How to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency for Your New Business
As a business owner, there are some things that are better left to the experts. In this episode of Local SEO Tactics, Jesse and Sue sit down with the owner of SLA, Mike Hopper, to discuss online marketing for his business and the importance of hiring a team you can trust. Mike shares his experience starting his business and how he benefited from hiring an experienced marketing agency that understands SEO and other digital strategies.
What you'll learn
- How digital marketing can help you grow your business
- What to look for when hiring a digital marketing agency
- When to hire someone vs when to do it yourself
Don't miss this episode as Mike provides valuable insights into digital marketing and how you can ensure the best outcomes with an experienced team. Want more helpful SEO tips and tricks? Subscribe to the Local SEO Tactics podcast and give us a review! Thanks for stopping by!
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Mike Hopper:... It really is the truth that from an SEO, from a website management, from an ability to give you the tools and the tips and the ideas to really maximize your portal and help people find you, I don't know how to do this without you.
Jesse Dolan: For me, the sentiment of what you're communicating here. Again, you talked earlier and you hitting on it again, the trust factor as a business owner, that's what you're an expert in. If we're experts in SEO, you're an expert in running your business now.
Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I'm your host, Jesse Dolan. I'm here with Sue Ginsburg, as usual. Sue, we've got a special guest on here today, Mike Hopper. You want to set the stage for who Mike is and why the heck he's on here today?
Sue Ginsburg: I sure do. Mike Hopper, owner of Surplus Liquidation Auctions, and a longtime client of ours and believer in ours. And Mike, thanks for being with us.
Mike Hopper: You're welcome. Good to see you.
Sue Ginsburg: I say a special breed of business owner and entrepreneur. He has done many different things in his life and now with this business that he owns now, Surplus Liquidation Auctions, has really taken marketing to heart, which is not in his, we'll say, comfort zone and entrusted that to us at Intrycks in a lot of different ways, starting with SEO and expanding to the different services that we offer to strengthen his SEO. So we are really, really happy to have you here, Mike, and even happier to see the success that your business is having, because that's what we want for you most of all.
So before I toss it to you, Jesse, because you've known Mike longer and can add to that, I want to open with the quote of the day, which is, "Never take a called third strike." And that is a quote from John Joseph McFalls Jr, a noted chemical engineer among other things. And to me that quote means don't let someone else decide your fate. And I think that that is so appropriate for Mike in taking the bull by the horns and some circumstances that he was dealt and going forth and forward doing some things outside his comfort zone and knowing he needed to do that. And so I really, really liked that quote for the episode that you're on with us today, Mike.
Mike Hopper: Wow, thank you. I appreciate that.
Jesse Dolan: I agree. I think that's pretty representative of you, Mike. We'll get into your story here and kind of tell people that journey. But I think really a big thing we were talking about this before we started recording, you're a business owner first and foremost. And it's interesting you have an online business, we'll get into more what you do and have you talk about that. But you also don't want to really care to be an expert of market online, even though you're an online business. And you thought that was kind of an interesting juxtaposition of who you are and what you're doing, but is really rooted in some great principles for running your business. So before I get downstream on that though, let's talk about a few things. So we've been working with you for years.
We're all up in Minnesota, just to be clear, even though we work with clients all across the country, you're right here in a backyard. Local Minnesota as well, the owner of Surplus Liquidation Auctions. Let me grab this here off your website so everybody knows what it is. And I'd like you to real quick tell people what your business is so they have a context here as we're talking, what industry you're in. We got the tagline on the homepage, "Minnesota online auction experts for industrial surplus inventory, vehicle fleets, heavy equipment and more." And you're also part of the K-BID network. So maybe Mike, if you want to give everybody a quick nickel tour of your business, what you do, how it matters online, what is K-BID, and things like that. Let's set the stage.
Mike Hopper: Perfect. Well first of all, thank you for having me. This is out of my comfort zone, but it'll be a lot of fun. I mean we're an online auction company if you want to keep it simple. We're an affiliate of k-bid.com. They are the platform and the bid base that we use to sell all of our items. So we work with the seller and we run the auction itself, but then we use the K-BID platform for all the bidding and for all the reach that they have as well as the bidder base that they have.
