EP 12. Andrew Jenkins, CEO of Volterra.

In this Key Moments Episode, Andrew Jenkins, CEO of Volterra Digital and an expert in social media, shares his journey from failed e-commerce to successful social media consultancy. He discusses the evolution of social media, the importance of making connections, and the pivotal decisions that shaped his career.

Andrew Jenkins, CEO of Volterra, emphasizes the value of value-based pricing and the shift from project-based work to retainer-based services. He also highlights the need for clarity in service offerings and the flexibility of independent entrepreneurship.

Check out the episode below.


Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

In the latest episode, Andrew Jenkins, CEO of Volterra Digital and a seasoned expert in social media, shares his compelling journey from a failed e-commerce venture to establishing a successful social media consultancy. Jenkins reflects on the initial challenges he faced, such as setting up an e-commerce business for menswear, which unfortunately resulted in a steady outflow of money with minimal returns. However, he acknowledges that this failure was instrumental in steering him towards his current career path in social media. Throughout the conversation, Jenkins provides valuable insights into the evolution of social media and underscores the critical importance of making meaningful connections in the digital landscape.

Jenkins delves into the strategic decisions that significantly shaped his career, particularly the transition from project-based work to retainer-based services. He emphasizes the value of adopting value-based pricing, which has been pivotal in ensuring sustainable growth for his consultancy. By shifting to retainer-based services, Jenkins was able to create a more stable and predictable revenue stream, enhancing the overall flexibility and resilience of his business. He also highlights the necessity of having clear and well-defined service offerings to attract and retain clients effectively.

A key theme in Jenkins' discussion is the flexibility and autonomy that come with independent entrepreneurship. He elaborates on how this flexibility has allowed him to adapt to the changing dynamics of the digital marketing landscape. Jenkins' experiences serve as a testament to the importance of resilience and adaptability in entrepreneurship. His story offers a profound lesson on how initial setbacks can lead to significant opportunities, and how clarity, connection, and strategic pricing can pave the way for a successful independent business.


  • The evolution of social media and the importance of making connections
  • The value of value-based pricing and the shift from project-based work to retainer-based services
  • The need for clarity in service offerings and the flexibility of independent entrepreneurship


00:00 The Evolution of Social Media and Making Connections

11:39 Value-Based Pricing and Retainer-Based Services




Well, I sort of alluded to it earlier and was the failure of my first foray into digital.

So I'm setting up the ecommerce business to sell menswear on the Internet and it was just a steady outflow of money and trickle of money coming in.

But that was an issue of timing.


But what?

I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now if I hadn't tried that.

Everyone, welcome back to Key Moments.

Today we've got an awesome guest who's an expert in social media and social selling strategies.

With 25 years of experience in the digital space, including Fifteen plus as the CEO of Volterra, he knows how to make social media work for businesses.


He's spoken internationally and has taught social media strategy at the University of Toronto for nine years.

He's also the author of Social Media Marketing for Business that came out in March 2022.

Andrew Jenkins, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me.

It's great to be here.



So over the last 25 years of what you've been seeing?

Is there anything that you thought would change that for some reason is just still the same as it was when you first got your start?

Well, there's always something new that sounds like such as a low bar statement.


It's always evolving, but ultimately it still comes back to new connections.

And what I mean by that is when I first was exposed to the Internet, I was using things like Gopher and telnetting into NASA and things like that.


And that was, you know, just text making connections, but text based.

And then you know, as the Internet expanded, there were, you know, bulls and boards and things like that.

And so you started making connections that way and then there was chat apps and so and then social came out and we started making connections that way.


And it's just, you know, we just keep making connections but in you know, new ways or evolving ways.

And then I think that that's what comes to me when when you ask that question, how things have evolved and just in some ways that making connections is easier and we can also now having make international connections, global connections much, more, much more easily than we could have been the last.



But it's always, it's always been about that.

It's just that the medium has has evolved and kind of like changed over time, which which obviously has massive connotations from from a marketing context.

So I want to, I mean for folks who obviously we're hearing, we're hearing the the intro as well.


And they're not just watching like individual clips from this episode.

They've heard me say that obviously you've been the CEO of Voltaire for quite some time.

Obviously didn't always start that way.

So maybe take us back to like you know your your, your origin story and you know starting from like your childhood going into like your early career and where you've ended up today.


I I'm just trying to set the stage for folks for like you always that will come later on.

