The Proven Entrepreneur

TPE S2 E30 | Growth Strategy


“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.


Setting a strategic plan is essential for growth in our business. Today’s guest has an interesting story of losing an award-winning agency and building it back in less than 90 days. In this episode, Scott Empringham, the CEO/Owner of Empringham Media Group, shares how his 8-Step Plan helps him rebuild his business without employees, money, and advantages. His strategies, methods, and latest A.I. Tools made that growth possible. Grab this opportunity to gain more insights and grow with Scott today! So tune in to turn that goal possible!


Scott’s committed to helping any business get customers with social media and offers a complimentary monthly workshop to share his unique story and help businesses answer three key questions: “Where do I start?”, “What do I say?”, “How do I finish everything using the latest strategies and A.I. tools in less time?” You can enroll now at:


You can also connect with Scott Empringham on these websites.








For information on how to work with Don visit Work With Don Williams

You can also reach out to Don Williams at

Please join Don and his businesses in support of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in its Mission to cure Childhood Cancers. You can donate to St. Jude at

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Scott Empringham And The $1.2MM Check

Out Of Biz To $10MM In Revenue In 90 Days

In this episode, I have a good friend and a great gentleman, Scott Empringham. He’s coming in from Orange County, California, How are you, Scott?

I’m fantastic. Thank you for having me, Don.

Thanks for coming to the show. I’ve wanted to have you as a guest for a while. I count this as a real treat so let me put you on the spot. Share one thing you’re grateful for that we don’t know about you.

I’m grateful for my son beating COVID. He just had COVID and is feeling fantastic. He’s young and strong. That’s the first top of mind. He came down with it. He’s feeling good. He got a good night’s rest and he’s healthy. Health is the key to everything.

It’s funny how people, myself included, take health a little for granted until something happens. We’re not hitting on all eight cylinders and then all of a sudden, it accelerates past everything and becomes most important. I love that exercise where they do the triangles. It’s like business, family and person, where and in which direction you are heading. I love that exercise but I always think that’s misleading because it intimates that all three of those areas are equal. When personal is the foundation and a close second is family. The business is always third. Sometimes family’s first when you’re a parent. It’s like, “I’d give anything if it was me sick instead of him.” We are happy about his recovery.

I want to offer one thing I like. I was talking to the kids and Skylar Lewis talks about faith, family, fitness and finances. I was trying to get across the idea. I love the idea of a tabletop where there are four legs to the table, all are so important and I can’t figure out which one is most important. I do know that when I’m lined up and I’m investing in each one of those legs, strengthening my faith, family, fitness, health and finances, I feel better. That’s it. I feel better when all four of those things are firing.

I’m an older guy so for a long time, I’ve always felt that as a human, we’re spiritual, physical, emotional, mental and financial people. All these different components make us up as a human. If any one of them is too far out of whack could be good. That doesn’t always have to be, “I’m short cash.” It could be, “I have buckets of cash stacked in the room and I don’t know what to do with it.” That’s equally bad. A coloring of all of those areas makes the prettiest picture. You’re an entrepreneur in digital marketing. You have several businesses but tell me, what’s your main squeeze? What’s your main business that gets most of your time, effort and energy?

My core business is helping small businesses get customers with social media faster than they ever could have imagined. With the advent of AI tools, the world has changed. Things that were once out of reach of a small business are within reach. If they’ve got the right strategies, tools and team, anything is possible. They can get further faster for free.


TPE S2 E30 | Growth Strategy
Growth Strategy: With the advent of AI tools, the world has changed. Things that were once out of reach of a small business are within reach. They can get further and faster for free now.


The game has changed. I’ve seen it amazingly true with the workshops that we do. We’ve got an online course, a coaching program and then a full-service agency. My favorite thing is putting these tools into the hands of small businesses and then watching them light up as they start to imagine and see how fast they can move for little cost. A lot of folks are firing their agencies and it’s exciting to see small businesses have these tools and take off.

