The Story Behind AutoMagical Marketing Studio
THE PURPOSE BEHIND AUTOMAGICAL MARKETING STUDIO
AutoMagical Marketing Studio is a living concept. It was founded on the belief that the solopreneur or small business owner shouldn't have to pay a “king’s ransom” for online resources to launch, market, or operate their small business.
Our philosophy is a simple working theory that you can launch your own business on a shoestring budget, grow it out organically, and become sustainable and profitable in a relatively short amount of time.
At our core, we want you, the small business owner to succeed. We believe that the creative mind shouldn’t be hampered by technical barriers, information overload, or costly software. Therefore, our goal is to help free you from these types of barriers so that you can spend a majority of your time doing what you love to do and succeeding in your craft,
And this is why AutoMagical Marketing Studio (aka “AM Studio”) exists. Our mission is to help you, the creative service professional, to overcome the technical nightmares that may be holding you back, and allowing you to capitalize on your talents and abilities. After all, the best feeling in the world is to get paid for doing what you love to do… And we believe you should!
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
If you’re a small business owner or a solopreneur, and you offer a creative service, then welcome to AutoMagical Marketing Studio!
There are a lot of really awesome companies out there that offer highly specialized software-as-a-service, commonly referred to as “SaaS companies”. These companies offer all kinds of useful services like invoicing, electronic contract signing, customer relationship software (known as CRM), and email marketing. High-end automation, contact segmentation, and tracking is no longer reserved for these large amazonian like corporations. Nor is building a beautiful and conversion-driven website restricted to those who can afford a marketing firm to do it for them. Several website building platforms have surfaced over the past 15 years, and several more have matured over the last 5 years. The bottom line is SaaS has become much more accessible to the small business owner.
As promising as all this sounds, there is still a huge problem. The problem is two-fold. To start, a great majority of these companies have changed to a monthly or annual subscription model. About 10 years ago, someone could make a one-time payment and they would own the software… or more accurately, they would own a license to access that software indefinitely.
Today, one can purchase the same software, but because it’s subscription-based, and once the subscription runs out, so does access to the service. The seemingly low monthly fee can add up quickly on a month-to-month basis. And this is only for a single SaaS. Once you add up all the different types of SaaS needed to run a business, along with each respective monthly fee, you can see how quickly and easily SaaS can become cost-prohibitive.
The other problem revolves around the target demographic these SaaS are trying to tap into. Yes, their service is more accessible… but to whom? When they target the small business sector, what does this mean exactly? Does this include the solopreneur who considers themself an army of one? The answer is pretty simple -No. Most of these businesses offer tiers of service, whose base tier is calibrated for an already existing business, with an already existing customer base, and an already existing influx of traffic and revenue.
But there is an entire sector of small business owners out there who are commonly overlooked. They are us… the creative minds with a wallet full of ambition. And it’s THAT sector to whom we dedicate this website… Not only do we honor and look up to solopreneurs like you, but we’re in the business to inspire you to learn, launch, market, automate, and grow your business from the ground up… All while on a tightly controlled budget.
We recognize the chutzpah and tenacity required to build a website from scratch and to consistently market yourself. So we offer our support and technical insight, for you, the aspiring professional, to get your WordPress site up and running. And THAT is what sets us apart.
THE PERSON BEHIND AM STUDIO
Santiago (Jimmy) Naranjo is the founder of AutoMagical Marketing Studio, LLC. He specializes in creating highly optimized and beautiful websites on WordPress. He also enjoys working on various CRM platforms, like InfusionSoft and ActiveCampaign, building various types of automation as a means of streamlining his business. Santiago is also the owner and operator of a small mobile DJ company, DJ Light & Magic based in Bellevue, WA.
MY STORY: STRUGGLE IS NO STRANGER
Hello, my name is Santiago, and I'd like to welcome you to AutoMagical Marketing Studio (aka “AM Studio”). I assume you’ve found me because you are a struggling solopreneur, and a creative service provider. If that is the case, then I am glad that our paths have crossed. keep reading….
