A Pro Musician Turned Entrepreneur Earning 200K+ Per Year

$17K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
2
Employees
product
Sunlight Media LLC.
from Los Angeles, California, USA
started January 2011
$17,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
2
Employees
399K
alexa rank
533
followers
865
followers
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Start A Media Company

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I am Angelo Frisina, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sunlight Media, LLC., located in Los Angeles, California. We are a digital marketing company specializing in web design, app development, and various digital marketing services. These services include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), social media marketing, email outreach, and more.

We serve different customers from various industries, however, our specializations include work within the media and entertainment sector. We currently assist artists, musicians, production companies, record companies, technicians and engineers, and other clientele related to the media and entertainment industry. Prior projects include work with attorneys, assistance with numerous startups, and assignments with government agencies. We are a Certified Government Contractor with experience working with the Los Angeles (L.A.) County, Workforce Development and Aging Community Services. In addition, we are working for the City of Monrovia and other smaller government branches.

Sunlight Media, LLC has won numerous industry-related awards. Recently we have been recognized by Clutch as Los Angeles’ top creative and design agencies. More specifically, Clutch is a business review company that offers performance-based awards to LA’s leading advertising and marketing companies in the greater Los Angeles, California area. To add, we have been recognized by Upcity as one of the top Business to Business (B2B) service providers of 2021 in both Los Angeles and the United States. UpCity is a business directory service that lists several advertising, technology, and media-related companies.

Sunlight Media LLC is continuing to expand in terms of revenue, enterprise productivity, and brand value. The company began under my direction as a founder and is currently running operations with multiple departments such as marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), web and mobile application development and design, videography, and more. We are assisting and managing projects for numerous clients daily while expanding our networks beyond our local geographical region. Additionally, our focus will be to continue to grow domain authority for our website and our clients, showcase our values to customers through online reviews, testimonials, and optimize our workflows to improve overall productivity.

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

For over 20 years, I have performed as a professional musician. As a drummer, I went on tour and traveled throughout the United States and internationally. During that time as a musician, I developed a greater understanding and expanded my skill sets regarding web design.

During sound checks, waiting at airports, and in transit, I used my downtime to learn more about web design while frequently traveling as a professional musician. During that downtime, I performed web design for personal projects, however various bands, businesses, and networks requested assistance with the website development and other graphic design needs. Although this secondary occupation did help to pacify my economic situation, it would not continue to support me if I could not manage multiple projects simultaneously. As a result, I accepted multiple projects while outsourcing specific work to experienced designers and developers.

It was directly from this experience that pushed me to start up Sunlight Media . This alternate career path would also be beneficial for me personally as I would not be straining prior physical injuries that are associated with being a professional drummer. To better promote the business, I began marketing my services to a multitude of target businesses while continuing to find and outsource more work to local designers and developers. As my team grew, I was able to take on more of a project management role for the company and conduct further business outreach. Furthermore, this new opportunity enabled me to make Sunlight Media my primary business while allowing me to continue to perform my music on a less active basis.

Mostly self-taught, my background in design and development was very minimal, and began from taking courses in Australia. These courses included the foundations and principles of design and development along with business networking online. Through trial and error, endless hours of tutorials, and practice on various software I grew more as a professional in design and development. Initially, I learned the functions of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash and then progressed to open source content management systems. This included working with WordPress and Joomla and understanding the capabilities of PHP/ MySQL.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The business was all self-financed and started by setting up the business DBA. At the time, setting up the business name was fairly inexpensive. The website was also self-made and started as a template which was also fairly inexpensive to set up. I also needed a web hosting account and a domain.

Altogether, my expenses settled below $1000 to prepare the business for operations, which had very low overhead. With the additional funds from a personal loan, I was able to increase productivity and onboarded a project manager to lessen the workloads associated with working with multiple clients. This specific investment enabled me to focus more time on evolving the business through business development, marketing, outreach, and PPC advertising.

However, like most startups, there are many challenges associated with building the foundations of a new business. I had to ensure that all of my documentation and certifications remain up-to-date in regards to the guidelines associated with the U.S. Small Business Association, Aurthorize.net, LA County Local Small Business Enterprise, and more. The financing of the business needed to be managed carefully so I opted into numerous programs for this purpose. I was very organized and tracked all of my organizational and my business association fees and expenses with account management software, invested and reinvested my earnings into solutions that were profitable for long-term growth, kept positive credit rankings, managed my tax payments, and used optimal billing platforms to ensure successful payments from external parties.

Do not restrict yourself from evolving the business during situations of lower productivity.

Although the initial startup was self-financed, there were a few lessons I learned after the business startup that I wish I knew before running operations. Being involved within the technological sector of the market, I may have found more proficient systems and platforms, while saving on my expenses, by trialing different software relevant to my needs. Although it was not a priority at the time, modernizing my logo and my brand content to the market trends may have improved company engagement levels. Lastly, more research into funding organizations that will assist with my initial startup may have improved operations during the initial phase of operations.

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

Since its launch, our website has attracted visitors and traffic organically. By updating my content management system (CMS) to WordPress, I was able to use various plugins and add-ons to keep the site performance at optimal levels. This includes close monitoring of site speed, domain ranking, and keyword research.