I’m aware of and use AI tools that are mind-blowing. My first exposure was someone introduced me to ChatGPT. In two minutes, Google will have to buy them. The fact that this is like Google with big muscles and to say Google has little muscles. It’s unbelievable. It didn’t take me long to figure out you can get complex and it still has an answer. If you’re asking rudimentary questions, stop and start asking detailed and complex engineering types of questions because it’s got answers. That’s amazing.

I love the business that you’re in. You and I are the yin and yang. You’re all about bringing in opportunities to win business through digital marketing. In my Romancing Your Customer book, I talk about the two reasons why people don’t do enough business. 1) They don’t have enough dates, leads and a consistent stream of qualified leads. 2) They’re not a good enough dater. They have a lot of leads and dates but they can never get to a second date so they never get to walk down the aisle. Most of what I help people with is the back part. We’ve got you a consistent stream of qualified leads so how do we do things that make it easy for those people to do business with you?

I love the metaphor that you used for the date because that’s where I start with my workshop in terms of the yin and the yang. The number one mistake I see small businesses make, like corner restaurants or corner eyelashes and we’ve got attorneys in our coaching program, is they’ll ask, “How do I promote my business?” What you said is important because they’ve got to know whom they want to date and what problem they solve for that date.

What we do with the workshop is clarify who your ideal customer is and what problems they have that you can solve. We have them fill out a basic form and then that creates an output that they have an avatar that they can create emails, video scripts, landing pages, offers, social media content and ads by getting clear on whom they want to date. As younger people, we ended up with dates that we thought we might like but it turned out not good for us.

Sometimes five minutes in we’re like, “What am I doing here? How did I get here? How do I get out?” The population of the earth is seven and a half billion people and most small businesses think that their prospect pool is infinite. In reality, it’s a very finite number. I’ve been in the call center business for 35 years. When a customer comes to me and says, “I have a big list,” I’m like, “What’s that mean?”

They say, “I have 2,600 prospects.” You’re like, “That’s very small.” We have to treat them with kid gloves because that’s a pretty small number. Even our SWAT team-type call centers were small deployments but we can make up to 50,000 phone calls a day. That’s a lot of hello. If you sell bottled water, maybe seven and a half billion people are your prospects. Not everybody can’t buy it but you have a much bigger market. I’m going to take you back to young Scott. Say 5 to 18, the home that you were raised in and the man now that takes a lot of different formats but was somebody an entrepreneur?

Yes. Interestingly enough, it was my dad. When I was a young man, we grew up in Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, California. It’s a beautiful place to grow up. I thought everybody had a private beach and everything else. I was lucky. My dad worked as the CFO of a company called Rancho Mission Viejo Santa Margarita. He was building a city. During that process, I’ll never forget walking into his computer room because he was one of the first people to have a computer. On his desk, I was getting a couple of dollars for a date or something I was doing. I saw a check and it was for $1.4 million.

My eyes popped out and I said, “Dad, how did all this happen?” He said, “I’ll give you the short version. In building a city, we found out residents of that city needed to work with a mortgage company and an escrow company. They needed a cable company. We had this audience and started filling needs. We created companies to serve those people.” He talked to me about value creation, finding problems, filling those problems and solving those problems.

That’s when the light bulb went off. I was like, “I want a check for $1.2 million sitting on my counter.” He gave me that bug and fire. He also let me know that it wasn’t going to come easy. You’ve got to sweat and work for it. That was the first time that lit my imagination to think that as he walked me through that, it was a cool process.


Nothing comes easy. You have to sweat for it. You have to work for it. Click To Tweet


After interviewing about 150 entrepreneurs and several billionaires on this show, I thought initially everybody had an entrepreneurial example as a young person. After doing about 125 or 150 of these, it’s about half and half. Some did and some didn’t. I want to go back to your first childhood. Under eighteen job or you had a lemonade stand or you were an entrepreneur, that was your first gig. What was your first gig, Scott?

