Amanda and Mark Dalnodar – Brew City Marketing

Marketing a business can be tough.  As the advent of the internet age came, grew and became the standard where and how a business markets to create awareness and, of course, sales has shifted.  Moving right along with those shifts Amanda and Mark have grown Brew City Marketing from a startup firm to a place that businesses go to grow.
Awareness is the name of the game for any business, which means that marketing is essential.  Listen as Mark and Amanda detail how they left their jobs that were doing things the old school way as they decided to venture out and build the marketing powerhouse that Brew City Marketing has become.
Visit Amanda and Mark at:

Authentic Business Adventures Podcast


You have found

Authentic Business Adventures,
the business program that brings you

the struggles stories and triumphant
successes of business owners across

the land. We’re locally underwritten
by the Bank of Sun Prairie.

My name is James Kademan entrepreneur,

author, speaker and helpful coach to small
business owners across the country.

Today we are welcoming/preparing

to learn from Amanda and Mark Dalnodar,
the owners of Brew City Marketing.

So, Amanda and Mark,
how are you guys doing today?

Excellent, excellent.

So it’s a good it’s a good
day for marketing, right?

Every day is a good day for marketing

I was just chatting with a guy oh,
I don’t know those two or three episodes

ago, but he essentially said every
business is a marketing business.

They’re just essentially selling
whatever it is that they offer.

And he went on to say most of them aren’t
good at it, which is totally true.

So I guess that’s where
professionals like you come in.

So let’s start out

when you first started out, how did you
guys end up owning a marketing business?

Well we both came from

a marketing company.

You can say, yellow page ads
for at AT&T, AT&T way back.

Back in the day.

Yeah, that’s where we met too.

So we met there and we were selling yellow page ads
and that was my first job out of college.

Was that your first job? No.

And then we joined on when they
realized that it was the Titanic.

And so they were transitioning
and pivoting and started to launch

an Internet service
alongside the Yellow Pages.

And for me, that made a lot of sense.

The phone book didn’t make a ton of sense,

but I really got behind the Internet
product and I became one of the top reps

in the Midwest for selling websites
to my clients, to the agency.


The company wasn’t doing
a great job on executing.


Oops, that’s not good.

You know, that’s sort of understandable.

I mean, there are Fortune 50 company and
there’s a lot of moving parts and the internet is

fast moving.

And you’ve got to react
to market trends really quick.

They couldn’t do it.

So we saw the opportunity and we also saw
and we felt we could do it better.

So we decided to launch our own company.

So let me just clarify this.

So you’re like, hey, Amanda or Amanda went

to Mark and said, hey, Mark,
let’s get married and start a company.

Is that a

Well on our honeymoon,

we were in Saint Croix U.S. Virgin Islands,
and it was the night before we were going

to fly home to go back to our
corporate jobs and a regular life.

And I just remember saying to Mark that I

didn’t want to go back and I want to start
my own company or

what could we do together to start
our own business and then Mark said websites.

And then a light bulb went off in my head
because in college I helped project manage

a website redesign for a nonprofit
that I was working for.

And I just I don’t know,
like we’ve talked about starting

a business before and we would just
like brainstorm what we wanted to do.

But like, nothing, nothing felt right.

Like everything that we all the ideas,

it just didn’t sound
it just didn’t feel right.

But when he said website
like Boom, that’s it.

That’s all.
I know how to do that.

We didn’t really
know how to do it, but

we figured it out.

You are not the first company

owners to come on here
and say that, it’s cool.

So just to put a timeline
on this for the listeners.

Are we talking 12 years ago or more?

Yeah, we got married in 08, so. February 08.

No, we got married in November of 08, oh yeah,

It happens more often than you think.

And then we started Brew City
Marketing in February of ’09.

February of ’09.
All right.


So, you guys, did you tell your job?

Hey, funny story.

We’re not really interested in hanging out

with you guys anymore
or how did that transition go?

Was she had she had moved on from AT&T

and I was still there and she was working
for another company and that was more or less

the crutch of it, you know, she was really
driven and she wanted to do this.

I was more holding on to the fact
that I had had a career and a pension.

We had health care.
I said, I’m gonna stick this thing out.

You start the company,
see how things shake out.

I’ll join you in a few months.

So she took it on.

She was

one woman solo artist for a few months.

Nice. Her brother joined, he
came on as a sales guy. Probably

like five months, five months into it,
like maybe August and then October.

I quit my job and came on board.
All right.

It all happened in that first year.

So we’re going to back up a step.

Did you say that you had a pension?
I did.

I did have a pension.

I didn’t even know they still
had those even 12 years ago.

You know what,

it was actually rare back in ’04 too and

there these things were
just crumbling around.

But, yeah, AT&T had a really good pension.

Well, yeah, but you had to stick it out

for thirty years or forty years
or something. Five vested in five.

And I was for five years
and like a month and.

All right.
All right.

So did you get to keep
that little pension.

Well that’s that’s a good thing.

