Together – Optidge

Danny is the son of an immigrant family, and while his parents were very supportive, he learned at a young age that he needed to make his own path in the world. Danny's unlikely path to agency owner started out shortly after he graduated rabbinical school and his path was to take a different course. He has grown a successful agency by caring and investing heavily in the success of his team. I instantly liked Danny from the start of our first conversation, and I'm sure you will too.  

Company: Optidge

Owners: Danny Gavin

Year Started: 2010

Employees: 11 – 25

In this captivating episode of “An Agency Story” titled “Together,” we are introduced to the heartfelt journey of Danny Gavin and his digital marketing agency, Optidge. The series, known for sharing the real-life tales of marketing agency owners, dives deep into the essence of entrepreneurship, growth, and the emotional landscape of building a business from the ground up.

Danny Gavin’s story is a testament to perseverance, innovation, and the power of a supportive community. Hailing from an immigrant family, Danny learned the value of carving his own path early on. His journey from creating his school’s website using Geo Cities to becoming the driving force behind Optidge is not just inspirational but filled with practical insights and the realities of the digital marketing world.

A significant theme of the episode is the evolution of Optidge from a nascent consultancy to a full-fledged agency with a global footprint. Danny’s early adoption of remote work, even before the pandemic, his approach to team building, and the strategic pivot during challenging times are discussed in detail, offering listeners unique perspectives on navigating the business landscape.

Guest contributions, especially from Leah Leaves, a fractional COO who played a pivotal role in Optidge’s growth, highlight the importance of adaptability and strategic planning. The episode is peppered with surprising facts, like Danny’s foray into teaching digital marketing at the University of Houston, and humorous anecdotes about unexpected client projects, which add depth and relatability to the story.

The closing encourages listeners to tune in for more than just a story of business success; it invites them to contemplate the ongoing journey of learning, teaching, and growing together. Danny’s aspirations for Optidge, his dedication to education through his academy, and the potential for a new podcast promise an exciting future for listeners to stay connected with.

This episode of “An Agency Story” is not just an agency story; it’s a narrative of personal growth, community building, and the relentless pursuit of success against all odds. Join us as we explore the multifaceted world of digital marketing through the eyes of one of its most passionate practitioners.


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Show Transcript


[00:00:00] Intro: Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up, the first big sale. Passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth. Hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit, turned business coach and enjoy, the next agency story.

[00:00:38] Russel: Hello everyone. I’m your host Russel. Welcome to another episode of An Agency Story. Today’s guest on the show is Danny Gavin with Optidge, an internet marketing agency based out of Houston, Texas. Danny is the son of an immigrant family, and while his parents were very supportive, he learned at a young age that he needed to make his own path in the world.

[00:00:58] He has grown a successful agency [00:01:00] by caring and investing heavily in the success of his team. I instantly liked Danny from the start of our first conversation, and I’m sure you will too.

[00:01:08] Enjoy the story.

[00:01:11] Welcome. I have Danny Gavin on the show from Optidge, welcome to the show today, Danny.

[00:01:16] Danny: Thanks Russel. So happy to be here.

[00:01:18] Russel: I’m certainly glad to have you. So first question is just tell us what Optidge is. Give us the elevator pitch. What does the company look like today?

[00:01:26] Danny: Optidge is a full service digital marketing agency. We’re primarily located in Houston, Texas, but since COVID, we do have people across the US and Mexico and India, all over the world.

[00:01:38] And the three main areas of focus for our digital agency are SEO, which is search engine optimization, paid search, which would be like Google Ads, as well as paid social, which would be LinkedIn, Instagram ads. We do some other things like web development, email marketing, but those are more ancillary services.

[00:01:55] And we currently service a multitude of clients. Our business is [00:02:00] primarily built off of referrals. But the area that we primarily focus on are like established businesses, where we’re doing lead generation rather than let’s say e-com. And we have a lot, have a great team and we have a lot of fun doing what we’re doing.

[00:02:12] Russel: And if I remember correctly, you were doing remote, or at least started on the path to remote before everybody else did pre pandemic, right?

