Don’t be cheap when it comes to employee education and learning. We spend months onboarding new hires to make sure they’re at the top of their game before throwing them in the deep end.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zach Boyette.
Zach Boyette is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Galactic Fed, a fully-remote, multinational marketing agency with employees and contractors around the world. Previously, he worked at Google, Procter & Gamble, and also led the Paid Hypergrowth team at Toptal, a $1B+ startup. A big believer in remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle, Zach has traveled the world while building Galactic Fed, averaging a new city every 7 days. In the last 4 years alone he has visited 50+ countries, from western Europe to Morocco to Japan to Colombia and everywhere in between. In 2020, Zach and his Co-Founder Irina Papuc launched Galactic Good, the non-profit arm of Galactic Fed that works with partner agencies and freelancers to provide nonprofits with more affordable marketing services at scale.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
I’ve always been interested in marketing. My initial startup company couldn’t quite find traction and the right product-market fit. So, from other experiences like working at P&G, Google, and running the paid media team at Toptal, I realized my love for digital marketing. I loved working with Google ads, Facebook ads, SEO, but I wanted to do this for more people, I wanted to have a more scaled impact, and I wanted to help a lot of different companies grow.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Before founding Galactic Fed, I participating in a Remote Year program. Remote Year is an organization that helps people travel the world while they work. This experience was transformative for me because it unlocked my ability to work remotely and helped me learn the value of remote work for providing freedom, flexibility, and life happiness for people around the world, which inspired me to start Galactic Fed as a fully remote company and do the same thing for my teams.
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
The best kind of “making a difference” is when you can use a business or practical solution to also benefit those in need. Galactic Fed partners with businesses and brands to help skyrocket their growth, but we’re also able to use those same skills and strategies to scale and support organizations that are doing serious good in the world. It’s a really great application of business.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
The mission of Galactic Good is to work with partner agencies and freelancers to provide nonprofits with more affordable marketing services at scale. Our business model is that we partner with nonprofits who changing the world, we offer our expertise and digital marketing skills to grow their vision and then grow the Galactic Fed network of professionals making a difference. It’s a win for both those providing services and those receiving them.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
I’ve always wanted to create a business that has a legacy of socially oriented outcomes. I want to build things that make peoples’ lives better. It’s important to me that entrepreneurs and founders focus on building companies that have a social purpose or positive mission and can extend beyond their own product or service. I knew whatever entrepreneurial journey I was on, there would be an element of positive social impact.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
I’ve always agonized about IMPACT — making sure my career produces good things for the world, not just money. Running a digital marketing agency is the most high-impact thing I’ve ever done. We’ve helped so many entrepreneurs get their dreams off the ground, and bigger clients unlock major growth,.
When I saw just how much impact digital marketing could have on a business, it was clear that this could seriously benefit non-profit organizations. Some of which are often ignored, unfunded, or lack resources to access marketing support on their own. When we combined our successful growth marketing strategies with the desire to help companies changing the world for the better, we had really rewarding results.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
Do your research and use what resources are available to you. There are a lot of grants and scholarships available to support young entrepreneurs or those wanting to make a difference. We actually sponsor one with Bold.org called the Galactic Fed Scholarship for Young Entrepreneurs. These can really give young people a headstart and help them hit the ground running.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
As an entrepreneur, interesting things happen almost every week, but one that was definitely a learning lesson for me was leading Galactic Fed through the COVID crisis without announcing mass layoffs. It was a tense time for everyone, but we wanted to make sure our team remained as unaffected as possible. We did this by cutting the salary of myself and my co-founder, Irina to zero, paused all tech or unnecessary software subscriptions and launched an aggressive sales campaign targeting COVID-proof industries like telehealth and petcare. Because of this, we actually saw an influx of new clients and it ended up being a period of growth for the company.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
In the early stages of Galactic Fed, I quickly found that if left unmanaged, my days could end up filled with back-to-back calls, ultimately leading to unproductivity. Because of this, we implemented an internal policy that minimizes phone calls and meetings and focuses heavily on written communication. Our “no-call policy” has become an integral part of our brand and is a reason both staff and clients love working with us because it allows us to truly be most efficient we can be.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
My co-founder, Irina Papuc, is the smartest person I know and one of my best friends in the world. We bonded so much in the early days of Galactic Fed doing all sorts of zany adventures — road-tripping around Tennessee, face-timing from Brazil, plotting trips to Antarctica, biking around Chicago. It’s so important to be friends with your co-founder(s)
Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
One of our Galactic Good clients was recently able to secure Pinterest’s first-ever mental health grant in a collaborative campaign to support digital wellness and influence healthy tech consumption and effective advocacy. In essence, the campaign promotes tech hacks and digital wellness for social media users to empower healthy relationships with technology. $25,000 in ad credit was donated by Pinterest.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
1. Use whatever business skills they have for good, not just profit.
2. Lead by example and inspire their team to do the same.
3. Invest in companies that are making positive social change
Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).
1. Hire the best people, and hire them early. They’ll define your culture for years to come.
2. Prioritize your employees over your clients. We’ve “fired” several clients over the years who are a**holes to our employees, and I don’t regret it at all. I’m building this company as a safe haven for nerds like me, and nobody deserves to work with people who make them uncomfortable.
3. Remote work is the future. We’ve been able to scale insanely fast and with very smart people because we are remote. It is the ultimate job perk.
4. Religiously document everything you do. Our Galactic Fed Way blueprint is the backbone of our company.
5. Don’t be cheap when it comes to employee education and learning. We spend months onboarding new hires to make sure they’re at the top of their game before throwing them in the deep end.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
When all is said and done, people won’t remember your accolades or awards, but rather how you made the lives of other people easier. That for me is inspiration enough to make sure I go beyond myself and do what I can to make a lasting impact of positivity and goodness in the world.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I would love to get dinner with my late grandfather, Bill McNeal, aka “Wild Bill.” Wild Bill was an early travel pioneer in the 50s and 60s, traveling overland through Europe and Asia. He was an entrepreneur, comedian, and author, who gifted me his unfinished manuscripts upon his death. He inspired me to travel the world and meet people from different cultures.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!