That’s always something that’s cool.

I think this is the first time I’ve
ever heard that word on this show.

And we’re in

episode one fifty

something. That is cool.

That is cool.
So, Amanda, were you in the pension world?

No, I didn’t work
at AT&T long enough for that?

You know,
after I left AT&T, I went to Aramark and I

was a sales executive there
for their uniform division.

OK, very cool.

I wasn’t there long enough either for
a pension or anything like that.

What is it with these
companies offering pensions?

Holy cow.
Oh, that’s funny.

So I want to talk about how you got
started with the whole website thing.

What were you guys coding
in back when you started?

Because WordPress.

I don’t know, WordPress was
the thing 12 years ago.

They were just regular little HTML

websites. Using Dreamweaver
and stuff like that or?

Yeah, yeah, whatever.

The web developer wanted to do whatever

they were using, but what separated us
from other web designers even back then,

was our knowledge of meta tags and getting
people’s websites found on Google and doing the

back end work to facilitate
finding their Google listing.

All right.
All right.

I should specify, Mandy and I
are not Web developers.

We never really have been at Brew City

anyway, she did that project in college.
But right away,

when we started our company,
we knew we needed a web developer.

So we found a guy on Craigslist.

Yeah, our first web developer
was a Mormon from Utah.

All right.

And he coded his sites
in HTML and Dreamweaver.

And so we said, I guess we build
websites in HTML and Dreamweaver.

That’s that’s who we are. Funny.

So is he living in Utah?
Oh, yeah.

Yeah, it was all remote, never met him,
was our first web developer.

We had him on four or five years.

He was doing websites for us.

Nice, a decade ahead of your time here.
Yeah I know, right.

Everything’s virtual now.

That’s cool.
That’s very cool.

Did he work out for you guys.

He was a great guy he was

turnaround projects quick
and he had really good artistic

abilities, and we like I said,
we kept him on for a few years.

He decided he wanted to do something else.

So maybe four or five years ago,
we parted ways with them amicably.

He was a really nice guy.

So did you guys I imagine you added more
developers over the course of time, right?

Oh, my goodness.

We’ve worked with a lot
of people over the years.

OK, employees or
subcontractors or combination.

We were we had almost all contractors
up until like three years ago.

OK, when it came into

my world or whatever that we had to why did
we switch everybody to be W-2

because of insurance liability it had to do with

something along those lines.

Our accountant made the recommendation,
you guys should take these contractors

and move them to part time,
OK, so that’s what we did.

Yeah, alright.

Listen to your accountant.

I like it.

That’s a that’s good
advice for your listeners.

Yeah, I imagine if you yeah.

If you’re giving them enough work,
you kind of it’s justified.

Because I guess one there’s the whole you
could get audited thing,

which that would be a bad day,
a flip side, there’s also somewhat

of a loyalty, I imagine,
that you want to keep.

Very much so.

We’ve we’ve got four or five developers
that work with us right now.

And there’s a couple that we could convert

to full time their billing
full time hours with us.

We’ve just got them.
They’re classified as part time.

All right.

We’re feeding a lot of work
to these these individuals.

One of them is Mandy’s friend from high
school. Oh funny. Still out of state.

She used to be in Vancouver.

She’s since moved to Seattle.

And she’s our lead developer
on a number of projects still today.

Very cool.
Very cool.

So are you guys when you initially started
the business, you get the developer

and developers as you grow,
were you essentially the sales force

in the management side or what were the
roles that you guys are taking care of?


Her brother came on board to do sales
and he had his background,

and when I left AT&T,
that’s exactly what I did in those early

years, was a lot of cold calling
and 50 calls a day of peace

between Danny and myself for years,
every day picking up the phone.


you know, that’s not an easy thing to do.

You have to have a certain
temperament for that.

Yeah, absolutely.


You take a lot of no’s,
but that’s how we drove our business

in those first couple of years,
making phone calls, taking a lot of noise,

but getting some appointments,
generating some interest.

And we had a lower price point because we

don’t have a lot of overhead and we
were just driven to bring in clients.



Sounds like fun, was there was there ever

any fear of success or
fear of failure when it started?

For me, yes.

For her?


She’s a driven woman.
And she always had this vision that I’m

going to push this wall forward and
eventually it’s going to move on its own.

And I think it was in the early years
where I might have called it quits

and we had those difficult conversations.


she was.

She was.

Going to make it work.

Yeah, well, it sounds like it has.
So that’s cool.

Oh, yeah.
Yeah. So at what point did you cross

the threshold where like, all right,
this is going relatively smooth,

we don’t have to look back anymore,
let’s just look forward?

That’s a good question.

I, I think it was driven primarily
on revenue and for me I think it was probably

three to four years in where I felt like,
OK, we got something here.

All right.
We started building our our revenue

stream, our reoccurring revenue
streams and bringing clients on for

digital services that we bill monthly.

And once that I think I said got about
maybe ten thousand a month,

I started to feel pretty good, like, OK,
we’ve got something that’s working here.

