Episode 114: Behind The Scenes with Andrew Hubbard from freelance ad manager to selling his boutique agency

Key Highlights [00:04:00] How Andrew landed his very first Facebook

Jody Milward

Key Highlights

[00:04:00] How Andrew landed his very first Facebook ads clients

[00:05:30] Andrew’s journey from working for free to charging $4k/month to selling his agency

[00:11:00] I asked Andrew for his take on ‘are webinars dead?’ 

[00:20:30] A solid tip to avoid having clients push back on % of ad spend agreements

[00:25:00] Andrew shares his process for great client testimonials 

[00:29:30] Things he would do differently before selling an agency


Jody: [00:00:00] Welcome everyone to this episode of Online Confidential, where we really are going to be going behind the scenes to talk about ‘Secret Ad Manager’ business with our special guest today, Andrew Hubbard. Welcome Andrew to the show. 

Andrew: Hey Jody. Thanks for having me. 

Jody: Super excited to have you here. I’ve been seeing you around in this online space, Facebook marketing world for a lot of years, so I know you’re going to bring a lot of super valuable information to our community.

So guys, if you don’t know [00:00:30] Andrew, he is a very well known and well regarded Facebook ad strategist, educator, and coach, especially for the coaching and info product space. Now, Andrew, like a lot of us, we didn’t go to school growing up saying, oh, I want to be a Facebook ad manager when I grow up. So tell us a bit about your story.

Where did you start out? How did you fall into this world of Facebook ads? 

Andrew: As you mentioned, it was totally unexpected. It wasn’t something that I went to school thinking I’m going to [00:01:00] manage Facebook ads for clients. It wasn’t a thing when I was at school. I actually got an IT degree, so I went through, studied IT at uni, got a job here in Canberra in the public service.

And on the side I started developing mobile apps. So that was right around when Apple iPhone and the whole app store came out and I started working on these little mobile apps and things like that. And eventually Facebook released what they called the Facebook SDK, which is kinda like the Pixel, but for mobile apps.

So [00:01:30] you would put it inside an app and then that allowed you to run Facebook ads for app installs. I dabbled in Facebook ads, but it was when that came out and because I was doing the app thing and they released this and people were getting these really cheap app installs through Facebook ads, that I was like, okay, I’m going to give this a try because I’ve played with Facebook ads before and let’s try them for apps.

And I started doing that and that led to this opportunity where basically I figured out, okay, we can buy an app install for, [00:02:00] 20 cents. If we put ads inside of the app, we could generate, 50 cents on average for a user or whatever the numbers were. So there was an arbitrage opportunity.

So I was like, okay, let’s go and buy installs and generate a positive return on that ad spend from running ads inside of those mobile apps as in, displaying ads. Think of it like Google AdSense type of thing. And that was going really well. And I was in a few little communities around mobile apps and stuff like that, and a few masterminds and [00:02:30] just started talking to people and opportunities started popping up when people heard what I was doing and saying, ‘Hey, can you like show us this Facebook ad thing, what’s going on there?’ 

So I started doing a few guest appearances for mastermind groups and talking to people and just helping people for free and doing that on the side. And that kind of got bigger and bigger and eventually I was like, maybe I could charge people for this?

And so I started, charging just, oh yeah, sure $200 and I’ll do a few hours work for you and stuff like that. Which was, [00:03:00] I look back and I think, what was I doing? But anyway, that’s a different story. That kind of grew. Then I started moving out of the app space because that world became really crowded.  

It was a good opportunity at the time, but it wasn’t a long-term opportunity. I started moving out thinking, okay, how can I go broader here? How can I move into a broader space and still do Facebook ads? I realized that’s what I really enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy building the mobile [00:03:30] apps and trying to rank them in the app store and all of that stuff.

I just enjoyed running Facebook ads and helping people with Facebook ads. So I thought, okay, I’m going to go for a broader market here. And at the same time I was working on my own course. So I thought, okay, let’s see if I can help course creators do this Facebook ad thing and do that successfully.

And so the way I did that, I still kind of saw myself as, and I think a lot of people do this. We undersell ourselves or we undersell our ability. I was [00:04:00] like, ‘oh, who am I to go and charge people to run their ads. Who am I to do this?’ So what I’ll do is I’ll go out and I’ll offer to do work for free.

