Agency Best Practice

How to Scale Your Agency to $20m

Expert People

Host and Guest

James Dihardjo

James Dihardjo

Profile Pictures-May-15-2024-05-54-27-5626-AM

Steven Pope


Podcast transcript

James Dihardjo
Stephen, thank you very much for making time. I've been wanting to do this for, I don't even know how long, but I've got a lot of questions.

Steven Pope
I'm a big fan of MerchantSpring. You guys are awesome. We've been a partner with you for a long time. Thanks for having me on.

James Dihardjo
No, I appreciate it. Appreciate it, mate. So let's just jump straight in, right? So I think the big question on my mind, probably other agency owners minds is how did you actually start My Amazon guy? And I've got a couple of buckets here, but maybe if you can start with how did you start it, and then start with describing your journey from zero to 100,000 in AR.

Steven Pope
Okay, let's do it. So the good news is, is it's not hard to start an agency. And we know this because there's thousands of them out there, boutiques popping up every single day. Well, one day, what happened to me was I got laid off from a well-paying job, basically was making $175,000 a year, USD, and was on my way up to $200,000. 

It was the most money I'd ever made in my career. And this was me seven years ago. And I got laid off. They gave me a three-month severance, which was super, actually awesome in the United States, because she was pretty uncommon. And so I was like, you know, what am I going to do? So with for about 48 hours, two days, I'd asked myself, have I peaked? And I'd never asked myself that question in my entire life before, because every single thing in my entire life has just been up, up, up, up, up. I've never been in the elevator on the way down. 

For me, my personal motto is prosperity in all things and how I live on a daily basis. If the absence of growth is death, So for a 48 hour time period, I felt like I was dying. And I was like, you know what? F that. I'm not dying. I'm going to make myself a company. And that's how it happened. So I made a LinkedIn post. And within 48 hours of that LinkedIn post, I'd signed my first client. It was a supplements client. They are with me today, six years later. I took them from zero all the way up to a million dollars per month. I made them millions of dollars. And it's been a great partnership.

When I was just my Amazon guy. So how I came about naming the agency, I was in the laundry room. I was talking with my wife. I was like, I'm going to do some consulting. Maybe I'll spin up a domain. And she asked me, how do people normally introduce you? And I'm like, Deb, they don't care who I am. Nobody says talk to Stephen Pope. They just say talk to my Amazon guy. And she looked at me, and I was like, OK, let's name the company that. 

And of course, the first person I hired was a female. And the rest is history. But it's very representative of what we've built as a culture, because we ended up creating an education company that happens to be an agency. And the benefit of an education company, there's many of them. There's some downsides, but there's a lot of benefits. 

The biggest benefit is that I created an environment of learning, and it basically fostered the ability to onboard a bunch of people who had never even heard of Amazon, let alone sold on Amazon, let alone never been a virtual assistant, never had done SEO or PPC. And my clients love it because on that day one, what did I do? I went on YouTube and I shot a video and I said, here's how to make a brand store. I was like the first person on YouTube to shoot that, which sounds crazy in retrospect, but at the time I was. I was first to market. Which is kind of a nice, you know, best time to plant a tree is, you know, 20 years ago, but the next best time is today. 

So agencies out there watching this right now, if you're not making content, today, even though it's only going to get 50 views on YouTube, you got to start somewhere. Right. When my first video came out, it only got 50 views. I put my cell phone number in it. Right. I was getting calls about how to make a brand store for two years until one day I got big enough. I was like, you know what? I'm going to edit out my cell phone number now was the only video I put it in. And I'm telling you that one video generated me 100 phone calls. So that was kind of the high level how it got started. I made content nonstop, very much a key to my success. I'm actually very transparent about how we grew it. And if you'd like, I can share my screen and kind of walk you through the financials.

James Dihardjo
Yeah. Let me see. Let me see if I can.

