Wesley Mathews 5:00
Yeah, so like the pursuit of entrepreneurship, I’ve always been big on like, you know, I’m never gonna work 90 100 hours a week, like, that just wasn’t an idea. They, even pre kids, like, I got to enjoy life. And so what I do not, I’m always in a constant, you know, spot of like improving and always constant improvement. But, you know, what I tried to do is, you know, wake up in the morning, you know, try to get to the gym or workout like, that hasn’t been going great. I’m back on the wagon this week. So that’s been good. But you know, 830, to nine to like, five 530. Like, I’m kind of jamming like I’m all in the business. And then outside of that, what I try to do is tech off, you know, this thing right here is a blessing and a curse, right? Because I know anybody getting contact with you, but I try to go tech off focused on family until about the time they go to bed. And then you know, I’m trying to get to bed by 11 every night. So just, you know, again, it’s not perfect. It’s just kind of what my design looks like, I try to do that as best as possible, obviously, things come up. But, you know, family’s important to me just giving my kids attention, I’m never going to miss one of their games, I’m never gonna miss an important event because there’s a client issue or a meeting. I’m very big on that.
Jeremy Weisz 6:09
Ya know, I love hearing your strategies. And it sounds like you just have really strict boundaries around that. And you you create those boundaries by maybe just shutting off anything digital after a certain point. Are there any other strategies for, you know, entrepreneurs are like, typically just want to go all the time. And so you seem very similar to that. So it’s not necessarily an easy, maybe it’s easier said than done. What are there any other strategies, you recommend that you found that work for you? Even when you have like a big deal coming up? You’re like, I need to work on this for tomorrow. And whatever it is, any other things that you found help you not fall off the bandwagon?
Wesley Mathews 6:51
Yeah. There’s something called EOS, the Entrepreneur Operating System, which I discovered, you know, you mentioned, I’m a part of EO Entrepreneurs Organization. And that’s like a framework for entrepreneurial Rand companies, because we’re all crazy, right? I’m a visionary, I come up with a million ideas, and just everything’s always chaos with me. So I’m sending emails, I’m getting emails, I’m constantly like, my day used to feel good, and like I did so much. But in reality, this EOS framework really helped me streamline and organize my to dues, and really helped me stay out of the weeds and really stay focused. So again, I’ve also said, you know, I’m not saving lives, we’re in the Web and Digital marketing space, obviously, stuff happens comes up, like servers go down issues happen, but for the most part, I’ve always been, hey, it can wait till tomorrow, and I’m not gonna, you know, freak out or stress out about it.
Jeremy Weisz 7:41
Yeah, actually. So I have featured Gino Wickman. So people should check out that episode and Mark Winters of Rocket Fuel. So check out that episode, which is an amazing book talking about Go ahead, those,
Wesley Mathews 7:53
those two books changed my life. Honestly, like I’ve read a lot, I read a lot of audio or listen to a lot of audiobooks. But those actually created a framework that’s allowed me to be what I feel is successful in my personal balanced life, because there’s no magic pill, right? It’s just how you, you know, defining success and what works for you, right? Like, I got some guys that you know, come home at night and see your kids for 10 minutes. And that’s what they want to do. Like, I’m not here to judge. But for me, that’s not what I want to do. So I took the framework, alive, my company drove the vision like altered to that. And, you know, I think it also helps you in terms of recruiting and laying a foundation because people around me know how important that is to me. And that makes them feel really good knowing when they’re good as a soccer game or something that I’m not like, you should be at the desk like hammering projects and writing deals. They know that that’s where I’m coming from. And they really respect that.
Jeremy Weisz 8:43
Yeah. And you know, I love what I love about the Rocket Fuel is kind of laying out the visionary integrator, so that the crazy, awesome visionary like you, it’s like, oh, this is really my missing puzzle piece. And so I want to talk about how you met your partner, and how you decided to partner up.
Wesley Mathews 9:08
Yeah, so rewinding back to 2009. So I was always on the sales operations, like the vision drive with the company, my partner, now I have to be partnered. He’s a technology guy. So we kind of met each other at a time where a lot of people would approach them that wanted to go into business because he’s like this mastermind technology guy. And he would take on these clients or individuals that would never sell anything or no, nothing would ever come to fruition. And I was personally struggling with finding a cot, a constant software guy that I could count on. So we started doing a little business together. And you know, one day I finally said, Hey, you know, why don’t we as partner go 5050 I handle the front of the house, you handle the back of the house and let’s just get it done and get after it. And that’s what we did. You know, 11 and a half years later, we just took that simple idea and kind of grew that into where it is today.