One of my first gigs was washing cars. I was 12 or 13. I found out that there were a lot of nice cars in our neighborhood and a lot of people needed them washed. I started knocking on doors and there was one of the first cars that I washed. I got there in the morning. He had a Porsche, which I love Porsches and he told me to come by on Saturday morning and he’ll give me $7. I came by at 7:00 in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him up so I opened up the door and rooted around looking for a key to turn it on. I found a key, put it in the lock and jammed the key in the lock. It was like a house key.

It had come off the rails but the very first job I had was just washing cars. A friend of mine told me about it. He said it’s a great way to make extra money. I could buy a bike, start to have autonomy and buy the things that I wanted to buy. One job I had when I was younger was painting stencils of addresses on the sidewalk because they would gray out or wash out over time. I did that a handful of times. Ever since I was a kid, I was interested in trying to create autonomy for myself.

You were a hustler. After your childhood, you went to MIT, back-packed across Europe and joined the Merchant Marine. What was the next step in your journey?

The next step in my journey was working with my dad and for my dad. I was dead set on being an investment banker when I was a kid because that’s where I saw a lot of his friends. He was in New York a lot but I didn’t have it. My background gravitated towards marketing. I always loved marketing, I went to work for my dad and he was a financial guy. I helped him create a newsletter.

One of the key experiences was making sure that you asked the question. Steve Jobs talked about one of his childhood experiences was picking up the phone and calling Hewlett Packard. I forget whether it was Dave Packard, Dave Hewlett or whomever it was and he got him on the phone. I had a similar experience with Dave Hewlett. I was in college before I was going to work for my dad and we were doing an assignment to find out how Hewlett Packard had been successful at retaining key employees.

On a whim, I dialed information. I got through to the receptionist and then his secretary and said, “My name is Scott Empringham. I’m a USC. We’re doing a paper on Hewlett Packard. May I speak to Mr. Packard?” She laughed and said, “I don’t know if he’s got time now.” Ultimately, she put me through. I had a great conversation with him and then I was able to walk into my class and say, “We’ve been talking a lot about Hewlett Packard and what it takes to retain key employees. I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Packard and here’s what he said.”

That was a formative experience in college that I took working with my dad. I was fearless. I started calling everybody. One of the folks I spoke to on behalf of my dad while we were marketing the newsletter was the guy who ran Mad Magazine. The publisher of Mad Magazine before he passed away, I had a great conversation with him. Working with my dad and having those early experiences, being fearless and asking for what you want, knock and you shall receive, you seek and you shall find those things are true if you’re willing to put in the hustle and work. That was a great experience working with my dad, where he would turn me loose and say, “Go get them.” I tore it up and had a great experience with that while I had a chance to work with him.

One of my businesses in the call center business is we do outbound business-to-business cold call lead generation. The people that work in that company are fearless. You can get the CEO of a Fortune 500 company on the phone but not every time. They might have three admins and sometimes the admin will giggle at you and say, “I don’t know.” It can happen. For our clients, we have gotten executives as they were on an oil platform in the middle of the Gulf, getting ready to get on a helicopter on the phone. We get a lead for the client.

The client’s like, “I am blown away.” You’re like, “Part of it is just pick up the darn phone.” In the digital world, a lot of the digital boys and girls, and I’m pretty big in digital myself, are like, “The phone is so old fashioned, antiquated and it doesn’t work.” Let me assure you, as long as people have ears and mouths, the telephone’s going to work. Video cons are better. Face-to-face, Trump’s that. If your sales crew is sending tax and emails, make one phone call and skip 500 emails. It’ll be more effective. That’s how it goes. What’s the name of your company?

Empringham Media Group.

Is that your first company?

