Ad Pros Founder Nehal Kazim has built a reputation for helping companies break barriers with their ad spend. Nehal is a certified genius when it comes to scaling Facebook Ads. He knows which levers to pull to double or triple a company pretty quickly.
In this very candid interview, we learn about the foundations of Nehal’s success in the agency world and what it took to get there. We also get an unfiltered view of how he stays engaged amidst success and the struggles that come in searching for the next challenge to conquer.
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Joe Troyer 0:45
Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets today. We were just laughing. today's podcast is probably going out about three years in the making. No, not really. But quite a long time, we've been trying to get this one slated in the books. And I've been out and our guest has been out. And it's it's finally here. So I'm super excited today to welcome the Nehal Kazim. Nehal is the man when it comes to, to really scaling Facebook ads, and we're going to be talking about the scale that he's been able to achieve. And what makes him different than kind of a lot of people on the marketplace. And man, like how long have we known each other? Do you know?
I think it's six years now
Joe Troyer 1:32
It's been a long time. So guys, without further ado, I'm just super excited to bring him on to hang out first and foremost, let you guys kind of, you know, hear in on the conversation and and to really understand what's happening in the marketplace right now. We were just talking before we officially kicked off the recording. We have lots of stuff happening with iOS 14. We're talking about the implications of that. And guys, this is gonna be a good one. So for those of you that don't know Nehal, Nehal runs ad pros. I believe Nehal, you guys are primarily focused on ecom and subscription companies. Is that still the case?
Yeah, that's the case. And we're primarily working with companies who are six figures a month in revenue, and we take them to seven figures a month.
Joe Troyer 2:15
Okay, perfect. And I know that you're really focused on scaling ad spend. And where most, you know, agencies are breaking and can't break past the barrier you're you're kind of known from before taking people and bursting through that barrier. Is that correct?
Yeah, I'd say so.
Joe Troyer 2:32
Perfect, man. So before we dive deep, give us a little bit about your background. And like, How'd you end up in this crazy digital marketing world that we all know.
Yeah I mean, a lot of it started with like Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula. That was like the first kind of thing that I saw. There was like Ed Dale's thing. Like, there was like, you know, I was when I was really starting with internet marketing. So I'm 30 right now. I started when I was like, 14, and just like looking out of desperation, and trying to figure out how to figure anything out for my family. Like that was the approach. I didn't really know what to do. I think I lost maybe like, I lose, but it was like five years, six years of like, real trial and error. And I tried maybe like five or six, seven different things. And one of the first thing I was going to do was like teach people like basketball skills, but I didn't really I wasn't really good. So I didn't know where that came from. I created business cards and everything. It's like, I still have them at my mom's house, but yeah, that's where I kind of started and I tried a bunch of different things, selling shoes on eBay that were not real. And all these other different ideas, and most of them failed, or most of them like were successful, were very short term. And then the first thing that really hit was like selling websites. And that's like, where I started. And the first website was, like, 500 bucks. We eventually sold different websites for like, 5000. But it's very, I didn't have a system to get clients or execute. So I was both. And so it was a lot of like rollercoaster life, you know, financially It was very roller coaster ish. Not fun. It's fun to close deals, but not good fun to like execute them for people who have small agencies, like they know what that is about. And then I was like, Man, this kind of sucks, like, what about, I just make more money consistently. And that's where, you know, I've got a lot of different training, including you guys on the AdWords side back in the day. And I was just exploring, so I decided I was going to do content marketing. That was the thing that I was going to do. And I was good at it. And like I was getting results for people. But then algorithms started going down for reach. And so I made another shift to Facebook ads, and I didn't have any of my own money. And so I was broke. And so I can't run Facebook ads or like I wasn't creative enough. That's a better way to position it. I wasn't creative enough to Figure out how to leverage my lack of funds to like, get results, basically. So then I was like, Alright, I'm just gonna go where other people have money, but don't have time. And I'll just learn. And that's kind of where we started. And then, you know, started with zero charging $0. And then 250 a month 500. And we kept doubling that. And you know, thankfully, we have clients paying 20,000 25,000 per month now
man. So fast forward to today. Who do you guys serve? What do you guys kind of do? What's the you know, how many clients do you have kind of what's top line revenue, just kind of big picture stuff.