Jeremy Weisz 9:55
Talk about the initial service and software and offering in The Evolution because I’m sure what you start off doing is not completely what you do now what was initially and then how did it evolve.
Wesley Mathews 10:08
So what was attractive to me about my partner at the time Jon Bowerman is he built his own content management system that websites, so anytime a website would be built with the off this proprietary platform. And I love the concept because when customers are on our platform, they can’t just jump platforms, you know, there’s a lot of work that gets done that we can like build our own kind of culture around that. So, you know, we started off early on like little simple A, B and C packages, you know, for very little money. And you were like the first couple of years who was trying to figure this out. So what that’s evolved to today is, you know, millions of dollars, millions of hours investing to offer this really great High Level dashboard that a customer can log in the back end, not even log in and click a button to see how many leads they’re getting, what their ROI is, like literally as much data as they can digest into a really simple format. And they can manage and see the success of their online digital marketing campaign, right, and then this really attractive dashboard. So I think that, you know, anytime anybody’s spending any money on marketing, you want to know what, what am I getting back for my dollars. And our dashboard allows customers to see that quickly, real time real data, no bullshit behind it. And, you know, they can go in and manage their website and pretty much manage their whole marketing initiative right from the back, or we can do it for them. So it’s really intuitive. And it’s Yeah, it’s come a long way. I mean, I look back at some of our notes from 10 years ago, and it’s just kind of, it’s good to reflect back from where you came from. Right?
Jeremy Weisz 11:38
Yeah, when you pick up your head, you’re always picture someone’s swimming, if you just swim forward. And you look back at Oh, I went further than I thought I did. And so what type of clients were you serving then? And then what type of clients are ideal now?
Wesley Mathews 11:54
Yeah, back then it was anybody who would listen and pay us money. But typically, we would stay with the Small Business entrepreneurial rant, I mean, that’s really evolved into just, you know, non Fortune 500. If as long as a customer has an entrepreneurial spirit, we’re a good partner. So b2c is typically where we like to live, because we can produce a tremendous amount of leads and opportunities for customers. So refer a plumber or electrician, like the skilled trade guys, real estate, you know, that’s our sweet spot. So yep, as long as there’s an entrepreneurial spirit, we tend to work well with any type of customer.
Jeremy Weisz 12:32
So Wes someone like ny Martial Arts Academy comes to you, they go, I need your help. What do you do for them?
Wesley Mathews 12:42
So in most cases,
Jeremy Weisz 12:43
you do more than just a website, you know, I mean, you do more than just a website and a dashboard.
Wesley Mathews 12:48
Yeah, for sure. So, you know, to me, still true today, I mean, everybody’s going to go to your website and check you out, right? So want to make sure the website is an accurate reflection of who you are, who you’re trying to portray yourself out there in the world. But then also, you know, the magic question, everybody is like, how many leads are you getting from your web website today? And most of the time, it’s like, none, or the websites not doing anything. I’m not investing in it, or I tried to invest in it, and it never worked. It’s like a martial artist. Yeah, it’s like, Look, everybody’s different. Like, we might do business with 10, to 100 different karate studios, but we spend the time to get to know the customer, like, What are you trying to accomplish? Like wave a magic wand, you know, define success? You know, if we were able to drive leads, what does that look like? What are people doing? What are they buying? We start with the end in mind, like, how many leads Can you handle? What’s the process? And then we design out how do we get there, and then we execute and deliver. And we do that by way of organic optimization, in some cases, paid search media, but you know, most of that, you know, again, early on, a lot of people didn’t have a website or a great website, or any type of organic strategy, because it was 11 and a half years ago today, you know, everybody has it, but it’s just, you know, we don’t pull on the top page for our main service. Our website was built by our sisters, cousins, brothers friend’s daughter, like we now understand the relevance to get into an agency. And again, most people will find our work, they’ll find a website that we’ve done and see it’s ranked all over the top pages of Google and there’s all these leads, they’ll find us at the bottom they’ll say, hey, you did XYZ Can you do that to us? So we just try to help explain the importance and you know, kind of help soothe you know, the pain because most people I’ve worked with a company, some marketing company where they weren’t happy. They didn’t deliberation wasn’t met based on what they were correct. Yeah. Yeah. So speaking, ROI, you know, you invest this, this is the outcome that we’re gonna produce.