So what I did was I started reaching out to people because the pixel at the time, the Facebook pixel was kind of an unknown. This was 2015 maybe, 2013, somewhere between 2013 and 2015. And so I started like looking at these websites of big course creators or people who I thought were really big in the space.[00:04:30] 

And I’d check if the Pixel was on their website and I’d email them and just say, ‘Hey, notice you didn’t have the pixel on your website. Do you want me to set that up for you? Or walk you through how to set that up, totally free. But it’s really good to have, and here’s why it’s good to have now, even if you’re not running ads.’

So many people came back and said, ‘You know what? I’ve been thinking about running Facebook ads. Yeah, that’d be great. Let’s chat.’ And that chat would lead to me totally, I didn’t know what sales were, I was just like, ‘oh yeah, sure, I’ll help you do it.’ 

I’d get all these calls, help them put the [00:05:00] pixel on, or I’d do it for them and they’d be like, ‘Hey, so…’ They kind of pushed me into it, ‘Hey, so do you like, do these ads for people because I kind of want to take the next step.’ 

And I’m saying ‘sure, yeah, yes, that’s what I do.’ Because it’s what I wanted to do and that was the point of these calls. And we went down that path from there in those conversations.

And there was one guy in particular Naveed Moas was his name and he was doing really well with courses and things. And he said, ‘I’ve actually got a launch coming up. Would you [00:05:30] run my ads for me?’ I said, ‘sure, I’ll tell you what we’ll do.’ And again, this sounds really smart when I say it now, but at the time I had no idea what I was doing.

But it turned out to be one of the best moves I ever made. And I said, look, I’ll run your ads for this launch. I won’t charge you for it, but what I would love at the end is I want to turn this into a big case study and do you mind if I use your launch the case study, as the example, show [00:06:00] the ads, all that stuff.

He said, ‘yep, sure. No problem at all. Let’s do it.’ So we did it, it did really well. We spent about $6,000 on ads, he generated $30,000 dollars in return from the ads alone as part of his launch. So he was really happy. We did the case study, he was super happy and gave me a testimonial. I put that case study out there and I posted it on at the time, what was the site?

It was a site like Hacker News or what was the site [00:06:30] called? Growth something. It was one of those like Reddit style news aggregator sites where you could post something and it gets voted up, the most up-voted posts go to the top. So I shared my case study on there. It got up voted.

They sent it out to their newsletter, like it was one of the featured ones in their newsletter and it went out to a hundred thousand odd people. I was inundated with people coming to me saying, ‘Hey, yeah, look, we’re doing a launch, we’ve got a course, blah, blah, blah. Can you work with me?’ So, it turned out to be that [00:07:00] single, I’ll work for free moment parlayed into something that was much bigger than I ever expected it to be.

And that’s how I landed my next few paid clients. We started working from there. So that is the short-ish version of a long story, and that’s how I got into the business to start with. 

Jody: Love it. There are so many touchpoints along there where it’s like, yep, can relate to that, and I hear these stories all the time. It’s like your journey is like not unsimilar to so many [00:07:30] other ad managers out there.

I absolutely love it. And like you were saying, there’s so many little things I could touch on there. 

So working for free. You had that client, and this is unfortunately where a lot of ad managers maybe get caught up and maybe they do another one for free and another one for free, because it’s that mindset of thinking, ‘oh, I dunno if I’m worth it. How can I charge people for this?’

Because a lot of us, we sort of fall into Facebook ads. We see the potential there and we [00:08:00] like running Facebook ads and then the whole side of running a business, doing sales calls, prospecting, all that kind of stuff is just so new and foreign. 

Like you said, it’s like you did these loom videos. Another touchpoint, which I love. I love the loom video, I was doing a similar kind of thing. See the page without a pixel. You do a loom video and what’s the benefit of it? Right. When we have a pixel on there and it helps us to retarget and make lots of money with Facebook ads. The benefit of having the pixel. 

So with this case study that you did where [00:08:30] you did it for free and a hundred percent, there’s a time and a place for that. So this was great for you and you identified some people that were already appeared to be running courses successfully. And I think this is one of the things that guys need to pick up if they are going to do a case study or do something for free, is that you identified somebody who was already having success.

