821
7 min 46 sec

College Grads Start Multi-Million Dollar Agency in Social Media Wild West

Today’s featured hustlers were in the first wave of college students to use Facebook. It didn’t take long to see how big it would become—and how much money they could make with it.
High Profit Marketing Service Social Media

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What It's About

Opposites attract to take advantage of a growing marketing opportunity!

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Marketing & Networking
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

This is a gold rush, moment-in-time story. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same thing now that these people did. So why tell the story? Because the world is constantly changing. We’re always in the midst of one gold rush or another.

When I tell you these historical stories, ask yourself, “Where is the wild west now? What is the opportunity that people are missing, where can I find my gold rush?”

Fun Fact

Katie and Adam couldn’t be more different. They used to have yelling matches that would lead their employees to thinking the company was shutting down. They realized they had to change their debate style before all their employees got tired of it and left.

Notes from Chris

Episode 821
In the pioneer days before Facebook was overrun by memes and fake news, before ads found their way in-between every post, and before just anyone could sign up … it was for college students only. It was also the new wild west for advertising to young people.

Katie Witkin and Adam Gorode didn’t know each other yet, but they were already on paths that would lead to them meeting and building a multi-million dollar cultural ad agency together—and it would all begin with Facebook.

When Adam graduated from Syracuse, he jumped into a handful of internships with companies like Columbia Records. The two music businesses were successful doing things they’d pretty much always done, but Adam saw a new, growing marketing opportunity: this thing called social media.

He began posting events on Facebook with some dramatic results—concerts that traditionally took days of canvassing on campus began selling out in 24 hours. Parties were swamped with hundreds of attendees from out of nowhere. The new platform was unbelievably effective at engaging with people on a deeper, cultural level when compared to traditional ads or flyers.

Adam soon went to work at an early-stage digital agency—but he would only be there a few months. When the economy collapsed, he was let go, but not before he’d gained all the experience he needed. He started pitching and picking up freelance clients around the entertainment industry.

Meanwhile, Katie was on a similar journey. She too would be laid off from a 9-5 job in the marketing world a couple years later, but not before meeting Adam at a concert she attended for her own music blog, which was well known. The two hit it off over the next few months, sharing social media strategies and talking about freelance clients over Google chat.

Katie made it the fourth round of interviews of her next job, but before she went to the office, she realized she didn’t even want it. The digital advertising she was doing on the side with music clients who came from her blog was her real passion—and Adam was already gung ho about starting their own agency. She dropped out of the running for the job, and jumped into a new project: to co-create a new cultural marketing agency.

And they called it AGW Group.

The first couple of years came with highs and lows. They somehow generated $500,000 in revenue by the end of that first year, with clients that included MTV and Conde Nast—but they didn’t take any salary for themselves so they could hire employees.

Year 3 turned into a more lucrative year! They finally began taking salaries, and they took out health insurance policies for everyone in the company.

Katie and Adam have been intentional about management ever since—and the results have been dramatic in the long-run. The company itself can now change course for clients like a small motorboat instead of a slow cruise ship. Their employees all the freedom to pursue their own hustles after work. And AGW? Well, it's now a multi-million dollar business.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • AGW Group: Learn more about this mega successful marketing firm over on Katie and Adam's website!

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"The offerings we provide and the industry change on a constant basis. It's way more fun and interesting, and keeps us well-rounded. We're essentially going into 6th year of the company for the first time. Every year is brand new."
—Katie Witkin & Adam Gorode #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau