My Digital Marketing Agency Makes $1.2M/Year Helping Companies Enter The Korean Market

Joon K Lee
Founder, Inquivix
$100K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
15
Employees
Inquivix
from Seoul, South Korea
started January 2018
$100,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
15
Employees
702K
alexa rank
732
followers
61
followers
97
subs
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My Digital Marketing Agency Makes $1.2M/Year Helping Companies Enter The Korean Market

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

Hi guys! My name is Joon K Lee and I am the CEO at Inquivix. To be honest, I started this agency as a little side project back in 2017 when I was working for another company in Korea. (Of course, my bosses supported my venture and they let me work after hours) And ever since then I put my heart and soul into all the work that Inquivix has become today.

Fast forward to 2021, we have become one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Asia with regional hubs in South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, the UK, the USA, and Thailand. Inquivix has grown considerably well and we have even reached our 10X-ed annual revenue year after year successfully.

Inquivix caters and offers services to a wide range of clientele in the business world. We are currently on a mission to help our customers who are interested in penetrating the Korean market.

Now, I am beyond proud to say that we have diversified and grown to great lengths and will continue to aspire and grow with our experts and, in time, Inquivix as a company, would love to be recognized for the love and passion into our projects and work by the whole world.

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

Well, let’s just say that I grew up in the central hub of the big apple; New York City. I was the first child in my family. Growing up was indeed a roller coaster, as anyone’s life would be. But, we still managed to have a fantastic time. If you would ask my parents now, they’d say, I was more the rebellious, risk-taker than an easy-going child.

Fast forward to my college years, I attended Fordham University, using a scholarship, and majored in Business and Business Economics. However, my bout of curiosity led me astray from college life, and, in my final year - I dropped out! At that time, it was stigmatized and expected of me to have a ‘college degree’ for me to succeed. But, me being me, well, I just did the opposite.

Just to get started! Because at the end of the day, rather than sitting and wondering about the ‘What Ifs?’ rather you begin, and take baby steps along the way. The other biggest thing you can learn from is the feedback from other people and businesses.

After college, I mostly wandered around, and had a great love for adventure and exploring. During one of my very wonderful escapades, I met my wife and settled down. We moved to the countryside, and I tried my hand at sustainable agriculture and organic farming. My dream at the time was to be a homesteader. But, when my wife was 6 months pregnant, I started to wonder about the future I wanted to give my daughter, as any father would.

So, one night I just sat, and brainstormed, putting all the educational knowledge that I had gathered during my years at college, and decided that - ‘Marketing’ is something every business and economy needs! And that’s when the idea of digital marketing started and it grew into Inquivix as a whole.

At the time, going into the marketing world, with very little knowledge and experience. I wasn’t quite sure, whether I made the right choice, and who did? Whenever you first start a business, there is always going to be a risk factor. For me, there wasn’t an ‘Aha’ moment per se. But more validation when I made my first client, and this helped me boost my self-esteem along with the feeling of “I can do this” in terms of growing my business. I still remember the first day of my Marketing 101 course in university. The professor started the class by reading what he wrote on the board for us: "Marketing is bullshit".

When I first started Inquivix, I was broke. As in, I didn’t have a single bit of investment, capital, or any sort of funds that were backing me up. I did it all on my own, with all the money I was earning at the time. Till today, it’s almost as if I’m still living on a day-to-day basis. And to be honest, that’s okay because I see the results of hard work, love, and passion put into Inquivix and see it evolve into something better for our futures.

From where I have begun, to what I have become. I am humbled and grateful for what I have achieved in such a small space of time. Now, Inquivix is a successful digital marketing agency and it has grown to beautiful heights which I never dreamed of achieving

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The first services which I started to offer were social media services. I still remember when I walked into every shop and explained my little business and how it can be beneficial to their business. At that time, it wasn’t always easy and it was a struggle. But, hey! Look where we are now. It was a struggle in the beginning, yes. But, it all paid off.

My process as to how I came up with my digital services was that I gained experience at other companies, basically the little ins and outs of all the services. I also did tons of research and studied the market to gain more insight and knowledge on how Inquivix can better the services and what the clients expect from us.

Social media and content creation were the two main services that Inquivix started with. I also studied the digital market from forums, and communities asking business owners what they expected to learn; about creating an online presence, and building a website. I also researched the market, on whether they would prefer their businesses to go online or rather conform to old brick-and-mortar methods.

I shared a lot of information with the Korean community, and did generate a lot of leads and trusted relationships with them. I even got a lot of feedback from many of the businesses that weren’t faring all too well. Hence my need to do a substantial amount of research and gather much more data on how I can help them improve their businesses. After intensive research and studies within the global, and Korean market - I built up other digital services that I could afford to provide at Inquivix.