The idea of AM Studio came to me as a result of my personal struggles I’ve had with operating my own small business. I am blessed, and I have a good life, but I am by no means a stranger to struggle. I believe we all struggle in one form or another… even the most successful entrepreneurs have struggles they must overcome. Struggle is the one common denominator that unites those of us who venture into business for ourselves.
With my struggles come the many valuable lessons that I have learned. Of course, there are several mistakes that I wish I would've avoided, but there is zero regret. On a day by day basis, it may sometimes feel like I am running in place, but it's only after looking back that I can realize just how far I’ve come. And therein lies the rub. I have learned that it's progress, not perfection that keeps me going. This is what I consider to be my “golden rule” of running a business.
And so my journey continues. I consider myself a creative person. I have all of this technical knowledge that has built up inside of my head, and is fighting to come out. And I figured this forum would be the most productive, valuable way to exorcise (and exercise) those technical demons. Is there a way to make the technical parts of building a website bearable for those with a creative mind and shoestring budget? Do I dare to endeavor to make this an enjoyable process? Oh you bet your bottom dollar I do. When you start to understand the basics of what’s behind a WordPress site, then all of those technical barriers start to dwindle, and you start to see the possibilities emerge from within the recesses of your imagination. And that’s when things REALLY start to become exciting, I promise.
My desire is to share what I have learned… good, bad, and ugly, with other like-minded professionals like you. I want to help you avoid some of the same mistakes I've made in my own business. And I would like to pass on strategies I’ve acquired that will help you save time, and free you up from having to waste your energy on mundane tasks. The name of the game is for you to spend most of your time in your craft …. That is unless you start to find online marketing equally enjoyable like I did… Is that even possible? [cue evil laugh…. muah ha ha ha ha]
MY FIRST MISTAKE AFTER MOVING
In January 2014, I moved from my hometown of Socorro, New Mexico to Bellevue, Washington (a suburb just outside of Seattle). Back in NM, I had made a comfortable living. I worked full time as an administrator for a small behavioral health firm and I ran my mobile DJ company on the weekends. Life was good. I could say that my business was on autopilot since I had been DJing for many years. I had been around long enough to earn myself a reputation so I didn’t have to work so hard at marketing myself.
When I moved to Washington, you could say it was a bit of a culture shock. Also, the rain. Oh, the rain. I didn’t mind the moisture, but coping with weeks of gray skies during the winter months was no picnic for me, the desert rat. I considered myself more of a country mouse that found itself in the big city life. And I thought that starting my DJ business anew would be at most, challenging. Then reality hit…
What I found was that the market was near saturated, and the competition was fierce. To my surprise, there was a lot of really good DJ talent in the area. And it seemed that everybody was competing for the same types of gigs that I once took for granted. It was after my first failed Wedding Showcase Exhibition that I realized that I was playing by a different set of rules here. The demographic was definitely different than what I was accustomed to, and my marketing strategy would have to change drastically.
It became evident very quickly that I had to do two things. First I had to widen my scope of marketing so that I could target more prospective clients from various lead sources. This was a numbers game where I had to make more of a concerted effort to put myself out there and make myself visible to a very niche audience. And once I was out there, I knew I would have to take full advantage of each incoming lead. This meant that I had to track, segment, and engage with every lead in a meaningful way.
MY ENCOUNTER WITH THE CRM UNIVERSE
So I started to search for the ideal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. I did this even before I started tinkering with my website (I wasn't using WordPress at the time). And I found one. I chose this particular software because they were a start-up company that had two sales representatives based in Seattle. I was able to schedule an in-person meeting with one of them, and when I explained what I was trying to accomplish, the rep gave me an introductory price that was considerably cheaper than any of the other CRM platforms I had researched. And to help get me started, the representative even offered to provide me with one-on-one support during the relaunch of my business. I knew that I was off to a good start… but it didn't take me long to realize that something just wasn't jiving.
Back then, this software was still in its development phase, and I was coming across a lot of bugs and limitations that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. To this company's credit though, their support team (which was actually their dev team) would take the time to listen to me and help me create clever workarounds. For a solid year and a half, my life became about learning everything I could about CRM and automation. I read every book, and watched every tutorial video I could find online.
