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Dmitriy Pisarev became fascinated with computers and started building his first website at a very young age. He never lost that fascination and eventually got interested in direct response marketing, copywriting, and e-commerce marketing optimization, which is what led to starting his agency Conversion Whisperer. However, with diverse interests and a wide range of skills, Dmitriy has had a hard time choosing a specific niche. In this conversation with Jason they talk about how he changed his perspective on what his agency is, the struggle between niching down or going wide, and how figuring out your 'why 'should always be at the core of everything you do.

3 Golden Nuggets

  1. Should you niche? Dmitriy loved to lead his business by looking for new challenges that sound interesting, fun or like a difficult problem. However, he was made aware of a rule in business that you should pick a market, pick a service, and focus on that. “It sounds very easy,” he comments, “but in a way, it’s more difficult”. He can see the benefits and downsides of both. On one side, you're forced to do things that are not necessarily repeatable and are not scalable by not picking a market. But on the other, you're able to learn so much in those ventures, like is his case in e-commerce. He has been able to explore that space and is happy with the things he has learned by not niching down. It takes time to figure out a direction for your business.
  2. On creating an assembly line. Sometimes agency owners believe that they can teach other people to be the unicorns that they are. “It’s like Superman trying to teach people how to fly,” Dmitriy says. People may not have the experience to comprehend what you’re expecting. When you have a lot of talents and a lot of experience and can solve any problem better than most people, it may be difficult when you start to create a team and they can’t keep up. Dmitriy realized that it's about creating an assembly line, a process that could be followed from start to finish without many tangents in an expected way with everything to set it up. The only way to do that is to niche down.
  3. Figure out your 'why.' What is your reason for growing an agency? Do you know what it is? Are you after a specific lifestyle or want to accumulate a certain wealth that you can pass on to your grandchildren? Why are you pushing through? It may sound corny, but not everyone has figured out their motivation. Dmitriy believes this is the core of everything. “Once you figure out your why, revisit it,” he says. “Figure it out. Make sure it's aligned. Talk with your partner about it with your team, your leadership, just so they're all aligned.” If the trophy is worth it, maybe you'll do something that's not as exciting but drives revenue.

Sponsors and Resources

Wix: Today's episode is sponsored by the Wix Partner Program. Being a Wix Partner is ideal for freelancers and digital agencies that design and develop websites for their clients. Check out Wix.com/Partners to learn more and become a member of the community for free.

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Choose Your Path Between Niching Down or Going Wide and Figure Out Your Why

{These transcripts have been auto-generated. While largely accurate, they may contain some errors.}

Jason: [00:00:00] What's up, everybody? I got another amazing guest and episode for you. One of our mastermind members. And we're going to talk about, should you niche, or should you go wide? He's been debating about this for a long time and it's going to be a really cool episode. He's a lot of fun, very smart. And let's get into the episode.

Hey, Dmitriy. Welcome to the show.

Dmitriy: [00:00:27] What’s going on, Jason?

Jason: [00:00:30] Yeah. Tell us who you are and what do you do?

Dmitriy: [00:00:33] A marketer aspiring to be a great leader. Run an agency that's focused on traffic, funnels, and email nurture sequences. And, um, we work with cool people. That's the qualifier.

Jason: [00:00:47] Well, why do you work with me?

Dmitriy: [00:00:52] You're, you're kind of a cool guy sometimes.

Jason: [00:00:53] Sometimes. Sometimes.

Dmitriy: [00:00:54] Yeah. When the moon aligns.

Jason: [00:00:56] That's right. So tell us, how did you get started in this agency life? Why did you start an agency?

Dmitriy: [00:01:02] Has anyone ever given you like a linear answer where it's like, oh, I went to school for this. You know, took a course and graduated and…

Jason: [00:01:11] No. No one has.

Dmitriy: [00:01:12] Yeah, I don’t think it works that way.

Jason: [00:01:13] Yeah, it doesn’t.

Dmitriy: [00:01:15] Yeah, man. I, I got fascinated with, uh, computers when I was, when I was nine years old and I built my first website right around then. And just, I discovered the magic of the internet. Just been fascinated with it ever since. Got really big into, uh, or deep into direct response marketing, copywriting. Then e-commerce marketing optimization.

I feel like I'm, uh, collecting coins along the path of like different skillsets that will help me in the future. So really the agency was the evolution of not being able to handle the opportunities that were coming in. And for the longest time it's been like, we're an anti-agency agency where, you know, we we're, we're not what other agencies are.

We worked with a very limited amount of clients and it's, uh, you know, service, integrity and dedication to delivering on the promises that we set is really important. And then just out of necessity, hiring a team, and then all of a sudden it's like, well, you guys are an agency. So I guess we are.

Jason: [00:02:18] Yep. Awesome. Why do you say anti-agency? You know, there's so many people that kind of say that. Like they think agency means something bad. And I get it, cause I'm the same way about coaching. I think coaches are full of shit. I think most coaches are the ones that have never done anything. Why do you think so many people are, they'll be like, oh no, I'm not an agency.

