The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers, and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world, a serial entrepreneur himself, Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz ninja, entrepreneur radio.
Tyler Jorgenson 0:38
Welcome to How To biz ninja entrepreneur Radio. I’m your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today, we have comedians and cars getting no wait, we have Travis chamber coming to us live from his Porsche, which is awesome. And I love this drive is for a couple of reasons. Because to me, like business is secondary to lifestyle. And I love that you’re exemplifying that right now. So welcome to the show. I’m super excited to talk about entrepreneurship ads and agencies with you.
Travis Chambers 1:09
Tyler Jorgenson 1:10
So you and I first connected years ago before I think chamber media really started you’re just getting started with it. And so the first question I have for you is really what I asked most people when they come on, which is When was the moment that you first realized, like in your life that you were an entrepreneur,
Travis Chambers 1:28
you know, it was weird, because I always did entrepreneurial things. But um, I just my dad climbed the ladder at Monsanto, it which, you know, has been an interesting company, impact on the world. Right, um, but I always just thought, you know, I really value family and my dad traveled a lot with sales. And somehow I thought, oh, I should climb the ladder too, but I want to have a nine to five job so that I’m home with the kids in the evenings, unlike what he wasn’t able to do. So it’s funny because I started climbing the ladder. But then I started looking back and I’m like, but when I was in college with not with nine, five jobs, I was always doing entrepreneurial stuff like I started MMA fight promotion, I was like a little mini Dana White in northern Utah, and put on the first MMA fight series up there. And it’s still running 10 years later, which is wild. They’re in their like, 30th event now. And a few 1000 People come to these things. Wow. And then I went to 20 Century Fox, and there was a seed planted though, about six months before I left and started my own thing. There was a seed planted where I was just sitting, sitting next to someone at the agency I was working at in LA, and she just talking about people are doing freelance and people who are doing seven a month people freelance, like full time, that’s a thing. And so then I was like, Oh, maybe I can make some extra money by trying to do some freelance stuff on the side. And sure enough, within a month or two, I had like, I think two clients that I was doing some stuff for on the side. And I think they were paying me like a couple of grand a month or something. And I was like, Whoa, I make, I was making 80 grand a year a time at the time. And another 24 grand is a big deal. Huge deal. And I was like holy cow. So then I went to 20 Century Fox. And I had a really bad experience there. And I was just really overwhelmed. I wasn’t really qualified for the job that I had gotten into. I wasn’t really built for the pace or the Navigating the like structure of that industry, especially against people my age who didn’t have kids and were willing to work way more than I was. And that’s what I thought. So they laid me off because I honestly wasn’t doing a very good job. We just had our daughter and yeah, you know, I wasn’t I wasn’t bringing the rain at all in but they gave me severance. And it was at this internal agency within 20 Century Fox called MC beard that had only been there three months. And the founders still give me severance, which just shows you how what how good a guy’s they are. But I had three months of living costs and severance. And that was the moment that’s when the light bulb went off. I’m like, I get three months. So I said to my wife, I was like, Babe, if I go get another job in the advertising industry in LA, being a mid-senior-level person, they’re going to work me to the bone. Like there’s nowhere I can go in this city. That’s not going to be 5560 hours a week. So maybe should I just give this three months and just see what happens? And she was like, Yeah, let’s go for it. And what’s funny is I actually did not land a client for three months at all. And I had these two clients that I kind of was growing, and I was able to grow those I think to like maybe three or four grand a month, maybe something like that, which really wasn’t enough to pay the bills. And obviously, we talked Pretty hard during these three months, we went to a vacation and spent some money we shouldn’t have. We get to that three months. And I think we were getting to the point where we were kind of starting to live on credit cards. And that’s when I got this $60,000. 3-month contract from a company called fizber. Just like real estate leads. And that is the moment when I was like, Oh, my gosh, we just got another three months. Yeah, keep going. And
Tyler Jorgenson 5:26
then so when you’re, you’re at the early stages, this, I want to kind of unpack it a little bit, right. So you, you were doing advertising, you do an agency stuff. And I always find it interesting that people who come from even though you weren’t there a long time from the corporate side of things into, you know, freelancer or solopreneur ship at the beginning, like how did you decide even from a simple level, like what you were going to offer, right? Because you go from having a team of people that are going to fulfill to an to an individual. Right? So how did you even figure that out? Like, how did you decide how you can go sell a $60,000 contract?