All right.

Digital services more
like SEO services or email services.

Hosting, SEO, digital, paid ads,

Facebook adds, social media
marketing and things like that.

Gotcha, ok, ok,

interesting. So how have you seen the
industry evolve over the past 12 years?

There’s a lot more competition.

All right.

For you guys or for?

Yeah. OK.

Yeah, when we started there was just a handful

of Web developers and digital agencies
in the marketplace that service the type

of clients that we service, which are
small businesses, look to a local base.

So there’s more competition.

These there’s also a lot more people going

online looking for business
as products and services.

So the opportunity for a company to start

spending money on digital is way increased
from where it was when we first started.

The phone book still had
distribution back in 2009.

You can’t get you can’t
get a phone book today.

I don’t.
We get them every once in a while.

And I just wonder who is in here.

It’s tiny.

Yeah, really small.

But there’s still somebody is paying
for that and it blows my mind.

I will tell you, two of the clients have

gotten more savvy, you know,
back in the day going in front of them

and say you need a website
and say, OK, whatever.

And we build all the content,
we put all the images in there.

They literally wouldn’t ask a question.

Look at it and look at it.

We just launched it for them. Wow.

That all.

But, you know, they’ve been educated

to understand that you’ve
got to market online.

And so now when you meet with a prospect,

they want to know what’s
the content going to look like?

How are you going to market this site?

You know, they’re asking a lot
more intelligent questions.

So, you know, we’re forced to
be better project managers.

We’ve got account managers make sure

that we’re conveying what their ROI
is and giving our clients good customer service.


Interesting. The other thing that changed a lot, though,
is that we used to just focus on

optimizing their website for Google

and having people be found
organically in the search results.

But now it’s like Facebook, Facebook,

get the paid ads on Google display,
banner ads, a bunch of things.

Landing pages.

Yeah, they’re complex.

There’s just more areas to advertise your

business now online than
there was back in the day.


Yeah, twelve years ago.

It’s interesting because social media was
a different beast, right? Yes, it was.

It was MySpace.

Even the YouTube ads and stuff like that.

And I feel like the SEO was
a little bit different game.

Well, a lot a bit different
game ten years ago.


It’s just things have evolved good or bad
and somewhat of a moving target

and the.

But then I guess
I would argue that you could spend

you could look at a given business and you
could say, hey, if you spend this dollar

amount, we can almost
guarantee you success.

Because we’ve seen it before, right,

like if you’re an electrician,
we’ve seen local electrician spend this

much money in these
places and be successful.

You can just kind of match that recipe.

And I don’t there’s so many
places to spend now, and

I would argue that it’s gotten
overly complex to spend online,

that, but I

don’t know if you can do that.
You can tell me.

Tell me in that regard how
you guys feel about that.

Hmmm, well, we’re in the
process of figuring out

or just declaring what our favorite
venues or just places where we will

advertise your business and we know what
kind of return you’re going to get.

And then not even saying we know how
to advertise your business on Amazon or

these other places because it is
each platform is its own ecosystem.

It is overly complex to say you’re

an expert at every
different platform, right?

We’re just not big enough for that.

And I guess that’s fair.
That’s totally fair.

A few, well maybe a couple of years ago.

I was trying to market a company

and I didn’t want to go on Facebook,
I wanted to be on YouTube

and finding someone locally here
that could help me with YouTube.

They kept saying,
just advertise on Facebook.

I’m like, I don’t want to I
want to advertise on YouTube.

Because it’s more of a video thing.

And and because they didn’t know YouTube,

they’re just trying to steer me into what
they knew, which, you know, I get it.

But I’m like, that’s not where I want
to spend my money I ended up not doing anything

because I dabbled in it.

And I’m like, I don’t want
to learn a whole new program.

But then I was thinking,
shouldn’t this be easy for any business

owner to just be like, these are
the kind of people I want to reach.

This is what I want to spend.

Here’s my ad.

I think it is trending that way,

and that is eventually what is going
to happen, but it’s just not there yet.

It is not, no. When I did
marketing on Amazon for my books.

So that was published three,
two and a half years ago.

Initially, they wouldn’t give you
any data that was beyond that day.

So you couldn’t look back 90 days or a
year or five years or anything like that.

They just give you a snapshot.

So every day I’d have to go
in there and take a screenshot.

And then there are people hustlin software
which essentially takes that data

and every day it would grab it
and put it in an Excel spreadsheet.

Oh, wow.
I’m like, wait, they have this data.

They’re just not sharing.

It seems kind of shady.

So they’ve changed that since then.

But it’s still it’s still not as
simple as I feel that it should be.


I guess for I don’t maybe I’m just
biased because I’m a business owner.

You got stuff going on.

You just want to, like,
bring me a business if I give you money.


there are a lot of companies out there
and platforms that are attempting

to service folks like yourself who would
rather do it internally and figure it out

without having to hire a digital agency
for whatever the reason might be.

And then that would be one.

