How I Grew Business Matchmaking Service to $300K/Year

Published: March 30th, 2024
Behdad Jamshidi
Founder, CJAM Marketing
CJAM Marketing
from Vancouver, BC, Canada
started April 2019
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Well hello, my name is Behdad Jamshidi, but my friends and customers call me by my nickname Bee. I'm an engineer turned marketing broker/ matchmaker/ concierge. I founded the business CJAM Marketing in 2019.

When I was working with customers and marketing agencies, I uncovered a key issue in marketing, which is even more true today…

Businesses don't understand marketing, and marketing agencies don't understand business. So over the last 5 years, I've worked to bridge this gap.

I've met with over 800+ marketing agencies and partners in the last 5 years, and I've vetted that list down to about 90+ partners that I work with. My goal is to connect businesses with the right marketing partners.

In 2023:

  • Left my high-paying engineering job
  • Made the leap to full-time with the business
  • Moved internationally to the Netherlands
  • Continued to expand my business

Last year, as a solopreneur with a team of part-time contractors, I did $430,000 CAD — and over half of that was profit.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

5 years ago, I was an employee for a large telecom company in the B2B vertical. My role was sales engineering consultant, and I worked with mid-sized companies across a variety of industries.

I was the youngest senior sales engineer at the company, making 6 figures a year and receiving promotions each year. One day, a colleague of mine and I went out for lunch to get sushi at one of our favorite spots. I didn't know our conversation was going to change my life.

My friend was talking about potentially starting his own side business when he started telling me about someone he knew who had their own business. My friend said, "...he makes over 50k a month passively doing SEO for dentists."

It stopped me in my tracks. All I could think was — What the hell is SEO? And how did this guy make that much money passively?

I knew nothing about marketing at that time, and I was never really interested in making a ton of money, but passive income was super interesting.

After I looked into it, it turned out that the person doing that work had a course online. So I watched his two-hour YouTube video and at the end of it, he pitched his $500 course.

At that time, that felt like a lot of money to pay for a course. I remember turning around to my wife in the living room as I was standing right up to the TV and said, "Mojjy (that’s my wife), I'm going to do this course."

She looked at me and said, "If you do, you better make some money out of it then."

And that's how it all started. The course wasn't great, but it did teach me high-level information about website building, Google ads, and SEO. The real result was that it activated my engineering brain, and I wanted to keep learning more.

So I dived head first, basically every day after I finished work, trying to learn everything I could. I took 25-hour Google courses, read SEO textbooks, and built my first website.

I also landed a few customers, I did free websites — which ended up getting me a referral for my first paid ($5k) website. It seemed CRAZY!

But very quickly, I started to hate doing 80-hour websites on the weekend. I got paid way too well as an engineer to want to spend my weekends making a bit more money and giving up all my free time with family and friends. More money wasn't the goal, passive income was.

One day, a friend who ran an agency told me I should send him any of my leads for website services, and he'd give me an affiliate commission for it.

So I started doing that, and it changed my life.

After working with some of my customers referring them to this agency, they started asking me for other services that this agency didn't do. And it was then that I learned this key:

Marketing agencies didn't understand business, and business people didn't understand marketing.

My background in business consulting, engineering, and now in marketing, gave me the unique ability to help bridge this gap.

I have spoken to over 250+ mid-sized companies at my full-time job — in all types of industries from large retail, manufacturing, non-profit, large law firms, logistics, and more. This experience helped me understand business at a deeper level than most other marketers.

So I decided to start a matchmaking service for businesses, which seemed easy enough before starting.

I thought that all I had to do was find 10 solid marketing agencies and partners, and I'd be able to solve the whole puzzle.

Little did I know then, that I would spend the next 5 years talking to close to 800 agencies and partners to solve this problem… by finding and vetting the best agencies — and I still have more to go!

With each customer I helped, I found more gaps, and those gaps became other services where I could help support businesses with vetted agencies.

I knew I had found a solid niche when other businesses and marketing agencies would tell me my business model was brilliant.

Still, to this day, most people don't know a marketing broker exists. However, when they find me, they are happy that they found me, and really in need of what we do — because it takes businesses so much time and effort to hire a marketing partner they like.

Often, companies will try and fail multiple times, spending months or years searching and thousands of dollars hiring the wrong person or agency. Many businesses fail before they ever find the right marketing partner to help them grow.