So that's, kind of our partnership with them. But we have our own staff and our own company and we run the show as far as working with the sellers that need equipment or inventory or estate items that they have for sale. So in a very small nutshell, that's what we do and have been doing. I've been working in this world for about nine years. Surplus Liquidation Auctions has been around for coming up on three now. So that's, kind of in a nutshell what we do or who we are.
Jesse Dolan: Let's talk about some of your history. You and I have known each other through your previous company where you got your start in this industry. I was speaking on your LinkedIn profile before this and on there we've got summer of 2013 is when you started working with Assets to Cash. Maybe talk a little bit about how you got into that, what your role was and how did that lead into you being a business owner here today? Because, you didn't start that company. You started working with Assets to Cash and that was your entry into this industry. Tell us about that journey a little bit.
Mike Hopper: So if I go back even a little bit farther, I finished college and then started working in Mankato, met my wife and we had our first daughter in Mankato. Then I got the opportunity to work for a mortgage company up here in the Twin Cities area. So we took that opportunity and I worked in the mortgage field for quite a while, transitioned into financial services with annuities and life insurance, that kind of thing, was on the brokerage side for a while and then was sick and tired of making cold calls, a hundred to 150 cold calls every single day, sitting at a desk. My wife was pretty much at the end of her rope by the time three years was up with that for me. And I was like, "Yeah, I probably need to do something different." So I knew a guy named Matt Johnson and we had known each other for, I don't know, well over a decade even by then, probably 15 years.
And he was a K-BID employee and then became a K-BID affiliate shortly before I started working with him. And so, it was late summer early fall of 2013, he offered me a job. I said, "Yes." So I came to work with him doing the auction world, everything was dull... All the bidding place takes place online, but we were going to locations, setting up the different sales that we had and working in the field. And I just learned the business from the ground up. I mean I worked in the field doing the lot 101, lot 102, here's lot 103, the whole deal. And then Matt needed kind of a right hand person to help run the business.
And so, I worked with him running the business probably within the first year of learning the trade and learning what we had to do and how we had to do it. And he had some health problems and challenges that he was dealing with and they just continued to get progressively worse over the course of time. So he and I worked very closely together to run the company that was A to C at the time. And we did that for five years. And then in June of 2019, he actually passed away. So we had kind of a transition period, if you will, of about six months where we tried to figure out what was going on and what we were doing. And then we started Surplus Liquidation Auctions in January of 2020. And here we are at the end of 2022.
Jesse Dolan: And to be clear for everybody, we, means you forged out on your own and the brand Surplus Liquidation Auctions. You weren't working under or with somebody really, I mean this was your next stage of your life as to start this company and put your nose into the wind and really get out there. Not that you didn't know what you were doing by any means at that point.
Mike Hopper: No, obviously we had the experience and I had really good staff or we had really good staff. And so, there was some carryover with specifically myself and a guy named Brian who's been my right hand man ever since we've been doing this in 2020. And so, he and I together have over 15 years of... Well yeah, well over 15 years of experience now in this whole online auction world. And then we have a guy that does a lot of our descriptions and detailing what things are and how to describe those things. And he's been with us for over five years. So we had a foundation already laid, Matt had done a good job of laying a foundation and putting a team of people together. So some of that carried over and we carried over some of the clientele and some of that. But I had never run a business. I didn't know what... And some of the business owner aspect of it was brand new to me, because there was not a lot of that kind of training prior to when we started this.
Jesse Dolan: What was your vision for that and why did you say yes to something like that instead of finding another career in the industry, maybe another tangent somewhere else. It's a pretty big leap to say, "Yeah, I've never owned a business but what the heck, let's do it.' That all about?
