In this episode, Chris Martinez shares his inspiring entrepreneurial journey and demonstrates how agencies can scale profitably by leveraging the power of outsourcing.
Chris is the founder of DUDE, an award-winning agency based in Tijuana, Mexico. DUDE provides digital agencies with people and processes that will help them scale and become more profitable.
Joe Troyer 0:29
Hey everybody, it's Joe Troyer, and welcome to another episode of Show Me the Nugget, super excited for today to be here with none other than Chris Martinez from the dude agency. I've known about Chris for a long time. And my business partner Rob was like, man, you got to get Chris on the podcast. So here it is the first inaugural happening of you and I catching it up. Super excited to have you on the podcast, man. Welcome to the show.
Chris Martinez 0:57
Thank you so much. And I appreciate you being the only person who's paying attention to me out there.
Joe Troyer 1:04
That's awesome, man. So real quick, before we get too deep into things, man, tell us a little bit about the Dude Agency like what do you guys do with the Dude Agency.
Chris Martinez 1:14
So our our elevator pitch is that we help digital agencies with the people processes and education so that they can take on more projects and scale profitably. So kind of like the short version of how we got to where we're at is that we realize that agencies are fantastic at sales. And they're fantastic at doing the strategy for their clients. And they all struggle when it comes to operations, hiring and profitability. And those happened to be things that we are very, very good at, you know, I started an agency back in 2012. I grew it, I scaled it and sold it. But you know, I don't necessarily think that I am fantastic at doing the strategy part of it, you know, we were good, we got results for our clients, there are people that are way more talented than me, where I've always really excelled is building out processes and scaling our agency. And we found this hidden talent pool down in Tijuana, Mexico, of all places. Nobody even thinks to go down to Mexico for design and development. And the fact that I was living in San Diego at the time, the fact that, you know, we had this amazing team, they spoke English, they work the same hours as us that it was like an absolute, hidden gem for us, that helped us to grow. And so in 2017, I said, Hey, instead of me trying to convince everybody to go down to Mexico to find the team, and then they just can't do it. Why don't I start a company that helps people get access to this hidden talent pool. So we launched dude in 2017, 2018, that kind of took off. And then we started getting more into the Hey, now our agencies really struggle with process. Let's help them build out though that. And then also when it comes to the education, like we teach them all the non sexy stuff that is so crucial to scaling your agency and building that kind of like dream lifestyle that we all have when we start our agency. So we you know, we started teaching that as well. So that's the kind of the, the chronology of the people process education.
Joe Troyer 3:21
Awesome, man, that sounds awesome. And I definitely want to dive into that, I guess, stepping back those zooming out a little bit. Tell us a little bit how you got started in entrepreneurship and in digital marketing, what happened before Dude Agency?
Chris Martinez 3:36
So my very first business, Well, I mean, I was always kind of like entrepreneurial as a kid. I didn't really know what it meant to be an entrepreneur, like I had this one uncle, who, in the 60s, he developed a way for the electric company to remotely check the power meters. Because before that, I guess you had to had people walk up to the meters every day to get the reading and then they would issue your your bill. So he was a really, really smart guy. And he created this software, this technology, I think it was using like radio waves, anyways, sold for millions and millions of dollars back in the 60s and just kind of live the good life after that. That was my one kind of like, like, look or glimpse into what entrepreneurship could be. And so I kind of always knew that I wanted to have a business even though I didn't know what it meant to have a business. My dad was an engineer, and he had an engineering company for a little while, but he was not really an entrepreneur. He was he was an engineer. So anyways, after I went to college, I got into sales and then did really well in sales fast forward. And I was never into technology. Like I was not one of these kids who started programming at a young early age like I hated computers. And so, got into sales after college did really well and then left that job and my dad got sick with cancer, and he died of pancreatic cancer in 2007. So he was diagnosed December of 2006. And he died January 10 2007, three days before my 27th birthday. So then, you know, life gets turned upside down. And I decided, you know what, I want to start a business. And so I had this crazy idea to start a soccer magazine, print soccer magazine, I didn't have any experience in publishing, I was always pretty good at writing. And I love soccer, I played soccer my whole life. And so I was like, hey, I'm gonna start this print magazine. It's like the worst possible time to start a print publication. So within about 18 months, I'd lost everything plus a bunch of money on top of it. And I was flat broke. And so then I had to, you know, restart my life again, and basically had to get a job and then got this idea. And I was like, I need to build a website. And I asked my friend who owned a bunch of restaurants, and he had a website and I was like, hey, how did you build your website? Or actually, I was like, Hey, can you help me build a website? And he's like, no, like, I did it on WordPress, you can totally do it yourself. And I'm like, What is WordPress?
