In this interview Alex Rogers of AlexIsSocial.com, a Social Media Marketing/Advertising Agency based in Columbus Ohio, talks about becoming an entrepreneur as a parent. Or “parent-preneur” as the cool kids call it.
Alex and I actually went to high school together and lost touch for well over a decade but when I found out left his corporate job to start his own business (while having kids and a family to feed), I was super intrigued to hear his story and the mindset it took to make that leap.
We cover all of that and more in this fascinating talk! Whether you’re a parent who is thinking about making the leap to start your own business or if you want to be an entrepreneur and have kids and a family one day, this episode is for you!
In This Episode
00:00 – Introduction
03:01 – Greeting to Alex
06:24 – Social media in healthcare
11:53 – Knowing it’s time
17:25 – Nurture relationships
23:03 – Importance of community
29:50 – Parent-preneur schedule
34:58 – Legitimizing expertise
40:20 – Lesson: it can always be worse
46:29 – Take advantage of landscape
55:29 – Shave and smile more
This episode is presented by my Web Design Process Course
Connect with Alex:
- Company URL –> www.alexissocial.com
- Company FB –> fb.com/AlexIsSocial
- Company IG –> instagram.com/alexissocial/
- Personal Brand –> fb.com/RogersAJLL
- Personal Brand –> instagram.com/socialmedia614/
Episode #009 Full Transcription
Hey, everybody, welcome to episode nine. This is an interview with a local colleague of mine, Alex Rogers, we actually went to high school together, graduated in the same class and then completely lost touch for well over a decade, until a couple years ago, when I found out that he left the corporate world and with a friend of his who was also in that corporate job with him who was also coincidently named Alex. Together, they decided to leave their job and start a social media advertising and marketing agency called Alex is Social.
So this talk was fascinating through and through, we talk about their entire journey with leaving a cushy corporate job into the wild west of freelance and they’re not doing websites, but they are doing social media and things in and around web design. And the really cool thing about this talk is that the overarching conversation that we had was about being an entrepreneur, as a parent, or a parent printer, as the cool kids are calling it these days. And it’s interesting, because we had two different ways to look at this, Alex was already a parent when he decided to jump ship from the corporate job and start his own freelance business. Whereas I had already had my freelance business up and running for several years before I became a parent. But we talked about the difference between you know, already being a parent and then being a parent, when, after your business has already started.
So we talk a lot about the ins and outs of being a parent being an entrepreneur, the highs and the lows of your experience. Alex was very transparent, and very real about what he has gone through and what he continues to go through. And I’ll let you hear in this episode. But Alex really went through some some stuff, some heavy stuff in his life. And one of the reasons that he decided to go freelance is because he wanted more time with his kids. And you’ll hear in this interview, there’s so many things that you’re going to be able to take away and apply to your business. If you are a parent printer, or if you have a business and you one day want to become a parent, a lot of really great things in this, I really want to thank Alex for being transparent and real, because we talked about so many things that are going to be so beneficial for you guys. So super excited for you to hear this interview.
Before we dive in. This one is brought to you by my web design process course, if you’re building websites, and every build seems to just be like a chaotic mess, you wish you had some kind of roadmap that you could follow from start to finish. That’s what my web design process courses. It’s a 50 point checklist that me and my business use, and I go into each point in detail, which will get your projects from point A to point B, and help you to look like a pro with all your clients. So check that out if interested. Alright guys, without further ado, enjoy my talk with my local friend and colleague Alex Rogers of Alex’s social.
Alex, welcome to the show, man.
Hey, it’s good to be here, brother.
I am excited to have this chat with you. Because initially, we were going to talk about social media marketing and Facebook advertising and things like that. And I’m sure we’ll touch on some of those subjects maybe we can do around to eventually targeted to that. But you talk to me about the idea of being a parent entrepreneur or a parent printer as the cool kids say it these days, right. So that’s what we’re gonna focus on in this talk. And the cool thing about this is that we’re gonna kind of look at this from two different angles.
One is in your case, you were already a parent, before you became an entrepreneur and started your own business. And then in my case, I had started my business when I was 23. I didn’t have related responsibilities or many bills. And then I’m having kids now, as I’ve already got my business and entrepreneur, you know, experience underway. So there’s kind of two different ways to look at this. I’m really excited to talk about this. I’m excited to hear about where you’re at with your social media business, and what that has that what that progression has looked like for you. But before we get to that, can you just tell us about your story? What were you up to before you decided to become an entrepreneur?
Yeah, right on. So after college, I took the route that had nothing to do with college. I actually went into EMS, I was there for about nine years, the last two years. While being on the road. I actually went into the marketing and operations space. So I got to do some, you know, hands on marketing face to face clients, which turned into the digital part, which I really wanted to do really loved. That company was based out of Detroit, and I was based here in Columbus. From there. I found an opportunity that I really wanted to take based out of Portland, but then again I stayed here but with a little bit traveling was for Keller Williams International was an expansion real estate company called experience real estate. So I was the digital brand manager there and after about A little over a year I decided, you know, I think I could do this on my own. People really love the work I do. I have enough contacts and connections and I love people. So why not be here and be local, a lot of that had to do with, with with life, how life was going. And I had the opportunity to spend more time with my children. So that that was the whole guidance behind it.
Gotcha now. So with the first company, how did you get into social media? As you know, you’re working for an EMS company? How did that progress? Like? Did you just dip your toe into doing Facebook and stuff? And then like, Did you mention like, hey, I can probably do some advertisements for the company. How did that work?
Yeah, right on. So I’m actually my partner. He’s my partner for a long time, who’s actually my partner my business now, Alex Stewart, for Alex’s social. We were partners on the road together full time. Together. Yeah, non stop. We actually lived a half mile from each other one day, we got paired up, and we realized we were best friends. So but work are off work, we were together. But we loved making many videos, and making creative stuff. That’s how we kind of dived and connected, we kind of caught the eye of the operations manager at the time making stuff about work, you know, creative pieces that entertains people, and it kind of shifted, he gave us access to their Facebook page. Social media in healthcare, especially in EMS isn’t very big yet. It’s kind of very hands off, because it’s a not only do they, especially in the private sector, they don’t have money for funds for it. But it’s a very touchy subject, especially with Yeah, with emergencies in people’s families, a lot of HIPAA violations go on. So they let us have access to that. And then the space kind of opened up to to help them out. Do that. So
Gotcha. And then your time with Keller Williams, did you? So that was that was like a strictly social media marketing role?