Another difference from 2009 to today is

you’ve got a lot of website builder
platforms that you can go to.

You can build your own site
on Squarespace or Wex or Google platform.

But I think there’s always going to be

a need for an agency
such as ours because business owners get

busy and they’ve got
only a certain amount of time

and and their talents are
executing on their deliverables.

So, yeah, yeah.

Need those things for them.

I would imagine that there’s a price point

that a given a small business would spend
where you guys have to charge whatever

to just monitor and deal with that account
to take care of it.

And whether the ad spend,
let’s just say the outspend is five bucks

a month, you still got
time involved in there.

So your your labor essentially versus
the ad spend is not doesn’t make sense.

He’s going to come a point when the small

business grows and they’re interested
in spending this much more.

Well, now it makes sense
to get a professional.

That’s for five bucks, right, if I mess
up five dollar ad spend, whatever.

All right.
But if I mess up a ten thousand dollar ad

spend, well, now we got
a problem for sure.

So I think it’s a there must be

a threshold, I imagine,
where there’s an extension.

But it’s not just dollars and cents.

It’s, you know, return.

Is that what you’re putting out so
much of what you’re getting back?

And I would say for our prospect or

a client that says why I’ve only got 20
dollars per month, keep that 20 dollars.

Yeah, right.
And zero dollars.

But if you have five hundred dollars
and you want to get a thousand back now,

we can start talking about what
advertising can do for you.


And that’s the conversation that we
try to have with our clients is.

Yeah, it’s about strategy.
It’s about return.

If you can stomach the initial output
of investment

and you can then you can get a greater
return than what you’re getting if you’re

if you’re just nickel
and diming on the front end.


You have to.
That’s perfect.

I love that.

the idea of marketing as an investment
is really affecting the return for sure.

And any digital agency
that’s figured out their

value proposition and
how they execute on their deliverables

should be able to offer
some return for you.

Mm hmm.
Mm hmm.

What have been some of the success stories

that you guys have had
over the past decade plus?

Oh, we’ve had some really good ones.

I mean, you know,
we pride ourselves on the fact that we’ve

got more testimonials,
more positive testimonials, online

reviews, rather than on our
Google, my business than

most of the agencies in the state.

Now is a good story.

You know, we push our clients,

they go online, go online,
tell that story, because.

we have clients that will email us,
oh, I got this.

I got this.
Go on.

And one that sticks out, though,

is we took a took a one man guy had one
truck, was one guy and we signed him on.

You know who I’m talking about.
We sign this guy on

pretty early on when we when we launched

our company today, he’s got
a fleet of ten plus trucks.

He’s got 50 plus employees and he’s
generating 60 plus legitimate

contact form submissions on his
website every single month.

Contractor in Milwaukee.

And he spent primarily just digital.

So we’ve built a website for him.

We’ve built his entire online presence.

Google, we do some Facebook advertising

and we also manage his
organic social media.

And he’s an awesome success story.

I love bringing him up in meetings.

We’ve got a case study
we’ve written about him.

I love showing that the prospects
that we’re meeting with because

he’s a guy that, like I say,
he hears from the very early on.

He knew that he wanted to grow his
business, you know, sometimes we run across,

prospects that, you know,
I don’t want fifty employees.

I just I want to me a couple of these
guys, and that’s all I ever want.

OK, great.

We can still we can still
service those guys.

But this guy wanted to grow his business.
All right.

You’re able to go along for the ride.

And it was really cool to see.

You know, it’s interesting you say

that because when I’m out prospecting
for Calls On Call,

we run into a lot of people that are
just happy being the one guy in a van.

And to me, I’m like,
that seems like a torturous life.

Why would you want that

to grow or die?

But there’s some people there.

They’re happy and they’re content.

So more power to him, right?

Yeah, we can understand that, actually,

because, you know, when you decide you’re
going to grow your business,

there’s growing pains and certainly
it’s personnel, finding the right talent,

managing people,
customer service, figuring out, you know,

we we know that we’re
the best at what we do.

And now we’ve got to bring in people
that are just as passionate about it.

And that’s not that’s a challenge.

No employee’s
biggest challenge in the world

by a factor that I can’t even there’s not
a number that I’ve ever even seen

that could define the multiplier
of the pain that these are.

And it’s interesting,
and I started my business.

I had no idea that employees were a pain.

Oh, but it sounds like you guys
ran into the same situation.

Yeah, I didn’t I wouldn’t have I wouldn’t

have surmised that that was
going to be the case.

I would have thought it would have been

something else is going to be more
difficult, but it ended up being tough.

But I will say on a positive note,
that is what drives me to continue growing

our business,
because I get a lot of satisfaction out

of watching other people
grow and find their professional gifts.

I think that is definitely one
of the best things I like about my job.

Oh, I would agree a thousand times over.

There’s yeah, there’s

there’s pleasure, I suppose.

Just like parents with kids or something
like that where you can watch them grow.