They were already making sales. It wasn’t a brand new funnel. It wasn’t a brand new offer or a message. 

Andrew: Yes. 

Jody: [00:09:00] So therefore, that person had a validated offer, a funnel. You were set up for even better success as you did this campaign to turn that $6,000 amazingly into $30,000, so very smart. 

Andrew: You’re exactly right. That’s the key. I knew this guy had done at least four or five launches before then, and they were getting bigger every time. It was definitely [00:09:30] a calculated move going, I’ll work for free in exchange for this case study because I was confident too, 90% that we were going to do really well with his ads because he put out a lot of free content as well.

He had a good warm, organic audience there that I could retarget to start with. Plus I knew that there was demand for what he was selling, so it all added up into something where I was like, okay, the risk is minimal to me, and the upside is very [00:10:00] large on his side. So that’s what helped me get across the line.

Jody: Absolutely love it and then savvy enough, put it in there as a case study. That’s what I recommend to people. Use these as you’re starting out a case study, a testimonial, put it together. You put it out there very strategically, somewhere where it blew up, got out to hundreds of thousands of people, and even if we can’t get that kind of reach, this is where as an ad manager, you can post it over on your site.

You can drive traffic to [00:10:30] there with your own ads and get that visibility. Brilliant strategies there. 

Now as we were talking about launches there I was thinking, okay, Andrew, what do you think, there’s a lot of talk over the years and recently, especially since iOS, that webinars are dead. Webinars don’t work.

What are you seeing, and I know it’s not just strategy, it’s not just the buttons we press, there’s offers and messaging, but if all of that is in play, what’s your [00:11:00] thoughts about webinars and getting our course sales going as you’re still heavy in this niche and working with these clients?

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve heard the ‘webinars are dead’ thing. Everything’s been dead at some point.

Jody: Exactly. 

Andrew: Name it, it’s been dead and now suddenly it’s alive again. But look, I think webinars still absolutely have a time and a place and they work really, really well for lots of businesses.

I’m still seeing them working very well combined with Facebook ads. I don’t think they’re dead at all. [00:11:30] I get this question a lot, which is, what’s the best lead magnet? Tell me what the best lead magnet is. And I’ll do that. Like, what are you seeing work? Should I do a quiz? Should I do a webinar? Should I do a cheat sheet? 

The best lead magnet is the thing that your audience wants the most, and the thing that is going to deliver them value for free in a way that they want to consume it. And that’s different for every audience. And it’s different for every business.

I co-founded a business now, which is [00:12:00] in the parenting space. So for new parents and for them it’s very hard to get them to sit down for an hour to watch a webinar because they’ve got a baby and to them, that’s very difficult to carve that time out.

If you can give them a cheat sheet that gives them six ways to soothe their crying baby. They’re like ‘Yes, please. I will take that and I will stick it on the fridge and I will try those things next time the baby’s crying.’

If it’s a business audience that want to learn, to dip their [00:12:30] toe into the water of setting up their first remarketing ad, they will happily, they would love to sit there and watch over your shoulder for a one hour webinar to learn how to do that.

So, I think it’s a matter of just stepping back and thinking. Instead of listening to what all the chatter is saying in Facebook groups or on the internet about what the best lead magnets are, or looking at some story and name a prominent Facebook group, where somebody’s posted about how they just did a launch and they did this model, like a, [00:13:00] let’s say a PLF and they made, $347,000 and going ‘okay, that’s it because I saw that post. I’m going to do the same thing for my launch.’

Instead of doing that, it’s just stepping back and going, what do I think is going to be the best solution for my audience and what do they want, and what’s the best delivery mechanism for them and going down that path instead.

Jody: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not a one size fits all, and we often with our funnels [00:13:30] and funnel hacking see the tip of the iceberg and not really what’s going on underneath. 

Now as we’re talking about that and what’s the right offer and all of that. As ad managers, we often find ourselves sort of being business coaches or consultants, because our clients will come back to us, oh, what do you think I should do? Should I do a webinar? Should I do a quiz? 

