From Cleaning Company at 26 to $14m Agency By His 42nd Birthday

Andrew Howlett

Summary:
In Episode #266 Nathan interviews Andrew Howlett, Chief Digital Officer at Rain, and a board member at the Society of Digital Agencies. Andrew started a million-dollar cleaning products business online at 26, before moving into marketing consultancy. Listen as Nathan and Andrew talk marketing, strategy, and how to get out of finance.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • What CEO do you follow? — Maurice Levy
  • What is your favorite online tool? — Pipedrive
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —That finance wasn’t the direction I wanted to go – it would have been great to understand computer science more

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:20 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:40 – Welcoming Andrew to the show
  • 02:00 – At 26, started a website that sold cleaning supplies
  • 02:35 – At 29, started Rain
  • 02:40 – uClean had total revenues of $200k in its first year; almost $1 million the next year
  • 03:30 – Clear around $200k each year from uClean
  • 04:05 – Rain’s latest client is BeachBody
  • 04:40 – Rain is helping them re-imagine their products
  • 05:00 – Revenue model is generally either a monthly retainer or T&M
  • 05:25 – Retainer of $50-75k per month
  • 05:55 – Works largely with 7 major clients
  • 06:30 – First-ever Superbowl ad this year – Campbells Chunky Soup
  • 06:55 – Wanted to focus on online placement
  • 08:10 – 90% of placement is hustle
  • 08:30 – They use People Pattern as a helpful piece of software
  • 09:10 – Ended up with 3.5 million views in 2 weeks
  • 10:00 – Made 3 videos for the Facebook 10-year anniversary
  • 11:10 – Margin on video can be tricky to handle
  • 11:56 – Total revenue in 2015 was $14 million
  • 12:30 – Vision is to keep strategy, design, development and building in-house
  • 14:20 – Happy with the current size of the company – no plans to grow dramatically
  • 14:30 – Connect with Andrew on Twitter or LinkedIn
  • 16:10 – Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. The majority of marketing is hustle. Automation helps, but to some extent you need to have real people pushing things along.
  2. There are benefits to limiting growth. Having a core team that’s small enough to be in the same room at the start of a project is fantastic.
  3. You need to understand how technology works. Even if you’re never going to be a developer, educate yourself in the basics. It will pay off.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.