I worked both jobs for just over 3 ½ years before my business was making more money than I was working as an engineer — by that point, I had hired two assistants, a designer, a developer, two copywriters, and a social media person.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

When I first started as a marketer, I ran my business like a marketing agency. Get a project, price it, and then close it. Simple.

Once I transitioned into serving as a marketing broker, it was a different story. Because I was bridging the customer and the agencies, I helped to manage projects and then got paid a referral fee for them.

For the first year, this was fine. I would give clients my contract, manage the work, and then get paid when the projects were completed. The model made sense because I didn't have too much work to deal with, at the time I was still working as a sales engineer so I was running it as a side business.

When I started to find new marketing partners to grow my network, some agencies didn't like that model as much. Many of these agencies also had teams that could manage and fulfill projects, so I wouldn’t have as much oversight to handle.

This was a better fit for my goals, and so I pivoted to this model. My partner agencies would fully manage the project, and I would get a referral fee after they were paid.

My role became connecting the agencies and the businesses — knowing what the agencies were good at and learning exactly what the businesses needed so I could find the perfect fit.

When I started, there weren't that many agency partners or businesses to manage, so my focus was narrowed down to learning everything I could about the different aspects of marketing and the different levels that agencies execute at.

What makes a good SEO agency, what makes a PPC agency solid, or what in general makes an agency capable of serving clients well? These were skills and knowledge I honed over the past 5 years, and it took a long time to get the business to where it is now.

I have a very solid understanding of the marketing industry, and what companies need to grow — but there are still gaps between businesses and marketing partners that I want to keep filling, especially as new marketing platforms and niches keep changing.

Currently, I can match businesses and agencies at an 80%+ success rate now — and want to make that even higher. The success rate means that a company stays with an agency for more than 6 months. Most agency relationships last less than 3 months. Generally, an average business's success rate with marketing companies is under 20%, and it often takes them 3 to 5 tries to find a good agency to hire themselves.

I am also building other new projects for the business, including scaling out a private agency group that we started this year and expanding my network database of vetted marketing partners.

My focus is always on making sure the business is people-first. You can't use technology to do the matching well, it doesn't account for the nuances in agencies and businesses that make a perfect fit. So instead, I worked hard to understand my clients at a deeper level.

My start-up costs for this business were around $2000, most of which was filing for incorporation. I spent a little on software for my website, but overall, it was pretty inexpensive to start — the real cost was the time I spent learning about the different aspects of marketing, figuring out how to understand exactly what a business needed to do for their marketing, and then interviewing everyone and vetting the marketing partners.

A networking event I hosted when starting the business

Describe the process of launching the business.

I didn't have a specific “launch” of the business, because the way I built my business was slow and steady. I worked my full-time engineering job and grew the business on the side. Any money the business made, I reinvested back into the business for expenses.

I worked both jobs for just over 3 ½ years before my business was making more money than I was working as an engineer — by that point, I had hired two assistants, a designer, a developer, two copywriters, and a social media person.

We designed and redesigned the website 4 times before I finally felt like it was right. Now looking back, it's funny to me that I thought my first website was so good (it was terrible!)

As my messaging and offer solidified, I would refresh the website. At one point I was accepted for a government grant, which was about $20k. I spent $15k of that building the current version of my website, focusing on SEO first, and including rebranding and copywriting. The remaining $5k I used for other brand assets.

I never took out any financing or loans, as I was more interested in building a solid, profitable business that grew slowly and steadily. There were times when I'd lose a big customer, and it would feel like that was a loss I'd never get back. Luckily, I had a steady job and it didn’t make a material difference on my finances, and I was learning how to take losses.

After about 3 years, I was becoming exhausted from working my full-time job and running the business. The business was only making about $4k a month and it wasn't enough for me to quit my 9-5. So I told myself that if I couldn't hit $7.5k a month, then I would have to consider stopping. Within 3 months, I hit that number — and then scaled to 4x past that in that year. It was crazy, the flywheel took effect.

People started reaching out to me because they saw me online adding value, which started my first level of growth. It felt great to be validated with my business model, but also just to know I was making a difference for businesses, especially once companies I had worked with started coming back to me for more help sourcing new marketing partners.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

My growth advice is going to be different from what most people will tell you. I believe in slowly growing a profitable and sustainable business. From the first year through last year, I doubled revenue almost every year but I did it without taking a ton of risk.