Mike Hopper: I've always been an entrepreneur. I have a hard time in corporate America if I'm honest with myself. So I like the challenge of making decisions and finding solutions and working through problems and getting dirty so to speak, like digging in and figuring out what it takes to do something. And we felt like we had a good base and a good foundation of a company that we could take forward. The good news for us at the time was we didn't have to start from scratch. I didn't have to find an entire market. So I had a market that we could cultivate. There was a lot of things that we needed to change and tweak and we'll talk about that in a little bit. But the basic premise of what we were doing was still the same. I mean there's a market for it. And so, K-BID has been a huge player in this platform since the early 2000s.
They were kind of the first one in this market, in this area and have developed the largest bidder base in the online community in probably the five state region from an online auction perspective. So they're massive when it comes to that part of things. And they had already developed all of the systems and all of the software and all of that. So I didn't need to deal with finding an audience per se. What we needed to do was take care of the people that needed to sell stuff and then go find more people that needed to sell stuff and find a niche in those arenas of equipment and services and inventory and construction materials and all of that kind of world, which is where we play the best.
Whether it's cities or counties or whatever, that we work alongside to get rid of their surplus stuff or they're literally closing the doors or retiring or whatever and they need to liquidate what they're doing. And so that's, what we do every single day. And so, some of it was just what we had been doing, what I didn't have knowledge in, I didn't kid myself and I knew I needed partners to come alongside me and figure out how to do certain aspects of what we were doing. And in my opinion, that's why I'm here talking today, is because you were one of the first people that we reached out to and said, "I need some help”.
Jesse Dolan: In that space of suddenly you're in charge of everything like you said, which you wanted. You made that decision, but also now you have to do everything. You're responsible for it. The buck stops here, all that kind of stuff. And as a business owner, we talk all the time, Sue, we say it always, "It's either time or money." And suddenly you're as a business owner facing those decisions, what do I want to spend my time or my money on? In some areas, if you don't know something and again, as a business owner, you start to wear a lot of hats suddenly, you have to decide, am I going to learn this skill, develop this skill, somebody on my team learn it or bring in an expert? And that's what you did to us. You knew about us from before we had a relationship and I thought it was very fun.
Sue, we've talked on many episodes about helping to launch a brand and start it from the get go, picking out the name, the website, really having discussions with you, Mike, some of them more fun for us maybe than you at times to explore some of those things and help develop a brand, not just a name or a logo. There's more to it than that. But we love working with you in that regard too, as a business owner, because you're savvy and you know what you know and you know what you don't know and even more importantly for me at least, and how I try to operate is, you know what you don't want to know. I can trust somebody in this spot.
You can't be Superman or Superwoman as a business owner and do everything. So you have to have trusted people, whether they're on your team or external. Like we are. How do you as a business owner, I'm curious for everybody listening, that obstacle, that hurdle, that transition, how did you wrestle with that? Whether, it's deciding to use us for marketing and SEO or just who do I have for contractors, employees? Can you talk a little bit about that next stage that you are in, in that journey being a business owner is now you are making the shots, deciding what to spend your time on and what people should spend their time on. How did that change for you?
Mike Hopper: I mean some of it's really easy because it's right in front of you and you know what you need to do to make money. So some of that is pretty simple and straightforward. Some of it's less simple and you can get just easily distracted and go down rabbit holes that you end up realizing and wasting time and energy here. And so, sometimes you don't know until you step back and go, "I should not have been spending time there. I'm going to stop and turn around and come back this direction and do that a different way." But for the most part, I mean because I had been doing this for six years already and Brian and I had been working together for four and a half.
We had a real good idea of what it would take to do what we already were doing and continue that part of it. Where it really became an issue or a Now what do we do was, so let me step back. So we started this company in January of 2020 and then March of 2020 hit, which is the pandemic. Oh yeah, perfect timing. So after realizing that I didn't have to freak out and die and everything kind of settled down and we were able to make it through, I mean we literally made it through just barely that period of time. And for us it was about 90 days where nobody could do anything. Because, we were going to that location to set up an auction of 50 items or 500 items or whatever. But we're on location in their space. Well nobody's letting us go in their space and do anything. That wasn't a thing.
