We’re gearing up for our big Meetup in Dallas on August 21 called The Local Social. If you haven’t gotten tickets you can get them here. In preparation for the event we’re interviewing some of the speakers that will be presenting! This week we’re interviewing Steve Floyd.
As the CEO of AXZM, Steve Floyd has worked hard to build the company he always wanted to work for. Founding AXZM in the spring of 2003, Steve has since grown his agency into one of the most recognized and trusted digital marketing boutiques in North Texas. Starting his career in the early 2000’s designing for print & web – later evolving into LAMP application development and over the last 5 years, Content Strategy, SEO & Inbound. Steve is also the founder / organizer of the Dallas Content Strategy Group and Co-Chair / Founder of SEMPO NTX.
What are you working on right now?
At my company, a lot of the same type of client projects we have become known for. Mostly mid-market to enterprise companies looking for big agency capabilities and acumen in a boutique price point – with sporadic small business and start up projects sprinkled in.
As far as what I am working on personally, that’s a secret! I can say that by this time next year (possibly sooner), we should be in a position to stop taking on clients for a while if we wanted to. I will leave it at that.
Where did the idea for AXZM come from?
To be honest it came together over time. Like most businesses, there was a lot of trial and error before we had revenue and regular referrals.
Before building and marketing websites for companies, I was marketing music events in my early to mid 20’s for a live hip hop production company I started back in 97′ called Nice People. After 4-5 years of working in live music production and marketing, sometime around 02′-03′ I came to the realization that I would never make enough money to buy a house or start a family. I came up really poor, so the drive to get out and get something of my own was always there. While doing a residency and sound at a local bar in 03′, the owner asked me to do a print and web campaign for his bar to get more customers because my night was the only night he was making money.
I had done a lot of fliers for my events and knew some other freelancers who could help me with the rest. The owner asked me what company name to put on the check and I told him d/b/a “AXZM” which was actually one of my graffiti names. I literally learned as I went, fulfilling various internet marketing and print functions myself, or by contracting with other creatives I knew from the local music scene. Google was my teacher in those early days, as the cost (and debt) of college wasn’t an option.
Needless to say, I was really sick of being broke trying to chase a dream only a handful of people half-heartedly believed in. Marketing always came naturally to me and here people were trying to pay me for it. It was a no brainer. Like so many other people in the industry, I basically used the same skill set, network and hustle I acquired in music marketing and promotions to transition into doing it for small businesses. I’m not going to act like it was all perfect though. Success is the child of failure. I refer to the first 3-4 years of my career as “Freelance Follies”. Although none of my early customers left unhappy, I was not charging enough to grow the business and I often ended up sweating out a lot of goal based work. I was still freelancing for bigger agencies off and on over that time period and even went in-house for a while in 05′ at a non-profit in Southern California when times got rough. In those days I didn’t have many peers, co-workers or mentors that offered help, I was really on my own.
By 06′ I evolved AXZM into A through (X) Z Marketing (A.X.Z.M.) and came back to Dallas to give it another try. It took a while, but things have really started to come together the last 3-4 years. To this day, our company has not taken one red penny of debt or conceded any ownership to outside investors. We got here through hard work and that is something we are all very proud of.
What does your typical day look like?