Daryl Mander was working in London’s digital marketing scene before deciding to go all-in with the Digital Nomad lifestyle. After saving some money, he moved to Bangkok, Thailand, to pursue his dream. Freelance gigs on Upwork provided a steady stream of income. Eventually, through word of mouth referrals, he took on too many clients for him to work on by himself and had to hire people to help him out. Little by little, Daryl found himself building his very own agency.
It’s been seven years since he left London. Daryl and his team at Big Flare now manages $500K in ad spend per month. In this episode, Daryl talks about how he was able to put everything together, and shares his views on how focusing on quality work leads to inevitable business growth.
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Joe (00:03): Hey everybody, it's Joe Troyer and welcome back to the show. Show me the nuggets. I'm super excited to be here with fellow agency owner, Daryl Mander. So for those of you to be guys that don't know, Daryl, give you guys a quick little recap, quick little intro for Darrell. So Daryl is the founder of a Big Flare who does Google ads specifically PPC for SMB small businesses and e-com businesses it seems mostly and really helping them them scale their, their ecom businesses via paid search. And what's really interesting about Daryl, I think that a lot of you guys will find it interesting is that he originally got started really scaling his marketing agency with Upwork, right. And being a freelancer into a full time large agency who now manages,umy team found about $3 million in ad spend for their clients. So welcome to the show Daryl.
Daryl (00:59): Thank you very much for having me guys. And by the way, that since, since your team research, that number is actually going up. I was just looking into that earlier today. It's actually closer to $6 million in ad spend now. So go us. We're growing.
Joe (01:13): Perfect. Is that a year? Is that a month?
Daryl (01:16): A month I'm sorry. Yeah, yeah, it was last year.
Joe (01:19): Perfect. Okay. So about 500,000 a month or so is the pace.
Daryl (01:24): Correct,Yeah.
Joe (01:25): Okay, perfect. Perfect. So Daryl man without further ado, welcome to the show.
Daryl (01:31): Yeah.
Daryl (01:31): And very glad to be here. Very glad to talk to them. Ppcs with you all,
Joe (01:36): Yeah, for sure. So are you from Bangkok or are you just there right now? Where are you at?
Daryl (01:42): Just there right now. Sorry. Basically been here just over a year. Originally from the U K is you may detect from the accent. But I moved out to Asia when I started this business actually. So when they started big flare, I started it under the principles of wanting it to be completely remote because a big
goal of mine was to do the digital nomad thing. So I started Big Flare moved out to Asia in 2000, end of 2012 beginning of 2013. Yeah, that's where I've been ever since. And right now Bangkok is, is where I'm at. Pretty settled. Loving it.
Joe (02:22): Perfect. Perfect. Definitely on the bucket list for me, so I'll, I'll have to look you up when I get off there,
Daryl (02:28): So yes, please do.
Joe (02:29): Yeah, I will for sure. Before we dive too deep into things. Let's get started with a quick backstory. How'd you end up starting big flare
Daryl (02:37): Sure. So around about 2012, I was, I was already working in the PPC industry. I was working for my friend's agency, actually. I was one of the first employees that he brought on board for his startup agency and I was with them working in London in the digital marketing agency scene there for a good four, four years, four, five years, something like that. And round about 2012 is when I got this sort of hankering to do the digital nomad thing to sort of live life on my own terms. And that's when I kinda got started. So I'd saved up some cash that originally I wanted to just go traveling with and then I ran a sort of catalyst. Okay. It's a bit cliche in the digital nomad scene, but the four hour work week by Tim Ferriss kinda kind of changed things for me. It made me realize that with this cash I had saved up, I could essentially go on a year long party and then get back to the grind afterwards or I could invest it in starting a business. So I, I did the latter and sort of one thing led to another and here I am eight years later now.
Joe (04:00): Perfect. That's awesome. So where did you start picking up clients once you, you know right, move to Asia, started living off your savings, right? You started investing in yourself and in your business. How'd you start prospecting?
Daryl (04:13): Well I guess I should say that my, the first year out here doing my own business thing was not exactly a huge success. It was actually a massive failure for me. I, I moved out here and my first impulse was to do nothing the same as I'd been doing before. So I wasn't going to live in London anymore. I wasn't gonna do agency work anymore. It wasn't going to work with clients because clients are horrible. I wasn't going to have a team or work with people or do PPC or any of that. I was going to do affiliate websites and AdSense websites and I was just going to make a great living on my own, making these little websites and selling them on the flipper for loads of money. Uthat was the theory. The theory didn't pan out quite so well. I spent a year building a ton of websites,utrying to get them ranked in, in Google and failing miserably.