Yeah, so we don't really talk a lot about that. But it's low six figures per month. And the main type of client that we're serving is direct to consumer brands. And we have some, like, people who don't fit that mold, but they're just companies who spend a lot of money. So they spend 100,000 per month plus, and we have a handful of clients that are the core clients that you know, spend over a million a month total. And then we have smaller clients that are spending 30,000 to 50,000 per month. And so and then our in terms of like the way our team is set up and how we're, we're structured, there's eight people on the agency side, because of COVID. And because of kind of where we're seeing the direction of Facebook ads, we started creating a creative service, like the actual done for you creative. So we, our internal process wasn't very good. And so we worked on that. And now we have six people on that side plus additional people. So we're all over I'm in Colombia, the team is in five countries. So we're everywhere.
Joe Troyer 8:24
Awesome, man. When you think about the future for you, for your team for ad pros, where do you want to go? Are you trying to keep it kind of small, keep it really mean and lean? Are you trying to grow and scale the crap out of it? What are your thoughts on growth? And what's next for ad pros?
Yeah, so what my intention was, before was basically limiting the number of clients, we have increasing the average order value and lifetime value through retention, and keeping it tight and very profitable. Like that was the goal. And then I realized, like, I want to, I want to play a bigger game. And I want to have a bigger impact in the way that I give back to people. And so I'm actually launching a job readiness program classes start on Monday. So like it that that's becoming real. But really what I'm doing is like, I know that I'm very early in my career still. And so I don't want to cap out here or kind of mentally check out from business or life, which I see a lot. And so I just want to create my next game. Like that's it. That's really it. So the goal is actually the 10 X the, you know, the profit of the company. And so in order to do that, what does that look like? And so I just had to have a real honest conversation with myself recently, where I was like, if I want x, then based off of that, what are my options? And so I created for that I liked, and initially my answer was, I don't want to do any of them because I realized I'm kind of like exhausted and burnt out at that moment. And so I took some time off and then came back to it. It was so obvious at that moment for me and There's a specific game I want to play, which was basically growing an agency in a pod format that I'm excited about, with having the ability to tap into different business units. So that's like one thing I'm super excited about. Yet, the goal, the end goal is actually creating an operating system that I can take companies into, and grow based off of the people that are in it, not based off of what traffic source we specialize in, or anything like that. So honestly, I've just been nervous about that. Because I think there's like, a lot of things. I don't know that I don't know. And it's very real, like, it sounds cute in terms of people pursuing that kind of stuff. But it's very like the when you're talking about buying and selling like seven figure eight figure companies like the what you don't know will hurt you. So I that's the direction I am committed to. I don't know how to get there yet. So I'm more so focused on how do I you know, stack cash and figure out how to level up my financial IQ, learn investing, learn contracts, learn law at a higher level, and then move in that direction, because that's the longer term commitment. So short term agency cash flow, long term, stuff that scares me.
