This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes speaks with Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of Ajax Union, speaker, entrepreneurship coach, and LinkedIn expert. Ajax Union is a B2B digital marketing agency based in Brooklyn that specializes in SEM, SEO, social media, email marketing, marketing automation, and much more. Within 18 months of its founding, Ajax was one of the fastest growing companies in America, being ranked 178 on the Inc. 500 list, and, years later, continues to help brands grow. With Ajax’s sustained success, Joe has also started a company — Social Sellin’ — solely dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed.
While Apfelbaum always had relative success in his business endeavors, he never experienced uncapped success until he began investing in himself. As Joe puts it, the key to growing a business is growing yourself. Once he shifted from trying to run a series of “one-man-shows” to investing in himself and his team, he began experiencing success at scale. On the podcast, Joe walks through his entire journey, including his incredible personal transformation, and shares some of that great wisdom that he’s become known for.
The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway:
“You can only grow your business as much as you grow yourself… So many people are winging it. It’s not a good strategy."
“The opposite of luck is strategy. The right strategy will save you a decade."
“If you identify your values and strengths, you’re going to have passion and purpose and you’re going to be unstoppable."
“For me, it was about making sure that I had a business, rather than making sure that I had a job. I went from being employed to being self-employed to being a business owner to being an investor, basically."
“The best place that I got the best clients over the past two years is LinkedIn."
“Don’t try to fix the problem. Find a solution."
“I was the entrepreneur that was running on adrenaline, and that adrenaline eventually ran out."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:10: Joe discusses his motivation for entrepreneurship — how, growing up, he saw his mom struggling to make ends meet and desired financial independence.
9:14: Joe describes his countless side hustles in his early career, including (but not limited to) an IT business, a graphic design business, a construction company, and a web design company.
15:34: Apfelbaum recounts the events leading up to the decision to close the doors of his side hustles to focus purely on his up-and-coming agency.
17:23: Joe explains how, in retrospect, although he was shifting his focus to one business, that choice was a low-risk decision.
19:03: Joe reflects on the turning point at his digital agency when the decided to shift their focus from many offerings to one offering — SEO optimization.
23:18: Apfelbaum discusses why his now SEO-focused company was able to grow to 1,100 clients in 6 years.
25:40: Apfelbaum shares why he burned out at his fast-growing agency and reflects on a turning point that changed his life personally and professionally.
27:20: Joe deep dives on the value of networking and how learning to network radically changed his business.
35:55: Apfelbaum describes how his focus has shifted from solely focusing on his company to helping other entrepreneurs succeed personally and professionally.
38:54: Joe gives some advice around investing in yourself.
Bullet List of Resources –