really cool things. You've worked for a guy in Australia called Jack Tolosa. He's very big in the entrepreneurial space and for anyone listening who's not from Australia. He has this network of, you know, multiple thousands of entrepreneurs who he's helped to raise money and do all these different things. Um he's quite known in Australia and then you went on to work with H and M or or maybe that's the wrong way around, but how did your career kind of go after the acquisition? What were you thinking about what you wanted to do after selling the business at that point? I really needed money because um even though we saw the business and there was some benefit there, um you know, I was like, what the hell am I gonna do? Like we've got Plans and futures and bills to pay and I mean I've been with my husband since I was 16, so we would like, I have commitments to him as his partner um and honestly I went out on a limb with H and M because I didn't really have a skill set, like this is a multinational corporation launching a very, very big brand into Australia and my boss who I am so grateful for, she was my mentor in so many ways, she really took a chance on me because I'm sure they were much much more qualified applicants, but for them, they hire a lot on culture fit and so I think one of those like call center sounds so like sales evasion, but one of their core values is entrepreneurial spirit and if I've got anything it's that, so I think she could see that Driving me and she really took a chance. I mean I was getting paid almost nothing like fashion 10 peanuts, but I mean the benefit of saying even now to this day saying I worked at H and M. Has benefits, so that was pretty cool. I got to travel the world, got to see the Backstreet boys live every girl's dream. Yes. I was like arm lengths away. Every girl from, from our generation, yeah, got to deploy some really amazing campaigns. We launched the barman collection, which everyone, all those like designer collapse, everyone knows and loves, so that was pretty cool. Um but why I left, I was bored. So um this is the thing, I think when it comes to someone that wants to start their own business, I think the freedom and the space to be frenetic one day and hold space the next. So like for me I would finish my job at H and M in two hours of the eight hour working day and I'd be like, what am I going to do? Um and I just have to find things to do. Um and there was me and then I got to do lots of extra stuff, but I was not challenged by the end, so I quit. Um I went to work with Jack, which was incredible. It was a learning experience in and of itself, what did you learn working with someone like that, who is obviously very entrepreneurial, very in the space. What did you learn working with him? Um I have so many good things to say about Jack, I think the most fun part for me was that frenetic energy, like there was always high intensity, it was very high intensity and typically in high intensity environments, particularly in start up, there is a lot of chad when it comes to tame because that's not sustainable often unless you really believe in the purpose or you're being rewarded in some way and I was certainly being rewarded. But one of the other downsides of the entourage is that because we're coaching and training so many amazing entrepreneurs, most of the team is like I can do that and so they will leave and start their own businesses. So they also like look it's a testament to Jack, but certainly hard to keep stuff, I'm sure um outside of that, I think there's a lot of stuff that I thought was silly or weird which is around mindset. Um I think my like rigid education brain from growing up, really dismissed all of that stuff like how applying mindset to your business can have a really positive effect. So Jack is really big on really delving into the psychology of how you operate as a leader and how do you apply that to your business and I think I found that really helpful. Um And the other thing that I found really helpful is someone who has a. D. D. Was um really focusing on how you like we call it system. Izing your business there is so much you do not have to touch and shouldn't touch as a business owner and if you are you're wasting your time and you're working in your business, not on it. So I mean I've learned a lot of that the hard way myself, but just knowing that and knowing what tools and resources you could put into play to systemized your business. Like the freedom that comes with that is such a relief for a lot of people that um you can see that immediately and pay off. I mean there's lots of things that they did amazing, but those two are like what I always talk about when I talk about the entourage At some point, you obviously started getting the inkling that you wanted to leave and start your own business I think were around like circa 2018 at this point. What was that inkling? What happened? What was the shift and how did you get started? It was literally one moment where in Sydney Australia when like you're catching public transport um there's like a tunnel in the city near Central Station and every morning everyone in suits is like trudging to work down that tunnel and I literally just had a mental breakdown and I looked around and I was like oh my God I cannot do this for the rest of my life, like I like I will die if I have to do this. And that day I quit, I was like, I know, oh wow, you had the moment and you were out. I had just, I mean obviously given notice, but I just had a revelation, I was like if I don't do this now, I'm trapped in this Hamster wheel of like going and working for someone else and doing a 9-5 and building something for someone else for life and I just refuse to do that any longer. Um so I quit and then I was like, oh my God, um so I had to move pretty quickly after that, did you know you wanted to start an agency or you were like, okay let's come up with a business plan, what do we want to do? I have your brother on the shoulder, I think I just knew that was my like most, like I didn't have capital um in a big way to and also time to go and find a product. The only resource I had at my fingertips um was my skill set and I fundamentally believe in my skill set. Maybe maybe that's arrogant, I don't know, I know what I can do and what I'm capable of, and I also know what my brother can do and is capable of and we sort of have been consulting, you know on the side here and there over the years