This is a follow up story for Big Flare. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi, I’m Daryl and I started an online advertising agency, Big Flare, in 2013. We specialize in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising for Small to Mid Sized eCommerce companies. Our flagship offering is our fully managed Google Ads service, where we build and optimize profitable ad campaigns on Paid Search, Google Shopping, Retargeting, Google Display Network, and YouTube.
Currently, we’re on track this year to do half a million $ in revenue and we manage around $10M per year in ad spend on Google.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The business has been growing quickly this year. I’ve focused more on posting some case studies that show off our work, and this has resulted in a lot of inquiries in the past couple of months.
Focus your attention on the thing that is truly excellent, to the exclusion even of the good ones.
The COVID situation has also been good for us. Because we focus on eCommerce clients, and many of our clients saw an increase in online sales as more and more people were forced to stay in, we are one of the lucky types of businesses that did well out of COVID.
Another part of our growth is due to our mastering of, and expansion into, some new services. This year we really concentrated on figuring out how to run display ads and YouTube ads successfully for Ecommerce clients. This work has borne fruit, we are now running these ad types successfully for some of our clients, and we’re bringing on board more new clients who are interested in this.
Thanks to this growth, we’ve started hiring again. We’ve recently on-boarded our newest team member and are already looking for the next 2 hires.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Work on building your relationships. In the last year, I’ve found so many new and interesting opportunities that sprung up all because I have been working harder on creating and nurturing real, human, relationships. This works both in business and in life, and another advantage is that as you build better relationships, you also gain deeper happiness and satisfaction in your day-to-day life.
Another part of working on your relationships is also knowing when and how to ask for help, and when to even pay for that help. Recently I have started reaching out more often to people who are smarter or better than me and asking for their advice.
As a fiercely independent person, this has been hard for me to do. I was always taught from a young age that when you have a problem, you should solve it yourself.
But, being vulnerable by admitting my shortcomings and asking for help has been a huge game-changer.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
My goal with Big Flare is to achieve mastery of our craft. Our craft is PPC advertising, and as an agency, to be a true master of PPC, you do need to be of a certain size.
So, some growth will be involved. Not because we’re chasing the money or desperate for more revenue. But, because I estimate that we need to be at least a 7 figure agency, possibly low 8 figures if we are going to be able to consider ourselves masters of our craft.
Within the next 1-3 years, we’ll hit 7 figures. Within the next 3-10 years, we’ll grow to whatever size is large enough that we can hit our true objective, mastery.
With this growth, the main thing I am excited about is getting to the point where I can focus on just 1 thing, and to do that 1 thing really well.
Currently, as a leader of a small 4 person agency, I have to juggle balls and wear many hats. But I enjoy my work a lot more when I can just focus on mastering 1 thing, and get rewarded for being better and better at that thing.
As we grow, eventually I will be able to hire out all the jobs I’m less good at and I’ll be able to figure out what is that 1 job that I enjoy most, that provides huge leverage for Big Flare, and then I’ll just do that 1 thing all day long.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Stillness is The Key by Ryan Holiday. This was a short and easy read that was nevertheless changing. In it, Holiday makes the case that something important we are missing in this crazy world of notifications, internet, and the 24/7 news cycle is the concept and practice of Stillness.
You could also call this “peacefulness” or “calmness”. He goes on to show you why cultivating stillness in your life is important, how to do it, and some powerful examples of others that have benefitted from this practice.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I think this is an excellent book to read with Stillness is The Key, because this book will also help you find stillness.
In Essentialism, McKeown posits that we all tend to take on board too many competing priorities and opportunities, to the detriment of ourselves and our goals. He advocates being very strict and limited on the number of things you say yes to, so that you can, in his words, “distinguish the vital few from the trivial many.”
Once you have figured out which opportunities are truly excellent, and not “merely good”, then you focus entirely on that and block out the distractions.
This is such a valuable approach because it will allow you to achieve more on the things that matter while avoiding wasting your time on the things that don’t.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
You need more focus and stillness in your life. It’s obvious that you need to cut out the bad opportunities. But, did you also know that if an opportunity is “merely” good, you should probably cut that out too?
These days we are awash with so many good options on how to spend our time. If it’s just good, then it ain’t good enough! Focus your attention on the thing that is truly excellent, to the exclusion even of the good ones.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes! I’m writing our job ads right now actually. It’s not live at the time of writing, but by the time this article is published our job ads will be live on bigflare.com. Head over to the site and check the hiring page.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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