Actually, actually, no, I did social. That was probably about 30% of it. The others were, so manage about eight different EMS companies, from here to Detroit, over to Chicago, all over Ohio, as well. So I did their websites, as well as social media. And, yeah, and then raw marketing materials, a lot of it had to do with, you know, hiring and recruitment.
Now what I’m curious, man, what made you choose social media, you’re doing websites, marketing, I know the pains and struggles with websites, as I’m sure you’ve experienced. I know I love that part of the industry as well. But yeah, like what made you want to zone in on social?
Because? Because I experienced websites. Okay. So the big part of that was the gentleman who was before me, the guy that trained me for one week, and he was out he left. He did everything html5 And in Drupal. And I’m like, if this is how websites are done, I’m out. I didn’t even know there was anything WordPress. You know, anything?
Yeah. Yeah. No wonder you wanted to get out of there. Yeah. So
I’m just like, what I literally did all day, I looked at coding, looked at a website, I would change like three little things. I No clue change three little things, and it would mess up the whole thing. I’m like, What did I do? So I started writing down, I learned it that way, which is completely backwards. Then I love the social side. I love entertainment. I love creating stories. So I stuck with the social.
So you decided to go, you started to start your own business and go full time with that. I would love to talk about that. Because sure there’s a lot that went into that decision. Did you start with your partner, which I think Alex is behind you for those look watching on YouTube. He’s got a green screen. And Alex is on the other side of that you guys are renovating your office right now? Did you guys plan that together? Or how did that work? Like when you started your business?
Yeah so Alex and I had kicked around and joked about it for years, probably since 2012, or 2013. We had taken on a little a couple side mini projects of social media, here and there, but nothing huge. After I left the EMS marketing operations position, Alex moved into that position and excelled way beyond my means. Just the analytical pieces. So I went to Keller Williams. And then after I left Keller Williams, there was about a year in between so I was just freelancing, at that point, picked up a couple clients just enough to make bills, charging people. In retrospect, a stupid number now It hurts to look at it. We all do.
So you’re spending money to get clients kind of Oh, yes.
Yeah. And it was literally just enough to make three bills, no diaper money, no milk, no nothing. And so I did that for about a year freelancing, trying to convince Alex along the way, and then about a year into it almost Well, 11 months into it. I said, Hey, let’s take the jump. He had had enough with his old job and jumped right in. And it was it scary. I mean, as you know, entrepreneurship, you make your money or you don’t make your money, you’re all to blame. So yeah, we both have, you know, two kids and bills to pay. So it was a tough jump. But yeah, I finally convinced him. I think it was at a fiesta mariachi on the west side of Columbus.
We got to do it. He’s like, I’m all in.
Yeah, Mexican restaurants have some of the best business deals just right after a margarita when you’re like, Yeah, right.
Yeah, he was just he was staring the ground. He said, Yeah, I’m gonna do it. And I was just like, wait a minute, are you? Are you kidding? Because I had a margarita, you know? So.
Now, okay, and when was that? When did you guys actually start Alex’s social?
Um, I believe it was October 23 2018. Currently 18.
Okay. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it’s just over a year old, right?
Yep. Just over. We just did our one year anniversary.
Wow. Yeah, that’s awesome, man. And I know, it’s been a wild ride. And you guys have done some really cool stuff. Like it’s an I’ve appreciated your expertise with Facebook, I’d been a while back, I was having an issue with my Facebook profile, which I still do. I can’t freakin post videos on my desktop. Normally, I work around…I got that workaround, you showed me how to go into publishing tools. And you guys have some real and he showed me just I mean, we just did a screen cast for a little bit. And you showed me some really cool things in the backend of Facebook, which I think we’ll do some targeted trainings on that because it’s fascinating. But I guess I asked that to say, like, did you feel like you knew enough about Facebook and marketing in general to provide clients enough value to go full time? Did you kind of have to wait to you felt like, Okay, I’m confident to do this, and make enough to make it before you really launch the business?
Yeah, no, honestly, I, I’ve gotten that question a lot from people that I know, personally. Because they’re like, Well, you know, because I never talk about it. But it’s my passion. It literally is my geeky passion. Like what do you do for fun? Oh, I look up, you know, anything. And everything has to do with social media, from analytics down to new tools, beta testing, you know, beta test a lot of the Facebook stuff right now that you guys are gonna see, you know, months, 6 12 months to come. And it’s it? I feel like if, if I didn’t know it, nobody’s gonna know it. I mean, that’s how I felt about it. Because I keep looking for stuff to learn, and there’s nothing else to learn. So, yeah, once I started talking to people, you realize how much you do know, because you start talking on a tangent, and they’re just like, Okay, well, I asked one answer. And now I’m getting 30 answers, you know.
And it’s interesting, when you’re talking about making that jump to go in full time, you not only did you have your income and your family to provide for, but you’ve got the other Alex as well. So you’ve got like two partners, which the cool thing about that I imagine is, you guys were probably able to, you’re able to grow twice as fast with a company the first year, because you’ve got two of you now, do you guys have different skill sets? Like is one of you better than sales? And the other is want to be better than tech? Or what does that look like with you guys?
Yeah, for sure. And one of the huge advantages going into it was, I knew, and we both know that you can only grow so much, you know, you you hit your maximum. And once you start, you know, asking for help, or you know, or contracting people, it’s way different. But we knew we could grow twice as fast and take on twice the load, and get more work done and professionally, a little bit more, you know, to the tee, to give people higher quality product. So bringing Alex to the table, and he’ll tell you straight up that if I could give everybody everything for free. Because because it is that passion and it’s fun. I would have.
