Richard Down

Downtime Digital


Location: Vernon BC Canada

Tell us about your background

Digital junkie from a young age. got started on my Dad's 'Macintosh' computer using mac paint and it was on from there. Attended film school for 3D animation which really got me heavily into digital art and 'new media' as they used to refer to it in the 90s. I started my first company right out of film school, which created 3D architectural renderings and fly through videos for real estate developers. That led to being asked to design and build websites, which along with brand design really became my focus. All these years later, I am still doing a lot of work with realestate developers, provided branding / web design and marketing services for builders and property developers.

Elevator pitch: What is your agency about?

We help businesses scale dramatically using the internet.

Where the idea came from?

I always enjoyed building beautiful sites for people, but really saw that there was a lack of people that were building really marketing focused sites that produced actual conversions and results. That and getting traffic to the sites to begin with really intrigued me. A great looking site is worthless if nobody sees it, and once you've got people there you need to be providing value, and have a clear goal regarding results that you can execute on.

What were some early challenges you faced?

Getting early clients to understand the need for a properly constructed site from an SEO and marketing objectives standpoint, and the need to invest in marketing. These challenges started to diminish when we refocused on working more specifically with Real Estate Developers and eCommerce shops looking to scale.

How much has your business changed from it’s inception to now?

A lot. When we first started out, websites were made with typewriters and were called magazines.

Tell us about your biggest failure

There have been a lot along the way, but definitely one of the biggest failures was in early 2000s when we took our first digital agency public in the middle of the dotcom boom, which of course was followed directly by the dotcom bust. It really taught me that growth for growths sake is not necessarily always the right call. Laying people off 7 at a time sucks.

What is the best indicator for you that your business is working?

Happy Clients and having to turn down business.

What is the biggest challenge you face with your business daily?

Staying on task. That and wait what?

What’s something you wish clients understood better about your business?

Loaded question, there's a bunch... We do our best work when our clients are as excited about what we're doing as we are. Growth requires budget - businesses looking to scale should be looking to put 20-30% of their revenues into marketing.

Marketing is testing and iterating.

Marketing is iterating and testing!

🙃marketing is iterating and testing


Are you marketing without Iterating and don't know why it's not working?? ....Did I mention budget?

Are there any areas you’d like to expand in over the next few years?

More focus on E-commerce - I really enjoy crushing sales for online stores. Looking at nicheing down even more in this area.

Are there any technology trends that you’re particularly excited about using in your work?

Automation...really love how many time consuming tasks are able to be automated now and it's only getting better. That and the always expanding world of analytics...

What advice would you give someone who is considering launching their own agency?

Pick a niche. This can be a difficult one, but it will make everything much more focused. This applies to both the industry you are serving, and the services you are offering. I've seen too many examples of people trying to offer all things to everyone, and as a result not being able to be particularly effective at any of them. Focus on what you enjoy and are good at.

Can you give us your best tip for making customers happy?

It's become a bit of a cliche, but always Under promise, over deliver. Don't just tell people what they want to hear, clients respect honesty, and better to tell them they will have to wait, than not tell them and make them wait.

Finally, what are you most excited about for the future of your business?

Growth, and Relationships. The last couple of years have been a real whirlwind, and I feel like we're really hitting stride at this point, both in our focus as an agency, but also in the types of clients we are getting the opportunity to work with and the results we're getting for them. I love helping businesses grow and scale and am excited to see the same things happening in our agency.

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