Nick Santillo

Focus more on your impact and less on quantifying your physical and mental output.


Nick Santillo is the president of Fractl, a growth marketing agency based in South Florida. After his previous digital marketing agency, Voltier, was acquired in 2012, he started Fractl and grew it to a staff of 100+ and a roster of 60+ clients in just six years. He has a passion for innovating in the content marketing space and developing teams of talented people who aren’t afraid to be creative and take the kind of calculated risks that acquire amazing results for their clients. He’s extremely proud of the Fractl team, as the company was named a 2017 Inc 1000 Company and a 2019 Clutch Top Content Marketing Agency.

Where did the idea for Fractl come from?

We were inspired by what happens when content goes viral. The rapid cascading of a story from one major news publication to hundreds or even thousands is analogous to fractal patterns found in nature and mathematics.

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

No two days are the same, and that is what I love about leading Fractl. I have to keep a global perspective on the business to ensure we’re always growing, that workflows are manageable and that we’re a profitable venture. Most importantly, I have to keep a finger on the pulse of our culture and implementing ideas that keep us evolving. To achieve this, I regularly meet with leaders in marketing, sales, services, operations, and finance to ensure all aspects of the business are working towards the same goals.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Generating ideas that resonate takes a tremendous amount of research, experience and practice if your goal is to ideate prolifically. Bringing ideas to life is a whole other art form in and of itself. Hiring the right talent who are inspired to create something unique and new within the project constraints is key. Solid project management skills grounded by a solid feasibility review, component design and production blueprinting are second nature in the content production process. Soft skills like grit and persistence are used to iterate on components of a project until they fit together best to form the final product.

What’s one trend that excites you?

It’s really the convergence of two trends: Google’s algorithm becoming more sophisticated over time and the increasing public scrutiny of poor quality media and content online. The evolution of these two trends will hopefully result in higher quality information being created and consumed leading to a more educated world in the long-run. Conversely, content that isn’t up-to-snuff would be automatically deindexed by Google and appropriately flagged to inform consumers of its lack of value.

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

It’s critical for me to workout first thing in the morning to help turn my brain on and organize my thoughts and emotions. Without exercise, I find myself lethargic and operating at slower cognitive speeds.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Focus more on your impact and less on quantifying your physical and mental output.

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

Anything less than four shots of espresso is child’s play.

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

I recommend you sleep well. Too many people espouse taking hours from your sleep schedule and using it to be more productive. That’s not how human energy works. I’ve also never read a story of someone claiming they produce their best ideas and work while sleep deprived.

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

Specializing in what you love most about an industry that’s also a problem for many others. This allows you to do fewer things extremely well vs. doing many things sufficiently.

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

I let my previous agency be acquired by a larger agency only to realize 8 months later after it was too late to reverse that it was a poor business decision. I overcame it by starting Fractl. Doing more stringent opportunity assessment, financial due diligence, and trusting my gut are three things I’ve worked a lot on improving since making this mistake.

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

Online platforms specifically for spoiler-filled discussions about TV, movies, etc., or else Twitter will continue to destroy people’s dreams.

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

Dan and I have twin toddlers and two dogs so cleaning is a constant. We bought a robot mop because life’s too short to mop the house every night!

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

Hubspot. We’re in the process of migrating our sales and marketing workflows and are really looking forward to better syncing up the process of nurturing a potential client through to executing work for them.

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

“E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber because it introduces entrepreneurial perspectives that are transferable to many life scenarios.

What is your favorite quote?

“We offer three kinds of services: good-cheap-fast but you can only pick two. Good and cheap won’t be fast. Fast and good won’t be cheap. Cheap and fast won’t be good.”

Key Learnings:

  • Running a company isn’t just about making sure things are running smoothly; it’s also about keeping in touch with industry developments and making sure your company continues to evolve
  • Do fewer things extremely well rather than many things just sufficiently.
  • Instead of worrying about how productive you’re being, measure what your impact has been.