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Community Highlights: Meet Jordan Calderon of StratDev Digital Marketing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Calderon.

Hi Jordan, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Economics. UC Santa Barbara. 18 years old. On the first day of classes back in 2017, I walked into my first economics class and I very quickly realized that I chose the major that was solely based off Theory and absolutely nothing easily applicable. And just to give everyone context, I also realized that the school was ultimately trying to groom their econ students to go towards the PhD career path — and let me tell you, I found no sex appeal in being an economics professor. So being quite entrepreneurial in spirit, I thought to myself, man what’s hot? What can I sell? And back 3-4 years ago, small business ecommerce and dropshipping was the big wave. I ended up getting an opportunity from one of my high school colleagues to start this ecommerce college apparel company called College Clout.

In retrospect, we had no clue what we were doing but we did it anyways. We worked till 3-4 in the morning to prepare for the launch, ended up launching in January of 2018, saw maybe a few thousand in sales in the first few months, my co-founder dropped out, I turned to YouTube to learn how to digitally market efficiently, bought out and merged with a similar company run by college students in the Midwest, optimizing my omni-channel solutions to marketing, and ended up building a nationwide brand and turned my $500 investments into a nearly fully automated profitable business that panned out to be a pretty penny for a teenager. I ended up taking all of my earnings and learnings and put them to the test by founding StratDev digital marketing. Today, we work with tech startups and healthcare companies — I know, completely polar opposites of each other — and essentially act as their outsourced CMO to help scale and drive high month over month growth for the businesses. Due to my team and my successes in the company, I’ve become the youngest member of the non-profit, SCORE Santa Barbara, I’ve been admitted into the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), spoke at a TEDxTalk, and am set to win the MARsum® Top 100 Marketers & Advertisers award on July 1st, 2021.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Absolutely not. Part of being an entrepreneur is having a risk-seeking mindset. Before College Clout, I started another e-commerce company called Axiom Apparel. I had no idea what I was doing and I lost a lot of money in that venture. Obviously, the company is now nonexistent. However, I used that failure and turned it into a learning lesson. I was much more knowledgeable on the e-commerce ecosystem coming into my follow-up project, College Clout. It ultimately allowed me to build a slight edge since I knew what to avoid when starting the company.

As for StratDev, I have had my fair share of struggles as well. When I didn’t have a lot of revenue coming in, I leaned solely on subpar outsourced workers to get the job done. I’ve learned that outsourcing sucks. Outsourcing really, really sucks. But just because it sucks doesn’t mean it can’t be efficient and sustainable for your business. I see so many young agency owners get entranced into the idea that you can just go on Upwork or Fiverr and outsource all of the work you receive and have happy sailing. But that’s simply not the case. Hell, I even fell into this trap. I mean, I personally decided that the best course of action for my agency was a hybrid business organizational unit: half in-house employees and half remote independent contractors. But it is possible to take the 100% contractor route. When it comes to outsourcing, follow the 3 D’s: Do, document, and delegate. Firstly, you need to start by actually knowing what the task at hand is. Let’s take, for example, paid media. Facebook business manager is an incredibly esoteric platform if you want to do it right. For your first few clients, don’t immediately hand off the work to a freelancer. Actually, take the time to learn the platform yourself. Sure, you might fail at the cost of your client’s ad spend, but you’ll be gaining valuable experience on what works and what doesn’t. Once you get the hang of paid media or whatever service your agency is selling, document every single step. And I mean every single step. Don’t take vital details for granted. Remember to log the credentials for any software or web platforms you use. Explain the personal relationship of your client or other team members who are involved in the project at great detail — this step is probably the hardest to pass off and emulate.

Lastly, consciously remember any subconscious steps you take. Now you need to put it to the test. Print out your document, take it to a local coffee shop, find someone and say “hey, your coffee is looking a bit low. I’ll buy you another if you can take my 3 minute challenge. It requires your brain and a computer. Are you game?”. Make them go through the document and make sure they read aloud each step. Monitor them closely so you can target exactly where they might get confused. You’re basically testing your ability to write a precise document to then delegate to a team member or contractor. Once you go through a few rounds of revision and perfect that document, you know you have a viable way to perfectly emulate your processes. And boom, now you’ve created a system where someone can do it the exactly way your agency or company does it.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
StratDev is a tight-knit, dynamic team of marketing rockstars who are all about results. We’re trusted by some of the fastest-growing startups and small businesses to do… well, pretty much anything digital marketing-related! (However, we do have strong suits: web design & dev, on & off page SEO, paid media, and digital PR)

As a startup ourselves, we take client growth seriously. With deep expertise in the nuances of building brands, we deliver unique & scalable marketing execution to drive compelling ROI. In layman’s terms, we’d hire ourselves if we could. Strategic. Technical. Creative. Completely Communicative. And Totally Transparent.

How do you think about happiness?
I’m in the business of relationships. As a social guy, I love this primary aspect of my job. I spend most of my days hopping on prospective clients, current clients, and team meetings, just chatting away. I personally always keep it fun and productive and take the time to ask about everyone’s personal lives as well. This work is so gratifying to me because I have made many great friends along the way as well.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Brevin Borrowman

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