Travis Chambers 6:01
There are two books that really changed my life. One was the four hour workweek. And I’ve never really read more than like the first half of the book. That’s just one of my things. I just can’t do it. I don’t know why I tried. But I get halfway through it. I’m like, Yeah, I get it, I get it, I get it. So I, I read that. And I was like, this books not very realistic, you know, like four hours a week. I’m not very realistic. Like, even now I’m semi retired. And I’m still I still work more than that. So. So then I read the $100 startup, and the $100 startup, I highly recommend for anybody that’s ever thinking about maybe starting a company, it’s the most practical, realistic way. It’s it’s all about starting with the service. So before you try to do software, before you try to build a physical product, which requires molds to be made, and a supply chain and a warehouse, and capital, you should, you should almost always start with a service, especially if you’ve never ran your own company before. And you don’t have any experience in startups, you really shouldn’t just like jump headlong into fundraising and start I don’t think I think you should put in two or three years as building a service. Because that’s how you build expertise. That’s how you build a network. And it puts you in a position where you can’t take any shortcuts. But it’s also very low risk, because you can sell your time. And if you can get four or five grand a month for your time, then you can make it and so that that book is just a series of stories of people who just started with a service. And one of the stories was about a media buying agency. And at the time I was I was doing some influencer deals and I thought, Alright, I’m gonna just like put this little bundle of services together. That are what I was doing. At the agency Crispin Porter Bogusky. And it worked. I got some influencer deals, you know, and we got some ad spends. And then it just slowly, the way I grew the business was just following people around at conferences, asking people to go to lunch. I mean, the most grassroots, you know, Grant grinded out description possible. This is how I, that’s how I started.
Tyler Jorgenson 8:18
I love that. And so from that evolved chamber media, why don’t you kind of give a elevator pitch or a bird’s eye view of what chamber media is, and what it is now.
Travis Chambers 8:28
So chamber media makes data crafted social video ads, so we do video production, we do ad buying. And then we have this internal software called the brain, we put 50,000 of the top 1% of the top 2000. Shopify stores ads into a database. We had machine learning, learning engineers mind that database. And we found tons of insights and develop the seven foundational ads, which is the core of everything we do at chamber is we start with the seven foundational ads that have to get the highest performance. And then we we build on those, because we identified 100 ad types that are the top performing so we we built this really solid approach and a very data kind of protocol approach to making ads, rather than a bunch of 22 year olds making what they think should be made or, or making what the company’s CEO thinks should be made, which doesn’t work either. So that’s that’s the that’s kind of a lay of the land we grew up you have
Tyler Jorgenson 9:28
you go from you go from a nine to five or a or a seven to seven, right? Like they’re never really 95 in that world. And then you go to, you know, freelancing and some solopreneur ship and then now you get all the way to chamber media where you’re bringing in strategic partnerships, you’re scaling, you’re doing all of this. There’s gonna be some lumps along the way. What were some of the early mistakes that you made and what did you learn from
Travis Chambers 9:49
early mistakes that I made? was being too emotional and just being too tied up in the business? I would get really like in motional and heated and it really actually, I had two partners in the beginning it really bothered them. And I just attached so much of my ego and my pride into the work that I, I didn’t really take feedback very well. I take feedback now, because I don’t have much to lose. Click Funnels actually just stopped working with us after a year, because they just weren’t that impressed with a couple of things we were doing a couple years ago, I would have taken that so hard. But now, I just reached out like, Hey, guys, thank you so much for working with us for the last year. Like what can we do better? Where did we fall short. And I got some incredible feedback to take back to the team. And now we’re gonna be way better. But the truth is, is like, we’re in a position where we can afford to lose an account like that. It hurts and it sucks. It’s still never fun, right? Yeah, yeah. So that mindset, like, I wish I would have asked more clients, because there’s a lot of turnover in this industry. Yep. And I wish it would just been like, hey, now that you’ve fired us, what can I do better? You know, but instead, I always I kind of fought them, I kind of fought them. And because the truth is, sometimes clients do things that they shouldn’t. And they try to get as much out of you as they can. And they get over scope, and it creates a lot of resentment, sometimes Oh, yeah. And then like one in every 20 clients is completely psycho. They’re completely psycho. They’re out of money. They’re counting on you to make their business work, which shouldn’t really be your responsibility. And so I’ve had like seven or eight complete psychos that made me really jaded to. So anyways, I wish I just would have removed my ego, and been a little bit more accepting, I guess. Yeah.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:51
And I think I think that’s really a common thing that comes with maturity, it’s really hard in the beginning of a business, when you don’t have a ton of social proof yet, you don’t have a ton of experience, you also have the scarcity of you know, each client really matters, right? You need the cash flow. So all of that, it puts up a lot of barriers. But I have found from personal experience in front of people I’ve worked with those who grow the fastest, or those who can set that ego aside and just learn at a faster pace. Because all you’re doing is harming yourself from future opportunity and future growth to keep those walls up around your ego and protecting it right. So like embracing it feeling that it does suck. And you know what, sometimes it sometimes it’s the client, but it doesn’t mean that client will give insight as to how you could actually improve, right? You’ve already fired you might as well learn from it.
