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EPISODE 003: HOW JENNIFER SPIVAK WENT FROM SOLO ONLINEPRENEUR TO 35K/MONTH ONLINE FACEBOOK ADS AGENCY

Jennifer Spivak has built a great Facebook advertising online business helping hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs leverage the power of Facebook advertising. 

She first started out in the digital marketing world doing everything from SEO to web design, before realising that Facebook advertising was the best way for her to generate results for her clients.

Growing an online business is not easy, which is why I wanted to bring on Jennifer so that she can share more about her journey as online entrepreneur starting out, finding clients, retaining clients, and growing her business.

"I am always running a top of the funnel Facebook ad campaign to get new leads. I drive traffic from this ad to my landing page where I offer a free lead magnet "Facebook Ads Checklist". That is how I bring people into my world."

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Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The mindset shift from being a solo entrepreneur and doing everything to running and growing a remote team
  • How Jennifer has grown her business through word-of-mouth and paid advertising
  • The Facebook ad funnel that she runs to constantly get new leads
  • The biggest challenge she has faced growing her online business
  • The reason why Jennifer thinks her Facebook ads management agency has thrived where many have failed
  • Her future plans to grow her business

Full Transcript

Chrys: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of Hack Your Online Business. Now today I'm thankful that you're here with me and my guest, Jennifer Spivak, also known as the Facebook Ads girl. Now we're going to be talking about how Jennifer has built a 35K monthly online business helping other businesses leverage the power of Facebook advertising.

Jennifer first started out in the digital marketing world doing everything from SEO to web design before realizing that Facebook advertising was the best way for her to generate results for her clients. Now today she has built a great Facebook advertising online business helping hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs. Jennifer was also a speaker for one of my online conferences.

Now growing an online business is not easy, which is why I wanted to bring on Jennifer so that she can share more about her journey as an online entrepreneur, starting out finding clients, retaining clients, and growing her business. Here she is. Jennifer, welcome to the Hack Your Online Business podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Jennifer: Thank you for having me. I love coming to all your stuff, Chrys.

Chrys: Awesome. I want us to always start with introduction so that my listeners can know more about you. So tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today and what you do in your business.

Jennifer: Yeah. So I mean actually our introduction up until this point was perfect, but my entire business is helping entrepreneurs, primarily women entrepreneurs, grow and scale their businesses through Facebook advertising. It's really my entire focus.

I guess big picture, the thing that I like to talk about all the time is I don't do social media and I hate getting put into that bucket. I do customer acquisition and Facebook ads are just my sort of tool of the day because it's the best thing out there. Again as you had mentioned, and let's see what else, what's really cool is I'm actually coming up on my four year anniversary of being in business. So I've been doing this for awhile and yeah, just kind of excited to share with you and your listeners today about what I've learned over the last four years.

Chrys: And I bet you have a lot to share. Are you currently working as a solo online entrepreneur or do you have a remote team right now?

Jennifer: Such a good question and something that's actually in the process of shifting. So pretty much for the first, I want to say almost a full three and a half years, I was doing and running this business 100% by myself. Yes, every once in a while I would have an intern or a VA, but it was really solely me and it's only been in the last months or so that I have made a very specific effort to start building out a team.

So as of today I have a VA who is remote, I have a more senior employee who's almost like my COO and my strategist and she is also remote, and then I have two more junior staff members who I actually do work with in-person. So now we're kind of a team of four plus the VA, which is really cool.

Chrys: I love that because I feel like it's a stage that a lot of us listeners who are listening right now, we are at the stage where we are growing our business from a solo entrepreneur to having this team. So I'm just gonna curious, what is it like trying to scale your team from you alone, doing everything by yourself, to now you have delegating stuff to different people to do?

Jennifer: Yeah. So I'm not going to sugar coat, it's hard as hell. Oh my God, the last couple of months have been like just a constant tearing my hair out and then loving my team and then being like, what am I doing? And then being like, Oh my God, this is amazing. So it's just back and forth. And you know, I think the biggest thing that I've learned in the last six months is I basically am starting a brand new role.

Before I was the sales person and the campaign strategist and the implementer and the client engagement manager and all of those things. And now I'm really having to step into like actually being a CEO and it's weird. And it's completely different. So that's the biggest adjustment is me having to really realize that even though I'm in the same business, my role and the expectations for myself are entirely different.

And in the beginning there was this period of like, wait, I don't think I'm good at this. And that's scary when you've been good at your business for so long to suddenly be in this role of Ooh, like this is not familiar or comfortable, I don't think I'm good at this.