I'm like you get paid for services, marketing services…?

Dmitriy: [00:02:44] Yeah, man. And like, you've, you've really helped me change the perspective on that just last year. You know, I feel like there's a presupposition to what an agency is, or like a, a misunderstanding. And it's, it's just based off of the bad taste that's been left in people's mouths working with people who are more focused on the recurring revenue than the, the value of the relationship.

So, you know, in a weird way, it is kind of like a, a way to reframe the relationship and just help them better understand that things are going to be different around here. And one of our qualifiers is that clients had to have fired at least three agencies before working with us. So they know that it's not a fluke, right?

So they know that it wasn't just a, the person didn't get me or they didn't pay attention or they didn't understand. You know, it's like, no, this, this is really difficult, right? Just past having a plan of action and then being able to execute on it. When you are working in an agency environment, having that leadership in place, the processes, the systems to support communication and milestones and targets.

If you're looking at it purely from a hitting a certain goal of recurring revenue, it feels like what we're doing is a little different. And part of that is also the complexity of some of the messes that we've gotten ourselves into by really me leading us into the unknown of like the complexities of, hey, this client has this specific need. No one's been able to solve it for them.

This sounds interesting. This sounds really fun. It sounds like a difficult problem. I love puzzles. Let's try to figure it out and let's set clear expectations that we haven't done this before. We do understand kind of what it encompasses and how to approach it, and we're able to pivot quickly.

So if you're up for it, let's try to figure it out. And that's been, you know, part of the distraction.

Jason: [00:04:36] Yeah, totally agree. So let's get into kind of the colossal decision for, you know, niching down or going wide. Walk us through kind of what you've been through, you know, with trying to make this decision. Cause I've, I've witnessed it firsthand.

Dmitriy: [00:04:53] Yeah. It's like, uh, we get those flashbacks of PTSD. The war images.

Jason: [00:05:00] I'm trying to make you cry. That's my goal.

Dmitriy: [00:05:06] Yeah. Yeah, man. So look… There's this concept of building a business and an assembling a business that, um, I've been made aware of just very recently. And I think building an agency is, is… You've told me when we first started working together, like pick a market, pick a service and focus on that, which is really easy to say.

And I think there's been a lot of experience and realizations that are, have become so true to you that it's almost like not an option to go down the other path. In a way, this is the difficult. Playing the video game on difficult, because you're, you're forced to do things that are not necessarily repeatable that are not scalable by not picking a market. But you're able to learn so much in those ventures because we serve e-commerce.

And e-commerce itself is a very interesting and really broad space. Like we've done supplements, which are some of the most restricted things to, to market online, like the amount of compliance and crossing the T's and dotting the I's required there. So I've enjoyed the learnings that we've been able to achieve by not niching down.

And I feel like the realization now, when I'm looking at the efficiency of the team and our… Certain tasks that haven't been done before causing drag and lag on finishing a project that I would have been able to do.

So let me back up for a second then helping make sure I don't lose focus. One of the things that I heard is sometimes agency owners believe that they can teach other people to be the unicorns that they are. And effectively it's like Superman teaching people how to fly. They don't have that skill. They don't have that experience. They don't have the, the width of knowledge to be able to comprehend even what you're talking about.

So when you have a lot of talents and a lot of experience, and can pretty much solve any problem better than most of the people out there… In my experience, I became fascinated with that, just the, the joy of solving a complicated problem. So in that transition to an agency, I built a team to support me in that.

And what I found myself doing is expecting them to be able to read my mind of like, hey, go do this. And it's like, well, I expected them to end up here. And they ended up in a totally different area. So having those kinds of realizations that it's about assembling, creating an assembly line that a process could be followed from start to finish without many tangents in an expected way with everything to set it up, to request everything that's needed to deliver on it. The only way to do that is to niche down.

So my realization it's been 13, 14 years of, of doing this formally, is that in order to get to a certain revenue goal while keeping services at a specific level of excellence… You have to standardize, you have to have, create a process that's bulletproof.

Kind of like cars’ quality assurance. Like when Tesla started out, their QA was kind of shoddy. Cars were coming in, the panels had too many gaps between them or inconsistencies or like Ford's got it down. So…

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Jason: [00:08:24] Not on the Bronco launch.

Dmitriy: [00:08:26] Yeah. I heard about that. And you got, you got one, right?

Jason: [00:08:28] No, no, I'm still waiting. I ordered a year ago.

Dmitriy: [00:08:32] Okay. Okay. Yeah. I'm waiting on my Tesla. Hopefully I get it before I turned 60. T Cyber Truck. So in a way it's been something that has been kind of like a worm eating away at the fruit. Where I know that I have to do it, but there's also this joy and excitement and fulfillment of solving complicated problems and loving marketing, loving the technology that supports advertising, marketing, and sales that prevents me from, you know, really picking a, a narrow space.

