DN110 – Jason Swenk: Starting Your Agency The Right Way

There is an interesting statement Jason Swenk mentioned in today’s episode, and it made me think about it all day long. He said, “Today is the best time in the history of the world to start a digital agency.” That is a powerful statement. Jason supported this statement with equally strong reason why he feels that way, and that is exactly what we will uncover in today’s episode!

 

You see, Jason Swenk is not just any agency advisor, he himself launch his own digital agency in his early 20’s that quickly grew to a multi-million dollar operation, working with the biggest brands in the world. Today, he is helping marketing agencies to grow their agencies faster and easier. In his early days, he has always been a hustler and very resourceful, an independent soul who likes to his own thing. That maybe the reason why he says he is “unemployable” and fell into entrepreneurship. Jason has tasted all that there is, from corporate world to being a freelancer tostarting his own agency and succeeded. We are blessed to receive so much value from him!

 

Do you know something in any aspect of digital marketing? Are you a freelancer or do you have a business and you do digital marketing for it? Or do you just want to start any business? Then this episode is for you! Even if you are not starting any business anytime soon but you just want to know what does it looks like if you want to start one, be ready for so much knowledge in today’s episode.

 

Here’s What You Missed

 

  • How would you know entrepreneurship or starting an agency is for you?
  • How would you market and price yourself when you are starting out?
  • What’s the framework to get more businesses to work with you?
  • How should you treat your business?
  • Should you niche down?

 

 

Knowledge Nuggets

 

[6:20] Try out everything and see what works and what you like. When starting out, you might not know what to price for your services, and that is fine. You can see what everybody else is charging and maybe start from there. From there, see the supply and demand and you can increase your charging. That is just when you are starting. As you go on with the business, you’ll know better and you’ll start to charge based on the value you are giving.

 

[8:55] Figure out the expectation of your prospect business. You could lose a deal because you are too low, or you charged lower that what they expected. There are different types of expectations in pricing. Be sure to do your research of you’re dealing with.

 

[11:50] Have a clarity, then create an outbound channel. Figure out strategies on how to reach out to people and see how you can help them out. But before you do this prospecting stage, you need to have a clarity about what’s your knowledge and your passion. Then you can have the clarity of who you are going after and how you can help them.

 

[14:12] Develop strategic partnerships. After you have the clarity of you are going after and what you can offer, determine who else are going after them? They could be your strategic partners.

 

[16:25] Create, not just one, but multiple channels. That’s what I call as standing on a stool. Stand on a stool with many legs, so if one falls down you can still stand.

 

[17:07] Aim to get to a point where you can pick and choose the client you want to work with. That’s the ultimate freedom.

 

[19:34] Give your employees the clarity of vision to empower them. In this way, you do not have to do all by yourself, because your team understands where you are going, then they can make better decisions to head on to your destination. You need to have a clarity of your strengths and weaknesses so you can double down on your strengths and hire for weaknesses

 

[22:36] Now is the best time to start a digital agency. Because everyone’s shutting down, people can not travel to people. If you understand digital marketing, you can connect those people virtually. You are the first line for the economy.

 

[27:17] You have to get to a point where you can pick a niche and a specialization where you dominate. That’s the goal. But when starting out, you can try anything and see what works for you.

 

Framework to get more businesses: Clarity, positioning yourself, prospecting, create a sales system, proposal process, sold operations or delivering on the work, and working on your leadership skills.

 

[33:07] Whenever you say, “I just don’t have enough resources”, you just haven’t been resourceful enough. You just underestimate yourself. If you have passion for something, go for it.

Treat the business as a game of monopoly. You are not going to win all the time, but you can always restart.

 

Important Reads and Links

 

Jason Swenk Website- https://jasonswenk.com/

Jason Swenk YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcHycBFrSxkPWyMTZ1s-74g

Jason Swenk Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/jswenk/

Jason Swenk Twitter- https://twitter.com/jswenk

 

Suggested person to study about: Tony Robbins

 

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Download this episode’s transcript HERE

 
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Casanova Brooks:

What’s up Dream Nation. We are back again with an episode that I’m sure will deliver so much value to each and every person that’s thinking about starting a business, but even if you’re not thinking about starting a business, so you just want to know what does it look like if I want to. Be a part of a world class organization.

