My Huge Failures in Trying to Build My Agency

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Day 8 – really enjoying this so far!


Started a little bit later than usual as I’ve got my head into work.

It’s amazing to see that my little blogging group is active:


And that people are holding themselves accountable.

Creating powerful tribes like this is so powerful for progress.

Well done all again!

So – I spoke about the plans to get the agency to 100k a month a couple of days back and want to continue down that route.

I had a former business partner with whom things went totally sideways.

He’s gone on to setup a clone of our website, processes and all, which to be honest with you is what it is. There’s actually a whole story attached to this – search ‘Kas Andz Scam’ on Google to take a look.

The point is that it’s an interesting adventure to build out everything operationally again from scratch.

What a crazy few months it’s been.

You probably know that I run an SEO agency, and that without fail we get results. 

There’s the odd instance that we don’t or results aren’t quite as good as we were hoping for – but there’s always a reason.

Furthermore, the operations are run amazingly well by my operations team in India. 

They are very talented, and when combined with my continual push to be better, do better and produce more…and our penchant for winning sophisticated clients, it means the bar is always rising.

In combination with this we’ve sought to build as many processes and systems into our delivery as possible to reduce the number of questions we get; alongside building out regular reporting.

It works pretty well as clients are happy, and we keep pushing to get better and find new ways to grow and win.

The same is not true of Pearl Lemon Leads – the other agency that I run

For those of you who don’t know what this agency does – it’s a B2B Lead Generation agency that focuses on making introductions to qualified leads to business owners.

And now I want to outline what it really takes to build a company from scratch

Since Jan 6th when I got back into work I had to rebuild everything from scratch again – a system that could work; and what a journey it’s been.

The system I formally had with Kaz left people unhappy, left us owing money to HMRC, Stripe and others feeling we had ripped them off. It was terrible and was not working.

I need to trust my intuition sooner – and had I – we would not be working together anymore.

So – to go back to my journey of finding contractors and building a team:

I wanted assistance with cold calling, cold email and LinkedIn outreach.

Let’s first talk about cold calling

I hired 2 salespeople – one South African after interviewing several. Megan lasted all of 3 or 4 days after repeatedly telling me she was in it for the long haul and then bunking out AFTER I’d introduced her to a client.


I hired a Philippines based cold caller who managed to negotiate a $1,000 starting salary after lots of conversations but then was unable to produce a single appointment over a 2-week stretch.


I had multiple other conversations that went nowhere at all over a 4-8 week period:


And this is just Whatsapp!

I actually did get close to hiring a third person but then suddenly his enthusiasm died also:


There were conversations on Facebook as well as actual calls.

Within all of this I posted ads on Indeed, Upwork, People Per Hour – all in quest for a competent salesperson to work with.

This is not to withstand discussing the reality that the call setup with Crazy Call was hit and miss and that Emily/Megan needed numbers scripts and all to work with.

At this moment I had one client onboard who had signed up when Kaz and I were still business partners and the pressure to deliver was on.

Hiring a UK based cold caller to work remotely (and be trusted to work remotely) to book calls for my clients was also proving a challenge.

I’d tried with one caller for a former business I was involved in – and spent £500 part-time and got nowhere.

So now let’s move onto the cold email folk

Well it’s been a similar journey in my hunt for providers:


After following a similar route on the various job boards I ultimately hired two people after interviewing several others.

Here’s where I got with those guys:

This chap managed to get every email campaign he launched wrong in some way:


This guy couldn’t get a single campaign to actually work:


I then flirted with the idea of using this guy:


But by then I’d lost the will to live.

I also looked into hiring a LinkedIn Lead Generation Team:

Huge time investment went into this as well:


This one is quite a funny one as well.

I hired one lady from the Philippines who had a dedicated team of staff and said she’d make a LinkedIn account to use for our client’s outreach campaigns and I said ok great ‘let’s give it a go’

Little did I know she would actually clone the founder of the company’s account, find a different picture of him and then have him as based in the Philippines.

Here’s what my client thought of it:


Naturally given all my attempts at cold calling, cold email and LinkedIn lead generation had failed – this was their next request:


Things were definitely not looking good at all.

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And this was causing me all kinds of emotional turbulence:


I was having debates with my team and arguments and swings of emotions and all sorts:


I can’t stand making clients who’ve signed up with me unhappy.

It doesn’t live well with me in my bones

The other people I spoke to or hired bought their own problems with them as well:


Take a look at this video:


This is just a couple chats I had….

By this time I felt totally defeated.

Ready to give up:


Ironically – in the early days of Pearl Lemon – what had made my company successful was that I built my own outreach systems.

And after all of this back and forth I finally decided that there had to be another way.

Listen to this:


I fessed up that things were a mess; I told them of my challenges, and decided to work through the weekend to make things happen.

And this time I’d be managing things directly, I wouldn’t ‘hire people in’ with a view to go full time but instead burn the candle in a different way and just do what made me successful to begin with.

But also incorporating all the small tips and tricks I DID pick up from hiring/speaking to all of these service providers.


Thank god I did.




We’re now back on track in a way that looks sustainable and is just spitting out qualified leads using our S-T-E-P formula. 

Internally we’re generating 3-5 qualified bookings a day at the moment. For our clients we’re closing in on the same.

So to wrap up today’s learnings:

  1. In the moment things seem terrible. But know that ‘this moment too shall pass’.
  2. Trust in your ability and allow yourself the time to figure things out.
  3. Care. If I didn’t care so much for my team and my clients I would have binned this all by now
  4. Aggressively hire, test, fire, learn and grow

So that’s all for today folks.


This one took forever to write lol. But glad it’s done 🙂

On we continue!