Well, you know, there's been different different career chapters in my life, but the in some ways they all have built on one another.


And by that I mean in high school and university I used to work in in menswear then, but I always had an interest in film and after I I got a degree in economics.

But the during that time I studied film studies as an elective and it just kept compounding my interest in film such that after I graduated from the university, I worked in menswear for a while.


But I I just grew bored quickly and decided to take a stab at the film and television industry and worked on some commercials, worked on some film projects.

And then I decided to go back to university and get a degree in film production.


But when I was finishing film school, one of my classmates was just starting to dabble in the Internet and building websites and it seems so trivial now.

But he was showing me some stuff that he was working on and he clicked on the thumbnail picture of a shirt and it got bigger.


And then I'm just like, that was interesting.

And so in in I started my own menswear company selling menswear on the Internet in 1995, as I like to say, 1995 BG before Google.


And that was my first foray into digital.

And you know, I was learning on the fly, setting up a merchant account, setting up credit, you know, the ability to process credit cards on the Internet.

And because it was so early, it was really, really challenging.


There was no Shopify, There was no Stripe, there was no square, all these things that are now.

So you can be up and running with a Shopify site in a day as long as you're populated with everything that I said you have now at at, you know, arm's length.


I was either building or doing manually or from scratch, but taking all those experiences and lessons and it was too early to be selling menswear on the Internet then it was to process of cross-border shipping and so on.


And so, you know, the business just didn't take off, to be perfectly frank.

But I took what I learned and I started working for ecommerce startups and I worked boom and bust and saw the upside and the downside and then decided to go back to school and do my MB A.


And after I finished my MB A, I landed a role at our Canada's largest telecom Bell Canada and worked there for a number of years in wireless technologies.

And then, but they you know as often happens to so many people, companies change direction and they decided to close my business unit and I was packaged out and I decided to revisit my entrepreneurial spirit and started doing consulting and and strategy and strategic planning and.


I Was that?

Was that Volterra or before?

Still before Volterra, same.

Yeah, same company.


But the focus wasn't on social yet.

It was.

It was on strategy and strategic planning.

But through good fortune and a connection that I made over LinkedIn, I was commissioned to do research on all the predominant social networks at the time.


And this was in 2008 and that led to me basically becoming a subject matter expert on social media at the time.

And so the focus of the business started morphing towards social, social media solely.


But then engagements would be going in and doing a social media audit going in and leaving them with strategic recommendations for social.

But then time and time again, organizations would either not follow the recommendations, follow them poorly or, you know, like minimally or, you know, partially or they just wouldn't even bother.


And so started going back to these companies and saying would you, would it help if we did it for you, if it were you know, presented in the in the budget requirements and blah, blah, blah, sure.


And increasingly company said oh would you.

And that's evolved into the core of our business where we manage social media on behalf of net to larger enterprises.


That's all I'm missing because it actually reminds me of of Jamie.


Jamie Oliver, who's a famous.

Famous chef in the UK near where, right?


And he's.

And he's right.

Like, one might think, hey, why is he giving all his, like awardwinning recipes and whatnot?

Like in, in, in books, right.





For next to nothing, right.

And in in a funny way, it's because, or at least what I'm learning is that people would try the recipes, fail at them, and then become even more so convinced to go to like one of his restaurants, right?

And it kind of reminds me of this meme as well that I saw a line of not, not sure if you've come across it before, but it's the photo of this guy getting a tattoo and you can kind of see him holding a photo of like this, this, like what he's expecting or what he wants.


Yeah, yeah.

And it's it's like this really powerful kind of like herculean, like coarse or Unicorn or something like that.

Like a muscular kind of Unicorn and.

You can see the tattoo artists like drawing like pretty much like a donkey on his back or something like that.

And so it's like just because someone has access to the the strategy or the the blueprint as it were, doesn't mean that they necessarily have the capability to make it come to life.


So, So I I'm taking up what you're putting down over there for sure.

Well, we act as a bit of an extension or additional bend strength.

So our goal is not to come in and make anyone feel threatened or we're not there to replace any resources that may already have.

It's just that when we talk to people in digital marketing, they're, you know, working on the website, they're working on an enews letter, they're working on a multitude of things.


And so often social is lower down the priority list or they do it when they get around to it.

But the problem is that social is on every day and that's where most organizations struggle, is maintaining the consistency and frequency that it requires.