Steven Pope
Nobody's going to say no to that. Right. So in 2018, I started at April 2nd. First client signed on that date. And I generated $361,000 in the first year there. Basically got up to 10 clients, three employees. You get the idea. Year two, 1.1 million. So it went fast, grew very, very quickly. I'd say a lot of agencies get to that $1 million mark in the first two years, very commonly. Very easy to do that. However, going from that next benchmark to the following ones is unprecedented for most agencies. It's very difficult to break the next barrier. So 2020, year three, 2.5 million, 120 clients. 

What I have found is that if you don't have a director for every 40 accounts, that it breaks down very quickly. So I was I was the Account Director in 2019 with 60 accounts. I had to hire a new Account Director to start taking over accounts. And basically, you know, for every 40 accounts, you have to have an Account Director. I call them Brand Directors. So that gives you can run some math and fast forward a little bit. So we have at least 10 brand directors at any given point. Otherwise, the system falters. Year 3 or year 4, excuse me, $6 million. Year 5, 2022, $11 million. And then 2023, we just closed in on $20 million. So $20 million in annual reoccurring revenue. 

There's a couple of key moments here. I onboarded HubSpot in 2020, which seems like a late time to do it at the trajectory. But basically, I was keeping everything in Google Sheets prior to that. So, for you boutique agencies that want to bootstrap, I guarantee you it's possible to put 120 clients into Google Sheets. I've done it. Not easy, but it's definitely possible. MerchantSpring and some data might help you out just a bit to leverage some reporting. We were doing all of our reporting in Google Sheets manually prior to engaging MerchantSpring. Our CRM was a Google Sheet. You get the idea. 

Another thing I did in 2021 is I hired 100 interns in 30 days. I'm not making that up. I looked at my growth trajectory. I looked at the math and I said, guys, we can't recruit enough people. I want you to hire 100 interns in 30 days. And everybody looked at me like I was freaking crazy. 24 hours go by. No intern offers had gone out. I call up the HR team again with an impromptu meeting. I was like, guys, I said we're going to hire 100 interns. You've made zero progress in the last 24 hours. What's going on? And I kid you not, another 24 hours go by and nothing gets done again. 

And I call the meeting on day three. And at this point, I feel like I'm asking Peter if he loves me the third time. Because at this point, my company, I'm like, I don't think you guys understand. We have to hire 100 interns. You guys have 28 days left. Why hasn't this gone through? And I think a lot of people were like, oh, Steven's crazy. He's bluffing. I'm never going to hear about this again. But after the third time, they freaking got it right. Like and if you ever heard a podcast from the Chick-fil-A CEO owner, it took him 10 years to get his employees to say my pleasure at the drive through. Now, all of you guys who go through Chick-fil-A and do they even have Chick-fil-A where you are on the other side of the world? 

James Dihardjo
Not yet. 

Steven Pope
Not yet. All right. Well, it's kind of the God's chicken over here in these parts. And so if you ever next time you visit the States, at least have you had it before Chick-fil-A, Sam? 

James Dihardjo
Yeah, I have. It's pretty good. 

Steven Pope
All right. All right. Not as good as a Five Guys burger, but still up there in terms of, you know, the God's layer of foods. So in any case, the point I'm making here is to get a culture to move. You can't just bark the order and expect things to happen. It takes a lot of effort and movement. And we hired 100 interns in 2021. Very crazy process.

I had built MagSchool at the same time, which is our courses,, if anybody's curious. And we started basically teaching everybody what we did, whether it was SEO, PPC, design, catalogue, troubleshooting, whatever, all of it. And that allowed us to basically teach people before they onboarded. So we had people take four MagSchool courses before they onboarded. If they couldn't pass them, we wouldn't complete the onboarding, which was another extra layer. 

We onboarded Culture Index, which was a personality profiling tool, which allowed us to diagnose how somebody would fit. You don't want to put an extrovert in a business analyst role because they need to be in Excel sheets all day. They would go crazy. They need to talk to people. So we figured that out. We onboarded that. We figured out, OK, there's a certain set of people. We want to hire high drive, introverts who are impatient and highly detailed. And that was like, boom, that's like our epitome of an intern. We're going to hire 100 of those. And we basically did with some with some minor deviations. But that's what we did. 