[00:02:19] Danny: Yeah, COVID started, right pandemic March, 2020.

[00:02:22] So one of my top people in my company in December before that like three, four months before. She came into my office really sad and, broke the news that she’s gonna be moving from Texas to another part of the country. And really upset. And, before she could say anything like, what are you serious?

[00:02:38] Like, why don’t you work remotely? And like her eyes opened up and she’s whoa, are you serious? I was hoping you would say that. So yeah, I remember like as soon as we had that conversation I like started reaching out to my friends who like had remote workers. I was like, oh my gosh, how am I gonna do this?

[00:02:53] I’ve bought this, OWL 360 camera because I wanted her to be part of the conversation when we had meetings. [00:03:00] And I think I bought like the camera on February 28th and then came along the pandemic. What was the point? Cuz we all went remote. I’m not saying that at any way is, was the pandemic a blessing?

[00:03:09] But for Optidge it made it a lot more convenient because it’s, it’s tough to have a hybrid situation where some people in the office and some people remote.

[00:03:17] Russel: Yeah, I’m starting to have a lot of conversations with folks about that. The hybrid certainly might be the most challenging environment of all.

[00:03:24] Let’s take a ride back in the time machine and go back to the beginning of your story. It sounds like you got into the marketing field at quite a young age and building your first website and as you stated, and many might agree, you didn’t probably have a, what was a typical upbringing.

[00:03:37] So tell us about your first foray into digital marketing and some of the early days of Danny.

[00:03:43] Danny: I like to give credit to my parents. I grew up in an immigrant family. They immigrated from South Africa in the mid eighties. I think with 2000 bucks in their pocket. So literally like the immigrant story coming to America.

[00:03:52] Oh, wow. So growing up in that environment, I like to say that I never felt like I, I felt like I had everything but I remember being a kid, like going [00:04:00] through Target with my mom and wanting like the Ninja turtle and I couldn’t have it, like now if I take my kids, if they ask for it, you.

[00:04:05] Russel: Oh, I know.

[00:04:06] Danny: Maybe I shouldn’t but it’s funny. It’s just, but it primes you in a certain way. I, it was good. It was a good thing. But So I, with that back, background, my dad was an entrepreneur, had his own business and family, was in the diamond business for a long time.

[00:04:19] And he actually went online with his first website in 1999. So that kind of, opened up my eyes early on to see like a business, when I was in eighth grade. I also like you mentioned I built my school’s website using Geo Cities and HTML. So it really excited me, whether it’s online or programming digital, I was exposed to it at an early age and that really helped.

[00:04:42] Russel: I think you mentioned when we had chatted before you went to boarding school, which is not a common experience for a lot of folks either, and Oh yeah. How did that shape you or what was that like for you?

[00:04:52] Danny: Yeah, no, I’m glad you brought that up. Yeah, so being so I’m Jewish and Orthodox and there, when it comes to high school and college, [00:05:00] a lot of people in my, I guess in my community, Go to like rabbinical school, even at a high school.

[00:05:06] Where we live in Houston, Texas, there really wasn’t a school that catered, to that. And therefore we had to find another option. And many of my community like did it already. So it wasn’t like I was the first one. Oh, okay. You was the pioneer to, wasn’t the pioneer poor Danny going off by his lonesome.

[00:05:22] I went to school in Los Angeles in the heart of Hollywood. Like two months after there, there was like an after Grammy party like two blocks away.

[00:05:29] It’s pretty crazy that, yeah. But yeah, it was tough, right? Leaving home at 14 years old, really not easy. I was extremely homesick. Just in general, naturally change is not easy for me. So like, when you throw that all together, it’s oh my gosh, what are you doing to this guy?

[00:05:42] But I, if you think about it, it was like the best thing that they, that my parents could have done for me. It was hard, but it really ooh, like I worked through change. I worked from being away from home, solving problems on my own dealing, with a group of a class of LA guys who have been together for their whole life.