I think over the course of that year, probably built a couple of hundred websites in total. And my greatest success was an Amazon affiliate website that did like 200 bucks per month in revenue. And that was okay. I was still kind of naive and living the dream at the time and I thought I was going to make it with this SEO affiliate thing. But then I kind of had a forcing factor. I, I met a girl and I wanted to impress her. But she wasn't terribly impressed with this. Do do is like turning up and asking to split the, split the bill for dinner and didn't have a terrible lot of money to do the traveling that was necessary to see her at the time cause it was a long distance thing. So I ended up turning to back to what I know, PPC client at work doing a Google ads for clients, especially in the eCommerce space.
Daryl (06:01): And I went to Upwork, which seemed like the logical place to go back then. But back in those days it was still oDesk. If you guys remember that, if you're familiar with Upwork and oDesk and I built a freelancer profile on there, I started courting clients and sort of advertising myself as a PPC specialist. And within, I think it was within one month of starting on Upwork I landed, I landed a few small clients straight away, but within one month I landed my first big client and at that point I was earning more than I had previously been earning in my previous agency career, like working for the man. And that's kind of when it clicked, it kinda clicks. Hey, doing PPC for coins isn't terrible. And sticking with what, you know, instead of trying to build it all from the ground up and starting a fresh sticking with what you know, gives you a lot of leverage and can get you started much, much faster. So from there, it, it just, I just went with that. I realized that's the path for me. And I doubled down initially just as a freelancer working on my own eventually picking up too many clients to handle on my own. And that's when I started scaling out to agency mode. So initially hiring part-time contractors underneath me, and eventually some of those guys turned into full time team members. And before I knew it, I was, wasn't a solo PPC freelancer anymore. I was running an agency. That's where I'm at now.
Joe (07:44): So you ended up where you swore you'd never be.
Daryl (07:47): Exactly. Yeah. But at least I'm in Asia, at least I'm in Bangkok where the weather is better and the food is better.
Joe (07:53): Yeah. It's so funny where life takes us. So you said, you said that you brought on too many clients and that's why you started to bring on team members, right. Was it like literally you just had too much work and you couldn't possibly get it done yourself or it was just like man, I'm just working too much. I need to, you know,
Daryl (08:12): Yeah. I mean more business came on board and it's hard to say no to more money, isn't it? And so I said yes. So more money and more clients and more work and then kind of,ufigure that out afterwards took on more than I could handle and when back to Upwork, but this time as an employer rather than an employee and,ustarted hiring people to help me out and uyeah, worked out pretty well.
Joe (08:47): Perfect. is Upwork still a place that you prospect today?
Daryl (08:52): Not so much, no. Some things have changed for me since then. Upwork was a good source of leads for quite a while and I still have friends and colleagues in the industry who do acquire who have like mature businesses and decent sized teams and they still acquire high quality leads and do a lot of prospecting and sales through Upwork that are good clients to be found on there still. But it's really tough. It's super competitive and I think for every one good client you can find on that work, there's like 99 terrible clients on there. So you really do have to Wade through a lot of crap I find. Yeah. So for the past few years I just haven't used it at all. My, my network grew and you know, I'd done some marketing in the past, which is now kind of feeding more leads in and doing good work for clients, leads to word of mouth referrals.
Daryl (09:51): So right now I don't really do much active prospecting or lead gen or anything like that. I just focus on doing the best job we can for our clients. And that's just keeping us afloat and turning into enough word of mouth referrals. The we can More than replace the inevitable, the amount of client churn that you do get when you run this kind of business.
Joe (10:16): Definitely. Cool. So what's your, what's your team's set up look like? Show roles and responsibility, org chart type of structure, things like that?
Daryl (10:26): Yeah, so we've just gone through a bit of a restructure. So there's well there were four core team members on the team and we used to have this sort of tiered structure where it was me at the top and then the middle manager and then two people reporting into the middle manager.
