CBNationI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1739 – Specialist Helps in Digital Advertising Campaigns

Podcast Interview with Ameet Khabra

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: In this episode of the CEO Podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Ameet Khabra, a veteran PPC advertising specialist and CEO of Hop Skip Media. Khabra has helped clients achieve up to a 500% increase in ROI from their digital advertising campaigns, managing over $4 million in ad spend for a single client.

During the interview, Khabra shares her CEO Hack, which is relying on her team for support. She also shares her CEO nugget, which is trusting her gut instincts and believing in herself. Often Khabra defines being a CEO as taking control of one's future.

Khabra discusses her journey to entrepreneurship, which began with her passion for numbers and her experience in pay-per-click advertising. She started her own company after working at an agency and becoming the go-to Google person in her city. Her company, Hop Skip Media, has become a highly-effective PPC campaign management solution provider, taking accounts from zero to hero and providing meaningful and measurable results for startups and small businesses.

One of the things that's not talked about enough is the less-than-glamorous side of business and what it's really like. Especially when you are thinking about hiring (even your clients) and what that looks like when it doesn't go well. Overall, the podcast provides insights into Khabra's expertise in digital advertising campaigns and offers valuable advice for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to improve their ROI through effective PPC advertising.

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Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2020/10/06/iam785-specialist-helps-in-digital-advertising-campaigns/

Transcription:

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Ameet Khabra Teaser 00:00

For us, our main focus is trying to cut the fat really at this point. So looking at 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 can get pretty deceitful to a certain degree where you'll sit there and be like, oh, I made one conversion and it costs us, let's say $25 or something along those lines.

But what ends up happening is that 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.

Intro 00:26

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 00:53

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or topics or as I like to call them business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on our greatest asset talent management and hiring. Think from great resignation to the great renovation. And if you disagree with me, maybe these episodes might be especially for you. Life and especially business has changed. It has forced those that are within organizations to look differently at talent, and how it's being managed.

When we talk about change, think about it, we have to realize that business as usual is no longer here. That's evident in attracting and retaining clients but also in setting up people within organizations to succeed. Think onboarding, think DEI- diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. How it is working from home and even going back into the office.

Things are different in this month. We are going to explore these topics by featuring CEO hacks and CEO Nuggets, but also interviews that focus on these changes and how organizations can make sure they care for and attract the most valuable asset- their people. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I had a very special guest on the show today. I have Ameet Khabra of Hop Skip Media. Ameet, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Ameet Khabra 02:24

Hi. Thank you for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:26

No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we got started with the podcast and jump into the questions, I wanted to read a little bit more about Ameet so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

As a veteran PPC advertising specialist, Ameet has helped clients achieve as high as 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 Incorporated, has carved out a position as a highly effective PPP campaign management solution provider. Hops Skip Media takes 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 I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Ameet Khabra 03:12

I am. I've never been more excited.

Gresham Harkless 03:14

Awesome. Let's do it then. So, to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. How did you get started with your business?

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Ameet Khabra 03:22

Oh gosh, where do I begin? It's been a little a bit of a convoluted story, I actually started my first business when I was 19. I used to volunteer a lot with like event planning and stuff like that. Then eventually one day I woke up, and went I could do this on my own. And the person who was running the other organization turned around and was like, I don't think you have it in you. And I was like, okay, challenge accepted.

Gresham Harkless 03:40

There you go.

Ameet Khabra 03:42

I actually did it almost single-handedly actually, which was wild to think about now. Cause I was like, holy, that was a lot of work that was done over top of actually working part-time and then going to school full-time too. So that was really interesting.

So basically our main event was actually this massive dance competition. At the end of it, I have 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 really cool.

Gresham Harkless 04:24

Nice.

Ameet Khabra 04:24

Then three years later, after that had all started, I realized that I hated event planning. It was just too much. I didn't really wanna manage that many volunteers and that many staff and then have to deal with all the teams. Those teams generally had about 10, 10 to 20 people in them. So I was like, oh my gosh, that's just so many people. I don't wanna 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.

So I went, Hmm 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 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 spending maybe 350 a month to 320,000 very, very quickly, like it was overnight essentially. Then within that, I was able to do 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. Eventually I went, I could do this better if I just do it on my own. And that's essentially the origin story.

Gresham Harkless 05:31

Nice. Absolutely love that. I think so many times you always see that I don't know if it's an infographic or what, where people say I think success is often a straight line.

But obviously, oftentimes it's never hardly ever that it seems. But I love, you being able to obviously be successful and pursue those things that were really helping you to build the organization you first started out with and then it just started to snowball from there.

Ameet Khabra 05:53

Yeah, I really did. I'm very grateful for the time that I had at the agency because that was the time that I really started investing more in 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've been huge by now, but whatever.

After that point, I basically became the Google person in my city. So then when I went off to freelance, it was an easy transition, actually it wasn't an easy transition. The first year was complete nightmare. But after that point 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 X, Y, Z person. That was basically how we've been able to grow up until now.

Gresham Harkless 06:30

Yeah, absolutely. And was the first year just planting those seeds, just getting things set up and then once it was set up you were able to take it to another level?

Ameet Khabra 06:37

No. I've got a horror story for you.

Gresham Harkless 06:40

We all have.

Ameet Khabra 06:41

It was 2016, literally the worst year of my life.

Gresham Harkless 06:44

Oh no.

Ameet Khabra 06:45

And I basically ended up signing my first freelance client that didn't really necessarily come from Like an agency, like somebody that I knew from an agency. It was just a referral from somebody that just knew me in passing, which I thought was so cool. So I went in, signed this client and this was around Christmas of 2015. So within 18 days, he canceled 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. Nobody's looking for an accountant right now. That's not a thing.

