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Kent Lewis, President and Founder of Anvil Media – Entrepreneurship 101

Today our guest is Kent Lewis, president and founder of Anvil Media Inc.

Under his leadership, Anvil has accumulated some notable awards and recognition since inception in 2000, such as Inc. 5000: Fastest growing private companies in America and Oregon Business Magazine: 100 Best Places to Work.

The following is the third interview of our Entrepreneurship 101 Series, featuring Kent.

What do you specialize in and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?

Since 1996, I’ve specialized in digital marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), digital advertising and social media marketing. My agency, Anvil, is one of the oldest digital marketing firms in the Pacific Northwest, with the longest track record of success.

What are your three biggest accomplishments?

I would say that my three biggest accomplishments are

1) Building and selling/merging 4 agencies over the last 22 years,

2) Creating a legacy with pdxMindShare and SEMpdx and

3) Having lunch with my idol, Seth Godin, in midtown Manhattan a decade or more ago.

What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?

I believe my focus on setting and achieving goals has been a major contributor to my success.

I’m reading Atomic Habits currently, which adds additional insight by focusing on gaining 1% improvement across the spectrum, as it creates a multiplier effect.

What do you think is the key to a truly successful business?

I believe a successful business has a few key components:

  • a core purpose and values that employees and leadership can rally behind,
  • a clear value proposition and differentiation from competitors,
  • structured approach to consistently delivering quality products/services with a sustainable revenue stream,
  • and all the necessary reporting and associated accountability to operate the business via dashboards.

What are in your opinion the main challenges of an entrepreneur?

The primary challenges faced by entrepreneurs are: focus, imposter syndrome and delegation of responsibilities.

Entrepreneurs typically get distracted by shiny objects, doubt their value (especially as they are building their first business) and wearing too many hats.

The Entrepreneurial Myth, Entrepreneur Operating System and Entrepreneurs’ Organization have all been helpful in addressing and mitigating these issues for me.

How did you overcome – or are overcoming – these challenges?

Creating dashboards that track our businesses KPIs as well as ensuring there are clear owners and goals associated with all elements of the business (operations, sales, marketing and finance) has been most valuable.

The second success point has been scheduling regular communication cadences across the organization (weekly staff, monthly 1on1s, etc.).

What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?

Don’t do it until you’re fully aware of what working ON a business entails. Most entrepreneurs fall into a business by following a passion and building the business themselves by wearing all the hats.

At some point, there is an inflection point where the founder’s value is working ON the business rather than IN the business by hiring people to take care of operational and service elements.

How can people find you?

I’m on Twitter at @KentjLewis and LinkedIn.

You can also visit our website at www.anvilmedia.com.

Do you have any app, digital course, or book you would like our readers to know about?

I teach a quarterly social media workshop for SCORE that may be of interest, and we have a ton of free digital marketing resources on our website.

I’ve recommended books and resources earlier in this interview that I highly recommend. Lastly, I’ve compiled a list of a few dozen articles I’ve written based on my experience as an entrepreneur, business leader, marketer and agency owner: What’s Your Story? Write That Book.