Daryl (10:48): And the middle manager, we called him the client success manager and his job was to manage the two PPC results specialists under him and manage the client relationship. And actually it was just last month that we'd done a restructure, flattened out. I figured that it's just a bit too much management for such a small team. And me as, as a solo founder, I'm more than capable of managing directly three people. So we kinda cuts out that middle layer and now everyone just reports directly into me and everyone has the same job role. We don't distinguish between client success manager who is the more client facing person and what we called a PPC results specialist who is more behind the lines doing all the optimizations, doing all the technical work. Now it's more standard set up of everyone's an account manager and everyone is expected to have both skills, client management and account optimization. It's a simple structure. It's less middle management. It's a nice opportunity for things to get lost in communication. And also for me anyway, I think works a lot better considering that was spread out across Asia, Europe and American time zones.
Joe (12:11): Yeah, for sure. Have you found it hard to hire for that position? As you, as you look at growing or maybe you haven't been there yet? But, but finding both of those talents in a paid search specialist, right, or manager we found has been very difficult finding the person that has the right brain and the left brain, so to speak, right. That, that's creative and also a day to day manager and can manage a a client. Right. is, is a, is a unique skill set. It's not impossible, but we've definitely found a unique [inaudible].
Daryl (12:49): Yeah, I agree. And it is difficult to find. And I think everyone on my team kind of skews more towards either one side or the other. But what I try and hire around now is more
Daryl (13:07): Aptitude and sorry, not aptitude, attitude and core values fit rather than aptitude and skills. Because aptitude and skills you can teach someone. Whereas core values fit like, is this person going to gel with our team? Do they have the right core values that match our core values as a business that you, it's much, much harder to train some in certain circumstances you might even say it's impossible to train. So people on my team now and like some of them are stronger at the account management and weaker at the client management and some of them are the other way around. So my, but everyone on my team though seems to restructure like we had to let one go. But everyone on the team now is a core values fit. So they match our core values are the type of people that we want in the business, which means I'm happy to invest my personal time in training them up on the bits that they're lacking.
Daryl (14:07): So now I, this year has been a big goal of mine is to spend a lot of time on training and people and helping them with the weak point in there. If you've got this account manager who's really good on the optimization side, but she's not so comfortable talking to clients, well, okay, that's what we're going to train on, where we're going to do some role. I'm going to pretend to be a difficult guy and we'll spend multiple hours per week doing that and we'll go into client calls and meetings together and she'll see how I interact with clients, react and learn from that. And the other way around, like if if we have an account manager who's weaker on the optimization side of things, but great on the client management side of things, then I spend a lot of time with me training on that, the account optimization side of things.
Joe (14:53): Yeah, we've definitely found the same as well. Most hires these days have no PPC experience whatsoever. And we're just really hiring for or you know, eager, willing people and, and the traits and the core values, right, that we want in the company. So they jive with the company culture, they get along. We know that it's going to be a long term thing. And like you said, we're not, you know, we're not afraid to invest in them either. So I love the, I love the flattening out you took out, you know, some fat so to speak in your, in your org structure, right. Like and I'm sure it probably no longer feels like you're playing telephone, right? Like did the manager communicate, you know, this, this, that I was trying to get across to them, to the rest of the team. And with a small team doesn't always make sense to have so much management. So love that. Yeah,
Daryl (15:46): Absolutely. Yeah. And now, and the other big advantage is with the clients speaking directly to the person who runs their campaigns. Everything about the campaign is now already in the head of the person they're speaking to. There's no, there's none of that disconnect where they ask that, that client manager, Oh, what's up on my campaign? And then the person has to go, Oh yeah, just let me check and get back to you in 24 hours cause you don't actually know cause I haven't talked to you. Right. Your account optimizer very recently. You, so let me get back to you now. It's all just like it's there. It's immediate, it's much faster. There's much less requirement for having every single little thing precisely tracked in our project management system. So previously there was a huge burden on that. Every little
thing the optimizer did, we'd have to be trapped in the project management system to make sure that the client manager knows what's going on.
Daryl (16:43): And even then, sometimes there's, there's gaps and they won't know everything that happened unless they have a conversation first with the account optimizer. So yeah, I like it. It cleans it up. It cleans up our structure a lot. I'm not saying we won't have a go back to that, that structure of having two roles separated, but I think at our, in our current size you know, I've got a handful of full time and a, a handful of sort of part time contractors as well. And that size just doesn't make sense to have that layer of middle management and that extra communication burden.
Joe (17:22): Definitely. That makes perfect sense. Can you talk a little bit they're all about the services that you offer in your agency. Obviously we talked about Google ads. I'm assuming that's kind of the main focus. But what, what, if any, are the other services that you guys provide?