Inside note: make sure to check out the book titled, “InfusionSoft Mastery,” and other recommended reads on my Tools & Resources page.
During this time, I came across a gentleman by the name of Jermaine Griggs who was touted as having been über-successful by utilizing a CRM company called Infusionsoft (now known as “Keap”). I became quickly infatuated with Mr. Griggs after learning that he had taken a simple concept, teaching others to play piano by ear via online tutorials, and built his own ever-growing empire.
In addition to building his online business, Griggs also ran a consulting company by the name of Automation Clinic. It was here that he would teach aspiring entrepreneurs the art of automation. He produced hours of insightful content on the subject, and I consumed it voraciously, trying to take in everything I could from this man. Unfortunately, everything he taught about automation was through InfusionSoft, a platform that I was not using… and for very good reason. It was cost-prohibitive. Not only was the monthly fee way outside my budget, but they had an initial buy-in requirement of $2500. Their justification for this was that this fee would pay for the first couple of months of support and guidance while constructing a stable infrastructure from which I could base my business.
Not having an Infusionsoft account didn't stop me from learning everything I could about the subject of automation. I would take the principles and strategies that I had learned from Jermaine Griggs, and I would try to implement them within the CRM platform that I was using at the time (the one that was still in its development phase). In the long run, this process ended up costing me a ton of time and heartache. There always seemed to be a restriction that prevented me from building my own stable infrastructure. What I ended up with was a Frankenstein-like monstrosity. The system that I created worked, but it wasn't pretty. I knew what I wanted, but I just didn't know how to get there with the tools that I was using. And I definitely didn’t consider myself a programmer or engineer.
BITING THE BULLET
So what did I do? I bit the bullet and joined Infusionsoft... finally. From the very beginning, I knew their platform inside and out. As a matter of fact I knew it so well that after my first month of using it, the good folks at Infusionsoft credited my account the equivalent of what I paid during my initial buy-in! I didn’t need the extra assistance to get the ball rolling. I was able to hit the ground running. I was told by several reps on their support team that they had never seen anyone who had taken to their software so quickly. On multiple occasions, I had to explain to them that this was no accident. What many assumed to have been marketing acumen, was actually a year and a half of painful learning and mastering their platform without actually having used it! Funny to them, but it wasn’t funny to me.
I think this was the single most valuable, yet painful lesson I’ve learned to date. You can't build something magnificent if you don't have the right tools. But looking back I would have definitely taken a different approach to relaunching my business. I would've started small, and kept all of my marketing campaigns simple and targeted. I wouldn't have gone as far down the automation rabbit hole as I did. I lost sight of the bigger picture, and my objective changed somewhere along the way. It stopped being about booking more gigs… and more about building beautiful and magnificent marketing campaigns.
It all worked out in the end though. After all, I ended up with some valuable knowledge about online marketing and automation as a whole. And as I mentioned before, the journey was a painful but valuable experience for me. I had to learn this lesson my way, even if it caused me countless hours of strife. Admittedly, I’m hard-headed (but soft-hearted too). During this period in my life, I went into “administrator mode”, and I stopped exercising my creative talents as a mobile DJ. Did I change career paths without even realizing it? Nah. Ultimately, I was able to find equilibrium and today I enjoy performing at gigs through my mobile DJ company. But I also enjoy, in equal measure, helping others like you to market your creative services.
I hope is that I can talk you out of making several of the same mistakes I made. If you’re like me, and you find yourself spending more time in the administrative part of your business, and less time in the creative part, your craft, then let this be a red flag for you. Stop, take a deep breath, and reach out if you can. I’m not hard to find. Sometimes we all need some “tough love” to pull us out of the rabbit hole.
If anything I have given you on this forum helps you streamline your marketing process, lower the cost of your overhead, or help you book more gigs, then I will have achieved my mission. And with that, I welcome you aboard, and wish you the very best on your journey. I encourage you to reach out if you need any help, and I will do my best to get you going in the right direction.
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