And over the course of last two, two and a half years, we've actually hired at least 250 interns with zero Amazon knowledge. And it's been a highly effective program. All right. So I know I've been monologuing here, but you've been keeping with me. I want to hit this and I'll turn it back over to you. 

There's four ways to generate leads in. And this is an Alex Hermosi two by two. I'm sure he probably took it from, you know, Kennedy and Kennedy. But, you know, here's my take on it. So four quads in red. We got people, you know, in blue, we got strangers. So to get to that one million mark, I basically just did warm outreach to people I know one to one. And I made a LinkedIn post, but I was sending DMs. I was calling people I knew, et cetera. 

To get to 10 million, I had to generate content. And this is where all the videos just started picking up. And if you look at my YouTube analytics, it was in third year when things just skyrocketed in the middle of COVID. And there's a nice, quote here, and that is, every overnight success takes a decade. It took years of me prepping for that moment to become the overnight success that we became, and then it just skyrocketed to $10 million. 

How I got to 20, though, was through cold outreach. This is specifically cold calling, cold emails, et cetera. This is the one area I won't answer too many questions on. I keep that one close to my cards, but I'll literally share the chain secret of how I operate everything else. And how I think I'm going to get to $50 million is by running paid ads and using technologies and other cool things. It's very difficult. The ROI between quads is lowest in run paid ads. It's lower in cold outreach. It's really good in content. And then it's highest in warm outreach. 

So if you're an agency watching this, like wondering, like, what should I focus on? Start in the quads, go top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right. Now, for some of you who are the super introverts with low drive and you freaking hate making content, you don't want to be in front of the world. Right? And James is laughing. You could just jump the ship and go straight to the blues. You could. You could go straight to cold outreach and hire some BDRs. You could just run paid ads and never talk to anybody ever. It's possible. It's a lot harder. 

And there are some agencies in our space that do that. You won't even know who they are if I mention their names because they're so unknown because that's all they do. They don't make content. They don't. They're not warm. They're not going to conferences. So, it gives you a flavor and I'm happy to dive in wherever it makes sense to give further detail.

James Dihardjo
No, I think that's absolutely great. And certainly some of those things are a bit surprising and very interesting for me. I guess I did want to drill down into the growth side, which kind of is my next question. Sure. What are the three maybe not three, but what are the things that keep driving growth? Now, you've got your little quad there. But you know, what's behind all those things actually working? You know, is it a particular person? Is it training? Is it a team? Is it culture? Like, how do you actually distill that down into what's moving everything?

Steven Pope
So every business ever needs three things to run, right? Products, process, and most importantly, in the case of agencies, people. You could have the most crappy process ever, but throw enough people at it, and you could be a successful agency. You could have a terrible product, but if you have great customer service a la people, you could still have a great agency. Now, I happen to believe I do all three superbly. But I'll tell you, before I started an agency, I didn't wake up and say, I want to have 500 direct reports working for me at my company. I'll tell you that right now. That was not on my bingo card. 

James Dihardjo
I don't think anybody does that. 

Steven Pope
No. And so I tried to invest in technology. And I spent $2 million. This is the greatest financial mistake of my entire life. I spent $2 million of my own cash, no other investors. It was my money trying to build technology to solve some of the problems. So, I didn't have to hire 500 people. I was at 150 people thinking, you know, I better invest in tech. I better get this technology up, because if I don't, I'm going to be at 500 employees in two years. 

Well, it turns out I made a mistake and I shouldn't have tried to recreate Time Doctor Asana, Helium 10's keyword tracking, plus, you know, keyword position analysis, the Cerebro, PPC automation software, and on top of that, a CRM. Turns out it took probably $10 million for each of those companies to replicate what I was trying to do with two. 