This is like, 2009, I believe. And so he's like, I just figured out you can figure it out. And I was I remember being very, like, annoyed. I was like, why does he want to just fucking help me? And then, in retrospect, it was the greatest thing that he could have done because it forced me to go out and learn this stuff on my own. So this is before YouTube even was like huge. So I found some random online videos that showed you how to build a WordPress website over the course of in like a two hour video. So I did it all. Over the course of the weekend, I built my first WordPress website using some theme that I found. I don't I think I I think it was a free theme. I don't think I bought a theme. And so I built my first website. And then I was like, oh, how do I get traffic? you know and so I started Googling and figuring out how to get traffic to websites. And back then Russell Brunson had a coaching program called.com secrets, and I had hired them to be my coach and teach me about digital marketing and how to drive traffic. And back then it was all about like affiliate traffic and like, super spammy stuff. And, but you know, that's kind of how I got my feet wet. Now, fast forward, around 2011. I started working in sales for a digital marketing company. Actually, they did PPC management, you've probably heard of them Reach Local. So they were huge at the beginning of the 2010s. They went public and everything. So I started working for Reach Local, and Reach Local, did not provide websites. So I was signing up clients. And we were driving, you know, high quality PPC traffic, but the sites weren't converting, because they were so horrible. So that I was like, well, what if I started a web design company and start building out websites, you know, so now, I, you know, this is my entrepreneurial brain, I can get the commission from the PPC, and I can also make the websites. And that was literally how I started my company back then just moonlighting. So and eventually left, Reach Local, started working for another company. And then so I was basically moonlighting for about a year, doing my agency on the side and then working for somebody else. And then the last company that I worked for, was a newspaper, it was two newspapers, actually. And I was the online advertising manager, and newspapers, you know, obviously, in the toilet. And so, you know, revenues were down on the print side, was the last guy that came in, they're like, you gotta go. So I was like, Alright, this is a sign, I'm going to do my agency full time. And then, you know, been doing it ever since. So that's kind of how I got my start.
Joe Troyer 8:45
That's awesome, man. Cool story. I always love hearing about like, the back against the wall, and you got to do something. And you do that first entrepreneurial thing, like whether it's a success or not, it's like, it's such a cool transition and a cool story. And even when it's not a success, it's cool to hear, right? Like, if you did it, you jumped out, you know, didn't look down, try to figure out how to build the parachute on the way down.
Chris Martinez 9:11
It's terrifying dude. I mean, this is what like, you have to have a lot of you need to be able to handle that adversity. I call it like I just say you have to have a very, very high pain tolerance. Because, you know, when I started my print magazine, I was totally out of my element. You know, I didn't know what I was doing. And I made so many mistakes. And then that moment when I have no money in the bank, like nothing, you know, and I learned how to stretch $1 very, very well. Out here in California, they have this thing called the 99 cent store. So I would you know, everything is 99 cents. And what was great about the 99 cent store out here is that they have produce, but the funny thing about that is that you don't know what produce you're going to get that day so you might go to the grocery store. They always had eggs. So you might go to the grocery store and one day they'll have asparagus, like load up on asparagus. They might have cucumbers and tomatoes. I'm like, Okay, I'm making cucumber tomato salad this week. And they always had eggs they always had. They always had cilantro. Like Mexican scramble with cilantro, that was always my breakfast. And then it would have a pasta. And then I would splurge. And I would go to like, the other cheap grocery store, which was, Oh, my God, I can picture it in my mind is like, yellow letters with black background, I can't think of the name right now. They'll come to me later. Anyways, I would go there. And I would buy chicken for really cheap. Yeah, that would be my staples, I would just eat like veggies and chicken and eggs, and spaghetti sometimes. And that's how I would survive during that time. And like, you know, right before, so I lost everything from the magazine, I had to get a job. So I started working for this charter bus company doing sales. The headquarters was in Seattle, and I was in charge of opening up their offices in LA and I was living in LA at the time. And so the, for the first two weeks, I would fly up to Seattle on Monday morning, I would stay in a hotel all week, they would feed me. And then I would fry fly home on Friday. And I was supposed to do that for the first two weeks of like training. So I remember that when I flew up on on the Monday, I was like, completely broke, like less than I think I had less than $50 in the bank account at the start of the week. To my name, I have nobody, no family, nobody that I can rely on, you know, so it's just me like I was that close to being on the street. And I knew that, okay, so they're going to feed me they're going to house me, I don't have to worry about anything while I'm there. I'm good. But then, and I bought little things here and there, like toothpaste or something like that. So I remember, at the end of the week, it was Friday. And I had to fly home that evening. And I didn't know how I was going to get from the airport back to my apartment. Because the cab is before Uber. So the cab fare was like $36 I think. And I think I had like $30 in my bank account. Right? So I remember, like freaking out that morning, like how am I going to get home, you know, and I you know, I can call and ask a friend or something like that. But most the time people don't want to pick me up. Also, I like didn't have a lot of friends at the time because it was such a dick to them. Because I was just dealing with grief and being broken. And so I was like truly like alone. And and I remember, like in the morning, the HR lady came over to me and she gave me a check. Because somehow I fell into the pay period. And I got a check that day happened to be a payday or something like that. And she gave me a check. It was for like $300 you know, not a ton of money. But I was like, Oh my god, this is the best thing ever. Because I could make $300 last for a very, very long time back then. Still can't if I need to. And so I was just like it was the greatest. Remember, it was the greatest, most satisfying check that I've ever gotten in my entire life still to this day, I will never forget that moment. And the sense of relief that came from that, you know, it's just absolutely unbelievable. Now, I've been broke since then, you know, a couple times. But every time that you face that type of adversity and you're able to bounce back, you do get a little bit stronger. And you're like, hey, this isn't the end of the world. So you know that it kind of like compounds on each other. Like, you just get a little stronger. And and now I mean, knock on wood. Not a lot of things and shake me.