Joe Troyer 11:11
That's awesome. Man, we sound like similar paths, at least that Invisible PPC, and with Rob and what we've been up to. So happy to share man. And we'll have a conversation offline of some resources, some books, some some stuff that we've been doing that will help we've bought, dumped, shut down multiple businesses in the last 12 to 18 months, it's been a really interesting ride, and making some some major transitions. I'm curious, when you talk about bringing companies in and kind of that mergers and acquisition side? Are you looking for e commerce businesses? Is that the goal right to then run yourself for what type of business is what's your filter, if you will,
that's what I'm trying to figure out right now. Because I had, you know, I bought a company and seller financing as well. And because I wasn't ready, it didn't go very well. And there was a lot of different challenges. And so it sounds like you guys have gone through a little bit of the same. And that is very humbling, right? It's very frustrating as well, because especially when you have something that pumps out money, and then there's another thing that's like a distraction to that, or, you know, sabotaging the core thing, it's not good. So, for us, right now, our sweet spot for clients is basically six figures a month are spending 30,000 per month, they have an average order value of $80 $200. Ideally, also, if it's $50, CPA or more to acquire a customer that really helps if they're already spending that money, like 30,000. Plus, we have the ability to take them from 30,000 to 100,000, and like double or triple that company pretty quickly. And we know a handful of levers to pull in order to do that. And what we've been doing is creating a series of like what I've been, you know, talking about internally on meta solutions. So there's a series of problems you have, but or you have discomforts that are actually issues. But that's not the real issue. It's like an actual problem. But that one problem is actually a series of problems. It's actually a meta problem. Like if you solve that one problem, you actually solve a bunch of other problems and issues and discomforts. And so we have now meta solutions that if you implement them, you're going to solve a bunch of stuff before you even have any discomfort for a series of other things in your business and your life. So super nerdy, but
Joe Troyer 13:25
I love it, man. That's awesome. So I want to shift again, I want to talk about scale, man, what you are known for, I want to let you shine a little bit, if you will. So my team did some digging, Eduardo on the team, that books, all of our podcasts, organizes all of them, gets everybody on the show, and then does all the post production. He said, we really want to make sure we talk about scale with Nehal. We have a campaign right now, internal that we're spending for a company, we're at almost 1000 bucks a day running profitably. We're trying to scale that. So this is really relevant time for us to be having this conversation. So he did some digging in and talked about the ad scorecard and that you kind of have a standard system for how you look in at campaigns and optimize and figure out how you're going to scale. Could you help us break down the ad scorecard?
Yeah, absolutely. So the ad scorecard is our method that we look at from an auditing standpoint, when we go into any brand. That's like the first place we start. And what most people look at when it comes to advertising is they look at the Facebook creative, and they look at Facebook ad optimization. The challenge with that, and if you look at day to day optimization, most people just look at conversion values inside of Facebook. And it creates a massive gap in decision making and understanding of what's going on on Facebook versus what's going on in real life cash collected cash projected depending on your business model. And so for us, those two elements, the creatives and the actual Facebook optimization are two parts of what we do. So what we look at the first thing We look at is the offer. And so what is the offer at the ad level, if depending on the funnel, there's different offers, for example, in a webinar funnel, or in a coaching funnel where, where there's an out where there's an offer on the ad, there's a different offer on the webinar, which is to apply or you know, schedule a call, and then there's a different offer over the phone. And so when you're looking at the offer, it's we look at it holistically to the best of our ability, when we're looking at an account, that's the first thing we start with. That's usually one of the biggest levers. Then after that we look at the avatar. And you know, when most people say, well, who are you marketing to this happens a lot more in smaller businesses with like anyone who wants to go to a gym, or anyone, you know, who needs dentistry work or whatever. But though, you know, though, especially when you're talking about spending 100,000, a month or more, there are usually a series of avatars or a core avatar that if you get that one avatar, they have the highest average order value, they have the highest lifetime value. And so we're able to optimize who's going to spend ideally the most amount of money that on the first transaction, and then who is it that same person, ideally, that we're able to spend the most amount of money with the company, so you get the most profitable avatar. And so most of our clients have four to six different avatars. And we try to optimize for one that allows all the other ones to benefit. But that core one if we get that one, amazing. Then after that is the funnel. So first is offer avatar funnel, and the funnel, depending on what the issues are, what opportunities we see, that's the next step after that is nurturing. Again, it depends on the business, we have businesses, for example, one of our clients sells fish on Facebook, right. So it's a like very difficult