I think that today’s guest is going to help us uncover a lot of the secrets when it comes to building empire. So without further ado, go ahead and help me welcome Mr. Jason Swenk to the show. Jason, you want to say what’s up to Dream Nation.

Jason Swenk:

Hey, what’s up Dream Nation. Thanks for having me on.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah, man.

It’s a pleasure. So for you, we found you because you have been a leading a catalyst when it comes to people, starting digital agencies. And I think a lot of people right now, they’re learning social media, they’re learning marketing, and they want to know exactly how they could start their own agency.

They want to know what’s the steps look like and what are the pitfalls and obstacles I should look after. So. I want to first, before we get into all of that and drop in so much value, I want to always like to give the proper introduction. And so before you became, because you have a podcast as well, and you’ve been running your podcast for what?

Six years now,

Jason Swenk:

Six years.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. That’s amazing. So you’ve been a staple in this game. Obviously, podcasting is really starting to take off. Now. We still have not hit a peak and we don’t know that might not be for many years, but you’ve been a staple. But before all of that, before you became a person who helps thousands of entrepreneurs start their own agency and do it the right way, let’s take it back to when you were just a young boy.

And tell me who is Jason Swenk.

Jason Swenk:

You know, I’ve always been a hustler, you know, I’ve always loved creating and seeing about how can I be more resourceful. So, I mean, You know, I was watching episode many years ago with my wife. We were watching Dirty Jobs. And I was like, I had like every one of those, like literally, like I used to go in the swamps to get good golfers golf balls and sell it back to them.

You know, like I used to clean the bottom of boats. Like it was all kind of like, All different types when I was younger.

Casanova Brooks:

Was that because your, your family was into like all those? Or like, why did you, how did you come about all of these jobs?

Jason Swenk:

I just liked working. I liked making money, you know, I like money.

I didn’t expect anybody to give it to us.

Casanova Brooks:

Was entrepreneurship big in your family when you were growing up? Like what type of a childhood did you have.

Jason Swenk:

Yeah, no, my, my dad was a hardworking middle-class, you know, it was a banker, you know, for a company called Sallie Mae and a couple other banks.

And, so he was an entrepreneur. My grandfather was a carpenter and, you know, my mother was a school teacher. So, you know, it was kind of, you know, other than my grandfather being like a carpenter for his own business. Yeah. I was kind of the first.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. So what made you decide to make that jump? what, what didn’t you like about going the, the steady route?

Jason Swenk:

Well, I, I think it was, I kind of fell into it, right. Like I always tell people there. On the agency side, they’re accidental agency owners. Right? So out of… I went to Florida state university and the one thing I learned there was how to outsource and I was a computer programmer, but I outsourced everything.

So when I got a job at Arthur Anderson, you can only imagine how bad of a programmer I was. Hmm. And, and I didn’t like it. And you know, I graduated, you know, let’s see the

Casanova Brooks:

You don’t like programming or you didn’t like feeling like that you weren’t the top of your class.

Jason Swenk:

Both and I’m unemployable too.

So what I didn’t tell you early on, like, especially when I had my summer jobs. Like one summer, I was fired from three jobs. So like literally, but I realized why. And it’s because I was always made to do my own thing. Right. I never wanted to quit. So I made people fire me. And so I worked for Arthur Anderson for six months and I hated it.

And at the time one of my friends looked like Justin Timberlake, like to the T, like literally. And I was like, man, I’m going to do a website. And we’re going to create a website called N*Shit, making fun of it N*sync. And it’s going to have the four of us and the website got really popular. And then, I had a couple of people go, Hey, can you design me a website?

So this is in ’99, right? Not many people have websites. This is really new. I was like, sure. And so that’s why I said I’m an accidental agency owner. Like you were in the show in the very beginning of like a lot of people know how to do a service around marketing and then people are going to be like, Hey, can you do that for me?

You did such a good job on yourself. And then before you know it, you’re starting to start your digital agency. Right.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. And so Florida state, then you start working this job and you create this website. Was this website your first ever attempted at service and now building your own business?