Joe Troyer 13:47
Yeah, for sure. Um, do you see working with so many agencies? Do you see a lot of agencies having pivotal moments like that too, right? where like, business is good, they're okay, but maybe a little absentee. And then all of a sudden, there's a defining moment or a life moment, and the business just explodes. Like, it's crazy to see. And it's cool to hear the conversations of these businesses that are going well they're doing okay, and then all of a sudden, like it's like they just light on fire because of some type of defining moment, almost like you described in your own life.
Chris Martinez 14:23
I think it's a combination of moments. I think that there are definitely pivot points. So for example, like when you're starting out with, with your agency, you know, you're just trying to survive this is probably true of any business. I say that your niches what did I say? Oh my god. I say your your niches CCNP everybody with a credit card and a pulse. So you're taking money from everybody, you don't really have any processes. You just trying to make it like those first two years of running an agency are unbelievably hard. Once you get past that stage, you know, you kind of have a solid offer, maybe you start to form a niche. And you start to develop your kind of like signature system of how you're going to get results for people. And that you can ride that wave to about, you know, usually around a half a million. And then a lot of agencies will get stuck at around that half a million point, I would say, between 350 and a half a million. And you have to make a decision on whether or not you want to take it to the next level. I think that the biggest pivot point in an agency happens when the agency owner makes the decision that we are going to make more money. And and that can be usually it's the agency owner deciding within himself, that they are going to get more focused, they're going to get more diligent on maybe managing the finances, they're going to bring in team members that are going to fill their gaps and help them get past that next level. I typically see it in the agency owner, personally making a decision. I'm a huge believer and proponent proponent, that the agency is a reflection of you, you being the owner. So if you decide that the things are going to be different, or you decide that we are going to be more profitable, and you reflect that decision, by changing your habits and your daily activities, that 100% will be reflected in the business. I see that all the time.
Joe Troyer 16:28
I think not just in a in an agency in any business, 100%.
Chris Martinez 16:32
Yeah, exactly. Now, you know, in our business 100%, usually the agency owner is their own worst enemy. So at the same time, if there are things that they're the agency is struggling with, like for example, if the agency owner is completely unorganized, and is always like changing direction as an in is indecisive, or is an egomaniac. The agency itself absolutely will reflect that. And the agency will struggle. I've seen many, many, like one of the benefits that I have is that I get to peek underneath the hood of the agency. And I get to see the operation side. Because to me, in my opinion, operations is really where the money is made or lost in this business. And so I get to peek underneath the hood of these agencies and some of these big giant agencies that you see the owner speaking on all the stages, and they did all this press and better than the blah, they aren't worth dick. Like they are horrible. On the back like they're making, they're literally making no money. They're one month away from being out of business. And so don't get mesmerized by these revenue numbers that people are throwing around. Because it doesn't always tell the true story. And oftentimes, if that agency owner does not have the right like mindset, or they don't have, you know, their life together, then that is what's leading to the downfall of the agency.
Joe Troyer 18:00
Yeah, really interesting stuff. Yeah, we see the same thing as well. So let's talk about the elephant in the room real quick. Let's talk about Tijuana. Tijuana, right. You think about partying and drugs and hookers and having a good time and going into the bars and the strip clubs. How has that impacted you guys as an agency, right when you introduce yourself? And you're like, yeah, you know, I'm Chris from the dude agency. And you know, our office is located in Tijuana. Yeah. How has that affected you?
