Small businesses spring up across Australia every day, although the majority don’t make it past the three-year mark. MAAD Creative is an exception to the rule. Founded in 2014, the web consulting agency located in Minnamurra, NSW now serves more than three dozen clients in NSW, VIC and ACT.
Five years on, Aaron Oswald has learned a lot about digital marketing, what not to do and the power of the right partner.
10 questions with Aaron Oswald, MAAD Creative owner
1. How did MAAD Creative get started?
I started out as a generalist marketing consultant, helping small and medium businesses with:
- Marketing strategies and planning (the whole mix)
- Public relations
- Business development
As my client base grew, I quickly realised that most clients needed help with a website. I researched and tested a bunch of solutions that would ensure security, longevity, agility and value for the client.
This began my journey into WordPress.
Born in ’83, I grew up with computers. I coded my first piece of software around age eight on a Commodore 64. I dabbled in Pascal, Visual Basic and HTML in high school, along with completing a network admin course and working part-time as an IT support guy for a local university. But getting into WordPress development was certainly a new learning curve for me.
2. What’s been the secret to your success?
My formula for success has been GoDaddy Reseller + WordPress + Elegant Themes. Each has its own thriving community and readily available support.
GoDaddy’s 24/7 customer service allowed me to confidently onboard new clients.
Knowing there is a technical team that can support me right when I need it is absolutely priceless.
In the beginning the GoDaddy support team endured many of my dumb questions (total newb!). Thankfully, they were patient enough to help and explain things so I could learn more about DNS, hosting and troubleshooting technical issues with my websites.
3. Did this partnership change how you do business in any way?
Now I call myself a web consultant more so than a marketing consultant. My main focus is to help clients with web design, development and digital marketing.
I signed up for the GoDaddy Reseller Program mostly as a convenience so I could easily track and manage my clients’ websites and related products all in one place.
A few years into the program I noticed the revenue starting to build and realised it is much more than just a convenience. I am able to offer highly competitive products, pricing and world-class support — while earning a profit.
4. What is your business philosophy in a nutshell?
When it comes to technical products and services for non-technical clients, trust, reliability and honesty are the things that keep people coming back.
I’m in the business of problem solving. The client doesn’t necessarily want to know how everything works. They just want to know that someone is looking after them and cares about their business getting them the results they need.
GoDaddy Reseller gives me a range of tools to solve problems and manage solutions in an organised and secure environment. Reseller, in conjunction with the ProSites dashboard, covers all the bases.
5. Are there particular products you find yourself turning to most often?
The GoDaddy Reseller Program allows me to offer a full range of digital products to my clients.
One excellent example is a warehousing and third-party logistics company in Blacktown, NSW. They wanted a basic website “because we really should have a website by now.” The client gave me total creative freedom with a fixed budget.
I was able to hone in on a few key phrases for his target customers, building a site with six pages and a blog.
Within six months, the site brought $750k (AUD) revenue into the business purely on organic SEO.
This is a basic site on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress with an SSL security certificate. The ROI is well over 20,000%.
When I received this feedback it gave me a huge confidence boost. It confirmed that the result is the most important thing for the client.
6. What online tools do you use for your business?
In addition to the GoDaddy Reseller program, I use:
- Invoice Ninja for finance (quotes, invoices, reports) and Project management (time tracking, Kanban).
- Insightly is my CRM (customer relationship management) tool.
- Slack is what I use for collaboration and communications.
7. What difference have these tools made to your business?
All of them are perfect for a freelancer. They are low- or no-cost tools that cover all the basics of running a consulting business. They are easy to use and expandable.
8. Do you have any advice for someone who’s just starting a business in your field?
You can’t be everything to everyone. Know your strengths, hone your niche, and always look at ways to build extra value into your service offerings.
9. Are there any mistakes you made that others should try to avoid?
Honesty is always the best policy when dealing with a client. There should never be a reason to hide or bend the truth. This counts for:
- During project development
Own any mistakes and be prepared with a solution to move forward.
10. What one thing do you wish you’d known when you were starting your business?
Working “on the business” (in other words, finding new projects) while working “in the business” (completing projects) is tough! Time scheduling is crucially important to balancing the workload and having a predictable revenue flow.
Want to learn more about MAAD Creative and what they’re up to? Check out the MAAD Creative Facebook page.