[00:05:58] And here there’s this just random [00:06:00] Texas dude. So it was great. And I think that built up a strength and being able to deal with adversity. It’s a huge part of who I am. It’s funny cuz I’ve got a son who is in eighth grade and we are currently, thinking through that as well.

[00:06:15] And it’s not easy, right? I give my parents imagine a lot. Imagine. Yeah. Give my parents a lot of credit to that.

[00:06:19] Russel: So the key takeaways for our folks at home is don’t buy your kids Ninja Turtles and send ’em to a boarding school. So just so you’re listening at home that’s the lessons we’re learning here.

[00:06:27] Contrary to maybe your early passions in the field of marketing and with your parents’ website and the websites you were building. When you gotta high school, what were you doing then? Because it doesn’t sound like you were headed down the agency owner path, or perhaps even the marketing field.

[00:06:40] Danny: Not at all. So yeah I went to rabbinical school went to, actually got my rabbinical ordination in South Africa. And then started, dating my wife. And I remember we were sitting at at one of our dates and, just talking about, okay, so Danny what are you planning on doing?

[00:06:53] Because at that point, like I was a rabbinical student.

[00:06:54] Russel: What’s your a five year plan. Danny, tell me now.

[00:06:56] Danny: Yeah, basically what’s your deal? I was like I’m really thinking about getting a master’s of [00:07:00] education and I wanna go back and be the principal of Elementary school that we grew up in.

[00:07:05] And and she’s like looking at me like, what? ? Like, That’s crazy. And I was like, yeah, that’s my passion. So it was funny, but it was like she’s like the life we wanna live or whatever that might not afford that. And that made a lot of sense to me.

[00:07:15] But what that shows what sort of that weather brings up is that my passion has always been teaching and like education. And I hopefully today we’ll talk more about that. But so it doesn’t necessarily mean that I had to do that as get as master’s education, but so bottom line, it’s, I had some people in people in, I would say in my community role models went a similar path.

[00:07:32] Went to a rabbinical school, but then later, let’s say either went to law school or got their MBAs. And I thought that was really cool. That’s great. Let me find a bridge to the previous, to the past and then the future that I wanna have. And for some, an MBA is you have 10 years of working experience and now you get that MBA.

[00:07:46] But obviously more often than not these days you can see a lot of people get an MBA cuz it’s it’s that bridge. Like they wanna make a change. And that’s really what it was for me. It allowed me to enter, I got my MBA at the University of Houston, enter an environment which was extremely [00:08:00] diverse, much more diverse than the previous 22 years that I spent.

[00:08:03] And really threw me into the real world. And giving me the tools to network and, get involved in more of a business mindset and the business world. So that was cool. And then part of that, I guess the key in the success there is I had a really good internship. They say that internship between your first and second years of the MBA is really important and it really was for me.

[00:08:22] Russel: So once you got in the marketing field it sounds like one of your first corporate jobs really paved the way for what eventually became your actual business or I guess the early seeds, so to speak. Is that the case? Tell us about that early transition into, what eventually became Danny, the agency owner.

[00:08:39] Danny: While I was studying my MBA I had the wonderful opportunity of getting an internship at Which was later purchased by Home Depot. So pretty cool company. Very innovative in the e-commerce space, especially early. Selling customized products online. And during that internship, had an opportunity to do a lot of different things, learn a lot of different things.

[00:08:59] But the key [00:09:00] there was the relationship that I formed with the CEO. CEO Jay Steinfeld, amazing guy. He even took the time to sit down with the intern and like I presented my, my project to him.

[00:09:10] Russel: Hear that leaders out there. Look at that. Investing in your team.

[00:09:13] There we go.

[00:09:13] Danny: Totally. And it’s crazy. And he’s a busy guy. And I think at that time there were like a hundred employees. I don’t know. So it was pretty pretty cool. Very nice. So the point being is that when I graduated with my MBA, the goal is to get that six figure salary at a huge corporation.