Chris Martinez 18:31
So first of all, I'm an American citizen, I do have to clarify that with pretty much everybody that I talk to. It's funny, because when I first get on calls, I don't do a lot of sales calls anymore. But when I when I used to do new sales calls, and we were trying to grow the business, originally, I could tell that there were some people who were deciding whether or not they were going to trust me, based on whether or not I was an American citizen. So I can just tell, you know, like, and and so I would have to, like, put into the conversation somehow, like, Oh, you know, I was born in Los Angeles, American citizen just like you. So that is definitely something that an obstacle that we've had to overcome. Now my head of Business Dev, John, he's from Boston, he's like, totally Boston, white dude. It's funny how that makes a little bit of a difference. But we had a decision to make, you know, because I moved my operations to Tijuana when I had my agency back in 2015. And for me, since I was the only one making that decision, and I'm kind of like, you know, adventurous and I'm like, Hey, what's the worst? What's the worst that can happen? I can always move my operations back to the Philippines. I just kind of throw caution to the wind. And also I was able to drive down there every day and you know, I'm not afraid of driving in Mexico. So it was easier for me. But we had a decision to make actually when we went to the first TNC conference in 2018 when we got the booth because We're like, do we hide from the fact that we're in Mexico because we know that people don't think of positive things when they think of Mexico and especially of Tijuana? You know, over the past two years. If you say Tijuana, most people think migrant caravan, you know, the images of like a World War Z type of event happening where all these people trying to stream across the border, which is complete bullshit. But that's those are the images that people have of Mexico. We know that going in? So we could either take the decision of like, hey, let's hide from it. Or let's just embrace it, right? And the people who are going to be anti, they're going to be anti no matter what. So screw them. Let's go have fun with it. So when we went to that first conference, I dressed up, I created a Lucha Libre like Mexican wrestler costume. So I was like, in all spandex, I was originally actually gonna go shirtless. But then the gal who organizes the booth, she's like, you're gonna wear a shirt. Right? I was like, funny, you should ask because I was actually not going. So I was wearing like, full on like spandex with a speedo, and a cape and a mask and everything. And like, we were going full on Mexico, we brought all this Mexican candy. We have like shot glasses that we were going to, we were going all in on Mexico not hiding from it at all. And it actually ended up paying off because most of the people were like, man, Mexico. I didn't even think to go down there. You know. And what I say now is like when we think about outsourcing, we typically look left and we look right, we don't ever look up and down. Which is silly, because the people that are down and up are the same timezone. Yeah, the we only employ people that are going to work the same timezone as us. And I tell that to everybody, it's like you have this is an absolute non negotiable thing. You have to find the people that are willing to work the same timezone.
Joe Troyer 21:51
I completely agree. Yeah, completely.
Chris Martinez 21:53
There's so many little like inefficiencies that are created when you don't have people that are able to communicate in real time.
Joe Troyer 21:59
Yeah, for sure. 100% that's so important that back and forth, and then not being the lag there, where things just take forever.
Chris Martinez 22:06
you know, exactly like oh, my God, like when I had my team in the Philippines, God bless them. They were amazing people. But I can't tell you how many times I'd be up until my schedule back then was 6am to 1am every single day. So I'd be up to 1am and be like, they got it. I wake up in the morning.
Joe Troyer 22:20
It's because your too nice. It's because you're too nice. I just make them work my timezone. I don't care. I mean,
Chris Martinez 22:25
Well, there are certain cultures, there are certain cultures that won't do that the Philippines is one of those cultures, because family is more important than work, they're not going to work a graveyard and sacrifice the relationship with their family, or most of most people will not do that. And so anyways, I would stay up to one o'clock in the morning be like, Oh, they got it, I wake up the morning wasn't right. And we didn't have going back and forth like three days, because we somehow something would get missed every single time. Whereas with Mexico, it's right there. Like I can just talk to the person, we can do a zoom call during normal business hours, all of us are focused, you know, nobody's sleepy, and we just fixed the problem. And then we move on, and then we move on to the next one, then we solve the next one, then we solve the next one. And it's so seamless, like you get way more done. Just from the from the fact that you guys can talk in real time.
Joe Troyer 23:14
I completely agree, completely agree. Um, you guys won some awards? It's Yeah. So a little bit different. I don't think I don't think many agencies win awards. I don't think many agencies even set out to try and win awards. So we'd love to get a little perspective from you on that.
Chris Martinez 23:33
Yeah, absolutely. You know, like, we've looked at other awards, like Ad Age, you know, how does an award some of our clients win those types of awards. And they just don't really have a category for us. And so we applied to the American Business Awards, just call this they have their awards called a Stevie's. And we applied last year, we put together a video, we applied to three categories. And we won first place. So we are the number one or gold minority owned business of the year, which was awesome. And we got a silver, which is second place for most innovative company, under 100 employees. So we won those, both those awards this year, which was great. I mean, I'm not huge on the awards. I don't feel like I need that to fulfill my ego or anything like that. But what was great is because it gave our team, like a symbol that what they're doing is actually making a difference. We're really, really big at our building our company culture here. And so one of our missions that we have in our company, is that we want to change the way that people perceive of Mexico and the rest of Latin America when it comes to design and development. So we're constantly telling our folks that their work matters, that all the sacrifices that we make, that there's a bigger mission that we're all working towards, and everything will pay off And, you know, up until this past year, they're kind of just trusting me like, obviously, the company's growing. But we don't get a lot of recognition, we don't get a lot of notoriety. And I just keep telling them like guys, it's going to pay off. And they see that in the short term in the sense that like we do, well, clients are happy, they refer us more clients, or we get more business. And then we hire more people. And now we're over 90 folks, which is fantastic. We're creating jobs. So that's kind of like what we see initially, but they don't see the bigger picture. And the bigger impact, because the way that we manage our company is so different, especially in Latin American culture, and Mexican business culture, it's very, very different. And we tell I tell them all the time, like guys, people are going to be writing about us, and they're going to be studying us in business schools across the country. Yes, Just you wait. And so this, these awards that we won, were kind of like that first sign that the work that we do is actually making an impact. because there aren't any other like when it said where our company is based, I made sure that it said Tijuana Mexico, because I wanted everybody to know that this is a company where our staff are in Tijuana, Mexico, we're in the rest of Mexico to and Latin American countries, too. But I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that the people who made this happen, because it wasn't me. I even said this in our application video, like, I wasn't the difference here. It was all these people who suffered blood, sweat and tears and made this shit happen. I didn't really do it. So that was like, the best part about getting those awards is really just the recognition that we could give to our team.
