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Breaking Free From Limitations: AlterEgo Marketing

Breaking Free From Limitations: AlterEgo Marketing

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Breaking Free From Limitations: AlterEgo Marketing

AlterEgo Marketing StartUp Story

There’s two types of entrepreneurs: Those who have overcome failure, and liars. Falling on your face is how you learn to walk and eventually run, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Nic Skovgaard, the owner of Herrin, IL based AlterEgo Marketing, has his fair share of failures, and he’s not shy about discussing them.

“I once made a design error that caused $30,000 worth of packaging to have to be thrown away,” Skovgaard said. “That was a bad day.”

He struck out on his own about 10 years ago, and while the road started off rocky, he learned some invaluable lessons that still serve him to this day, like getting paid up front, and owning his mistakes.

Now he gets to decide when and how he works and who he works with. His favorite part, he said, is getting to help create careers and change other people’s lives along the way.

Prior to founding AlterEgo, Skovgaard spent years in the marketing world, including stints in radio, print, agency advertising, tourism, and telemarketing, among others. His time as an employee, he said, left him frustrated and feeling stifled.

“I often felt restricted by traditional approaches and a reluctance from those in charge to take risks,” Skovgaard said. “My journey from traditional marketing roles to entrepreneurship was driven by a desire to break free from limitations, unleash creativity, and tell the stories that I cared the most about.”

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With AlterEgo Marketing, he has the freedom to do just that. The company is a full-service strategic marketing firm that specializes in building both real-world and digital brands. Skovgaard said that contrary to the popular conception that a marketer’s job is to trick consumers into buying something, he sees AlterEgo’s role as helping customers find products and brands they will love and that align with their values.

“The goal of business is not to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have. The goal of business is to do business with people who believe what you believe,” Skovgaard said.

AlterEgo offers a range of services, including:

  • Strategic Marketing Consulting: refining strategy, setting goals, and ensuring that marketing efforts align with the company’s growth plan
  • Website Development and Digital Marketing: AlterEgo builds custom, mobile-first websites and offers Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine
  • Optimization services to help reach new customers.
  • Brand Development, Logo and Graphic Design, and Traditional Marketing: creating the brand and visual identity to make a company a recognizable name, as well as graphic design and printing services, and a full scope of media buying and television commercial productions.
  • Content Creation: The company’s newest offering, ContentHero, is a tailored system of video content creation designed to help brands make authentic content. ContentHero has the potential to create more than 100 pieces of social media content from a single, bi-weekly digital interview.

Skovgaard said social media is one of the key’s to AlterEgo’s success, and how he landed his first clients when he was the company’s only employee, and working from his dining room table.

“This is the same advice I give to every small business and non-profit… that wishes they had a six-figure marketing budget. Vertical video has changed content creation forever. It’s easier than ever for anyone to create authentic vertical video content using just their phone,” Skovgaard said. “If you don’t have a marketing budget, my advice to you is to record and post one piece of content every single day for the next year.”

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“Posted, not perfect,” is the goal. Figure out how to tell your story, share your journey, and what other people find interesting about what you do. There’s no better way to get an idea off the ground.”

He knows what he’s talking about – Skovgaard last year spoke on the power of vertical video at a TEDx event at his alma mater, Southern Illinois University.

One of the main components of AlterEgo’s success has been Skovgaard’s distaste for following rules. It’s also what made working for others a challenge.

“I’ve always had a problem with authority. I don’t like following rules, especially the ones I don’t understand,” Skovgaard said. “I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again, and making a difference is incredibly important to me. I want to feel like my contributions are valuable and to know that what I do helps people.”

“It took a long time, but I finally figured out that entrepreneurship was the thing that would give me an avenue to do all those things.”

The other thing that helped him figure it out? Getting fired.

Skovgaard was let go from what he considered his dream job at a marketing agency. Despite feeling like his world was ending, he soon realized that he could control his own success and that taking risks and learning from failure was essential to continued growth.

There were more lessons to come, though.

“I’ll never forget the day I went into a customer’s office proudly carrying box after giant box of t-shirts – my biggest order ever up to that point. It was thousands of dollars in product, and as I set them down, I saw the client’s face shift,” Skovgaard said. “The entire order was wrong, and I ended up having to reprint every one.”

Despite the “devastating hit” to his startup capital, Skovgaard owned the mistake, which he said saved the relationship. He’s worked with that client for nearly a decade.

There were plenty of other lessons too, including don’t deliver product without getting paid first, and hire smart people to do the work you don’t like or don’t understand.

Success doesn’t spring from nothing. Finding a mentor and building out his network gave Skovgaard the help he needed to persevere, find clients, and build AlterEgo into a million-dollar company.

“The biggest change was going to a place called Wizard Academy. It’s a non-traditional business school in Austin, Texas, created by Roy H. Williams, better known as the Wizard of Ads. I spent a week in the room with some incredible people doing what they loved. I realized right away that this was the kind of life I wanted to live and immediately started working to make it happen.”

Other courses, such as Dale Carnegie Sales Training and a chamber of commerce leadership program, further helped him build his network and propel Skovgaard toward success.

Looking back over his career as an entrepreneur, Skovgaard has one piece of advice for those considering making the same leap: Start now.

“Start where you are, with what you have, and start right now. I thought I needed (so many things) but none of that matters. The only way to make that leap is to do it,” Skovgaard said. “I kept waiting for the perfect time, and it will never come. I cannot imagine where my business would be if I had been smart enough to leap sooner.”

And what about you? What pieces are you waiting to fall into place before you start betting on yourself? Let us know in the comments!

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Breaking Free From Limitations: AlterEgo Marketing

Breaking Free From Limitations: AlterEgo Marketing

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