Jeremy Weisz 14:46
I love the speak of ROI. That’s the key. So, NY Martial Arts Academy. They’re like this all sounds great. We have a website humming. We have some organic search humming. We have some possible pay. Search humming on, they can look at things in their dashboard. What does the dashboard look like? If you describe it? What do they see in there?
Wesley Mathews 15:08
Yeah, we made it really simple, like almost like a mile per hour gauge like, this is good. This is not so good. This is bad, you know, based on what our expectations are what we’re setting. So it really just gives them raw data of you know, here’s the amount of leads you got, here’s how many calls you received, you know that it’s really, really simple. And we took, you know, there’s there’s great companies out there that give really high level dashboards with millions of pieces of data, right, like Google Analytics is a great tool. But half the time people log into it, they have no idea what they’re looking at, we take like the top three to five things out of that in our own proprietary systems and give a high level overview to the customer. So they know how many leads are coming in how many phone calls, that kind of thing, and what keywords are being clicked on the most.
Jeremy Weisz 15:55
I mean, sometimes creating those simple dashboards are harder, though, because you’re pulling everything in to give you one kind of thing as opposed to if there’s 10 different things. So I would argue a little bit that probably what you created is more difficult than just creating a bunch of piecemeal metrics that someone can make a decision off of, I imagine.
Wesley Mathews 16:17
Yeah, because at the end of the day, I mean, regardless, if we’re doing organic optimization, I mean, if we’re driving leads, the conversations I try to have is at the end of the day, like do you really care where it comes from? Like, you just want to pay a fee and get the result? So let us do the work and make it very simple for you to identify. Where am I at? Do I feel comfortable with what I’m paying. So we have account managers, customer service managers who support all of our customers ongoing, that are there to help go through the data with the customer. So, you know, the customer is never out there on an island, every project we sell every customer we partner with, they have a dedicated resource to help them through that journey.
Jeremy Weisz 16:55
Yeah, that’s key. I love the companies I work with that I have a some kind of account manager or someone that can help me along. Do you recommend them scheduling an ongoing call with the client? Or do you just like, let’s talk about year 1234? And beyond? Or do you recommend, you know, just touch base with them every so often? What is your recommendation? If as an agency out there, they have account managers? What’s the What have you found to be a good sweet spot
Wesley Mathews 17:28
every month, a touch point. Because again, our model is reoccurring revenue customers paying us every month, I’m not going to go 90 days without having a conversation with the customer to let them know, how we’re working for them how we’re showing up the work that we’re doing. If that’s not possible, I would say at least every 90 days, I mean, you could do a lot through automation and email. But again, you know, having the conversation talking about even, you know, one thing that I think we missed early on as a company that if I could go back and change was, you know, we were always very protective of the ball. So like customer buys this package, we spend so much time really trying to protect and fight for that. And we lost a lot of opportunity to talk about the upsell or like what’s next. And I kind of learned that a few years after on you know, all the calls don’t have to be about this is what you’re paying for. This is what you’re getting, it’s what the hell is going on in the world, like what are our other customers doing? Like? What are what what is that other idea that we can give? You know, so we just said, Hey, if we can identify and have that single point of contact to build that relationship? You know, some people are like, what are you calling me for? I thought we’re doing our 90 Day Review. So we just let the the CSM manager kind of set decades to say to say, hey, like, we want to have at least one deep, meaningful, meaningful conversation every 90 days to go through the data to make sure we’re on the same page. And I think with our retention rate being above 88% I think that’s a it’s working pretty well.
Jeremy Weisz 18:56
Yeah, I love that Wes, actually, it’s like, it’s not just a call, it’s almost like an insight call. Because you can see, you have a different perspective you see across many clients and what’s working not just what that one industry or person is doing. So I love that. What else? What other discoveries have you made throughout? Like, that was one like, Oh, we should be talking about other stuff insights? What are other products and services we have? What else did you discover that you added in to the system?
Wesley Mathews 19:24
You know, I think, you know, from where we started to where we’re at today is this, you know, keeping your ear to the street and really asking questions like, you know, what is the customer going through? I think COVID really gave us a good opportunity to have you know, even deeper meaningful conversations because I think that we’re where we can come in as our value add it’s Yeah, we’re offering web we’re offering SEO Services. But where I think we started to like really level up isn’t understanding the customers like sales journey, because my my old take on the business was my job is to lead the horse to water, not make them drink like we’re there. To drive leads, but what I learned was, you know, we might drive a ton of leads. But if the customer is not closing those leads, they won’t pay us. Or they say we’re not getting a good response, yet. We didn’t listen to their calls, we didn’t coach or educate them. So we started to put call tracking numbers, started walking them through and listening to their calls and giving them insight and feedback to say, well, no shit, this is why you’re not getting any business because nobody answered the phone, you know, little like little things. big businesses have buttoned up. They don’t. So I think us going the extra mile and saying, like, let’s walk this through to help you close more, which ultimately benefited us. And, you know, at a time early on, we just didn’t realize we’re like, no, we’re websites, we’re SEO, we’re not going to get involved with that. And I wish I would have done that early on.
