The founder of Artistic Initiative Agency and I sat in the darkness of an office on the 21st floor of Alliance Center on a late Friday night before Halloween. Through the glass exterior walls, the two of us observed the lights of the adjacent buildings of central Buckhead and the cars gliding through the highway towards Midtown Atlanta like glowing specks flowing on a dark river.
“When I began all this, I would tell myself each night that I would one day be on top of the world,” uttered the founder, breaking the silence of the room while maintaining his eyes fixed towards the city view. “And now, here we are.”
Earlier that Friday, the founder had signed the leasing to move the Artistic Initiative Agency’s Atlanta office from an enclosed space at the Serendipity Labs Buckhead branch to the main office of the same facility.
Then, after what had been another long day of work, the founder and I took a break to contemplate the nocturnal view and reflect on the explosive growth that Artistic Initiative Agency experienced over the past 11 months.
A year before, Artistic Initiative Agency was just a fraction of what it is today. This online marketing agency had started as a one-person company based in the founder’s residence in Houston, Texas. But, in 2021, the agency scaled at a staggering pace no one could have predicted.
Today, Artistic Initiative Agency is approaching with firm steps to become one of the largest marketing agencies worldwide. With two offices in Houston and Atlanta, an ever-growing list of prominent clients, and an expanding team of elite creatives, the agency has established itself as one of the fastest-growing online social media marketing agencies globally.
Even the founder has a difficult time wrapping his mind around the extraordinary growth of his company. At the end of 2020, estimates indicated that Artistic Initiative Agency would generate a moderate six figures in projected annual revenue for the following year. With a month left for the end of 2021, the agency has obliterated the seven-figure benchmark, surpassing its revenue projections by an outstanding 1,000%.
In an interview, the founder talked about these past months of explosive growth and the challenges involved. For this interview, the founder requested that his identity remain anonymous.
For Artistic Initiative Agency, 2021 had promised to be the year the agency would cross the valley of death in which most startups succumb to enter the early stages of growth. After a year in business, the founder had managed to assemble a modest team of creatives and began to formalize his company’s operations.
Different from traditional marketing agencies, Artistic Initiative Agency offered a new form of online marketing. The agency produced personalized content for CEOs and corporations, which resembles the influencer world. In early 2021, the Artistic Initiative Agency team realized that this innovative business model was their most valuable asset.
“What changed the game during the first quarter of 2021 was that Artistic Initiative Agency found its true voice,” explained the founder. “As a team, we came to understand that our market is high-end social media; we produce high-end content and do social media branding for CEOs, corporations, and entrepreneurs.”
The founder recognized that high-end content creation was his company’s unique value proposition. This approach was a revolutionary concept in social media marketing, and Artistic Initiative Agency was the head of this revolution.
Clients in the corporate world were highly receptive to the agency’s innovative proposal. In April 2021, the founder saw the need to acquire an office at the Serendipity Labs Houston Galleria branch, to accommodate his team and meet the growing demand of an expanding list of clients.
Artistic Initiative’s ramping growth received a boost from an increasing number of prominent CEOs who began to take notice of the agency’s work. The agency helped these highly established business owners generate an online audience by exhibiting their accomplishments through social media.
“This is what we do; we take entrepreneurs who are larger than life but whose social media does not reflect their success, and we use our creative eye to showcase those accomplishments, amplifying them by 10,” said the founder.
Inquiries and referrals poured over the agency like rain, and soon, Artistic Initiative Agency hit its second wave of exponential growth.
August marked the date that Artistic Initiative Agency officially expanded its operations outside of Texas into Atlanta, Georgia. After signing a set of prominent clients, the founder took the decisive leap of opening a second branch in the Peach State.
Since then, the Artistic Initiative team has found no rest. The number of inquiries and new clients has accelerated over the past weeks, and the agency’s growth has no foreseeable end.
Plenty of challenges loomed throughout this period of explosive growth. Artistic Initiative’s rise from a six-figure company to a multi-seven-figure company in a matter of months presented multiple obstacles for the founder and his team.