No. Over my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve had a dozen different companies, everything from t-shirt companies when I was in college, a mining and transportation company after college, import-export when I was a young man and then ultimately in 1999, I started a digital marketing company. I grew it over 20 years with $10 million in sales. It won all kinds of awards. I worked with Fortune 50 companies. I was winning awards in Vegas to losing it all and having to get it all back. I had multiple companies, I’ve made lots of mistakes and had lots of wins and certainly learned a lot in the journey in all four areas, family, faith, fitness and finances. All four have benefited.

You had a lot of success and things that didn’t go right, which were part of the success. It wasn’t the opposite. It was part of the path. If you don’t lose, you can’t ever win. It’s part of a deal.

I had my kids memorize a quote by Marcus Aurelius, The Obstacle is the Way. You’ve probably read the book. It’s a fantastic book. The failures, challenges and setbacks that caused me to stumble were also the things that helped me learn those important lessons to benefit in the next company. Each one without fail has led me to a greater advantage. Napoleon Hill talks about it in Think and Grow Rich. Every great author, I’m sure yourself, talks about the benefits of those problems. They don’t feel like it when you’re going through it but afterwards, you can always look back at them and think of a variety of ways that they benefited you. It’s become more humble, a better ear or a better listener. There’s always a lesson there for sure.

You set up the next question so well. It’s almost like we rehearsed this, which we didn’t. You had a very successful digital marketing company. You lost and rebuilt it. I want you to share a hard lesson with our group. Something that when it happened, you were like, “Can I go on?” In retrospect, looking back, you said, “It wasn’t fun. It hurt like heck but it was good for me and here’s why.” Do you have a moment like that you could share?

I’m on stage accepting. I swept all the awards in Las Vegas. We beat Oprah Winfrey’s agency and all these different agencies. They called me the Billion Dollar Man because some of the technologies, tools and approaches we use help us sell over a billion dollars’ worth of cars for all these car companies. I returned to the office on Monday feeling like a conquering hero. When I walked into the office, I saw everybody gathered around the reception office looking blue and glum.


TPE S2 E30 | Growth Strategy
Growth Strategy: They called me the Billion Dollar Man because some of his technologies, tools, and approaches help sell over a billion dollars’ worth of cars for all these car companies.


My stomach dropped and I didn’t know what was going on. They asked me if I’d seen my email. I walked back down the hall, flipped open my laptop and there it was two of my largest companies, which were ad agencies that had lost their business, which meant I lost my business. We were at $10 million soaring to $15 or $20 million. I was sure of it. I went to the bank about 90 days before that and pulled out a line of credit and tied to my home for $500,000.

I drew down, paid the media and funded the growth. When I say my stomach dropped, my stomach really dropped. Within 2 to 3 weeks, I had to shut the doors and fire employees. The $20 million dream was down to the tubes. During that time, I was going through a divorce so you can imagine all the different stuff. Lost the business, lost the employees, lost all of my money and I had everything tied up in that.

When I shut the doors, I then got a call from the bank. They went from bad to worse. They said, “You got 90 days to start making payments.” I had no prospects, no nothing. I came back to this house and lay on the couch. I wish I could say that it was an instant that I fired up but for about the first 2 or 3 weeks, I lay there and ask myself the question, “What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of this? How’s this even possible to get out of this?”

I was 50 years old. Not only am I starting from zero but I’m starting for a negative $500,000 or losing the house. I had 90 days to figure something out. I got calls from good friends in an entrepreneurial organization to fire me up. They say, “This isn’t the end. This is the beginning of something new. It’s up to you to figure it out.” Lesson number one was taking total accountability for my situation. I blamed my partner, my ex-wife and everybody. I blamed the employees that were of a different generation than me and had a different work ethic I thought.

Lesson number one came in taking personal responsibility for my situation. I went out for a run and it hit me. My whole expertise is getting customers with social media in a short period. If I could do for me what I did for them, maybe I could turn this thing around. I ran back home, wrote down an eight-step plan and decided what tools I was going to use. I was using my phone because I had no budget. I did something that not a lot of people do on social media. I told the truth on my Facebook page, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts.

