Matt Johnson-Principal is a digital marketing expert who spent many years serving companies and helping them achieve their business goals by implementing streamlined processes and strategies.
He graduated BCom with a specialization in Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Two years later, he also received his Professional MBA there.
For over 15 years, he worked in different industries to share his expertise, but he has taken this experience and applied it to the internet technology sector, giving him a solid foothold in SEO, social media marketing, website design, and web development.
Before opening his marketing agency, he worked at Sage Business Tech Solutions, Stagner Bros, and Pix Mobile Technologies where he led marketing efforts such as public relations, social media management, website optimization, email marketing campaigns, and more. In 2000, Matt met his soon-to-be wife, Sarah, who was from Seattle, Washington. The two married in 2002 and Matt relocated to Seattle.
But as he grew a passion for helping small and medium-sized businesses, he decided to build Matt Johnson-Principal Marketing Consulting in Washington, which he founded in 2003.
The agency offers several marketing services including web design and development, social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, public relations (PR), lead generation strategies, branding, content writing services, and mobile app and website development.
Ever since they started, Matt and his team have been teaching business owners around Okanagan and Vancouver to use existing resources to increase their sales and maintain good customer relations for better retention.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
In the past, I worked for three companies from different industries. From there, I witnessed how well-planned marketing strategies and the use of technology can help businesses grow and achieve their goals.
Because of that, I realized that if I can also teach small enterprises to execute such strategies, it will help definitely the local economy to thrive.
And that’s how I started my agency.
You have bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UBC’s Sauder School of Business, could you tell us about your educational background? What led to starting your own business?
I pursued a bachelor’s degree so I can gain knowledge in the field of business and marketing which will help me in my career.
And as for my post-graduate degree, it really helps to further strengthen the foundations of marketing and business that I learned during college.
I became an entrepreneur after working at Sage Business Tech Solutions, Stagner Bros, and Pix Mobile Technologies where I had the chance to manage lots of different projects that involves marketing.
My biggest challenge then is how to make things simpler for companies who are new in the field of marketing.
After seeing the need for business owners to have someone they can turn to when it comes down to improving their sales and advertising, I decided to pursue my career as an entrepreneur.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love the most about my job is that we can help small business owners achieve their goals. Aside from that, we are very happy because these businesses also employ others.
When you were starting, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Of course, yes. There was a time that I felt like it’s not going to work out and there were lots of sleepless nights because of it.
One thing that really helped me through those times is the realization that we’re only given the strength we need for each battle. So as long as you know how to take advantage of what you have at the moment, you’ll be able to win.
What is one failure you faced in the past and how did you bounce back from it?
I experienced lots of failures since I started my agency. One was when a client refused to pay because he doesn’t want to follow through with the contract we have established.
At first, I felt like giving up because there’s no way the other party would listen to me anymore. But then, I realized that it isn’t what defines me and that I should just move forward.
What do you think makes you successful?
I believe it’s my passion to help small businesses that have little to no idea where to start with digital marketing. When your motive is right, your focus will be clear.
Successful entrepreneurs are always focused on their goals, what are yours?
My goal is to help as many business owners as I can by teaching those simple marketing strategies that would help them grow their customer base.
I want to make sure that there’s at least one agency around who can help them do that without leaving them with a hole in their pocket.
What are your most popular services? Why do businesses need them?
The most popular service is web design and development, email marketing, SEO, and PR.
Businesses need these services because these will help them increase their sales and create a good reputation for their business. During consultations, we already determine what they should prioritize first depending on the strategies that are already in place. Aside from that, we look at the needs of the company and develop marketing strategies to meet them.
What advice would you give to someone who had an idea for a business, but had no clue where to start?
My advice is that they need to take small steps and learn as much as they can about their industry first.
They also have to keep studying different methods of marketing so know which one will work best for their business.
What advice will you give your younger self?
You’re doing a great job right now. Just stay focused and continue what you’re doing because you are on the right path. Life will certainly be tough on you at times but take heart because you’ll be able to help a lot of people succeed because of what you do.
What book would you recommend to our readers?
There are lots of books that I’ve read that can help them on their journey as an entrepreneur, but one book that really made an impact is “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.
This book is full of tips that can help you start your journey towards financial stability. Aside from that, it teaches people how to achieve independence from debts that will only ruin their financial health.
What is your best quote to live by?
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?'” – Brian Tracy
Helping becomes natural when you are already successful because you have the capacity and resources that would make it possible for you to provide help.
Successful people become successful because they are able to give their time and resources to those who need it the most. Aside from that, this quote serves as a reminder that we have to check on ourselves. Successful people are interested in helping others first before looking into what they should get.