Joe Troyer 26:43
I love the the culture aspect of that is so amazing working towards something a cause. But man, like every day, your team thinking about that, and that's why they get up and go to work in the morning is to make that difference as as a country as a heritage. I mean, that's, that's really cool.
Chris Martinez 27:03
You know, I think that this is a good exercise that everybody listening should do with their own team. You know, because I believe that most of us started our agencies, not because we wanted to start an agency, there's something else that we're looking to fuel, whether that be a philanthropic cause, a lifestyle, cause a mission that you want for your clients, whatever that is, there's usually something else that's motivating the agency, the key as the owner, is to make sure that everybody understands and is following the same mission. So I talked about this yesterday, actually, I said, do a survey of all of your staff, and say, and say I want you to write down what you think the mission of our company is, have everybody write it down, put it it's not complete, completely anonymous, put it into a bin, and then you the owner, sit down and go through all the different responses, you will be amazed as to what people think the company mission is. And that is your starting point. If you want to solidify your company culture, and get your team moving faster and more effectively than ever, the first thing that you have to do is align the mission. Imagine for like, from a military standpoint, I've never been in the military. So I hope I don't disrespect anybody in the military. But imagine if you the troops land on the ground, and then nobody knows what they're doing. And everybody starts running in the opposite, like a different direction, you're probably not going to accomplish the mission. Everybody has to be in alignment, they have to know what we're looking to get out of this. And that's the same with your own team members in your company. There's a bigger picture, everybody has to understand the mission. And one of my other favorite stories is John F. Kennedy. He was touring NASA, you might have heard the story. And it was the in the early days of NASA and obviously, like the United States was in a battle with the Soviets to try and get a man into space and then to get a man on the moon, and so on and so forth. And so JFK is touring the facility. And he walks up to a janitor, and he says, Hi, nice to meet you. My name is John, what do you do here and the janitor says, I'm helping to put a man on the moon. And the significance of that story is that even the person sweeping the floors believes that they are helping the mission. That's when you know that you have everybody in alignment. And I think that that's something that everybody should strive for in their agency.
Joe Troyer 29:32
That's awesome, man. when I talk about awards with other agency owners and other entrepreneurs that I know. Usually it's like a vanity thing. Right? It's just it's it's about winning the award to win the award. And there's really no reason that they do it. Right. It's like they don't really get any business from it. It's just, it's a pure ego thing. And I love that you just told me something different. The first time I've heard so thank you For that cool perspective, and I think a lot of people, a lot of agency owners that I know, look at their agency as like, just purely a profit center, and then they're going to go do you know, something to give back, or they're going to do something different that really breeds into their passion. And what I just heard you say kind of an offshoot of that was like, figure out how to bring that into your agency as well, like, figure out how to blend them together, instead of needing to say, I'm going to wait until later for that. And so my agency's thrown off a bunch of cash, and I can go do something with that.
Chris Martinez 30:37
Yeah, I mean, you know, so like, we're very, we don't advertise this at all, but we, we are passionate about it in the company. And so like, everybody in our company knows, we're very passionate about philanthropy. And so last year, we gave away 1000s of like, instead of holiday gifts to our clients, we said, Hey, tell us what charities you support, we'll donate $100 to those charities. So we donate 1000s of dollars, to whatever charity well, as long as it wasn't political. That was the only stipulation we said no political charities. Um, but we donated 1000s of dollars to that. Just that's just because who we are, that's part of who we are as a company and it's in our DNA. This past quarter, we had a really good first quarter, we found a animal shelter down in Ensenada, Mexico, about two hours from here. And we went and toured them. And originally we were going to build them some kennels because they just moved and they needed some kennels for the dogs. And we're huge animal lovers like we have an open dog policy at the office, my two dogs are in there every single day. And so, you know, we went down there, we toured the facility. And they said, you know, what we really need is we need a room like a closed off room, where we can quarantine some of these animals who come in and they're sick or too sick to go in with the other dogs and cats. So we need this like quarantine room. So we said okay, and we looked at, you know, she gave us kind of like the budget. And I think she thought we were just going to donate a little bit of money, but we ended up buying the whole thing. So we paid for the whole thing, they built the whole thing. It's now called the dude room. So now when any animals that come in, that are too sick, they go in there and they get rehabilitated or cured. And then they can go in with the other animals too. And we let everybody know that. And then like, last month, we had a bunch of our staff, we everybody was vaccinated, we drove down there, spend some time with the dogs, every dog walked, all the cats got played with two. So it was really, really neat. That's just who we are, you know. So like, we do that now. And you don't necessarily have to do it with money, you can fulfill your mission with time to you know, so like, there's another charity that reached out to us. They do a boot camp for kids like very, very, I mean, these are like the poorest of the poor. And they do scholarship programs, they do boot camps and teaching them so we're going to teach them about Well, one of the things the topics is teaching them about how to manage their money, because that's something that Latin culture that nobody ever talks about how to manage your money. So and that's also a lesson that we want to teach the parents too. But you know, teaching them about design and development and just trying to open up their eyes and help them see that, hey, there's some other opportunities for you out there. You don't have to just go work in a factory and have the same exact life that your family had.