So if we come in and say we're here to be additional bend strength, we're here to be an extension of your team, you know, your oversight, your input, we're just going to do the heavy lifting for you, you know, and and basically they'll relieve you of some of the burden.


And I don't want this to sound like a pitch, but that's, I mean, I'm sure you know yourself there's no shortage of abandoned Facebook pages or you know, Twitter accounts.

They get have a tweet once every, you know, six weeks or whatever.

I'm sorry, but that's just not, that's not doing social, you know, that's it's it's an everyday kind of thing.


And so if we can ease that burden and, you know, collaborate with what existing resources they have, then all the better.

Makes sense?

So now shifting gears into the the meat and potatoes of the episode, we have five key moments as you know.


And I wanted to ask you, what is 1 failure that you wanted to share with us?

Well, I sort of alluded to it earlier was the failure of my first foray into digital.

I'm setting up the ecommerce business to sell menswear on the Internet, and it was just a steady outflow of money and trickle of money coming in.


But that was an issue of timing.

But what?

I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now if it weren't, if I hadn't tried that, that was, you know, although it was, you know, trials and tribulations and you know, it's hurt me financially.


But I'll be thankfully, at the time I was single and not married with children.

You know it.

A little bit easier.

It was a modest, you know, disruption.

But, you know, compared to, you know, what it could have been under different circumstances but that, you know, do I call it a failure?



Did it or did it meet my Did it?

Did I achieve what I had hoped for it?


Did I learn from it?


Did it prepare me or lead me to what I'm doing now?


For am I grateful for that?



And I mean you mentioned this earlier that like you found an opportunity with an ecommerce company afterwards.


And so that's probably related to like the skill set that you've developed trying to in the process of like launching this menswear brand.

So yeah, when I started working for the ecommerce software company, I was doing channel management and you know, hurting resellers.


And then that was the first startup.

Then the second startup I moved into, I was in channel management, then I moved into strategic alliances.

And then when I went ultimately later went back to school and did my MBA and then went to Bell Canada, I was hired specifically to handle strategic alliances.


So I just, you know, my experience just kept compounding and that led to new opportunities.

Yeah, I mean, it's interesting how how that always, like, pans out.

But yeah, sometimes like something that would be a a failure, you realize that it's something that could not you could not have achieved your future successes without actually having that thing happen in the first place.


You don't know it at the time, but it's it's preparing you for something.

And the I often I say this often people is like my guidance counselor in high school could not have told me that I would have a career in social media because it didn't exist.


Sure, but here I am.

Right, there you go.

I have a quote, quote.

Well, a thing that I tell myself, I I don't necessarily say it publicly, but for what it's worth, I just have this thing where I just tell myself everything is always good, but it's your job to find out why.


Never actually said that out loud before.

But yeah, like the idea is that it's almost like an active.

Sometimes it's like an art or like an act of creativity where you something happens and you realize, you know, I just spilled, for instance, you know, like, I don't know, juice on the floor and maybe this is a good opportunity for me to actually clean the kitchen because it it needs some cleaning, right?


Or something similar, so while I'm at it, I should clean the kitchen.

Well, exactly.

While I'm at it, I should probably, I should probably clean the kitchen or yeah, I think.

I think it just makes.

It just makes it makes sense like hindsight 2020 things always kind of like pan out.


So I guess shifting gears from here, what is one book that really shaped your journey as as as you were coming up?

One of my favorite books from an entrepreneurial perspective was Richard Branson's autobiography, Losing My Virginity.


That was his journey, for sure, with, you know, virgin music, then into virgin air.

And one of the things that always struck me was whenever he was considering a new endeavor or initiative, he would, you know, sort of reflect on, you know, if this were to go sideways or fail or as he put it, as long as I could manage the downside, I would do it.


And you know, I've never faced some like the weekend before.

They were launching Virgin Atlantic, the the airline, the year in the Virgin Air, the weekend before the inaugural flight.


And they only had one plane.

They had a colossal engine failure on the plane and needed to find a Rolls Royce jet engine worth half $1,000,000, which was an absolute ton of money then.

And he had about 48 hours to do it.

And so I said that and he did it and you know if if he had was you know like extreme block or whatever, I'd just sit there and go, you know if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger and and and anyway I've just taken so many sort of things away from that book about yeah, you know there will be challenges and I've I have faced many through the 15 years, but I I'm no longer employable as some often entrepreneurs say it's not my nature and yeah, I found it too rewarding to be independent so.


Yeah, those you're clear.