Jason Swenk:

Exactly.

Yeah, it was for a real estate agent because he, he literally, I remember Charlie Commander. Thank you, Charlie. My first client ever. And then I remember my second was a lawyer and then a Marina and then a hair salon and it just. Started building. And then I was like, man, this is awesome. Like

Were you still outsourcing at this time?

Or where are you now?

I was doing it Pricing Your Services

Casanova Brooks:

So I think where a lot of people struggle with it in any service based business where there’s coaching, consultancy. And it doesn’t matter. I struggled with first off, how do I know where to price? Right? Because that’s the scary thing. You feel like you have a good service.

Someone else says, Hey, will you do it for me? But prices are all over the board because you get to essentially name your price and you don’t want to lose out on your first client. How was that for you? How did you know where to price yourself?

Jason Swenk:

I didn’t. I mean, it was all like, it’s like a Vegas buffet. So like you try out everything, see what works and what you like.

you know, my first and that’s something, I always ask them my podcasts, like, well, a lot of times I do, I’m like, what’d you charge? Right. It seems like almost everybody charged like $500. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it’s under four digits and it’s big enough, I guess, for us to be like, cool.

Yeah. It takes me a couple of hours. I make 500 bucks. Heck yeah. I could party on that for a long time.

Casanova Brooks:

Sure. So you started out, did you start out charging $500? Like per website?

Jason Swenk:

I did. I did. Then I just kept saying $like, as I started getting busier, I started looking at like supply and demand. I was like, let me see if I could do $1000.

Let me see if I entered 2000. Right. And then I was there for a while and then I was like, Then I started realizing I’m like, it’s all about people’s expectation because I was still too young to figure out what’s the value I deliver. Right. Cause I truly believe you should charge on the value, but a lot of us, when we’re starting out, we don’t know what kind of value we’re going to deliver.

We just need to be like, what’s their expectation. And I remember we started adding on to the team and eventually we grew to a really big agency. but in the very beginning, I remember. We were around maybe $700,000 at this time. And I remember getting a call

Casanova Brooks:

In gross revenue?

Jason Swenk:

Yeah. And I remember getting this call from this organization I’ve never heard of, and I remember just rocking this call.

I was like, there’s no way they’re not going to go, go with me. And I remember them inviting me to their office. And I remember going into this office and. I think this is the biggest board room I’ve ever been in. I was like, this is crazy. And I was the first one in like the, the office manager escorted me in and then like all these suits come in.

I’m like, Oh, crap. Right, right. Because I started my agency at 22. So I think I was 24 at the time. So I don’t know anything still. And I remember telling them $10,000 for a website. And that was going to be really big for us. And I remember them laughing and I remember going back to the office and some of the employees were like, what, what happened?

I was like, we kind of laughed. I’m like, who’d you meet with. And I remember going, and I was like, Brooks, Brooks, Brookshire. They were like Berkshire Hathaway of like, yeah. How’d, you know, they were like, that’s like one of the biggest companies. And I lost that deal because they were expecting around 300,000.

So I realized then I had to figure out the expectation of the prospect, because you could lose a deal because you’re too low. Cause they’re going to be like, What are you selling a stolen car? Like if I said, I’m going to tell you this Ferrari for a hundred dollars going to be like, is it a matchbox car?

Is it a real car? Is it stolen? Like

Casanova Brooks:

right. Absolutely. I get it. Wow. So that was a huge, huge lesson. Right? It’s, it’s very important to get the expectation up front, to understand who you’re actually dealing with here and to know, you know, Pricing Your Serviceswhat would you say the biggest lesson that you learned out of there was it that you didn’t do your homework beforehand and know the type of company that you were dealing with?

Jason Swenk:

There, there was a couple, I mean, there was definitely a couple lessons.

One is I didn’t research ahead of time. So I went in there blind, but also too, I learned that you there’s all different types of expectations in pricing. Right? The work I can do for a thousand dollars is usually the same work I could do for 300,000. It’s just you, you Mark it up. Right?