So once we made it through and things started to open up and we were able to start to do business again, it was probably June or July, something like that. But once we made it through that time and we kind of got back into it a little bit, then it picked up and then it literally went from 0 to 60 in about 90 days. And there was everybody saying, "Well we were going to do it then, but now we can't. We just need to do something now." And so, this whole floodgate opened and from November of 2020 until literally November of this year, it's been a whirlwind in a very good way. It's been a whirlwind, but from somebody that is learning as you're going, I was drinking through a fire hose. It was just a lot.
So between the hours that we put in and the people we enlisted and the people that we hired, some of it was a guessing game. You just trust your gut and you just make a mistake and then you go back and make it right or you figure it out differently or you hit it the first time and you're like, "Sweet, that work, let's do that again." Some of it's just literally trial and error, but you got to do something and you got to make a decision to move forward, because as soon as you're stuck, you're frozen and nothing happens. I'm not one of those guys that... And probably it's just from my background and what I went through to get to where I was, I wasn't afraid to make mistakes. And I think from a business owner's perspective, you get to the point where you just can't worry about making mistakes, you know you're going to make them, but you also know that you have the ability and the decision making power if you made the wrong decision to go back and fix it and make it right.
So we just make it right. That's our commitment to our customers and to our sellers and to our buyers, is if we make a mistake, we'll own it, we'll make it right for you. We're not going to be perfect. That's never going to be a thing for us. And so, we don't claim to be the know-it-alls and the perfect player and all that kind of stuff, but we know that we're committed, we're going to do it with integrity and we're going to do it with authenticity and we're going to make it right if we don't do something correctly. And so that's, kind of just been what we are from when we started and that's how I want it. As you can tell, I'm not animated. I'm not a frills, I don't know I am who I am. You get what you see.
This is it, this is me, this is us, this is what we do. You can pick somebody else if you don't like us, I'm okay with that. We're good. That's kind of just how it works for us. And so that's, the premise that we've just tried to put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving forward and trying to get something done every single day, because we had a lot to do. And so, from November of 2020 it took off. It was nice because I was able to get some things in place at the very beginning when we started, because 2020 allowed me some space to sit down and go, "What are we really doing? How are we really doing it? Can we put some things in place on the front end so that once the hammer does drop, which it did, we can just run."
And that's kind of what happened. So I mean you guys were one of the, if not the integral piece to the puzzle in putting a lot of that front end stuff together. Like you talked about building a brand and putting a logo together and actually building a name. You helped me and us put together everything that we have, from the website, to the logo, to the branding, to the name of the company, literally from 0 to a 100%, you were integral in every phase of that, which I couldn't have done without the expertise and the guidance that you gave me, because you know had alluded to this, but I don't come from an online background. I'm not an IT guy. I don't know technology, I don't, I'm 50, I've missed that boat or I guess I could have been on it but I missed it.
So I am a worker and so we know how to work and we know how to get things done, but I needed you guys to be able to tell me, "Hey, this is how you should think about this. This is how you should think about that." And then we could put the pieces together and make the company so that we could get found online, so that we could have people know who we were and start tracking us and looking at what we were doing and how we were doing it and all the things that come with people trying to figure out, "Well who are these guys?" So that was a huge... I can't underestimate or there's no way for me to overplay how huge you guys were in the installation of what we did and how we did it from maybe an image perspective, if you will, for lack of a better way of saying it.
It was incredible how you were able to walk us through what we needed, so that we could put the company together the right way and have the things that we needed at our disposal so that we could go take care of what we were good at and you could take care of what you were good at. And that's how we've kind of run this thing. And for me it's a partnership with you guys. It allows me to do the things that we're... We need to play to our strengths and do what we're really good at. I'm going to let you do what you're really good at and I would rather pay you to do what you're really good at and keep doing what we're really good at than try to figure out what you're really good at and waste all my time and my energy and then we don't have the time and energy to put towards where we're actually going as a company. So that's, where this has been a huge partnership for us.
Jesse Dolan: Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localseotactics.com and we'll get right back to the show. If you haven't taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit or look for the yellow button up on the top right corner. Click that and it's going to take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize what you're looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you're looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address. Click the button and it's going to take you few seconds and then it's going to send you off a PDF report via email. It's a great report. It's going to kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it's auditing this page, that's going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too.