Jeremy Weisz 20:51
Yeah, that makes sense. Because we were like, well, we aren’t getting results, and you’re thinking we just drove you 100 leads this month, how are you not getting results? From what are some of the mistakes you’ve seen companies make in those sales conversations? As you’re listening in? I mean, one is one obvious one is going to the owner not answering the phone is one obvious one, right. But beyond that,
Wesley Mathews 21:14
like their follow up process. Like, I think when a lead comes in, like you got to get back to him right away. I mean, I heard calls, I sat in a couple and you know, there’s a Tree Service Company, and they guys like literally one shoulder like chainsawing a tree down, like, you know, it, it’s just not gonna work, you know, I think it’s, it’s having that system and process set up. Because again, like, we’re, you know, I’m 39, I, the internet pretty much started when I came out of high school in terms of popularity, like, peep, if you’re a Tree Service Company, and somebody contacts you, you have like five minutes to call them back, or they’re going to go to the next guy, and they’re going to be booked in, you’re not going to schedule that appointment. So you’ve got to be ready, you got to have a process for that. And if you’re the owner, operator, like there’s calling, there’s call answering services. And it’s just having those deeper conversations with the customer to get them to think differently. So that’s, that’s really why I tell everybody, it’s like if you can get the customer to think differently, and give them new ideas on how to create efficiencies around their business. Again, I mean, I’m sure there’s customers that just pay us, maybe not so much for the SEO Services, but just because we’re like a really good consultant. And we have a lot of good ideas. And we’re like a really good partner for them.
Jeremy Weisz 22:24
Totally, just that added value. And that’s what differentiates Pete, you know, companies from all the other companies because they go that extra mile, they map everything out, um, talk about General Filter for a second and what happened there.
Wesley Mathews 22:39
So that was a client early on. So my partner and I, you know, we spent a lot of time doing like, small deals in the company, like a couple 100 bucks a month, and we had a great process. And I think they they hit our lead forum, and I had a meeting with them. And they wanted a big project. So like, at the time, I was super anxious, my partner like you threw on our nicest shirt, and we’re ready to go into this meeting. And, and really well then, like we didn’t have any big customers in our, in our, in our portfolio. So I thought the meeting went great. It was like with their boards. Everybody’s really, you know, stiff in the room. And I have a conversation. It’s like us against five companies, and we do our thing. And my partner and I are ping pong and probably fumbling all and I think we had another follow up meeting to that. And like, I see my partner one day and he’s like, I got some bad news. I go, Yeah, what’s that? He goes, General Filters call and they decided to go with the other guys. Like, no way. I’m like, the lady’s name. She’s there. So a great client of ours. Her name is Paige. I’m like, Paige loves me. These guys love me. Like, I don’t accept that. I do not accept that. I said, I’m calling her right now. My partner’s like, no. They said no. I’m like, No, like, I’m calling them. So I pick up the phone, like call her and I’m like, Paige, like what’s what’s going on? Like, I can’t believe like, tell me what I did wrong. Like it hurt. You know, and I was this close. It was a huge deal for us, like huge, like life changing deal. She was Wes, I really liked you guys. But the one thing that the partners were stuck on is you know, there was an invoicing system in your technology that you guys don’t have, that the other company has. And that’s why we went with them everything else we love. And I said, Paige, I’m really sorry that I didn’t highlight our invoicing system to you. I guess I missed that in the meeting. We absolutely have an invoicing system. And I’d love to share it with you because I’d love you to reconsider it because this is going to be a great partnership shows oh my god was like I didn’t know you had an invoicing system. And if you guys had the invoicing system, you could come out and show us why absolutely do business with you. I said, perfect. Friday, three o’clock, we’re gonna come out there, hang up the phone. I call my partner I said, Hey, Jon, what are you doing? He goes, like having dinner with my family what I go, do you think you can get an invoicing system built in 48 hours? And he’s like, yep, let’s do it. So we did it. Built it delivered out Friday and closed on. And you know, I love that story. And I love reflecting on it because that was how scrappy we were. And as entrepreneurs, like, you gotta just can’t take no for an answer. And, you know, we went after it. And I think that was the catalyst of like our partnership and how we just sort of rolled forward into the future.