And so when I first brought Alex on, and you know, clients had starting to come to us, you know, potential clients. He was like, okay, stop before you give them a price. What’s your time worth? And I know I’ve watched a podcast or learn a couple things, you know, from you as well. About, you know, what is your time you need to value your time, you know, in money, because I was love giving people you know, free advice, learn the hard way, you know, giving people you know, talking to potential clients, they take all the information you have, and they run with it, they do it themselves. If it’s not that technical aspects, but Alex is very good at, you know, kind of analyzing, you know, what’s the time worth, you know, the product itself. He brings that to the table and also, I’ve always called Alex my creative Think Tank. Because he has a very big passion for video games, and I lost my imagination with Legos when I was about nine. I’m very creative, but my creativity only goes so far and he sees things that I definitely do not.
Interesting. That sounds like a good partnership No Matt, is he more of like the CFO as far as like the Chief Financial, you know, he’s Yes, maybe more numbers oriented and business to where I know, knowing you for a long time, you’re more interactive, and you’re a people person. And I’m sure you would much prefer to be talking with clients. And, you know, being that the face of the business kind of thing.
Yeah. And I, we started, when we started growing our business exponentially in a good number of our clients are in grim city itself. And I’ve been in the community a long time. So that kind of helped a key jumpstart to the whole business. And then once people started seeing other clientele that we had, that we were working for, even, you know, down the street from them, kind of brought it in, we can honestly say, we’ve probably spent about $10 Total in advertising in one year for ourselves. Because it’s all been word of mouth on Word. And that $10 was, yeah, that $10 is actually two different Facebook posts of videos that were funny of us. And we’re like, you know, we want more people to see that. So.
So let’s talk about that. I want to talk about how you guys essentially went from zero to 60. With targeting a local market. Before we do though, one question I want to ask was, did you guys have any accounts in place or any recurring revenue when you started the business? Or was it really just a leap of faith like project to project kind of deal?
It was a leap of faith month a month project to project?
Wow. Okay. Now, when you got started, though, I imagine with social media, do you hook clients in for like, a three month marketing campaign or six month or something like that? How does that work with social media?
Yeah, so we have people that are more long term, a lot of our clientele, especially when we started out, but still on that basis, we give them that month, a month basis of that contract, but they have a timeout, you know, they need to tell us, you know, in advance, because we do, you know, schedule some content and create content ahead of time.
So we give them that out. However, a lot of those people staying in contact, especially in social media, we’re, we’re literally with so many different clients, answering texts, and messages and phone calls all day long. Because if we’re not physically at their location, we need to know what’s going on. Because either they have items to sell services to sell, there’s events going on, there’s big things that are happening in their, their demographics. So it we’re in a constant basis with them. And the more you nurture those relationships, the longer you’re going to keep those clients should have little little time to spend on marketing or social media. They’re going to try to hang on to it. So
Now, so yeah, let’s talk about how you like practically got clients. And then maybe we could segue in to talk about being a parent printer since that’s the overall topic because keep an eye one reason I wanted to talk about your story in your business is because you had all this going on with quite frankly, a lot of pressure on your shoulders, you had mouths to feed, and you had bills to pay again. I started my business when I was 23. I’d really didn’t need to make too much the first couple years because I had very low overhead. So how did you guys I mean, you really took it again to people with kids, you guys went from zero to 60. You talked about you know, we’re both in Grove City, which is outside of Columbus, Ohio, for people who don’t have a reference of where we’re at. We’re just out of Columbus, which I think think goodness for both of us, Columbus is booming. So a lot of a lot of companies are needing websites and marketing and social media. Did you hone in on your personal relationships that you had to start and then it just kind of grew from there? What did that look like?
Yeah, so okay. There are still I think people have gotten the idea that especially the past couple months, but in all, honestly, I’ll do there was a magazine that came out for Grove City, our big magazine, and I was right in the front. So then people actually knew the story of what I did. But for a long time, I would say the first 3456 months even I would say one or two people now that don’t get out much. Don’t know or didn’t know what I did whatsoever. I was literally walking the streets of our of our city. I was going in helping people put cookies on baking sheets in a bakery. I was going in, you know, talking to people everyday. I just became like, you know that? I wouldn’t say the town drunk because it wasn’t drinking. You know, I mean, the townie that just came in and start talking. They’re like we have no clue what you do, building those relationships along the way. I know it sounds like it sounds like a really bad sales proposal. But honestly, I gained their trust. And when they did realize, you know what I did for a living? They’re like, we really need that or if they happen to mention it. I would say that. And then yeah, referrals started coming in like crazy. I would say maybe one person that I actually knew from before as was a client, other people just happens,
So new relationships and just person to person. You’re building that know like and trust. Yeah. If it was just for every day,
I just keep going in. And I would never ask them if they need help. I would never ask them if they need to service. I built solid relationships. And when it came around to it, I’ve invested, you know, I planted all these seeds along the way. And you wouldn’t believe between Alex and I people people are calling. They’re like, Hey, you do social media, right? Like, yeah, like, we really need some help. And I was somebody I talked to 6 7 8 months ago, you know. So
Now, you mentioned the magazine. And I think that’s very worthwhile talking about because it was a very, I don’t know if you pay for that. So maybe, was there a fee to be on the cover of the magazine or anything?
No, they approached me and I thought it was spam email.
So yeah, our city had for folks who don’t know our city, which I guess most cities have some sort of like, county or city magazine. And yeah, one day I met my favorite coffee shop. I think I was writing my business course. I think this was a few months ago. Yeah, yeah, I think it was a few months ago, I ran a business course. And I’m in line getting a coffee. And I look over and I see your face in the magazine on the stand. And then and then you walk in with Alex. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, is this you? So the cool thing about that, though, in all seriousness, is that gave you some legitimacy. Didn’t that like you people saw you they got your story? And did you find that that helped with landing clients and building taking those relationships to the next level?