And give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to show up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you're auditing. Now you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors. If you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they're scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you're not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it completely free. Again, go on to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
Sue Ginsburg: I want to point out a couple things that you said, which you are saying them with great humility because it's the way you are and the only way that you know how to be. But for other business owners, it's big. And I just want to point that out. For example, being entrepreneurial really means that your growth and your success is not a straight line. You have your ups, you have your downs, you go sideways, you come back and your attitude towards, I'm going to call it failing forward, because there isn't a business that's out there that's been around for more than 10 minutes that hasn't failed.
And a lot of them take that failure and go down with the ship. The successful ones like you take it, look at it, correct it, address it, move forward a different way, stronger and better. You take that as because that's how you are. Not everybody is like that. And I just want to point out to you how what you shared is such a great lesson to every entrepreneur out there. That's the way it is. Unless you're very, very, very lucky. And even then that will happen. With that though, I want to ask you a question because I think that there's something that you said in there, playing to your strengths and knowing what you don't want to know and therefore you want to find other people who that's their strengths in this case SEO.
I think that that's really scary for a lot of people and a lot of business owners who are used to doing everything so that it gets done and then when they begin to scale, there're only 24 hours in a day. You can't do everything. And at some point realize it would take me 20 years to learn and get the expertise that I could hire Intrycks for an SEO. How did you get comfortable with that? Or what can you say to shed light to other business owners who are trying to do it all and 24 hours in a day is just not enough.
Mike Hopper: So I have two answers. One is for me, luckily there was a prior relationship with Jesse and with Intrycks and so there was a trust level and knowledge of an ability to trust that I already had, which I was super thankful for. Not everybody has that. So I get that. So maybe this is my chance to be the trust factor for those people. If I could do anything, that's what I would like to do, is be the one that can say Intrycks as a company A, does things the right way. B, they've followed through and taken care of the things that they said they were going to take care of for us as a company. And they've always turned back around and said, "Okay, give us some feedback. What are we doing? What are we not doing? Where do you need us? How do to do this differently?"
There's always been that relationship there. So there was a trust level going in and then every step along the way over the course of the last almost three years now that we've been in this particular partnership, it's been verified over and over again. So I guess I'm speaking to those that are going to watch this and say, "Well I don't know about this because I don't know these people." I get it. I'm that person that's pretty skeptical of everybody, because I've been burned enough to know you just can't trust everybody.
And I'm usually the trusting type and the business world that we're in has allowed me to be jaded in some of those areas so that I don't just trust freely and I want to know where my money's going and I want to know what kind of energy and effort is being put towards the things, if I'm going to hand over dollar bills towards something, I'm that guy. I get it. And that's why I use you guys, hopefully that can help or resonate with someone because it really is the truth that from an SEO, from a website management, from an ability to give you the tools and the tips and the ideas to really maximize your portal and help people find you. I don't know how to do this without you. I don't know how to say it any different.
Jesse Dolan: So I'd like to interject. Hey Mike, thanks for the amazing testimonial there. I always blush if you will, metaphorically if nothing else about something like this turning into an infomercial about Intrycks on this episode for everybody, which is great. It's super awesome. I can't thank you enough for everything you said.
Mike Hopper: I think it's important. I mean I get it. It was easy for me. I won't lie to you. It was easy for me, because we had a prior relationship. But what I can tell people that don't know Intrycks as a company, that's why I said what I said because I get it.
Jesse Dolan: And we will take those compliments and what I'd like to relay for everybody listening to again, just to be a little bit bashful and not say this is a promo for Intrycks, but I think if you could replace Intrycks with any other company out there for me, the sentiment of what you're communicating here, again, you talked earlier and you're hitting on again the trust factor. As a business owner, that's what you're an expert in. If we're experts in SEO, you're an expert in running your business now, more and more every day. It's a continual journey, don't get me wrong. But part of that expertise is also you understanding your level of trust in people on your team, outside of your team, things like that. You can't do everything and you have to lean into that. And to be a successful business owner, you can't scale without delegating again internally or externally.