Daryl (17:37): Yeah, sorry. Google ads is the main one. And then within the Google ads sort of umbrella there's, you know, the, obviously the paid search stuff, we're big on shopping. Our primary focus is e-commerce clients. We do do some work with SAAS and lead gen clients, but that maybe about 30% of the clients whereas about 70, maybe 80% of the clients are eCommerce. And that's where I kind of focus our, our positioning is very much around the eCommerce. So we do what works for eCommerce, which is for us Google ads Google shopping, retargeting, dynamic retargeting and Bing ads as well. And we've had a checkered history with Facebook ads cause obviously that's big in the eCommerce space as well. And I've had a love hate relationship with Facebook ads for e-commerce, to be honest. It's like a few years ago I was very dedicated to Facebook ads for eCommerce and I was doing a lot of business and I'd say even like more than 50% of our revenue was coming from Facebook ads clients.
Daryl (18:43): And then we kind of chucked it because the churn rate of Facebook ads kinds was so high. Facebook ads campaigns are so volatile and you compare that to ad words campaigns where like if it works today, it's probably going to work tomorrow and the next day it's not just going to suddenly die and no apparent reason and it's not going to need like a high level creative thinker just to fix it. Right? Like with Facebook ads, I tend to find that it's very hard to train people up on it because some of the problems that just come up out of nowhere need a lot of high level expertise to fix. So kind of dropped Facebook ads for a while and then reintroduced it for a, and then most recently just decided to drop it again because I think our sweet spot really is a paid search and shopping for eCommerce. Google, Google, and Bing paid search and shopping. That's why we're focused on
Joe (19:38): That. Makes perfect sense. Yep. Completely, completely agree on everything you said. So what, what are your normal fees to a client look like? Monthly retainer, I'm assuming of some sort? Where do they start?
Yeah, so we do a, a, a blended fee. So there's a monthly retainer that is sort of just a flat fee same month in, month out. And then there's normally a percentage of something added on as well. So it will be monthly retainer, which is built at the beginning of the month plus usually percentage of ad spends, which is added at the end of the month. But I've actually been experimenting more with percentage of profit. It's, that's a fairly new bidding model for us and it's, it's definitely got its pros and cons. I, I love the, it really, really aligns us, but like if you have a client that's profit focused and their goal is to maximize profit and if you build them based on percentage of profit, it totally aligns your right. They're looking into profit more and we get rewarded when we made sure they profit more.
Daryl (20:53): So it's a great model in terms of that, in terms of aligning your incentives with the client there are issues with it though in terms of it just being so much more complex than percentage of ad spend, right? It's percentage of ad spend is easy. Like it's, it's, it's not very questionable. Like we know exactly how much we spent the past month, so we haven't, so there's no question over the percentage of that. Whereas profits a bit more of a tricky question. Like you've got the question of attribution, like what attribution model you're going to use to decide how much of that profit was actually attributes to the stuff that you were doing. And I'm like, which platform are you going to use to measure profit? You're going to use the data inside Google ads or Google analytics or you can use the data in the backend.
Daryl (21:39): And if you're going to use that data in the back end, like how you attribute that. And like what happens when trap, when conversion tracking goes down, which happens sometimes. Like then what are you going to do with regards to figuring out how much profit you made? So it's, it's tricky. And I probably wouldn't offer the percentage profit model to small clients just because it's a hassle to manage, but for the bigger clients and for sort of more longterm clients where we're really looking to establish that longterm partnership, I think that the percentage profit model or some sort of performance based model can work quite well.
Joe (22:16): Yup. Definitely. Agreed. 100%. Yeah. It becomes very highly convoluted, especially if it's a quote unquote smaller client. You got to wonder if it's really worth it.
Daryl (22:26): Yeah, absolutely.
