Know Jonathan, a former actor turned SEO enthusiast
Jonathan Schlossberg is a lifelong creative entrepreneur. A former actor on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, and Entourage, he met his wife in Hollywood. Together, he and his wife dove into the world of digital marketing, founding their agency around their passion for healthy, holistic living. Holistic Made is an SEO and lead generation agency based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hey! Before we start, could you briefly tell us about yourself and your role at Holistic Made?
Hey, I’m Jonathan Schlossberg, the founder of Holistic Made. This company was started by me and my wife Sascha, she’s the Digital Strategist here. We’ll be completing 1 year in July and have had a successful 1st year as a startup.
Oh, that’s great! So what was your plan of action when starting Holistic Made and what was the idea behind this company name?
My wife came up with the name. She did a branding strategy in her last job role and that was all her. We wanted a name that clearly differentiated ourselves for our target audience.
Could you tell us more about your journey so far and how did you and Sascha get introduced to SEO?
Sascha and I were both living in Los Angeles as professional actors. I’d been there for 20 years and she’s a native SoCal gal. I was doing TV episodic but always had a survival job…which is where we met.
We ended up working at 4 places together and really enjoyed it so we always knew we wanted to do something on our own. We were 2 tests into real estate and just knew it wasn’t our jam. Then through a unique invitation, we fell into entrepreneurship via network marketing.
So, when Sascha was pregnant with our first (we now have 3 kids: Lauren 4.5, Rylan 2.5 and Katherine 6 Months) her morning sickness was so bad we started looking for ways to make money/work online, as we’d heard about it but didn’t quite know what to do.
We found a couple of opportunities went to a lot of events, which led us to our mentor, an incredibly successful internet marketer. He took us under his wing and taught us a ton!
Also, one point around 5-6 years ago, I stumbled upon SEO, which I added to my tool belt along with our other digital marketing knowledge.
So when and how did you come up with the plan of starting your own company?
About 3 years ago we started working for an independent publishing company where we launched 7-8 verticals over 18 months from sites to SEO to branding to products. It was an incredible experience.
Then last July we could see the writing on the wall and knew a change was coming. The company lost its funding, so on the same day, while Sascha was in her 3rd trimester, we both lost our jobs.
Instead of freaking out (okay, we did a little), a friend suggested that we open our agency since we already had our “niche”. We had been consulting with our Birth Center and chiropractor at the time on the side, so we sat down and figured it was time to give it a go. Which is how Holistic Made was created. We focus on a pretty specific client base: health & wellness and intentional driven companies and practices.
We are “crunchy” and intentional parents so this was a perfect way for us to serve a very specific industry (one that very much needs the guidance) and not feel like we were throwing spaghetti at the wall as we began building our agency.
When we launched, we were offering full service (see our site), but as the time has passed, we realized that’s as challenging as not being niche-specific, so we have changed our focus to SEO and lead gen. We can and will do the other work, but it’s not anything that we focus on promoting.
After this unexpected shift, did you find it tough to manage your personal and professional life?
I’m an intense kind of guy. Balance isn’t my strong suit, and bootstrapping an agency while expecting your third kid doesn’t leave any room for failure. I’d find myself working until I crashed. That’s not sustainable long term, or with a family. A few things have helped with that: hiring out the things I don’t need to personally do, and having separate business and marriage meetings with my wife. We meet on Fridays to do a business overview meeting and Sundays to do a marriage and family overview meeting. We’re in this for the long haul, and having little kids forces perspective and a degree of balance.
Being a VP and founder of a company are two very distinct roles, it must’ve been difficult for you to manage this change all of a sudden.
The change was drastic. My wife and I have worked together as long as we’ve known each other, but it was still a transition. We were tag-teaming everything from billing to onboarding to staffing to lead gen, and she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. It was hard.
How difficult was it for you to find new clients for your company?
It was easier to find clients because we’re so specific. Years ago, I’d taken a shot at just doing web design and didn’t have a targeted clientele. While I was able to find clients, it always felt like throwing spaghetti at a wall. Niching down helped give us clarity.
Was it hard for you to score your first round of funding?
We’ve bootstrapped this agency ourselves using our own funds and credit cards.
Have you ever faced a situation that forced you to question your decision of starting this company?
We’ve definitely had times where we felt we were in over our heads. Because we were coming from an employment role where our tasks were so varied, we first created the agency as a consultancy. We ran into issues with scalability immediately. We also found that there were plenty of smaller businesses who weren’t comfortable bringing on a team. Those two challenges were scary at the time but really proved to refine our messaging. We niched our offerings down to SEO and lead generation and created a DIY SEO course for small business owners. Leaning into those challenges helped create this existing agency. The alternative was finding a 9 to 5, but I’ve never had one of those and can’t imagine that working well, either.
How have you found the change?
Now that we’re wrapping up the first year, we’re more excited than ever for how we can serve our clients and build this agency. The hardest parts were really hard, and I’m grateful to be past them.