Scott Krady wasn’t sure if he could turn his side-hustle into a full-time business when he took on a few marketing projects to supplement his income from his job in marketing.
But today, he brings in more than $1 million in annual revenue at what has become Magnitude, Inc., a full-service marketing communications and consulting firm in Irvington, N.Y.
Acting as an outsourced chief marketing officer to early-stage, mid-market and growth companies, Magnitude has attracted clients in industries including cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and dispute consulting. Krady built the firm to seven-figure revenue as a solopreneur, relying on help from a team of experienced contractors, and recently grew it to eight traditional employees.
Krady’s story offers a crash course in transitioning from corporate life to running a professional services business. Here’s how he pulled it off.
Give yourself time to learn the ropes. Krady dipped a toe in the water of running a business when he took on a few freelance projects in 2018. At the time, he was working full-time at a corporate job where he created integrated marketing and communication campaigns.
When he left that position after eight years, he tried consulting for a year. Concluding that it would be easier to win B2B clients if he formally started a company, he formed an S Corp, but the moment wasn’t right to go all-in. He worked for an association for a year before he finally decided to take Magnitude full-time in January 2021.
Don’t do it all yourself. From the beginning, Krady lined up contractors to help him. “I wanted to offer everything I had offered as a marketer: content strategy, communications, advisory services,” says Krady. “To do that at scale, I knew I would have to bring on other help pretty early on. I could not do it myself.”
Krady tapped his network to find contractors. Fortunately, like many seasoned corporate professionals, he had built strong relationships in his industry. In addition to his marketing work, he had once been a reporter at Fortune magazine. As a result, he was able to find the talent he needed quickly. “It was a combination of people I’ve worked with and met along the way,” he says.
Krady has gravitated toward working with experienced talent. Making sure the agency can perform at a high level—whether a client is looking for media placements, strategic direction, brand building, or customer engagement—makes a big difference in attracting and retaining clients in a competitive industry. “You want to feel comfortable you can achieve,” he says. “In the world we’re in, there’s a lot of pressure to perform and deliver, and deliver sufficiently.”
Tap your network to grow your business. Having strong relationships also paid off when it came to finding clients. When Krady mentioned his new business to contacts, he got referrals quickly. Many of his early clients were startup companies on tight budgets. Gradually he found bigger clients, as well. Most of them have opted to put his firm on retainer.
“I was always afraid of failure,” says Krady. “I was my own harshest critic. What I’ve learned is that a lot of being successful is being able to connect with people. We are taking the time to listen and understand clients’ pain points, so we can serve as a true partner to their organizations to help them achieve their goals.”
By November 2021, Krady was on pace to bring in $1 million in annual revenue with an all-contractor team, serving clients in industries such as technology, healthcare energy and financial services. Now he’s exceeding that, and with cash-flow steady, has transitioned to a model where he has five full-time staff in addition to a team of regular contractors. That has helped him achieve the balance he wants as a husband and father.
Though it took him a few years to leave the corporate world, he has no intentions of going back to his old life. “If you’re in a company, you always fear you’ll make a mistake that will cost you your job,” he says. “You’re almost afraid to rock the boat and speak up.” At Magnitude, Inc., he’s free to experiement and be as creative as he wants to be as he serves his clients. “It’s exciting and scary at the same time,” he says.
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