Humans of Maryville: Maddy Agers
Humans of Maryville- Maddy Agers
Two years ago, first-year student Maddy Agers started her own marketing agency, The Digital Breakdown. Her love for writing and social media was once only a hobby, but now Agers channels her passions into her agency to help small businesses grow.
What sparked your interest in social media?
“I started writing a column for an online indie music review site when I was 13 years old. Around that time, I got involved with a co-ed branch of The Boy Scouts of America called Venturing. I started doing communication work for the Greater St. Louis Area Council that included promoting training and events. Once I discovered that I really liked it, I started incorporating social media into other programs I was involved in. My company was originally a media site promoting bands I liked for free, but it grew into something bigger than I imagined,” Agers said.
How did you come up with your business?
“After a few years of running social media for scouts, I got a car and needed to make money. I started managing social media for companies around St. Louis. My dad owns a business and had connections to people who were spending inordinate amounts of money on SEO and social media help with no results. I would go to to their office, present my social media audit, ideas that I had moving forward, and offer services for a fourth of the cost they were paying. One big passion of mine is small businesses and having that niche aided immensely in my success of finding clients,” Agers said.
What is the name of your company?
“My company is called The Digital Breakdown. I came up with the name with my dad through an online generator. It’s a marketing agency that specializes in small businesses,” Agers said
What was the process getting started like?
“Getting started was the hardest part! I was blessed to have a dad who is a businessman, so the legal parts were bearable. Going into an office and presenting my ideas to business owners was a challenge but I enjoyed it. It matured me and taught me the importance of hard work. When I buy something I’ve worked hard for, I take immense pride in knowing I earned it,” Agers said.
How long did it take to get up and running?
“It took about 3 months to get officially started. I had to learn how to gather social media information from a company without being pushy, earn the trust of their staff, and truly prove myself. The first few months were a test by my first clients to see if I was worth it, and they trusted me after that. Two years later and I still have my first clients. I charge them significantly less for believing in a high school kid to promote their company. I still can’t believe that I got those jobs sometimes,” Agers said.
How many clients do you have?
“Right now I have 3 main clients but I also have several who need me off and on so I serve as more of a resource to them. I mainly do work for an insurance, electrical, and heating and air company. I also have a PAC, non-profit, and other companies that call me on occasion. One of the best things about my job is that I learn new things every day because of my client diversity,” Agers said.
What do you do?
“Really, anything they need me to! I mostly create and post social media content, take care of their website and write content for blogs, create websites, work with Google SEO, run ads, respond to customers online and send inquiries to the office, and recently even ran a LinkedIn campaign looking for new employees. I’m open to learning anything I need to because it adds value to my skills and I know if I don’t do it, they’ll find someone else who will! That’s a perspective that drives me,” Agers said.
What would you like to see happen with your business?
“I would like to see my client base grow to the point where I could hire other people to help. One big dream of mine is to promote The Digital Breakdown as an online resource, with e-books, a podcast, and employees who specialize in different fields and can help businesses grow. I would also like to provide young people who are motivated with the tools they need to start their own company. I hope to get to a point where I can offer scholarships to college students, regardless of age. This company has been my source of income and has given me a lot of professional experience. I would hate to see others miss out on a similar opportunity,” Agers said.
Do you plan to continue The Digital Breakdown past college?
“Yes! That’s really what I started doing this for. I hope to be a wife and mom someday so I want a career that lets me do my job from anywhere, while also having a client base I can trust with companies I believe in. I plan to have this as a job for as long as I can keep it going,” Agers said.
“I chose Maryville because I felt the most welcome there. I visited colleges in Tennessee because I thought my dream was to be there, but the moment I stepped on Maryville’s campus I told my mom that this was it. I was further impressed by the kind community and was even welcomed by professors to sit in on classes. Overall, it felt right and I’ve enjoyed my time here so I know I made the right choice,” Agers said.
“I want to encourage anyone who is thinking about starting a business to just go for it. So many people tell me “Well, I hope to start this company when I finish college.” I always wish they could see themselves in a mirror when they tell me this because every time, the person’s eyes sparkle when they tell me about their dream company but fall back to sadness when they say, “when I finish college”. I can’t promise you that it will be smooth sailing to start something up, but I can promise that it will be worth it. I was 16 when I started The Digital Breakdown, and I certainly didn’t know everything about the industry — I still don’t! But I learned and grew. We all know field experience is the best experience, so go for it,” Agers said.