Yeah, I mean you, you and me both for sure.

I I think I read either I've either read the summary of the book or I've read it like ages ago.

But I do remember earlier in the book before or way before the the Virgin Atlantic days, he was talking about his very first kind of like venture into the world of entrepreneurship and he created that kind of like high school magazine.


I think it was called student and he was trying to get, he was trying to monetize it somehow.

So he came up with this.

Kind of like cunning tactic where he, I think he called Pepsi saying, hey, Coca-Cola already bought an ad, are you guys in or what?

And then they're like, what?

Coca-Cola bought an ad, We're going to buy an ad too.


And then he went with the physical Pepsi ad to Coca-Cola or maybe I switched his names, but basically said, hey, here's literally their freaking ad, what do you guys have to say about that?

And they're like, Oh yeah, put us down as well.

And that's how he already got his start.

Yeah, I I love it.

They have to be creative and just, you know, figure out, be creative with monetization ideas.


Even when I was in film school, we needed to use one location.

We had two different locations we were using for a film.

One location said you don't have to rent our our facility but make a charitable donation on our behalf in exchange for using the facility.


And then we were using another location that happened to be the headquarters of a global charity and they said we don't expect you to rent the facility but make a charitable donation.

So we made charitable donation on behalf of the first location to the second location And you know, like we were, we were a student production, we had no money.


But that's, you know, you and I'm not I don't say that to pop myself on the back.

She's like when you have no money, like ritual and all the money and come up some ideas to to turn, you know, one penny into two.

So yeah.


I love it and I think it's it's like I wish there was a class in entrepreneurship and I've always like fantasized that like if I ever start well you're actually living the dream working at UFT.

But like if I if I ever had to like my world is dreams like start some type of like school or something, I would make it like hardcore entrepreneurship focused where it's like in this school you're going to learn how to make money and here's your first assignment like.


Get into like out of the groups of five and here's $10.

Whoever like turns the biggest profit from it wins kind of thing.

And it's just like super scrappy.

Actually, I do.

I do have a quick story to share about that.

This is super random, but like about 100 years ago when I was when I was in college, I did an exchange semester or this kind of like culture exchange program from my university here in Ireland to to South Korea to a city called Busan.


And they actually gave us a very similar kind of thing where they would they would team up folks were kind of coming from outside Korea with with with our local kind of like buddies.

They had like a buddy system and they basically said hey you have the whole afternoon team that makes most money wins.


And I played guitar my my my buddy is in Sean.

Shout out Sean if you're watching this, but basically he was a great singer and he, he sang in in Korean and I just played you know, like 3-4 chords.

And so we decided we're going to go on the street and basically play, play like some music and this is where it gets really weird.


But it was it was during summer, we basically decided to make iced tea.

We got this like iced tea mixed from the supermarket nearby and we bought blue food coloring to make it appear like it's extra refreshing because it's like nice and blue and cold and everything and we just combined all these things that don't make any sense together.


Egyptian guy coming from Ireland playing guitar with the Korean singer selling blue iced tea on the street in in Busan.

And we didn't win, but we did make some money through tips and stuff like that and it just taught me that like right, like when the when the circumstances present themselves, you as a as a creative person, as a as a creator in general like you'll figure out a way to to make to make things work.


Well, and she probably have a friend who's in PR and he talks about the best ideas win.

And you know you took a what might just be considered sort of a, you know, a pretty rudimentary situation and like let's let's approach this a little differently and see if we can, you know, did you win?



Did you garner attention and and just you know the working your favor you know absolutely the but you made when you were mentioning entrepreneurship you made me think of something so.

Before I taught at U of TI, taught entrepreneurship at Oakhead University here in Toronto, and it has ties.


It wasn't a book, although I did read it.

It wasn't a book that it's important to me for other reasons and it's called the Business.

It's called Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder.

And it came out in 2009.

And what was that well, you that white book that's kind of horizontal?



And in it is the Business Model canvas, which was later adapted as the Lean canvas for the lean start, right.



And when I would use the canvas as a tool with my students and I, I divide them into groups and say and in the book they talk about, you know, using a cow as the central property, it's like OK for this group.


You're going to the your business is related to a cow but it's dairy related so run with that for ideas.

And then this other group, I apologize to those who have sensitivity or have object to animals being used in this way.


But you would say to the group for you is you're it's a cow but now it's byproducts of like leather and and and so on.