Part of that delegating, I want to follow this, but shift gears slightly here for all of us, people need a plan, you need to see some things happening. And if we could talk, this is all really kind of weaving into your story as a business owner, your journey to taking a business, transitioning it, launching a new brand again, picking out the logo, the words, all these things coming together and here you are, three years later thriving and trying to figure out how to let it grow. We always talk to scale and continue delegating, but just narrowing our focus, you're just in the marketing space. Either things that we've done with you or even looking back, large milestones or things that you think are important. Could you continue to speak to the other business owners or managers listening. Are there any key things in the marketing, whether it be the logo, the name, how it all comes together, challenge you for content or direction in your website.
Are there some things that stuck out to you where you trust us as people, as a service, as a vendor, but our recommendations maybe were you either had opinions against them, maybe you fell in love with them. Anything about the plan itself that you want to pinpoint and highlight to other business owners listening? Again, whether or not they use us, I'm trying to be agnostic on their marketing agencies, but if they maybe don't put enough credit to their online marketing, their website, all these things. What have you learned in that regard over the last three years through your journey?
Mike Hopper: So I'll give you a couple. One, from the very beginning, the beauty of this is we knew we were going to start a company, but we didn't have a name. We had nothing. I shouldn't say that. We had a business that was sitting there waiting to be done. What we didn't have was, what are we going to call it? All of that kind of thing. So I mean I distinctly remember having a meeting with you specifically and you just said, "Well here's some things to think about." Before you pick a name. Hopper Enterprises, something stupid like that. Pardon my French. Think about what this will impact. Because, you had said at the very beginning, "If you're an online company, then you need to go to the online marketplace and you need to be able to know that you're going to get found in the online marketplace." And I would say to that, good luck personally.
So you've got to figure out, okay, what does that look like? And so, you literally from day one, step one walked us through, here's things to consider. Figure out what you do, what you want to do, and then start to pick words and names and things that would resonate with what you do. So Surplus Liquidation Auctions doesn't roll off the tongue. It's not cute, it's not clever, it's not anything but it's functional. And that's what I wanted. I wanted something functional that if somebody started looking for words in an online auction world, what would they look for? Especially if they were in the industrial, commercial, construction world where they were selling big equipment or they were selling inventory or they were doing those types of things. And so, from the very beginning of trying to figure out what are we going to call this thing, you were the expert in the room saying, "Think about it this way, think about it, do it this way."
And we talked through that. So that, was one huge piece to the puzzle. Because, to be honest with you, that helps set the stage for a lot of the other stuff that came after that. Because, now we have a name that can be found when people search certain words in a certain world. And so, that's a big deal. And I never would've thought of that, just being honest. I wouldn't have thought.
Jesse Dolan: Having a plan.
Mike Hopper: Yeah. And so, we knew what we had to bring to the table and you knew how to take that and say, "Think about it this way." And that was huge for us. So those couple of things I would say are vital. The way that you listen and then can turn that into feedback and say, "Think about it like this." I think has been huge for me along with just the beginning of, we didn't have a company name, so what are we going to do? So that's, that piece of it.
And then the people that you've brought alongside in our workings, the TJs of the world where, I mean Sue and TJ really are integral in trying to figure out what are we doing and where are we at and where are we going? And we have these quarterly meetings that are vital to know, "Hey, do we need to change something? Where are we at?" Because, from an SEO standpoint, that world's always changing and I literally know nothing about it. Still to this day. I can listen to Sue and TJ and I can listen to you guys talk and I get about half of it, to be honest. I think we're still talking English, but I'm not sure. But it seems like it's working. Half the time how I feel, it really is half the time that's how I feel.
So having the handholding, that's a bad way to say it, because it's not really that, but it's like these check-ins where you can say, "Hey, these things are looking good. We need to talk about this piece over here. We need to maybe change that a little bit. Do you have any different focuses that you're trying to attack or that you're looking at from the next six months standpoint? Have you changed anything or are you wanting to change something?" And so those conversations are on a quarterly basis, that's a big deal.
