Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, dedication, and thick skin to be successful in whatever entrepreneurial endeavor you decide to partake in.
One thing is for certain, you will most certainly fail at some point in the journey. However, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. You have to learn from each of your failures and grow into success. It simply won’t happen overnight. If you are the type of person that fears rejection, let me tell you, rejection is an inevitability in entrepreneurship. However, with hard work and a willingness to learn, you will succeed!
I’d like to quote an American cinema classic, “The Karate Kid”. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s about a young boy, Daniel, who is trying to learn fighting skills in order to stick up for himself and deal with the local bullies that are tormenting him. He is studying under Mr. Miyagi, an eccentric and enigmatic martial arts master who demands Daniel’s utmost respect and commitment to his strange teaching methods.
The first task Mr. Miyagi asks Daniel to do is to wax his car. “Wax on, wax off” are the only words the master has for his pupil. He goes on to make Daniel continue to do household chores, such as sanding wood floors and painting his house, instead of the traditional martial arts training Daniel expects. After a while, Daniel becomes fed up with doing these seemingly useless tasks. He wants to fight and to practice karate instead of doing Mr. Miyagi’s housework.
What Daniel doesn’t realize is that every one of the chores Mr. Miyagi is asking him to do serves a specific purpose. After confronting Mr. Miyagi and expressing his discontent, Daniel learns that each task he has done served a specific purpose for his karate training. He had been learning muscle memory and defensive techniques from the chores the entire time. “Wax on, wax off”, and the principles behind it, can be directly associated with entrepreneurship.
We must remember to trust the process, that every task, no matter how seemingly remedial it is, is helping you get closer to your ultimate goal – having a successful business. Grinding out hundreds of cold emails, reading countless articles and books about digital marketing, and taking low paying freelance work all were tasks that helped me become the successful business owner I am today. No task was too small for me to take on, and this attitude has served me well.
I’d like to share the journey that has taken me from an inexperienced freelancer to owning my own successful Digital Marketing Agency in hopes that it can inspire you in your own entrepreneurial endeavors.
It all began in 2007. I knew that I wanted to pursue digital marketing, so I started out working as a digital marketing guy for a Bankruptcy & Real Estate law firm located in Newport Beach, California. It wasn’t my dream job by any means, but the position allowed me to hone in on my skills by working directly next to an experienced web developer and digital marketer. He was my very own Mr. Miyagi. I was learning how to use complicated tools like bulk email sending software, email scraping software, lead capture software and content marketing tools.
After a few years working a 9 to 5 job, I decided that it was time for something a little more exciting. I decided to quit my job in order to travel throughout South America. One destination, in particular, changed the trajectory of my life forever. That place was Medellin, Colombia. I knew right away that I wanted to live and work in that paradise city located in the heart of the Andes mountains. Beautiful weather, friendly people, and a very affordable cost of living were all things that attracted me.
Oh yeah, I was born in Colombia as well! Medellin was calling out to me, loud and clear.
Thanks to my years spent in the law firm doing grunt work, I had amassed thousands of email contacts and knew what it took to land clients through cold emailing. I started reaching out to hundreds of people through Sendblaster and began landing clients. It was also around this time, 2010, that I discovered the website Odesk.com (which is known today as Upwork.com). I used this platform to continue building up my client base by being proactive and using email marketing.
From 2010 until 2015, my life was excellent. I was hard at work building my business from my apartment in Medellin, Colombia. I taught English on the side for some additional income. I also partied on the weekends for some much-needed stress relief. Whenever it got the point in which I felt overwhelmed with my workload, I would hire virtual assistants in the Philippines for roughly $3 an hour. It was money well spent.
In 2015, I got the opportunity to work for two of the biggest clients I had ever had, CuraDebt.com and NorthPointRecovery.com. I realized that the workload was simply too much for me and my virtual assistant to handle and decided to bring on my first official employee based in Medellin, Harold. Things were starting to come together.
In the early stages, I utilized technology to help me stay organized and moving forward. I taught myself how to use task management tools, Hubstaff for time tracking, and Google drives for easy document sharing. My strategy was to keep my current clients happy while keeping an eye on future growth and success. By 2016, I had gained a business partner that was much better at managing the financial side of things that I was. I also had grown my business to 4 employees. We picked up the keys to our first office and haven’t looked back since.
2017 was easily the best year for Red Door Studios, as we serviced over 35 different clients. We have decided that being a boutique agency is much more efficient than trying to service as many clients as possible. By focusing on quality over quantity, we have secured a bright future for our company.
Throughout my journey, I had to learn a large variety of topics and skills very quickly. For example, topics like employee retention, tax implications for an LLC, client invoicing, rewarding your employees, and balancing the books were all mandatory learning. My hunger for knowledge has served me extremely well. Something that sets Red Door Studios apart from other SEO agencies is our effective communication. I make myself available at all times for my clients, via email or phone. Additionally, we use https://screencast-o-matic.com/ to create video updates for our clients, which is always appreciated.
As you can see, my journey towards success has not occurred overnight. My work ethic, willingness to learn, and communication skills have all been crucial as I have grown Red Door Studios to the point it is at today. I faced rejection head on and did not let it dishearten me. By constantly pushing myself to learn new technology and business concepts, I was able to manage the workload I had while growing and keeping an eye on the future. Remember the lesson Daniel learned from Mr. Miyagi, that every task, no matter how pointless it may seem, will only serve you in the future as you grow into a successful entrepreneur.
Do you have any tips that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey? Have you found this article helpful or inspiring? Please leave us a comment below to share your thoughts!