I wouldn’t go so big so fast. I would keep my company small and extremely profitable and then grow.
Danny DeMichele is the Founder and CEO of Incubate, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, web development, and design. Danny has been building and managing online businesses for the past 14 years and is a thought leader in the digital agency world. Danny has successfully started Internet companies in the fields of nutrition, furniture eCommerce, online marketing consultation, and SEM. If you don’t find Danny online, he is traveling or surfing. Danny welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter @Danny_DeMichele or on Google+.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on buying a group of e-commerce sites in the home goods space. It’s a business I was in before, and I’m exited to be back in it. Watch out Hayneedle, CSN, and Wayfair — we are coming to get you!
Where did the idea for Incubate.com come from?
I have been an Internet marketer for a long time and previously created and sold a large agency. And while I love the Internet marketing agency space, most are run based on the outdated agency business model. Incubate.com wants to change not only the way campaigns are run but also the way we are paid. The percentage of a budget’s media spend with no tie to performance simply doesn’t make sense anymore, so we are excited to offer a higher expectation.
What does your typical day look like?
I usually wake up at 5 a.m., answer emails for 30 minutes, paddleboard five to seven miles or surf, come back and eat with the kids and get them off to school. I go to one of the offices (usually the Incubate.com main office in Carlsbad), answer more emails and make calls, eat lunch with a client or the staff, and I’m back home at 4 or 5 to hang out with the wife and kids. I answer emails from 8 to 9, then watch a couple of hours of TV to wind down.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most of my ideas come from other people. I am not that creative, but people approach me all of the time with their business ideas, and I am really good at working with them on their idea — executing and making it profitable.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Mobile. I know it is very cliché to say that, but how and where mobile ends up is going to determine the next couple of years. There’s lots of uselessness out there now. There’s going to be a big shake-up, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
It has to be a previous client project. His name was Ed — a nice, old guy who just didn’t get the Internet, so he always thought I was scamming him. I think I charged him $500 for some consulting work, and the project ended up costing me $12,000 just to keep him from suing me and bashing me online. Lesson learned — the people you work with and your clients must understand what you are doing for them. If not, it is a setup for disaster.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t go so big so fast. I would keep my company small and extremely profitable and then grow. With my previous agency, I grew too quickly and then had to bring on too much investment just to stay afloat. Focus on profit.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do it only if it makes you happy. Go as hard as you can, and filter out the noise about the economy — that you should have something steady and “secure.” Go with what drives you.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
When someone figures out how to create and sell Internet services — and most importantly, provide value — that person will be a very wealthy individual. It is the most tapped-into market, but I still haven’t seen a single company actually deliver value to these small businesses.
Tell us a secret.
I like to watch “Big Brother.”
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“eMyth”: It is the best book for entrepreneurs to read, and it explains the importance of processes for your business.
What’s on your playlist?
Pink Floyd, Metallica, Pearl Jam.
If you weren’t working on Incubate.com, what would you be doing?
I bought a paddleboard shop in Carlsbad that I don’t pay much attention to. Right now, it is more of a hobby to have. I would probably run that full time. I love the sport and everything about it.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
No one; it is a waste of time. There is so much data floating around — it is time to start focusing on what we should not follow and where we can filter out noise. Too much noise is no good on the brain or your business.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I wrote what I thought was a very funny, clever Facebook post. I thought I was going to get hundreds of likes, and I was so proud of the humor behind the post. I laughed out loud to myself when I wrote it (turns out no one else did).