Chris Onyett is the co-founder of Roketto, a SaaS marketing agency focused on large scale content strategies. His responsibilities include operations, finances, HR, and process development.
He’s a digital marketing veteran with 15+ years of experience in Google Ads, analytics, and content marketing strategies and is also a HubSpot enthusiast. He enjoys sharing about the things he’s learned along the way and has been published on websites such as Foundr.com, Campaignmonitor.com, Callrail.com, and more.
Prior to Starting Roketto in 2009, Chris worked for one of Canada’s biggest digital marketing agencies, Major Tom, where he quickly developed a passion for data-driven marketing.
Chris lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, and enjoys spending his spare time with his family, hiking with his dog, mountain biking, and on the beach volleyball courts.
Where did the idea for Roketto come from?
Years ago, we noticed SaaS companies quickly overtaking traditional software products and saw an opportunity to be more than another marketing agency that does “everything” for “everyone. Through years of trial and error, we developed an effective evergreen content strategy that aligns the buyer’s journey with a SaaS company’s sales funnel and the rest is history.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As a small company, we wear many hats. A typical day for me includes a mix of operations, hr, finance, and service development responsibilities. We’re constantly striving to become more productive by creating and updating our internal processes which are of high importance to us. Processes help us avoid mistakes and redundancies, and support our overall efficiency, quality consistency, and scalability.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We follow the EOS (entrepreneurial operating system) model and if you’re familiar with that, you’ll understand what an integrator is. As the company integrator, it’s my job to challenge each bright idea from the visionary (my business partner), and come up with a full implementation plan for the ideas that get approved.
Implementation plans always start as a simple flow chart, and can vary based on the type of idea, but from a high level they generally include:
Capacity analysis – Making sure we are able to execute on an idea, or at least a part of, within a given quarter.
Financial scenario and forecasting – Visualize accurately the impact (best and worse case scenarios) this will have on our finances.
A test strategy – How we will test to gain confidence before fully committing.
Progress for the idea/implementation plan gets tracked in our weekly L10 meetings and reported on during our quarterly meeting (specifically during our “rocks” discussion).
What’s one trend that excites you?
High-quality content has been king for a long time, and that’s not changing anytime soon 🙂
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Daily exercise. Whether it’s a hike, bike ride, workout, sports game, or even just a long walk with my dog, I prioritize exercise daily. This helps keeps my energy levels high and my mind clear.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Patience and gratitude.
In my first 4-5 years of business, I didn’t feel like I was successful enough (or at all), and always compared myself to others.
We took failures really hard and didn’t celebrate a lot of our early victories, because they didn’t measure up to the people and companies we were comparing ourselves to.
There was a lot of stress and anxiety, and I wish I would have just relaxed in those earlier days and enjoyed the journey of figuring things out.
Once I started focusing on being content and grateful for my business, I was so much happier, which opened the door for more good things to happen.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Burrito’s ARE healthy!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always keep learning and innovating.
It’s my firm belief that complacency will destroy any business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Determine what you do best, process it out, and drop (almost) everything else.
As an agency, we used to offer every service under the sun (seriously, we had over 30 different services). Over time, we learned that there were a few key services that:
We got the best results for our clients with
We enjoyed the most
Attracted the types of businesses we wanted to work with
We seemed to execute on better than other agencies
Worked well with each other
Were the most lucrative
We then built a comprehensive internal process out for these few services to ensure that anyone on our current and future team would be able to offer them at a consistent level.
Then came the scary part – we stopped offering all of our other services. Even to past clients who came asking for what we used to offer. It’s never easy to turn down good-paying work, but there is huge power in saying “no”.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I think of our lowest point, it was the year we found ourselves over $100,000 in debt. This happened in the course of just a few months and was due to a couple of reasons such as:
Losing 2 big clients at the same time
Being WAY too late in firing a bad hire
Putting our good project managers over their work capacity to make up for underperforming team members
Too many late-paying clients
Trying to support an employee’s special needs that did not suit the businesses
This was the first time our company had ever been in debt, and as a bonus, was also the year I got married. We had to fire 3 employees in one week, and the following summer we had 3 more leave, presumably because they lost trust in our company to provide them with a secure future.
There was much learning that year, but the biggest takeaway had to do with putting finances first. We now look at our financial forecast daily and ensure every business decision always makes sense financially, or don’t we do it.
I used to think that putting people first was the best way to run a business, until I learned the hard way it’s just not true. Keeping your business financially healthy is the best way to take care of your people.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An LFG (looking for group) website for Dad’s (personally, I’d call it DLFG). This is one of the ideas on my list as there is a massive market of older generation (30+) gamers looking for similar minded people to play online video games with.
Sure, many LFG websites exist, and sure, many people put “no kids” or “adults only” in their post descriptions. But “adult” only really filters out children and teenagers, and as a 37 year old gamer, it’s just awkward when you blindly join up into a group of 20 yr/olds for a raid.
There are many awesome Facebook groups that facilitate Dad Gamers, but to my knowledge, no actual good LFG type websites.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
During the Covid pandemic, there was a point where our team’s morale was slipping due to everyone isolating. On Friday that week, I drove to a local brewery, bought a few flats of beer, and personally delivered them to our staff’s homes.
This simple act of appreciation was received better than I could imagine, boosted morale to the point where they were posting images of the beer on social media, and was easily the best money I’ve spent this year.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
AirTable. It’s like MS Excel on hard drugs.
We use AirTable to manage almost every part of our content marketing strategies, including recruitment, team members and roles, clients, project details, article details, content schedules, and so much more all in one place.
We couldn’t do what we do without it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m sorry but I have to include two, both are life-changing:
Profit First (Mike Michalowicz) – Learn how to implement a simple system for managing your business’s financials, and start taking your profit first. This book had a significant impact on our business and personal lives right from the first quarter.
Built to Sell (John Warrillow) – Despite the name, this is hardly just about learning how to sell a business. It teaches you how to create a scalable business that will serve you, not enslave you. This book was the driving factor in us dropping 90% of our previously offered services.
What is your favorite quote?
Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose – C.S. Lewis
- Be intentional about every business decision you make. Determine how it will effect your finances, personal life, and overall happiness. If it doesn’t fit, don’t do it.
- Never stop educating yourself, innovating, pushing for that next level of success. Complacency will destroy you.
- Learn to be patient and content, no matter where your business is at.
- Be humble – the world has enough assholes.