Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Taylor, President of Make Your Mark Today, located in Halifax, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Make Your Mark Today is a Search Engine Optimization marketing agency. We work for small and medium-sized businesses in North America, making up to $200 million per year. Plus, we started our own internal brand Money With Mark, a personal finance affiliate brand. This is our first internal brand where we are our own client!
Tell us about yourself
I started MYMT to help entrepreneurs grow their brands in a consistent and predictable manner. I saw so many businesses with fantastic products or services that no one was using. The main issue we see entrepreneurs face is not getting enough new inquiries or purchases. This was due to a confusing marketing environment where we've taken entrepreneurs who were spending 40hrs per week on social media - with negligible results. To spending 0 hours on social media but getting all their new business reaching out to them day after day, month after month. All through the power of SEO.
What motivates me is the power that SEO can have, when done right, to completely change a business' trajectory. The last client I onboarded was a Scrum Master coaching business only making $2k / month and had been doing so for three years. They were at a tipping point - either close the business and get a job or find a way to scale their revenue quickly. By month four, our SEO work 3x their income to $6k / month, and by month six, we hit $9k. This not only saved this woman's business but also gave her the opportunity to start making a corporate profit and have money to invest in more products and marketing to power her business even more. It's stories like this that keep me motivated. On top of that, my internal brand https://www.moneywithmark.ca/ has helped many Canadians get out of debt, reduce their costs, and automatically set up their budget to save money. The messages we've received of people being so thankful for the helpful content and tools that Money With Mark reviews and analyzes also keep us motivated to put out more content and continue.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Running a profitable business. I know this sounds boring and arbitrary, but I'm a new business owner, only been running for three years now. But running a successful and profitable business is extremely hard to do so! When you manage your own personal finances as an employee, your salary is the same, but your costs fluctuate. Even this situation can be difficult to manage properly. However, when you run your own business, your income fluctuates, AND your costs fluctuate. Meaning that you need even more padding and margin for the worst-case scenarios. While I, too, have had to dip into a personal line of credit at times, I now completely know why so many businesses are never profitable and eventually close. So maybe this doesn't seem like a big accomplishment to most - but those who've given entrepreneurship a shot know that it's bigger than you'd expect.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Managing your personal & corporate finances. Forget the accounting for a second - but simply ensure that your company makes a profit AFTER paying yourself a healthy salary. That's really hard to do for most businesses. As I mentioned before, the change from being an employee to an employer is a big one. When your income and costs fluctuate, you have the potential for a down income month and an up costs month. Being an entrepreneur has actually greatly increased my personal finance skills, simply because it's much more difficult to do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- KISS - Keep it simple, stupid. As an entrepreneur, you don't need to know everything. But you need to know enough to be able to know what success is and how to measure it. That goes for your accountant, your marketing, your operations, etc.
- You NEED a big profit margin. Most new entrepreneurs (myself included) charge too little. Charge more. You need to budget your prices for future capital expenditures, marketing, paying yourself a healthy salary, corporate profits, and corporate taxes. There's a lot more to a profit margin than just direct costs & profit.
- Nail down an easy, reliable marketing solution. You need new incoming sales/inquiries on an ongoing basis. You need to know exactly how this will be done.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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