Have you had that kind of problem where they come to you and you’re the ad manager here to drive traffic and get them leads and retarget, get sales, but you sort of turned into that [00:14:00] business coach. Tell us about sort of your experiences there and how do you actually prevent that and stop the scope creep potentially. 

Andrew: Yeah. Oh yeah. This is something that’s massive, isn’t it? I would have trouble naming a client that I’ve worked with where that didn’t happen versus ones that did. So yeah, it definitely is a thing especially when, you’re in a similar position, I think, which is [00:14:30] we work closely with the clients versus being like hands off running an agency where we assign an ad manager and eventually, I ran that as well, which we can talk about later. 

But I think when you’re in that position, when you are their trusted, go-to person and you’re getting good results, they’re like, ‘oh, well I’ll just ask. I’ll just ask.’ 

That definitely happens. For me, I kind of realized people come and they expect a certain result. They say, okay, we’re [00:15:00] going to give you X dollars a month, and we expect a good return on that spend. And it’s very hard, I think, for the client to differentiate between roles, depending on the client. 

So they kind of just think, ‘well, I’m going to give you money and you are going to manage my ad spend. And then, hopefully we see a positive return.’ So I kind of realized that, okay, it’s in my best interest in a lot of situations to say ‘okay, you should be doing this. I’m noticing [00:15:30] this with the funnel. You should be doing this’.

Or they come to me and ask a question and I’m going to say, ‘okay, do that’. Because the way that I priced was a percentage of ad spend. It was particularly beneficial for me to improve the overall performance of the funnel because then ad spend increases and then overall revenue increases for me as well.

So what I ended up doing was, rather than fighting it, I actually priced it in. So I went from my first client, I charged $500 a month. The first client I [00:16:00] landed. Then I eventually got to a point and I doubled it and I said, ‘the next one, you know what, when I talk I’m going to charge $1,000’.

And they said, ‘yeah, sure, no worries’. And I was like ‘okay’. I was very green, as I said, way back at the start. And then I thought, ‘you know what, I’m just going to try it again’. And the next one I said, ‘it’s $2,000’. And they said, ‘Sure. When can you start?’ 

So I did it one more time, $4,000. And I remember when I signed that client and I was literally [00:16:30] bouncing off the walls, because the next one, ‘$4,000’, ‘Sure’. Okay.

The reason I was doing it was because I was realizing, I’m doing so much here, beyond just ad management, so I thought I’ve got two choices I can push back or I can price it in. So that’s when I sort of went to $4,000 and then after that I moved to a percent of ad spend, base retainer plus percent of ad spend, purely for that reason, because I realized if I’m going to do this and be more of a consultant, like [00:17:00] overall marketing consultant/coach/ad manager/sometimes therapist. I’ve got to price this in. In a way that’s going to be beneficial for me if this thing grows. 

So that’s the path I took. I think you could go both options. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong, but that’s the path I ended up taking.

Jody: That’s the path so many, myself included. And I say if you are starting out, do not go out there charging $2,000 a month if you don’t know what you’re doing. [00:17:30] Unless you have an ad expert that you are outsourcing to who will do the work.

Because it just puts a lot of pressure on you. The client’s demands are going to be that much higher as well. Start out at a price point that’s relevant for your experience and then work your way up. 

I talked to some who had that same journey as well. There’s a couple of things I’d love to talk on there about.


First of all, did you, or have you ever charged performance based, so we have that percentage of ad spend but then there’s charging a percentage of sales? Have you ever done that? [00:18:00] What’s your thoughts on that? Even if you haven’t done it, what’s your thoughts? 

Andrew: I’ve never done that model. I’m not against it at all. I’ve considered that and I’ve also considered more of a pay per lead type model but as an agency. As an ad manager no, I’ve never actually used that model, but I think it would be good. I’ve spent time thinking about it and the one thing [00:18:30] that I couldn’t wrap my head around and when I was in that agency world, was how do I, so if I’m doing percent of revenue or percent of net revenue, percent of profit, that shifts the risk to me. 

How do we balance that risk between client and myself? Because unless I have free reign over decision making in terms of [00:19:00] many different elements of the funnel.