Year 1 2019: $16,366

Year 2 2020: $ 84,232

Year 3 2021: $109,644

Year 4 2022: $ 280,006

Year 5 2023: $ 438,785

I've kept my costs low and built my business the old-school way: through relationships, community, and providing value. That was the focus for the first 3-4 years in my business, while I also worked my full-time job for stability. This allowed me the freedom to build slowly.

I did work 10-14 hour days and on weekends for a long time, but this model allowed me to start and grow without a lot of risk. For any entrepreneurs who don't like a ton of risk, I would recommend building slowly and keeping your full-time job. Your business will let you know when it's your time to leave your 9-5.

For me, it was the 4th year of business, in January 2023 when I left my full-time job, went all in, and now live internationally running this business. It's been a crazy wild ride.

Here’s the post I wrote after I left my full-time engineering job.

The past year has been focused on starting to turn on my different marketing channels and increase lead generation. With my business model, I don't need as many leads as other businesses — because my clients often come back to me more than once and hire multiple marketing partners, and I receive a lot of referrals as well.

My current focus on marketing is to scale our content and incorporate new channels:

  • Social Media — we primarily post to LinkedIn and Facebook with most of the secondary channels, this year I'm going to be focusing more on video content.
  • SEO — This has always been a tough nut for me to crack. I need to spend a good amount of our overall budget to be able to compete in this space, and I'm always testing and learning here. With A.I. software there are more new opportunities to get an edge in SEO, and we are testing some of them out this year to see if we can increase our traffic and leads.
  • Guest Interviews — I have a system for reaching out to podcasts that are looking for guests, and I'm always looking for great podcasts to speak on. I love this strategy since it helps build awareness of me and my brand. If you have a podcast, and you think I fit, reach out!
  • Networking — Going to conferences, masterminds, and keeping in touch with my customers are all simple ways to be top of mind and help out current customers. Just asking people I already work with who they think I should know about is one of the key ways I've grown my business.
  • Email Marketing — I have a newsletter where I share once a week updates and advice with my audience. The topics are mostly around finding and hiring marketing agencies, and what businesses need to know to stay current. I started this a few months ago, and I currently send out an email every week to provide value to my audience. Anyone can join here.
  • Paid Advertising — I have yet to turn on ads, but I am going to begin running them this year, starting with Google ads and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) ads. I'm currently getting enough leads without ads, but I always like to be thinking ahead.

Our business is just beginning to scale many of these channels, as I'm focused on long-term sustainable growth and not short-term metrics. I want CJAM Marketing and our services to be top of mind whenever businesses and entrepreneurs think of hiring a marketing or development partner.

Also, I had some PR wins and was featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post, and the Financial Post:


How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today I am both happy with our success so far, and looking forward to more future growth. Last year, we were at $430,000 in revenue, with a 60% profit margin.

The main expenses are referral fees to our partners — which I love paying! — and of course, paying my team of contractors.

So far, my primary social media following is Linkedin, since I haven't been focusing as much on other channels. This year we are going to create more video content to build other social channels and start putting more effort there.

I've also hired a fractional CMO for the business to help get new projects off the ground, so I can spend more of my time supporting my customers and building out my network.

We don't have as much website traffic as I would like, and my email list has just about 340 people on it — in hindsight, I should have started that sooner, but there is a ton of room for growth and improvement there, and I'm excited about that.

Since I just left my full-time job a year ago, I am aiming to hone our processes and systems so they are streamlined for our future growth.

Today, we help businesses find partners for anything they need in marketing: from fractional CMOS, branding, websites, development, ads, SEO, PR, copywriting, funnel building, social media, content creation, and more. One area we don't have any partner agencies for is affiliate marketing, although that might change in the future.

The next focus for the future is building out my funnels, and running more paid traffic and organic traffic. I will also be continuing to nurture and provide value to my audience until they are ready to work with us.

One of my main goals is to make the service better and better each year, weeding out the above-average agencies until we are left with only agencies who do amazing work 100% of the time.

Business is going to be one of the hardest things you will ever do... it will challenge you mentally, physically, and everything in between. But that is also the beauty of it because it will make you stronger as a human after every difficulty you make your way through.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Honestly, if I knew how hard this business was to build in the beginning I might not have built it!

I had no idea that I would have to talk to, interview, and vet so many agency partners to build the network that I needed to find good fits for my customers. Also, I didn't realize how fast marketing trends shift and how I would need to keep sourcing new partner agencies as that happens.