And improve and you know, catch a ball,
throw a ball, do whatever,

learn how to spell all that jazz
of the employees are beyond that.

But you know what?
I like to watch them grow,

but it’s totally cool.

Well, likewise, we like I like
to watch customers do that same thing.

So there is yeah, in the end,

there are huge pain, employees are a huge
pain, but they’re worth it, so worth it.

You know, you’re going to grow.

You need to rely on other people to do.

To deliver the service totally,
completely, yes, on your own.

And it is it is really neat knowing

that we’re helping, you know,
somebody to put food on the table.

That’s a really cool feeling.

And just working as a team, like

having that support,
you know, it’s more fun.

It is more fun.
It is much more fun.

Yeah, definitely outweigh,

I’m sorry, say that again.

The positives definitely outweigh,
and I don’t want to say negatives,

but the positives are. Oh,
there’s some negatives.

There’s some negatives.

Yeah, because in the end,
employees are people and people have

baggage. Some people have tiny little
carry on bags and other people,

you’re just like,
where did that truck come from?

A lot of baggage.

So, yeah,

the trick is, I guess just finding
the people that can handle their baggage.

And not always the easiest thing

in the world because they don’t
share that on the interview.

Normally that I have a
747 full of baggage.

All right.
Flights coming in.


So let’s move on here.

How do you guys find the best
to market your own business?

Well, we are ranked in Google Local for
web design, and we have been for a long,

long time or like one hundred
percent of our leads from online.

No, not 100%. We drive

so we get a lot of repeat business

from clients that we build
sites for back in the day.

They’re coming back around.

We need to freshen up our site
and we get referrals too.

But we do drive a lot of leads from our

organic ranking,
we spend a lot of money on digital

for ourselves and of course,
we’re doing a ton of

we have a big effort around
our organic social posts.

But by and large, it’s from Google.

People are typing in web design Milwaukee
digital firm and they’re finding us.

We rank very, very well for our keywords.

Very cool.

Now I imagine that wasn’t accidental.

No, we put a lot of work
in that those early years

we weren’t we had to pick up the phone

and call people because they
weren’t finding us. Nice.

But that was a big turning point.

And we started driving leads.

We got we got a phone call,
someone found us online.

What is that ringing noise?

And literally in off three,

four times a week people are
emailing us or calling us.

They found us online.
I love sharing that story to our prospects

because obviously that’s
what we do for them.

We’re like estimates
of the value of being found.

For your search terms on Google.

Mm hmm.

The majority of your clients are they

hovered around Milwaukee because that’s
where you rank or they national, I guess.

Where do you find your clients?

Mostly local.

We have found some people that we have
company down in Florida call us a couple

of years ago and found us
online to do business with us.

We never met the guy we did some work

with, you know, just exchanging emails
and phone calls. Another guy in


I think there was somebody in Minneapolis.

It’s a small percentage of people

that have found us out of state,
most of them are in Wisconsin.

All right.

So does that mean that you were not
hitting the phone 50 times a day now?

No, I’m not hitting the phone anymore.

I haven’t made a phone call in six years.


That’s got to be a good
feeling, I imagine.

Oh, man.

Yeah, it’s a great feeling.

Have you seen any trending downward
or upward in the past year?

Yeah, covid hit us.


we we lost some clients that
they needed to close their doors

and we did have we had some clients

that picked up their advertising because,
you know, when their business is down,

they see the value in spending
more on advertising.

So and we have we did bring
on some new clients, but.

If you look at the trend over 12 years.

For sure, 2020 was a down year for us.

All right, all right.

In terms of bringing on new accounts,

our ability to upsell existing accounts,
it was it was about revenue.

It was the first year in 12 years that we
stagnated on revenue growth.

Oh, interesting.


that’s a you’re not alone there.

So that’s probably a decent
year to have that happen.

Yeah, that’s just like, oh, 2020 was rough

for her, wasn’t it.
Yeah, right.

Unless you’re a pizza delivery, you’re
probably having a somewhat better day.

But I felt grateful
that we just stagnated and

because so many other people
were impacted, much more so.

Oh incredibly so.

I was just I was talking with another
person I think last week

or so, like we’re doing,
we’re doing all right

almost to the point where I feel
guilty because you look around St.

Street in Madison here.

Restaurants just in general.

In fact, we just went to a restaurant,
I want to say was last week a Thursday.

And like, we haven’t been
to a restaurant in forever.

And it was my wife’s and my anniversary.

And she’s like, do you think
we need to make a reservation?

We both kind to like, oh,

no, no, it’s sad, but like, no.


we it was us and maybe one other couple there

like, there’s no way that we are paying
for this place to stay open right now.

No way.

Yeah, so which is it’s tragic because I

don’t know what’s going
to happen in a few months when.

We’ll want to eat at restaurants, and you
hope that they’re still around. Right.

So and that’s just one industry.

Yeah, so a big one.

But yeah, yeah.

We have had clients that were
you know, they had a gym and closed their doors.

A furniture retail.