Because if they’re saying, ‘okay, we’re segregating, you run ads, we manage funnel, you get a percent of net profit’. The gap there for me is, but what if the funnel is completely mismanaged and I’m doing everything possible on the ad side, but we just can’t get to net profit because the funnel isn’t converting those leads into customers.

That’s the part I couldn’t get my head around. So I do like the idea in theory, I [00:19:30] just couldn’t, and I would love to hear if you’ve figured that out. But that’s the part I could never sort of find a balance between. 

Jody: Yeah, like I said, if you had it figured out, maybe there, some are.

I think where obstacles really did come in is with the loss of tracking that has happened now, and then when you’ll have a client that says, but this person was already on our email list, and while it can be a very lucrative offer, that’s where you really need to get [00:20:00] attribution and various other things really solidified before you start out.

And that’s where, like you mentioned pay per lead might work. So if you got paid a hundred dollars for every booked call that you get, at least you’re getting the booked calls. And then you’re not having to worry about if the salesperson that’s taking the call is having a bad day. So yeah, that’s fraught.

That’s where, coming back to that percentage of ad spend, I think is a good medium because it’s a lot clearer and cleaner and easier [00:20:30] to just decipher and still, I’ve seen people say that when you’re charging a percentage of ad spend and the ad managers don’t worry about your results, they’re just worried about increasing the ad spend.

And that’s just where it comes back to having good rapport and trust with your clients. 

Andrew: Yes. 

Jody:  So that they know that you are not just scaling them up for the sake of getting paid more, that you’re scaling them up with results in mind. 

Andrew: Absolutely. And I think that communication’s really important there as well.

I would always be in [00:21:00] Slack with clients. And so it’s not like there was ever a situation where we would not speak, gosh, it was usually daily and if not it was every two to three days. I couldn’t imagine a situation where I’d be scaling a client up where their return on ad spend wasn’t being maintained in a place where they were really happy because that communication was always there ‘Okay, hey look, this is what we’re seeing. We scaled two days ago. I’m thinking of bumping up by another 20%. This is our ROAS [00:21:30] since we’ve last scaled, it’s still holding really well at, 250%’, whatever that happens to be.

And they would say, ‘yeah, sure, let’s do it’. There was always that collaborative communication there as to say, ‘okay, this is what’s happening. This is where we’re at, this is what I’m thinking, are you okay with it?’ 

‘Yes, let’s go’. Versus I think the trap you described, which is that concern of you’re working with an agency and they’re just doing their thing and every week they might write you an email and go, ‘Hey, this is the spend this [00:22:00] week and this is the return’. 

Definitely a risk there on the client side for sure. 

Jody: Yeah. Love that you mentioned communication because that is so important, so gold because then even when ads aren’t performing, as we know that happens, you’ve got that trust and they know that you are there looking at their accounts. That communication is just the thing that’s going to ride you through all the highs and lows as you’re working with clients. I believe. 

Andrew: Totally agree.

[00:22:30] I wanted to talk about while you started out at $500, $1000, $2000, $4,000 and a percentage of ad spend, have you had pushback or resistance from clients who have gone, ‘oh wow, I’m paying you a lot of money’.

Have you had to deal with that kind of issue? Or have you just been fortunate enough to have those right clients that appreciate your value. 

Andrew: I’ve been really fortunate. I haven’t had any [00:23:00] directly question the price point and the value because most of my clients came through referral.

I was very fortunate in terms of pretty much, I would say 90% of clients came through referrals. Like there was that initial burst from that big push out. But then after that it kind of just grew through word of mouth. It was very much like, ‘oh, hey, so-and-so said you’re great. They’re really happy with your work. Can we work with you?’ 

That made the sales process easy. And [00:23:30] that value question didn’t really come up. There was a point where we did have one or two clients leave because they said, ‘we’re going to work with a bigger agency’. So, there was that point, and I think it was probably because the, they, they, I assumed they looked at the pricing and went, well, it’s pretty close in terms of working with Andrew, working with this bigger agency that got all these awards, were the fastest growing in North America, whatever. 

And they left and said, we’re going to work with this bigger agency. [00:24:00] So that did happen, but I was never really questioned on, ‘hey, this is too expensive’ or anything.

But they did come back, so that’s what I was saying.

Jody:  I was going to say, and how soon did they come back? Seriously, that happens! 