And it was crazy. I, and I remember another instance I remember at the time, I think maybe we were around the $2 million mark this time and we were charging $20,000 for websites.

Big jump, 500, the huge, I remember getting this one prospect come in and it was total jerk. Right? Like, you’d be like, there’s no way I want to work with this person. And at the time I wouldn’t say no to people, but I would want them to say no. And so I said 80,000. And he said, yes, I was like, crap. Right.

Then, then from there I realized that there’s an opportunity cost of 60,000. So if I could charge 80,000, but I kept charging 20,000 over here, I was losing $60,000 on every engagement. So then I was like, well, how can I find these people? Pricing Your Services

Casanova Brooks:

Right. Right. Got it. So those are big numbers that you’re throwing out.

And for a lot of people that first hearing this, and they’re saying, Oh my God, I’m just trying to get my first client. Right. So let’s talk about like, 3 Steps for Designing your businesswhen you first ever started out, how were you finding these clients? How are you marketing yourself? Like, did you just have the best website in the world or were you proactively reaching out to people?

Jason Swenk:

Yes, I was going through the yellow pages. I was literally, and yet for the people that are just getting started, these are not the ones you sit on a seat, so you can see over the steering wheel, like, like there’s actually numbers and people in there.

I would call people up, but. Yeah. If I had to do it over again here, here’s, here’s what I would do. Right. So I truly believe there needs to be, I’m like dating myself. Like people are listening to me, like who’s this gray hair F-word, right? Like talking to us, I would do kind of the three channels.

Right. I would create an outbound channel. You have to figure out strategies to reach out to people and see how you can actually help them out. And so in order to do that though, before you actually even get to a prospecting stage, and here’s when I interview agency owners, it probably takes most agency owners five, sometimes 10 years to figure this out, you have to get clarity.

You have to figure out what do I have a lot of knowledge in. Who would I just have extreme passion in working for. Right. And then, and then go find out who can actually afford what you actually want to charge. So you have to get that clarity because if you’re just going through the yellow pages like me, I was just starting at a, there was no target.

Hmm. And like I told you, I’d real estate marinas, all that, that sounds fun, but you’re redoing everything all the time. You have to be a master of one, right? And then you can start developing yourself as the choice rather than a choice. So you have to get that clarity. And a lot of people skip that and so important.

And so once you know who you’re going after, okay, what you want to become right now, you can steer the ship a little bit better. And then I can say, all right, let me make my top 100 list of people I want to work with. So with me, if I was doing it over again, I loved outdoors. Obviously I live in Colorado.

I also used to race cars. So I know a lot about cars, all that kind of stuff. So I’d be like, all right, let me make a list of all these extreme sports. And then I’m going to go after these people and I’m going to go after them because I know what their biggest challenges are. Right. And then I’m going to call up and I’m going to mention something like, you know, Hey, I know you might be struggling with how, how can you reach your target audience right now with the pandemic going on and how can you get people to buy?

But right now everybody’s at home and the researching how they can make their Jeeps more redneck or bigger tires or their cars faster or whatever it is, right. And I can show you how you can reach these people faster because you used to just go to trade shows and SEMA and all this in order to get your brand out.

Is that something you would want to help with? Guaranteed, I’m going to get their attention. Right? Right. So that’s the first one. The second one is developed strategic partnerships. Now that you have that clarity of who you’re going after and how you can help them, who else is going after that? That could be strategic partners, right?

Is there a particular technologies? That they’re using for selling online that I could partner with that we can “two plus two equals eight”?. And then the third is an inbound channel. This takes a little bit longer, but you have to create like what we’re doing here. We create rich media content, create a podcast.

Don’t just do a stupid blog. you should have one related to your podcast or create videos. And so as you create this channel, now you can have this. Stool that you can stand on. Right? Most people have a stool with one peg and you can only balance for so long until you fall down. But that’s what I tell people and that’s what I would do.

And then you can grow a lot faster.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. Now. Elaborate more on the, on the stool. Cause you talked about that. Like what, what do you mean by the stool for a lot of people who are listening and they say, okay, I don’t get that part. Yeah.

Jason Swenk:

So most people build their business on one channel and boast is referrals.