swinging like clients back and forth to each other, my brother and I, so I just sort of fortuitously at the same time he was feeling the same way at his job which was in Fintech. Um so we both just quit, we had one client, we had no backup and no money, so we had to make it work. I imagine that there are a lot of people listening to this episode and thinking like the same feeling that you are having, you know, I'm in the 9 to 5, I'm in this rat race that I don't want to be on, I want to do something, but I don't have the capital to start something that requires a lot of upfront money like building an e commerce brand for example or anything product based. Can you just break down like in the very easiest sense like the blueprint for how you built this agency, especially in that first year, how you went about finding clients, how you went about growing your kind of revenue and getting this business in traction in motion rather we were slowly grinding the wheel. Um look, I'll caveat by saying we made a lot of mistakes, so like by no means am I saying, do everything we did, but you can learn from me firstly in terms of finding clients. One thing that has been incredibly important to me, my whole life is nurturing my network and I know that sounds like really old school, your network is your network. Um and I don't necessarily believe that's true for everyone, but for me, my motto has always been if someone asked me for something, whether it's in business or personally, if I can do it, I will with no expectation of return. And what I found was when I started to do something where I needed help, all those people that I'd helped over the last 10 years were like, hey, I can swing your client and then all I had to do was ask, so letting go of your ego and humbling yourself and knowing that if you put it out there, like what they say no or they don't respond to your email, like who cares, doesn't matter. Um and if they are consistently not reciprocating maybe you can make a call, but at the end of the day, if you're saying yes to helping someone, if you think it's transactional to me, that's kind of a gross way to behave. So like, it's like for me it was all these people I had said like, yo like thank you for this job or you know, send your client or like send you some whatever, like an ad on your website that all started to come back ground. Um but I will acknowledge the privilege in that because part of my network came from being raised in very privileged environment in Sydney, I had access to really amazing education and my network from that alone was incredibly helpful in resourcing our business, so that is not feasible or possible for everyone. And I totally hear and understand that um you know if you don't have access to that immediate network it is a lot harder, but it doesn't mean you can't build it, It can be as silly or simple as like if you ask 10 people to go for coffee with you, one of them will say yes and then once that person says yes, you can leverage that to find another person to have coffee with you and you just have to keep asking and it will happen um in terms of building our service offering, I we really like Alex and I just looked at um what his skill set was and thank God it's complimentary, he's a tech wiz. Um he studied psychology but ended up in Fintech so he can build any website from scratch and I can drive all the marketing in the world to it. So no, I think this sort of like interesting dynamic between a brother and a sister, this complimentary service that was like very integrated because we live together, my brother lives with, I live with him and my husband. Um we work together and we know each other very intimately meant that the way we approached the strategy around any client I feel was quite unique because we could feed into each other in a much more honest, like I can be very honest with him and also very like we can be really dynamic, turn things around with really quickly. We, we live together. So it's like I needed a tweak on a website at 10 PM at night, he would do that for me, whereas I think a typical agency probably wouldn't. So that was sort of like how we built it from the start. We sucked up a lot of things. So like what what are the mistakes? The biggest mistake we made was tax and so we fixed it all now, but like in the start like again like I was pretty young back then um and we didn't really understand how to structure our business effectively for the first, I want to say six months, we were just lazy. Um and we didn't get, so now we've got like a trust set up that owns our business um with directors of that business. Um and it owns various other entities as well, which protects us personally from liability. It protects the business, it protects our other assets. So like thank God nothing happened because we were totally liable and we were operating under like just like a company a B in um We weren't paying like submitting our bags properly. We weren't now when money comes into our bank, my brother has it set up so immediately splits off into our five pools of cash. So like apex which is operating expenses tax. GST paying out staff and profit. So we didn't have any of that, so we didn't pay GST for like six months. Obviously we've got like a giant tax bill. Um And that could have crippled us and that honestly is where I could see a lot of businesses failing is if you don't have the cash to sort of support the cash flow suddenly getting hit with those giant bills, your fault. Um So don't do that even though you might want to dip into those funds early stage business first year, you've got a lot of expenses, maybe not making as much as you want to, it's just not genuinely not worth it. So that's a big one and like one that I feel can easily be overlooked and we see it all the time and particularly with say um say you're a small business and you're operating as a sole trader um and you're suddenly earning over 75 K. And you have to start in Australia, you have to pay what's called GST goods and services tax so That's a 10% on top. Um But a lot of people will charge the G. S. T. But then not put it away and I see that so often because you're like you see that hit your account and you like sweets and extra bill out six grand, you get an extra 600 bucks, you don't think about that, I've got to pay that back in three months and that might not be for everyone, but I've seen it a lot of times um and it can add up really quickly, wow, that's