[00:09:30] Didn’t work out for me for different reasons, but it was meant to be. And after I graduated he sent a lot of business my way. Hey, there’s this guy, Danny, to his friends, he knows he knows what he’s doing about digital marketing. Why don’t you give him a call? And a lot of my early clients were due to him.

[00:09:46] So like the seeds of building that agency.

[00:09:49] Russel: Did you leave the company as part of that acquisition and start to go do your own thing or kind of what? Yeah. How were we putting food on the table? Maybe during this time period?

[00:09:57] Danny: So with, that was literally just a [00:10:00] three month internship at the end of it.

[00:10:01] I really was hoping to get hired full-time, but it it didn’t happen. When I graduated from school I basically had two paths. So one was I, at that point my, my family’s business was going into a little bit of a transition. They separated from their partners and they were, in a way, rebuilding their business.

[00:10:17] So it was a cool time for me to come into the family business and help them out. But that also afforded me the luxury of. Start to build my own business and my own consultancy. So at that point I was building my own consultancy, which was Optidge. And shortly thereafter we needed a new development company.

[00:10:35] And we found someone here in, in Houston who actually had offices in India as well. He was two years older than me. We really got along well and he is Danny, I’ve got this web development company. You really seem savvy when it comes to digital marketing. Why don’t we do something here? So we basically he offered me to come into the company as like a 50/50 partner in my division.

[00:10:54] So like we’re gonna build this digital marketing division, split it 50/50. [00:11:00] You’re gonna build a division, I’m gonna bring you the leads and it’s gonna be great. And it was really a wonderful opportunity. And it was something that we did from about 2011 to the end of 2016. It was cool because during that time it’s it prepped me for like, where I am today, but hiring my first people, figuring things out. It was nice because I didn’t have to worry about the business coming in, that was like not my issue.

[00:11:21] But it, honed my craft, my skill, like I’ve got a beautiful story from then. Just cuz it’s feel like it’s really inspiring. There’s this lady, Bonnie. Bonnie was hired as like business dev or sales. It wasn’t for her. And at that time we were looking to hire our first PPC person, so someone to manage Google ads.

[00:11:41] And so the CEO, he came to me, he’s like, Danny, like you really can we consider Bonnie for the position? And I was like, what? There’s, that doesn’t make sense. Like she’s like a dev salesperson. And how would it even work? I really didn’t want to, it like felt like foreign to me. [00:12:00] But I said, okay, you know what?

[00:12:01] We’re gonna make her take the Google A ds qualification exam. And I said that, if she passes, great and if not, then done. And in my mind I was like, she’s not gonna pass. So she takes it and she like gets a hundred and honestly she was perfect. She had such an analytical mind. She came in and she did so well and really.

[00:12:23] It was such an amazing success story of giving someone a chance and let see them blossom and just it’s cool. It’s really cool. It was a really cool experience.

[00:12:32] Russel: I love it. I love those kind of stories. There’s a few from my own days and those are probably honestly, some of the best memories I have from running an agency is those types of stories.

[00:12:41] You had this partnership and it sounds like it was going really well but also maybe not meant to last forever and what kind of happened there and what were some of your takeaways from that. How did that change how you were looking at the future?

[00:12:53] Danny: The company was doing well, but they were going more in a direction of like really trying to cater to [00:13:00] Fortune 100 companies. It’s like really big organizations. They were hiring a lot. They had a lot of new divisions. And as it was growing, it was here’s this corporate structure and then there’s here’s this little department on the side with some entrepreneur, Danny Gavin, right?

[00:13:12] And I didn’t really , I didn’t really fit the equation. The CEO basically sat me down and said, Danny, I think we’re gonna have to separate ways. You’re going in a different direction. At that point in time, it was hurtful because more than a business partner, as with any business, you, you become friends and Sure, it’s important to separate business and friends, but it naturally you’re gonna be when you’re working with someone so long. Wh when he approached. It wasn’t cool. Like it was rough, , but but he was really good about it. So he, he offered anyone who was on my team, he offered for me to actually take with me.