Jeremy Weisz 25:21
I was gonna say, Wes is good thing, you have a technical co-founder.
Wesley Mathews 25:27
And that’s always great. Because, yeah, I would have been completely true. But it was nice, because like, we had that much confidence in each other. And, you know, it was a big win. And, you know, at the time, you know, we’re doing deals for a couple 1000 a year, this was like a 20, $30,000 deal. Like, at the time, it was like, This is big, you know, so it was it was great, great lesson.
Jeremy Weisz 25:46
I love that. Um, fast forward to larger real estate company. And what do you do there?
Wesley Mathews 25:54
So ironically, I was pulled into a meeting, somebody’s like, Hey, can you go to this meeting? It’s a really large opportunity. I’m like, Yeah, for sure. And, you know, it was a referral from an existing employee. And we go there, and you know, the conversations going, Okay, it’s not great. So the individual I was with, you know, he and the the individual across the table going back and forth, and she’s kind of grind in us. And this is a typical salesman, like, what are you going to do for us? And I just don’t sell that way. I’m like, how do we partner long story short, so anyway,
Jeremy Weisz 26:24
it’s a collaborative effort, collaboration, for sure. Like,
Wesley Mathews 26:27
so there’s a young gal that’s kind of, you know, she was listening the whole time. And she was really nervous, I could tell. So as they’re kind of getting in the weeds, and like arguing and doing whatever, I kind of turned to her. I’m like, Oh, so you know, just having a conversation, right? I’m nice to everybody. Like, I’m just genuinely curious and having conversations. I can’t tell you what we talked about. But I remember like, she was an intern. And I’m just like, Oh, yeah, like talking about digital marketing, or whatever we were talking about. Okay, so fast forward, three weeks, or what have you, my partner goes, Hey, do you remember that meeting? You were at? Like, we closed we closed this big deal? huge deal. He was Do you remember that meeting you were at? And I go? Yeah, he goes, do you remember talking to that? Girl? And I’m like, Oh, shit, like, Did I say something? I don’t know what’s to come out of my mouth. Like, I started questioning everything he goes, that was the CEOs daughter. And she told her dad after that meeting, that you were the only person out of all the five companies that came in there that acknowledged her talk to her, and you actually genuinely gave a shit. And there was five other companies that came in there. And they ended up choosing us to do business with them. And I think that was a good testament, because that’s just who we are right in what we do. And that was, that was a good one. That felt pretty good. Because it wasn’t, it was authentic. And this is how you know how I am and how we operate as an organization. They’ve been a great partner ever since. And we’ve done a lot for them. And they’ve done a lot for us. So yeah, that was really great. I love that.
Jeremy Weisz 28:01
I love that story. I love this story, because, and I love your approach of collaboration, and it really relationships first, you know, and how you can help no matter even if that’s not what you do. It’s like, Oh, well, you know, understand your whole sales journey and understand what you’re doing on the call just because that will help you and they’ll help us do a better job, it will help them ultimately, even though maybe you’re not technically on the hook for it with whatever contract you have in place with them. So I love that.
Wesley Mathews 28:30
Yeah. And for me, you know, and for me, it’s, you know, even if we can’t help you, what, oftentimes what happens, like, I want to tell you that right away, but I also need the context of what you need, if you want me to help you find a solution for you. So half the time like, you know, I’m, I want to disqualify somebody as fast as I want to qualify them to say, Hey, I might know somebody and, you know, we’re very transparent with what we do. And like, Hey, we’re eager to help, and we want to help but at the same time, we know what we’re good at. And, and we pass on what we’re not good at, right. And that’s a big thing, probably too early on, like we used to take on anything and everything. Now, today, fast forward 11 and a half years, we’ve gotten smarter that, you know, just because there’s big numbers tied to it doesn’t mean it’s the best, you know, the best opportunity just because there’s a lot of zeros to it. So we’re very particular, we’re very conscious of who we do business with. And that’s a great spot to be in as a business.
Jeremy Weisz 29:25
Plus, there’s two transition points I’d love for you to chat about, which is one, when you transition from 45 people to 100. What was the kind of inception of that? What happened there? They created that and then how was that transition of all more than doubling the staff.