Joe (22:28): Cool. so what's your, what's your goal or your target goal? For profit margin on services to and the customers,
Daryl (22:39): Profit margin, I think 15% is always a nice, nice number to aim for. Right? They've done a bit of reading. I've done a bit of research. Seems to me that if you were in 15% profit margin and above in this line of business, then you're doing all right. Uso last year,ustarted working towards that. I think we started last year at 0% profit margin, just like, you know, we'd make more revenue and I'd immediately spend it on something else, like, you know, hire the next person or,ulike spend it on a LinkedIn lead gen campaign and which kind of we're always tracking in at like just zero profit. So I started to be a bit smarter about it
last year and I think we probably overshot the profit margin goal towards the end of the year. We probably did more like 25%,uprofit margin, something like that,utowards the end of the year. Ubut that's the kind of number I, I,ustick in my head and sort of aim towards at the moment. And my plan is to hire more when our profit margin exceeds that, exceeds the 15% Mark. Uand if it's not a 15%, then you know, just pause on all,unew initiatives like marketing or hiring or anything like that, that would cost us more money and try and keep it at that 15% level minimum.
Joe (24:04): Yup. Cool. Yeah, I mean, there's so many models. We've got guys on the podcast that we brought on that are very similar to you, zero to 10%, 10 to 15%. And we got people that are, you know, over 50% and still still giving great service and great return on investment to their end client. So I would like to ask the question because there's such varying models. And there's not one, I don't think that there's a one size fits all. But it's just interesting to hear people's perspective because it is so widely different.
Daryl (24:41): Mm. Yeah. Very widely different. And as you know, there's so many ways of, of doing this agency game. So I think you've got to choose the, the model and the goal that just suits whatever you're trying to achieve in life and in business, right?
Joe (24:56): Yup. 100%. thinking about e-com and Google and Bing and shopping. What do you think is kind of the 80, 20? What's like, you're a big fan of the four hour work week, obviously. Like what, what are the big things for anybody doing e-com or having clients that come to them or prospects come to them with e- com? What's the 80 20 of of Google ads and Google shopping for e-com?
Daryl (25:24): I mean it always comes down to the core trifecta, doesn't it? The, your, your targeting your ads and your bids. So 80, 20 is just get those, focus on those three things and get them dead on, right? Like you're targeting. So if you're doing paid search, that's going to be your keywords. If you're doing a display that's going to be your audiences or your retargeting or you know, your, your contextual keywords. If you're doing shopping, that's going to be done onto your product feeds and then your creative, your ad copy. Like what ads are you putting out there, how's their CTR, how's their quality score, that kind of thing. And then bids and budgets, like those three things are, like if you get everything else is just details, isn't it? When it comes into PPC really what we do with, with this and with most forms of online advertising is just make sure we get the right ads targeting and bids.
Joe (26:29): Yup. Definitely. Yeah. At the end of the day Google especially, yeah. Pay per Click especially Google. And being, I mean, at the end of the day, it's just a math equation between those three things really. And then profitability. Right. and I think people overthink the heck out of it, right. And it's just like, well, you have your data. You've been running it. Now let's just let, what's your profitability and where do we need to be? Okay, great. Now what the average position, you know, what, what's our max, you know, what, what do we max able to pay per click? All right, great. Let's start trimming it back. And then let's split testing against it. So love the love, the simplicity. I'm curious, Daryl all in your business. How often when you take on an ecom client do you have to get involved with CRO or upsells or something on the,
on the back end, so to speak so that you can effectively do your job, right? Managing the traffic and the paid ads spend.
Daryl (27:30): Yeah. so CRO we don't get involved with, and I, and I draw a clear line there. Clients often ask me this and say, or what can you do for other new pages? And my line is always the same as like as PPC specialists. We, we have some knowledge over what works in terms of your landing page and your CRO. But it's limited to just doing enough to make Google happy. Like we can tell you if your landing pages so terrible that it's going to cause issues with your PPC campaign. But beyond that, beyond like landing page best practices, like things that you can do to increase your site conversion rate beyond good enough that's on us. And Hey, if you want that kind of advice, let me refer you to someone else in, in my network. So I think it's really important to keep that Rolodex of, of your, of your colleagues in within the wider marketing industry and be able to refer leads and just focus on what you are specialized at.
Daryl (28:33): So I focus very much on Google ads, PPC for eCommerce. If someone comes to me and says, Hey, I want to, I really need CRO or SEO or web development, or I need Facebook ads for a lead gen campaign, I'll just say, that's great. That's not really what we do, but maybe I can put you in touch with someone who does do that. So I try and draw a really fine line there, but that's not to say we don't get sucked into this stuff. Sometimes the, for us, the most common place we get sucked into back end stuff is around tracking a conversion, tracking and installing pixels. And sometimes clients just don't have the expertise or resource in house to be able to effectively install tracking pixels on, we send them the instructions. So over the years, me and my team, we have picked up some skills in Shopify.