They had to close their doors, you know,
a few businesses that didn’t mind,

at least not permanently, but no, no,
no, no, they’re not out of business.

But they had to literally close their

doors that nobody could go in their
place of establishment for months.


Yeah, yeah, I was just chatting with
the guy that owns the trampoline park.

Those things were germ
factories before covid.

What do they do?

Yeah, yeah, he’ll be fine.

That’s to survive a year
and then he’ll be good.

So that’s a years long time.

So hopefully he survives.

But yeah, it’s interesting.

I will tell you, though,
this year we have seen an uptick.

Yeah, I know that there’s still concerns

around Covid and everything that’s
that’s still happening with that.

But our our business did stagnate

in twenty twenty and this year
it’s picked up just enough.

In the two months we’ve got an increase

in leads, we’ve got an increase in our
appointments sales.


Very cool.

I can tell you from the volume of phone

calls that we have just
overall with our clients.

December and January were
people are hibernating.

I mean, there’s a lot of our industries
that we take care of that’s expected

pavement or landscaping is not a whole
lot of landscaping going on 20 below.

Not here in Wisconsin.
No, but the past week and a half.

As soon as the sun

came out and you could start to see just
little hints of grass phones just lit up.

Yeah, I would say we’re probably even

already looking, I don’t know,
a week or two early than typical.

So I think people are excited to get just
do stuff, spend money however they do it.

I think so too.

Whether you wouldn’t think that weather as
a is a big impact for a company like ours.


I think every business in the state

of Wisconsin sees an uptick
in business when the sun is up.

Totally, yeah.

Or your product spring.

My rule is that when the sun is out wallets are out, because I would think

we would see it with
a massage therapy client,

we answer phones for something that should
have nothing to do with weather.

That’s right.

but yeah, the sun comes out and all

of a sudden people are like,
I want to agree, it’s a mood elevator.

I mean, it’s, it’s driven

maybe the Christmas credit card is
paid off or something like that.

Who knows.

Who knows.
Whatever it is.

It’s interesting how many

industries that that covers that should
be not related at all to weather.

It’s interesting.

So let’s talk about what you guys have

learned over the past decade plus because
that’s a long time to be in business.

So what have you learned.

Let’s just say

first year or two when you guys are first
starting and kind of clawing your way up

to success,
what are some things that you discovered

that you didn’t necessarily know or were
some of the challenges that you ran into?

Well, I can tell you that we actually did
come up with the idea for this company.

Amanda was going to be our web developer.
Oh, nice.

OK, because she built that website
and pretty quickly we thought,

let’s hire let’s actually
hire somebody to do that.

So that was a lesson.

I think our learning curve for us,
we decided we were going to delegate.

So that happened.

We also learned, I think along the way,
this happened early on.

We had to we had a client
way back in the day.

That was just a real hassle.

And we’d never returned money before.

And we didn’t want to do that because we

weren’t bringing in a lot of business
and it wasn’t a lot of money, but

we were bending over backwards for this
woman who we were never going to please.

And we finally said,
why don’t we just give her money back?

She can go away.

So we learned that it’s
OK if that’s not a fit

nicely to a point now where we can figure

that out in the prospect meeting,
where we won’t even bring the client on.

But being in a situation,
our position where we can say,

yeah, we kind of know who we want to work
with, we can ask the right factfinding

questions to figure out
who those people are.

And we won’t present

proposals to the folks that we just don’t
think we’re going to be a good fit for.

You figure that out as you go.

And I guess I would also say, you know,
just how we execute on our services

mistakes along the way,
at one point in time we we decided we were

going to outsource some of our
work to the wrong people.

All right.

And they did some things that were
not good for our clients.

And that was a big learning lesson for us,

making sure that we if we do partner
with other individuals to help execute

on some of the things that we’re doing,
that we do our due diligence,

that we’re always monitoring
what’s being done.

Just being smarter on how we
how we operate.

Mm hmm.

Let’s talk about hiring.

Let’s go back to the employees thing.

Did you learn anything about hiring,
even finding subcontractors?

Oh, yeah,


I’ve learned that I am not good at that.


This is really way better than me.
All right.


Why is that, though?

I think you have a natural ability to.

I think you would do a better job

at asking tough questions,
to be honest with.

Hmm, interesting, I just I’ve always done

well with the personal side and management

team, and Mark is really his gifts are
in sales and working with the clients

and that’s how we’ve operated and worked
together for the past 12 years as I kind

of take care of the employees
and he takes care of the clients.


I would argue, Amanda,
that you have a tougher job then.

Well, thank you.

I would argue James that you should sit in on a call with me.

I am very
thankful he does the client side.

Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong,
clients for the most part are cool,

but every once in a while
you’re like, oh, right.

We’ve had somewhere we’re just like,
take your money and take a walk.

I don’t know who’s going to deal with you,

but somebody hopefully,
maybe will. Someone lucky.

But that’s rare.

Where employees having a challenge.

Man, I

used to joke about the number of Kleenex

boxes that we’d have
in our conference room.