[00:13:40] He also offered, to buy out some of my contracts so that I could actually have some business. And at that point in time. So then at that I had to decide okay, I’m getting kicked out, but is this something that I wanna do? Do I want to continue? Do I want to continue doing an agency on my own?

[00:13:55] And I would say thankfully for my wife and my brother-in-law, which be her brother, [00:14:00] they really pushed me. They’re like, damn, you’re passionate about this. You gotta do it. There’s so much potential. It was very helpful for them to like, be in my corner and push me. And that’s what we did.

[00:14:09] So me and one of my employees set up shop and that was the the beginnings of Optidge as we know it at. And that

[00:14:15] Russel: Was that the first official going out in the world from Optidge or you used that name before, and that was always in the background.

[00:14:22] Danny: Optidge, that name started in 2011.

[00:14:26] Like when I started my consultancy originally my wife and I were sitting on a couch like, what should we call this thing? And so we took the concept of like optimization and the concept of bridging the gap between customers and their leads and like we put optimization bridge together and that created Optidge.

[00:14:42] But I would say like the current version of where we are right now, like a full fledged agency and like the rebirth of that. That was 2017. And I have to give a lot of credit to the one employee who came with me. It was a little bit of risk, right? Some employees didn’t come with me.

[00:14:55] They stayed at that company. She was like, no, like I wanna go, come with you. And I think if I would’ve just [00:15:00] been by myself, I don’t know if I would’ve continued. But the fact that I had like someone else there to like, work together and grind and speak with and be in and be involved was really huge and helpful.

[00:15:09] Russel: It sounds like after your partnership ended it sounds like Optidge started to begin to crystallize and it was full steam ahead and, was that scary to be out on your own?

[00:15:17] What was going on the inside? Was it a rocky path or was it all straight up to the right? How did that look for you?

[00:15:24] Danny: It, honestly, I would say very blessed. It pretty much, It was a smooth, like incline. Thank God, I like to say I’m a big believer in we have to create the vessel, but God is the one who fills it with the blessings.

[00:15:38] So we created the vessel and thank God, God filled it with a blessing. And yeah, just I like to say like the first week I started getting these like random calls from people, Hey, Danny, can you help me with this? But it was weird. Like they didn’t know that I left the last company, so why am I starting getting more calls?

[00:15:52] And I don’t know. So I was like, okay, maybe I’m doing the right thing here. But yeah, like it kept moving. Hired my second person three months in. Hired my third person I [00:16:00] think like 10 or 11 months in. And it just kept going from there. And yeah I would. But there’s like cool people along the way.

[00:16:07] Like I knew an agency owner, another agency owner, her name is Jonti Bolles. And I remember I feel like that first month or two that I was out there and like we didn’t really have PPC capabilities. So you know, I called her and told her my situation and she was so cool. Danny, no problem.

[00:16:21] I’d love to help you. This is how I could help you. This is what the hourly rate would charge you. And this is someone who like running their own agency on some little, So a little guy like, what am I doing? But she was like, really nice. So it’s, it was nice there. Definitely some good people out there that like were friendly and helpful.

[00:16:37] And I feel like that’s the general theme of our industry when it comes to digital marketing. I feel like there’s a lot more collaboration and, just help because there’s so much business, right? So we can all get a little bit of piece of the pie. So I’m not saying everyone’s like that.

[00:16:51] I’m sure there’s sharks and I’m sure there’s, but in general, like at least maybe it’s in the Houston community. I’m gonna give some kudos to Houston. But but in the marketing [00:17:00] community, there’s good people there to help if you need. And that helps along your journey. Like when you’re alone and by yourself, it’s hard, but when you have people to talk to and people to give you advice, it helps.

[00:17:10] It really does.

[00:17:11] Russel: Sounds you, you had a lot figured out at that point in time and were moving in the right direction. And then we had this thing called the pandemic hit. And, I’ve heard different ways that’s affected businesses, but what did that look like for you?

[00:17:22] Danny: Obviously when it hit, like we got scared, right? I think everyone got a little bit scared because what’s gonna happen? And thank God with the mix of clients that I had, we didn’t have the great exit, right? It wasn’t like everyone fired us.

