Blake Micola is a man with his feet firmly grounded in the 21st century. Having seen businesses struggle to adapt to the age of social media, he saw an opportunity to use his knowledge and instincts to their best effect. Now, with his start-up marketing growth agency, Growth Marketing Systems, Blake is aiming to help businesses make the most of the unique opportunities presented to them by the evolution of the Internet and the growth of social media.
After building up a base of experience in the marketing and advertising industry following a Bachelor of Business degree, Blake started to adopt a role as a marketing and social media consultant alongside his full-time job in 2015. Two years later, however, he has taken the plunge and turned that avenue into his full-time business. It is the dedication to his passion that he showed in those two years that has driven him through the early stages of his business.
“Nothing is ever perfect when starting out, no matter how hard you try, but the main thing is if you have a desire to go out on your own,” he says.
“The biggest challenge when starting out was finding the time and energy to build things from scratch whilst still working full time Monday-Friday and maintaining a social life. I’m becoming more and more wary that sacrifices are needed to grow and scale a business.”
Despite having only recently emerged as an independent business, Growth Marketing Systems has already developed its niche, which is enabling other businesses maximise their reach and impact through social media advertising and lead generation. GMS also provides other technical support for these businesses that need to adapt to modern practices.
Blake has demonstrated his strong understanding of the way his industry has developed, and he says that he takes inspiration from other entrepreneurs who have shown the ability to overcome changing landscapes to succeed in their industries. He points specifically to serial entrepreneur, author, and angel investor Gary Vaynerchuk as a prime example of start-up success.
“In my eyes, he’s a modern realist and understands trends before they come to fruition, which is pretty much the wining formula to stay ahead of today’s changing digital landscape,” Blake says.
Despite being a young company, Growth Marketing Systems can boast associations with several high-profile clients including Mark Bouris and Chris Gray. The fact that Blake is already seeing results is something he is very proud of, and he is satisfied that the company is prepared for the future.
“The biggest rewards are seeing results you generate for clients and seeing all the hard work pay off. There will always be some failures, but so long as you can celebrate the wins – that’s the biggest reward you can get out of it,” he says.
“But we are still in start-up phase and we have a long way to go. We’ve implemented a lot of systems (hence the name Growth Marketing Systems!) to allow us to have enough infrastructure to take on growth when it comes.”
He knows that his industry is a volatile one, because technological advancements are always likely to cause problems for a tech-based start-up. However, he feels safe in his current position because he has put in the hard work to have his company set up to accommodate these changes and make further progress, as well as making sure that he is personally able to ride out the bumps in the road.
“We’re looking to build some online courses and products to differentiate our business model and not be a pure service for our market. It will be super important for us to de-risk our offering but also keep things niche,” he says.
“My biggest advice would be to minimise financial risk and keep your day job in the first 6-12 months and start building your idea or passion on the side before you jump ship. Starting a business is stressful enough in the first couple of years, so if you can eliminate financial pressure it will make a huge difference.”
Blake Micola is clearly a man who appreciates and understands the complexities of the modern age. His passion for his craft shines through in the way he talks about the advancements of social media and internet presence. The success he has had off the back of that interest makes him the embodiment of one of Steve Jobs’ most famous sentiments: “The only way to do great work is to do something you love”.
Favourite book: ‘Pitch Anything’ by Oren Klaff
Recommended TED Talk: ‘How to get your ideas to spread’ by Seth Godin