As a veteran PPC advertising specialist, Ameet has helped clients achieve as high as a 500% increased ROI from their digital advertising campaigns. Her work has included managing over $4 million in ad spend for a single client, as well as providing meaningful and measurable results for startups and small businesses.
Her company (Hop Skip Media formerly Ameet Khabra Marketing Inc) has carved out a position as a highly-effective PPC campaign management solution provider. HSM take accounts from zero to hero, working from scratch as well as taking over from other firms to get results for their clients.
- CEO Hack: My team helps me a lot
- CEO Nugget: Trusting your guts and knowing you can do it
- CEO Defined: Someone taking control of their future
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Greg from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Ameet Khabra of hop skip media meat. It’s awesome to have you on show.
Ameet Khabra 0:39
Hi, thank you for having me.
Gresham Harkless 0:41
No brows super excited to have you on and before we get started with the podcast and jumped into the questions, I want to read a little bit more about ameet so you can hear about all the awesome things that she’s doing. And As a veteran PPC advertising specialist, Ameet has helped clients achieve as high as a 500% increased ROI from their digital advertising campaigns. Her work has included managing over $4 million in ad spend for a single client, as well as providing meaningful and measurable results for startups and small businesses. Her company (Hop Skip Media formerly Ameet Khabra Marketing Inc) has carved out a position as a highly-effective PPC campaign management solution provider. HSM take accounts from zero to hero, working from scratch as well as taking over from other firms to get results for their clients. Ameet, are you ready to speak to the iamceo community? I am have never been more excited than so they kick everything off. I wanted to kind of rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. When did you get started with your business?
Ameet Khabra 1:38
Oh gosh, where do I begin? It’s been a little like, it’s been a bit of a convoluted story, I guess. I actually started my first business when I was 19. I used to volunteer a lot with like event planning and stuff like that. And then eventually, one day I woke up and went, I could do this on my own. And the person who is running the other organization kind of turned around was like, I don’t think you have it in you. And I was like, Okay, well, Challenge accepted. And I actually did it almost single handedly actually, which was kind of wild to think about now because I was like holy like that was a lot of work that was done overtop of actually working part time and then going to school full time too. So that was kind of really interesting. So basically, it was our main event was actually that’s this massive dance competition. At the end of it, I have like zero dancing experience. Like I don’t even know how to explain how I even started volunteering for stuff like that. And we had viewership across the globe. And within the first year, we were actually credited for the reason why my competitor actually stopped doing their main event, which was actually probably my most shining moment, like I’ve accomplished relatively a lot in my career. But that’s still the one moment where I was like, I got credited, like they actually put my name in there. It was kind of really cool. And then three years later, after that had all started, I decided that I was not decided, I realized that I hated event planning, and it was just too much I didn’t really want to manage, you know that many volunteers and that many staff and then have to deal with all the teams. And those teams generally had about 10 to 20 people in them. So I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s just so many people, I don’t want to do it anymore. So I stopped and then realized that I was running ads for the events, and that I was actually relatively Okay, at those ads, I went home, let’s maybe try to do that. Because I really love numbers. My mom says she was supposed to be an accountant. And I feel like I just kind of got it from her where I just really love numbers. So I ended up moving 12 hours away driving wise from my parents, and essentially started a career in pay per click advertising. So how I even got my first job I do not know. It’s one of those moments where you’re like, why did you do this because I went from like spending maybe 350 a month to 320,000. Very, very quickly, like it was overnight essentially. And then within that I was able to kind of do a really a couple cool things with Google and stuff like that and went off to an agency for a little bit just to round up my skills. And then eventually I went I could do this better if I just do it on my own. And that’s essentially the the origin story.
