Hey Mat, Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Mat Gargano; I’ve been a web developer since the late 1990s and have always been involved and fascinated by computer programming and software engineering.
I started a few companies (with limited success) in high school and college and eventually began building websites for friends or friends of friends in 2011. Here we are 11 years later, and I’m running an agency that has over 50 current clients.
Please shed some light on your [Service, Product, Company]
We started as a web-only shop. I strictly built websites for folks. The more I created, the more clients asked about design, SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click, etc.
The design was a natural bedfellow because I would have to build something. I started outsourcing the design work but realized that I could handle the design in-house, and we offered that as a standalone service.
During the pandemic, I made exciting acquisitions and brought on staff that helped me beef up our marketing portfolio. From there, we began offering SEO, content marketing, and PPC, which have been great sources of revenue.
How did you come up with the idea of this?
It fell in my lap, as I mentioned above. I did a favor for someone and realized that I could do this for myself.
I had been working for agencies or other companies for all these years and gained the skills needed to manage a project, manage clients, etc., along with developing the technical side of things. It separates me from much of the competition, as I can do everything we offer myself, but I have also learned to trust my employees; just because I can do it does not mean I should do it. I have worked with the folks who work for me to develop a good strategy.
My perspective is unique, so the way I would tackle a project may not be how they would, but I also think we can learn from each other. We’ve had some significant breakthroughs and ideas during our strategy sessions, and the different experiences and backgrounds help.
When did you decide to launch it? What made you launch this product/service?
I started from humble beginnings in 2011. I had worked for agencies and built web properties and applications for some big names (think Bloomberg, Campbell’s Soup, and American Eagle). I realized I could manage the entire lifecycle of a client and handle the technical side of things. It was only a matter of finding the clients.
What’s your customer acquisition strategy?
Mostly word of mouth. I believe in letting the work speak for itself and building relationships, and I have put very few dollars into marketing. Still, now that we are growing, an acquisition of a dedicated sales team, marketing our services, or vertical (or horizontal) business acquisitions may be on the horizon.
What’s the status of your business right now? Did you ever have a steep low or high?
We continue to grow; year over year, the growth rate has increased by double digits.
How is your business impacting you? How has it changed your life/lifestyle?
I am my boss, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. :-). It’s nice to have the ability to make decisions, but I rely heavily on my staff and mentors, which I have acquired over time.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
A JetBrains IDE, Semrush, Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and a few AI tools for content ideas.
Who inspired you to start this business?
Since I was young, I knew I wanted to run a business. Even though running a business was nothing like I imagined so long ago, it’s still quite exciting.
Useful resources that helped you grow your business?
I am a visual learner, and some channels sincerely helped:
- Maximilian Schwarzmüller
I also enjoyed “Building a StoryBrand,” by Donald Miller, which did not teach anything I did not know but organized and presented its material in a way that helped clarify and develop a more robust strategy.
These resources, along with Grammarly, Semrush, and coffee.
Advice for people who are starting out on their journey?
Know that you may begin to feel like you are crazy or wasting your time before you start seeing success. Speaking for myself, I (mostly) ignored those feelings unless I had some data (e.g., if I felt that after not acquiring a client for 3 months, I would reach out to existing clients, go to networking groups, etc.), I would not let anything stop me from growing my business, because I knew it was both viable. I was exceptionally good at doing what we do.
Road Ahead – where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I hope to continue my trajectory and hire resources to grow the business.
Where can people order your services?
Currently: https://statenweb.com, which will eventually be for my local clients (local as in local business anywhere in the world).
We are developing a new agency for our higher tier, bigger brands, which is coming soon.
Your social media handles, please
@statenweb on all the graphs