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The Active Side of Passive Income: CJAM Marketing

The Active Side of Passive Income: CJAM Marketing

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The Active Side of Passive Income: CJAM Marketing

No one succeeds alone. The entrepreneur who spends their nights in the garage fine-tuning the product they’re aiming to bring to market is likely leaning on at least one other person to help find and sell to customers.

Similarly, marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach either. Just because you know how to sell a product doesn’t mean you understand what you’re selling, why people should buy it, or why it was created in the first place.

Behdad Jamshidi knows that better than most. Behdad, or ‘Bee’ to his friends, is the founder of CJAM Marketing. He calls himself a “marketing broker” and said his company bridges the gap between a business and a marketing agency to ensure that each party is paired with the best partner to suit their needs and abilities.

Behdad Jamshidi - CJAM Marketing Founder

“Businesses don’t understand marketing, and marketing agencies don’t understand business. I’ve met with over 800 marketing agencies and partners in the last five years, and I’ve vetted that list down to about 90 partners I work with,” Jamshidi said. “My goal is to connect businesses with the right marketing partners.”

Jamshidi founded CJAM in 2019 while working as a sales engineering consultant for a telecom company. A chance conversation led him to start his own business, something he hadn’t previously considered.

He wasn’t motivated by a passion for marketing, though – it was a story about someone passively earning thousands of dollars a month through their agency that caught his attention. Jamshidi said his “engineering brain” was intrigued, and he started devouring everything he could get his hands on, trying to learn how to make a similarly lucrative business.

“I knew nothing about marketing at that time. I paid $500 for an online course – it wasn’t great, but it did teach me high-level information about website building, Google ads, and search engine optimization,” Jamshidi said. “Every day after I finished work, I would take Google courses, read SEO textbooks, and build websites.”

He managed to land a few clients in need of websites, and earned $5,000 in the process, but quickly wore himself out. The payoff wasn’t worth the effort.

Jamshidi said he was spending nights and weekends on his new venture, missing time with his friends and family. As he said, “Making money wasn’t the goal. Passive income was.”

It was when another friend offered him an affiliate commission for his leads on companies needing web services that things clicked for Jamshidi, and he found his niche.

“After working with some of my customers and referring them to this agency, they started asking me for other services that this agency didn’t do. That’s when I learned that marketing agencies don’t understand business, and business people don’t understand marketing,” Jamshidi said. “I decided to start a matchmaking service for businesses, which seemed easy enough before I actually started it.”

CJAM Marketing Behdad Clients

Jamshidi thought he’d only have to find 10 marketing agencies and partners, but he spent the next five years building his network of contacts. He said he knew he had a solid business model once other businesses and marketing agencies began to contact him.

CJAM is a solo venture, but it didn’t start that way. Jamshidi had a partner who left the company less than a year after it was founded but offered some quality advice before doing so.

“He told me that people get cofounders to fill in gaps in their old skills and asked what gaps he’d filled for me and how I could fill them going forward,” Jamshidi said. “I wasn’t as strong at sales as he was, and I liked having someone to talk to about my business as a co-founder. It was great to have someone with common interests. I started chatting with other agency owners and mentors, which filled that gap (once he left).”

Knowing what he knows now, Jamshidi said he probably wouldn’t start his business again. The scope of work that it took to build CJAM, he said, is one of those challenges that entrepreneurs can’t fathom until they’re facing them – the unknown unknowns, so to speak.

That said, he loved the challenge of building the business and the puzzle of finding new ways to be more efficient.

One of the biggest lessons he learned, he said, is that there’s no truth to the idea of passive income.

“It’s a dream many of us fall into, but once we think we’ve gotten there, there’s a whole other mountain you need to climb. Building a truly passive business or lifestyle takes a long time, and you need to acquire the skills and failures before you get good at building those models,” Jamshidi said.

“I’ve also learned that some people are built to thrive in uncertainty. I grew up in an immigrant family with a scarcity mindset, and I’ve been working to break out of that. It’s ingrained and requires a lot of work to reframe and reprogram, but it has helped me overcome my fear of things not working out, which is important for any entrepreneur.”

The other key, he said, is work-life balance. Just because you’re running a business and have dedicated your life to it doesn’t mean you should make your business your life—take time to go to the gym, cook meals for yourself, and get plenty of sleep.

“Never lose sight of how important the rest of your life is, and remember your business isn’t everything. For me, what matters most is my wife, my family, and my friends. Always make time for those things because otherwise, your business will consume your whole life if you let it,” Jamshidi said.

“Don’t build a business just to make money. Spend some time asking yourself some internal questions about what’s important to you, what you value, what you want, and why. Then dig deeper.”

And don’t forget to take advantage of the resources available. Plenty of people have struggled through the same difficulties, and many of them have written books about it

Jamshidi said the top three books he recommends to anyone looking to start a business are “Chasing Daylight”, “The Courage to Be Disliked” and “Make It Stick.”

He said it’s also vital to find mentors and counselors – people who can help guide you and who you can turn to when you’re struggling.

Even if you’re running a company of one, no one succeeds alone.

Your Turn

Entrepreneurship is a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure of your next move, remember Jamshidi’s example of seeking out resources and guidance. Take the next step by enrolling in a course, reading a relevant book, or seeking advice from a trusted mentor. Share your favorite learning resources in the comments.

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The Active Side of Passive Income: CJAM Marketing

The Active Side of Passive Income: CJAM Marketing

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