And by the time we had a finished product, and I put that in quotation marks because it was garbage, nobody wanted to use it. I started doing user acceptance testing and nobody wanted to use it. Nobody. I didn't even want to use it. I was like, this is disgusting. And I go to the I.T. team and I was like, you know, I know I've been approving your paycheck every month, but this is the last one. We're closing shop. I'm done. Like, I don't believe that you're going to get this to a usable product in the next 12 months. You've had two years. I'm pulling out. Right. 

So I mentioned that mistake to kind of indicate that it required a major investment of people. I am today a people person. I'm a super introvert, but I know how to persuade. I know how to build a cult. I know how to build a following. And I'm using strong language on purpose. But I struggle bust through all of that. Like managing people, I hated it for the most part. It is taxing on me. 

And in my career, I was like the autistic kid showing up to a company, multi-million dollar companies, walking into the boardroom and telling the CEO, I know exactly how to grow your company, do this. In the first like three hours. That was me my entire career. And by the way, some listened and some didn't. I was a super high ego. 

But what I had never learned in the corporate world was how to manage people and how to do politics and how to persuade. I went to college on scholarship. I beat Harvard's B team at a national debate tournament. They've even made movies out of rinky-dink colleges beating Harvard before, right? So that was me, right? 

And I'm here to tell you that debate means nothing in the real world. Like, absolutely nothing. Give me pro-af on any topic right now, I could debate you. But I would never be able to persuade you. If I went back to college right now today, I would learn how to persuade. I'm telling you right now, in junior high, I read 120 Star Wars books. Super nerd car checking in. If I could go back in time, I would read 120 sales books or persuasion books, which, by the way, I've read 55 in the last two years trying to catch up. And so this ties into the people element. 

There is so much people management required to manage a successful agency. It is just uncanny. I'm telling you that every single week I'm sending flowers to somebody who's lost a parent or a grandparent at my company. Every single week. That's, you know, how many weeks are there in a year? Like 55 or something? I'm telling you, that's how many people's parents or grandparents died in the last two years every week. And I did not expect to be doing that when I started my company. 

There's so many things that were not on my bingo card. Talking people off a ledge, talking people through anxiety and panic attacks, talking to people about making life decisions or buying their first home. I have made so many employees cry, it's not crazy, in a good way, by the way. 

When you give somebody an unexpected raise and they start crying on the call, it feels so good. You never want to make people cry, but I kind of like making people have happy tears. I hire 400 Filipinos. So out of the 500 employees, the bulk of them are in the Philippines. And there are people that work for me that buy their parents their first fridge. Their first time they could save food for more than 24 hours. And like, I didn't expect that. You know, like what? We can help people like that. 

So like all my rich friend guys, they're like, oh, being a boss or being an owner is not charity work. And I'm like, the hell it isn't. Right. Like we we're very much teach a man to fish. Right. Being able to help empower people and create 500 jobs, that's not charity. I beg to differ. So, everything I keep giving you way too long to win an answer. I'm going to start shortening these so you can interject more. But like people is the key to running a successful agency.

James Dihardjo
Got it. Yeah, I mean, that's I mean, that's very interesting. Like sometimes you get answers that are very convoluted and trying to be sexy. But, you know, at the end of the day, it's just people. So, I appreciate that. Next question, Stephen, is on chat. How do you manage that? I'm going to assume that like the growth of your business, you've had many stages, but churn, like what does that look like for you? And how do you, how do you work with that? How do you manage it?

Steven Pope
So I am on record telling everybody my churn. And of the last 111 clients that have left me, about half of them left me due to financial reasons. We went back and checked on these clients a year or two years later, and half of them have gone under and they do not sell on Amazon anymore. So it's like if you go to my testimonials page, you will find videos of people that were raving about MAG, like fine swine seasonings. Great testimonial video is not in business today. Cannot find their product on Amazon. 

