This is a follow up story for With Content. 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 Daniel, and I’m the co-founder of With Content, a content marketing agency for tech companies. I started this company in 2018 to help B2B tech companies develop content marketing strategies to attract, engage, and convert potential customers sustainably.
Since then, we’ve worked with over 180+ clients to craft high-quality long-form content - think blog articles, infographics, whitepapers, and so on - to the tune of S$500,000 (US$360,000) in revenue per year.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
We’ve stopped publishing fresh content recently due to the overwhelming volume of client work, but continue to see 8 to 10 leads knock on our door per month.
Over the past year, market demand for content grew steadily as the pandemic scare died. Industry leaders in our clientele are committing a larger portion of their budgets towards long-term growth levers rather than short-term hits, which include investing more into their content marketing efforts with us.
Our team has grown in parallel to a healthy size of 9 full-timers. Small enough to manage well, while also big enough to raise leaders to manage key areas of our business, such as account management, content production, and sales & marketing.
Our largest source of clients continues to be inbound channels which is a strong validation of our service offerings. Most of them find us through Google - we rank on page 1 for the most relevant local terms - with referrals coming in a close second. Some of our best-performing pieces feature companies doing content marketing well in the region - from finance to travel - as well as educational guides on developing good thought leadership and listicle content.
Here’s the interesting part: we’ve stopped publishing fresh content recently due to the overwhelming volume of client work, but continue to see 8 to 10 leads knock on our door per month. This a testament to the strength of having a solid foundation of audience-focused, evergreen content, which potential clients - in our case, marketing and content marketing executives - will find useful even 5 to 10 years down the road.
Thanks to a strong roster of clients who have continually affirmed their commitment to working with us, we are currently in a position where we can pass on work that is not a great fit for us, which was a dream for me back when we first started out. We’ve also raised our rates to remain competitive and filter out clients who might not be as committed as we want to be with them.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Running a business is difficult - even five years later!
When I was first starting out, I constantly dreamed of the day when the business would be big enough that I could take my foot off the pedal and relax. Five years later, despite constant growth, the growing pains never seem to end.
I’ve come to accept the reality that there will always be new challenges to face at every stage of the business. I now see it as a blessing to constantly have opportunities to learn new things and grow as a person and be able to help our team do the same.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
There are two key areas we’re focusing on: people and processes.
As a service business, people are the lifeblood of the company. One of our core values is to “keep it human” in all that we do, including how we manage our team. I strongly believe that when people feel taken care of, they will take care of you (and your business, by extension). So even as we grow as a company, we want to continue to be super intentional about engaging and nurturing our team members to live their best lives at work and in life.
Over the years, we’ve also achieved a very strong product-market fit. This was reflected in increased client retention and referrals this year. Now we want to double down on making our internal and external processes ironclad so that our clients and team members will be assured to continue to put their trust in us.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness was one of my favorite reads of the year. The title is self-explanatory, so I’ll share some pointers that hit home for me:
- Tougher individuals can perceive stressful situations as challenges instead of threats.
- True confidence has to be founded in reality - coming to terms with your doubt and insecurity, and what you’re capable of
- The pursuit of self-esteem logically sets you up for low self-esteem, because you still act as if your value forms from other people giving you things
- Instead of aiming for our best performance - which is rare - shoot for improving your best average
- Be comfortable with who you are, but be able to change
- Confidence is doing difficult things, sometimes failing, but seeing where you lie, and then going back to the work
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Trust in the process, and trust in people.
Because nothing is perfect, they will both fail you from time to time, but the alternative - holding everything tightly to your chest - won’t get you anywhere. And with every failure comes learning; with learning comes improvement, growth, and lower probabilities for failure in the future.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re always on the lookout for great writers with experience in business, technology, or finance writing! Drop us an email at [email protected].
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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