Wesley Mathews 29:46
So so going through it right now was fresh. Yeah. So the catalyst there is you know, COVID hat. And, you know, my goal and vision for High Level Marketing from the day I started was I had this mental model of being $100 million. valuation company. And, you know, we’ve had great success with him up into a point. But, you know, I kind of had some self reflecting moments and asking myself like, you know, change or change, like, you can’t do the same thing and expect a different result. And we’ve, you know, we went through some great growth as an organization, year over year, we’re growing, not growing quite to the speed I wanted to. So at the end of 2020, we did about $6.5 million of actual revenue. That’s not like third party costs, or Google costs. You know, and I kind of had to look in the mirror and say, like, how do we really grow and scale? because something’s just not right. And I, Todd Taskey calls me out of the blue again, selling has always been in the back of my mind, I knew it would happen, at some point, just met Todd Taskey. And he goes, Hey, you know, cuz I, he’s asked me like, hey, do you wanna sell your company, and I gave him this crazy numbers that I’ll sell to you for this, don’t even contact me, right? Because I’m not in the headspace to sell. Well, I had my strategic meeting at the last quarter of last year. And a lot of things I identified, or we identified as a group that I knew we needed to go in and fix was gonna cost probably about a million and a half in revenue. And we got to hire some key people. And to be honest with you, I’m just like, I’m looking uphill at this battle of like, do I have it in me, like I just a great lifestyle business, we split off a lot of cash, like it’s a great business, but I’m like, comfortable is not where I flourish, like, I need to be uncomfortable and chaos. I know, it sounds crazy. But like, when things are comfortable, I start to look left and right, because I’m scared. Like, I just don’t operate well. So Todd calls me and says, I don’t have an agenda. He had an agenda. He just didn’t tell me. He goes, there’s a guy in Alabama, you got to meet him. Like, I don’t care what happens, just have a conversation with them. So we hook up in about a week and a half, do a zoom call, you know, it’s nice to talk to other agency owners that have about the same amount of employees and revenue. And you know, what have you because, look, it’s lonely, right? Like, it’s lonely being the CEO and an entrepreneur of a company, like everybody shakes her head to gas, I mean, it’s just, it’s a different thing, right, like, so having a conversation with him, like the top three things that were eating me inside, he had solutions for that they’ve been through, and they solved the problem two years ago. And some of the challenges that they had is they didn’t, they have a great CEO, and a great CEO. And they have a phenomenal team. What they didn’t have is they didn’t have a Wes, which is a chief revenue officer guy really driving sales. And they didn’t have a chief technology officer. So here we are Wes and Jon CEO, who has, you know, stripped me down to my bones, I’m a sales guy. Like, I’m a relationship guy, I, you know, I won the title of CEO because nobody around me was gonna take it. And as an entrepreneur, that just happened, right? And, you know, I kind of had to do some soul searching to say, what’s next, like, I’m 39, I have this goal in this vision, you know, we’re coming out of COVID. So felt at a time in the company that if I didn’t make drastic change, we were going to start to decline. Because of resource sharing. I mean, there’s a lot of things where I knew the foundation was gonna start to crack and how was I going to patch it. And so this opportunity came up, and I started having conversations. So now the conversation turned into more around, huh, I could actually partner with these guys, and also now have a stake of a new company, you know, I mean, we can take this conversation, so many different directions. But for me, I always start with the end in mind. And, you know, one of my goal was to be 100%, debt free, personally, no fiduciary responsibility left in the business. At some point, I just didn’t know when that was going to happen. So I felt that the ultimate goal was I wanted to protect the team. So my team had to stay intact, I still want to add contributing and be a high level value for the organization. And this transformation would allow me to sit in my sweet spot and not be in the weeds and just do stuff that I’m not, you know, just that I like, nor am I probably good at, you know, you mentioned visionary integrator, like, I’m not an integrator, I’m a want to be an integrator, I don’t want to be an integrator. So everything just felt right. And so what they were lacking, we filled the void, and vice versa. And we just kicked off that conversation in about five, four months, we got the deal done, end of February. And we know we are now rolled up into one company, the good name of that company is Bell Media out of Alabama. And we are assuming and we took on and maintain the name and just went through a rebrand of High Level Marketing.
So that was kind of cool. Retaining our name and now growing under this umbrella and cultures aligned and products aligned. We took all of our products, mash them together. And yeah, so collectively, we have about 100 employees, you know, over 1500 clients, you know, we’re gonna do $80 million of revenue this year. You know, again, it’s Just the challenges now are different. It’s a bigger organization, going from 45 to 100. You know, everybody in Michigan and hlm, old hlm is still digital, you know, everybody’s dialing into zoom. We all have offices, two different offices in Alabama, one in Nashville, satellite office in Houston. So it’s just the meeting tempo, the cadence. And the great thing about these guys is they really respected my passion for Eos. And we’ve adopted the EOS platform into the new organization, we’ve been operating from it. So that’s been fantastic. Because I vowed to myself, I will never do anything alive. Business wise, that isn’t EOS related. Because of how it just, I mean, as an entrepreneur, it’s a fixed man. I mean, it’s a prescription drug for the entrepreneurs. That works.