And so churn in our industry is extraordinarily high, right? And not enough people talk about this. But for perspective, if you take every client who's ever hired me for full service and lump sum them all into one group, my average client stays with me 8.5 months. Now, you guys saw my growth trajectory there. You saw how fast I did it and what the client counts were. 

So what that tells you is my sales process is incredible. Proof's in the pudding. But I but my retention rate is definitely average in the industry. Right. Like I have talked to hundreds of agencies. They all have high churn. The ones that don't have high churn are typically under billing their clients and are not profitable. Like we're talking sub five, 10 percent net profits. I'm pulling in a net profit north of forty three percent. That's not a gross profit. That's a net profit unheard of in our industry. 

And so high churn. Absolutely. I replaced my entire clientele every single year, more than once. Right. And and so like people might think I'm crazy for talking about this. Like, why would I ever want to share that? Like what client would want to sign up for me? But I'm here to tell you, I have clients that have been with me six, five, four years. 

It's the industry. It's not me. It's not my service. I know I have a good service. I wouldn't be at 400 clients if I didn't. But because it's so easy to launch a native born Amazon brand and get it to a million dollars, doesn't mean you'll be profitable, but it's super easy to do it. That means everybody and their dogs is going out and doing it. And I've always had an open door policy about who I work with. 

Now, do I really want to work with the next 15 hemp companies? Probably not. Will I take the business? Yes. Will I tell them up front that the likelihood of their success is close to about five percent? Yes. I'm very honest throughout my sales process. A lot of people still hire me despite that. In fact, some even hire me more often because I tell them the truth. 

So to teach your own on your own sales process. But I have an incredibly high churn model and I'm very comfortable with it. That's why I'm openly speaking about it. I think that I think, you know, I'll make one more comparison. The restaurant industry for every three restaurants that are open, only one exists after two years. 

And that's like a national statistic in the United States might be true worldwide. I don't know. I would say the Amazon businesses are basically the restaurants of the 90s. And so like for every three Amazon businesses that get to a million dollars. I don't know about that stat, but like seemingly one out of three only continue on and get past year five, like it's just an incredibly high failure rate. It's not passive income to sell on Amazon.

James Dihardjo
Okay, still on the topic of change, but a different domain, right? So, I get the sense that your team's roles and structure change quite frequently. 

Steven Pope

James Dihardjo
Can you walk us through that? Like, what's like, there's various reasons behind that. But what's your reason?

Steven Pope
So, a growing company typically has massive growing pains. And my goal as an owner is to prevent those growing pains from being obvious to my clients and customers. The moment a customer asks me if I'm having growing pains is a complete system breakdown. The moment a customer complains about communication speed or delivery, it's a system breakdown. When I see enough system breakdowns or a key area that's breaking down, I go in there and rebuild it. 

On average, I will do a department-level reorg once every quarter. So, it might be design team last quarter, this quarter it might be sales, next quarter it might be marketing, whatever it might be. And it's very necessary to rebuild the plane as you're flying it without disruption to service, which mandates the necessity of doing it rapidly. 

So, every time I do a reorg, I always do it in under 48 hours. From the moment I believe I need to do a reorg, I complete the whole process in 48 hours. That means announce it and implement it in under 48 hours. And if you don't do that, what happens? If you talk about possibly doing a reorg, layoffs, whatever it might be, it leaks after five days. The directors, I don't care how good your directors are, they will accidentally leak any of this information. So that's why I believe in speed. I also think it's more effective. And it forces you to get it right. 

Now, some of you might be like, well, how are you getting it right if you had to do a reorg every quarter? I'd like to see you take a company from $0 to $20 million in five years and not do a reorg at least once a quarter. I'm telling you it's necessary. Very difficult to run a company and go through every ceiling. I'll give you a couple of crazy things. 

We don't have a PPC director at MAG. But guess what the number one thing we're known for is? PPC. I don't have a US person doing PPC at my company today. Not a single one. All offshores. And yet, I just did a LinkedIn poll the other day. I had 650 votes. 50% of people say PPC is what I'm most known for. So how could that possibly be, right? 