Yeah, most definitely. I think it built. It’s like you said, I think it built a little bit of a little bit of credit. On my end, not only do people see it, current clients were really excited. They knew that they were actually, you know, dealing with somebody that’s out there. That’s doing a lot for the community. A lot of it was based upon why I came why I became an entrepreneur, other ventures, you know, I’m in with right now. But I think we gained maybe one client, maybe two other people have contacted us. We didn’t take them on board. But yeah, it definitely, definitely helped. Yeah. So
It’s, it’s a big step. Like, I think that’s just a worthwhile idea there is to just put yourself in some sort of position as an expert, whether it’s doing thought leadership videos, or just talking about what you know, or in that case, yeah, dude, because that wasn’t even an ad for the business, per se. Is it much as much as just your story, right, like, courage just kind of talked about you and your story. And that led to a couple clients who, you know, that paid off tenfold? Obviously. Yeah. So where you’re at right now, like, let’s talk about the whole parent thing, cuz I’m really fascinated about like, I just today, I just released an episode with a guy who I’m not sure if you’re familiar with, but Randy Brown, who he was 46 he went from being a manufacturing engineer to starting his freelance writing business and just went for it family to feed, no other income streams just went for it. Did you guys have like a fallback? Or any sort of plan B? Or what like, did you just go for it and say, hey, if this doesn’t work out, and a few months, we’ll have to figure something out? What did that whole look thing look like? For you?
Yeah, I’d love to say that I have the most incredible drive and don’t give up. But we all have breaking points. There were probably two different times, you know, that I got on, indeed, got on the hiring sites, and looked at it, you know, and like four or five, and I’m like, No, tomorrow, I’m just gonna try harder. You know, I can’t, I can’t give up I’ve started. That was, you know, two times over 11 months. And I’m like, if I don’t hit this point, I’m gonna do it, Alex and I had some serious, you know, come to Jesus heart to hearts. And it was just like, you know, if we can’t make this, I got to do you know, something supplemental to help. And I think Alex had pushed me a couple of times. And he said, you know, we’re gonna make it, you know, we’re gonna do it. I’m like, you know, it’s a it’s especially in a partnership, you know, it’s a, you know, you got to carry each other along the way.
Yeah, how valuable is that having a partner to, to come alongside you, because I’m sure you’ve had to do it to him as well, if you guys have your highs and lows that balance each other out. I know, most solopreneurs are gonna do that. And unless they have a support system, or like in the Divi community, it’s very tight. And I know you’re not using Divi, per se. But it’s a very tight knit community to where it’s very supportive. So if you’re having those doubts, and those those really rough seasons, you can have people to, to kind of vent to and get some encouragement where, like, luckily, you had that as well.
Because yeah, when you’re first in the venture, like I was trying to think back, when I started my business, and I like officially went for it. It was about a year and a half in that was the only time where I had like no work going on. I had done a bunch of smaller projects and stuff. And I think it was like the beginning of 2012. I just had like nothing on board and I was like, I don’t know, like, Is this even possible? And again, luckily, I didn’t have many bills at that time, but I was like, you know, should I just give up and then it seems like once I just got past that Like month or so, it just spiraled from there, like referrals started pouring in. It’s like once I just had to get past that little, little rough patch. And that’s the last time knock on wood. That’s the last time I’ve ever been in a situation where we didn’t have a ton of a ton of stuff to do so,
Right? Yeah, it’s that entrepreneur ride. I think I saw a funny GIF on Facebook not too long ago, it’s the daily life of an entrepreneur. It’s like, Man, I’m gonna, I’m gonna kill this day, I’m at 100%. And then it’s like, you know, emails are okay, I’m feeling right. And it’s like, how am I gonna make it, I need a job, you know, and then 20 minutes later, it’s like, I just got a new client, you know, sort of thing. So it is an emotional roller coaster. And you were talking about that first push that jump.
When I, I knew in order to build the business, more than I could build it myself, bring Alex on. You know, it’s, it’s only you know, it’s math. It’s simple math, I had to take a huge cut. You know, I gotten, you know, my clients to this point, I’m, like, we’re going to take these clients on, are going to take a huge cut financially for me, in hopes that, you know, we doubled that. And, you know, it was for the long term payoff, and that’s hard. I mean, that’s huge. Alex took a big pay cut from going from corporate to here. And I took it from freelance to have freelance. So I mean, it’s, uh, but you have to have complete faith, you know, and something and I, you know, to feed the kids, that’s all the drive that you need,
And the freedom you get with me, isn’t it just awesome. Like, that’s the trade off?
Honestly. Yeah. I mean, I do. So I mentor high school students, twice a month, an entrepreneurship program at my alma mater, dosi High School. And then I actually just got involved in a program that I think you sent along to me.
Yeah, the media advisory board.
Yeah, I went there their studio. I’m so envious of these high school kids, they got the perfect setup kids these days keys.
Back, and I had my flip phone. And when I was in high school, yeah,
Right. I think I still have it. So yeah, no, I so being able to mentor being able to go to all my kids, you know, school outings, you know, if my kids are sick, being able to stay home and be able to work from the couch is, is killer. You know, it kind of hurts when you’re looking for new clientele. But honestly, I, we form our schedules, you know, around the needs of our families,
And that, like the mentor stuff you’re doing, that will pay off in so many ways, I think, not only I just feel like not to get all karma II but like, when you do a good deed, it comes back around to you in some way. Totally what the mentoring thing like for me, yeah, so I I’m still on the board for the multimedia advisory board for different High School in our area. But for a while I was going in like once a quarter. And they would give me a couple students and I would teach them about web design or print design or whatever. Most of them were interested in, like video game design. But a few of them were really interested in what I was doing.
And I remember how rewarding that felt when somebody was like, their eyes were glued, and they were just like pumped to see what I was doing. And they were like, you get to work from home, like, you don’t have to go anywhere. I’m like, not unless I have a meeting or something. Or if I want to go to a coffee shop and like oh my gosh, like that kind of thing really, really fueled me to start this endeavor, which is teaching other web designers how to build their own businesses. So I know it’ll come around for it. And that actually, I’m trying to think of like, monetarily that I think that opened doors to a couple projects a couple years ago, like you just never know, or that kind of thing, and particularly social media, I imagine you guys have different levels to where, like a big web, a big website is a big investment where a lot of smaller businesses, you know, they may not be ready to put up three or four or five grand, but with social media, you could probably get people in at a smaller price range, depending on the needs and go up from there. So
I imagine the doors could open, you know, really wide for that kind of thing.
