Desperate times call for desperate decisions. Transiting from a software-based company to a service-based agency was a risky and hard move but Colton, who had a software company with more than 80 employees, 3500 clients, and $6.5 million in ARR, had to do so to continue operating. Instagram had just eliminated all software that was used in growing followers and increasing followers.
“I had to think fast and retain the operations that we were doing using the software. This led me to Manilla, Philippines.” Said Colton in an exclusive interview. He stayed in Manilla for a month building and scaling a test team to see if they could do the outbound engaging for their clients manually. This entailed the team using their hands and phones. Colton was immediately faced by an unprecedented issue; how would they monitor and track their team remotely? How would Colton know that a certain employee is not doing the job, and how would he know that before his clients’ notice and become angry.
Being from a tech company, Colton mobilized a Dev team to work on tracking and monitoring. “After 50 or so employees over there, we realized monitoring employees and tech behind that is going to be our most valuable IP and what we focused on with the dev team for the last 6 months. Working on improving and optimizing how well we could track actions done by hand through our own proprietary apps installed on phones there, monitoring the UI and screen actions of our team in real-time.”
After solving that, Colton would now scale up. He employed up to 1000 employees in Manilla in the last 6 months. “We are currently hiring about 20 people in Manila per night to handle the demand for our Instagram growth by hand service, essentially we have our own recruiting agency there now and do all of this in the house in order to keep prices affordable and controlled for our clients.”
Colton and his team are now beta testing Instagram DM sales scripts and outbound efforts to drive and track sales for his clients. “It has been the most requested offer since we launched this new service,” continues Colton. Currently, they have a steady flow of up to 1600 clients, and the number is growing exponentially. He says that all that is through referrals and agency partnerships. He went on to discuss how many of the setbacks in 2019 were blessings in disguise. He might have been pressed up against the wall for 6 months trying to find a way out, but it led him to travel, meet so many amazing people, and opened doors for some eCommerce services based on social media products.
In 2019, Colton spent dozens of sleepless nights. He had ambiguity about whether what they were working and investing time and money in would finally work. “I guess that’s one of those things as an entrepreneur, you have to make a decision to follow your gut or follow everyone else.” But no matter what he chose to follow, 2019 provided for some unexpected lessons for Colton. “The single most difficult experience and lesson in the 28 years of my life was the day I had to lay off 45 people. I don’t think anyone has truly experienced entrepreneurship before laying off friends and coworkers in a group like that, essentially letting them down and failing everyone in that room… including yourself, regardless if there were uncontrollable factors or not, you have to take responsibility as you were leading the ship”, Colton adds. At that age, Colton learned so much more than he expected.
“I’ll be the first to say complacency is probably the single most dangerous trait that we all seem to develop at some point in our careers.” Colton continues to explain how the ‘doomed’ days brought him and his team closer than he ever thought possible. “I cannot trade that team for anything in the world. We really went through the most trying times and making it to the finish line together revealed our true characters,” he says, “it is the strongest foundation I have ever felt culturally within Jumper Media, which is what allowed us to scale back up as rapidly as we have thus far.”
Colton is now the CEO of Jumper Media, which he founded in 2016 to help small businesses tell their brand stories on social media – all day, every day. He has been featured in major publications; Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Yahoo due to his Instagram Focused Marketing Strategies. With his great experience, having worked with more than 15,000 brands, influencers, and small businesses, he has scaled his company to a team of over 1000 employees in the Philippines to increase engagement, sales, and audience reach via Instagram.
Colton and the team are now known for being people who succeed due to unforgiving resilience and innovation. Additionally, Colton is someone who readers can trust to take care of them, and their Instagram needs in an honest and real manner. Colton is blunt and honest in terms of his communication with the clients. This evidently affirms why they are currently growing 25% per month as a company without marketing themselves. Their clients trust them and refer to them as efficient and simple to work with.
“I’m certainly no Instagram or social media Guru, I only speak off of data and things I see first-hand after managing over 15,000 Instagram accounts over the past 4 years. I tend to talk to a lot of clients personally, and I believe that will always hold a high importance to me as an entrepreneur. I don’t like to be above anyone or too good for something. I’ll shovel the crap right there with my team and wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. “
Creating a Unique Brand amid many similar businesses
Whilst Instagram marketing is full of companies purporting to be of help to clients, there are those that are actually of value and they will always stand tall among the others. Jumper Media has created a good name within the industry and they are always yearning to improve their customer relations and support.
“We were one of the top Instagram marketing agencies, managing 3500+ SMB accounts and doing about $6 Million Accounting Rate of Return (ARR) after 2 years. We scaled very quickly and became a notable resource in the industry. I brought in a lot of agency partners who white label our services, which helped me build relationships and make more of a name for myself personally within the digital marketing space. Getting into content creation and more full-service agency work with brands like Porsche, Lamborghini, Yelp, EddieBauer, Callaway Golf, also build a lot of social proof for me early on.”
Major Obstacles Faced
No one ever gets a smooth ride in entrepreneurship. Everybody must pass their fair share of shortcomings. And the shortcomings only make the entrepreneur stronger. “I think my biggest obstacle has always been development and scaling an engineering team with a bootstrapped budget. Building a team that you can trust and can look out for your products’ best interest from a technical standpoint, taking personal motivation out of the equation, is not easy to find these days with low budgets or overseas team members/hired agencies.” He had no technical co-founder. It took him 4 years to finally be a CTO who would check all those boxes and lead an engineering team with the right culture. Thus, they had been moving and growing slower than needed tech wise for 3-4 years. Secondly, they had to hire more people to compensate for the software delays, which was not sustainable.
Flying higher amid the obstacles
As said earlier, the obstacles will either break you or make you. It is your choice. Colton chose to be made by the obstacles he was facing. He became more innovative, more cautious about the company’s spending and many other things that at last contributed to his success. Additionally, he attributes his success to his team. “When the whole company was crashing down, and one person on the dev team stepped up to show his true character, along with a core group of others who respected and joined his lead without any chain of command set.
“Finding a CTO you can truly trust is tough, and there is no formula for it in my opinion. I recommend building as many relationships as you can, saying yes to everything you can young in your career. You never know that you can get someone to introduce you to the right developer.” He says as he explains how hard it was to find the right team. “Looking back, I wish there was a way I would get some few introductions to the trusted sources rather than going through the hard way.”
Standing out in the industry
The Instagram marketing industry is full of people, agencies, and companies. However, Colton’s company has been outstanding in terms of efficiency, trust and reliability. They don’t always meet client expectations, no agency does, but they always do their best to set better ones next time or make up for it whether it was their fault or not, this is important to maintain relationships. This has obviously been their stronghold. Additionally, working with honesty in a scam filled industry is something to obviously make you stand out.
“We differentiated from others by having a truly tracked and reliable workforce doing all our outbound engagement and social interactions by hand.” Starts Colton as he explains the reason that Jumper Media has been performing exemplarily. “Most competitors are not able to track like we do with our employees working from actual phones now remotely. This is our IP and what makes our ability to provide consistent service with almost zero downtime for clients.” He continues, “Reliability and trust is important for us to provide to clients first and foremost. We track everything real-time and monitor our workforce very closely to make sure activity is consistent, even with covid and working remotely.”
If you were to remain complacent, you would hardly be successful in any business – even the simplest business if there is any. Fear of the unknown should not surpass the courage to tackle it. As Colton once did; going to a completely different country, making relationships with completely new people, then creating a strong team of over 1000 employees. This is a good example of someone who will remain resilient even when logic says that ‘it’s time to throw in the towel.’