Design, only 5% of people voted for design. Even though I'm like, you know, the first person to talk about Amazon CTR started that three years ago. I gave the baton over to John Aspinall and he can keep it. But like, I was first and taught him everything he knew. And we do more charge for design than we do PPC. 

We actually make more money as a company from design than we do PPC. But that's not what we're known for. So that's an interesting factoid. I think a lot of agencies fundamentally don't know how to grapple with. What people are willing to pay you for is not necessarily what they come to you for. What they pay you for is not necessarily what they ask for. But when you pitch them and you tell them what you need to do, the design work that's critical to be successful on Amazon, it takes a lot of labor. We had to redo our entire contract model to account for it two years ago.

James Dihardjo
Interesting. Okay. Well, that's good. I mean, I think a lot of agencies I speak to are considering restructuring their team, and it's good to know that actually it's totally okay, and even someone as big as you goes through it quite regularly. In the interest of time, Stephen, I'm going to jump ahead a bit. You know, just on the topic of education, recently, on LinkedIn, I saw a lot of people that were graduating from MAG, to use your term. 

Steven Pope
That's a keyword. 

James Dihardjo
For us, like outside of the MAG, you know, we're not internal to MAG. What does that mean? I get it, I get that it's tied back to your education culture. But what does that actually mean?

Steven Pope
So James is being nice to me right now. The term graduation means somebody left MAG. That could have been they chose to leave or we made them leave. But I have somehow convinced these exiting employees to embrace the term graduation for better or worse. And essentially, if an employee has nothing left to learn from me, I encourage them to graduate. And it's part of our culture, because if you're not learning, then you're not growing. And so we want people that are learning and growing. And sometimes you can outgrow a company. 

Now, the average tenured employee at any agency, according to Gary V, is somewhere between 12 and 18 months. So, a couple of high profile people graduated recently from My Amazon Guy, people that I personally love, people that I've personally invested hundreds of hours of my own personal time into. But it's right for them and it's right for MAG. 

And so I think it's very comfortable to talk about these sort of things. And I think a lot of people think it's uncomfortable for the wrong reasons. But the reason why I'm OK with transparently talking about it is because some of these people did not have profiles before joining MAG. You wouldn't even know who they were if it wasn't for MAG. So MAG became a reputation-enhancing experience for them. We made their careers. 

Now, that doesn't mean they wouldn't have been successful somewhere else. It doesn't mean they couldn't have been known somewhere else. But in terms of the timing and the investment, we invested in them. They gave us service. And they came out ahead. So did we. It's a win-win. 

So, I mentioned that it's a high-churn industry in terms of clients, but it's also a high churn industry when it comes to employees and talent. And FTC just announced yesterday that non-competes are illegal. Now, I have always been against non-competes in general. And I think it's very difficult for employees to trust their bosses if they can't make a living and leave, right, and go to the next place that will treat them better. 

So my philosophy has always been one of love. I think employees are not slaves. I think they should be, I think a free market's better for everybody. And so my culture, I want to outlive me. I can't create an organism that can outlive me unless I love it, right? Unless I just give everything I can to my people. And that's fundamentally what makes MAG spectacular is the people. So, is it sad when somebody graduates that you've loved and spent time with? Absolutely. But it's also the right thing for certain people at the right time.

James Dihardjo
Got it, man. I must say I really do. I'm really enjoying your complete transparency. I think you'd

Steven Pope
Radical transparency attracts other people who also like radical transparency, which is awesome because I like working with those people, too.

James Dihardjo
So it's good, man. It's good. It's refreshing. You'd fit right in here in Australia. Next question.

Steven Pope
Yeah, they do have a candid way of speaking over there, don't they?

James Dihardjo
Yeah, very candid. As you know, when you and I meet in person. Your LinkedIn says 20 million and you mentioned 20 million as the revenue number earlier. 

Steven Pope

James Dihardjo
What do you think this will say in one year's time?

