Koby Conrad is a unique guest, to say the least. He sold his first company last year at the age of 21, and now has started a digital agency that did over $300k in revenue in its first year and landed one of the biggest players in Koby’s target industry.

What’s that industry? Well, Koby calls it the 420 market, but in simple terms, it’s the marijuana industry. And Koby’s big client? Grasscity, the biggest online head shop in the world.

We don’t get into the politics, but we do get into the benefits of niching down, how Koby builds and leverages relationships with influencers who have access to over 100 million followers, and what reservations Koby had positioning his agency close to such a controversial industry.

Koby has fun for sure, but you don’t build an agency that quickly or land a client that large without knowing what you’re doing. Today he shares with us exactly how he did all of that.

How one agency did over $300k revenue in year 1 by niching in a controversial market (PODCAST) Click To Tweet

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Key Takeaways

Lessons learned from early clients (6:00 – 11:00)

In the beginning, Koby did what many gurus say you should never do: he worked for free. But Koby did it differently than most. He targeted bigger names that would not only help him fill out his portfolio but also would give Boise Digital some publicity.

By building on that momentum, he and his team continued expanding but he quickly realized he needed to become more selective about who he worked with. Koby found that some clients were taking up more of his team’s time than nearly all the others combined, weren’t paying well, and were stressful to deal with. So he did what every agency owner knows they need to do but never want to do; he fired them.

It’s important to hustle early on and build a reputation, but as you grow, bad clients can keep you spinning your wheels. Not only do they suck up all of your time and stress you out, they take away time that you could be spending finding better clients.

Partnering with the right clients (13:30 – 18:00, 41:00 – 44:00)

While Koby is an expert with influencer marketing, if he needs new clients, he isn’t going to find them with social media. Instead, Boise Digital’s clients come from word of mouth and by building strong relationships with people.

Most agencies rely heavily on word of mouth for referrals, but don’t have a process to control, or at least influence, the results. Koby has a different take on it. Instead of just hoping his clients will refer business to him, he looks out for clients that can raise his agency’s profile just by working with them.

When you work with clients that get a lot of publicity, like Grass City, or even in a local market with a client local Boise Fry Company, you are putting your work on display. This creates the sort of marketing gravity that draws new clients to you and gives you much more legitimacy than if you were approaching prospects cold. These clients have seen your work, have seen who you work with, and know they want to work with you.

If you aren’t a natural salesperson, then find the clients who will put your work on display so it can sell itself.

Find the clients who will put your work on display so it can sell itself Click To Tweet

Entering a controversial industry (29:30 – 38:30)

Many guests on the podcast have talked about the value of niching down and addressed many of the common concerns agency owners have about the process. In most cases, if you decide you want to leave your niche, there is nothing stopping you, but for Koby, that may not be the case. Because he is niching down in a controversial space, it may be hard to return to the more traditional industries if things don’t work out.

Regardless of your feelings about the legality of marijuana, it is very clear that public opinion in the U.S. is changing, and we could be seeing the start of a major gold rush. Koby saw that potential in the market and thought the reputation risk was worth the potential payoff.

At the end of the day, many clients only care about the results an agency can get them. Not all of his clients loved that he took on Grass City, but he didn’t lose any of them. As long as he can continue delivering results at increasing scales, Koby isn’t too worried about future prospects if things don’t work out in the 420 industry.

Want to learn more?

If you want to follow Koby and see how his journey continues, head over to BoiseDigitalMarketing.com, which will be re-launching soon.

Resources mentioned:

Drake Cooper
4-Hour Work Week
80/20 Sales and Marketing

Thanks for listening!

Are there any clients that could help you get more publicity? If not, what could you do to find clients who could, or to attract more attention to your work?