really interesting. Yeah, very key one too. Take note of. I know it sounds boring like tax sounds boring for people, but yeah and I think also like knowing your numbers in general is one that people often kind of like don't look at where their profit margins are and like just numbers in general can get like pushed aside, but it's actually the most important thing of the business numbers of the business. So you need to like focus on the numbers, focus on the tax and like the legality side of things and just be like getting a contract like our contracts were not, I am glad for the first year, I feel like we ended up paying a contracts, lawyer to write all our contracts which um you know, I think we spent about including trademarking, we've spent Almost 10-K on legal stuff over the last couple of years, but it's totally worth it. Mhm. Yeah, absolutely. It's kind of crazy when you think about how much tech we use daily, we use all these different platforms to do all these different things and to be quite frank, it can get really overwhelming. So imagine if you could streamline those routine operations and admin tasks that eat up all your time, Things like lead management, employee onboarding or even customer support. The average tapia user saves over $10,000 in recovered time every year and it's so easy to get started. They have thousands of popular apps like Google Sheets, quickbooks or even Facebook and Google ads ready for you to automate almost any workflow imaginable. They've also got thousands of easy to use templates ready to go so you can get started right away. See for yourself why teams at air table, dropbox hubspot zendesk and thousands of other companies use appia everyday to automate their businesses, tries a P A for free today at Zap E A dot com forward slash startup, that's Z A P I E R dot com forward slash startup. I want to switch kind of tracks at the moment and talk more about the small businesses that you work with or the businesses in general that you work with. What are some of the biggest challenges besides the tax side of things that you see right now for small businesses. Yeah, I mean there's God, it's a tough market out there. So there's a lot of challenges. Um and I see you all your business owners, the biggest and probably the biggest education piece for us is firstly focusing or putting all your eggs in one basket. So if you think instagram is working for you now and it will in the next five years it won't, I'm telling you right now. So there's that, making sure you have a strong channel mixed diversify do like what you've got to like split out your risk and make sure that you're always channeling new people to your business um via new traffic sources or if you're offline via different mediums um It's so risky to rely on one source and we've seen that with a change in IOS for paid social for facebook that had almost an immediate impact on all of our clients. And like it has been a really tough slog the last year. Um So that's key. But then also what I think almost every business owner I've ever spoken to doesn't have a full understanding of the facts and stats behind your business the data. So if your agent like say you're working with an agency you need to know at any one time what is your cost proposition And I can't tell the amount of times that a business line is like monitor Um or you say your c. p. a. is $20. But and then say your cost your a R. V. is $80. But what is your cost of goods. So say your cost of goods is $30 So that we're already at $50. You've only got a $30 margin. Then you'll say you're doing free shipping, $8 transaction fees with after pay you're paying an agency. So by the time you whittle down your margins have already disappeared and you're actually operating in the loss and I've seen this time and time and time again. So that's the biggest piece that we're trying to educate whether you're a client or not. That will usually do like a bit of an audit. What's the solution for that? Like for that specific scenario? Like do people need to raise their prices or do they need to restructure? It's a bit of everything. So firstly what we often find is that um we don't understand those margins so then we allow our cost per acquisition to become too high. So that's also whether you're doing it yourself or you're getting an agency to run your ads. There are ways to bring your C. P. A. Down and that's through strong sales funnel. Making sure you've got traffic, you've got your convincing piece and your and your retargeting. So you can drive down your C. P. A. And make sure you can also do that by driving traffic from organic traffic sources influences A. D. M. S. So that's one element of it secondly is your cost of goods. Where can you negotiate with your manufacturers to bring down costs? Do you really need that extra fixture like button that's in gold or could it be black? Can you save a dollar? Um Can you negotiate with afterpay to get them to reduce their percentage cut. Which we've done many times. Can you negotiate a deal with DHL. So like every single piece of the pie that makes that cost of goods. So you need to look at how can you negotiate that down? And there are clients that will like push that hard and will push the C. P. A down and we've already brought in another 10% of revenue to the business. So there's that element first. Um And then the second element is can we increase the av can we increase like encourage customers to add another piece to the cut or can we look at increasing our prices for particular products? I mean there's a lot of touch point you have to make, it depends on the business, like it really does. But any business you can cut costs or it could be like, do you need that app? Do you need that subscription? Do you need to pay an agency? Do you need that team member? Can you switch hosting providers? Can you cut your warehouse cost, right, looking at all aspects of the business? Yeah. Yeah. So that's like, you know, a big part of what we do is digital marketing is one thing, but it's nothing without the full picture. So I can I can come to a like, I could lie and be like, yes, you know, cP is amazing and you're a RVs 100 bucks. So like how return on investment is five times. But I'm not ethically doing the right thing by our clients then? Yes, something that I often see go south for smaller brands and early stage founders are kind of jumping to hire an agency very early on when they don't have those foundations in