[00:17:35] There were a couple here there that left a couple here, maybe lowered what they did. But overall they it was pretty good. And thank God, right? Like to me, having to fire people or let go is rough, right? I wouldn’t, stay away from that, but it went well. And then I would say like leaving into that in the middle of COVID.

[00:17:53] So we actually started to grow. And that kind of makes sense. A lot of digital marketing agencies or e-commerce businesses as the more you got into [00:18:00] the pandemic, people are more online, they’re thinking about it. I like to talk about one of our clients, they sell surgical instruments and, their whole business was all about trade shows and suddenly there’s no trade shows anymore.

[00:18:09] Hey, we need to figure out how can we reach our customers online? And so a lot of those sort of like little opportunities occurred. And that led us to the point where we got a little too busy. I was like, oh my gosh. What am I gonna do here? This is a little much.

[00:18:22] Russel: Somewhat similar to a lot of companies I’ve talked to with the pandemic. All these other businesses out there said, oh crap, we’re behind the digital age and we’ve gotta get going full steam ahead.

[00:18:31] And you had this huge ramp up period and growth as a result of that. But then it’s one day you woke up, one morning, you’re like, oh my gosh, how do I keep the reins on all this new business, and then this growth. And that sounds like a turning point for your business.

[00:18:43] Tell us what happened there and how that shaped where you’re at today.

[00:18:47] Danny: So just like getting into it first It’s great when, you have a a lot of clients and sales and the money’s coming in, but when you’re staying up, 48 hours a day and it’s just crazy and it’s affecting [00:19:00] everything, like it’s just not worth it.

[00:19:01] And at that point, like I was very conservative and like how we, how I’m spending the money, but it’s ooh, I like, I gotta do something. I gotta invest something. I’ve got to maybe make less money, but I need to actually survive. So I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew I had to do something like, do I hire someone else?

[00:19:15] So the answer came through a little social network called Clubhouse. Clubhouse for those who don’t know.

[00:19:20] Russel: That’s come and gone. But yeah, and I’m glad to, I’m glad to hear a positive outcome from it.

[00:19:24] Danny: This is retro Clubhouse or just a retro thing? So Clubhouse was really big, right?

[00:19:29] 2020. 2021. A friend of mine, he did a like a room on every Friday. And for those who don’t know what Clubhouse is. It’s an audio only network. So like you have a chat room and instead of chatting via text, you’re actually talking and there’s, people who are talking and you’re in the audience and you could raise your hand and speak as well.

[00:19:48] So he had this really cool it was like a marketing job forum and he, I think he invited me to speak one Friday and walks into this room. And it’s funny cuz not literally walks into the room, but it walks into the [00:20:00] digital room. This lady Leah Leaves and she announces I am a fractional COO for digital marketing agencies.

[00:20:05] And so nice to meet you. And when I heard that, I’m like, Ooh COO for digital marketing agencies. That sounds cool. I’ve never heard of that before. And I connected with her. After that and we spoke, sounded made sense. Obviously I was hesitant cuz you know, suddenly I’m paying money, for someone. And how do I know how good she is, right? She had experience, but not a lot of experience. So it’s you mean you’re telling me you’re gonna do all this? But, looking back yeah, you’ve been in, we worked at an agency for eight years, but how are you gonna be able to come in and help an another agency?

[00:20:37] And so we started off slow, but here we are, a year and a half. And I was seriously one of the best decisions that I could have made because it allowed me, although painful, to learn how to delegate and to truly pull myself out of the business and more working on, on the business, not in the business. To like to tell you like the [00:21:00] perspective that I had, like that I had to be in every client meeting that I had to do every single entry in my QuickBooks. Like these things were literally remember myself, like there was no way that I was ever going to go of that, but she helped me transition outta that and that allowed me to, to do all these. Wonderful things and to help grow that business and hire more people and add the systems and processes.