Because I would make employees cry
with no intention of making them cry.

But just asking them questions,

which I thought were just like
logical questions and then they just


So I don’t think I’ve
ever had a client cry so.

Well, I think that goes back to what
you’re saying, like asking tough questions

and being in a leadership position,
but still motivating your team.

It is a fine line.

It is a balance that

luckily, I don’t know.

It comes naturally to me.

You do you do the same thing where you
ask tough questions and then people.


You know, I don’t know what it is.

It’s hard to see, honestly,
if I if I had to say I think I would say

that you are a natural
extrovert and I am not.

I can be a very good extrovert,
but it’s it’s an effort for me.

We’ll go to a party

and we’ll come home at the end

of the night and she’ll just be lifted up
from all the interaction that she’s had.

Oh yeah.
For me,

I like I am at the party.

I appear to be the bigger extrovert, but
when I get home I am mentally drained.


Of being an extrovert.

Interesting. So how does
that translate with managing?

Because it takes a lot of energy to have

that personal engagement develop
those that have that relationship.

And I just think that you do
that naturally better than I do.

If I had to guess.
That’s just a guess.

Very interesting.

And all of my opinions,
they’re just theories.

No, that’s all right.

That’s interesting.
My wife and I are the same way.

I love the party.

meeting people and jazzin’
talking about stuff and whatever.


I just feel you feel alive
and she’s she’s talking to that one or,

you know, one person that she knows

and she’s cool with that just
safely in their corner.

I’m like, that seems like the most
boring party in the world.

But I guess that’s why I enjoy networking

events and why
this covid thing has been a challenge.

Yes, because the in-person stuff goes
away it’s the stuff that you thrive on.

You’re like, oh yeah.

What’s Plan B here?

Gives you energy.


I want to touch briefly on the new
business that you guys have ventured into.

The Med Spa MKE, can you tell
us a little bit about that?

It is located in Wauwatosa.

All right.

Our medical director is Dr. Byom

and we do Botox, dermal fillers,

facial rejuvenation, sexual rejuvenation,
vitamin booster’s, just a lot of

really fun things

to help people on their journey
with feeling and looking better.


Now, that’s a pretty far
stretch from marketing.

So how did you guys get into that business

as well as, I guess,
in relation to this business?

Well, we knew Dr. Byom

from Brew City Marketing.

We had built his website.

Oh, nice.

Yeah, he was a client.

So it wasn’t just some ad that you saw?

He approached us, actually.

OK, well, that’s super cool.

There’s a lot of trust there.

And how long ago was this?

Uh, one year ago.

One year was it really?


There was going to be an open house in
March of 2020 to relaunch the brand.

And of course covid not a good
time to start a Med Spa.

It’s a closed open house.

All right.

So I imagine you guys have learned some
things in marketing that as well then right?


Or were are you doing it

mostly before so it was pretty easy? Um, both.


I mean, yeah, we do all the marketing,

obviously, for it, but
it was really cool to step into a B2C

company and, like,
live in it because obviously we’ve been

working with a lot of hundreds of B2C
clients over the years.

But I’ve never actually ran a business
where I was in it, living in it every day.

a really nice, well rounded perspective

that I bring back to Brew City Marketing
and the clients that we have here.

Mm hmm.
Very cool.


Because I imagine before you were B2B and all of a sudden you’re B2C.

I imagine, do you take walk ins or
is it all scheduled? All scheduled.

All scheduled.
OK, all right.

But still it’s a little bit
different clientele than,

than a website or marketing.

I imagine, it’s
just a different sales process.

Yeah, yeah.
The the sales process is different

and the volume of clientele needed
to sustain a business like this.


Interesting, huh.

So I imagine after a year
you’ve had some more stories.

Yes, yes, but luckily,

the years of working, you know,
having Brew City Marketing and being

a business person has, you know,
hasn’t fazed me.

All right.
All right.

So what’s your favorite part
about owning the Med Spa MKE?

What would be my favorite part?


I think

I don’t know,
maybe just the problems

that I see at Med Spa MKE,
like I can solve them within a day or two

with Brew City Marketing the operations is
just more complicated in that the issues

or the problems that we’re solving
with being in business for 12 years

and with the revenue that we have
and the more employees that we have,

the problems that I work
on may take a year to solve.

Oh! Bigger projects.
All right.

Like, Med Spa MKE is just quicker,
quicker things coming at me.

And I enjoy starting that energy
that comes with a start up.

All right.

I always jokes that a new business is like a new

girlfriend kind of thing,
but your wife doesn’t get upset.

And I take that back, not as upset.

That’s so funny that you said it because

I actually made that same analogy
to some people the other day.

And I felt weird saying it,
but it’s true.

No, it’s totally true.

It’s the honeymoon phase
of a new business.

Everything’s so fresh.

So new.

Oh, yeah.

Ten years in you’re like oh

you again.

Here we go again.

And no surprises.