business. It sounds weird and funky, but like, it's actually very difficult from a financial management standpoint, to make that business work. And you don't like you can make 100,000 in revenue a month and not be profitable. And so that's the one of the biggest challenge where the actual value is building equity and designing that to get acquired. But nurturing is a big part, whether it's post purchase email list and promotions, if they have a promotional calendar there, how much of their revenue is from email, or you know, retargeting is more fundamental in terms of if it's set up, or what the ROAS targets are, etc. So those are like, what we look at. And then we go into the Facebook, ad creative. And then the Facebook ad optimization, I think that's the what happens outside of Facebook, all of those things, usually, which is the offer avatar, funnel, nurturing, then it's the Facebook ad creative, Facebook optimization. And then the last part is tracking. And so when we're going in auditing, or you know, assessing any kind of business, we actually first start on the tracking in order to figure out the rest of the of the system. And so that's our ad scorecard process. And based off of what we see, and this is the most important part, everyone tries to focus on all of it at the same time, we aggressively try to figure out what are we not going to focus on at all, and focus on two or three of those seven elements? For example, some people don't know their numbers, and that's okay. Like, it's depending on the stage of the business they're at, the first thing we do is create a KPI sheet for them and figure out, you know, what's their actual numbers on a daily basis? What are their numbers in the past months? How are they pacing, any kind of projections, that kind of thing. And that allows us to properly assess, because what are the assessments based off of at that point. And once we're able to do that, then we figure out implementation. So it seems like a lot of work and it is to an extent, but it's really the more reps you do have that were able to kind of see the same kind of challenges over and over again, know what to ignore, see red flags and yellow flags, and then figure out our order of execution per client.
Joe Troyer 18:54
That's awesome. So it sounds like then ad pros does a lot more than just ads, right, kind of full funnel, if you will. If you're doing the services that you also, you know, run through that scorecard Is that right?
Man, before we used to do like business coaching, like basic business strategy, financial management, like all of that is integrated into what we're doing, because otherwise we're just BSing ourselves. And so we don't charge extra for that it's like for us as a non negotiable in order to operate. And so that's just how we go about it. Should we be charging extra proper probably like our sheets, and the way that we do stuff and how we make decisions is almost always radically different than how decisions are made right now. And that is a critical part of being having the clarity in order to figure out if you're pacing correctly, or not, what adjustments to make and then if you're actually going to hit those goals or not, and we know way before the entrepreneur does.
Joe Troyer 19:51
That's awesome. Yeah, man. I think that that's so key. I think in this day and age if you want to keep clients long term and really be able to serve them You have to go full service like that. Because otherwise you just, you're gonna just turn them non stop. Yeah, when they're going through those growth stages, and they've never been there before, like, it's it's difficult when we just first started to scale this funnel. I know, like, I was talking with one of our advisors that runs a very similar funnel. And he's like, what's the cost per sale? And I'm like, 1500 bucks. He's like, great, it should be two grand. I'm like, What? He's like, it should be two grand, pay two grand, like, What are you talking about? Like, it's 1500. And I want it less. He's like, no, like, spend more money, make it two grand, like, all right, no, but now I get it. Like, it's taken the emotion out of the sale, like, you know, cost per sale being two grand, like, that's easy. All right, like now it's easy to scale, it took all the stress out of managing that and looking at the stats every day is gone. And that's just like, one little tweak. So without that, like, I would be a mess every day looking at the stats, and we're only spending like, you know, a little under 1000 a day, I can't imagine somebody spending, you know, 300 grand a month or you know, 200 grand a month. So that's
it's very real. So for example, like, the way I look at this is like it starts with me, outside of me is like all the families and stuff inside of ad pros. Outside of that is all the entrepreneurs outside of that is all of their families, and inventory and people who manage that whole ecosystem. So when we're able to execute the amount of lives that are actually touched indirectly not including customers, is pretty significant. And when we have breakthroughs, there's a lot of good stuff that happens. But right now, with iOS 14 stuff, or even some of these rollouts, one of the clients we're spending 20,000 a day four, we just cut, like, a significant or decent amount. And, you know, I, you know, we get compensated on adspend. And so he's like, Well, you know, you guys, I don't want you guys to make more money than me. And that's like an obvious conversation that we need to have when performance is going down. And you know, we have to have that conversation. It's like, Look, we're ready to decrease spend 30 to 50%. Like, we're not trying to optimize for retainers, we're optimizing for your profitability and your long term, so that you trust us and you know, where we have a healthy relationship on the same objective, because we're optimizing for margin, not our retainer. And so that changes the dynamics a lot.
