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Tuff Growth

Behind the growth of Tuff, a growth marketing agency

Ellen Jantsch
January 12, 2023

Learn from our community entrepreneurs! In this interview, Ellen Jantsch shares the story of building and growing Tuff Growth, located in Eagle, Colorado, USA

  • What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

    I believe entrepreneurs and startups with unique ideas deserve access to the best growth marketers available. My passion is working with small startups led by diverse founders who are solving problems others aren’t really thinking about.

    And, I think the traditional agency model is crap. I was tired of seeing startups set back a year because they hired an agency (or in-house hire) that wasted their time and money with sloppy execution. So, I started to freelance. I got my first client (a partner we’re still working with today!), from a marketing agency that was over capacity and needed to find a home for a smaller client. They knew I could run Google campaigns and let me run with it.

    The transition from freelancer to founder was a slow one and I had a lot to learn. Being out on my own was easy and I felt confident as a one-person team. I didn’t have much overhead, I could travel, work on my time and schedule, deliver results fast, and pick and choose who I worked with. But after about a year I knew I wanted something bigger and more meaningful with a group of smart and talented people, which is why we now have Tuff.

    Before Tuff, I was a Head of Growth & Marketing for Uppercase, and previously on the marketing teams at Adaptly (acquired by Accenture) and Nielsen.

  • What’s your one biggest challenge you face and how do you overcome it?

    Being a woman and the founder of a growth marketing agency has been pretty bumpy. I’ve been really lucky to have supportive partners and mentors but it can also be lonely and isolating. You learn to get really good at being outside your comfort zone almost 100% of the time.

    One of the biggest challenges at Tuff has been building a fully remote team. This is a huge focus for us and I’ve had to systematically change the way I think about team culture and team building to get us to a place where we’re humming as a team, share values, and people are excited to log in to Slack in the AM.

  • Where can we go to learn more about your business?

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