The Road & The Ladder: An Important Announcement for 2017 (AutoGrow is Evolving. . . )

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It’s been almost seven years since I started AutoGrow.

Wow, I had to pause a minute after writing that.

For me, that’s quite a commitment (so says my close friend, who’s quick to point out my flaws — thanks, Rob!).

The road to today has been long, full of both failures, and a number of accomplishments.

I am so grateful for all these experiences, and for the clients, customers, and teammates who have been a part of the journey. I’ve learned so much and done my best to grow with each step forward.

The point of this post is to outline what is potentially the most important and exciting change we will be making this year.

My goal with AutoGrow has always been, and will remain to be, the following:

To create a company that can operate and grow without me. A company whose mission is to accelerate creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit.

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I appreciated a recent blog post from Clay Collins who gave the idea of a ladder as a metaphor for never-ending growth in business. He got it from Ben Thompson at Strategery, and now I share it with you.

The idea is that whether you’re the CEO of Netflix, or a startup entrepreneur, you’re always reaching for the next rung on the ladder. There is no top, but if you desire to create an enduring success you have to keep moving forward, reaching higher and leveling up.

Here’s a look at our climb so far:

  • In 2010, AutoGrow started as a web design company. Our plain but direct slogan was “Great Web Design.” Catchy, right?
  • By the end of that first year we were a full-stack design, development, and marketing firm.
  • I wrote our first blog post in 2011 on sales funnels because I noticed no one else was talking about this topic that interested me. The idea that you could put together a set of online marketing assets — webpages, emails, blog content — in order to create customer relationships and profit fascinated me.
  • Apparently, it was fascinating to a number of other people, too, because it started driving a lot of traffic. So we went with it and specialized our services around this concept: email autoresponder creation, landing page design, full-funnel build-outs.
  • In 2012 and 2013 I reached for another rung on the ladder but missed. This was when I custom-coded and designed our first product, SaberBlast. The original concept behind it still makes sense, but it was early, and bootstrapping it proved unsustainable. With limited time and money I decided to shift focus back to our main business. I’m still proud of the work. I learned so much despite the ultimate decision to shut it down.
  • In 2014, I decided if we were going to specialize in sales funnels, we should do more to practice what we preach. So we started publishing one quality blog post per week. Not every article was a “winner,” but our traffic and reputation has grown immensely (we recently hit 20,000 visits per month) thanks to this simple habit.
  • In 2015 and 2016, we decided it was time to make another change. Instead of providing many different services, we wanted to explore how we could simplify the business, generate recurring revenue, and accommodate more customers on a larger scale. That’s when we launched our productized done-for-you funnel service.
  • The productized service actually worked out quite well, and we are still working with customers, but I’m not satisfied. I want us to have a bigger, more scalable impact. I believe I’m at the point in my career where I have the confidence (and just a pinch enough swagger) to say, Hey, I’ve got something useful to teach you about digital marketing, and you should consider paying for it because it will grow your business.

That said, I’m excited to announce two things:

  1. The relaunch of our online course where I teach you how to create an evergreen sales funnel that can generate 1000’s of leads without ads. For a limited time, we are offering the course at a discounted rate and limiting the number of new students per month to 20 so we can provide great depth of service in return for valuable feedback. You can read more and enroll here.petoverabox1.jpg
  2. Just as significant: we will be changing the name of our brand (!) from AutoGrow to AutoGrow.co. This was a tough decision, but I believe it’s the right one. Details below…

AutoGrow as a name has worked until now because we’ve made it work, but, as Andrew Warner put it in a recent interview, “You can live in the world as it is or you can deny reality.”

I’m choosing to adapt and find a win-win solution.

Changing our name to AutoGrow.co is a win-win solution because the name more accurately describes what we strive to do now with our course product and what we will be doing in the future.

Plus, it’s less confusing. People have been telling me for years that when they first heard the name AutoGrow they thought it had something to do with either pets, an oil company, something in Italian. . . the reactions were all over the map, and many couldn’t even say it right!

While I am sentimental about AutoGrow (which will remain our legal name for tax purposes), I feel good about AutoGrow.co going forward.

There is more to discuss, and I look forward to continuing to share updates and learning experiences, especially as we make this transition in the coming weeks.

Keep an eye out for more exciting product updates, changes to the website, and research-backed articles that will better help you achieve your digital marketing goals!

And as always…

Keep hustlin’, stay focused,

Matt

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