Yeah, they were and it’s not like, you know, we we move from, you know, small mom and pop that, you know, could only afford, you know, to $300 a month, you know, to looking at 1000 Plus projects, you know, still for the same amount of money, or the same amount of time and, you know, content that we were producing. So, it’s not that we won’t help those, you know, along the way because, honestly, I still will still go in consults where we know there might not come out of it, you know, but the connections that we’ve made through those, some of those people, our biggest followers biggest fans, you know, they like every video we put out, you know, they’re constantly sharing our content, and that just it spreads. It’s an organ Yeah, spread. So
Now let’s talk about I’m curious about your guys’s schedule and what your days look like, with How are your kids? Minor five and six right now five and six. So wild ages? Yeah. How do you what’s your what’s your day to day look like? Like, do you?
Yeah, every day is different. Honestly. It could be a day of Alex and I started on a side note, Alex and I started doing employee Are pieces. People in Grove City realized in around the surrounding areas that, you know, we can 46,000 people, we can reach organically with some of our posts as Alex’s social and as you know, our own personal profiles. And so people started asking us to come to a restaurant for free. We went ziplining not too long ago.
Oh, that’s right, I saw that,
Yeah, we got a chance to zip line all day long. And ride segways, you know, out in the woods, down in hocking hills, those are really cool, because they know, you know, they’re gonna have to put $800 $1,000 to reach organically that many people around them, when they could just give us you know, that kind of content for free.
So they just let you do it. And then just let you guys share your thing.
Yeah, they just ask us, you know, to share the Word. So we love creating content. So we’re like, hey, why not? Let’s take a Thursday off and go do it. So our daily posts that are daily could be anywhere from, you know, we wake up in the morning, we spend time with our family, I get my kids off to school, the bus and I drive him to school, and then sit down and start creating content, whether it be at a coffee shop, in the office, they come over here to our other office at Alex’s house, we create content, we talk about any future clientele meetings that were coming up, we could be meeting with two, three potential clients in a day at different coffee shops.
And then in the afternoon, you know, we kind of look at analytics, we look at the things that are coming up ahead or schedules, you’ll see videos, you know, we’ll spend lunchtime making, you know, entertainment for other people. But that entertainment is its strategic, honestly, it really is strategic that following and people to share. People want to know more about your business. So yeah, we do have a little bit of fun. It looks a little bit reckless and crazy, but it’s all for good purpose. People appreciate who we are, and, and our natural humor. So
Do you try to stick with a schedule? I now know, it depends on, you know, kids, school times and stuff like that. But do you find yourself working typical hours in a week?
Typical hours, roughly, I would say, on average, about nine in the morning after kids are off the school, you know yourself situated? Unless we have I mean, we worked on a project last night till about 630. But that’s that’s not the norm usually, you know, when everybody’s off work, and the kids are home. So we’re looking at 430 You know, five o’clock, so,
Yeah, yeah. And then I imagined evening, maybe, you know, some some stuff to catch up on or whatever.
Not only that, but uh, answering rogue comments and messages that comes along with managing social people.
Yeah. How do you do that with social media like, that’s what I’m, that’s one thing I’m learning to. Because the trap I found myself in is I run a Facebook Web Design Group. That’s almost 20,000 people. Now, I have my Josh Hall co Facebook page, which is getting a lot more engagement now, which is pretty cool. It’s my favorite thing that I’m really active on. I have three course groups, Facebook groups for my courses. And that’s not even including YouTube comments, or my website comments. So I’m kind of like, I would do comments sporadically for the longest time. And now I’m like trying to segment certain times in my day to where, like, we’re doing this call, I’m not looking at anything else phones off after this call, I’ll probably jump on answer some comments, do some emails, and then take a break for lunch. Like, I’m trying to segment my time for that. Do you guys have barriers like that in place as well, or with social media is a little more tricky.
It’s, it’s a little bit more tricky with social media. Usually, we, Alex and I, you know, connect without, without really thinking about it that came along with EMS, being able to assess situations not say anything, but you know, how the other ones feeling? But sometimes we are vocal I’ll tell, you know, I’ll tell Alex, I’d be like, you know, we get the same notifications, I’ll tell him, you know, I’m going to this school event, or certain times my family and we’re Alex would be like, you know, I’m, I’m kind of shot for the day, you know, Can you can you look over it.
So it’s a very give give relationship. But there are rogue times we had an instance not too long ago, where there was some bad blood, that one of our clients, but it spread very rapidly on a different page other than ours. Once we caught wind of it, it got out of control, it spiraled a whole city got involved. So it’s kind of managing those pieces, how you professionally manage it. But you’re not speaking for yourself, and you’re not, it’s not coming from your profile. So your clients really need to trust you at all hours of the day to manage those things in a professional manner. So
Gotcha. Now how did you you’re connected with Facebook? How did how did that come about? Do you have to like go to any trainings to become somebody that’s I hate to say like on the inside, but you do like your I don’t know. I don’t know what you would call it but like you are connected with Facebook. How does that work?
Yeah, so um, Facebook came out with a global program. It’s called Facebook, Facebook community leadership circles. It was in 103 cities around the world. They chose Columbus as one of those cities as a growing city for for digital media. So I had talked to some people actually, it was a Facebook community boost meeting, here in town and Facebook had come to town, Sheryl Sandberg was here speaking. And I had voiced, you know, an interest in the position being the community lead, the program was, you know, coming up, they had already started one cohort. And the second one had just started.
So I was part of the third cohort Columbus was, and yeah, it was a very weird, very anonymous situation. If I had to tell you the whole story, you’d probably be like, Oh, that’s like you joined the CIA or NSA, it was just really odd. And when they said it, I couldn’t believe it. So I’m the Global lead for Columbus, Ohio. So I am the pretty much the point of contact for any group admins, page admins, for Columbus allowed, I get a lot, it’s so much, you know, money you’re on, on Zuckerberg credit card, to go ahead, and you know, and wine and dine and teach.