You could see a picture of me in my new office, which was wedged between two filing cabinets in my dad’s office. No desk, just my laptop sitting on my lap starting over. I told everybody I’m starting and going to rebuild. Over the next 90 days, that’s exactly what I did. In 88 days, one of my favorite pictures of all time was walking into the bank with a final check for $500,000. I paid off the entire $500,000.

I looked like death in that picture. I took a selfie but that started a couple of things. 1) It was a new era for me to take total responsibility for my situation. I was doing good before but this was the next level. 2) I was far more humbled and recognized the things I didn’t know. I took control of the things I didn’t know or moved in that direction to take more control of those things. The third thing that it opened me up to was being able to take my story and then share it with other small businesses.

I’d been used to working with the Fords, Home Depots and Chryslers. This was an opportunity to work with small businesses that I’d never done before. It gave me so much joy to be able to share some of the tools and technologies with local businesses to see them thrive. It was a real turnaround for me. It was a humbling experience, as well as certainly one of the biggest growth experiences of my life for sure through that period.

Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate that. It’s probably wrapped into that same story. My next question is what’s a warp-speed moment? Maybe not. Things are going well and all of a sudden, you make a decision or an event happens and you’re like, “Here we go.”

There are two moments using tools. One was my previous company. I’ll take it back to one of my encounters with a billionaire. I was sitting down with him at dinner in New York. I showed him my technology company and marketing services. He looked at my marketing services company where all the revenue was and he said, “I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in this technology.” I said, “Why are you interested in this technology? There’s no revenue.” He said, “There’s scale.” He wrote scale on a napkin and said, “If you could take what you do for the manufacturers and work with 2,000 dealers, that to me is interesting.”

Within about six months, we’d taken a campaign that we were working on Ford Motor Company and dropped it down to 2,000 dealers and my revenue went through the roof, smaller price point but added value to thousands of dealers every single month for a period of time. That then was a warp-speed moment where overnight, millions of dollars started pouring in. We were serving a lot of different customers and that changed my future in terms of scale. The same thing is happening by creating a little form.

I went to Global Speaker’s Academy. During that time, they had us get clear on who our ideal customers are and what problem we solve. My customers are typically small businesses. What I noticed was a lot of the folks I’m working with, there are three fundamental problems they have with regard to social media. “Where do I start? What exactly do I say? How do I say it? How do I get it produced in no time?” I’m so busy running my business, taking care of customers, my employees and all those things.

I created a form and then as we started plugging it into these AI technologies, we can take a small business and they can answer 8 to 10 questions in our workshop and then power all the AI tools, the ChatGPTs, DALL Es, the runways and create video and images. They can create months of content in minutes, not months. They can create content for pennies or free, not thousands of dollars. That moment is now and it’s happening for small businesses all around the world.

Let me urge you, if you’re a small business, don’t delay. Opportunity is a fickle suitor. It’s here for a while and then it’s gone. In my business, I’ve had clients who are like, “We’re doing so well. We’re not going to grow now. We know it’s going to work. We’re going to do it next year.” I’m like, “Don’t do that. The universe or something happens to where somebody else will by osmosis pick it up and they will harvest everything that you were going to harvest but because you waited.” Time is a killer of deals and opportunities for sure. What about a nugget or a piece of wisdom from the mind of Scott that we want to know that we don’t know?


Time is a killer of deals and opportunities. Click To Tweet


The thing that I’m obsessing about is the power of compound interest. Not necessarily the financial sense but in the book Atomic Habits, they talk about the valley of disappointment. I read another book where they talk about, “Would you rather have $1 million or $0.1 doubled every day for 30 days?” It’s an interesting question. How far could $0.1 go in 30 days if it was doubled? It turns out it goes a long way. It’s up to $5 million. There’s this idea that I was talking to my kids about this idea of having the patience to persevere through the valley of disappointment.