Okay. So if your business is based on referrals, it’s just a scalable and you’re depending on someone else. Right. And you’re looking, and it’s not really a strategic partner. It’s just like. Hey, this person did great on my Facebook ads or did great on YouTube videos for me. And they just send you business.

Well, that’s where relying in what’s what’s going to happen is you’re going to keep getting the same type of business or lower because they’re never going to send you bigger ones. Right. Right. So then you’re going to be like wondering, well, I got all this work and I started hiring more people and then I’m making less money or I’m actually losing money.

That’s what happens to a lot of people and then you make a decision. You’re like, Oh man, I just wish I could go back to the fun stage where it was just you because you were making okay money, but you had to do everything. And it’s the reason being is because you’re standing on a one legged stool. You literally, that can break any time.

But if you create all these other channels, one channel can go down and you can still stand.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. I love it.

Jason Swenk:

And use other things. It’s like a backup. What I want everybody to be able to do is predictable pipeline where businesses constantly keeps coming to you because at the end of the day, Well, once you get going in the business and you start figuring a lot of stuff out and it’s learning every day, I still learn stuff every day.

Right. And I ran the agency for 12 years before selling it. And then I’ve been doing this for six years. And after I sold agency, I did stupid shit for two years. Right. That I didn’t like. And so you’re always constantly learning, but you want to get to a point where you can pick and choose the clients you want to work with.

That’s the ultimate freedom. It’s not the “grow your business faster than everybody else”. Who cares about that? You want to get to a point where you can pick and choose the stuff you love doing in your business. Right? And you have to have a predictable pipeline in order to get there.3 Steps for Designing your business

Casanova Brooks:

So talk to me about what was your biggest, you talked about one where it takes certain agency owners or a lot of agency owners, five to 10 years to recognize. But what was your biggest obstacle you would say in your first 10 years of doing this? Like, Clarity of vision empowers your teamis there anything that you look back and you say this was the challenge that really held me back, whether it was mindset, whether it was resources, what was it for you?

Jason Swenk:

It was the clarity. And so I remember, so I remember very vividly. It was maybe we were, we were in the multi-millions at the time. We had a lot of employees and I remember coming home all the time, depressed. I remember my wife going, like, why are you depressed? I’m like, man, you know, I just, I just don’t like what I’m doing anymore.

I just I’m stressed out if my marriage was taking a hit from it. And finally she said, just quit, go take a job, shut it all down. And I’m like, huh. So that’s an option. And it literally, I was so like, I was like, I was ready and I remember,

Casanova Brooks:

what is it again? You not setting the right expectations or like, why do you feel like it was taking such a toll on not only you, but your family as well?

Jason Swenk:

Well, I mean, like I was doing it, I felt like I was doing everything. I didn’t, I was the, I was the toll booth owner, so everything had to flow through me. Right. And so I remember interviewing with a company called NASCAR, for in marketing. And, I remember them asking me a question, like, what do you want to do every day?

What don’t you never want to do again? I remember thinking about that when I went home, I was like, Alright. So I got a sheet of paper out. I drew a circle and a eight and a half by 11 paper… picture it like about as big as my fist, everything on outside of the circle, I started writing all the shit I don’t like anymore.

Like I’d never want to do. And then I spent some time on that. And then once I did that, I said, well, what’s all the stuff I really love doing. And I wrote that inside the circle that gave me complete clarity. And then I said, I can do this in the agency. I just need to, delegate the stuff I don’t want to do anymore.

I need to give the power of where we’re actually going to my employees because I had no vision for the company. We accidentally got there. So everybody always asked me because they didn’t no where we’re going. So picture us on a boat. Right? We’re we’re leaving New York Harbor. Cause it’s all the crazy stuff going on.

Right. And we’re going to London, but I don’t tell my team. We’re going to London. I just tell my team whenever the boats changes course, come get me every five minutes. Waking me up shape, changing course correction. If you have ever driven a boat changes all the time. If I just told them we’re going to London, they can make the right decision.

