Jennifer Spivak of The Ad Girls Agency on the concept of lifestyle design and flexibility, growing an all-female team, and more!
Describe your business in a few words?
The AdGirls Agency is a high-vibe Facebook Ads squad. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses generate millions of dollars on Facebook & Instagram, with many seeing a 1000%+ return on their ad campaigns. Our all-female team enjoys crunching data, helping women-owned businesses make tons of money, and breaking the rules when it comes to Facebook ads.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
While in college, I connected with this guy and we partnered together to build a marketing agency. We grew this company from the 2 of us to 15 people and the company has been in the Inc 500 for the last two years. After four years, I reached a point where I realized the agency had become a total boys club and the culture no longer worked for me. I knew that staying would be selling my soul for money… so I left to do it my way.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I went to school for marketing so this was always “in the cards”.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I’ve been fascinated by money and the idea of creating something from nothing since I was little. My first business venture – appropriately called “The Business” – involved selling candy around the neighborhood and putting on “carnivals” in my backyard at the age of 5. For me, entrepreneurship was never a question of “if,” but “when?”
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Plain and simple, my marketing strategy when first launching and really for the first couple of years was to be scrappy AF: show up everywhere, talk to everyone, say yes to every visibility opportunity. It was all about being everywhere, and as such my business grew to six and then multiple six figures through mostly word of mouth and referrals, and not much of a defined “marketing strategy” at all.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
At first, building a team and learning to think like a CEO vs a freelancer felt really hard. It required such a shift in how I did things, and definitely knocked me off my game for a minute. I remember the first time I was worried about making payroll. It wasn’t even because we had a bad month… I just wasn’t used to managing the business finances as though we were an actual business! Money in, had meant money for me. Shifting this perspective and my habits, and learning to implement things like Profit First so that I could always make sure to have sufficient cash on hand was definitely a challenge at first, and ultimately a major gamechanger.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Building a multi-million dollar Facebook Advertising agency that employs 13 incredible women!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Beyond how terrifying March 2020 was, the pandemic has ultimately had a positive impact on my business. With so many in-person things shutting down, online became THE medium for everything, which meant our services were needed more than ever. This led to 80% year over year growth from 2019 to 2020, creating our first 7-figure year, which then allowed us to grow our team by almost 2X and provide well-paying jobs in an amazing environment during a time when so many people were struggling with employment.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Right now, we’re in major scale mode, anticipating over 100% year over year growth for the next 2 years. After that, the plan is to sell!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Surrender and trust the process. The beginning of the pandemic was SCARY. Everyone was terrified to spend, clients wanted to pause their ads, prospects were cancelling sales calls left and right, and it definitely felt like this could be the end of the business for a minute. Doing the inner and energetic work to remember I was never actually as in control as I had sometimes felt, allowed me to disconnect from the expectation of how things were supposed to be. This freedom allowed me to step out of panic mode and into creation and problem-solving mode, while also knowing it was always all good no matter what, and could never be anything else BUT all good. This lesson made me a better business owner well before we started to experience the eventual uptick that occurred during the pandemic, and has stayed with me through today!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Success and money seem to be inextricably tied to your willingness to break the rules and just do it your own damn way 🙂
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I spend a lot of time, money, energy, and resources on personal and spiritual development. In fact, the more I grow my company, the more it seems like this is actually my primary job as CEO.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I’m less interested in the concept of work/life balance, and more interested in lifestyle design and flexibility. For me that’s less about having clearly defined working hours or trying to close the laptop by 6pm (I actually prefer working later into the evenings), and more about the ability to go with what feels best in the moment. Sometimes that means napping all afternoon on a Thursday and then putting in some extra hours on a Saturday. Sometimes it means taking a vacation in the middle of the week just because, but then pulling a few 10-hour days to get caught up. The freedom to shift things around as a please is what “balance” looks like for me!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I was captain of the cheerleading team in high school and it was my most favorite thing ever! Running the team felt like my first foray into running a business 🙂
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Know what work hours and schedule work for YOU, instead of trying to fit into a box of what productivity “should” look like
- Hire the right support so that as much of your day as possible is spent doing the things you legit enjoy and that are within your zone of genius
- Afternoon naps! Highly recommend 😉
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means being in control of your own damn life and never needing to be beholden to anyone.