Episode 161:

For entrepreneurs, business decisions always are a blend of the head and heart. You need data and research in hand to make smart, informed decisions. But it also needs to feel right.

Episode #161 is about those head-and-heart decisions. It’s about making mistakes and starting over. It’s about not settling for only one side of the equation.

Some learn these lessons sooner than others. We all know college kids who started their own thing and made it work brilliantly. Back when I was in college, that didn’t even cross my mind. But today, it’s becoming more of the norm.

Today’s young adults have a different script and a different sense of what’s possible. And they are far from crazy. Exciting things are happening, big problems are getting solved, and a larger purpose is being fulfilled. And people like Jonathan Grzybowski are just jumping in and doing it.

For 29-year-old Jonathan, part of the problem was his own dissatisfaction. Running a full-service agency was not fulfilling. Money as the sole motivator was not working for him. That led him to set out to solve a business problem along with his own dissatisfaction. His agency excelled at design. Why not take that design excellence and use the platform they were developing to manage their internal projects to provide design as a on demand service? Jonathan Grzybowski is now co-founder of Penji, a subscription-based design service for agencies and other businesses.

Beyond the business problem, Grzybowski also wanted a business that made a difference in the community where he lived and worked – Camden, New Jersey. One of the things I love most about the agency owners I work with is their generosity. They have a pay it forward mentality. Jonathan is finding the ethos of Penji to be extremely fulfilling. And he’s finding that when you love Camden, Camden loves you back!

This is a great conversation about finding the right fit, starting over, serving clients and the community, and following your head and your heart – really, everything you could hope for in an episode of Build a Better Agency!



What You Will Learn About in This Episode:

  • The potential downside of being a full-service agency
  • How people just starting out in the world of work are viewing entrepreneurship as a viable path
  • Why the hard work of entrepreneurship should not be glossed over
  • Why offering a suite of services sometimes is not enough differentiation
  • The freedom that comes from specialization
  • How to build a business model and platform that serves both agencies, individual companies, and your community
  • How vision and purpose beats trying to be the next Tai Lopez or Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Why an agency might hire out a core function like design
  • The power of connecting with your local community
  • The importance of research in finding your niche

The Golden Nuggets:

“Ask your employees or team members, ‘What is your dream?’ And by helping them achieve their dream, they will help you achieve yours.” – @grzybowski Click To Tweet “I didn't even know what entrepreneurship was. I just did it.” – @grzybowski Click To Tweet “If you are wanting to start a marketing agency, be data-driven and check your ego at the door.” – @grzybowski Click To Tweet “As we transitioned from a full-service agency to penji.co, it was all about research. What do people love about what you do? What are they willing to pay for? Find out and do more of that.” – @grzybowski Click To Tweet “If you are thinking about starting your own agency, I recommend that submerge yourself in the culture, study entrepreneurs that started their own, and ask questions so you can create a blueprint.” – @grzybowski Click To Tweet


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