But I will say that I feel like I'm kind of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel over the last couple of weeks where I can kind of start to see, okay, this is just new and it actually is something I could be good at. But it's just a completely different role.

Chrys: I agree. And I want to stress how important it is that scaling a team from just you to five, 10 other people is so important if you want to scale up your online business. I mean there's only so much we can do right, Jennifer? Like I cannot possibly do everything, all the editing, all the recording, all the content, writing every single thing by myself. So something has to give.

If I don't hire more people like you are right now, then you cannot grow your online business beyond what you're currently doing. So it's so important that people think about that and not try to, I know it's important, like you want to save money, we all want to save money. You all want to get the maximum profit out of every sale that we make, but it's so important to realize how important it is to get help, getting all these help when you need it.

So when you first started Jennifer, you were working on different things like SEO to website designs to ads. What was that turning point that made you decide to niche down and focus on offering only one service - Facebook advertising?

Jennifer: Yeah, it's kind of exactly what you said in the beginning. It was just realizing that this was the best way for me to get tangible, measurable results for my clients. And you know, on the other side of it also, I think I realized it was a lot easier to sell that service. And as you mentioned, I have training in and I could be implementing social media content, SEO, Google ad words, and a billion other things that I've done in the past.

But I think when it was early on and I was figuring out how to bring clients in the door, it was such a different conversation on the sales calls. If I'm talking about we're gonna create this content for you and people are going to engage with it and love it. And it's like, okay, I mean that sounds nice versus I'm going to set up a system that within three months is going to consistently and scalably make you 10 times what you're putting in.

It was just such a different conversation and when I realized how easy it was to sell it and that I could actually then deliver on those results, there was kind of no turning back.

Chrys: And I love that you niched down because so many entrepreneurs, they try to go wide, right? They try to offer a service that reached everybody. Everybody will buy it. But it turns out that their messaging is all over the place and they speak to nobody at all. So I'm so glad you brought it up because I'm all about niching down and being known for whatever that one thing is.

And Jennifer, you are the Facebook ads girl. I am the, what am I, the online conference person? Someone needs a Facebook ads expert to go to you. They don't come to me. And someone who wants an online conference, they come to me.

So did you get backlash from your then existing clients who now had to work with other people for those other services like SEO and web design?

Jennifer: Yeah, so no, actually what I did is I slowly transitioned out of offering those other services. So I didn't like immediately cut the people I was doing SEO or content or social media for. I just stopped selling that and I changed my branding and I changed my sales process. But really it was almost a full year of time until which I had completely phased out those clients.

I never said I can't work with you anymore. I just said I'm not actively offering this service anymore. But like let's keep working together until it stops being a fit. And I think for any business providing a marketing service, no client stays with you forever. That's just par for the course. So eventually over time I had phased out all of those clients and was only working with Facebook ad clients.

Chrys: Now I am most curious about your growth strategies. I'm sure you've come a long way from when you first started online business. So when you decide to start focusing on Facebook ads, do you remember what were the strategies you use to get these new clients coming in for this new service?

Jennifer: Definitely. And there was a couple of things. Now, one of the things that I always talk about, which relates to the benefit of niching down is because I was so specifically known as the Facebook ads girl, even before I'd kind of been officially given that name, so to speak.

What had ended up happening is that the word of mouth, even before I had a ton of case studies or experience under my belt, the word of mouth was so strong because anybody I knew, friends, colleagues, people I was masterminds with, if they were anywhere and somebody said Facebook ads, they said Jennifer. Like it just was happening so organically because what I did was so specific and I wasn't like, Oh, I do social media, I do digital marketing, you know, all these things.

So word of mouth by far was one of the biggest things that got me to like my first 5 figure month for example. And then just being really, really visible, both in person networking events, I did a lot of speaking gigs and then also online. It wasn't until honestly about a year and a half ago, two years that I started doing more like traditional sales funnels and online marketing. So much of it was just word of mouth and being super, super visible in the beginning.

Chrys: Right. And you just mentioned that you have kind of gotten into online marketing recently. So I'm just going to curious like what are these strategies that you're still using today to get your new clients?

Jennifer: Absolutely. So I can tell you like exactly the Facebook ad funnel that I use to get Facebook ad clients. It's kind of like inception cause I'm like doing Facebook ads. Anyway. So I'm always running a top of funnel, a lead magnet ad.

So basically these are ads that I'm showing to cold people based on certain interests that they have and I am driving people through this ad to a landing page where I offer, again this is my free lead magnet and it's a Facebook ads checklist and it basically says here are the 20 things to run through before you set up any Facebook ad campaign to make sure you're a set up for success as possible. That's where I bring people into my world and build my email list.