And extrapolate and but one of the the key things that Alex will talk about is as you're mapping out your model and so on, your model will be tested with the first customer.


And you, when you think about all the startups you either know us work with in some way, how many of them are not doing exactly what they originally set out to do because?

They faced some customers.


The customer feedback was, oh, that's, you know, that's a little different.

Like Flickr was a gaming site.

Slack it was originally a gaming company, but their internal collaboration was, you know, was they had built Slack to collaborate internally for gaming.


Yeah, Facebook was meant to be like a dating thing, right?


So you know the original intention isn't necessarily what wins the day.

Like I said, you know for my own company I started out doing strategy and strategic planning consulting.

But time and time again I would watch clients, even stuff that they had said themselves and committed to not following through a while.


And I was like, you know, it just gets tired after a while.

So anyway, for those that are you know.

Toying with Entrepreneur Endeavors.

I highly recommend Losing My Cogentity and Business Model Generation by Alex Auster.


Yeah, yeah.

It just so happens that I, I I'm familiar with the two books, so I can I can definitely attest to their value for sure.

So Speaking of books, you obviously publish your own book, the not too long ago.


Who was one person around that time that kind of helped, that kind of helped, like guide you through that through that part of your journey?


Well, what had happened?

So I was in happened to be in the UK, and I was meeting with a friend of mine who I was meeting for the first time in person.

But we had connected over over LinkedIn and he had written a book on social selling.

And I was saying to him that, you know, I've been teaching this course at the University of Toronto for quite some time.


We have a textbook or a book that we use as the text.

That I really like, but it's coming up to being a decade old and I I said I'd like to write a book to replace it that's, you know, more up to date.


But because it's a book intended to be used in relation to my course, then you know I want to work with a publisher because they really won't.

Allow for self published books in the context of the university from a credibility point of view.


Then why?

Yeah, I understand.

But third party validation.

So he was instrumental and he introduced me to his publisher.

And so I I went through the process of explaining to the publisher what I was hoping to achieve, and that my book is a combination of not just tips about social media marketing.


But also it's meant to be a resource to or for folks that find themselves as you know managing or overseeing social media in a mid to larger enterprise where there's just, it goes well beyond the marketing.


It goes on touches on things like social media policy, working with HR, working with legal, and in some ways to some of them are like, well, that doesn't sound very sexy.

Very, very true.

But unfortunately or fortunately it's necessary.


You know how we do a lot of work in financial services and nothing goes out on social that hasn't been approved and has been vetted by compliance.

And whether you like it or not, that's the nature of the process that has to be done related to social in certain industries like pharma and healthcare and that have regulators and so.


I wanted to write a book based on my own experiences in some of those industries that was would prove to be a valuable resource to people finding themselves in similar positions to what I'd gone through.

And anyway, that was the the genesis of the book, and I got introduced to a publisher from my friend and, you know, six months of writing and the book, did it take ages for it to get published once the manuscript was ready, or did you find that it was a fairly straightforward?


Well, I mean they they they're in the business of publishing.

So they have a queue of like so you I think I handed bright in in at the end of July or early August and it was you know I saw the PDF manuscript in like December but the book was you know on Amazon the following Mark Okay.


Well that that's less than a year and that's not bad because I have a friend of mine who she went with Penguin Publishing and she published a marketing book.

She was my my colleague in in in in HubSpot a couple years ago and she had to wait.


She the book was done like a year ago and she had to wait for like at least a year before they before the book was like finally published.

So I know that sometimes like as you said like it is the business of publishing and you just have to take your turn and kind of wait till so the book comes out, so yeah.


Well, in interest to them, I was late in submitting it.

Oh yeah, that changes everything.

Like, I mean, well, there were certain windows that if you finish by a certain time, then you would like so the next window of release.

And you know, I was, you know, I pitched them.


And so, like this is all during, you know, while we were still sort of closed up for COVID.

And you know, I talked to people I knew that were authors.

And I'd say, do you write every day?

A little bit?

Do you write in a big chunk, one day, a week?

Like what's your approach?

I try to the write a little bit every day, but it's a very hard habit to to stick with, yeah.


Excuse me, but you know, I ended up lots of Sundays locked in my office.

For, you know, four more hours and I would crank out 6000 words.

I mean just the book ended up being 85,000 words, so Oh well that's that's that's pretty good that that is that is pretty, pretty substantial.


I think.

I think most nonfiction books would tend to be around kind of like the 4050 K.