Reasonably, a functional site that populates on search engines when users type in specific keywords will rank higher than websites that do not use effective search engine optimization (SEO) practices. By contributing to guest posts, link building, directory citations, and social signals, I improved overall search engine results to attract more clients. To retain our current clientele, our assistance with web design, app development, and other marketing-related services allows our clients to use our services while learning more about other tools and methods to improve their business.

As more of our clients use our services, we find profitable solutions that assist our company with earning revenues while offering our clients more value. Typically, our clients, who use our services, may wish to improve or start a new campaign/project after the completion of our initial agreement and assignments. For instance, Sunlight Media may provide our clients with assistance in developing a custom website with an agreed set of features and functions but may drive additional sales through additional services after the initial completion of a specific client project. Depending on the client's project, we may focus a campaign around search engine optimization, optimizing existing client content, or offering consultant-type services for our clients on a more active and regular basis. Our strategy is to understand our client's needs, inform them of our services, and then use our research, teamwork, and experience to ensure successful campaigns and projects.

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Take us through the process of building new websites for your clients designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

We are an all-service-based enterprise that includes design, development, and marketing. Most of our projects fall under custom websites or mobile applications that are discussed with clients to better understand their requirements. More complex projects, for instance, include a custom mobile app with multiple users, features, and functions. Typically, projects follow an architecture and discovery phase, where our User Experience (UX) specialist will create a series of wireframes, flowcharts, and prototype diagrams for a better understanding of the specific functions and features of an app or website. This process is essential for understanding how administrators, users, and guests interact with your app or website.

After the initial phase, we pass along the wireframe and notes to our designer, who replaces the wireframes with actual design templates for the end client to review. In detail, these designs include different color schemes, font types, icons, and themes. Unlike our competitors, our design service includes unlimited revisions, which ensures client satisfaction. Upon approval of the design phase, our developers develop a link that users may navigate to and review the responsiveness of their website via desktop, mobile tablet, or smartphone. Finally, the website or app is passed onto a back-end developer, who conducts CMS, API, and other plugin integration. When all of the user tests are completed, the client may post their website to their hosting account and gain full access to their dashboard. For mobile apps, we may publish the iOS application to the Apple Store or the Android application to the Google Play Store.

In terms of marketing, we assess specific clients' needs and then make improvements to the client's website or app. For example, we may offer services to improve clients' organic search results through search engine optimization and analysis of onsite health. We ensure keywords, metadata, and URL structures are correct, fix any broken or misdirected links or images, add disclaimer documents, and monitor desktop and mobile site speeds. In contrast, we may conduct off-site optimization every month, which includes guest posting, link building, directory citations, and social signals.

In regards to Pay Per Click advertising, we develop a list of keywords our clients wish to target and set up advertisements on platforms such as Google Ad Words. This may include setting daily ad budgets that the client wants to spend to maximize click-through rates (CTR) and gain more exposure.

For social media marketing, most ads are run using the Facebook Ad manager. We write copy, develop images, assign a daily ad budget and then monitor results every month to ensure optimal click-through rates.

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

Fortunately, my days are running smoothly, I am happy with the performance of my team, and business is moving in a positive direction. While we strive to remain competitive with other agencies, my primary focus is to grow the business and brand organically.

Currently, we are ranked with over 200 keywords, attract roughly 10,000 website visitors monthly, and have seen growth without the use of advertising (Pay Per Click). Additionally, we have currently added several different languages to our website to assist us with reaching out to larger target audiences. I will continue to contribute minor fees to being listed higher on numerous business directories and work with more clients outside of our current geographical regions to grow our business internationally.

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Jhonathon Badalof (Project Marketing Manager)

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

For any individual to start a career in this particular career, it is important to understand different technologies and follow the technological trends of the future. I gained a profound interest in Flash technology due to the software’s ability to present images, videos, audio files, and animations. Unfortunately, the technology ran poorly for mobile devices and had security flaws, which limited my productivity as more companies refused to work with the Flash technology. This influenced me to learn more technologies, such as HTML 5 , WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and more, which correlated with more business.

Along with expanding our project capacity, we also offered more services to further expand the business. This includes video and photography production, photoshop retouching work, software engineering, and marketing. As a lesson for all business owners, I recommend that they do not restrict your technology and service offerings, provided they make sense for their particular business model.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Currently, our website is a custom WordPress site built several years ago and continues to undergo updates daily. Originally, the WordPress site was hosted by the WP Engine web hosting but we have recently transitioned to AWS. Due to this transition, we see noticeable and positive results with our search engine optimization (SEO). We integrated WP Rocket to boost website speed.

With WebCEO, we may better monitor our SEO. WebCEO consists of numerous useful features such as keyword performance, rank tracking, competitor analysis, and on-site issue reports.

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

My recommendations for books, podcasts, and other resources include the following. For books, I recommend

For Podcasts and other sources, I highly recommend Brian Dean, who also has a website called Backlinko.com and a youtube channel. Another resource is Neil Patel’s youtube channel and his several websites, one of which is NeilPatel.com.

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

For other entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business, I highly recommend learning more about the newest technologies and trends relevant to your specific industry. In other words, plan your business around the trends and innovations of the future. When learning these new methods, processes, and systems, you may offer additional services outside of your typical operations to better grow the business. By offering more services to your clients, you remain more relevant within the industry and better compete against your competitors. Finally, do not restrict yourself from evolving the business during situations of lower productivity.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Please visit our website and use our contact form linked here.

Where can we go to learn more?

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

-  
Angelo Frisina ,   Founder of Sunlight Media LLC.
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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