Daryl (29:23): We know our way around the back end of Shopify and we know how to install Google tag manager on our own without any help from a, from a web developer. And I think that's kind of necessary. And we've picked up more knowledge on the Google analytics side of things as well. And then beyond that, like everywhere else, I just try and try and draw clear lines so they tell cones where the traffic goes. We don't know, we can't help you with your SEO, we can't help you with your LPO or your CRO where the traffic goes. So we're very good at traffic, we're very good at paid traffic, but if you need anything else, just let me know. I can refer you to someone, but that's all dice.
Joe (30:03): Yup. Running e-com campaigns and running info product campaigns, I'll definitely say where we get sucked in the most in those two categories is average customer value. Right? It's like, you know, we get to a point in scaling where they're wanting more and more and more, but can't necessarily afford to pay more for a conversion. Right? They're kind of maxed out. And so because of that, we run out of kind of big, big levers in terms of growth. Right? And it becomes a conversation of like, we really have to have a better average order value, right? So that we can afford to pay more for a CPA. And without that there aren't any of these huge levers of growth for them left, like 20 or 30% increase in orders. Right. Without that average order size going up and being able to pay more, you know, as a, as a CPA, do you find that happens a lot for you as well or not so much?
To be honest. No, that's not something we come into. Quite a lot. I mean it sounds like you break down the the metrics a bit more granularly. And we do like either we'll just look at ROAS, right? Like, you know, your CPA and then your average order value. Those will sort of want to play through into your ROAS. So for us, usually ROAS is King, unless you have a client that only has one or two products and they're the saving price point, in which case CPA might be King. But for us, ROAS isKing and yeah, average order value being not high enough is not something that's really held us back in the past. We've, we've usually been able to perform fairly consistently. Despite that maybe we're just lucky and have clients who are managing the, the upsale stuff and the increase of average order value on their site quite effectively. And we do actually have grown to a number of our clients are quite sort of skilled at that and do think about that a lot on their own without us having to give a lot of input though.
Joe (32:08): Yeah, I find that a lot of times the clients that we have don't think about it enough. Right. And you know, the, the old quote unquote old marketing adage is so true that, you know, the company that has the most money to spend on an on advertising right is the one that's gonna win, right? They're going to be able to beat everybody else out of the market. And I find that a lot of companies that come to us are just like, here you go, Darryl. Like I just want you to handle that. Here you go. And it's like, yeah, you try to explain like, yeah, but you're paying me to run ads, not, you know, run upsells, everything else. And we don't do that. So, you know, we find that we got to draw the line as well. But often times we find that the expectation is just that we will do that for them. And so we, we got to educate the client that, you know, this is where the, the line is drawn in the sand for us. This is where it starts. So,
Daryl (32:58): Yeah. And I think for me as well we're big on like relationship management and rapport building and like, just, just really, not, not just saying it, but really living that, that value of wanting to make our clients, not just our clients, but our friends as well. You know, like they should pass the go and have a beer test. Like you should be able to have a relationship with each of your clients where you could just say, Hey, let's go grab a beer tomorrow night. You're up for it. And they'll be like, yeah, great. And when you have that kind of a relationship with the client, then it's much easier to have those kinds of conversations about expectations, about what you do do and what you don't do. And they'll take it better and take it on board more will generally allow you to change their expectations more easily when you have that kind of relationship.
Joe (33:54): That's a really good, good point. And I don't think enough agencies have that relationship or, or think the way that, that you do in that regard. Daryl.
Daryl (34:02): Hmm. Yeah. if you take it one step further, I think that it also comes back to your goals, right? Part. I think part of the reason why a lot of agencies don't have that kind of level of relationship is it comes back to their goals. If you're just pursuing growth at all costs, then you're going to take on board every kind of client no matter what. Even if you think, well, maybe this guy is a bit of a Dick, I wouldn't go and have a beer with him. If your goal is growth at all costs, if that goes to gonna pay you money or enough money, then you will take that claim. So for me it helps that I have become less money and, and growth and revenue focused in our goal setting and have started to create more goals outside of just making millions and millions of bucks. I mean, yeah. That's nice.
Joe (34:56): There's other things? Thing that, there's other things.
Daryl (34:59): There's other things. Yeah. Believe it or not.