Joe Troyer 33:20
That's awesome, man. really inspiring stuff. Um, let's shift for a second. You talked about your team, you mentioned you got about 90 people. I'm sure that there's there's a percentage of our audience that are saying that's really cool. Give us some more information like what's the structure of that look like? What are the team members that you have? I know, we did a little digging on you our podcast host here, Eduardo did and he found that you guys run like a pod based system, give us a little details on structure of the organization?
Chris Martinez 33:50
Yeah, so I'll start from me, you know, so I'm the CEO. And then we have Director of Finance, who also is our Director of Human Resources, who just happens to also be my fiance, which is the hardest job for sure. And so she runs out those two departments. I don't know how big her teams are. But she got a few people on those teams. We have our Director of HR, I'm sorry, customer experience, Aaron, who's always making sure that our clients are happy and that they're staying with us. And then we have operations. And then I also run the marketing and sales teams for now. operations is run by the amazing David Mangonia, who came to us he was one of our team leaders. And then we promoted him last year, and he's just done a fantastic job underneath David. He's got a head of design as well as a head of development Ana and Adrian. And then we have pods. So basically like we have three, we have three packages now. I'll start with the newest one, which is Dude to Go. And that's basically for one off website and landing page projects. So we developed this really cool software, where the anybody can go and right now just go to Dude to Go.io and you can get a quote and figure out exactly how many hours your project is going to take. And then of course, if you want to do it for you just as a one off, we can do that for you as well. So for example, like if you have a project that you want to take on, and you're like, hey, I need this elementor pro side, it's going to be seven pages. I want to see how long it's going to take so that I don't underbid because this is a big, big problem, you can go to Dude to Go put in the numbers, put in the details of the project, and instantly will give you a quote and will tell you, hey, this project, it's gonna be 180 hours, right. And what we done is we took all the projects that are just like your project, we've done 1000s, and 1000s of websites attract 10s of 1000s of hours. So you get access to this data. And basically, you can see exactly how much how long your projects going to take. And then if you want you to Dude to do it, we give you the quote. So that's Dude to Go. And then our next, our most popular package, the one that has kind of like built the company is called basic, unlimited, that's where we give you a team. And that team, it's a shared team on that team, you have a team leader that we call the pod leader. And they're kind of like the quarterback for all your projects. And they are always like allocating your project to the person who's available. And you can do it. So who also you know, as ahead of all the pods. So the pod leader, they manage anywhere from like eight to 10 people. And I don't even know how many pods we have. And then the other program that we have is called our dedicated employee program. So if there's an agency out there, who wants somebody who works full time, just with them, basically has an amazing team member that's already been vetted by us. And, you know, they they're, they just happen to be located in Mexico, they can get a dedicated employee. And so then Davd also oversees the dedicated employee program. And there's a lot of like, communication between all the departments, obviously, especially cx and, and operations, making sure that all the clients are happy. And we have to make some little tweaks or changes to like the ticketing portal or something like that, then they can go in and do that, and make the experience as best as possible for the customers. So that's kind of like the structure. And then I oversee the sales and marketing. And we've got John, awesome, John Boston, John, who's out in Boston, obviously. And he manages all of our new clients.
Joe Troyer 37:23
That's awesome man, we found from experience the pod system to just be like, invaluable. Like, that's how we run our teams. Because at the end of the day, like our clients and their clients, right, they don't care if one of our workers calls out sick, or they get in a car accident, or we have to have the resiliency of that pod. Exactly. To get the job done. And, and it's, it's one thing that I see a lot of agency owners haven't experienced yet, is needing to have a pod, or knowing what that is, or having to work through, not having one. And we see a lot of companies that start with us, they're really small, they get to a point where they're looking at how much they're paying us every month, and they're like, man, I can get some full time dedicated people. And it'll be great. I can, you know, stop paying you 10 grand a month. And instead, I'll get one dedicated guy for five, and I'll pocket the rest. This is fantastic. And then, you know, two months later, they're back because there was no resiliency, there was no pump, there was no backup. Do you guys see that a lot as well. And any any thoughts there?