Well the IT was meant because they wanted like so some of the reasons for the its length it's about 290 and change pages I because I'm sharing my experiences but I also go out you know talk about you know there's a chapter on considerations you go through about whether you want to outsource or not your approach to the tool selection and you know do you buy a Swiss army knife type tool that does it all.


But there's tradeoffs or do you, you know build a toolkit things like that.

And then I I would give also like list of tools that I was aware of at the time and and a bit of like strengths and tradeoffs and things like that.

So that's where it's, you know Richard Branson was writing a book, a business book essentially, but he wasn't getting into the weeds of like well here's the latest social media to all the time.


So that's where some of the difference in length comes from is.

I'll call it the resource material.


And I mean, yeah, I guess the use case of the book or the, the context of the book, I think lends itself to that as well.

So that makes sense.


All right.

Well, what, what is 1 maybe around the time that you started a little bit going a little bit earlier now, like when you started Volterra, like what was one decision around that time that you can tell us about?


That like an important or critical decision, you mean?


Something that you feel like really kind of set the trajectory to to everything else with.

Well, one of the pivotal decisions was to move from projects to retainer to move from as I said earlier, you know it would be selling a company on.


We're going to come in, do a social media audit and then leave you with some strategic recommendations and then that would be the, the, the.

You know the extent of a project and then watch them, you know, flounder or not get it really, you know, rolling and then moving to well, instead of us doing a social media audit and as a project, why don't we, you know, do a minimum length engagement where we are on are on retainer where there's a bit of an audit and some preliminary recommendations at the beginning.


But then we are managing your social with your involvement from you know from day one and one from just an entrepreneurial perspective.

You know you get off this cycle of selling a project, you have a revenue spike and then finishing a project then you're back to zero, then you know up and down, up and down.


So now well having you know ideally multiple clients and basically you know this.

I applied the software as a service model to services.


So we are social media management as a service on a monthly retainer and we either work directly with clients or we get white labeled by other service providers where they bundle our services into a broader offering that they have.


And so there are, they're doing a monthly retainer for a whole suite of services and our social services are social media related services are embedded in theirs, right.

So and for folks listening who are trying to get into like we're trying to make the shift from like kind of like our typical project work or like hourly rate kind of work into more of like a productized service model where the service is kind of like pre prepackaged or let's call it preconfigured.


And it it's akin to like having products on the shelf and people can buy them, people can, can, can can white label them and so on.

What what would you say to these guys?

Well, I I was had a friend who was a management consultant and who was you know, advised me early on when I ventured out after my time at Bell Canada.


And one of the key things was he said that you should build value based pricing.

So I never sold projects based on hours.

I said the fee for this project will be X and it might be broken out into like some installments and I'll still.


But as well, like I will not be reporting on the hours because inevitably people gravitate to how many hours this took and they started scrutinizing hours not on.

The the value or the importance of what you delivered, Yeah.


And so can I can I tell you a super quick story about that?


Speaking of Speaking of Canada, I I did that thing in Korea that was kind of like a A1 off culture exchange.

But where I did my official exchange semester was in Ryerson University in Toronto.


And at one point I I had a like, I have the perfect example for you were just talking about my computer.

I was like just was never slower, it wouldn't load anything at all and I just had to go get it fixed.

And I went to the shop down the road in in Bloor St. for for folks who who know Toronto and it's kind of like at the intersection of Bloor and Bathurst near Koreatown.


And this shop basically said yeah, sure, but you got to pay upfront.

I'm like sure Okay and he was like $45.00, which was like fortune for me as a student.

So I was like Okay, $45 and he just went out the back.

I saw him took out like a you know that like, I don't know the name of English, but like kind of like that that hose that you used to like pump up like tires and stuff, like the oxygen.


It was compressed air to clean.

It was right, yeah and he I could see what he was doing it.

He was working at it.

Andrew for like maybe 10 seconds Max.

And he came, gave gave it to me after 10 seconds and he's like try it and I was like oh it works fine but you took $45.00 he's like yeah but but I solved your problem though and as a good result.


There's the life.

But that was the life lesson for me, yeah.

Well, like, it's how.

What's it worth to you to have your problem solved no matter how long it took?

I guess $45 or something, Yeah.


And but so that that was critical for me to learn was to shift to value pricing and then and and you know and I you know.


For me I that that was invaluable because it it changed the the, the conversation but you still want to make sure that you are delivering value or that you have that you have a sense that your client sees what you're doing for them as being valuable.