Gresham Harkless 4:06
Nice. Absolutely love that. And I think so many times, you always kind of see that. I don’t know if it’s an infographic or what were people will say, you know, success. I think success is often a straight line. But obviously, oftentimes it’s that it’s never hardly ever that I’ve seen but I love you know, you’ve been able to kind of obviously be successful, and kind of sounds like pursue those things that were really helping you to to kind of build the organization you first started out with. And then it’s just starting to kind of snowball from there.
Ameet Khabra 4:32
Yeah, I really did. I’m very grateful that for the time that I had at the agency, because that was the time that I really started investing more and doing more education. So I started a blog that was getting pretty decent traffic. And I really wish I kept it up because it probably would have been huge by now but whatever. And yeah, and after that point I became basically became the the Google person in my city. So that when I went off to freelance it was an easy transition to kind of well actually it wasn’t an easy transition. The First year was complete, it was a complete and utter nightmare. But after that point it was it was really easy to get more clients because everyone was like, Oh, we’ve worked with you at the agency, or we’ve heard about you from XYZ person. And that was basically how we’ve been able to grow up until now.
Gresham Harkless 5:13
Yeah, absolutely, it was the first year just kind of planting those seeds, just kind of getting things set up. And then once it was set up, you were able to kind of take it to another level.
Ameet Khabra 5:20
Now I’ve got a horror story for you. It was 2016 was literally the worst year of my life. And it was, basically I ended up signing my first freelance client that didn’t really necessarily come from like, I’m, like an agency, like somebody that I knew from an agency, it was just a referral, but somebody that just knew me in passing, which I thought was so cool. So I went in signed this, this client, and this is around Christmas of 2015. So within 18 days, he cancelled the Google Ads contract because he was like, I’m not getting leads, I’m losing leads. And I’m like, but it’s Christmas, like, nobody’s looking for an accountant right now. Like, that’s not a thing. And I had told him that he was gonna see like that nothing was gonna happen during the winter, because that’s just generally how things work. And he just didn’t quite understand it. And at that time, I was trying to do full service. So we had like, a website with him and some social media stuff, too. And at the end of it all, I think the whole relationship was maybe about 45 days. At the end of it all, he basically said, You know what, I’m not gonna pay you. And thankfully, I was listening to him during the, like, I probably should have listened more intently, because he had talked about how he had caused such a fuss with the other agency that they basically ended up doing work for him for free. So he wouldn’t like go sue them and stuff like that. And I just kind of took it as like, he’s just telling me like a, you know, like, some kind of joke or something like, I didn’t really think about it. So I got an email back going, Oh, well, I’ll see you in court. And I’m like, Okay, fine. So that minute, I knew a civil eight civil claims agent. Um, and that night, I called him and the next day, that client was slapped with a lawsuit. No, Mike, I’m not that like, I’m like, I get it. Like, I’m this small, timid girl. At that point, I really was. But I’m like, it’s if you pissed me off. I’m like, it’s a completely different ballgame, right? So I was like, you just messed with the wrong person. So at that point, he got really like flipped, where he’s like, what the hell like she actually sued me. So he went back and actually try to sue me for the maximum amount, which was $50,000, and claim that it was loss in revenue, which was complete bull. But at that time, like, when it happens to you, you don’t really realize, like, I mean, you realize it, but then you kind of internalize it to a certain degree where you go, Oh, am I the problem. And that kind of just spiraled into me just not being able to sell myself properly. And then a couple of health issues kind of came up in between all of that. So I ended up taking, like, eight months off in our first year of business, because I just couldn’t handle it.
Unknown Speaker 7:40
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah,
Gresham Harkless 7:43
I’m super sorry, that happened. But um, I think anybody who seems like who’s been in business longer than a day, you know, you have those clients. And I think the good thing is, I always try to look at the bright side of everything, even with nightmare clients that I’ve had is that I’m happy it happened early. So then now, as you talked about that radar, if it goes technicals kind of go up, you know, when you start to see those signs, and you know, how to kind of avoid them, you know, later on in your business. But I know, I appreciate you for talking about that. Because I think so many times, you don’t see all of those aspects of business, but I think it happens, and it happens to just about every business. And, you know, there’s not enough kind of information about that, or these, you know, knowledge about some of those those pitfalls, and how to get past those pitfalls, I think is even more important.
