$8M in Agency Revenue, 12% Target Net Margin with BeFoundOnline.com CEO Dan Golden


In Episode #487, Nathan talks to Dan Golden, a veteran digital marketing executive and speaker who still spends time diving into analytics and making strategic recommendations for his clients. He has spent a lot of time on the client side with large agencies. Dan co-founded the digital agency “Be Found Online (BFO)” and has led the BFO team from his roots as a paid search agency to a full-service performance digital marketing agency. Listen as Dan talks about how he turned his side project, BFO, to a now, successful agency, making a 6-figure revenue.



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Great Game of Business
  • What CEO do you follow? – N/A
  • Favorite online tool? — Nudge
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Enjoy the journey”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:28 – Nathan introduces Dan to the show
  • 02:30 – Be Found Online is a digital marketing agency
    • 02:36 – BFO’s focus is to drive traffic and help their clients make money through that traffic
    • 02:45 – BFO’s processes have evolved over time
  • 03:15 – BFO was a side project for Dan and was called Be Found Local
  • 03:26 – Dan and his co-founder merged their businesses and started in January 2009
  • 03:40 – First year revenue for BFO was $200,000
  • 03:51 – 2015 revenue: $7 million
  • 04:15 – Dan shifted their goal from profitability to finding the right clients that fit BFO
  • 04:50 – Dan aims for 12% net revenue
  • 05:35 – Team size:
    • 05:37 – 50 full-timers in the USA
    • 05:43 – Total of 70 employees
    • 06:02 – The BFO army has grown considerably
  • 06:40 – BFO spends $50,000 a month on their software
  • 07:10 – “A lot of technology we do is client-specific”
  • 07:45 – “Many of the largest SaaS companies came from an agency model because an agency sees all the client-specific tools being used in the agency” – Nathan
  • 08:43 – “I don’t want to build something that is slightly a better version of something out there” – Dan
  • 09:50 – BFO has 60-80 active clients
  • 10:00 – BFO has served over 100 clients since they started
  • 10:14 – BFO has a big project yearly called “Perfect Client”
    • 10:20 – BFO is doing research and client analysis for every client they’ve worked on to figure out where they can do their best work, which client is the best to work with, and where to add value
    • 10:29 – BFO has turned down a lot of clients
    • 10:45 – “I don’t want to double our client base, I want to find the right types of clients.”
    • 11:02 – BFO wants to focus on enterprise clients
  • 11:10 – Average that the customer is paying BFO
    • 11:15 – $10,000 – $15,000 a month in fees
  • 11:50 – How do you calculate lifetime value?
    • 12:13 – Clients stay with BFO for a minimum of 12 months
  • 12:48 – BFO is making a minimum of $600,000 a month
  • 13:11 – Get in touch with Dan through Twitter, LinkedIn and BFO blog
  • 15:50 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. GREAT things can turn out unexpectedly.
  2. Business goals can change from time to time—be OPEN and FLEXIBLE for these changes.
  3. Make sure to ENJOY the journey.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks– The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • 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.
  • to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • @TheGoldenDan – Dan’s Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn – Dan’s LinkedIn account
  • BFO blog – Dan’s business blog
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives