Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Ebs Turner, I’m a 25-year-old entrepreneur and proud founder of Prop Media, a property specialist marketing agency based in London, UK and Prop Sessions, a property podcast.
Currently, our main service is our partner program, which is done for your lead generation system. Currently, we’re doing around $18,000/month.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Prop Media was not my first business venture or my second, third, or fourth for that matter. At age 9, like most kids, I loved sweets and treats, but the problem was my parents wouldn’t buy them for me, and I didn’t have the independence to go and buy them from the shops. I quickly realized I wasn’t the only kid with this trouble, and that taught a fundamental principle, a business exists simply to solve a problem.
Throughout primary and secondary school I sold sweets to my fellow classmates, avoiding teachers and hustling during break time giving me the first taste in the enterprise. A year later I enjoyed the fruits of my labor, purchasing the red mini moped in the local toy shop window (which lasted 3 weeks before crashing into a lamppost).
During university, I didn’t have the spare time to take the same concept of selling in person and from school and applied online by selling products on Amazon, which gave me my first real taste into the modern world. I quickly fell in love with it.
When I was 19 years old I was recruited to work for a B2B publishing company in Central London in the sales department. One afternoon, I discovered just how much companies were spending to have a 1-page spread in the publication I worked on. The economist in me quickly did the maths and determined it was near impossible for them to make a return on their investment on that level of spend. Blue-chip companies are often self-interested managers, concerned with hitting their targets to keep their bosses in check, who are concerned with keeping shareholders at bay. Basically, there’s a TONNE of inefficiency within companies and the bigger the company the more inefficacy there often is.
I didn’t know it at the time, that discovery planted the first seed in my mind that there had to be a better way for companies to advertise. It wasn’t until several years later during my final year of university when that seed came to fruition, in the form of Robot Revenue, my social media marketing agency.
Start learning about something that interests you, and take action on that knowledge as quickly as humanly possible. The lessons gained through doing will greatly outweigh the knowledge from one extra book or course.
Being a university student, I had less than no capital to launch, so like many, I had to bootstrap my way forward. One of the biggest benefits of running a social media marketing agency is there are very few overheads, if you already own a laptop, you have all of the tools you need. Even today I could run my business on my laptop if I chose to (although I must admit I have become accustomed to Herman Miller chairs and Apple hardware).
I will never forget signing my first client on a monthly retainer for £997 per month (back when charging £3 short of a thousand was the in thing to do in the marketing industry), it was more than I had ever made from a single transaction, and from that moment on my entire paradigm shifted.
My first agency, Robot Revenue initially offered a plethora of marketing services such as:
- Facebook advertising
- Social media management
- Email marketing
- Website design
In truth, the list goes on. From my various online business ventures, I had to learn these skills to run my own businesses which were beneficial in the early days because I could run the services myself and remain super lean and profitable.
A common debate within the SMMA community is whether to learn and run the services yourself or get a contractor or team member. My personal approach is to have a good understanding of the services they are providing. Not only does it give you insurance policy if your team ever lets you down, but it helps you confidently sell the product you are offering to prospects.
Nowadays, Prop Media specializes in serving the property industry helping to generate quality leads. The advantage of being a specialist over a generalist is you get really good at providing your service and generating results for your clients.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I would love to say there was a master formula, business plan, and flawless route to market. The reality was, I was in my final year of university juggling exams, sports, a social life, and starting up a marketing agency. The beauty was it was just me, to begin with, which allowed me to work on it at all hours of the day with the little time I had.
If you’re just starting out I think it’s important to spend some time testing different ideas to figure out what interests you.
At the time I felt held back by being at university, I had this burning desire to run my own successful business, yet most of my time was devoted to education, a route I was certain I did not need to succeed. Looking back on that time, I now realize those constraints produced some of the most productive and creative periods in my journey so far.
The time constraints were one element, the financial constraints were another, the business started with no investment and a negative bank balance. I absolutely do not recommend this for most people, the best place to start a business from is a place of abundance where you have plenty of energy to devote to it.