Ameet Khabra 8:24
It is and I was I was actually teaching at the start of this year before, obviously COVID ruined our lives. And I had like my students, I was like, Okay, well, what do you guys want to do, and there was about five of the most small class, and almost every single one of them was like, I’m gonna start my own business. And I just turned around, just started laughing, like, I almost fell on the floor. And I was like, okay, like, you do that? And they’re like, why not? No, Mike, are you prepared to be your own lawyer to a certain degree, your own accountant? If you get sued, what are you gonna do? You have to do admin stuff, you have all your own HR person, if you’re going to start hiring contractors and all this nonsense. And then they just kind of sat there, by the end of the semester, they’re like, we’re gonna look for a job. And I’m like, that’s probably the best way to get started. Yeah, you need that experience before you could actually go out on your own, and especially with people who didn’t have any experience in the field in general, like you’re setting yourself up for lawsuits at this point. So yeah, I’m glad that they went the other route. And hopefully, in a year or two, they might actually,
Gresham Harkless 9:17
you know, do their own thing. I definitely appreciate that. And I think that again, you know, a lot of times in business, your your true passion, or what you’re hoping to accomplish will, you know, definitely get challenged. So you have to kind of like, make sure that you definitely want to do that. So, I definitely appreciate you for moving forward with your agency. And I know you kind of spoke on it a little bit. Could you take us through exactly what you’re doing to kind of help support the clients and how exactly you execute these kind of PB p strategies?
Ameet Khabra 9:42
Yeah, so, um, we’re exclusively like pay per click, that’s the only thing that we do eventually, at one point, I kinda wanna see if we might go into a conversion rate optimization, but that’s a ways away. So essentially, what ends up happening is that clients will come with either a new account or an existing account. And if I’m being entirely honest, I love existing Cuz there’s data in there. So then at least we can figure out what was working what wasn’t. So it kind of gives us a leg up on all of it. And for us, our main focus is trying to cut the fat really at this point. So looking at what, what’s been sucking the money out of the campaigns and what hasn’t been because sometimes, especially if we’re talking about Google ads, it’s really, it can get pretty deceitful to a certain degree where you’ll sit there and be like, Oh, I made one conversion. And it cost us let’s say, $25, or something along those lines. But what ends up happening is that, like, if you actually do the math, it might actually cost you 10 bucks for that one conversion. And a lot of agencies don’t tend to do that, where they just go, Oh, you got a conversion. That’s the end of it. And I mean, it’s great. Like, you can confuse clients pretty easily on that front. But for me, I just didn’t really, really like that life at the agency were like, I don’t want to just run through hours just for the sake of running through hours, or making changes in the account just to make myself feel like I did something for them, I guess. So then we came up with like, a retainer base where we’re like, regardless of how many hours we work, like this is it. And then eventually, throughout the year, obviously, that would just even itself out, which is essentially the theory for us. So yeah, so for us, it’s just trying to make sure that we are able to prove our value within hopefully within the first month. But yeah, sometimes it takes a little bit longer, which is unfortunate. But it really depends on the business. So we’ll take a look at what the competitors are doing. We’ll take a look at like, who actually visits your website, because I think that’s where a big misconception is, is that a lot of us assume we know who’s on our website, but in reality, it might be completely different. So we’ll actually sit there and try to figure out if there’s any discrepancies in between, from the client to to the website as well. And then figure out where they are online really, at that point, and then try to target them as much as we possibly can, or as narrowly as as much as we can.