So what we've done is we've said we help with demand generation by building conversion driven funnels, which we send highly optimized traffic to. And then the people that don't take that don't convert right away at the ideal level, we have a nurture sequence that joins the prospect exactly where their mind’s at in the conversation and making that decision to take that next step forward.

So we haven't really niched down, but we are streamlining a type of service and a type of focus. And then it's about qualifying the prospects that we work with and kind of like figuring out our north star as we make our way down there.

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Yeah. And everybody listening, it just takes some time. I mean, it takes some time in order to figure out the direction, who you're going after. And the biggest thing is, is just figuring out who can you help the most and putting criteria around it. And it doesn't have to be a particular industry.

You just have to know that particular person and know how to find them as well. And then when they do see you, it's kind of like… I always love to hear people are like, man, I, I started listening to your podcast and it felt like you were tapping into my office. That's kind of by design, right? Like I do have really good technology to tap into your office and here…

Dmitriy: [00:11:21] You’re a spy. Yeah.

Jason: [00:11:22] I’m a spy, yeah.

Dmitriy: [00:11:23] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jason: [00:11:24] Dmitriy sets up the technology and I was the mastermind behind it. Well, this has all been amazing, Dmitriy. And I think this really will help some people out with figuring out like, you know, especially if you've hit a certain ceiling, a lot of times it's just a little adjustments. Sometimes if you haven't picked a niche and really got really clear at your audience, sometimes that allows you to go to the next level.

So is there anything I didn't ask you, Dmitriy, that you think would help the audience?

Dmitriy: [00:11:56] One of the things that I feel like is a great, great pre-phase to this conversation is what is your reason in growing an agency? You know, and you talk about this a lot too. Are you building a lifestyle? You know, you're trying to get a mega yacht?

Are you trying to, you know, make sure that your kids and your grandkids don't want for anything? Are you just trying to get a bunch of skills so that you can buy and flip companies in the future? Like Simon Cenex, why I'm like, man, I, so many people recommended that book to me and I'm like, I've seen the Ted talk. I've seen his YouTube videos. I get it.

But it really is at the core of everything. Like, why are you doing this? Why are you pushing through this? Because if the trophy is worth it, maybe you'll do something that's not as exciting but drives revenue creates value for the people that you serve and gives an opportunity to create jobs for people and value and give them a place to learn.

So yeah, figure out your why.

Jason: [00:12:50] Yeah. I love that. Because you know, there's so many people that are running digital agencies that are kind of just going through the movements and the motions and they don't know where to go. They're just…

Dmitriy: [00:13:01] You can hit a million doing that.

Jason: [00:13:03] You're not staying consistent. You're going down, so…

Dmitriy: [00:13:07] Yeah, man. And look, you can hit a million dollars figuring things out, right? Like that's, that's the thing. It's like a million dollars in revenue is not this next worldly goal. Uh, you can do that stumbling along and figuring things out. But like once you get there, what's going to push you forward to standardize, to create processes, to do all these things that are going to help you scale?

So, yeah, to the guys listening, if you have a why, revisit it. Figure it out, you know, make sure it's aligned. Talk with your partner about it with your team, your leadership, just so they're all aligned. Yeah.

Jason: [00:13:41] Awesome.

Dmitriy: [00:13:41] Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Jason: [00:13:43] What's the website for the agency where people can go and check you guys out?

Dmitriy: [00:13:47] So Business Jet Pack is going to be the one that's going to be rebuilt, uh, by Q1 of 2022, depending on when this gets released, it might already be live. But, uh, you can learn more about us at conversionwhisperer.com. Or, you know, really, if you just want to connect, find me on LinkedIn, Dmitriy Pisarev. So, yeah, I think you'll spell my name correctly on the title there…

Jason: [00:14:07] But spell it this one more time for the people listening. If they can remember.

Dmitriy: [00:14:12] They won't remember. It'll be we, we'll include a link forum. Yeah,

Jason: [00:14:18] I know it is difficult to spell, so awesome. Well, Dmitriy…

Dmitriy: [00:14:22] Appreciate it, Jason.

Jason: [00:14:24] Yeah. Thanks so much for coming on the show. Make sure you guys go check out both websites and really connect with Dmitriy. He is an amazing person. Really, really smart. And I love having him in the mastermind.

And if you want to be around other amazing members like Dmitriy and be able to hang out, ask them questions, see what's working. I'd love to invite all of you to go to digitalagencyelite.com. This is our exclusive mastermind for experience agency owners that are wanting to grow faster that have a team and that are not douchebags.

So you're not a douche bag, if you're a digital agency owner, you want to scale faster, go to digitalagencyelite.com.

And until next time, have a Swenk day.

Direct download: Do_You_Struggle_Deciding_Between_Niching_Down_or_Going_Wide_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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