The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Thomas Armstrong is up.
Who are you and what do you do? I come from an entire family of entrepreneurs, so growing up around the dinner table it wasn't "how was your day?" or "how was school?" - it was "how's that new idea you're working on?" or "how's your company?" This mindset of independence and controlling your own destiny is really what inspired me to start my first company making iPhone apps when I was 12, as well as a web hosting company when I was 14. After exiting the web hosting company around 17 and getting involved in NC State Entrepreneurship, I started getting really in to photography and video production, which is what eventually lead me to the role COO at 9miles Media, a digital marketing agency I run with my brother in downtown Raleigh. We create large scale digital advertising campaigns for companies, non-profits, and higher-education institutions. We just put together a video sharing everything we did in 2019 in just 60 seconds - check if out if you have a minute!
What did it take / how did you get started? With 9miles, we were completely revenue-funded from the beginning. After having several years with it just being my brother and I, it took landing one major contract with our largest client in order for us to be able to move in to an office space at HQ Raleigh and start hiring more people. What started with only two people is now eleven!
What does the future look like for you and your hustle? This year, we are looking to solidify our foundation at 9miles, both in service of our people and our clients. In the future, I see us growing further and continuing to create passionate brand ambassadors for our clients.
What drives / motivates you? I took some time last summer to put together a personal mission statement to guide everything I do - To empower people to dream big, take action, and achieve fulfillment through their maximum potential. The mission at 9miles is to create passionate brand ambassadors through innovative & results-driven digital marketing campaigns. What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do? I would tell anyone interested in the agency business to just go after it and try to get as much experience as possible! I have found that we can make mistakes and learn from them at a far faster pace actually doing something instead of just learning about the theory. What has been the hardest part of the hustle? Figuring out how to lead people and how to create compensation systems that really work. It is however also the most rewarding! What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
"How I Built This" from Guy Raz at NPR
The first 10 or so episodes of the podcast "Startup" from Gimlet
Anything from Ed Mylett (Similar to Tony Robbins)
The book One Minute Manager
Side or full-time hustle? Essentially full-time. List the founders My brother Ben and myself. How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? 30-35 hours per week in-between classes! # of Employees? About 8 full-time and a few part-time When did you start? Technically 9miles has been around since Ben started the company at 11, but in its current form it's been around for about 4 or 5 years. How much did it cost to launch? A few hundred dollars for our first camera! What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? N/A Annual Revenue? Not disclosed. Projected Revenue? Not disclosed. Any call to action? I am personally on a mission to meet individually with 100 people in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in 2020. Just coffee or lunch to get to know people and hear their stories! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-985-3200 if you'd like to link up. Also feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow 9milesMedia on Instagram. Social: Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow 9milesMedia on Instagram.