I work on my business and relationships, I get a lot of results and then it starts to fall off. When it falls off, that’s the difference between winning and losing. For me, that difference is persisting through that valley of disappointment. It comes in all things and it’s so difficult to navigate. Ninety-nine percent of people that don’t succeed, that’s where they quit because they say it doesn’t matter or work. It’s not going to work and it never will work. Whatever the story they’re telling themselves, that’s when they quit. For me, it’s being aware of the valley of disappointment and the benefits of that compound interest. The pennies when you stack them up, it goes like this. At the very end, that’s when it climbs. That’s the period when everybody quits, including myself. I’ve got to remind myself.


TPE S2 E30 | Growth Strategy
Growth Strategy: The difference between winning and losing is persisting through that valley of disappointment. It comes in all things, and it’s so difficult to navigate. 99% of people that don’t succeed, that’s where they quit.


Our workshop,, is all about taking that process and then onboarding people through a 90-day period. If you can get them consistent over 90 days, right around days 30, 35, 40 and 45, that’s when the valley of disappointment occurs. If we can have them stick with it through 90 days, they can achieve a lot more than they would ever imagine. Persistence and persisting through that valley of disappointment are everything to me.

That’s a great nugget. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to put you in a time machine and take you back to twenty-year-old Scott. You’re going to get about 60 seconds to share one thought that you wish you’d known then that you know now, something that would’ve helped make things easier, faster and better. Into the time machine, you go turn it back.

Don’t smoke or drink. You’re going to lose your dad because he did those things. He was sober for 30 years. He couldn’t put down the cigarettes and when he went, it was a difficult time. Put it down. You’ll be so glad you did.


Small businesses can get customers faster than ever imagined if they have the right tools, team and approach. Click To Tweet


Thank you for sharing. Scott, how can we support you?

A lot of folks say to me, “If I need to get started with social media and I don’t know where to start or what to say and how to get it all done,” I would invite them to visit me at Go there. It’s free training. It’s a great place for small businesses to get started, figure out what to say and get it all done in less time than they ever would’ve imagined. In 60 minutes, they’ll have 90 days’ worth of content, emails, ads, offers and content. It’s a great starter kit. The way to help me would be to allow me to serve any small businesses that are looking for a place to start.

I do believe that small businesses can get customers faster than they ever imagined if they have the right tools, team and approach. You can find me at If you want free training or somebody wants free training, it’s at You’ll get an idea of how to take advantage of that. We do one every month for small businesses and they’re welcome any time.

Don’t delay. The secret to success is asking for help, learning something new and taking action. It takes all 3, 2 won’t get the job done. That’s it for this episode.


Important Links


About Scott Empringham

TPE S2 E30 | Growth StrategyScott helps ANY businesses get customers with social media.For 20+ years clients have ranged from small entrepreneurial organizations to international corporations. His services include providing step-by-step growth strategies via an on-demand social media course, VIP mastermind coaching for CEOs and marketers, and full-service agency support.

Scott’s strategies and methods are proven in the toughest environments. After building an 8-figure, award-winning agency, he lost it all…and had 90 days to build it back. It wasn’t a stunt or a gimmick. But in less than 90 days, he rebuilt his business with no employees, no money, no advantages–just his “8-Step plan”, iphone, and free social media accounts. Now, Scott’s committed to helping any business get customers with social media and offers a complimentary monthly workshop to share his unique story and help businesses answer three key questions: “Where do I start?”, “What do I say?”, “How do I get it all done in less time using the latest strategies and A.I. tools?” You can enroll now at:



For information on how to work with Don visit Work With Don Williams

You can also reach out to Don Williams at

Please join Don and his businesses in support of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in its Mission to cure Childhood Cancers. You can donate to St. Jude at


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