Last week, I spoke with Rhoda Brain Founder of Miint, A Digital Marketing Agency for SMEs. They specialise in everything from websites to branding, to SEO.
We discussed, life as a marketer, going at it alone, and how to deal with the success and downfalls of clients.
Article written by Claudia Lee, Founder of NEXUS. Speaking with Rhoda Brain professional marketer, and Founder of Miint Marketing.
Rhoda's journey towards starting her agency was not the typical one, or at least similar to mine. Unlike many other marketers who worked as freelancers before building their own agencies, she managed another agency, before becoming a consultant.
In her words, "I was working for another company. And at maximum, I think there were like 70 Plus team members, and I helped grow that company from where I started with managing three team members under my own department, three or four, and then within a space of two and a half years."
Despite the success she experienced in her consultancy work, Rhoda felt empty.
It wasn't until one of her ex-team members reached out to her and expressed gratitude for the opportunities she had given them that Rhoda realized what she truly wanted: to build and nurture her own team.
She took what she learned from her previous digital marketing agency employer and refined the services she wanted to offer. For example, while they had sold around 30 websites, it didn't align with their long-term goals, which were focused on increasing their recurring revenue. She explained how in her previous agency work, the website projects never led to recurring revenue, and therefore did not align with her future goals.
Instead, Rhoda started dabbling into the agency stuff three months before she decided to go full-time in June 2020.
It was during the lockdown, and she had consultancy clients as well as helping out her husband navigate the market during the rocky road that developed in the months of lockdown. Her first sale came in June, and from there, she knew she could make it a full-time job.
As she built her agency, Rhoda focused on purpose and serving smaller businesses or underdogs, driven by a desire to offer as many jobs as possible, directly and indirectly.
The Lull, After Reaching The Goal
Many people believe that earning more money will automatically bring them happiness and fulfilment. However, it’s not always the high you think it will be.
We all have those financial milestones in our mind, and she shared her experience of making a significant amount of money and feeling empty about it.
“So I made like my first five-figure income within a month as a consultant, and it was the most money I've ever made, at any one time. I felt really empty about it. It was really weird.”
This paradox of money and happiness is something that many entrepreneurs and business owners face. With myself, I’ve found immense happiness in making money, and sometimes a gutwrenching fear or feeling of imposter syndrome.
How Miint Work
At Miint, Rhoda explained, they offer a range of services, from white-labelling services for social media, and SEO... as well as working and consulting directly with clients who want them. However, their goal is always to help their clients grow and succeed, no matter what their budget or resources may be.
One of the things that set Miint apart, is its emphasis on building long-term relationships with its clients. Rhoda talked about developing recurring and building these systems for businesses further in the long run.
She described to me what right now, is the right fit for them.
Rhoda explained, “so a company that's just had some funding in the last 24 months six to 24 months. Because then we know that they really want to grow.” This may be direct to client relationships, or through the agencies, Rhoda and the team currently work with also.
And that’s Miint’s bread and butter, but it wasn’t always like this.
The Dangers Of Uneasy Clients
Limiting beliefs can hold us back in many aspects of our lives, including in business.
I've experienced it myself with my own clients and it's exhausting. I spoke about, when I started I worked with ones who had either tiny budgets or tiny ideas.
And as a marketer, it's painful.
She responded, "They've got a lot of their own limiting beliefs. And so, that little bit of investment that they've put in is like a big chunk of their income."
Rhoda went on to explain that these clients often live in a world of scarcity, where they believe that there are no other opportunities beyond what they currently have. However, she believes that it's possible to help them overcome these limiting beliefs and see the bigger picture.
She said, "We're able to somewhat convince them that there's more out there, but then any longer than three months, and they're still not seeing the return. They're like, 'Oh, no, such a waste of money.' And you know, we know it's not like that. You have to carry on."
Persistence is key when it comes to overcoming limiting beliefs, but we both agreed, sometimes it's safer for the agency, if not 99% of the time, to abandon that sinking ship before it takes you down with you.
Building A Successful Agency, Lies Within The Clients
We spoke about how difficult it can be to feel whole and complete. How you often feel like you are chasing clients' approval of you and your work.
Without clients, there would be no marketing agency, and without a marketing agency, you would have no business. The success of a marketing agency is largely dependent on the satisfaction of its clients. But also the quality of them.
“It took a while for me to realise that myself. I think it was actually it was genuinely like last September. Masood Akbarzai offered me a free one-hour consulting and he said to me, have you read Ogilvy…one of the oldest marketing agencies in the world…marketing agencies are successful because the companies they work with are already successful.”
The relationship between a marketing agency and its clients, to be successful is one, that is mutually beneficial and symbiotic.
The Underlying Drive
Rhoda acknowledged that there have been times when she has felt exhausted and close to falling out of love with her business. However, she emphasized that her job is a labour of love and that she is driven by a specific sense of purpose.
She explained it stems from her desire to serve smaller businesses and underdogs. She said, "I have this annoying feeling of obligation to make something purposeful. My goal is to be able to offer as many jobs as possible."
This sense of purpose, according to Rhoda, has helped her focus on the bigger picture and keep going, even when faced with challenges. She said, "You kind of has to focus on the bigger picture of it all."
Her journey to finding purpose in her business is a reminder that there is more to entrepreneurship than just making money. While financial success is important, having a sense of purpose can provide motivation and fulfilment that money cannot buy.
Speaking with Rhoda, almost felt like a relief for me. It's nice to speak with another agency owner, and took me back to times when things were more tricky.
I love how positive she is, and how persistent.
I love hearing how she doesn't sugarcoat things. A lot of people are booming in the agency space right now, and it’s not as glamorous as those people who sit in Lamborghinis or private jets, say it is. It can be incredibly fruitful, but that comes at a cost.
It's not always sunshine and rainbows, but it can be in that hindsight you may jump to every now and then.
It's about finding your path, finding the right clients, and providing that service, swiftly and consistently in an everchanging market. Not easy, but then hey, what is.
Thank you, Rhoda, for chatting with me, and all the best for 2023.