And I realized that, and once I gave them the vision of where I wanted to go. Then they can make better decisions and then they could take us. Right? Cause we’re most of us that start companies, we’re visionaries. We come up with a thousand ideas, but we suck at execution. So if I can find an operator, I can go execute on my vision because a lot of times I talked to an agency owner or an entrepreneur.

And they go, I want to go here, but they don’t do anything because they don’t know how to get there. Well, I’m like, that’s fine. You don’t need to know how. Hire someone that knows how. And that’s what we actually started doing. That’s what changed everything for us. And when we did that, then that’s when we started growing into a bigger agency.

Casanova Brooks:

I know that I’ve even been in this position before. What about when you are an executor, but you don’t know how to. articulate your vision. So you’re on the opposite side of that. You know how to do everything, you know how to put in the work. You’re not afraid of the work, but yet, and, and, and you get results off of it, but yet you don’t know how to articulate.

So when the team asks you like, well, where are we going? And you’re like, just do this next step. Like, I’m not really sure on that part. Like how do you, how do you ever advise people on that?

Jason Swenk:

it’s about like, I love what Gary Vaynerchuk always says about self awareness. You have to figure out what your strengths are and your weaknesses are, and you hire for your weaknesses. You don’t work on your weaknesses,

Casanova Brooks:

You double down on your strengths.

Jason Swenk:

Exactly. Right. And so find a visionary that can figure out the vision and you go execute because if you don’t.

You’re going to be always a freelancer, which is perfectly fine. You’ll never have a scalable business. Everything will depend on you because you just keep saying, well, “let me do that”. Cause I can do it in two seconds. Right. But then it, it, you, you handicap the rest of your team and there’s no right or wrong answer.

Right. Like literally it’s just whatever you want. Clarity of vision empowers your team

Casanova Brooks:

One of the other things that you teach, a lot of people is the framework of starting an agency. Right. And, and you talked about this, I want to say in one of your later podcasts that you’ve just talked about that. Starting an agencyTalk to me about it.

Like, why should someone one start an agency? Is this a good time right now? And if you’re thinking about, yeah, I do want to start an agency. What is that framework look like?

Jason Swenk:

In the history of the world to start a digital agency. I’m not just saying that because I help agency owners

best time in the history of the world

ever, ever, ever, ever

Casanova Brooks:

That’s a powerful statement.

Jason Swenk:

I’ll tell you why? Cause everything’s shut down. People can’t travel people. Can’t, you know, there’s entire businesses that used to depend on going to conferences or meeting with their prospects in order to sell them that they can’t do that anymore.

If you understand digital marketing and you can connect those people virtually. You’re behind the doctors and the nurses. Those are the most important people right during this pandemic, but you’re right. You’re the first line for the economy because you can connect business owners, right?

You can connect. The restaurants with people, right. And keep the restaurants relevant for posting their recipes and making it, you know, them popular. And so when we get back to us, some sort of normal that you can go the best time to start agencies is in a downmarket. When I started in 99, this was in the dot bomb.

Error, right. When all the dot coms, we’re getting stupid valuations, then a crashed nine 11 was another really good one where we took a giant leap. ’08. I’ve seen when I’ve interviewed tons of people and you’ve been helped. People sell their agency. Lot of times they’ve started in ’08 because the bigger companies are struggling because they they’re so fat and they’re, they have such a huge overhead.

And they’re laying people off and then people are like, I don’t want to work for someone. I can go do this myself. So this is the best time ever to do it.

Casanova Brooks:

Now, when we talk about a digital agency, I know that sometimes it can, obviously we’re in the world of online marketing and marketing in general, but for a lot of people that may be listening to this and they’re still working a nine to five,º but they would like to get out and, and they, they do like marketing.

What exactly is a digital agency? Is that like running somebody’s social media? Is that mean you only do their like social or their, a display ads campaign? Is that just Facebook? What’s a digital agency actually means.

Jason Swenk:

Any digital marketing service that you provide some for someone else. So it could be creating websites, could be Facebook ads, YouTube ads, Instagram ads, managing the social media, writing, copy doing videos, right.