My other advice to all struggling and aspiring entrepreneurs is NOT to give up! Everyone says failure can demotivate and put you down - but that is exactly why you have to get back up and show them who's boss!

In the beginning, I offered my services through Korean Fiverr and I charged a very minimal fee, of course! And then, gradually, I learned and started to grow my knowledge, scaling my prices and increasing the prices for all my services, and also expanding my offerings, while improving the quality of my work. Also, my startup cost was minimal, as everything was online, which was my website. In terms of legal procedures, all I needed was my services contract and it was pretty easy to get.

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Describe the process of launching the business.

My launch was nothing special, I launched it while I was still working at my company. For me, to quit my job, I would need validation about my business; so I didn’t quit, although I am a risk-taker, I still needed additional income to support my business venture, and take care of my family at home. Then it got to a point, where I could see the positive changes and small income of what my business can eventually become.

Right from the start, with my prices very very low, when I posted my services online through Korean Fiverr, I started to see a lot of customers. I started seeing it in my head that this can eventually grow and become a business venture I can take out to the world and earn a profitable and successful career out of. That’s when I decided to go all-in and start Inquivix from scratch.

However, I did take a break initially, to just sit down and study marketing strategies and inbound marketing, and how by studying a buyer’s persona and journey to help me better serve our clients and their businesses. I studied more about digital marketing, entrepreneurship to enhance and improve my skills to better serve my clients in the industry.

I built the website alone, using WordPress by using an already existing template. That’s when I started going about with SEO a little bit, that’s how we took off. I wouldn’t say it took that long, probably 7 - 8 months when we started generating leads. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we had a whole lot of customers either.

I didn’t borrow any loans, any debt, or capital investments. Like I said before, it was all my own money that I poured into Inquivix, also with a little help from my mom and family who gave me a couple of hundred bucks, which eventually helped me out and gave me a lot of support in the beginning, when I was broke.

So, the biggest lesson that I learned from starting, Inquivix, is - just to get started! Because at the end of the day, rather than sitting and wondering about the ‘What Ifs?’ rather you begin, and take baby steps along the way. The other biggest thing you can learn from is the feedback from other people and businesses.

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

We have been able to attract and retain our customers through pure hard work and dedication. My team and I work dedicated hours to achieve the best results. And when we give our clients the results, they are quite impressed and always come back wanting more. It was a struggle and it didn’t always work. Everything, in the end, is a learning curve. But, over time, I have managed to give something back to our clients who are happy and satisfied with our services.

As growth advice goes, my tip is to make sure that entrepreneurs, like us, should learn to let go. I, myself, understand how hard it was for me to delegate tasks to other team employees. And yes, it can be daunting at first. But, learning to let go is the first necessary action to help you expand your profit and grow revenue. My other advice to all struggling and aspiring entrepreneurs is NOT to give up! Everyone says failure can demotivate and put you down - but that is exactly why you have to get back up and show them who's boss!

It wasn’t really hard to increase sales and marketing, all I had to do was come up with a strategic plan to help boost the sales. See, because even though I’m Korean, I was brought up in New York and so, I had to hire many employees to work with me, who had vast background knowledge of the market within the country. I then expanded my business in such a way that we have experts in marketing across our regional hubs.

I studied how the Korean market needed to drive traffic and leads, by doing ample amounts of research in terms of SEO keywords, what keyword was driving in more leads with volume, and how popular search terms were. After studying the market, I realized that the Korean market wasn’t using keywords and that’s why sales weren’t sky-rocketing. I saw the huge increase in business and started ranking for keywords, which gave rise to increased traffic, sales, and engagement within the market.

Mistakes are just opportunities to learn, poor decisions are opportunities to understand what it means to be responsible, and responsibility is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur and your boss. An entrepreneur is in and of itself taking responsibility for your own life, your well-being.

Existing clients keep coming back because the Korean market can be a bit of a challenge, or they will go through another source, and they soon realize that it is very difficult to navigate through, and they need the help of professional SEO experts who have studied and learned the tips of the trade through trial and error.

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

Inquivix has in fact, grown considerably well and we have always tried to reach our 10X-ed annual revenue year after year. We keep growing and closing a lot of multinational clients and are also doing very well with our SEO experts in play. Inquivix is trying to branch out its wings to other parts of Asia and we hope to keep cultivating our growth expanse because we see the value that Asia can bring to the contribution of the whole economy.

We find SEO very intriguing in terms of digital and inbound marketing and that will be our primary focus in terms of our business development plan.