Joe (35:03): That's a perfect segue. That's a perfect segue, man. I wanted to talk about kind of what's the roadmap for your agency, right? What, what are your growth goals personally? Like where, where are you trying to go in the next 10 to 12 months?
Daryl (35:14): Sure. so for me, I mean 10 to 12 months, the goal is very much just focusing on doing the best job we can for clients. And looking a bit longer out, looking at sort of five year vision, 10 year vision. I've done a lot of thinking over that last year and we used to have some ambitious financial goals for us, sort of 10 year target and this is still there and I would still like to achieve some big numbers over the next 10 years. But that's not really the primary goal anymore. What we're really aiming for, the sort of vision for big flare is more around mastery and the quality of work that we put out into the world. If I'm honest, like where I am with big flare right now I have enough money, I'm comfortable. I could focus on building a bigger agency and growing, growing, growing and earning more money.
Daryl (36:09): But I don't think I'm at that point now where I have enough money to make me happy. So I did quite a lot of soul searching and figured out like apart from money, why do I do this thing that I do? And I realized that me personally, I've always been kind of obsessed with skills, like technical skills, physical skills. I like just geeking out on skills and being the best guy in the room at a given skill. And actually that's why I got into PPC. I think it's a cool skill. I enjoy just pouring over account data and optimizing campaigns. It's like I was a gamer when I was a kid. I was obsessed with snares and GameBoy and play station and all that. And I realize what I do now is it's kind of like playing video games and getting paid a lot of money for it. It's a different kind of video game, but it's still, like you said, that your computer, your clicks and controls and you're trying to achieve some goals and sometimes the, the numbers go up on the screen and you celebrate the win and sometimes the numbers go down and you, you learn from it and play the game better afterwards. So my goal,
Daryl (37:18): You could go from big flat in the next 10 years is to master the game to be the best at what we do. It sounds cliche be the best small PPC agency comes in the road. But yeah, that's it. Like mastery. I want to, want to achieve mastery.
Daryl (37:35): You see, and I want to build a team around me who are similarly obsessed with the idea of mastery.
Joe (37:43): I think that makes growth inevitable and easy to write while not really focused on that, right? An old way of being growth focused, you know, can, can lead to a lot of problems. Because you're just so
growth focused and you're not focusing on the fundamentals. So you've kind of switched it around. Let's just focus on the fundamentals. Everything else will come. So well listen. Perfect.
Daryl (38:10): Exactly. Yeah. And so with this focusing on the fundamentals and on mastery, of course, more money and growth is still in my head, but I just figured that would be a side effect of becoming absolutely brilliant and great at what we do.
Joe (38:24): That's awesome.
Joe (38:25): So Darryl obviously you, you've learned a lot building your agency just on the agency side, agency building, but also kind of practices for your clients and on e-comm and Google ads and shopping. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Daryl (38:43): So someone just starting out building their agency or doing some Google ads, let's say building their agency first building our agency. I would say focus on people. Yeah, your kinds of people, your team of people. And well you can, if you're building a PPC agency, perhaps you're like me and like a lot of PPC as you're a very technical person and you like numbers and data and like computers and systems and stuff. And maybe you think that this whole PPC business thing is all just like a numbers game. It's like a system that you can hack and build and put together. And people are just going to be robots that fit into your system if you give them the right SOP or process to follow. But what I've learned is it's not really like that. And you know, if you want to succeed in building an agency, you have to be good with people.
Daryl (39:40): You have to lead them effectively. You have to find the right people to have around you. You have to find the right people to work with as clients. Then you have to be selective over the kinds of clients you work with. Because some clients, some people, they're going to give you a heck of a lot of hassle even if they pay you a lot for it. And maybe maybe that money isn't worth it. So if you're doing this business in your, and maybe your people skills aren't quite so strong and you're more of a technical analysis kind of person like I was when I started out, I would say brush up on those people's skills and remember that this business, like every other business is a people business.
Joe (40:25): I love that. What do you think are kind of the, the, uh, the 80 20 in terms of brushing up on your, on your people skills, right? What are the things that you've done, you think that have made the biggest impact ,and in that regard, I know a lot of people, right. That uI feel like are very, very technically,usmart, right. Almost too smart. Right. However, their personality skills,uleave a lot to be desired and ultimately,uI think it really puts a cap on their earnings, especially as an agency because they aren't really building relationships.