It’s really any kind of digital marketing doing and strategy behind it for a particular prospect or a client. That’s what an agency is. And even if you’re a one person, you still can be an agency, even though technically you’re a freelancer, but you can still have the amount of resources around you to help you fulfill and to write like there’s more and more.

I have so many agencies now that they work from home. Their whole team is virtual. They might have one operator because they’re not the operator that they pay full time, but they’re a multimillion dollar agency. Like it’s crazy. Like when I look at what you can do now, for what, when we were running the agency, it’s crazy.

Like we had over a hundred people at our agency, an eight figure agecy. Like you had to have that many people and have an eight figure agency or bigger and not even close to that number of people.

Casanova Brooks:

It’s the world of outsourcing and now being connected with so many more people. And there’s so many more sites out there that give you the resources that whatever you want, if you can connect the dots, like you said, and help somebody else tell their story better.

then that’s the huge opportunity. So I love that you said it now, the question that comes after that to me, and I know a lot of people may be thinking is, do you have to be niched down in that then? Because you just named off seven different services, right? You said the website, he said, social media, all these ads, do I have to be niched down into that?

Or can I just go out and try to find any business?

Jason Swenk:

When you’re, when you’re starting out, it’s like a Vegas buffet. I’ll use that analogy again, right? You don’t know shit. Right. and so like when I go to Vegas buffet, whenever it opens up again, like think about like, or one of those things phase, like I’m a big guy.

I love eating, right? Yeah. I want to try everything, the little bit of everything and go like in the first round. And I’m the, I’m the type that goes back like four times. Right. And you have to roll my fat butt out, but like the second time it would be like, Ooh, I don’t like that. I really like that. And that’s what you need to do starting out because some people can start off. going

“I have passion for this and I know how to do this really well. I’m gonna go there and they’re going to grow faster”. I’ll just be honest with you. Right. You have to get to a point where you can pick a niche and a specialization where you dominate. And then you can add on, think about when Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook started Facebook.

He didn’t, he didn’t compete with MySpace. I’m like, if you try to compete with MySpace, he would have been crushed. Right. He started off for Harvard students, Ivy league students, universities, high schools, right. And started building on that’s what you need to do. He tried to go after everyone at once.

You’re going to struggle, but in the very beginning, it’s okay to try to. Do that, but then you have to have like, really be looking for the signs of going, “Oop, I really liked that. Let’s go right there.” And go all in and you’ll grow faster. So you have to have a niche, and really that goes back to that clarity, right?

Because you remember, like, I was stopping you when you were like, well, what’s the strategy. Get more business. Here’s the framework. You have to get the clarity where you’re going and what you believe in your core values, all that kind of good stuff. Then you have to position. In the right way. So you can separate yourself from everybody else.

Then you have to figure out what you’re charging. Like what’s your offering that you can separate, then you can go after and coming up with the prospecting systems to go after. Right? So there’s three foundational systems you have to get before then after prospecting. You can do sales, you have to develop a sales system in order to like, get the budget every time, you know, what’s the proposal process, how do I close and follow up strategies, then you have to deliver on the work.

You actually sold operations and then leadership. Like how do you become that CEO, that leader of the organization to make sure we scale and grow. So that’s the eight, eight systems you really need to aspire to in that order. Starting an agency

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. I love it, man. That’s so dope. And I love that you broke that down.

Clarity is something that a lot of people struggle with. Of course. and I know I struggled with that very long time as well, because you feel like you can help so many people. Right. But then it comes down to when you’re helping everybody almost you’re helping nobody because you’re stretching yourself so thin, which is where the value of having a team, even if it’s an outsource team comes in.

Yeah. Because it allows you to really be able to focus on what you’re good at. And just like you said, double down on your strengths. So I love that part.

Has there been a huge mentor or a book or something like that. That’s really allowed you to stay on your path. Cause you’ve talked about there’s a couple of times, or you felt like quitting, what’s been that GoTo thing for you or person that has allowed you to know that like, Hey, I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Jason Swenk:

in the past, it’s been Tony Robbins. now I don’t know him, so I have friends that are friends with him, but I don’t know him personally, but I remember in college, when I was playing in college in tennis, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I remember listening to the tapes cause I was like, who’s this infomercial big.