Travis Chambers 12:37
It’s hard when you’re early on to when you’re doing all the work. And then you only have three clients and one of them fire. It’s kind of like, it’s hard to not take personally. Yeah, sure. And then the other thing, too, is I wish I would have gotten the right people on the bus sooner. Oftentimes, what I would do is I would bring on people that I could afford at the moment, and kind of a scarcity mindset. And so sometimes I would bring people on board that had issues. And maybe chamber was like the only place they really could go. You know what I mean?
Tyler Jorgenson 13:11
Yeah. And how do you how do you bring the right people on the bus, when you have limited resources,
Travis Chambers 13:17
you got to kind of just take a huge risk and just pay for him. Just spin, it’s so scary, because when you’re only like two people or three people you bring, because I’ve had the experience to where I paid someone a ton and brought them on board, they didn’t really bring the rain. And they actually didn’t. They had a lot of issues and where he was showing up to work all the time. And they’re getting paid, I think was like 120 grand or something. And actually really hurt the business really bad.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:47
I can set that can set you back quite a bit in terms of momentum, energy, but clearly like it hasn’t. It wasn’t that many years ago that you got started with this, right? Like I still
Travis Chambers 13:57
actually almost almost it was like seven years ago actually. Um, but like,
Tyler Jorgenson 14:03
when did you guys hit your
Travis Chambers 14:05
stride? Three years ago? Yeah. So
Tyler Jorgenson 14:07
that’s where I really noticed like holy cow champions in massive growth.
Travis Chambers 14:12
I mean, until then, it was just me and my, my partner. He started as an intern a year later, me and my partner. And it was just kind of me and him like a bowtique. Two man, three man shop kind of thing. Wasn’t like a real company. I tried to make people think it was a big company. But it wasn’t fun. It was yeah, it was two years ago that it really just three years ago, it started to grow and become a real company. And then and then it got to the point where we were overgrown. We need to lay people off. Then we started running ads and those ads, go figure crushed it. And that’s when we went from like 15 to 125 in like 1415 months or something crazy like that.
Tyler Jorgenson 14:53
I know I watched when you guys made those transitions right where you kind of
Travis Chambers 14:59
you can see it right You put ripples out in the marketplace and it’s it’s, it’s clear, what was the catalyst what made you decide now’s the time to lean in, you know, what’s so crazy, is like, the millions I’ve made over the last couple years, all came from one decision. And it was from a bad business decision, which was like, literally being too much of a coward to lay people off. I just, I couldn’t do it. I never really fired people, which was a mistake. And they never really like laid people off, which is also a mistake. So we got to like 15 1415. And we had some clients back out, and we had a string of referrals that made us grow. And then that first client got ticked and, and got the other string of referrals to to let us go. So we just lost like this big chunk, and we were overgrown. And no one should have been build a business off of referrals. Like we’ve got to have something replicable I can’t, all of our leads were just coming from me speaking at conferences, chasing people down, and just hounding people and bothering people constantly. And a lot was coming from organic LinkedIn too, which is pretty scary. lead source. And so one day, I was just like, Alright, these big expensive videos aren’t working, the success rate is not as high as they used to be. And Facebook is now requiring more small pieces of creative. And I was seeing a lot of brands making really small cheap stuff that was working. And I was like, Alright, we got to get into this. So I came up the idea of the micro video program, let’s make small stuff. And then let’s do a bunch of research to figure out what kind of video should be made. And let’s see if we can develop some kind of like taxonomy or special sauce approach to the creative. And a lot of people in the company were just like, we shouldn’t do that. And I hate to say it my partner, even Stephen, he’s gonna be mad. He won’t ever admit this. But even he was like, I don’t I don’t think we should do that. I don’t know. But we did. And we hired this guy named London, Lazarus, who was just an awesome powerhouse, and he’s not with us anymore. He now has 8 million followers on Tiktok and is crushing it. Wow. But um, we spent six months building that program, clients telling us that our stuff sucked. And it was almost like we were starting over kind of with it. And then we started running ads. And by running ads, we were finally able to sell something for a lower costs. It was the first time that we ever sold anything below 100 grand, because we’d always always held to this mentality of like, we’ve got to be premium. Because we’re small, we have to build the Tesla Roadster, we have to have this mega premium, super, super, custom tailored thing that we do a low volume of that’s the only way and we were very profitable. I think our profit margin at that time was like 40 or 45%, which is really high for an ad agency. Yep. And then, you know, when we launched the micro video program, our profit margin went way down. But our volume, you know, like 20x. So that was the decision maker is just lowering a cheaper priced offering, and in doing a higher volume play.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:18
So it was like you went from the Roadster to the model three.