Jeremy Weisz 35:48
Well, if the sun met the Gino Wickman less than heaven? Did you hire an EOS? implementer? When you when you decided to implement it? Or did you just go at it yourself?
Wesley Mathews 35:59
Yeah. Yeah. So early on, we hired an implementer. And we did the 90 days session like every every EOS implementer. I don’t know if they still do this. They do like the first 90 session thing, what we went through that twice. And my belief was they weren’t intimate with the business, and they wouldn’t weigh in on problem solving. And I didn’t like that I didn’t need somebody there to kind of like babysit, I needed somebody to help us orchestrate. So I actually took and asked my top project manager at the time, who was my first hire, who’s still with us today. I said, Hey, sick a client work. She’s getting burnt out. She was on for like, six, seven years. I said, What if I pluck you out of that? read this book and implement this in the company and take a year to do it. And I won’t bug you. She’s like, okay, so we got the whole
Jeremy Weisz 36:44
company like that. I won’t bug you part less, right?
Wesley Mathews 36:47
Then sold. Yep. So, you know, I kind of use her as the implementer until we got the whole company bought in because it was a you know, 12 to 24 month kind of culture buy in. And yeah, it just sort of evolved and how our meetings evolved in the in the vision and the three year like, we’ve never hired a an EOS, because as you know, I made my leadership, read the books. I’ve been around it for so long, and everybody’s so comfortable with it. So I think now as we transition to larger co at some point, once we get through some of these integrations, I’m thinking about bringing in a high level, you know, maybe even Gino or somebody to come in and give us a refresher or give us some new ideas.
Jeremy Weisz 37:31
What did the transition look like for you in for you now? And what is your new role?
Wesley Mathews 37:38
So my new role by title is Chief Revenue Officer. So the transition has been a little difficult in terms of you know, you go from being the end all be all right to now there’s many other kids in the in the sandbox you got to play with and you know, so it’s been different. It’s been a challenge. But you know, right now, you know, we all talked openly about for me, I have the hardest transition because the CEO, there’s dang CEO, CEO, the CEO, staying CEO, and my partner staying CTO, I have the biggest transition of saying, Hey, I was the CEO, and I’m moving over. But I think what’s happening is I’m really babysitting helping sales team transitioned like today, you know, we’re moving into a new Salesforce instance. So we’re changing little processes. I’ve reaching out to the old team, participating in all the leadership meeting. So I will say personally, for me, right now, it’s a little, it’s a little weird. But I also feel like it’s new. I’m just trying to meet everybody. And then we’re starting to scope out like, you know, what am I going to do when I grow up? And how am I going to add value, and I know when I can feel where that value is going to be? And yeah, it’s kind of right on track, but it’s just gonna take a little bit of time to kind of get my bearings and just feel okay, with with what happened.
Jeremy Weisz 38:55
It seems like Wes, though, you’re gonna be doing what you ultimately love to do more of the time. Yeah. Is that
Wesley Mathews 39:02
true? Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you know, I’m a relationship guy, I’m on, you know, ask Wes to do it. Right. I remember as a kid, like, you know, we may or may not had people buy us beer at a certain age, right? But somebody had to go to that person to say, Hey, will you buy us like, I was that guy, like, I have no fear. And I think that, you know, the passion, the experience, the you know, just the relationship side of it, and understanding business and how entrepreneurs think, I think that’s where I can bridge the gap and solidify some really large relationships. And I think that, you know, again, I, I’m so accustomed to being heads down and making sure the team is good. So you know, right now, it’s just that little bit difficult to like, it’s okay. Like, we have people who are taking care of that and they’re doing a really phenomenal job at it. So yeah, it’s given me a lot of more opportunity to do podcasts like this. I had another one earlier. I had a really great opportunity with another agency out of Arizona to talk about a potential larger thing that we’re working on. So like it, it feels liberating. You know, it’s just a skip take a minute to get used to.
Jeremy Weisz 40:10
Wes I’m curious. Before we hit record, you said you took you a little untraditional route? What? What did you want to do when you grew up when you were younger?