Chris Martinez 38:32
Absolutely, I mean, just over the past year, you know, we've had over 15 people get COVID. So that's 15 people that are out of commission. Now luckily, nobody got nobody got seriously, or long term, you know, hurt from COVID. But one of our team members did lose her mom. And and her aunt and her uncle. Horrible, absolutely horrible. And so, you know, obviously, like we were supporting her with whatever she needed. And we gave her like, as much time off as she needed as well. And the team members that were behind her are what made that possible, because they were able to cover for her. And that also kind of speaks to the culture. It's like, everybody, nobody even question like, Yeah, absolutely. On any top. Yeah, whatever she needs. We had another team member whose mom also had breast cancer and passed away last year. And again, same thing everybody just covers for so that you you definitely need backups. Like, there's never been a professional sports team out there that doesn't have a second string or a third string. It's usually the second string and the third strings that are gonna come up and make the difference when the first strings get hurt, you know, so you kind of need that same type of mentality. You need backups and backups and backups, backups. Yeah, otherwise you're, eventually something's going to happen and you're going to be stuck.
Joe Troyer 39:50
Yeah, COVID is a great example of that, too. I'm glad you brought it up, because it's so real and it's so fresh. You know, even just the COVID jabs when everybody's getting their vaccine and that you know, people get sick for a day or two or feeling the effects for a week, I mean, having a big team and having pods, I mean, that had a big impact and ripple effect on us. And we're already set up in pods, I can only imagine, you know, that wasn't the scenario. And I was just, you know, had two or three people working as specialists in different departments. And we didn't have the pod system. I mean, we would have gotten rocked operationally from COVID. And I'm sure that it would have had a much bigger impact on our revenue, because we wouldn't have been able to keep all of our clients right.
Chris Martinez 40:36
Yep. 100% you guys did well.
Joe Troyer 40:40
Cool, man. Um, so, um, talk to me about you mentioned Elementor. Um, talk to me about kind of the most common projects that you guys do.
Chris Martinez 40:50
So most of our digital agencies, like I was saying earlier, they're amazing at selling, and they're great at doing the strategy. And they just can't find people, you know, they need good people. And what they ultimately need on top of that, is better processes, more efficient processes. And so most of our agencies that come to us, they already got like a ton of clients, and they're like, help. So immediately, we provide them a team, we figure out what it is that they mean. So we there, we're pairing up the right team with the right agency. And most of them are doing some sort of like website component. So it usually start because that's like the low hanging fruit like, they the the business is, like, I need a new website. And they're like, you think you need just a website. And then they sell them the whole package, right. So it starts with a website, we take them through their website, process, design, development, get that launched. And then there's usually some sort of ongoing marketing components, whether that be on page and off page SEO, which we do all the on page SEO for them. If you're doing like an ad campaign, and they need landing pages, for example, we do all the design and development for the landing pages. And then ongoing support. So if there's, you know, a new team member that gets added to the company, and they need that person added to the website or a blog post, or they realize that the site speed has dropped off, for some reason, they need us to go in and do the site speed optimization, really any type of design and development support, we provide that to them. And then along the way, we start dipping into the process side. So there's a thing that we invented called a process map. And that's basically where we use, we create a flow chart that shows them how their projects are supposed to run, in theory. So they tell us and this is what's interesting about agencies is like the deliverable is kind of the same for everybody, but that the way that they get there is so different, like everybody is completely different. So we as a company as as their pod needs to understand their process. And most of the time, the agencies have never documented this. So we take them through a process mapping session, and we say, hey, okay, so this is how you want your projects to flow. This is how much time it should take for mockups. This is how much time it should do for take for the initial development. This is how much time should be taken on revisions. These are how many revisions are supposed to be happening. So we document all this. And then we start to track that. So if they say it's supposed to take 10 hours and three rounds of review, or two rounds of revisions, and that takes 20 hours and four rounds of revisions, we tell them that and then we also coach them on how to fix those problems. So then they get more efficient, and they're able to get more juice out of the same team by just fixing the efficiency, then then they're going to be more profitable as well. So that's another thing that we do. And then we have mastermind groups that we take them through. Everybody goes through the level one mastermind, and that's where we help them work on becoming a better CEO, how to manage the finances, how to retain their clients, customer journey, a little bit on sales and marketing, and then how to map out their year so that they hit all their goals. So those are kind of like the people process education, things that we do for the agencies.
Joe Troyer 44:02
That's awesome. I think, you know, starting people at web development, web design, like you said, is, is a no brainer, all and a lot of times, you know, that's how I got started. I think that's how a lot of people that got started when we got started as well. In the industry, that's where they got started, because it was the first thing right, and people just thought, If I have a website, you know, and people still do today, I'm going to get some business online. And we know that that's not true. You know, it's, you know, you it's not a you know, what's that movie? If you build it, they will come?
Chris Martinez 44:33
Yeah, the Field of Dreams.
Joe Troyer 44:35
Yeah, it's not the Field of Dreams, you know, just because you build it doesn't mean they'll come. But you're right. It's such a door opener. It's the start of the conversation and it leads to, you know, some potential really long relationships and lots of other conversations.