So I’m here to empower and to teach group admins, because as you know, it’s it takes a good portion of your life. And a lot of times you’re not doing it for money. A lot of these people out there have the biggest groups, you know, that I admin, I want to add been our community groups, and they’re not for profit. I’m not nothing Alex’s social is going in there. It’s It’s all because you have a love of your community or love for, you know, helping animals gaming, you know, you name it, there’s groups for anything. Facebook commercial doesn’t lie about that. So I’m kind of that point of contact for training for help I give these know, these group admins access to beta products. I, you know, they get a direct line, which is hard to do with Facebook.
Yeah. And I know, when I reached out to you with the issue I was having with my profile, you kind of let me know what was up ahead with some of the UI changing with Facebook profiles. And that was like, Oh, that’s pretty cool. Like, yeah, you kind of know what’s, what’s on tap. So I promise I’m not gonna be hitting you up too much for insight advice, but it is it is nice to have somebody who, you know, like I was able to rely on you because I had sent something in, of course, you never going to hear from Facebook, you’re not going to be able to hear from so the blogger catches it quick. And yeah, there’s Yeah, so I felt good to have some expertise, you know, for hearing from urine as somebody who’s kind of on the inside, but it’s pretty cool. Because I mean, you got to travel to Berlin, not that long ago, right? Like you’ve done.
Yeah. So I’ve been all over. I’ve been to, to Dallas to Berlin, went to Pittsburgh, went to Jordan. And I went to Amman, Jordan not too long ago, that was fun. I get to speak at all these different places about community leadership engagement. And you know, and how people manage not only themselves as an admin, but to create engaging communities as a professional.
Yeah, I know, you talked about it not translating directly, like monetarily, but for you in that case, like I imagine it just, it builds up a professional notoriety to you and your brand, like, I’m sure in some way that’s gonna benefit, you know, where you’re at in your career right now, whether it’s, you know, just other opportunities that lead to more business or opening doors to potential new partnerships. I mean, there’s all kinds of things because I’ve, I’ve had to had that mindset with my group as well. Because, like, my group is so big. Now it’s more of a support group than anything. And I don’t make any, like, it’s technically on the books. It’s very costly for me to do that. Because I don’t like I don’t make any money from it. So but what I what I know it does is it it kind of elevates my status as an expert in the field. And just saying that I have a group of 20,000 people is like, Oh, wow, this guy is legit. And that that will eventually, you know, that leads in the course cells and other things. But
Yeah, there I mean, and definitely there, there are people, you know, in the groups that lead groups of the numbers range that I will never even touch. I mean, we’re talking hundreds of 1000s, you know, millions of people, you know, these people admin every day. And it’s, it’s not only, you know, I’m support for them. I learned so much from these people, you know, their situations, because it’s about experience. And I taken that information, not only to teach them, I’m taking that information and applying to my groups, and they can only build from there.
Yeah. What would you say? Because it’s an interesting journey. Like, I’ve talked to a lot of people so far in the podcast who have started their businesses. The one commonality is that everyone just goes for it. There’s never that story where they just do it on the side and they build it up perfectly, and they have a nice retainer of money and they have a fallback plan. Like everyone just goes for it. And I think that’s so valuable. This one’s a little bit different just because of your position and with your partnership with Alex What would you say? You have learned? Like, what are some of the top lessons you’ve learned with running your own business? I’m sure there’s 1000s. But like, what have you learned about yourself? What if we, what were some of those top things you’ve learned? Since I know you’re still early in the journey, but yeah, I imagine the amount of growth that you’ve experienced in year one has been amazing.
Yeah, it’s it’s been, it’s definitely been a ride, I would say, going into that. So going into going into the entrepreneur space going into the Freelancer space, because I had never done something like that full time, I’ve always had nine to five healthcare, you know, I would say my position was a little bit different going into the Freelancer space. In my mindset, I just gotten through, was going through a divorce. And, and I knew that I wanted to be with my kids more. So that was the drive to get there. The other mindset behind it was I, I had lost an 18 month old son a couple years before, and that mindset of things can always be worse. And there are so many more important things, I could not have time with my children today, I could not have my children at all. So it taking it day by day, you kind of value little things a bit more. The learning part of going into the partnership with Alex. And Alex has quoted this quite a few times that there was a reason you don’t go into it. You don’t do business with family or friends. And it’s not for anybody that’s looking into going into a partnership. I love you. You can hear giggling
Yeah. In the background.
Yeah, right. It we’ve had our, like I said, coming to Jesus moments, we’ve had screaming matches, you know, and we never have that before coming to tears, you know, just have, because we have to provide for our families, our families are depending on us. And it’s hard. Because you know, all the things that go into a business, you know, it’s difficult, you know, financially, time and everything else. So learning from year one is taking a step back. And because of the experiences that we’ve had already, you know, we could lose a client. But think about the last month when we gain three clients, you know, there’s that entrepreneur ride, it takes time to experience to know that things may look bad right now. But tomorrow, they’re going to be way better. And everything that you do, especially in the design area that you’re in the social media, we’re creating content, whether it’s websites, whether it’s creative work, it’s our portfolio, and everybody sees it all the time. You get into it, because you love hopefully you got into it because you love doing it. You love designing, and everything that you design every day is some sort of seed going in something else, somebody is gonna see it and be like man who did that sort of thing. So even if today’s bad, you can always do something to help in the future.
That’s great, man. There’s some valuable points and something you said there was kind of echoed my Tuesday quick tip from a couple days ago, or yesterday? Well, yeah, today’s Wednesday, it was yesterday, I talked about when you get started, you’re going to feel things on a much deeper level. And you have to learn as an entrepreneur, particularly a new entrepreneur, or solopreneur, or entrepreneur, is you have to not be too high or too low. Because when you get a client and you get a new project, it’s like the best feeling in the world, and you’re so energized and you’re pumped, and it’s amazing. And then the next day or even later that afternoon, you can have a bad situation going on or a client leaves or something like that. And it can be devastating. And you can be really down.