Joe Troyer 22:27
I love that. So I want to ask you a looking back question, right? Like you've been through a crazy journey, right? Like you've, in your own right, achieved a level of success that most agencies like, only wish one day that they'll hit. If you had to change anything in the past, is there anything that you would change, like, Hey, man, I, I really wish I wouldn't have done this and taking this turn? Or is it just like, Man, I'm so glad for every one of those turns, because they led me to where I'm at today.
I mean, there's a lot of scars, man, there's a lot. And so I'm grateful for each one of those, but like some of those like are repetitive lessons. So a big one for me was like there's a phenomenal book is called the big leap. And it talks about upper limit problems, and upper limit problems is that we have some sort of expectation of anything. So success, for example. And when we have too much of it, we self destruct or create self sabotaging, you know, actions and thoughts and beliefs, and come back down to the level that we think that we deserve. And so we do this with success. We do this with money with our partner with friends like clothes, location, whatever, everything travel. And so there's upper limits that we create based off of everything that someone has created for us. So my first goal was, or my first big goal was like, if the business can do $10,000 profit in a year, in a month, sorry, was like, amazing. When I hit that I was super depressed because I'm like, I can't double it. I don't know what to do now. Like I like, struggled. And then every time that that doubled or tripled, I blew up the business. Subconsciously, I checked out and went back down to exactly where I was where I thought I deserved. And every single time is super painful. So at one time, I wasn't able to pay rent, or like pay some of the employees and it's like, Man, what happened, like we just lost, like 70% of our revenue in like a week and a half, super random, no external event. It just happened to happen. Like that was it and it was really difficult. And that took me like three months to get out of mentally, you know, and like physically, I lost weight and all that kind of stuff. And so then it happened again, like a year and a half later. And so this is the stuff that most people won't share. Because this is like this is real like it's like this is very emotionally like traumatic at times. But I used that and converted that into motivation and converted that into actions. And so now that's helped me get to a new level of success, and like push through, and I'm all I have already felt what that stupidity is of like completely checking out when you have momentum. And so I'm like, obsessively trying to figure out how to hack my brain and like hack my emotions and my, you know, my desires so that I ten x, and I just create the next game. And I rather have an abundance of resources, instead of having enough. That's my perspective, I grew up in low income housing. So like, I know what scarcity looks like. And I have an idea of like, a degree of abundance looks like, but I don't know what wealth like serious wealth looks like. So that's, that's really like the underlying thing. So for someone who's like, kind of stuck, or like keeps going up and down, that's probably because like, you don't think like, you're good enough or ready, you're, you know, don't want that big leap is a great book to solve that. And then the other thing is, there are people like you, Rob, Mike Cooch, there's like, a lot of guys in the industry that are were ahead of me in terms of, like, you know, for the business that I was trying to build, because I didn't know anything. And I didn't really follow what Mike was saying, I don't really follow what you're doing. And like what you guys were, you know, preaching, just being stubborn. And so, I think that costs me so much time and money and, and just like, friction, unnecessary friction. And so if people are, like, serious of building about building their agency, it's like, just art, like, you know, look
at yourself and your actions and like, what are the what's the system you're following, because like, if you've never built a seven figure agency, and that's the goal, that your fault, like, that's the goal that you want. Like, if you don't know how to get there, then you're not going to get there, it's going to be way more difficult, right. And so I was thinking about this today, like, you know, I'm going through a different, I'm going through 75 hard, and it's like a mental training program, whatever. And so I'm struggling with a part of my nutrition. I'm not a nutritionist. So like, I can't self prescribe my own nutrition, like I know very little. And so that's like, part of the stubbornness, you know, that comes in of like, if you're not getting a result, and you're not following a plan, then, and your actions are based off of anything other than emotion or random, sporadic activity, then you're not going to get the outcome you want. And I think that takes a lot of discipline and maturity and humility to look at that without judgment and say, you know, what, I don't have a plan. I don't know what actions to do, I don't have a feedback loop if I'm actually making any progress. And I don't have any sort of like, support system to get there. And so that took me a very long time to really learn. And I'm learning that now in other areas of my life, and I'm reading a book on it right now, who not how and that's another thing that's like showing me of all the small places that actually compound into so much time and outcome that I actually want. So a lot of its ego and just like being too cocky and arrogant, even though you might not feel like that, that your actions my actions, illustrated that very clearly.