Chris Martinez 44:49
Joe Troyer 44:52
And it's funny, I think that these days that a lot of companies that we work with agency owners, I don't feel like they handle the the design and the development anymore? because like you said, I don't feel like they have an answer for it, I feel like they don't have a team to actually do the work. So they just want to do the marketing, and keep the rest at arm's Bay, you know, an arm's reach away. So I think that that's really interesting. And I can see why, you know, you guys are, Yeah,
Chris Martinez 45:20
Dude, it's a pain in the butt. You know, like, if you don't know how to do if you don't have the right processes, and the right people to be able to get the websites done. It's a nightmare. You know, like, things that always delay the projects, right? clients approving stuff, clients, getting the copy, the copy is the biggest pain in the butt. When it comes to websites, every single person who struggles with the copy, you can't, I'm telling you, you can architect processes, so that this stuff gets done fast. And most importantly, that you get paid. Because I unfortunately, I meet agency owners and I like, the websites are like a loss leader for us. Like, why? Why do you just accept that? My belief is that every time your finger touches a keyboard, you should be making money. Because you provide so much value to your agents, or to your clients, like you know, so much you can absolutely help them grow their business. And therefore you also deserve to be rewarded for the help that you're providing to people. And websites is no different. You deserve to make money from those. And if you're not, then I would love to show you how you can do that. You know, like even if you just want to chat like we can jump on a zoom call not selling you anything but you do not have to settle for not making what you deserve.
Joe Troyer 46:39
Yeah, 100% agree. 100% agree. Awesome. Man, I want to wrap this up. I super appreciate your time. It's been awesome getting to know you a little bit better. definitely want to check out your your services for ourselves. We need some web development help and design services all the time, man. So we'll be checking you out. Definitely want to work closer with you guys. And if anybody out there is looking for services that Dude provide, definitely go check them out. I want to ask you one last question. Instead of asking you to recommend three books, which I feel like every podcast does, I asked a little bit of a different question. I asked what's the one book that's made the biggest impact on the way that you do business? And why?
Chris Martinez 47:21
I mean, I I am so into audio books right now. I do like four a month. So it's really hard for me to pin down one.
Joe Troyer 47:32
That's a good question, right? Because you can't give me three, you got to give me one.
Chris Martinez 47:36
Okay. I usually always default to the E, the E myth, the E myth revisited. You know, that's kind of like my go to, just because it really sets the foundation for building a scalable business, and then never forgotten that and that, and that was one of those books that came to me at the right time. You know, I was just starting to like, consider myself to be an entrepreneur, and really like embracing that mentality. And that book just gave me the pathway, really. So I would say if you've not read the E myth, definitely got to read that one. I don't know. Can I give another one?
Joe Troyer 48:11
Yeah, yeah. One more. Okay.
Chris Martinez 48:14
Another book that I love. That is so relevant for today is a book called Outwitting the Devil. I don't know if you guys have read that one before. It's a Napoleon Hill book.
Joe Troyer 48:25
Chris Martinez 48:26
You know the rumor is that he wrote it. And Napoleon Hill was very anti religion. And he wasn't anti religion because of what religion says. But he was anti religion because of the way that people use religion, to fuel their own agenda, right. And whether you like religion or not, that's not what I'm talking about here. What I love about that, so the rumor about the book is that he wrote the book, and then he made his wife or somebody, like, hide the book and keep it locked up until he died, then I think she died like he was not they were not allowed to publish the book for a very long time. So eventually, the book got published, I think, in the 90s. And it's a fictional conversation between the devil and Napoleon Hill. And he's basically interviews the devil about how the devil manipulates people. And it's a fascinating book, and I highly recommend the audiobook because they have like a cool voice for the devil and everything. And it just gives you another way to like look at scenarios. And I absolutely love the book. It's called Outwitting the devil by Napoleon Hill. 100% must read book in my opinion,
Joe Troyer 48:32
Man, that is a new one. I have not read that one.
Chris Martinez 49:41
You got to do it. You got to do it, and then talk to me about it because it'll change your life.
Joe Troyer 49:45
Yeah, we'll do that for sure. Man. Thanks so much, Chris. Really appreciate you coming on. We'll be sure to link up Dude Agency in the show notes and also the Operation Agency Freedom. Your podcast. Yeah, man. If anybody wants to connect with you personally, where's the best place? Maybe on social media,
Chris Martinez 50:00
Just email me, just email me like that's the easiest way firstname.lastname@example.org I have no problem with anybody just emailing me. And what's funny is that I go on these shows and I always give out my email and nobody ever emails me. So be that brave person. Don't hesitate to connect. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything, even just talk about books, feel free to
Joe Troyer 50:21
So guys lets blow up Chris so that he's actually email and say yes,
Chris Martinez 50:24
Just don't add me to any like random spam lists. Please, I don't need more people calling me about my car warranty. Dammit.
Joe Troyer 50:36
Alright, everybody. You got it here. Another episode is showing me the nuggets. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Joe Troyer signing out. See everybody. Thanks, Chris.