Hey, big head, big hands guy. And I listened to the CDs back then and then helped. And then I remember when I sold my agency, I was completely depressed after. And I remember going to want to hit three day workshops where you like walk on fire. And I used to think it was fake fire until someone got burned.

I was like, Ooh, it was real. I really did it. so I mean, him a little bit more for the mental, and really how like we think and operate in that kind of stuff, but in the digital marketing space, not really. I mean, I just kind of execute because I find if you, if you really follow someone too long, you kind of start emulating them like a long time ago.

One of my podcast was called the Ask Swank show. And what do you think about ask Gary Vee show if you remember that. So, yeah. You know, like I try not to pay attention to other people because I don’t want subconsciously to copy them.

Casanova Brooks:

Right. No, I gotcha. So have you ever had a book though? The, are you a big reader or is there a book that’s really,

Jason Swenk:

that’s like kryptonite to me.

The books. Really?

Casanova Brooks:

What about like, Audible, listening to books.

Jason Swenk:

I’m sorry. I get so bored. It’s

Casanova Brooks:

all good. Yeah. Honest about it.

Jason Swenk:

All. Good. I’ve written more books than I’ve read.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. Got it. I love it. well, so talk to me about now that you’ve seen where the digital marketing agency is going, things like that.

Like, is there a new thing that you’re as excited about and you’re, you’re really looking forward to tapping into, or you think like right now it’s still digital marketing. You’re just trying to figure out how to scale what you’re currently doing.

Jason Swenk:

You know, my thing now is just. Being like, and this is my why, just being a resource I wish I had when I was running my agency.

And so, you know, that’s why we do our podcasts and videos and all this stuff that we, we do all day long. Yeah. But we’re also leveraging that to create other companies. Know, I own another agency in Canada. you know, we’re constantly looking for the right softwares to invest in that actually help agency owners and that kind of stuff.

And just really kind of building a small empire around helping agency owners. And that’s what, that’s what I’m excited about.

Casanova Brooks:

There’s somebody out there, man, right now that is inspired. Maybe they’re thinking about starting up their own agency. They say, Hey, this is the best time I do love digital marketing.

And I think I could be of service to someone else, but they have this little voice in their head that says, maybe they’re not strong enough. They’re not smart enough. Or they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you say to that person to get them to just take action.

Jason Swenk:

Well, I mean, Whenever you say, “I just don’t have enough resources”.

You just haven’t been resourceful enough. I mean, we’ve put people on the freaking moon. Like we have spaceships that go up in the air and land by themselves. Like creating an agency is not rocket science and we always underestimate ourselves. But if you have passion for something, go try it. Like, what’s the worst that’s going to happen.

It just doesn’t work. Okay. Like that, like treat it as like a game of Monopoly. You’re not going to win all the time, but you can restart and play again. And that’s the fun of it now. Like if, and if that doesn’t excite you, if it, if you don’t treat businesses a game, you probably shouldn’t be running your own company.

because then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Like if you do it for, “I want the freedom to do what I want”. You ain’t, you, ain’t going to have that in the first couple of years. Like it takes many years to get to that level where you have that freedom that you think, but there’s still that the grass is, the grass is greener on the side you water, right?

Like there’s still challenges we have every day and people are always like, Oh, why am I doing this? And that kind of stuff. It’s just, just try it out, just go do it. And it could be the coolest thing that you ever do.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it, loving man for anybody that wants to stay connected with you, where can they find you at?

Jason Swenk:

Yeah, I just go to my website. jason swenk.com and Swenk is spelled S W E N K. So jasonswenk.com. We give away 85% of our knowledge for absolutely nothing. on the podcast, we have two podcasts a week, sometimes three, and, we also have put out a. Over 500 videos on YouTube. So good check all that stuff out and start there.

Cool, my man. Well, Hey, it’s been a pleasure again, to have you on the show. Thanks for dropping so much knowledge and value. And I look forward to hearing the feedback, remember DreamNation in the dream we trust, but just as he said, we must take action. Even if that means that you just got to start over, because if you don’t take action, it’ll only merely be a fantasy.

We’ll see you on the next one.

 

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