We are also interested in furthering our expanse in terms of SEO and other digital marketing services:

What Exactly Is SEO?

SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making efforts to help a website or piece of content rank higher on Google's search results page. The most significant distinction between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves organic ranking, which implies that you do not have to pay to be seen in that particular sector.

Simplifying matters, search engine optimization is the process of improving online material so that it appears towards the top of search engine results pages when someone searches for anything on a search engine such as Google.

We are proud of Inquivix company culture:

We are a company that basically loves to get involved and whilst working remotely; we hold meetings and we are always available for quick chats and calls at all times. Inquivix is a company you’d be dying to join. Rather than thinking as a team. We call each other family. After all, family is what keeps the boat steady.

Today we have a wide reach of clients and our expert team at Inquivix solely operates remotely from different countries, which gives us a beautifully diverse multicultural team that works together on all our operations and services. Speaking for the team, working remotely hasn’t hindered the teamwork, effort, love, and dedication we put into our jobs. We also love to have fun in the process!

Inquivix Short-Term Goals:

To continue to optimize our workflow processes and expand our team.

Inquivix Long-Term Goals:

To focus on enhancing our digital services like SEO, social media, PPC, and others.

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

Of course, in any business - startup or big-time manufacturers. All of us have had poor decisions that lead us nowhere. But, the truth is that you learn from it and you eventually grow to make the right decisions for your business. That being said, you get over that hurdle and grow better with your brand and become the best version that you can make along the way. Inquivix and I go a long way, and I am very proud to say that Inquivix has achieved and grown so much in a span of so little.

Mistakes are just opportunities to learn, poor decisions are opportunities to understand what it means to be responsible, and responsibility is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur and your boss. An entrepreneur is in and of itself taking responsibility for your own life, your well-being.

Mistakes are what take you places and learning that it is ok to fall, and climb back up is what we should teach everyone (not only business owners). As we can see, I was in a constant state of making mistakes over and over again, and I often got blindsided by people. Do not try to mix business with pleasure, cause that can often get messy, and it would eventually be hard for you to let people go.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

There are many different tools that we use to help our clients with their needs. We use many SAAS tools to help our business grow and build a connection with our existing and growing list of clientele.

SAAS tools are software that acts as a service that helps you to provide the best services for your websites and businesses.

These are some of the SAAS tools that we use at Inquivix:

Each tool we use is specific to our design, content, and SEO teams who diligently work to ensure that our clients are served with the best services we provide. Everyone’s business is important to us, and we would like to see your brand grow with you.

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

I believe books have an incredible way to impact one’s life. And it has, in fact, changed mine. Gaining knowledge is what helped me build my digital marketing agency from scratch. It has also helped me make decisions that were helpful in terms of business strategies. Here is a list of books that I have enjoyed:

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

There is a whole lot of advice that I can give to people who are starting up. When I talk about how I first started, it was a learning curve and I was always looking at new ways on how I can achieve or improve on my business; what I learned at the very beginning was probably very common. But, yes, from my personal experience that is:

Your Family

Family is probably the most important rock that you can always lean on. A support group can help you in your highs and lows and they are the ones who see you struggle. Eventually, they also celebrate your little victories with you as well.

Be specific with your goals

Your vision for your brand is important, so you must have a long-term plan and strategy that can help you with your business goals and plans.

Keep your job as long as you can

This is one of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give to you. Keep your job because after all, you will need something to fund your business and keep it on its feet. Often, we get excited and try to quit before we even start and that has given way to a lot of failed prospects. That is why make sure to keep doing your 9-5.

Be ready to put in long hours and work every day

Make sure it's something you genuinely adore because otherwise, you'll despise your life when you don't have a day off in a few months! Another piece of advice I would provide is to not cut corners on product quality. People notice and are concerned.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are currently looking to expand and grow our team. As many of you know Inquivix is a remotely operated company, and that means you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have the basic requirements of a laptop and internet connection.

We are looking for full-time positions for:

Content Writer (SEO specialist)

A content writer who can analyze, review, and revise current material to improve a website's search engine rating.

Social Media Manager

A Social Media Manager who can be in charge of a company's public relations through executing content strategy on social media platforms.

Project Manager

A project manager is responsible for planning and supervising initiatives within an organization.

If you are interested in working with us and you are qualified for the position, please click on the link [email protected] and send us your resume.

Where can we go to learn more?

We are on all social media platforms, and it is our main source of how we spread the word out and give us a brand identity and online presence.

Our links to our websites:

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

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Joon K Lee, Founder of Inquivix
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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