Josh Kilen owns two businesses: Cascade Digital Marketing and Cantonfield Publishing. While the interview focuses mostly on his marketing business, you can find his books scattered about SURGE. Check them out!
What do you do and why do you do it?
I run two businesses out of SURGE; Cascade Digital Marketing and Cantonfield Publishing. Cascade helps small businesses simplify their marketing for maximum results. We build and manage websites, digital advertising, social media, and SEO for lawyers, architects, and other professionals. We have proven systems to increase their clients and profits using the best digital tools available. Cantonfield publishes all my books. You may have seen them around SURGE Tacoma.
What was your inspiration/motivation to get started?
I have a wicked independent streak and never understood working for someone. I always wanted to work with companies, but it’s a rare business that wants that much autonomy from its employees. So, I set out on my own to start a business where I could partner with like-minded companies, helping them with marketing.
Now, I see so many small businesses that struggle to make sense of all the marketing options available. It’s overwhelming. Do you need to be on social media? How often? What about Google Ads? Or Facebook Ads? How do you know if your website is good? We handle all this for our clients and make it easy for them to get new customers, more monthly revenue, and not have to stress out over the latest technology. We just take care of it and they make money.
Who would benefit from the service you provide (your “ideal customer”)?
My customers are mainly professional services like lawyers, architects, and other high-margin businesses. I have a turnkey marketing system for lawyers at the moment that’s generating 10 times return on their marketing budget. That means if they spend $2,000 a month on marketing, they are getting $20,000 a month in fees back. I have lots of happy lawyers as clients.
Tell us about one of the biggest obstacles you have faced in your work and how you overcame/are tackling it.
Smart growth and hiring. It’s not easy building up a stable portfolio of quality clients, but persistence over time pays off. As my business has grown, so has the need for help to service my clients in a way they deserve. I’ve had trouble finding quality candidates in the past couple years but have a really good crew at the moment.
What are your hopes for your business? Where do you see it five years from now?
In the next 6 months I’ll roll out my marketing services nationally and should see exponential growth. Right now, 80% of my clients are local but the internet makes long distance relationships much more manageable. That means I can help a company in Birmingham, Alabama or Missoula, Montana just as easily as Tacoma, WA. In five years we’ll have clients in every state and mid-seven figures in annual revenue. Of course, that means tens of millions in revenue for our clients and new jobs for Tacoma, so everyone wins.
What made you choose Surge Tacoma? What has your experience been like and who would you recommend it for?
I’ve been a member of SURGE since February of 2016. I’d just spent 6 months learning to code and decided to focus on growing my business instead of finding a tech job in Seattle (and the commute that went along with that). SURGE offered a better environment than Starbucks or a coffee shop (and I could leave my laptop unattended!) as well as a permanent physical address. I started with a café membership, upgraded to a common’s membership, went back down to a café membership, then finally got an office. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had without coming to work every day at SURGE.
Where can people go to support your business?
If you’re a small business that needs marketing help, go to:
If you’re a family law firm in need of marketing, please go to
If you want to buy one of my books, you can visit
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