[00:21:21] Russel: And that is one of the blessings and the curses of the agency business is so many people that start an agency can do the work and therefore they become very in love with the work or my way is the right way. And letting go of that project or that love per se and letting other people come in and do that is, is certainly a big struggle for a lot of owners.

[00:21:37] That’s really cool. I’m glad to hear that about your story. So one of the things that’s really stood out in our conversations today when we talked before, is how much your team means to you and the success of your business. One, just to confirm, is that true which I assume it is, and then, what does that look like in your business?

[00:21:53] How is that approach, manifested in your day to day work?

[00:21:56] Danny: It’s a hundred percent true. My team is everything to me. Without them[00:22:00] we wouldn’t be who we are. So you kinda have to treat them that way. And, it’s all about, I think one of the big keys is transparency, right?

[00:22:06] A lot of times when you’re an owner, we all know of those businesses where it’s like heavy handed really mean. And my goal is, to try, right? I, I. I don’t like criticism. A lot of people don’t like criticism, right? But I know that in order for me to do better, I need it. And therefore it’s, I try to breed the culture of transparency and communication.

[00:22:30] And if you have a problem, call someone out, obviously in a nice way. Let me know how you’re feeling. What can I do for you better? And what that also helps with is it also breeds a culture where teammates wanna help each other, right? It’s not about how can I do better than you? It’s about, I actually get satisfaction by teaching you and by when I see that when you do well. Then I actually feel better about myself .

[00:22:55] That’s the success is not how I can, how high I can get, but it’s [00:23:00] like how well can I grow other people and help other people? And it’s not always perfect, but that’s like what we try to do. It’s wonderful and, we’ve had a lot of people with us and very high attention rate and we have a very special culture . Contractors or even employees who’ve had to let leave for other reasons, they’ve noticed that. And really proud of that and obviously still working to make it even better.

[00:23:22] Russel: As you should be. And yeah, I same philosophy when approaching my work.

[00:23:26] I’ve been doing a lot of speaking and I have the eight keys to what I call high performance culture and transparency is it’s the basis for a lot to happen.

[00:23:34] I do a lot of personality tests with the clients and the companies I work with, and that a lot of leaders are threes, which is a very image conscious personality type.

[00:23:42] And so transparency is so hard for them because they don’t ever wanna share anything that could remotely look less than successful and that’s been a very common denominator in a lot of places I’ve seen.

[00:23:52] Danny: That’s fascinating.

[00:23:53] Russel: That sounds like that’s been very successful for you. Got a good team and, you’ve really figured out some critical things in growing your business.[00:24:00]

[00:24:00] If you look back what’s the lesson you’d get in that time machine and go back and tell Danny of the past. What would that look like for you?

[00:24:07] Danny: It’s hard because on, on one hand, I think things were meant to be. But if I were to go back, I think a part of me feels like maybe I could have started a little bit earlier, doesn’t mean like even back in 2011, maybe pushed myself further or maybe even during that partnership, maybe leave a little bit earlier.

[00:24:25] I don’t know, there’s things where like maybe I could have started earlier. And I would say besides that, I think the concept of investing in your business. I waited a little bit long for that, where it was like when I was at that burning point, right? And I understand why, but I would say if I could go back, maybe I would’ve invested a little bit more earlier on and it could’ve helped things a little bit better.

[00:24:47] But I would say those are the main things.

[00:24:50] Russel: When I have you on the podcast again, five to 10 years from now, what’s your agency look like then? Where are you trying to take this thing? Or are you gonna be off in the Caribbean and sipping Mai Tai’s? [00:25:00] What’s the future look like for you?

[00:25:01] Danny: Some other areas that I focus on is I’m also adjunct professor at the University of Houston. So I teach digital marketing courses there. I also recently started my own academy called ODEO Academy. I’m looking at building out, an education course branch, which we’ve already done.

[00:25:16] There’s some opportunity there. Potentially looking at starting my own podcast. So that’s exciting as well. And then I think with the it’s about growth, but I, it’s about growth together. It’s about creating a strong foundation that everyone in the business can live a good life, happy, and that we can all grow together.