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. At that time I was trying to do full service. So we had a website with him and some social media stuff too. At the end of it all, I think the whole relationship was maybe about 45 days and he basically said, you know what, I'm not gonna pay you. 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 go sue them and stuff like that.

I just took it as he's just telling me like some kind of joke or something. Like I didn't really think about it. So I got an email back saying I'll see you in court and I'm like, okay, fine. So that minute, I knew a civil claims agent. And that night I called him and the next day that client was slapped with a lawsuit.

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And I'm like, I get it. I'm this small, timid girl at that point, I really was. But I'm like, if you piss me off, 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 flipped where he was like, what the hell? She actually sued me. So he went back and actually tried to sue me for the max amount, which was $50,000, and claimed that it was lost in revenue which was completely bold. But at that time, like when it happens to you, you don't really realize. You realize it, but then you internalize it to a certain degree where you go, oh, am I the problem?

Yeah and that kind of just spiraled into me just not being able to sell myself properly. A couple of health issues came up in between all of that. So I ended up taking eight months off in our first year of business because I just couldn't handle it.

Gresham Harkless 08:41

Yeah.

Ameet Khabra 08:42

Yeah, it was a good time.

Gresham Harkless 08:44

Yeah. I'm super sorry that happened, it seems like anybody who's been in business longer than a day, you have those clients, there's not enough kind of information about that, or at least, knowledge about some of those pitfalls and how to get past those pitfalls, which I think is even more important.

Ameet Khabra 08:57

It is. And I was actually teaching at the start of this year before obviously, COVID ruined our lives. And I had my students, I was like, okay, what do you guys wanna do? And there were about five of them. It was a small class and almost every single one of them was like, I'm gonna start my own business.

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. I'm like, are you prepared to be your own lawyer? To a certain degree, yeah. Your own accountant. If you get sued, what are you gonna do? You have to do admin stuff.

You are your own HR person if you're gonna start hiring contractors and all of this nonsense. And then they just sat there and 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.

Gresham Harkless 09:34

Yeah.

Ameet Khabra 09:35

You need that experience before you can actually go out on your own. And especially with people who didn't have any experience in the field in general, and 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, do their own thing.

Gresham Harkless 09:47

I definitely appreciate that. And could you take us through exactly what you're doing to help support the clients and how exactly you execute those kinds of PPC strategies?

Ameet Khabra 09:56

Yeah, so, we're exclusively like paper click. That's the only thing that we do. Eventually, at one point I wanna see if we might go into 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. If I'm being entirely honest, I love existing accounts because there's data in there so then at least we can figure out what was working and what wasn't. So it gives us a leg up on all of it.

For us, our main focus is trying to cut the fat really at this point. So looking at 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 can get pretty deceitful to a certain degree where you'll sit there and be like, oh, I made one conversion and it costs us, let's say $25 or something along those lines. But what end ends up happening is that 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.

It's great. You can confuse clients pretty easily on that front. But for me, I just didn't really like that life at the agency where I'm like, I don't wanna 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. So then we came up with 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 hopefully within the first month.

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 who actually visits your website. Because I think that's where a big misconception 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 are any discrepancies in between from the client 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. Whereas narrowly as much as we can.

Gresham Harkless 11:46

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I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for yourself or for your agency or a combination of both, but what do you feel 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 may be wrongfully crediting myself for this, but I'm still gonna do it anyway, where niche agencies weren't a big thing for a very long time actually. Now we see niche agencies coming out and I think I wanna say I was one of the first, but I can't say it confidently.

So I think that was what really helped us create a name for ourselves was being, the agency did one thing, but we did it really well versus being mediocre and everything because that was my thing. I was like, I just don't wanna be 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 then they don't really necessarily do everything else very well. That leaves a lot of clients with this mixed bag of emotions and I didn't really wanna have that. I wanted people to either walk out, hate me or love me. 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 I hate them.

So I was like 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 it type of thing. So I think that's what really helped us set ourselves apart. Then also I did a little bit of work with Google, so like I was part of their Google Partners ambassador program. I guess that's what it's called. I did that for about two years and I was one of five Canadians and one of 25 North Americans. Even with the five Canadians, two of us were in Western Canada and we were both about 30 minutes away from each other, which was really funny.

So I think just having that experience and being able to sit on a bunch of beta tests and be part of that whole development process was really cool. I think when I was starting out, that was what really helped us grow.

Gresham Harkless 13:26

Absolutely. Love that. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Ameet Khabra 13:36

Oh gosh. I think this is gonna sound kind of cheesy, but honestly, my team now. I honestly like to think about it pretty frequently where I'm just like, I do not know what I would do without them. So they obviously help streamline everything and then what I do is that Pomodoro technique.

So it's 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. 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 have that separation between work and home. Even if you have a separate area, it's just different for me.

Gresham Harkless 14:09

And so, I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. 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 hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Ameet Khabra 14:18

I feel like a lot of people would assume that 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 feel like it's more or less so 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.

Gresham Harkless 14:39

I love that nugget. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote, CEOs on this show.

So Ameet, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ameet Khabra 14:50

I think it's a CEO is somebody who's taking charge of their own future really at this point.

Gresham Harkless 14:55

I love that perspective and that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic 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 a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Ameet Khabra 15:09

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 cause my name can get a little finicky. So my social handle on every single social media platform is AdWords Girl. So, essentially Google AdWords, but just the AdWord side of it, and then girl.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Okay, that's perfectly fun. And then 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. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 15:36

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co.

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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