Zach Boyette

Building A Service Based Company With Zach Boyette

Last Updated on September 24, 2020

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Tell Us About Yourself And Your Background!

I’ve dabbled in a few areas – software engineering, tech startups, big corporate advertising. What I found I liked best, time and time again, was the digital marketing component of helping businesses grow. I really fell in love with marketing while building my first startup, Recsy, while in college – and carried these interests through my career at Procter & Gamble, Google, and unicorn tech startup Toptal.

I’ve always agonized about impact – making sure my career produces good things for the world, not just money. Running a digital marketing agency is the most high-impact thing I’ve ever done. We’ve helped so many entrepreneurs get their dreams off the ground, and bigger clients unlock major growth – which has led to hundreds of new hires at our portfolio companies.

Tell Us About Your Company! How Did You Start It? Why Did You Start It?

I’ve always been really interested in marketing. My initial startup company couldn’t quite find traction and the right product market fit. So, after running the paid media team at Toptal I realized my love for digital marketing. I loved working with Google ads, Facebook ads, SEO, but I wanted to do this for more people, I wanted to have a more scaled impact, and I wanted to be able to help a lot of different companies grow.

So, starting an agency made a lot of sense for me because I have a background in this space. I told my colleagues at Toptal that I was leaving, and discovered that my colleague, Irina Papuc, was also leaving to start her own agency in the same space – so it was a perfect fit for us to join as co-founders. I focused on paid media, she focused on SEO. With our similar approach to business and digital marketing, it made sense for us to join forces, and Galactic Fed was born.

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

In the agency world, it’s common to find your first customers through friends and business colleagues, and we were no exception in that regard. We were lucky enough to know some really talented people in the SF Bay Area and New York that happened to need help with marketing, and we expanded from there.

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

Building a services-based company is a lot of work. We had some early issues with training and expectations – how do you ensure everyone builds a Google Ads account in the same way? How do you make sure every piece of creative has been rigorously tested?

In recent years, we have built more and more product / technology-focused solutions at Galactic Fed – but as an agency, our core value is our people, and the way they operate.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

  1. Hire the best people, and hire them early. They’ll define your culture for years to come.
  2. Prioritize your employees over your clients. We’ve “fired” several clients over the years who are a**holes to our employees, and I don’t regret it at all. I’m building this company as a safe haven for smart nerds like me, and nobody deserves to work with people who make them uncomfortable.
  3. Remote work is the future. We’ve been able to scale insanely fast and with very smart people because we are remote. It is the ultimate job perk.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

  1. Religiously document everything you do. Our Galactic Fed Way blueprint is the backbone of our company.
  2. Don’t be cheap when it comes to employee education and learning. We spend months onboarding new hires to make sure they’re at the top of their game before throwing them in the deep end

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

A while back, an employee with whom I have a very strong relationship was going through some struggles and stress, mainly driven by their high expectations of themselves. Rather than wait and let that person wallow, I cancelled my trip to Europe early and flew back to the United States to meet with them and spend time debriefing on how to make their role better and more sustainable. I brought some whiskey from a fancy distillery in Dublin as a gift, so that helped break the ice for what was a very productive week. I care a lot about that employee as a person (and all of our employees), so it was very important for me to see that situation through.

What Are Your Favorite Books?

I read a ton of fiction, probably more than your average entrepreneur dude. I’ve always believed that fiction expands your mind, and non-fiction puts stuff in it. Both are important. The best business book I’ve read is Sales Acceleration Formula, written by Mark Roberge, the original sales guru from HubSpot. Favorite fiction book lately is Red Rising, an expansive sci-fi hero’s journey about a lowly peasant-class person overthrowing the indentured society that rules the whole solar system. It’s written by Pierce Brown, who is a guy I’d definitely get a beer with.

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

We’ve been ramping up our work lately at Galactic Good, our non-profit arm. We help non-profits run their digital marketing at the lowest cost possible, often free. Let us know if you need help with 501c3 work!

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