Now what I do on the thank you page after people have opted in for that is I have a trip wire product. So it's a $29 masterclass that I offer for a limited time. It's only available for 24 hours after somebody opts in. And what's really cool is that enough people go for that $29 trip wire offer that I tend to break even right away before I sell anything else on the lead magnet ads. So I'm able to add thousands of people to my list every month kind of for free. So that is one system in and of itself.

And then from there, once people are in my world, again, some of those people went for the trip wire, some of them didn't. I spend time before I make any specific offer, really, really, really nurturing this, these new audience members.

And the way that I do that, and we've spoken about this before, I think in your online summit that I was a part of the way that I do that is through evergreen Facebook live retargeting. And what I'm really meaning when I say that is pretty much once a week I sit down and I think about the questions my clients ask me this week and things that have come up and new changes with Facebook ads. And I talk on Facebook live for five minutes or 10 minutes. It's very informal, very authentic, and I'm just sharing really me and my knowledge and my wisdom and also it's very much my personalities in there and I kind of bombard people in a way with these videos.

So essentially once somebody enters my world, they're going to see these videos, they're going to see my face pretty much everywhere. And so again, I mean I'm providing good quality, knowledgeable info. I'm also really being 100% authentically me, which is important for this strategy to work. And then from there, once people have been nurtured for about seven to 10 days feeling like, who is this Jennifer chick? She's everywhere. She must be really credible. She must really know what she's talking about.

Then I basically send people an ad where they can book a call with me, which puts them into another funnel with a couple of emails in a sequence. Once they book the call with me and then I get people on the phone and close them.

And again, through all that nurturing, what often happens is people come on the phone with me and they'll say things like, I feel like I already know you or I can't go online without seeing your face or you just inspire trust. I'm like ready to go.

So it's almost like my marketing does the selling for me and by the time I get on the phone with people, they're pretty much a yes. Not only to knowing that they want to hire for Facebook ads, but knowing that they want to work with me.

Chrys: And do you still go to in person events and do you still use word of mouth referrals for new clients?

Jennifer: I definitely still get a lot of word of mouth business. I would say it's probably 35% of my business always. I don't do as much in person networking as I used to, but I definitely try to do speaking and interviews like this and things like that as much as possible to really always be expanding my network and look, obviously it's nice.

It's one thing if my ad says that I'm great, but it's also helpful if I'm getting interviewed somewhere and that other person is telling their audience and vouching for me that I'm also great. So I definitely try to continue to do a little bit of that.

Chrys: And that is so important to know because a lot of people, they start running ads to cold audiences and they're like, look how good I am. But there's no other proof besides their Facebook ads. And so I'm so glad you brought that up.

Now Jennifer, you're getting all these clients for your Facebook ads agency. What have you been doing to retain them and stop them from leaving?

Jennifer: Yeah. and that's actually something that I have, I'll be really honest, I haven't had a huge focus on until the last couple of months. I love sales and that's a place I feel comfortable. And retention was, I don't know, just a newer different animal for me. Again, almost more like stepping into this new CEO role came with this new focus of really focusing on retention.

And I think the biggest thing that I'm learning right now is you just make yourself kind of indisposable. So here's a really specific example. What I've been doing with a lot of my clients lately now that I haven't been so deep in implementation is I've been really making an effort to have regular phone calls with them. And that wasn't something I was doing in my business before. We were just sending out reports through email every week and here's the data and that's that.

Now I'm getting on the phone with these clients every week, not just to talk about Facebook ads, but to really be their digital strategists, to provide this high level strategy and guidance. I mean, some times even talking to clients about mindset work and how to manifest money and really be in a space to be able to receive the money that's potentially going to come from the leads I'm giving them. You know, reviewing their webinars with them.

And the perfect example of why that works so well is I had a client about a month ago, they were at the end of their month, they were ready to renew and we got on our phone on our weekly phone call and they flat out said, listen, we're out of money but we love you. And I'll be totally honest, we were having a down month that month. The ads just were not doing that great. It happens.

We've since recouped and everything is looking awesome now, but they more or less said like, we're gonna figure out how to pay you even though we're out of money cause we love you. And I'm looking at how I can continue to create that experience for all of my clients.

Chrys: What has been the biggest challenge you faced while trying to grow your client base and grow your online business?

Jennifer: Just one? I mean, I really do think the biggest thing is scaling and that encompasses so many of the more specific challenges like hiring and pricing. But it really is scaling because I want to make more money obviously. I want to help more women entrepreneurs make more money, obviously.

