Michael Mogill – Founder & CEO, Crisp Video Group

Michael Mogill is founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group, the nation’s fastest-growing legal video marketing company. He’s helped thousands of attorneys—from solo and small firms to large practices—differentiate themselves from competitors and earn millions in new revenue. Crisp has been named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies and has been awarded Best Places to Work. A sought-after speaker, Michael often presents at national conferences on innovative ways to create exponential business growth. His advice has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc., Avvo, ABA Journal, The Trial Lawyer, Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

How did the concept for Crisp Video Group come about?
Essentially, I was always an entrepreneur at heart. When I was thirteen, I worked out of my living room running my first business: a web design company. I’ll never forget how funny it was watching my mom letting my much older clients in the front door. As an adult, this drive led me first to do some marketing work for an events company, and then to an important role in a fledgling streaming-music business.

Eventually, I found the perfect balance between both my entrepreneurial side and the creative elements of my life that were near and dear to me, and I started a video marketing company.

Crisp had found some success in our early years producing video content for some major brands, but because we hadn’t defined our ideal clients, we were having trouble differentiating.

However, after working with an attorney passionate about her craft but struggling to get the phone to ring, I saw a wide-open market with a lot of passion and a pressing need, so I decided to pivot our business to focus on helping attorneys like her. We now almost exclusively focus on providing video and marketing services to law firm owners.

How was the first year in business?
The experience I had during my first year in business is an experience I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. It certainly wasn’t glamorous – I had no money, no clients, and no team. Which makes sense, because it’s hard to hire people when you have no money, and it’s hard to find clients when you have no team. I also built my business from the ground up, so I had no loans to fall back on, but I put in the work and I kept going.

What was your marketing strategy?
During the first year or so my only real “strategy” was meeting every person I possibly could. It relied solely on hustle and grit. I attended every networking and industry event, tried to meet as many people as possible, and then would call/message/email every single person who I thought might be interested in working with a person who was handy with a video camera.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Crisp has grown 200% year-over-year since our inception.

How do you define success?
For me, success is when you are engaged and fulfilled by your role. It means you’re doing things every day that align with your unique strengths while challenging yourself and continuing to push your capabilities.

What is the key to success?
The key to success is knowing yourself: knowing your strengths, your weaknesses, and your passions so you can align your role with those strengths.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
There’s always a way.

What are some quotes that you live by?
“Build and maintain a culture that rewards high-performers, and weeds out continuous, unimproved low performers.”

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

“We are kept from our goals not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” – Robert Brault

What are some of your favorite books?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Radical Candor, and Extreme Ownership.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
We were in dire straits with the company and I was hinging on one deal to help us keep the doors open. I had a great call with them, they said they were ready to move forward, and I sent over a contract.

Needless to say, I was elated. I called my parents to let them know the good news (that we’d be able to keep the doors open a few more weeks/months) and felt relief.

Later that afternoon, I still didn’t have the contract back. I never heard from that business again. It was a tough day for me, because I was starting back at square one.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I never want to live in a world where I regret not becoming the person I could have become if I had kept pushing forward.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Stop being an information consumer and start working. Stop looking for the perfect process and just start working. Work more. Work harder. Work. People always say, “Work smarter, not harder.” But the problem with that is that you can’t find ways to work smarter unless you’ve maxed out your ability to work harder. Because chances are, you aren’t doing enough.

Jason Navallo

Jason Navallo is the author of five books: American Dream, Thrive, Never Give Up, Success, and Driven to Succeed. He has an M.B.A. in Human Resource Management from Louisiana State University and lives in NYC.