So I would say those couple of things stick out to me at the top of the list. There's a lot, I think that isn't on a day in and day out basis, but is just always simmering under the surface that is a part of what makes what we do... It allows us to do what we do well, because there's always this underlying base thing that people can find us. And if they need to contact us, they know how to get to our website or they can search us and find us. We're a real entity because of what you've done for us. I'll say it that way.
Sue Ginsburg: Well, Mike, I think you are so perfectly exemplifying something that I've learned from Jesse and I share with businesses that we talk to, that the best formula for success that we see works well, is you be the expert in your business and let us be the expert in SEO and in our business and then together we can make this work.
Mike Hopper: It really does. I won't pull any punches. I know what I don't know or I don't try to pretend that I know. I'm not one of those guys that tries to pretend I know stuff when I don't know it. I just can't afford to. And so I don't, I just tell you flat out, "I don't know this, I'm going to need help." And to be honest with you, if you decided to take advantage of me, you probably could. And I know you would never do that, because I know the relationship that we have. But it's one of those things where I would have to look back and go, "Okay, I made a mistake there. Now we need to go back a different direction."
Jesse Dolan: That trust, that comes with the expertise and the results.
Mike Hopper: And results.
Jesse Dolan: Let's talk results. Just so everybody's clear, because I don't want to make it sound like we're in startup mode with you or you're a rookie in this regard. Like I said, you're closing it under three years of running this under your own brand now, plus the other history. I don't know, I'm not speaking for you. I'm sure you haven't realized all your financial and business goals, but relatively speaking, you guys are kind of crushing it for revenue.
Mike Hopper: That's a relative term. I appreciate that.
Jesse Dolan: Compared to maybe what you thought early onset of 2020 with like, "Okay, we're doing this or not." It's working. Things are heading in the right direction, not without challenges, always running a business. Scaling, employees, contractors, growth, which is more problems and challenges in other areas. But again, like Sue was saying, and you're saying you can focus on those and you can meet those challenges as a business owner because you can trust at least a good chunk of your marketing stuff is taken care of by a firm, by other experts, things like that. And as a business owner, that stress and that confidence of, is my faucet on for the leads coming in on my email. Because, you're not selling subscriptions just so it's clear. It's project by project. If it drives up traffic.
So I'll give you some hard numbers. So our fiscal year goes from November 1st to October 31st. So obviously we didn't have a full 19/20 because we missed November and December of 2019. Started in January of 2020. So from January 2020 to November 2020, it was like 600 grand in sales. This is sales. So for what it's worth. So 600,000 in sales. And then from November 1st, 2020 to October 31st, 2021, it was 1.77 million. And then this last year, so from November of 21 to October of 22, we closed at 2.6 million. So we just finished the fiscal year. So it's been amazing. It has been a lot. It's awesome, but it's a lot. So we've worked hard to get to this point. I haven't taken a lot of time off and we've worked our butts off, but Brian and myself have just kind of put our heads down and worked really hard and we've added 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 other staff people now.
So over the course of the last couple years, between the three that we had, there's now an additional five, no six, sorry. There's an additional six staff people that we have. So we're evolving. We went from survival mode in 2020. That's how we started. We didn't know if the next day was going to happen or not. Do we got to go get a part-time job? Do we got to go get a different job? Literally, it was survival mode, to now it's like, can I work on the business instead of in the business? That's kind of where I'm at.
And so, it went really crazy in a good way. And now we're at a point where I don't know if it's going to level off, but it seems like it might a little bit. And we'll see where this next 12 months goes and how do we take the growth that we've had and turn it into to sustainability. That's our next level or step or area is okay, monster growth, where's the sustainability and what does that look like? So I feel like that's kind of where we're headed next, but that's just a snapshot into what's happened, which we're super thankful for.
So we go project by project to speak to that last question that you asked. I mean obviously we have a market or a book of past clients and so they can call us and we can do another sale for them depending on who the business is. Because, we have businesses or cities or entities that do a sale or two or three every single year with us. And then we have projects that are one and done. And so, between what we do with you guys and what we do with K-BID and what we do ourselves to continue to cultivate relationships, everything we do to this point has been warm market stuff. I don't cold call, I can't stand it anymore. I hate it.