[00:25:34] I don’t have that like rocket projection of oh, we gotta get this to 25 million and, sell it for a hundred. But I think as of now, it’s about creating sustainable, strong brand and business and potentially building out, like I said, some other forms of revenue so that in the core business of the agency potentially we can be a little bit more selective in who we wanna work with.

[00:25:56] And I think that’s the biggest dream cuz now, sometimes you [00:26:00] feel like you have to work with everyone that comes to your door and sometimes you even have clients who are like, oh, I really wish I could get rid of them, but I can’t cuz I gotta do payroll, right? So , there’s ways that I can create other income that can then still we love the agency, we love helping people out.

[00:26:14] It’s great, but when we can be a little bit more selective and who we work with, I think that’s cool. So I think that’s what it looks like in the next five years.

[00:26:21] Russel: That’s a good place to get to. So the question I love to ask everyone really curious about your answer to this is, are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

[00:26:31] Danny: Ooh. I love that. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. Ever. Cause like in your mind you think this is what an entrepreneur is like. I don’t know. I wasn’t like selling lemonade front my house. It’s like my son, he sells sneakers. Like he’s great. He like, to me it’s like you, he’s an entrepreneur.

[00:26:49] I still don’t look at myself as an entrepreneur. But I am . Oh yeah, for sure. So I think it’s a little bit of both. I think there are some [00:27:00] people who they just like, it’s just a natural knack to them. And they, that’s, from a little kid like that they’re gonna find a way to make the buck. And they’re just, that’s how they’re gonna do. Others, I think they’re gonna look at the opportunities at life and they might not naturally get to, be that way, but they’ll grab the opportunity in front of them and they’ll learn how to do it.

[00:27:23] So I don’t think it’s I can’t say that it’s all or nothing. I think that, as with anything in life, we’re born into it or we can get to it. For the people born into it, it’s a lot easier. If people are not, they could still get there. It might be a little bit harder, but they have the opportunity of doing it.

[00:27:42] Russel: If people wanna know more about Optidge, where can they go? Tell us where to send them.

[00:27:46] Danny: So the best place to reach us is at our website, that’s O P T I D G E. And if you wanna reach me best place would either be on Twitter or on LinkedIn, and you can easily get to my LinkedIn profile[00:28:00]

[00:28:00] Russel: I love it. Thank you so much for being on the show today, Danny. It was a pleasure having you, love your story, love what you’re trying to do with your team. Best of luck to the future and thank you so much for being on the show.

[00:28:10] Danny: Thanks, Russel. I really appreciate it.

[00:28:15] Intro: We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction.

[00:28:35] Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to $5 million and more in revenue. To learn more, visit

[00:28:47] Danny: I was hired by a poker room club. Have you heard of poker rooms?

[00:28:52] Russel: Oh, yeah. Like a physical poker rooms or are we talking online.

[00:28:54] Danny: No, like a physical poker room. Okay. Yes. So it, it’s gambling, not really allowed, but they get a get [00:29:00] around with it. And so I was hired and we hired to, to work with them to run ads.

[00:29:05] The owner invited me out to come to the poker room and like of course I’ve been to Vegas and, I’ve to places, but came out and. So walk into this poker room. It’s three or four o’clock in the afternoon, but like around the table are like, these guys, you could barely have any money.

[00:29:22] And just really sad. Like it just, it felt so wrong. And I’m like, what the heck am I doing here? This is just not, this is just not your scene. This is not my scene. What did I sign up to? So not exactly comedic, but. When you look back at it’s like it’s funny I don’t know why I agreed in the first place, but it was like an eye opener.

[00:29:42] Like when I was there, it’s Ooh, this is really not something I wanna be a part of.

[00:29:45] Russel: Yeah, I don’t know if we just got big enough too but I always think back to so many of the leads that we had in the early days were just like some really sketchy stuff.

[00:29:54] It was that crux, especially in the early days alright, I know, did we do this? Gosh, and then like the luxury of once [00:30:00] you get a little more success you’re like, no, we’re not doing that. We’re not touching that.