Andrew: So funny. Yeah, I kind of expected it, but I didn’t, and I was like, ‘oh, it wouldn’t surprise me if they come back, but probably not’. And then I got the emails and I was like, ‘oh wow’.

I think it’s the grass is always greener, [00:24:30] situation. 

Jody: Absolutely. I see that so often. So often that they come back a month or two later. It hasn’t worked out. They feel like just a number or just haven’t had that level of detail and that intimacy that they can have working with someone like yourself.

Okay. So let me gather my thoughts here where we’re going. So we’ve talked about your pricing. You talked about working with great clients. So when you said a lot of your clients came in via referral, which is great when we have a nice close rate. There’s already that level of [00:25:00] trust.

Did you actually have a system where you did ask existing clients if they knew anyone? You’ve got a couple of spaces and allow for introductions or you left them and they just referred you? 

Andrew: No, I did. There was a bit of a system there. I did ask for testimonials regularly, like when things were going really well and clients were super happy. 

I would always mention just on one of our calls, ‘Hey, look, we’re doing this would you mind doing a testimonial?’ and clients were [00:25:30] generally very happy to do that. It’s all about timing.

You don’t do that when they’re leaving. You do that when they’re really happy with things. 

Fortunately, clients rarely left, which was great. And then Iwould leverage those testimonials, put them on social, put them all around. It was kind of a snowball effect because I was working with people who were fairly well known.

And so you get a testimonial from somebody who’s really well known, you put it out there, and that kind of instantly has a level of trust associated with it because they go, [00:26:00] oh, he’s working with this person. Okay, great. So there was that. That was kind of the bigger piece for me.

There was the component of asking, ‘Hey, do you know anyone who would like this?’ Another big component was clients started saying, because we’re in that coaching space, because I was working with coaches and people who ran masterminds and groups like that, they would say, ‘Hey, look, my mastermind group or my coaching group are really interested in learning about Facebook ads. Would you come and talk to them?’ 

[00:26:30] And my answer was always, ‘sure, yeah, let’s do it’. Go there, deliver, an hour of value. There was never a pitch. It was always just let’s sit down and chat for an hour. I’ll walk through our strategy or whatever it was. And that would always lead to new people coming in as well.

Especially if these masterminds were selling a $10,000 a year mastermind for well-established businesses, they would often be good quality leads as well. So that was another source for me.

Jody: Awesome. So tapping into those existing networks [00:27:00] and being intentional like you did about asking for testimonials, referrals, et cetera.

That goes such a long way for helping us build our business. 

Now, speaking of building a business, you were able to actually sell your agency. So that’s something I’d love ad managers here to discover. That this isn’t just a side hustle, not just like a little hobby. This can actually be a valuable asset for you to sell.

Can you talk to us a bit about that, what that process looked like? Did you have to actually start years before you wanted to [00:27:30] sell to get things in place? Or how did it all come about? 

Andrew: So, it was just me for a long time and I noticed I was getting leads and I just couldn’t service those leads.

And I was just, ‘oh, sorry. I’ll put you on the wait list. I’ll put you on the wait list’. I had one amazing client who I worked with for years and years, and they used to always joke. They said, we contacted you in September the first time. I forget what year, and it took us 12 months of trying to coerce you into taking us on as a [00:28:00] client before we finally got you.

They always used to joke about that. And that was happening for lots of people. I was just saying, wait list, wait list. I thought, okay, you know what? This doesn’t make any sense. I’m going to hire some people and we’ll start growing this more as an agency.

I ended up with four full-time ad managers, an assistant and then support staff for graphic design and stuff like that on the team. So we grew it into a reasonable little agency. It was always very much me being involved still. So [00:28:30] we’d have like 20 clients maybe at a time. So with four full-time ad managers plus myself, that was like five, four clients each kind of thing.

And I never wanted to push beyond that because that’s when you get into the point where ad managers are checking a client account for 10 minutes a day, which to me, that’s not the service that clients deserve. Personally. Not judging what anyone else decides to do.

And I was still very involved with those clients. Like I would still be on calls and [00:29:00] because that transition especially was difficult. A lot of those clients were working directly with me to start with. And then I was like, ‘oh, hey, we’re making this transition, meet this ad manager, they’re going to be working on your account as well’.