And you know over the over time I have increased fees and every time I increase fees and someone accepts the what's proposed, that's the new precedent.

And so if people walk say, well, other clients are paying that.


And so, and I'm not trying, I don't want Volterra to be an agency of record like these major creative agencies or ad agencies like Mad Men where they get an exorbitant.


Monthly retainer based on a three-year contract that they have to renew every three years.

But I'm also not trying to compete with, you know, an an independent social media manager.

There are many and that they're good at what they do, which I'm trying to have Volterra sort of squarely in the middle to be an extension of a digital marketing team and like many entrepreneurs, avoid having to deal with procurement.


Yeah, which is, which is a whole another story for sure.

All right.

Well, we're coming up to the close of the episode, and I was wondering if there's one, if you can tell us one learning from from your journey so far that you can share with our audience.

Even though before you even say anything, like even though you've already shared so much that I've taken like mental notes of, I, I want you to leave us with like 1-1 to think about.


Well, I mean I highlighted the one about you know the the learning or you know getting the advice from a friend about value based pricing which I think was instrumental.

One thing I want to to leave you with is that I've learned that I you know and no disrespect to to people that have chosen to the being employed route I have just found as an entrepreneur and having.


Been an employee and have been an entrepreneur.

I have found it far easier to replace a client than a job, but it's not without its risks.

I love that.

In terms of like I can, I can replace a client far faster than you know, landing the next gig.


That I think is an important take away, yeah.

And just to build in what you're saying, Andrew, like?

I think I talked about this before on this podcast, but there is a very famous episode of the Joe Rogan Podcast with him and Naval Ravikant.


And he talks about like the the future of work at one point where he talks about how now this is obviously very different from Volterra's model.

But just saying that fulltime employees working at like 1 Company will be a thing of the past in the future, you'll wake up and you'll have like an Uber like, kind of like experience on your phone where, you know, like CNN and Disney and, you know, Microsoft and Apple all have like all wish to consult with you.


And you're like, accept, accept, accept.

And you basically just work for a couple of hours or basically a short amount of time with these different companies.

And you are.

And when you're done, you just kind of like switch off.

So you're literally switch off in the app.

And so you're no longer like tied or changed right to like one company, but rather you are a an independent operator and you consult with multiple companies, you can take on more, take on less and so on.


Well and that's the our pricing is meant to our the way I position with clients is our value proposition is enterprise grade tools and methods and an SME price point specifically target our pricing to be less than a fulltime headcount.


So you're getting in that guy.

This sounds like a pitch, but you're getting an agency for to run your social media.

For less typically less than the cost of this one single employee because we have tools that much the scale, if you can raise from 2 to $5000 a month depending on on the program, well that was the other thing I wanted to say from a learning or is now specific to me when it comes to services.


Often times the vaguer your service, the harder it is to sell and so.

One of the things I learned over the years of doing this was shifting away from selling social media strategy because people like, well, they they couldn't get their head around like it's not how big is that?


How small is that or the proverbial or cliche, how long is a piece of string.

Once we devised programs and with of different tiers with different you know things so similar to software we have.

Package level one, for lack of a better term has the following services included.


Package two has you know enhanced service package 3 and so and they have different prices and so it became much easier for people to look at oh, I want that package because there was clarity around it versus you know do you want strategy package level one people like there's no way to to like to.


Break strategy down, strategy consulting, down on a spectrum.

But if you turn it into forget about strategy, we have social media management, monthly social media management programs and these and different levels of those programs of support.



So do you want the bronze package, the silver or the gold?


And it makes it easier, like you said, to for folks to just kind of like wrap their head around every single package pretty much.

Well, you're making it easier for them, and you're making it easier for yourself.

Because selling the just selling strategy, it's too vague, It's hard to latch on to.


And so you end up something you can over, You can over pitch, you can over explain.

Yeah, True, true, cool.

Well, Andrew, thank you so much for being in the episode.

Last but not least, where can people find you?

They want to hear Learn more about yourself or Volterra.



Well, Volterra

I'm a Jenkins on Twitter.

It's Volterra Digital on Twitter as well.

And then they obviously can find me on LinkedIn.

It's LinkedIn.

Just Andrew Jenkins or I think it's J Jenkins.


But just search me on LinkedIn, I should come up on the first page.


Andrew, thank you so much for your time and we'll see you soon.

Thank you very much, really enjoyed it.

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