And I know for us in the web design community, when there’s issues going on with sites, or people’s sites aren’t converting as well, or it’s not helping their business or something like that. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. And it can be very, you know, if you’re gonna feel it no matter what, but you have to keep that in check. And that’s different from the corporate world, I’m sure you’ve seen that to where we are, when you’re working for a company, if you get a new project or something’s not going great. It’s like, oh, that might be cool, or that might suck, but you’re probably not losing too much sleep over it.
When it’s you and it’s your baby as a business. It’s you feel it, you feel it deeply. So yeah, super, super valuable. And I appreciate you being transparent man about, you know, some of the stuff you went through because I knew about some of that stuff. And I think first of all, I just can’t imagine I mean, you you went through some dark periods I know. But I think one thing to take from that was the value of freedom and time with your kids like that, which I can tell just by talking with you that was the underlying move or I imagine for starting your own business because yeah, when you’re and you were traveling a lot back then I know and those are those roles were like I’m learning that with my kids that was you know, our second ones coming any any day here now.
I am very I’m so thankful that I’m to the point right now to where yes There’s a ton of stress, and there’s a lot more like we have a lot more bills that I have to cover. And there’s a lot more responsibility. But the time and freedom is just so valuable. I mean, I imagined, you know, like, to my point earlier, I imagine you don’t regret making that move at all, despite all the times where you might be like, oh, gosh, I need to get a real job now. Right? Yeah, those those those moments, I imagined, it just Yeah, to your point, like spending more time with your kids. That’s, that’s part of the driver.
And you always talk to, you know, older generations, or elders, and they’re always like, man, you know, they grow up, you close your, close your eyes, and you know, they’re already grown up. And if I think if you no more than 510, people have told you that in your life, it must be true. You know, they’ve learned something that we haven’t. So to take that in consideration, find more time, you know, the family and my kids. And, yeah, it’s worth it. Totally.
Yeah, yeah, I had a friend who a good buddy of mine, like his dad was just the typical blue collar worker guy, he worked full time. And he worked a second job just so they could pay their house off early, and they could have all their bills covered and everything. But my friend always kind of felt disconnected from his dad. And what happened by the time he was out of the house, well, they finally had the house paid off for and then he could retire. But he retires to an empty home. You know, there’s like there’s there’s that had, I think that’s shifted to your point dramatically as, like, we’ve been fortunate to learn from older generations. And let’s face it with technology, now, it’s the landscape has never looked like this.
And this is why I’m so passionate about doing what I’m doing right now with empowering people to start their own businesses, particularly in web design. But it could be anything, it could be social, or photography, or video or whatever. You can do whatever the heck you want. From a computer screen, no matter where you like, you could do it from home you could do in a coffee shop, and you can make dang good money if you work hard enough. And if you’re working smarter, not harder. And yeah, I just I don’t know, I love that. Like, I don’t take that for granted one day, every day, because like we are in a very rare position in time right now to where 10 years ago, or even 15 years ago, what you and I are doing right now look completely different.
Yeah, no, it or it wasn’t there whatsoever. 15. Yeah, 15 years ago, my flip phone wasn’t doing that. But honestly, you know, something I preach to the you know, to these entrepreneur, kids, when I mentor, I’m like, you know, if you really tried hard, if you’re really serious about it, and you want to do social media, there, you can make more than your parents do right now, as a senior in high school, you know, there’s so many opportunities, and it’s right in your pocket.
Yeah, that’s funny. I told that to one of the I remember specifically remember one of the kids that was interested in what I was doing. I think he worked at Wendy’s or McDonald’s or something. And I was like, dude, listen, you know how much you made. Let’s say you make a grand this summer working for McDonald’s. If you learn how to build a website, and you could sell websites for 500 bucks, and you did four websites this summer, you can make double what you’re making, and you can work wherever, whenever, you know, like, I think that really got the kids like, holy crap. Yeah, I can do this, you know, it really doesn’t take too long to get valuable enough to where you can make some pretty dang good money, at least a lot more than you would work in fast food or retail or something like that.
Yeah. And there was a was one point I forget, honestly, I forget who it was. But it was last year, I was actually speaking at a networking meeting and how to grow your business with social media. And somebody said, Well, you’re the expert. And that was the first time I had heard that. And I’m just like, Oh, I was just like, Wait, why would somebody think that about me? You know, because, you know, of course, we’re our biggest critics, you know, ourselves. But I’m just like, why would somebody think that about every question they had, you know, I had a very well educated answer. There was like, Oh, so you have to have, it’s, it’s scary. But you have to have confidence along the way. So you’ll gain?
Yeah, you’ll gain it. And then I found Yeah, I mean, it comes with experience, it can come with trainings, workshops, courses, I’m huge, not only as a course creator, but as somebody who takes courses and you pointed out early in the episode, talking about time, that it’s one of the most important assets and that’s for me, that’s like the biggest thing I’ve learned and that’s what I try to tell people who are just starting out, even if it seems like a big investment if there’s some sort of workshop or there’s a training or there’s a chorus that will get you from point A to point B it will save you time that’s what you need to invest in. And it sounds like you’ve kind of you know learned that as well particularly be in the in the entrepreneurial space.
But yeah, for kids coming up like it’s very difficult to have that mindset I think I think it probably unless you’re told that unless you comprehend that from somebody you know, like and trust it’s probably going to be lived and learned the hard way. But yeah, it’s so valuable man and yeah, that’s it’s one. I almost hate to get all my kids these days, but I kind of wonder if they and I don’t know like maybe I need to get more connected with with the advisory board I’m a part of and the kids again, but like I just kind of wonder if they even realize how unique and rare this time in history is, you know, like, to your point, we graduated together in 2005. Right? Okay. 2005 if we wanted to do something online, let’s see MySpace had just come out, right? So I was like,
I went, when I went to Miami, it was the first week I was there, I didn’t have a laptop, but I got a new desktop computer. And, and, and Facebook had just come out, it was for only a college students that.edu emails. And I got that and literally, you could post a picture. But most people, you know, you’d have to stick an SD card or an SD card, you know, in a computer, you know, and upload those because you couldn’t do it from your phone yet. You know, I had internet my phone, there was like a free hour in the evening for Verizon, my flip phone, I could get to download ringtones you know, so there was there was no way to do that at that point. So they’re online. Maybe gotten to stocks? I don’t know. But that’s, that’s not even an entrepreneur so.
