Austin Schneider is the founder and CEO of Brandtegic. Their aim is to “help companies look as good as they are” with their in-house digital marketing services.
Austin grew up in Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle. Austin describes his background as not just non-entrepreneurial but as far from it as it could possibly get. Growing up, he had a mindset of getting a job, retiring at 55. His parents divorced at 13, and his Mum went struggled to support Austin and his brother. College wasn’t going to be an option either in mindset or financially.
Austin is open about his High School days, describing how he went a little off the rails. He was hanging about in the wrong crowds, drinking and smoking weed, with no vision of success. Austin also moved out to live with a friend, which didn’t help. Despite this, Austin was still playing sport, and his basketball coach was a hugely positive influence. He told Austin that he was a natural leader and suggested that Austin join the Seattle Police Force, which he was part of. Austin found the idea appealing. He could still retire early and be helping people at the same time.
When he moved out of home and still needing to earn in the meantime, he started work as a commercial painter. Austin remembers being on $16 an hour and thinking life was great. However, an hour’s commute and working in a metal box hanging high in the air while painting a bridge took its toll quickly. He became more and more tired and realized it wasn’t for him.
Austin also tried selling Zipfizz in a booth at a local Costco. By the time he was 20, he was working for ATG (Allied Trade Group), quickly working his way up into Business Development and managing other employees. He became more focused on changing his life, reflecting on the damage lack of money had during his parent’s divorce.
While working for ATG, Austin got to know the owner of the store, Gary Rubens. Gary is a serial entrepreneur, start-up investor, and philanthropist, well known in Seattle. From the start, Gary made a tremendous impression on Austin. He was incredibly open about his own story, which was similar to Austin’s. Austin was hugely impressed by his humility, his willingness to listen and to help. He would buy Gary coffee and keep asking him questions. They are still in touch to this day, texting every month and having coffee when their mutual schedules allow.
Austin next took a position as a Marketing Executive for King 5 Television in Seattle. He was selling tv advertising and learning enormous amounts about digital marketing and marketing in general. He thrived, and suddenly, he was making a 6-figure salary.
Austin had developed an ambition to have his own business, and real estate had always fascinated him, despite having seen his Mum have a brief and unsuccessful attempt in the field. He was convinced that he could succeed in the field by applying contemporary, digital marketing techniques, including blogging, video, and social media. All real estate agencies are contracted through a brokerage in the US, so Austin set up through Sotheby’s International.
Austin quickly found his feet, and he achieved $12 million in real estate sales in the first year. He started to be quoted in the media, seen as a disruptor in the industry. He had a “cool” apartment of his own.
Other businesses started to ask for his help. They all wanted to know how he leveraged Instagram, Facebook, and digital marketing to sell real estate. Austin’s initial reaction was that he didn’t want to help but then gave way and took on one client, while the mentors he was working with were all telling him that assisting people with digital marketing was something that he could create a business out of.
Unsure, he helped other companies as a side hustle for a while, but it kept getting busier and busier. Austin started to love that he was giving more than he took, solving problems for people, and began to think he perhaps could monetize it. And so, Brandtegic Digital Marketing Services came into being.
Brandtegic Digital Marketing Services:
The entrepreneurial journey was a wholly bootstrapped operation, self-funded by Austin at the start, and then on a “grow as we go basis,” reliant on the next piece of work to take the next step. Austin says that he wasn’t sure of the business or ready to take on employees at this early stage.
It was a year and a half till things came together and took flight. During this time, Austin worked out precisely what people wanted, set up systems, and firmed up his vision to scale the digital marketing agency.
Once he realized the scope of the market, Austin started to hire. He knew that forming the right team would be vital, and he looked for people who would grow with the company. He is full of praise for his team, his right-hand man, Mark Robinson, in particular, whom he describes as “exceptional and a real leader.”
Austin says that there have been two main challenges since that point, both surrounding how to scale efficiently. Firstly, as a service-based company, they need to be profit based on time. That means walking an ongoing tight rope, balancing enough work to enough people, rather than too much of either. Secondarily, the numbers have to make sense, so they stay profitable continually.
What Brandtegic Digital Marketing Services offer:
Brandtegic Digital Marketing Services, pronounced Brand•tee•jik, is a digital marketing agency, but I asked Austin to describe what makes them stand out from the competition the most. He says that it is because they are collaborative and become an entire marketing department for their clients.
Many companies hire someone to do social media, for example, then expect them to manage video or be strategic, and they end up with someone who doesn’t excel at any of them. Austin can provide a team of 20 who become embedded into his client’s needs and aims.
Austin’s digital marketing services include social media management, brand strategy, videography, and branding design. Video, photography, and graphic design are all done in-house by Austin’s fast-growing team. This full service makes them stand out from the competition. Companies love being able to meet all their marketing needs from one place.
Austin says that they have enjoyed some fantastic opportunities working with large companies despite the additional paperwork and legalities. However, he loves to work with small and medium sizes businesses with similar values to his own. Those values are excellence, integrity, hustle, humility, growth-focussed, creativity. Their typical client is big enough to delegate but might not have employed a digital marketing agency before, which means they work directly with many founders.
The Future for this Digital Marketing Company:
Austin has a clear picture of rapid growth in the main two areas. He points out that there are an incredible 30m businesses in the US, and all of them 100% need social media. The growth potential in this area of digital marketing is staggering.
The other arm of growth is specifically their video production side. Austin sees that growing significantly. The perceived value of social and digital use of video continues to rise dramatically, and he aims to add higher-level commissions in the future, including his old stomping ground of TV ads.
Meanwhile, Austin’s faith is important to him, as does giving back. He is a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Kirkland. He is also a big proponent of personal development and fitness and gets up early every morning to go to the gym. He also manages to find time to host the RISE podcast, dedicated to influence, self-development, and entrepreneurship, three subjects dear to his heart.
Austin’s advice for others:
Austin’s best tip on entrepreneurship is to have patience. In society, we have become accustomed to the instant, a meal in 30 seconds, an amazon delivery tomorrow. People have a vision of business and expect it to happen in the same way, whereas they have to take things slow and be strategic in reality. Gary Vaynerchuk always says “macro patience but micro speed,” which Austin finds really resonates with him. So be patient in the grand scheme of things but fast in the actions you are taking.
The video revolution within digital marketing has been massive because it humanizes people from a business perspective. When people think, they think in pictures. Given only words, those pictures are their own perception. If they see videos, the content and perception are then controlled.
Video humanizes the connection too. Austin gives the example of Apple, which shows everything as minimal and at the same time sexy to attract the right people who identify with the brand. There will be a big human element in a small-medium size business that with video can be controlled.
All SMEs will have to embrace video if they want to grow. Austin thinks many are nervous or stuck in their ways, but if people want to grow, they need to adapt because video in social media will be paramount for them.
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