So, Amanda, what’s your favorite
part about Brew City Marketing?

My favorite part about Brew City Marketing is

oh, hmm.

Again, I want to say it’s the people.
All right?

I mean, I think I touched on that before,
but really building the team

that we we’ve had throughout the years and
who we have today and just providing that

that space for people to
grow and learn and change.


that for sure is my favorite part.

Just to support

your team.

How about you, Mark?

What’s your favorite part about
running Brew City Marketing?

Yeah, I would I would say the same
for sure, the people I mean,

the energy that we’ve created
and the camaraderie and the community

and the culture is really cool
and the challenge.

I like the idea of thinking about
where we could take this agency.

We’re in a really cool industry
and there’s a lot of opportunity for us

to grow and figuring out the right ways
to do it and the systems and

everything that’s kind of goes
into how you grow a business.

All the challenges.

I mean, I love it.

It’s difficult, but I love it.

It gives me a lot of energy.

Coming in every day and thinking about what
can I do today

to make it run just a little bit better,
what kind of decisions can I make, what kind

of conversations can I have
to tune this up a little bit better?

And every day kind of seeing it, you know,

seeing all that stuff come to fruition
and our business growing, it’s real nice.

I love it. So it’s time for advice time,

if you were to see someone or meet someone
that was considering starting their own

business, what is some advice that the two
of you would give to them

about things to look out for things,
to just any advice of any kind open door?

Hmm, I’d say don’t be scared to
build a team or find help sooner.

I think for a long time we were doing things on our own

for probably longer than,
you know, we should have.

Once we once he made the leap to hire

first employee things, our revenue
looked at it do it almost doubled.


So yeah, a lot of.

Find someone to delegate.

No I agree for sure.

People have this idea in their
head when they’re running a business.

Well once we get to this much revenue
then we’ll bring on an employee.

But I think the right approach as is you

put somebody in place so that you
can get to this much revenue.

Yeah, that was a lesson that I think we
needed to kind of learn organically.

But because at first business.

Yeah, for sure.

That’s funny that you say that.

I was just I wrote a blog,
I want to say November,

something like that,
about people setting arbitrary milestones

that have nothing to do with what
they’re trying to accomplish.

They’ll be like, oh, I’ll look
into marketing after Christmas.

Like, what does that have to do with any
marketing that you’re going to be doing?

I get over the whole
Christmas thing first.

This just like I got to reach this revenue

threshold, like, how are
you going to get there?

You know, kind of, yeah.

Just maybe trusting in the universe a
little bit more to just take care of it,

get it done.

I love it, I would

you know,

there’s there’s all sorts of
business owners and coaches and mentors

online today with social media access
that give out really good information.

We just bought a book from somebody
who is running a digital agency

who is, you know,
got kind of like a roadmap for what what

the next steps might look like
for an agency similar to ours.

And her and I are both reading this book

and pulling a lot of really
useful nuggets out of it.

you know, do your research and see if you

can find somebody in your industry that’s
done it that’s willing to give out some

free advice, whether it’s on their
Facebook page or a group that they’ve

created or a book that they’ve
written and digest that information

line as much as insight as you can
from somebody who’s done it before

so you can formulate plans for how
you create your own systems.

And I build your team.

There’s a wealth of knowledge out there
if you’re willing to look for it.

And even in the digital space,

whatever business that you’re
looking to start or grow,

tap into that.

Have conversations with people that have

done it before, and you’re
going to learn something.

Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Chances are the question has been asked

before, which is that chances
are the answer exists.

It’s out there in the ether.
Yeah, totally.

That’s a billionth
of a second Google search.

Right, exactly.
Whatever they say,

it’s still funny how they show
that time that it took to get the.

Yeah, I know.

It’s one point three million results.

Took you a long time there, Google.


How can people find you guys.

Well, we’d be remiss if we didn’t
tell you to go to our website, right.

What’s your website?



And then Med Spa MKE, where’s that at?


Man, you guys nailed it.

It’s almost too easy.

Thank you guys so much
for being on the show.

This is a lot of fun.

Yeah, us too.


This has been Authentic Business Adventures,

the business program that brings you
the struggles stories and triumphant

successes of business
owners across the land.

We are underwritten locally
by the Bank of Sun Prairie.

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My name is James Kademan, entrepreneur,

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business owners across the country.

What do we got here

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I almost forgot what I was saying here,

is brought to you by Calls On Call,
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As well as Draw In Customers Business

Coaching, offering business coaching
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for growth, on the web

And of course, The BOLD Business Book.

A book for the entrepreneur in all of us
available wherever fine books are sold.

We’d like to thank you our wonderful
listeners as well as our guests Amanda

and Mark Dalnodar, owners of Brew City
Marketing, as well as Med Spa MKE.

This is good times, guys.
Thank you.

I enjoyed it.

I’m excited to see where you guys
go with your marketing business

and with Med Spa MKE
I think 10 years is just beginning.

Right, right, right.

Check back again in 2030.

Nice, I love it.



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