Gresham Harkless 11:46
Yeah, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And it could be for yourself or for your agency or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Ameet Khabra 11:54
I think in like the city that we’re in, there’s not really a lot of people who have specialized so I, maybe I maybe wrongfully credit myself for this, but I’m still going to do it anyway, we’re nice agencies aren’t a big thing. For a very long time, actually. And now we see like niche agencies coming on, I think, I want to say I was one of the first but I can’t say it confidently. So I think that was what really helped us kind of create a name for ourselves as being the agency that did one thing, but we did it really well versus being mediocre and everything. Because that was my thing where I was like I just don’t want to be because a lot of Gosh, I’m gonna sound like a jerk. But a lot of the agencies in the city are full service. And a lot of them might do one thing really well. And they don’t really necessarily do everything else very well. And that leaves a lot of clients kind of with like this mixed bag of emotions. And I didn’t really want to have that I wanted people to either walk out, hate me or love me. Like, I’m very much an extremist, when it comes to stuff like that, even with people that I know, it’s either I love them or hate them. So I was like, well, I want people to feel the same way. Like it needs to be one strong emotion. It can’t be like this lukewarm. Yeah, we’re okay with that type of thing. So I think that’s what really helped us kind of set ourselves apart. And then also, I did a little bit of work with Google. So like, I was part of their, their Google partners, Ambassador, Ambassador Program, I guess that’s what it called. And I did that for about two years. And I was one of five Canadians and one of 25 North Americans. And even with the five Canadians, like two of us, were in Western Canada, we were both about, like 30 minutes away from each other, which was really funny. So I think just kind of having that experience and be able to sit on like a bunch of beta tests and be part of like, that whole development process was really, really cool. And I think when I was starting out, that was what really helped us.
Gresham Harkless 13:41
us grow, I guess, absolutely love that. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an apple book or a habit that you have. But what’s something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Ameet Khabra 13:53
Oh, gosh, I think this is gonna sound kind of cheesy, but honestly, my team now i just i honest, I like to think about it pretty frequently, where I’m just like, I do not know what I would do without them. So like, they obviously help streamline everything. And then what I do is that Pomodoro Technique, so I don’t, I mean, it’s kind of widely known, I guess, in that sense. So I’ll do 15 minutes on and then five minutes off, and I’ll keep on just doing that. And that really helps me kind of get really laser focused with a lot of work because especially with now having to be home all the time and not really being able to leave, it’s really hard to kind of have that separation between work and home. Even if you have like a separate area, it’s just I don’t know, it’s just kind of different for me.
Gresham Harkless 14:31
And so I want to ask you now for what I call a SEO nugget. And this could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Ameet Khabra 14:41
I feel like a lot of people would assume but I would say don’t sign that client from 2016. But honestly, it was probably the biggest blessing for me just because I learned so much in that timeframe. So yeah, I don’t I feel like it’s more or less of just trusting your gut really and just trusting that you know what you do because obviously This person’s hiring you for that exact reason, really at this point. I love that nugget. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we’re hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So I mean, what does being a CEO mean to you,
Gresham Harkless 15:14
as a CEO, as somebody who’s taking charge of their own future, really, at this point, I love that perspective. And that definition, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do was passionate, Mike, so to speak, just to see if there’s anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get ahold of you, and find out about all the awesome things your your team are working on.
Ameet Khabra 15:34
In terms of how best to get in touch with me, I would say social media is probably the best way just because it’s easier to say online because my name can get a little a little finicky. So my social handle on every single social media platform is AdWords girl. So essentially, Google AdWords, but just the AdWords side of it, and then girl,
Gresham Harkless 15:54
okay, now that’s perfectly fine. And to make it even easier, we’ll have those links and information in the show notes just so that everybody can follow up with you. But uh, definitely appreciate you meet, I appreciate all the awesome things you’re doing. And the reminders as well too, on, you know, being able to kind of continue on with, you know, the ups and downs that happen all the time in business. And I think that’s something we need to hear and we need to remind ourselves of, so we don’t fall when we’re questioning the fact that we still stayed out or were punched in the face. But I appreciate that and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.
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