But they still liked speaking to me, especially when I was the face of the brand. Anyway. I grew this agency out to that sort of level that it was at. And I just realized, you know what, I’m kind of at a crossroads here. Do I want to work on this agency and growing it for the next 10 years?

And [00:29:30] continuing with this model, because what that means is, I have to keep this growing. I’ve got all these full-time people now who depend on this agency growing. I need these really strong sources of lead generation. I need to be working on that. I need to continue building this machine, keep hiring more people, keep bringing on new clients and growing that.

And I looked at it and I just thought, I don’t enjoy this model. I enjoyed working directly with clients, but I don’t enjoy this [00:30:00] agency machine type model. I was working with a coach at the time and I said to her, ‘you know what, I think I built a business that I don’t like’.

Which sounds terrible, but I had, and I was like, in 10 years time, can I do this for another 10 years? And the answer was, no. I was burning out. I was getting to a point where it was just, not something that I wanted to commit to. I talked to her and I said, ‘look, I’m thinking of, shutting this down’.

She said, ‘don’t shut it down, let’s just pause for a second [00:30:30] and we’ll see if we can get some offers and maybe sell this thing’. And that’s what we did. She had contacts and things and I ended up talking to someone and they made an offer and I decided to sell.

That meaning the contracts that we had and the clients that we had and the team that we had, had to go across without me. So there’s a decision point there as well where they wanted me to go and integrate into this [00:31:00] larger company.

But I couldn’t see myself being an employee again and I still can’t. It was just something where the money was very different, that in terms of the offer if I went versus if I didn’t because they knew they were getting somebody who could run that division.

But you couldn’t pay me enough to become an employee again. So we ended up selling, and I could do a whole other podcast episode with you about all the mistakes made [00:31:30] during that process. Because it’s like anything, I’d never done a sale before. There are things I look back on now and would do differently.

But overall it was a good experience and it was interesting. It’s definitely something everyone should explore if they’re thinking, instead of just shutting things down. If there’s value there, there’s likely somebody who is willing to pay for that value and acquire it.

Jody: Yeah, absolutely. I know I have, with clients in the past handed them over to others, [00:32:00] and in hindsight, yes, it is a sellable asset that could have been sold. One of the things there is like contracts for example, because I know a lot of ad managers will sign up clients on three months, and then it’s an ongoing month by month.

So as part of this sales process, or even before that, what did you do in regards to contracts? Did you have an initial three month and then they’d sign up for another six months? Because that’s what makes it valuable. If you’ve got these people that are signed in. 

Andrew: Yeah, so that’s one of the mistakes.

So, [00:32:30] because this was such a quick decision, because I went, you know what? I don’t like this. Well, it wasn’t quick decision, but it was quick in terms of I didn’t prep for an acquisition for 12 months. It was most of our clients were just month by month, and that’s how I’d always operated.

It was very much a trust-based model where it was like, ‘look, I’m confident we’ll do a good job for you. I don’t need to lock you in for six months, 12 months at a time. So let’s go month by month and that’s it. You can leave anytime’. So they were all month by month like I said most, but they were [00:33:00] actually all month by month.

And so that significantly decreased the value that this company offered because they said, ‘look, this is a risk factor for us. If you had a bunch of 12 month contracts that’d be significantly better for us in terms of risk management. But you don’t so this is the offer with one month contracts.

So, time again, looking back, I would think, okay, in 12 months or in two years, I want to sell this agency. How can I increase the value? One way [00:33:30] is using longer term contracts.  

Jody: That’s what it was. Exactly. It’s a good reminder for us with our contracts in general. And because typically we  have a 30 day out, generally, there is a 30 day notice. 

Andrew: Exactly. 

Jody: There is still that escape in a month’s time. But just to have that security for yourself as well, to just go, okay, here’s our three months. Bake that into your systems to go, okay, so in three months time or whenever the contract’s about to expire, you have a meeting, [00:34:00] look over what you’ve done and go, okay, so here we are going for another six months, or whatever that may be.

So that you have that in your processes and you’re looked after as well for yourself. And then if you do want to sell something. So that’s a very valuable thing.  

