Pivot, and pivot quickly. The moment that you discover that there’s a better way, and once you’ve thought through it, there’s no time to waste…It’s always better to pivot now rather than later.

 

Digital marketer & entrepreneur. Founder & CEO of Array Digital. Host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast. Organizer of the Marketers Anonymous podcast and monthly meetups in multiple cities.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

We used to focus on custom software development and websites. With the many problems we solved for our clients, we noticed a pattern – many of our clients hired us to build a digital product but later failed to turn their creation into a thriving business.

The movie Field Of Dreams taught us that if you build it they will come. Turns out, that’s not exactly true in the business world.

To help our customers, we began to offer marketing services such as search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing. Digital marketing services were more valuable to our clients than just making websites and apps, so we pivoted to focus 100% on digital marketing in late 2017.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The alarm goes off at 4:59am. I could set it for 5am, but I like to think that I get up before 5am! It’s a little hack of mine.

I work from home for 1.5 hours mostly catching up on emails, planning my day, and reading those industry newsletters you never seem to have time to get to. Then I pack up and get to the gym at about 7am. I’m going to run 1,000 miles in 2019, which is about 3 miles a day, so I go every morning whether I feel like it or not. After a quick shower, I’m off to the office.

The office comes to life at 9:17 for our morning huddle with the whole team. The day is typically filled with meetings, recording podcast episodes, and business development. I spend some time promoting our business and my personal brand (which in turns promotes the business) through social media. The day usually wraps up by 5pm. A few days a week, I’ll hit the gym again for weight training, then home for dinner and time with the family.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I get a ton of ideas for the business from podcasts and industry news. I consume a lot, from a lot of sources, and each offers at least a nugget or two of information we can act on immediately.

One of our core values is Urgency. When it’s time to shift, I gather either the management team or the whole team, explain what needs to change and why, and then we pivot. We micro-pivot literally on a daily basis…always aiming to improve what we do and how we work.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Voice has a powerful future. Podcasts have been around for over a decade, but there’s been a seismic shift in the past few years towards consuming information in audio form.

The era of websites and mobile apps is complete. There’s a new land grab opportunity with Flash Briefings on Amazon’s Echo platform. At present, there are fewer than 9,000 daily flash briefings servicing an estimated 30 million flash briefing listeners. If you’re not already on there, you should be.

We launched two audio series this year. Journey to $100 Million is an entrepreneurially focused daily podcast and Flash Briefing that chronicles the steps we’re taking to build the company to be a $100 million company by 2030. We also launched the Marketers Anonymous podcast which provides the audio versions of talks given at the in-person meetups of the same name, which we host in multiple cities.

We are so bullish on audio that we’ve created a Podcasting service. All you have to do is record. We take care of the rest – editing, intro/outros, scheduling, transcribing to written format for long format blog posts, and promoting each episode on social media.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Waking up early. I get hours of additional work done every day. This sets me, and therefore us, up better against our more complacent competitors.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Work-wise, I think I needed to learn all of the lessons that I’ve learned. Had I not, I would not be where I am at now. I wish the cycle would have occurred faster, but sometimes these things take time.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Squats are the best!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Pivot, and pivot quickly. The moment that you discover that there’s a better way, and once you’ve thought through it, there’s no time to waste. Doing something the same way means that momentum sets in. If you realize it needs to change, the more time that passes, the harder you’re going to work against the momentum that you set into place originally. It’s always better to pivot now rather than later.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We never assume what prospective clients need, and we don’t take their word for it either. Once we validate that they’re a fit for us, we conduct a 25-point Digital Marketing Review where we evaluate what’s going well, and not so well, in their current digital marketing. Once we do that, we know exactly where their holes are and how we can fill those holes. We pitch based on that pre-sales work – we don’t assume how we can help them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My history is littered with failures. I’ve dissolved previous companies, parted ways with partners, re-branded multiple times, run out of money and funded companies from my personal assets. These are setbacks – not failures. It’s only a failure if you fail to learn a lesson. Instead of sulking, I/we ask ourselves what lesson is there to be learned from the experience. Do that enough and you become indestructible.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Two ideas:

a) Replying to comments you receive on social media is imperative. If someone has taken their time to comment on your content, you owe it to them to respond. I want an app that will fetch all new comments from all my social media so that I can reply efficiently from one place.

b) A helper app for GaryVee’s $1.80 growth strategy in which you leave your two cents (figuratively) on the top 10 trending posts in applicable hashtags. Right now you have to go find all that content. An app that gathers it for you so you and can effectively execute would be clutch.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A new pair of running shoes. The old shoes were ones I bought either at a big box store or on Amazon – I don’t recall. But I had no help in purchasing them. Once I started running daily, my left Achilles tendon got very sore very quickly. I went to the local running shop and their expert outfitted me with a new pair of shoes. I’m a naturally cheap guy, but I didn’t even care how much they were…I needed them. They were $120 or so – money well spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

G Suite. We max out on Google – email, calendar, file sharing, video calls, Google Assistant, Cast – just about every option they offer. For less than $10 per person per month, it’s a steal.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. As entrepreneurs, we naturally make decisions based on how much is in the bank. If there’s a good amount, we decide to spend. If there’s not so much, we tighten the belt. It doesn’t matter what our accountant says because we know that cash is king. Profit First reconciles this natural tendency with an easy system for using multiple bank accounts to split your funds into pots of money needed for different things like taxes, wages, and profit.

What is your favorite quote?

“They say success breeds envy. I guess it’s just the penalty of leadership. “ Jay Z

Key Learnings:

  • Don’t waste your time. Get up early and get a jump on your work and your competition.
  • When you realize you need to change, now’s the time to pivot. Don’t wait. Every day means you’re fighting against the momentum you previously set into motion.
  • Look into voice, podcasting, and flash briefings. There’s an opportunity to be a pioneer when it comes to voice. Think about how you can incorporate that into your offering regardless of your industry.
  • Schedule time for exercise. Set aside time and make it happen.
  • Set goals for yourself and for your company. If you don’t, who will? Lead your company to a vision that you set.

Connect:

Company website: https://thisisarray.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iamerikjolson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamerikjolson
Instagram: https://instagram.com/iamerikjolson
Facebook: https://facebook.com/iamerikjolson
Medium: https://medium.com/@iamerikjolson
Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Erik-J-Olson