Travis Chambers 18:22
Yes. And we never wanted to do that. Tyler, we always wanted to be this amazing. The best agency on the planet that was small and we made fun of people that did the volume thing. And a lot of agencies. You’ve seen it to Tyler, these agency of record creative agencies, they’ll they’ll get like these big accounts, and then they’ll lose a couple of them. And they have to layoff like 100 people. I never wanted to do that. Right. Crispin Porter port Crispin Porter Bogusky in LA, that office isn’t even there anymore because of that. So if I’d stayed there, I wouldn’t have a job there anymore. So that’s what we did. And that was it, man. I love it. So you
Tyler Jorgenson 19:00
can run ads. Yeah, you know, are so many lessons. So. And I think that’s huge. Having something you know, that front end offer that makes sense to run ads that can not only create cash flow, but also just like predictability and stability and build you a pipeline of paying prospects, right? So it’s all those amazing things. One of the things I think is really interesting there, you talked about your partner and you talked about making hard decisions of letting people go sometimes and the challenges of that, talk to us about where your perspective is now on strategic partnerships and partnerships, and things that people should be mindful of if they’re considering
Travis Chambers 19:36
one. So I’ve been in a few partnerships. I was partners with Rowan Gardner and the MMA site, and he was going through some crazy stuff at the time bankruptcy. I don’t know if you know him. He’s like the he’s the Olympic gold medalist. Oh, yeah. Russian who had not been beat in like 300, didn’t he? Yeah, when there’s nobody there’s a snowmobile or something? Yeah, I lost a couple toes. Whoa. Then he came back and still did well. Yeah. So that partnership didn’t go great ended on okay terms. And then I joined this other little boutique agency, which actually they have grown, I think to like 1215 employees now. And they’re still around the same. I was, I was one of four partners, they’re still doing pretty good. That didn’t really work out. I went to LA to join, to get this job, got a great job opportunity and took it didn’t gel. I had two partners, I started with it chamber. And we had done like 600 grand in revenue, and they still weren’t willing to leave their day jobs. But they were getting two thirds of the profits. And us like, doing some basic math. And, you know, I was like, Guys, you gotta jump, you gotta jump on this train. And they weren’t willing to. So I split from them. And it was an ugly split. Actually, I haven’t, I haven’t really talked to him since. Yeah, it’s tough. And it wasn’t horrible. Like, if I saw it now, it’d be chill, but I was pretty mad man, it really rocked me. So I was very jaded towards partnerships, hired an intern, they let me keep the intern actually had to make a new business entity, they let me keep the intern. That intern is Stephen, who still my partner today. And I don’t know Stephanie and I have ever really had like, that bad of an argument, or that big of a disagreement. So so my opinion of partnerships is that somebody has to be the guy. So I am not a fan of 5050 partnerships. They haven’t worked for me. Now. I’m very, like controlling, I can’t handle being I’m not controlling, I can’t handle being controlled by somebody else. And so I’m not a usual personality. You know, I’m moody and all that stuff. And Stephen is very even keeled and, and is focused on reason and logic, things like that. So we fit like, perfect puzzle pieces, like Stephen was a woman probably would be married. That’s it’s just again, you know,
Tyler Jorgenson 22:12
yeah. And I think that’s, that’s such an important thing in partnerships is like, it has to have a balance, there has to be a balancing effect, right? You have two personalities that are too similar. They’re not going to, it’s going to amplify sometimes your weaknesses, right? And then it also has to have logic, right? So there has to be a reason to have a partner instead of a employee. I think without those two things, some people just get into a partnership because of emotion. You were both there when an idea happened, or whatever. But I think it’s got to make sense. So it’s awesome that you you found a partner that worked for you, and you guys were able obviously be able to make some huge impact with the agency over the last little while,
Travis Chambers 22:46
I would say, Yeah, I would say they’re there. You should never start out with more than two partners ever only. Because, look how many rock bands split up this? Well, it’s because there’s three or four of them. And, and the second, you have three or four brains that have to agree on a decision, you’re dead in the water, like you can’t go anywhere. There’s an agency in Utah that thought about buying us three years ago. Now we’re four times their size. They have four partners, and those guys just bicker all the time. And there’s so much friction between those and they get along. But they can’t you get four or five people’s emails on a decision. And you can’t have that in somebody has to be king, or queen. Yep, at the end of the day, you’ve got to have an Elon or Steve Jobs or a Bezos or think about it’s never musk and or Bezos, and
Tyler Jorgenson 23:42
no, you gotta have the org chart has to be clear. And usually if there’s a partnership involved, it’s hard for one partner to be like, I’m okay. Day to day you’re going to be CEO and I’m going to be general manager like there’s it’s hard to separate that type of ego
Travis Chambers 23:56
by Google had Larry Page and searcher Sergei, but I guarantee you one of them was one of them yielded instead the
Tyler Jorgenson 24:06
beginning the board didn’t even allow them to be to run the company because they didn’t think they were mature enough. Right. So they actually weren’t operators like the CEO for a while. So they, I mean, that one of them is now the CEO and but it took a long time before that happened.
