Taking Risks and Maximizing the Rewards: The Story Behind David Riggs
David Riggs is the owner of Pneuma Media, a digital agency that turns websites into a revenue machine through SEO and Content Strategy. Instead of focusing on clicks and impressions, Pneuma links everything back to your P&L so it’s clear that their client’s investment is ROI positive
David started Pneuma in college by testing ideas with local businesses, seeing what worked and what didn’t in the website development process. His testing proved to be a beneficial lesson and it laid the groundwork for what would become the digital marketing success known as Pneuma Media.
David Riggs shares Pneuma’s success story below.
Pneuma Media’s Bootstrapped Beginning
I was always interested in online marketing, especially websites and SEO.I started by building contracts and relationships with local small businesses to test ideas. And those ideas worked. All of our initial clients saw great results and I had a small book of business while still in college. Once I graduated, I hired a few people and began using my W2 salary to fund Pnuema’s initial ascent, a scaling process that took us from roughly $5,000 in monthly sales in July of 2020 to a multi-million dollar evaluation by June of 2021.
Pneuma realized its potential in January of 2021 when I quit my job and focused full time on Pneuma Media. Today, closing in June of 2022, the company is 20+ people deep, with exponential revenue and profit growth.
David’s advice to young entrepreneurs
Learn how to “normalize” money. Money was so taboo to me in college. It wasn’t something you weren’t allowed to talk or ask about. There was no curriculum normalizing what most people make, how they spend it, or how they invest..
When I started making hundreds of thousands in a month, I really struggled to manage, organize, and stay on top of it. For a while, it burned a hole in my pocket. I simply didn’t know what to do, because no one had taught me what to do with large sums of income. My solution was to talk to trusted connections who had made millions. helped me see money in a different lens, and how to organize it and use it to my advantage. They taught me how to make my new wealth work for me so that it continues to compound as I make more. Money is a great tool but having more or less doesn’t matter, as long as you have a strategy to consistently get a return.
For those looking to start a business – the younger you are, the more risks you should take. I was 22 with 6k to my name when I started Pneuma. But at that age, what might be risky to others wasn’t risky to me. My rent was under 1k/mo, I had a dog, and that was it. I had every opportunity to take bets and make something happen.
What’s the X-factor when it comes to starting a business and being an entrepreneur?
For me, it’s simply understanding that most things are out of my hands. I am faith based through and through, and it’s a great lens to have when running a company. Failures and successes are simply part of the journey that God has laid out for me. Instead of getting upset and trying to solve them OR boasting about the successes and laying off the gas pedal, I’ve adopted the mindset of, every situation is one that’s put in front of me to learn from. If I control my inputs (attitude, demeanor, etc.), and learn as much as I can from these situations, I believe God will continually lead me to the next set of learning lessons.”
Overcoming Adversity as a Digital Marketing start up
Between experiences before college, during college, and self taught lessons via books, friends, mentors, I never really struggled with the “business strategy” side of starting a business.
Ultimately, the biggest holdups were personal. I wasn’t personally ready to run the business I wanted to run. This led me to grow quickly, and get to a point where I was mature enough to run a multi million dollar company.
Learn From & Connect With David
It’s difficult to navigate mental obstacles, but David’s story is proof that if you surround yourself with people who’ve done it before and take risks you’ll achieve your goals. To keep up to date with David and Pneuma Media, connect with him on Linkedin and Twitter.