Andrew: Exactly. In hindsight, there are lots of ways you could do this. You could do the first three months, just month by month even. I think most people think I want to lock a new client in for three months to start with. But you could even de-risk [00:34:30] the situation for the client, let’s go month by month for the first three months, but if it’s working well then we need to sign a three month or a six month contract.

And that kind of flips it around to the opposite of what agencies normally do. But the client will go, ‘hmm, okay, sure. No risk for me three months. If I’m happy, I’ll happily sign a six month contract with you’. So just different ways to think about it. 

Jody: Yeah, I like that. The way you flipped that there.

That’s great because for clients it’s a risk. Hiring someone to run their ads, hiring someone to manage their marketing, bring in more leads, grow their business and [00:35:00] manage their ad spend. It is a risk. So it’s a great risk reversal. 

Now when it comes to signing on, this is the last question. When it comes to signing on clients, how do you make sure that you are just signing on good quality clients who have the systems in place so that it sets up yourself as success to run their ads, and also they’re more likely to have success as well. 

Andrew: I would do a full audit on the current business in the sales funnel and look at that.

So what I’m looking [00:35:30] for are a minimum level of revenue in the business. And this changed over time. Like at first it was, at least 100k that business had to be bringing in sales, towards the end it was at least 500k. And the reason for that is because then my monthly fee, and plus the ad spend isn’t going to be a huge chunk that this person or company is going to look at every month and go, oof, look at that expense, look at that on the bottom line. 

If they’re a half a [00:36:00] million dollar to a million dollar a year business. It’s not a massive deal for them. So that’s one thing. It’s not going to be popping up on their, on their credit card every month and they’re going to be thinking it’s make or break for us.

That was the first thing. Second thing was they had to have a profitable funnel in place. That was always my thing. They’ve got to be making money currently in order for me to take whatever they’ve got and scale it and grow that with Facebook ads because, the biggest red flag and [00:36:30] the biggest mistakes, and I made this mistake with early clients was, ‘oh, I’ve got this new course and it’s a brand new funnel and it’s ready to go and all it needs is ads’.

And that phrase, ‘all I need now is ads’ is just a red flag from an ad manager’s perspective, I think because it’s like, no, all you need is some traffic and then a whole lot of troubleshooting and split testing and improvements when you find all of the different weak points in that funnel, and then you’ll [00:37:00] eventually get it profitable.

So, it was do they have a baseline of revenue? And as I said, that can increase over time because you’re going to attract higher quality leads over time. And then, do they have something that’s working well already? Third thing that was not as ‘must have’, but it was something that I would definitely look at was, are they creating organic content as well?

I think that’s something that I really like to see in a client as well, is if they’re out there creating organic content, it [00:37:30] just helps everything. Like it helps. It helps with your retargeting, it helps with trust. It’s very different if somebody sees an ad from a page, they click that and, oh, the page is full of content that’s really helpful. It’s got a bunch of followers versus a ghost page that’s like just been set up to run ads and it’s brand new and it’s got nothing on it, and it’s purely there to run ads. You know what I mean? There’s just so many benefits of organic content. That’s always a nice to have. 

Jody: Yeah, absolutely agree with that.

And that’s great. And [00:38:00] then you’ve also got content you can just pull in for some nurturing campaigns and all the rest of it. 

Andrew: Yes. Great. Exactly. 

Jody: Andrew, it has been a pleasure talking with you today. Thank you for sharing so openly about your experiences as an ad manager selling your agency, and all the other bits and pieces that come with doing this crazy thing of media buying.

Where can people go and learn more about you?

Andrew: Thanks again, Jody. It’s been a ton of fun. If you want to [00:38:30] learn more about me, two places my YouTube channel, it’s just called Andrew Hubbard, is where I put all my free content and my website,, are the best places to find me.

Jody: Awesome. Well, thank you everyone for being here with us today. Go over and check out Andrew, he’s got great information to share with us ad managers. So thanks again everyone for your time today. That’s it for today. Bye for now.


I love to share practical information to help you improve your skills, learn something new or help you avoid the mistakes that many Ad Managers and I have made to help fast-track you on your journey as a well-paid and in-demand Ad Manager.