Travis Chambers 24:22
Yeah, I get that I’m still not mature enough to run a company never will be.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:26
Yeah, I I’m working my way backwards in maturity every year. I like lighten up a little bit more.
Travis Chambers 24:32
I can manage. I can manage five people better than anybody. The same gets over five. I’m the worst person.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:40
Yeah, I was love. I’m trying to get to two. I’m like, I’ll talk to two people. They can manage the rest but to do for
Travis Chambers 24:47
three years. Two is an amazing number. You just have these incredible relationships and you’re just in it together and it’s the same to people every day. And you’re not doubt it’s better was the most magical time that chamber when it was just three or four of us, man it was. That was that was are the days,
Tyler Jorgenson 25:06
let’s imagine that you’re not in the position you’re in right now. And you had to start over today in today’s market in today’s world with today’s tools, resources, technology,
Travis Chambers 25:17
what would you do? Same thing. I’d start an agency probably start a service business of some kind. Yeah. creatives, creatives and ads? Yeah.
Tyler Jorgenson 25:28
There you go. That’s good. Hey, that’s, you know, a lot of people if they’re like, Oh, if I could restart over, I would end there’d be a pivot, and you’re like, No, I just do this again. And I love that. That’s good.
Travis Chambers 25:37
You know, we pivoted a lot. And we pivoted so well, man, like, the stuff that we’re doing now, we still don’t have very many competitors. It’s a good business. You know, it took me a long time to realize it. It took having a CFO who actually understand the gist and the numbers, and it took our strategic partners we brought in being like, No, this is an amazing business. What do you what are you talking about? It’s an amazing business. It is hard, it was a grind, but but if I was starting now, like, I would, I would have done it the same way. I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have raised money, I wouldn’t have tried to start a product business. Because that’s, that’s really tough. I would have started with the service, I would have grown it slowly. The only differences I probably would have tried to bring in. I don’t know, man, it took four years to get case studies to get good case studies. And it takes case studies to get something scalable. And then it takes something scalable to get really high end people like the CFO, we just got we couldn’t have got him two years ago, we couldn’t afford him and he wouldn’t have been interested in us. So I don’t know, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do anything differently, because so hard. But the steps required to learn and to go through all those processes. It was totally, totally worth it.
Tyler Jorgenson 26:55
So I’m a big believer that business is about lifestyle. It’s what we talked about it being like business is there to fund your lifestyle, and it’s fun. But if too many people get taken too seriously. That being said, what is and you’ve got some cool stuff going on in your life. So what’s one item on your personal bucket list? You know, not business that you’re going to do in the next 12 months? Well, I
Travis Chambers 27:14
start Oh, not business and not business. I’m gonna I’m gonna try to get healthy. I have. I had like, really bad sinus problems. And it’s really crippling. It’s like, almost like a disability. And I’ve always just powered through it and ignored it. Because I’m like, Dude, I can’t pay attention to this. I gotta feed the family, man. Yep. But now I’m slowing down. I’m like, Whoa, I was just living on cortisol and pumping myself up every day this whole time, which may have been the catalyst for my success of like, I have to make a lot of money quickly because I don’t know how much longer I can handle this. And when I get older, I’m going to so now I’m like, I’m going to go get a surgery. I’m going to try and get my health my sinus stuff fixed. That’s my goal.
Tyler Jorgenson 28:01
And then obviously, you’ve spent you spend more time at the family and traveling which is awesome. So Travis, really appreciate you people can find you on Instagram at Travis underscore chambers and chamber media. Pretty easy to find them on the internet. But really appreciate you coming out sharing your story sharing the lessons that you learn along the way to all my business just wherever you’re listening, it’s your turn to go out and do something.
Thank you for tuning in to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com/vip and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor. If this episode was meaningful to you please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us is ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something