And at the same time, I didn't get into this to be glued to my computer 24 hours a day. So I also want the lifestyle that I'm like here on this planet to kind of live out, I guess. So it's that balance of, how do you make more money? How do you still keep your overhead reasonable? Do you make a course? It's a passive income. Is it being an affiliate?

Is it growing an agency and figuring out not only what can work financially, but what's gonna match up with who I am as a person, how I work and what's gonna really feel in alignment for me. And I'm still in the process I think of figuring that out. And I think maybe every entrepreneur kind of always is, if that makes sense. You know?

Chrys: I think we're always going through this process of figuring out whatever that challenge might be because what is a business if there are no challenges there, right? Like, Oh, I'm going to do this for five years and in five years time, my business is going to be perfect and there won't be challenges. Of course not, you can be doing this for 50 years and there will always be challenges.

So a lot of entrepreneurs who run service based business, they face a problem with growing their online business because there's only one of them, like I just said. And most of them offer services one on one. So how do you deal with that? If you want to scale your business, have you thought about this and all that to have your thoughts on that.

Jennifer: Yeah. So again, it was really about a year ago that I realized, you know, I'm kind of maxed out on my time one-to-one, and talking to all these other service-based entrepreneurs that I knew, the general consensus is when you hit that point, you have two choices. You either go the passive income route and you make a course or you hire people.

And actually, I tried both. The course was not the money maker that I really wanted it to be. I mean, look, I've got over 150 people in it. That ain't bad. They love it. But it was never the moneymaker that my one-to-one retainer services were. So it was a lot of trial and error of first seeing, Hey, can I do this passive income, laptop lifestyle, all of those most people out there who just sell courses on autopilot.

And it doesn't mean that I'd given up on that, but it wasn't flowing. It's hard to kind of even put my finger on what it was, but it wasn't flowing the way that my business normally did. And once I said, you know what, because before I really didn't want to hire anybody, I just didn't want to manage people. But once I got over that and said, why would I fight the side of my business that works? That's really what I was doing and saying, I don't want to do any more one to one. I just want to do the core stuff.

So again, in saying, wait a minute, this is what works. Let me go with this and hiring more people. There's been very much more of a flow over the last couple of months, even inside of the challenges that the one-to-one side of my business, the retainer stuff is what works, it's what people want and it's where I can provide the greatest value.

Chrys: I feel like a lot of people, especially if they are in the field of running an agency, they feel like right now I'm a solo person. My clients come to me because of me because of who I am now. If I bring in someone else, then the clients are going to leave because they're not going to deal with me. So there's this fear that they have to be one person doing every single day.

Jennifer: Oh my god, you hit nail on the head. I didn't even think of that until you just said it because that was a thing, a real block for me. And I don't think it's shifted until, this is a real story that happened several months ago. A woman that I knew, we were sort of going through the sales and proposal process. I really wanted to work with her. She could have been a perfect client for me.

And you know, in the end she said, I just wanted to let you know I went with somebody else. And I said, okay, awesome, thanks so much for letting me know. Do you mind my asking why?

And she said something along the lines of they just had a bigger team and more people who were copywriters and more people who could give input. And I was like, Oh, a team is an asset. And the funny thing was even at that time I had somebody working for me.

But because I believe that thing you first said that people are hiring for me, I actually downplayed the fact that I had some people on my team. I tried to have clients know that they were always going to be working with me. And what I continue to see... And look, I'm still the main touch point for my clients. That may change at some point, but for now I am.

But I continue to see that that is actually a huge asset to clients. And yes, they still come to me for me because I am the brand. But having people with different skill sets under me makes everything that I do 10 times better.

Chrys: Let's use the example of Gary V, right? So Gary V's agency, it's not just Gary V doing every single thing, right? So Gary V's is great example. He uses a brand to drawn in new clients, but he has a huge team to help him with each individual client. He's not the one doing one-on-one with everyone. Can you just imagine his whole day just talking to different clients? That's impossible.

Now Jennifer, I'm sure you know many others who also run Facebook ads as their business, whether they own an agency or they're a solopreneur. I know I do. So what do you think is or are the reasons that you have been able to grow your business to 35K monthly, whereas there are some Facebook ads experts or agencies who have not been able to really grow their business or have kind of stagnated their growth?

Jennifer: I think there's a couple of things. The first thing that comes to mind is, and this is just fact, I'm really, really good at sales. I just am. It comes naturally to me. So to not address that is not being authentic. So I'm lucky in that I'm really good at sales. I think another important thing is before I was doing this on my own, I was a part owner and managing director of another digital agency that I had started with a business partner. And even though I was managing director and part owner, I was getting a salary while I was there.