I was at a crossroads in my life, joining my peers and applying for city jobs in finance, or burning bridges and going all-in on the agency. People told me it was a huge risk, not having a secure job and giving up 20 years of education. The greater risk for me was entering the 9-5 race and wondering ‘what if’ at age 65. Jeff Bezos used this ‘regret mobilization’ framework to leave his wall street job and start an online book store 25 years ago.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Originally my agency would serve anybody who would pay the monthly retainer fee. It sounds logical to serve everyone who needs your services because you reach a wider market, yet in reality that’s rarely how it works.
In order to generate new business, having a client attraction system is paramount.
- Have a niche
- Generate exceptional results
- Collect testimonials and leverage them to generate more clients
Nowadays, Prop Media works specifically with the property industry providing paid advertising services and funnels.
We have a lot of different channels to attract new clients:
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Prop Sessions Podcast
- Sales team
- Social content
We have only recently really started promoting our website (crazy I know for a marketing agency). One tip I would give it to get Facebook and Google tracking code onto your website ASAP. It provides a goldmine of data you can use any time wish for analytics and marketing purposes.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I have worked tenaciously to continuously break down and rebuild the systems that run the machine. The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to take a step back and look at the direction we were going in. It’s been a challenging time for us and many other businesses, and I feel we’re coming out stronger, more focused and motivated on the other side of it.
One major shift has been becoming completely and utterly obsessed with client results and experience, it’s a core value for the company now. A huge amount of my energy goes into ensuring we’re delivering the best possible results to our clients, not just financially, but through communication, training and relationship building. This has caused two things:
- Incredible client retention
- Higher service fees due to the value we bring
Every day I’m working to put myself out of business before somebody else does. What I mean by this is not becoming complacent when things are going well, because someone else will be putting in the work when you aren’t.
Part of our shift also means expanding outside of the UK where 80% of our clientele are currently based. We are currently moving into the US market and have big plans to replicate our current success in the UK.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Starting a business nowadays is both the easiest and most difficult it ever has been. With readily available information it is quicker and easier to gain access to knowledge to start a business than any point in history. That’s how I was able to start out. However, a common pitfall (which I fell into myself) is taking in too much information and falling into analysis paralysis.
With more people gaining university decrees, people are more academically educated than ever before, which is great, however, a key attribute in entrepreneurship is having the ability to pull the trigger without overthinking.
My advice would be to start learning about something that interests you and take action on that knowledge as quickly as humanly possible. The lessons gained through doing will greatly outweigh the knowledge from one extra book or course.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
These change frequently but here’s a taste of what we’re using at the moment:
- Clickfunnels for building funnels
- D7 Leadfinder for lead generation
- Gmass for the email follow up
- Twilio for phone and SMS marketing
- DashThis this for reporting
- LinkedIn Sales navigator for gathering leads on LinkedIn
- Express VPN
- Bit.ly for creating pretty looking links
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I haven’t referenced books in this article so far, but there were a few key books that kick-started my journey into online entrepreneurship
The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
This book opened me up to a new paradigm of creating your dream life without going down the corporate route. I read this book during university and would go as far as to say that book gave me the confidence to not apply for a single job application after university and go after my dreams.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book is a must-read for anyone with an idea they want to communicate effectively. Simple techniques like giving honest appreciation and avoiding complaining go a long way in both business and life.
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
This book teaches the importance of self-image and how to improve it using your mind alone, it’s pretty powerful stuff.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
If you’re just starting out I think it’s important to spend some time testing different ideas to figure out what interests you. One pitfall is having tunnel vision on your business goals when you haven’t had any experience yet, it can sometimes backfire by blocking other opportunities that are right in front of you.
The second piece of advice I’d give is to invest in yourself before anything else. Whether that’s information, mentorship, or business ventures, it’s the best investment you can ever make, particularly when you’re starting out.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re hiring for two main positions right now!
- A performance marketer/media buyer specializing in paid advertising
- A client manager to help with outbound contact and client communication
Where can we go to learn more?
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