Hmm. Yeah. so my advice there is kind or the 80 20 there for me, it's, this is kind of specific to remote businesses like mine, but I think you can apply it to normal non remote businesses as well. For me, the 80 20 was just getting in front of the, like getting on more phone calls with the camera switched on face to face like this. I talk to all of my team members on the phone often with the camera switched on so we can see each other's face, talk to them every day. Most of them are taught to like pretty much every day and we have a conversation and and we don't just talk about work, you know, I'll ask, Hey, how's your kid doing? Is he okay? Is he still safe cause he got better now or I've got one team member who's obsessed with dogs, so I always ask her about their dogs.
Daryl (41:50): Like, you know, how's the new puppy like is he okay like first, first 10 minutes of every meeting. It's always about you or about them and it's doesn't have to be work related at all. It's like, what do you want to talk about? So in a non non remote business you could use the same kind of 80, 20. It's not necessarily getting in a web meeting and with your camera on, it's maybe just getting in front of people. They get in front of your client and go to their office or travel up to meet them. Shake hands, look them in the eye, take them out for lunch or that kind of stuff and just get in front of people and talk to them. Don't hide behind your computer screen the whole time.
Joe (42:30): I love that. Super simple. But way too many meetings are ran with, with no video, right. With no personal interaction. Right. not talking about the other person or what you have in common with them for 10 minutes. Right? Like just bring some human elements back into it.
Daryl (42:47): Yeah, absolutely. And that stuff pays off because when you, when you do that stuff, you builds rapport, you build a relationship and then people are going to be more motivated to want to help you. And essentially when you have a team that's, that's what you're asking for people. You're asking from people, you're asking them to help you and to, to put their effort into this thing. And yeah, that takes motivation and like people aren't going to be motivated if they don't feel connected to you somehow.
Joe (43:18): Definitely couldn't agree further. Cool, man. So this has been awesome. I've really enjoyed having you on the show. You've, you've shared a lot from the heart. You've shared a bunch of lessons learned. I'm sure that, you know, agency owners are going to get some value out of this as they go through and they listened to it. I want to ask you one final question, a question I ask everybody. So instead of asking you Daryl to recommend three books, which I feel like every podcast on the earth does, I want to do something a little bit different. So I want to ask you, what's the one book that's made a huge impact on the way that you do business and why?
Daryl (43:56): Yeah. So this one's very easy for me to answer. You could ask my girlfriend this and she will tell you like, cause she hears me talk about it all the time. You can ask my friends. They still probably tell you, you can also, and my clients, they still probably tell you the book is traction by Gino Wickman. So it's a very popular book. It is a comprehensive system for structuring and running your small business. So in the book he talks about a system called EOS entrepreneurial operating system. It's a very simple system. There's like six or seven core components. And those core components basically tell you how to
structure and run your business. It tells you things like how to, how to do your visioning and your goal setting, how to run your team meetings, how to hire and fire you know, what to look for in people, how to do your sales and marketing.
Daryl (44:52): It's got it all. So there are lots of other business books out there that are very good at giving you pieces of the picture. Like, this is how you do your finances or this is how you do management or this is how you do like sales or whatever. The great thing about traction is that there's a simple system that has it all in one place and all the different elements kind of work together. So I live and breathe that, that book. And we've been implementing the EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system all of last year and every little, it takes a long time to implement. Unless you really just block out a lot of time just to do it all. But we've kind of spaced out over the, the space of last year and yeah, it's just helped so much. It's like helps with people issues that we were having. It's helps like define who we are as a company and where we're going and you know, the kinds of clients that we go after and the type of work that we do. So yeah, easy owns a traction by Gino Wickman.
Joe (45:53): Love it, man. Thanks for the recommendation and the takeaways and why it's important to you and what it's done for you. Definitely a book that everybody should look into. I've, I've read it but I think it's probably been, man, I don't know, four years or five years and it was like, yeah, man, that was a great book. I need to, I need to go back to it. And I love how you took that and implemented it over the course of last year I think is a really cool team exercise that can be done as well. So definitely will be revisiting that myself.
Daryl (46:22): Great. Yeah. Awesome.
Joe (46:23): All right, Daryl. I appreciate the recommendation and thanks so much, man for coming on the podcast. I hope you enjoyed yourself. I know everybody else will have an awesome, awesome day. And when I make it over to to Bangkok, I'll definitely let you know.
Daryl (46:36): Awesome. Cheers, Joe. Thank you very much. Cheers. Bye.