So essentially what I got to do was play entrepreneur with somebody else's money cause I had kind of full reign and control over growing and building that business and making all the mistakes that people make. But again, it wasn't my money at stake. I always had a salary. So it's almost like I got to make all of the mistakes that a person would make in starting an agency in the first few years in that other company.

By the time I was doing it for myself, I knew exactly what not to do. I knew the pitfalls that every person goes through before they learn never to do that thing again. So I definitely had that advantage. And then I think the other thing is I do a hell of a lot of mindset work.

And if you're an entrepreneur and you're only focusing on the tactical and the strategy and you're not working on your mindset, you're really missing out on a huge chunk of what can make you successful.

Chrys: Right. And so you were mentioning a few pitfalls that you experienced in the agency. Can you just kind of walk us through what those are?

Jennifer: Yeah, I mean, I think it's just really common stuff. Like not being really diligent about scope creep. So wanting to be a yes to everything that the client says, and then all of sudden you're working 80 hours a month for a client that's paying you $1,500. That's one thing.

Another thing, and this is the simplest thing that every entrepreneur I've ever spoken to has made this mistake before. They never made it again, which is not getting paid up front. So I don't do work until the money comes in. And that is a complete and total non-negotiable. I've worked with larger companies who are like, but our terms are net 60 and I'm like, that's really nice. That's not my terms. This is how it is.

And at the other agency we completely lost money, not getting paid for our project. Made that mistake once. Once you see it, you never make it again.

Chrys: Jennifer, you have built this 35K monthly online business. My question is, what's the next goal for you? You know, 35K per month is not a small figure, even though I know you live in New York. It is what some people earn in a year in the United States. Right?

But we're all entrepreneurs. We always want to grow a business. So what plans do you have right now to keep growing your business? Are you taking on more clients? Are you working on new projects? Do tell us more about that.

Jennifer: Yeah. So this might sound delusional to some people, but delusional is always been something that works me. So my goal for my goal for 2019 is a million and I'm going forward. And I think it's I just don't see why not, you know, from this podcast to God's ears. And yeah, I'm definitely taking on more clients.

I am building out and strengthening my team, putting standard operating procedures and processes in place so that it's easier to manage more people. And I'm getting more into doing corporate trainings, which I've done here and there a little bit where I go into organizations and train their marketing department. And that's like, a one shot where I can make 10 or 15 grand in a day.

And that is definitely something that is probably a little bit more scalable than the one to one work. So it's figuring out different service offerings and growing out the team, I think is the main focus for the next six to 12 months.

Chrys: Are you actively looking for companies, do you actively reach out to them or are they looking for you right now?

Jennifer: A little bit of both. Who I'm actually really interested in working with, which is kind of a new thing, PR agencies. Because they're already providing some level of marketing communications service to their clients and when they can add Facebook ads, it's like this add on service.

So basically what I can do is go into their organization and not just train them on Facebook ads one-on-one and how to use it, but here's how to actually sell and package the service, so I can literally help them make more money in their business from their clients while they're helping their clients. So I have been doing some outreach to PR agencies specifically.

Chrys: Now. Jennifer, leave us with your final tip on growing an online business.

Jennifer: That's a tough one. It's corny cause I think you hear it all the time, but it's so true. Be really, really clear on why you're doing what you're doing and have reminders or things or whatever baked into your day to day to bring you back to that. Because even though we know that the goal is to only focus on the things you love, part of building a business is sometimes doing the things that you don't love.

And if you can't have that constant ringing back to, Oh yeah, this is like why I'm up to this, this is why I'm doing this, the stuff that you don't like ain't that fun. So I think that's it.

Chrys: This is a perfect way to close out this episode. Jennifer, I cannot thank you enough for providing so much valuable information. Now before we go, Jennifer, where can my listeners learn more about you?

Jennifer: You can just go on over to my website. It's www.jenniferspivak.com. I've got tons of free content free blog posts and yes, if you go there, I will be retargeting you.

Chrys: And that I can definitely guarantee you will experience that, because Jennifer, you've been following me on every single website I've been on. Thanks guys for spending time with me and Jennifer, head on over to hackyouronlinebusiness.com. You can find the show notes, links, and everything that we just talked about. Thanks Jennifer, it has been awesome having you share your knowledge today.

Jennifer: Thank you, Chrys.

Chrys: Hey guys. Once again, thank you so much for being here. I cannot wait to see you in the next episode.

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