We don't go knocking on doors. We've done very little of the cold type marketing, I would call it. And we've done a lot of cultivating relationships and developing sales out of other people that we've done sales for. If we do something, the goal obviously is to do it right for them the first time, so they want to come back and do it again. So we work really hard to do it right the first time and do it well the first time, so that when they have a need again, they call us and say, "Hey, can we do that again?" If we can do that, we're good. That's how we feel about it. And so, doesn't always work, but for the most part that's what's happened over the last three years.
That's the best.
Jesse Dolan: Sue, we talk all the time, clients will ask us, I'm paraphrasing, simplifying a little bit but, "What can I do to help in marketing everything else?" And an answer is always, "Run a great business." People are going to want to leave reviews, they're going to want to work with you, they're going to spread your name. People are going to search for your brand. There's so many things that help pump the flywheel of good marketing. Sure, the things you're hitting on Mike, have an intention from second one, on name, on direction and how these things all come together is good to put you in the right position, but then you still have to operate that and be a kick-ass business that people want to be around, that want to engage with, that want to come back to, that want to spread that love and joy online. And that's how you really continue to be successful and start to work on the business, not in the business.
That's what we all as business owners, even high level managers really strive to do and can't say it enough, man. You can't get there without delegating and trusting and keep forging forward. So I think it's pretty good. We've gone a little bit longer, Mike, than we intended, so thank you for your time. But I think the story's good for everybody. No, you're fine. I think the core message is just awesome for everybody here. Is this episode chock full of SEO tips and tricks? No, but it's more about the long haul and that we always say some of the core of doing things with intention on purpose, with an expected goal at the end. And have your plan, work your plan and keep nurturing that. Mike, you're hitting on quarterly reviews. SEO specifically isn't something that's a one and done deal. It's always evolving. And I just really like your story where you're going and we've had fun working with your brand, I know too. And internally we always talk about you behind your back after the quarterly update.
Mike Hopper: Oh no.
Jesse Dolan: With how good you are and how amazing you guys are as well. Not to be all in Minnesota, nice, gush over here, but if you're reciprocating a goodwill and enjoyment, and again, that's what makes all of it move forward in my opinion too. So do either you two have anything else to add or anything you want to close with?
Sue Ginsburg: I will just underline what Jesse said about how great it is to work with you, because you are open minded and you ask the right questions and you don't pretend to know what you don't know, which allows us to help you better. So going back to the quote of the day, "Never take a called third strike." John Joseph McFalls Jr. Avid baseball fan, that's where that quote comes from among other things. You took your fate into your own hands and look what you've done. You're crushing it.
Mike Hopper: Well, we take it one day at a time, that's for sure. And it's been a pleasure. I mean, hopefully people know how I feel about you guys after hearing this little episode. And it's real. I mean, it is real. So definitely, it's been a huge blessing for us to be able to have this partnership and continue to have the back and forth that we have to be able to figure out what's next and what do we need to tweak here and what do we need to twist there. And it's been really good. It's been really good.
Jesse Dolan: Mike, you're the best. We love doing what we do, speaking for Sue and everybody on our Intrycks team as a career in a profession, because if we're doing our job good, we're helping you and your company and your people and your families and everything elevate. That's a fun thing to sell.
Mike Hopper: It is fun.
Jesse Dolan: That is a fun thing to sell. And then this podcast and this show for everybody listening, Local SEO Tactics. Again, throwing it out there. If there's things you can learn to help you on your journey, the things you're trying to accomplish, build your business. Hopefully the tide rises for everybody. Hopefully everybody enjoyed this episode. Sue, did you have anything else you wanted to close with before I wrap it up?
Sue Ginsburg: Thanks for being the best, Mike.
Mike Hopper: Thank you guys.
Jesse Dolan: Find Mike and his business. www.surplusliquidationauctions.com even though it is a mouthful Mike and we know everybody remembers those words. So if you're looking to close your business, liquidate some assets, things like that, check Mike out, surplusliquidationauctions.com. Thanks for tuning in everybody.