Yeah. And I was trying to think back I was I love like art classes and stuff. But Photoshop was fairly new at that time. And like, it’s funny, like, oddly enough, what I do now is just completely opposite of what I would have thought I was terrified by Photoshop back then I remember trying it and I just I was never good with computers. I got a D and typing. And I blog, like a blog for a career now, you know, like I write for a career. So it’s kind of funny, like, the academic stuff back then it just translate to
Yeah, it’s funny. You mentioned that because I was thinking not too long ago like man, you know, I I took we Alex and I, we create, you know, digital, literally digital artwork all day long for content. We’re either messing with pictures or creating stuff from scratch images from scratch. And I took drawing my senior year because I’m like, You know what, I’m gonna take an easy class. I don’t want to be here all day, I already had to take two I did one elective. I took drawing. It was the first time I didn’t make honor roll, AB honorable. My whole model. My dad was livid God rest his soul. Because I thought it was gonna be easy. And now I’m creating images everyday. Yes, not with my hand. I’m creating images. And I’m looking back. I’m like, Man, I wish I would have taken photography, because I’d write my biggest passion right now. And I’m like, Ah, that’s that’s silly. I thought I would see you, you know, with a with a hit rock band back then. You know, finally.
Well, yeah, a kid in your living room.
Right. Yeah. And I, you know, what the band experience for me though? Like, I mean, we did get a little bit of success. We had national radio play. And we got a lot of concerts. Yeah, you’re at some shows? Yeah. Well, the cool thing about that was we broke even which is more than most bands can say like, we didn’t end up spending money in the end. But I will say I’m going to do a podcast soon about which I have a blog post on my internet studio site. But I’m going to kind of do a new version of it. And it’s how being in a band helped me start my business because it really, I’ll tell you one thing, that experience translated more than any academic experience I’ve ever had.
Because you learn how to deal with people, you learn how to deal with personalities, you learn about marketing, you learn about making a product, you learn about demographics, those terms I never even thought of while we were doing it. And at the end of the band days, I look back and I was like, Oh my gosh, demographics, marketing product, like all these value proposition like all these things, and how we could have done so much better. But it all kind of came to the forefront, I was able to use that in the business, which is I think that’s just worthwhile. Even even like your story. You were doing different roles in the corporate world. But they translated to your business. That’s one cool thing about when you’re in any sort of creative field you can pull from your past and your experiences, no matter where you came from.
Yeah, I think not too long ago, maybe a week ago. I say it a lot. I’m like, imagine Alex because we had this vision, you know, eight years ago, when we would sit on a you know, would send an ambulance, you know, waiting to get a patient sitting, you know, in an ER somewhere and we’d be like, Man, would it be cool if we just, you know, do this creative stuff, you know, on our computer somewhere. So the other week, and it happens a lot. The other week, I was telling Alex I’m like, Hey, man, I was like you imagine a sitting in a truck right now. I wish we could have done this, you know, 15 years ago, and he said, he told me he’s like, You know what? That experience was worth it. You know what I mean? The skills that we gained back then, especially professionally, you know, our, our you can’t get those anywhere else.
Yeah, translated to what you’re doing now.
And it’s a cool story along the way. So
Oh, absolutely, man. Awesome. Well, Alex, this has been great, dude. We’ve talked about some really cool things and we covered your your story and kind of where you came from and what you were doing in the corporate world to starting your guys’s business. Very interesting. Again, being a parent printer back then, and having a much more responsibility, more weight on your shoulders. But I imagine you know, it was so worthwhile and to your point, I appreciate you again being really transparent about some of the stuff you went through because you went through some shit man. And you know luckily again if anything Like it just probably made you appreciate time and freedom that you have now with your kids and I know things are looking up and things have gone well for the business. And you know, I know it’s in the beginning. So who knows where it’s gonna go from here, but you’ve learned a heck of a lot in this first year. So I’m excited for you, man. Oh,
I appreciate it. Awesome.
Well, hey, do you have? Do you have like a final thought for anybody who is maybe maybe a parent and they’re thinking about being entrepreneur? Do you have any like a parting thought?
Alex, two years ago, what would you tell Alex to
Alex two years ago? Well, shave your face. Smile more? No, I honestly, one of the biggest questions I get from people, random messages is I want you know, to, I’ve got this business I want to do or I’ve got this idea. But I don’t know when’s okay to jump. I don’t know when to take you know, that leap? And I would say, there is no right time. I know financial is big, especially when people ask me, it’s because they have a family. They’ve got to feed people. Maybe they’re the breadwinner, maybe that’s equal. But as long as you’re passionate about it, and you have a drive to do it, there’s no right time, just jump. Like, like being a parent. Nobody trains you to be a parent. You’re not ready to be near never ready to be a parent or a second time or third time parent. It happens. And you do it along the way. And you learn.
Valuable point, man. Yeah, particularly as a parent with kids, I’ve heard some people stare at us. You’re like, well, we’re gonna wait till we’re like financially ready before having a kid I’m like, ain’t never gonna happen. You’re gonna rock it out. You’ll figure it out. And you’ll make more money when you have kids because you have no choice. You’re gonna figure
Awesome, man. Well, this was great, Alex, thanks again for chatting for taking some time out of your day to to chat with us and give us some really valuable actionable things. I think this is gonna help a lot of people, whether it’s designing websites, or whether they may want to take on social media, we’ll definitely do like a around to some time or maybe do some trainings on like Facebook and social media specific stuff. So yeah, man. Thanks again for your time. This was a blast.
I appreciate it.
All right, man. Talk soon.