Steven Pope
So if all goes according to plan, I'll be growing 30% this year. So, it's anybody's ballgame right now, right? So, some of my competitors are catching on to my sales process. So, I have to reinvent other parts of my process to out-compete. And it's becoming harder and harder. Google's latest update with emails in March. Actually, the February email update and the March, I think, backlink update were brutal to a lot of people. 

The email update really hurt MAG. February was the worst month we've had in sales in 10 months. It was very, very difficult. We had to retool everything. We had to install a bunch of new tech. We had to redo everything about our email process. So that slowed me down. That was a little bit of a backtrack. 

But I am very optimistic. I think that despite Amazon's hostility to sellers, because it's absolutely a hostile market right now for sellers with FBA fees and everything else they deal with. I still think hundreds of thousands of people will sign up to sell on Amazon this year. And I believe that I've created the greatest CRM, best lead generation process in the entire market. So, I think it's entirely possible for me to go out and grow and hit $50 million over the next few years.

James Dihardjo
That's great. I love this type of stuff. Quickfire question next. Tell us about your biggest employee success story.

Steven Pope
I think John Aspinall is probably the best well-known example of this. And it's because when he came to me, he was just a sales account executive, and we turned him into an influencer. So much of an influencer, he got an offer to join PickFu as their ambassador for the entire company. 

And so I think it's a really great public example. I was very close to John. We talked on a daily basis for two years. And I taught him everything I know. And it was so awesome to see when it started to get successful. Because when you try and teach somebody who's never posted on LinkedIn before how to do it, it is a train wreck initially. If you go back to the early, and by the way, I'd say this in front of John, he'll watch this. When you go back to read John's initial posts, They were garbage, right? Like just hot, steaming pile of garbage. And then over time, you start to see the light kick on. 

And then I was like, John, stop what you're doing. Pick one topic, go all in and make an inch wide and mile deep. That ended up being click-through rate, CTR. And so following that, like the next 12 months, all we talked about was click-through rate to the point where that's literally, if you think of CTR, you think of John Aspinall in our industry. And it's because he went an inch wide and a mile deep. And that's why I think John's the biggest success story I have. It's just seeing his success and becoming an influencer.

James Dihardjo
Yeah, it's great. Actually, I do really like John's posts. 

Steven Pope
They're fantastic now. 

James Dihardjo
The final question, which is where I accidentally solicit a shameless plug here is, so you are a big MerchantSpring user. In a short set of words, why should every agency use it?

Steven Pope
So I was using Google Sheets before I used MerchantSpring. And I was afraid to use MerchantSpring before we onboarded. And the reason for that was every technology partner I've ever onboarded with in the Amazon space, I broke in under 24 hours. Can you imagine onboarding 400 accounts into a technology solution? We've broken everything. 

When we onboarded a MerchantSpring, it didn't break. That was like, whoa, wait, it's working, first of all. And second of all, it just freaking worked well, right? Like we were spending 50 hours in manpower a week doing reporting. And it went down to push button. And the nice thing about MerchantSpring is that it's built for agencies. It's not built for the customer. It's built for agency. 

So they don't have any bells and whistles, which is fantastic, which means the basics fricking functional and works. So MerchantSpring is built by two guys that I'm just huge fans of. And I've broken bread. I've had lunch and dinners with them. We've seen how they build. We've seen how they articulate. And so without a doubt, MerchantSpring owns the reporting market for agencies. And if you're an agency that's never used them or have heard of them, I'm telling you right now, I will put my name on the line that if you don't have a good experience doing what I just said with them, I will buy you a steak dinner myself. It will never happen.

James Dihardjo
Cool. All right, Steven. I really appreciate that, man. That was great. I think we're up for time, but I guess just to summarize, really appreciate the radical transparency, as you say, I'm sure plenty of people get value from it, especially around the restructuring and the brute force and the culture and stuff. That was really insightful, Stephen. So thank you very much for your time.

Steven Pope
My pleasure coming on. Thanks for having me.


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