Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Phil Masiello, Co-Founder of CrunchGrowth, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I founded CrunchGrowth Revenue Acceleration Specialists as an agency to help SMBs grow their entire e-commerce ecosystem. We set up and manage their website, Amazon store, Walmart store, social media, and all components around those. Email marketing, marketing automation, short-form video, ad development, and placement, etc. Several of our clients contract with us to handle everything or just components of what we can do.

Our strength lies with consumer product companies who have a product to sell because of our vast understanding of consumer behavior. Crunchgrowth began as an e-commerce agency focused on website conversion and Amazon account optimization and management. Along with that comes ad building and management. Our clients began pushing us into other areas due to our performance. We merged with a technology company so we could offer more services around website and app development.

Next, our clients were pushing us to help with social media, above the development and placement of ads. We then merged with a social agency. Now we are doing more with short-form videos to support social and ads on multiple platforms, so we hired several talented video-focused individuals. As time goes by, we continue to expand and ad services that our clients need, with the focus being on driving conversions and revenue.

Tell us about yourself

I have been an entrepreneur for most of my life, having started my first business at 27. Subsequent to that, I founded specialty retail e-commerce brands in the food, fashion, beauty, and personal care space. Through this experience, I learned a tremendous amount about consumers and connecting a brand to the customer.

Prior to founding CrunchGrowth, I was the founder and CEO of, an E-commerce company selling high-quality American-made razors and shaving products for men and women that compare in quality to the national brands at a fraction of the price. I also co-founded Raw Beauty, Inc. with Carol Alt, which developed and marketed Raw Essentials Skin Care through its website, home shopping channels, and retailers worldwide. During this period, I also assisted Forbes Riley, Nick Verreos, and Marla Wynne in marketing their various fashion lines on HSN and Macy’s stores and outlets.

I was a founder and President of Metro Marketing; an agency focused on developing online, retail, and TV Shopping sales channels for emerging natural and organic brands. I also founded The Daily Market, a Washington, DC-based “grab and go” meal chain that was sold to a major supermarket chain.

I have an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Maryland and remain active in the university’s entrepreneurial programs and is also an active advisor and mentor to several incubators in the Baltimore-Washington market.

After I had sold, I had several companies calling me asking to consult on expanding their e-commerce businesses. I am not a consultant. I am more of a doer. So I began hiring people to help manage these various businesses, and that turned into an active agency, and we have been growing ever since. But, we are very specific about what clients we take on. We are not interested in growth for growth's sake. We want to make sure we can have an impact on sales. Too many agencies are just focused on ad placement or social management, not focusing on the returns. So we think like entrepreneurs who work on processes to improve conversions.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The ability to determine people's skills and use them to achieve their personal and professional goals as well as the company goals. We have individuals working in this company that would never have the opportunity or voice in another agency. We look beyond a resume at what the person can do, not what they have done or what their education says they can do.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Eliminating someone's job. You would like to think that everyone you hire is competent. Unfortunately, sometimes people just self-destruct, and you have to remove them from the company for the good of the other people in the company and the clients. Even though one can rationalize it and say they essentially cost themselves their job, it is still difficult knowing they will never find an opportunity like this again.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Working with entrepreneurs as an advisor, I always tell them the same thing when they want to start a business.

  1. Be prepared to pivot. The plan you think you have is going to change. So spend your time and money on what is important to achieve a minimum viable product. Take it to market and see what the consumer thinks of it. Adjust your plan and keep moving, testing, and improving.
  2. Allocate funds for marketing. Too often, we see startups spend all of their money on product development, packaging, and brand development with nothing left for advertising and marketing. How are consumers going to find your product? Just putting up a website and posting your product on social is not enough to scale or even get sales. The most important thing to show with a startup is market acceptance. Without proving that there is a market to buy your product, you do not have a business.
  3. Don't underestimate your capital requirements. Most startups fail because they are underfunded. Make sure you project on your worst-case scenario.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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