One could say that Archmont Consulting was born at a New Year’s party. While celebrating the New Year, 2016 Archbishop Spalding graduate Michael Bye asked soon-to-be 2017 Archbishop Spalding graduate Alex Cabrera if he’d be interested in forging a social media business with him. Cabrera was sold on the idea and a business began.
When business first started, the two didn’t have business cards, so they ripped off a piece of paper and wrote their contact information on it for potential clients. They admit the beginning stages were a bit bumpy, and after a pitch they recall as a “disaster,” they asked for critique from the potential client who kindly offered some advice. This caused them to go back to the drawing board in order to determine how to turn their idea into something they could realistically sell.
“We directed it more toward digital marketing as a whole – that means operating through Google and running ad campaigns on Google, other search engines,” Cabrera said. “Facebook is a search engine. YouTube is a search engine. Yelp. Those different sites are where people are looking for businesses. Once we directed it toward that, we’re like, ‘OK, great.’ We can pitch that for sure … but the problem was we weren’t educated.”
In mid-February, Cabrera had heart surgery and used his recovery time at home to watch videos of people who ran advertising campaigns. Bye and Cabrera also read numerous books to educate themselves on the field of digital marketing.
The business partners have found a niche in the digital marketing world by focusing on local businesses that have a lot to offer but may struggle with marketing because they lack time or digital knowledge.
“Business used to start when the client or the customer walked through the front door,” Bye said. “Now it’s starting behind the screen.”
While there are much larger companies based across the country that do marketing for local businesses, Bye and Cabrera pride themselves on their ability to focus on the communities they’ve grown up in.
“We can shake your hand. We’re not coming from New York,” Bye said. “I’d like to work with the people around here before I work with Philadelphia, before I work with Virginia.”
Archmont also offers month-to-month contracts to ensure clients are comfortable with their marketing strategy and feel they, as the client, have the option to cancel if Archmont’s service is not working for them.
As they’ve continued to grow into their roles as business owners, Bye and Cabrera have each played to their strengths – with Bye focusing on accounting and finances and Cabrera focusing on sales. Cabrera learned many of his sales practices from podcasts and audiobooks from author Victor Antonio.
Both Cabrera and Bye have entrepreneurial roots with parents who are business owners. Cabrera’s father, Juan Carlos Cabrera, who emigrated to the U.S. from Peru at 18, owns a security company and a Peruvian chicken restaurant. Bye’s mother, Kathy Bye, is an independent agent of more than 30 years at Nationwide Insurance. Archmont Consulting currently rents out a room inside her Nationwide Insurance building.
The Archbishop Spalding graduates credit their parents for investing time and helping them understand the logistics of what it takes to run a business.
“If it wasn’t for his mom and stepdad and my dad, there would be a lot of questions we’d still have unanswered,” Cabrera said. Cabrera and Bye are taking college courses on the side. Cabrera is currently taking an online course called “The Strategy of Content Marketing” through the University of California, Davis. Bye is taking courses at Anne Arundel Community College.
Although many might initially be skeptical of their skill because of their age, the two 19-year-olds haven’t let that stop them from pursuing their dreams.
Down the road, they hope to grow Archmont Consulting to the point where they have their own signage, independent office space and people working for them.
“We’d like to take this above and beyond what anyone would expect us to,” Cabrera said.