Prioritizing Work-Life Balance While Running My $12K/Month Content Agency [Update]

Published: May 31st, 2023
Matthew Flowers
Ethos Copywriting
from Erie, PA, USA
started August 2016
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name is Matt Flowers. I’m the Founder of Ethos Copywriting, a digital marketing company that specializes in content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), and marketing consulting services. I’m humbled to be interviewed again by Starter Story.

From blog posts and eBooks to video scripts and newsletters, we dig into just about everything that requires the written word. Because content is such an essential aspect of improving search rankings, we also help businesses with their SEO initiatives.

To create content that’s authentic, valuable, and SEO-friendly, takes a substantial amount of research. As we become more knowledgeable about a given industry, we often become more than ghostwriters for our clients. Typically, Ethos becomes their go-to marketing consultant.

Since we opened our doors back in 2016, we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with businesses and organizations in a multitude of industries, including;

  • Arts & Fashion
  • Construction
  • Coworking
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Health and Wellness
  • Legal
  • Lifestyle
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Photo & Film
  • Real Estate
  • Religion
  • Service & Retail
  • Technology
  • Web Development

Profit-wise, the company continues to be healthy, grossing between $110,000 - $130,000 per year. But the real sign of growth for me is my work-life balance.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

In my last Starter Story interview, I was asked, “Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?” While much of my advice revolved around contracts, coworking memberships, and finances, I also noted:

“It's vital that you build in time for life outside of work. Starting a business can quickly become an all-consuming endeavor. You'll have to make sacrifices, but be sure you're still there for your family and friends when they need you. I'm confident no one says to themselves on their deathbed, "I wish I would have worked more."

Honestly, finding more balance in my life has also improved the quality of my work and has allowed me time to develop better long-term marketing solutions for my clients.

There are three main strategies I use to continue winning new business. One, I set a calendar reminder for the first Monday of every month to reach out to current clients, previous clients, and leads that didn't convert.

These emails and calls rarely include a "hard sell." Instead, I ask how business is going, if there is anything else I can help with, and if there is anyone in my network I can connect them with. This simple gesture often results in a new project.

I work with people who are excited about ramping up new marketing projects, passionate about their work, and poised for healthy, organic growth.

Second, I regularly update and repurpose my content. Doing so gives me new social media material and increases site traffic. It also helps me stay abreast of the latest changes in my industry.

Finally, Ethos’s secret sauce has always been the quality of our work. I always take the time to understand precisely what the client needs and how to maximize their budget. Many of the businesses we work with have been with us for more than half a decade.


What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

We're not a content mill; we're a content marketing agency with concierge-level client support. Therefore, when Ethos creates content, every piece is written with our client's individualized style in mind. Because of our rigorous content standards, finding digital marketers with the writing skills and style we demand has been challenging.

For many content creators, ChaptGPT and other AI content generators are a major threat. However, I see it more as a tool for outlining and ideation rather than a replacement for human-generated content.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I used to chase every potential lead that came across my purview. However, one of the best decisions I've made is tightening up my list of clients. I work with people who are excited about ramping up new marketing projects, passionate about their work, and poised for healthy, organic growth.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

In the next year, we're planning to ramp up an online publication. This new site will utilize affiliate links and Google Adsense to create a passive revenue stream for Ethos. This publication will likely have a video and podcast component as well, to offer a full multimedia experience.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I do a lot of reading for Ethos and in my personal life. So, I’m not sure I can narrow it down to the “best.” However, I can tell you what’s on my bedside table right now:

  • The Prince by Miccolo Machiavelli
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style by Arthur Plotnik

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of casting too wide a net with their services. My advice: Start by being undeniably great at one thing. You can also expand your offerings later. For example, Ethos only wrote blog posts in the beginning. Today, we have a whole suite of services. But if it wasn’t for proving ourselves as exceptional content creators, I’m not sure we’d be where we are today.

Since my last Starter Story interview, I've also become more invested in real estate. So, my second piece of advice is this: Build a business that enables you to build other businesses. There are major industry disruptions all the time, so ensure you're diversified enough to survive, and hopefully thrive when one happens.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Ethos is currently looking for full-time, part-time, and per diem content writers. Our writing projects demand quick turnarounds, a firm grasp of English grammar, and an overall competency for content composition and production. People can find out more on our careers page.

Where can we go to learn more?

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