place and they kind of, it ends in this vicious cycle where a lot of money goes down the drain. It obviously is bad for both parties because then it's, you know, it starts that conversation around like this agency like ripped me off for like this was a really bad experience, but like it wasn't the right time either. When should a bootstrapped founder actually work with an agency? Yeah, it's a good question. Um, I mean it depends, but well, often 10 clients away if they're not, like we always say, we're not in the business of bankrupting anybody. So we typically do those kind of financial forecasts and look at including our fees and your market proposed marketing spend, what can we achieve if we think you're going to operate at last, we'll say no. So what you need to look at is there's tipping points of scale. So there's one scenario where you've just raised seed funding or something and you need to defend it and you need an agency who has skills and resources to help you. That's one thing because you've got presuming very aggressive targets to achieve, um, to report back to your investors, so that's totally separate if you're like running lean and doing this on your own. I would say it become to a tipping point where you do not have the time resource or the proclivity to up skill yourself and you have too many moving parts in the business. Um And usually you're at a tipping point by then where the revenue generating for the business is enough to at least consider investing. What I would say is look at, agency fees vary but a reasonable agency is between $1500.10 of, I mean look if we're doing full service it might be like 10-K. Plus. But usually for like if we're just running facebook ads it's usually about 1500 bucks. So if you look at that as a minimum and you think about what your growth goals month per month are. So say you want to make 100 K. This month um Your average order value is 100 bucks. We can feasibly you can feasibly estimate how much you think you could possibly allocate to this resource. Um And if you can finance that, that to me is the perfect time where you've got the stock, you have your conversion rate metrics in place, you've got the traffic to the site, you have your automation and your flow set up for E. D. M. S. Um You've got a social presence online, you've got content. If you don't have content don't even bother. So like there is a bit of a check the content piece. The content pieces so big. That's another thing I see, I feel like it's like you can't go down the agency route without also having the content piece sorted and either you need to be someone who is an expert at creating content at scale yourself or you need a content partner because there is so much content that's needed for, I mean even if we just think about facebook and instagram ads, you know, you need to be launching like I don't know what the actual number is here, but like in the space of like 100 ad campaigns to see what works and then scale those campaigns, you need 100 different pieces of content. That's crazy. Also different formats and like obviously different devices. Exactly. Even for organic, like, You know, for one of our clients for instance, we post at least so 10 stories a day, four posts on the feed to tech talks, one real, that's one client. Um so like think about the scale, which we have to create content to services and obviously they're a fairly large business, but you know, for a general punter, you know, creating five reels a week, almost impossible by yourself genuinely. So that content piece, you know, it can be iterative, it doesn't have to be editorial level content. It just has to speak to your brand values and communicate effectively what you're trying to say. I think people understand that startups are a work in progress, you do not have to be perfect, but without that, like that's probably the biggest roadblock. I hurdle for us when we're on boarding clients outside of budget is um content, like the content is not up to scratch or doesn't service the sales funnel. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, and the reality is without good content, your ads are going to perform anyway, so it's money down the drain. I mean a lot of people, I feel consider that to be quite intangible because like what is good content um pretty subjective, but there are some objective qualities that you can as business owners. Like if you're thinking about how to develop this content, there are checkpoints that you can hit and that's around your messaging, who your target audience is, what's best practice in markets and then what's achievable for you. And I think if you can look at those four elements, you can build something, it's not going to be perfect unless you invest a lot of money into it, but it will be enough. Right, what is your best piece of advice or your top tips for bootstrapped founders today? Hmm. Good question. I think there is a big pace around, Well, there's two things, but a big piece around outsourcing. So I think there's really cost effective ways to outsource important pieces of work for scalability and that's not necessarily talking about agency that's talking about V. A. S that's talking about content creators, that's talking about, you know accountants, legal advice. Um you know, I think bookkeeping is a really big one that a lot of people are not on top of finance a lot. And I'm actually not really very financially minded, that's my brother. But it is something that I find really important because I'm not that good at it. I have to be on top of it outside of that. I think there's two things you need to decide whether this is a business that you're going to build an exit or a business that you're going to scale and operate ideally, like this is a lifestyle business for you. So I think when you look at those two things and we have both like word of mouth, that's our lifestyle business, we will work and live in this in some capacity, hopefully forever. And then we've got other businesses that we know or I know we're gonna exit at some point. We have a KPI mind and then we're getting out. So I think when you frame you change your frame of reference around what the purpose is for the business it allows you to look at how you can scale that effectively. If you're looking to exit raise capital. If you want it to be a lifestyle business, don't give up equity. Great advice. Thank you. I love that.


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