Joe Troyer 28:19
Dude, there are so many nuggets right there. Wow, dude that like last five minute rant, that was fantastic. Like really, really good. So first, he said, something to the effect of finding a game within the business and attacking that something that gets you excited, I forget exactly what you said. But that's so great, because that puts your add kind of brain at something that you can attack and you can go after something project base that you can get excited about. I love that. Then you basically said, just paraphrasing, but you got to follow the people that have already been there. Like, find the systems, find the solutions. Listen to them, because they've already been through it. Don't try to go at it alone. Like you don't know what you don't know. And that's such a hard thing. Because you believe that you know, everything at that stage, no matter what it is that you're doing right. You get cocky. You kind of get arrogant about it. Until life smacks you in the face. And you go Oh, shit. Yeah, I should have been paying attention. So that was that was really good. And then 75 hard man. Love 75 hard. True story. I think it was day 68 or 71 of me doing 75 Hard, the first time I failed. I woke up and I literally had like, half an inch of water left in my gallon for the day. And I failed myself. Yeah. Wow. Because that's what it's about. It's not a physical challenge. It's you got to do everything. Right. And you got to make sure that every day it gets done. And it's a mental challenge. It's a Can Can you stick with this can you do everything even when you don't feel like it and so on. I failed myself, man.
So I actually realized, like, I need external motivation, I need external input to like, keep me accountable. So one person on my team messages me three times a day and just harasses me on my not only my 75 hard, but also on my other eight habits or so. So I have about 14 or 16 things I'm doing every single day. And I want to be 100% on 75 hard and I want to be 100% on my total habits. And so we have an Excel sheet, she looks at it, she harasses me, and she's like, are you doing it? And, you know, when it comes to that game, man, if you look at a lot of like super successful people, they always talk about the process and the journey and like, it doesn't make sense until it does. And then I read Phil Jackson's 11 rings book, which I'm a huge basketball fan. And one of the first things he was mentioned in the book is like, forget about the rings. And I'm like, man, like, that's not what I want to hear from a guy who has 11 rings. Like that's confusing, you know, because you can't it's like it's not logical, but it makes sense, I guess. So I think it's just accepting that at a deeper level.
Joe Troyer 31:06
That's awesome. Man, we've covered so much. We actually covered the book recommendations that I would usually ask at the end of the podcast, so I'm looking at him like crap, we already covered that. And I just gotta say, Man, this has been one of the best podcast episodes that we've done. Thanks so much for coming and hanging out and riffing. And thanks for being unedited. Like just fucking telling it like it is. And putting yourself out there. You said some stuff about yourself that most people would never admit on a podcast or on any type of anything live being recorded. And it just speaks volumes about who you are and where you're at in your life and where you're going to go. You are on fire dude, keep it up. Thank you, and I appreciate it. Hi, guys. I hope you guys enjoyed this candid conversation with Nehal hope you enjoy this episode Joe Troyer signing out