Wesley Mathews 40:22
I still haven’t figured that out. You know, I think that’s been the question. You I always I, when I was 20, I worked for a bank, and I wrote loans. And I was doing mortgages. And I remember at the time sitting here, like, I’m in my 20s. And I met, you know, a mortgage, I felt at the time was the biggest financial decision for somebody. And here I am just young, no real experience, right. And I’m doing somebody’s mortgage, like who’s gonna take me serious, like, I just don’t want to do this. And I remember tech and like starting to get involved with web. So like, leading up to that, though, the unconventional route, like I just school wasn’t my thing. Like I just basically skated through high school. You know, it took me several years to get through community college. For my two year degree, I think it was like six years. It just wasn’t my thing. I just knew deep down that at some level, I was going to do my own thing. I didn’t know what it was. I remember early on, I started dishwashing, when I was 13. And how I got a job is I whipped out the yellow pages, and I opened it up. And I call the first restaurant I saw cold call and I got the job, I was a dishwasher. And I remember my mom telling me, why do you want to work right? Now you’re gonna have the rest of your life to work. And I was like, I’m not going to work the rest of my life. Like, that’s the difference. Like I’m not, you know, my dad kind of worked out. He was in his late 60s and 44 years at a company, that’s phenomenal. But I always had this different view of the world on, you know, if everybody’s going this way, I’m sort of like, I’m gonna go that way. And, you know, I don’t, there was no, like, burning passion. But what ended up happening, what I felt was, you know, I love small businesses, I love meeting people. And I love adding like, it’s really, it was interesting to me at the time to add value in tech, or web, because that’s like, the unknown territory. So I was kind of like that even keel, great resource. And then even now, as I have conversations, and as those evolve, like, I love meeting just entrepreneurs and understanding their passion, and, you know, helping them out, you know, that’s, that’s kind of where things ended up.
Jeremy Weisz 42:26
Wes, I have one last question. And first of all, thank you, thanks for sharing your lessons, learn some of the challenges discoveries along the way. It’s been, it’s been great. And before I asked him, and I’m gonna ask you, any mentors, and it could be distant mentors. It could be actual mentors, like you mentioned the Gino Wickman. So it could be mentors, meaning books or people. But before we go into that, I want to point people towards HighLevelMarketing.com. What other places online should we point people towards To find out more about you? And and maybe the, the, the brand, you know, the the rebranded company. Well, should we point people towards?
Wesley Mathews 43:06
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean, you can find me on LinkedIn, but most of the stuff is out there on HighLevelMarketing.com. You know, I’ve done a poor job of, you know, pushing content, and doing things I should have started years ago. And that’s something I’m going to start doing now. But, you know, the HighLevelMarketing.com has quite a bit of information for us about mentors, like had a lot of mentors along the way, one by the name of Josh Linkner.
Jeremy Weisz 43:32
You know, he was I’ve interviewed Josh.
Wesley Mathews 43:34
Yeah, so Josh actually has done a lot for me personally, on the business side, he introduced me to eo So I joined EO Entrepreneurs Organization, you know, that was a game changer for me. You know, as soon as my company did a little over a million dollars in revenue, I was able to qualify to get in and you know, that was a one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to be around a group of like minded entrepreneurs that are, you know, getting after it, like yourself, to have that safe group that you can ask questions and learn from experience. You know, I highly encourage and push anybody I can towards that organization. And I’ve been on the board ever since because I’m so passionate. And, you know, I’ll recommend things I’m passionate about. So
Jeremy Weisz 44:18
any other people within the EO ecosystem that you want to give a shout out to? Josh I mean, founded if people don’t know they can check out the interview. He started he pries and it’s just grown tremendously, like a staple in the tree. I have friends who still work there. Last shout out
Wesley Mathews 44:36
mattering though. Yeah. many iterations of name. I think they’re hello world now. Okay. Hello. Yeah. So Josh exited from that company. And now is a you know, very talented speaker just launched a new book, you know, big little break big little breakthroughs. Yeah, I mean, I think EO as a whole, you know, I can’t really say one or two people. I mean, it’s really been a combination of just You know, I think as an entrepreneur as a human being you pick up little things along the way. And you know, my mom used to say, Hey, you know, be careful who you hang out with, you’re going to turn into a woman I’m really glad to hang out with people in Neo because those are people who I want to you know, be more like so that’s been a really big contributing factor to the success of me personally for my family and the business
Jeremy Weisz 45:22
Wes I wanna be the first one to thank you everyone check out HighLevelMarketing.com check out more episodes of InspiredInsider.com and thanks everyone for listening.