That said, I truly love this challenge, and my engineering brain allows me to always find new ways to more efficiently adjust to changes in the marketing industry.

The biggest lessons for me are:

The dream of running a $10k business with no work or attention is a myth. It's a dream many of us fall into — but once we think we’ve gotten there, there's a whole other mountain you need to climb. Building a truly passive business or lifestyle takes a long time, and you need to acquire the skills and failures before you get good at building those models (and you may never even get there.)

Also, I've learned that some people are built to thrive in uncertainty more than others. I grew up in an immigrant family with a scarcity mindset, and I've been working the last year or so breaking out of that. It's something that is ingrained and requires a lot of work to reframe and reprogram. But working on it has helped me to overcome my fear of things not working out, which is important for any entrepreneur.

My habits are important to me — I always think of them as my foundations. My physical and mental health comes first: I always hit the gym at least a few times a week, I try to cook at home as much as possible, make sure I get enough sleep, I see a counselor consistently, and spend time journaling. I rarely drink, I don't drink coffee and I work to stay healthy.

Moving to Europe has opened up more time for me as well, and expanded how I balance my business and my life. All these things take a lot of effort to do and it’s easy to ignore them when things are busy, but they are the foundation for making sure you don't burn out.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have a solid technical stack that I feel comfortable with. Right now, my favorite tools are Fireflies AI (an AI notetaker for meetings), and ClickUp. I love Fireflies AI because I have a ton of meetings that I can’t always take notes for, and it helps me keep on top of everything that happens in meetings so I don’t forget anything. With ClickUp, it is a great project management tool and as we integrate it more and more into the business it helps my team move forward projects and tasks without me even needing to stay on top of it.

I'm using Streak CRM for now, it's been great for keeping track of my funnel, although I think over time I'll need to move over to something that is more integrated with some other systems as well.

The rest of the platforms we use are:

Email — Bento

CRM — Streak

Project Management — ClickUp

Communication Platform — Slack

Website — Wordpress

Recording meetings —

Accounting — FreshBooks

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I went on a mission to read 60 books in 5 years while working my engineering job and building out my business… which sounds crazy now, but I ended up completing it in less than 4 years.

Reading increases your personal and specific knowledge, which I love because then I can have more interesting conversations with people — and that’s important when you spend as much time talking to customers and agencies as I do!

The three top books that I love to recommend to people are:

  • The Courage To Be Disliked — I enjoyed this book because it had a lot of ideas and philosophies that I'd never heard before, it helped me frame things in my life in new ways.
  • Chasing Daylight — This book reminds me how short life is, and how important it is to enjoy every moment in life.
  • Make It Stick — I love this book, it teaches you how to learn. I wish I had read this book when I was 18, instead of 30!

I don't listen to many podcasts, except for ones focused on mental resilience.

  • The Mindset Mentor — this podcast is great, especially how he thinks about business and life.
  • Your World Within — another one I like, also on mindset.

My other best resources:

  • Finding mentors, I have 3 mentors who have helped guide me along the way and tons of amazing friends who have also served as guides for specific things that came up.
  • Counselors, I have 2 currently that help me with just staying in tune with things, uncovering and processing emotions and what I'm going through.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Business is going to be one of the hardest things you will ever do... it will challenge you mentally, physically, and everything in between.

But that is also the beauty of it because it will make you stronger as a human after every difficulty you make your way through.

The one thing to never lose sight of is how important the rest of your life is, and to remember that your business isn’t everything. For me, what matters most is my wife, my family, and my friends. Always make time for those things, because otherwise, your business will consume your whole life if you let it.

Also, there is a lot of value in working for a company — you can build skill sets and knowledge that most entrepreneurs have to learn the hard way. So, if you are still working a traditional job, don't worry that you are behind in business — you are learning things that will help you in your journey.

One of the most important lessons is don’t build a business just to make money. Spend some time asking yourself some internal questions about what is important to you, what you value, what you want, and why you want it. And then dig even deeper. Build something that means something to you, and then enjoy the ride.

For me, I'm realizing that my superpower is connecting. Whether it's people or ideas, I love it and I'm darn good at it.

My business allows me to use that superpower… and I want other people to find their superpower. The only way you can do that is by taking action, so take action now because life is short, and you’ll regret the shots you didn't take.

Where can we go to learn more?

I love to connect with people, so feel free to connect with me on my social platforms and reach out!

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!