The founder explains that the most significant challenge of growing at such a rapid pace was expanding his team during the ongoing COVID-related labor shortage.
“We started to scale so quickly that we had to hire people at the same rate,” said the founder. “This process involved training recruits, acquiring more office space, buying more equipment, and creating the necessary processes to expand our operations.”
Matching the growing demand while maintaining the same production speed and standards of quality that had characterized the agency’s work required a team of elite creatives. Here, the founder believes himself highly fortunate for having found a group of select artists, each an expert in their own field.
“The challenges over the past year have been tough,” said the founder. “But, because we have such a committed team of experts, we can find solutions fairly quickly, start executing, and solve them easily.”
The founder recognizes that destiny smiled at Artistic Initiative Agency. In a crucial moment when the agency found its voice and broke ground in creating a new form of social media marketing, the founder stumbled upon a team of trailblazers who helped him set the parameters of this new industry.
“Everyone here is in startup mode; this is like Silicon Valley,” commented the founder.
As the end of a superb 2021 approaches, the founder is the first to recognize that challenges, far from being over, are just starting. After months of explosive growth, maintaining this momentum will require the founder and the Artistic Initiative team to climb to the next level.
Despite having already created a highly successful business model, the founder refuses to settle down. His main objective for the upcoming year is to grow Artistic Initiative Agency into a multi-eight-figure company, and he understands that reaching that milestone will demand constant innovation.
“It is not time for anybody to slow down and get comfortable,” said the founder. “The Artistic Initiative team is young, and everyone is in startup mode. To maintain the momentum is taking the company to the next level.”
In the upcoming 2022, the Artistic Initiative team is preparing to launch a series of new services and programs that will take the agency into a new growth phase.
One of the first innovations that Artistic Initiative Agency plans to release in the first quarter of 2022 is “Artistic Initiative University,” a consulting service and social media course for online marketing agencies and entrepreneurs interested in building a social-media brand.
“This program will consist of pre-recorded courses, online seminars, and live-video sessions for driven entrepreneurs ambitioning to create an online marketing agency or building social media brands. We will teach them where to start and how to organize moving forward,” said the founder about his company’s new consulting service.
The founder projects that the release of Artistic Initiative University will take place in January 2022. More than simply teaching the technical aspects of establishing an online marketing company and social media branding, the founder intends that this consulting program will be a channel that connects forward-thinking creatives and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
As someone who knows the intricacies of making a living as a content creator, the founder wants to empower driven artists by creating a community of mutual support.
“I want to create a social media community full of creatives and empower them with the right tools to help them achieve independence and success,” said the founder
Secondly, the Artistic Initiative team is in the process of finalizing the details to release the “Artistic Initiative Mastermind,” a destination mastermind focused on content creation and social media branding.
This mastermind program will not solely target creatives but also successful entrepreneurs seeking to maximize their social media presence. During these experiences, participants will travel to paradisiacal destinations to learn the strategies for building a successful social media brand. At the same time, the Artistic Initiative team will capture and curate personalized content for the participants’ use.
Finally, one last project the Artistic Initiative team aims to release by the end of the first quarter of 2022 is “CRE8R Magazine.” This online magazine will highlight the work of prominent entrepreneurs and companies and feature the latest news on digital technology, art, and the social media world.
By the end of the interview, a contagious feeling of excitement resonated in the founder’s voice. One year ago, he could have hardly foreseen the explosive growth Artistic Initiative Agency would experience.
Reaching this point was not given; the founder’s joyful eyes hide the toll of countless late nights of work over the past year.
Maintaining this momentum and taking Artistic Initiative Agency to the next level will demand an even greater amount of commitment and hard work. However, the founder and his team are eager to discover what the future has in store for this rising star in the social marketing industry.
“Our challenges have been the driving force for our success,” concluded the founder. “There are a lot of big things planned for 2022, and we are looking forward to keeping the momentum going.”
By Juan Sebastian Restrepo,