Late last year (2014) I made some pretty big decisions for my business.
Finishing my first full year working for myself, I decided to narrow my focus and go all in on what was working the best for me.
You see, 2014 was a great year and revenue came from a lot of different areas:
- Info products and training (An ebook and training like this one and the one)
- Affiliate income
There were ups and downs and I learned a lot.
I learned more in 2014 about business and myself than I did in any classroom.
I decided to go all in on Mobile Marketing Engine, my mobile marketing services company.
I had been working with a couple clients for the last two to three years but it was an area I never chose to grow, although the revenue was stable.
I really wanted to build a company solely of information products and training but, for whatever reasons, I kept thinking about services. Maybe it was my background in agencies and engaging with customers/clients to help them grow that I was missing.
Well, I declared that by the end of 2015 I’d get Mobile Marketing Engine to $20k/month in recurring revenue.
Each month I’ll be publishing a report like this one sharing my progress and my learnings along the way.
Why am I sharing this report?
There are few reasons why I’m going to write this report each month.
- It’s a way to hold myself accountable and provide a way to reflect on what I did each month to get closer to my $20k/month recurring revenue goal.
- I want to share the lessons I’m learning along the way. I know others out there want to start service businesses, not just info products and I’d like this to be a resource for them.
- I hope it serves as some inspiration to those out there trying to hit a goal of their own. Whether it’s $1k or $20k or $100k, it doesn’t matter.
- Lastly, it’s to get over some of my own fears and insecurities. This sh*t is hard, let me tell you. It’s not all roses every day. There are ups and downs and I’ll make plenty of bad decisions, but this report is going to help me learn from those mistakes and reach my goal.
I’ve been visualizing what it will be like when I reach my goal and look forward to looking back on posts like this where I was just getting started. I picture it everyday. I think it’s important to visualize not only the desired outcome but the work it takes to get there.
So let’s dive into the meat and potatoes. The below monthly recurring revenue (MRR) numbers only include revenue from Mobile Marketing Engine. This does not include the revenue I make from my other products, affiliate revenue, speaking etc.
Ok, lets dive in to Zero to $20k/month – January Report.
$1896 in recurring revenue across 4 clients / 5 locations.
We really didn’t bring any new clients on in January, which was a disappointment, but we also didn’t do much to actually bring clients on. More on that in a minute.
NOTE: We define MER as our monthly recurring revenue at the end of the month plus any one off jobs throughout the month (which we aren’t really promoting, such as mobile websites).
With the assumption that we have an average customer paying $500/month we will need 40 customers or so to get to our goal.
That’s 10 per quarter. We’re off to a bad start in regards to acquisition due to some of the things we’ll talk about in a minute.
Foundations. Fear. Follow Through
Making the transition back to services has involved some new processes, tools and tactics.
While I build out the website for Mobile Marketing Engine and merge the Mobile Mixed brand into it, I’m going to have to shift how I market and acquire clients.
While content will play a key role in building awareness and generating prospective leads, that will take some time to build up some steam.
That means I’ll be leveraging outbound strategies such as cold email, cold calls, webinars and more.
Although I was in sales years ago, I haven’t really done any selling in a while. I never considered myself much of a salesman but it’s something I’m going to be working on moving forward. At the end of the day, we’re all selling something.
I’ll tell ya—something about this outbound sales process has scared me and part of my slow start.
I’ve done a ton of research on outbound strategies which I’m now leveraging. I’ll be sharing more on my cold email / cold calling 2.0 strategies in future posts.
As a part of setting the foundations for my outbound efforts, I’m now using some new systems and tools. Part of January was getting these tools setup and training my virtual assistant, Nyle on using them.
Here are some of the tools we’re now using to help us grow the business.
We’re using Trello for project management, team assignments, our content calendar and incoming product/service requests/recommendations.
When you start cold calling and cold emailing prospects you need to keep track of these conversations. Pipedrive is a sales CRM to monitor your pipeline and help measure your incoming opportunities. I’ll be sharing more on this tool as I get more familiar with it.
This is a tool I’m really excited about when it comes to getting that “initial touch” for new clients. Getting the decision maker is super important and using cold email has already proved to be effective with identifying the decision maker and getting an initial call scheduled. I’m pumped for using Sendbloom, so I’ll be sharing more on this in future posts.
To better manage our existing customers we’ve implemented HelpScout for key communications between customers. I’m already seeing opportunities to leverage this tool even more to streamline our communications back and forth with existing customers.
I like this experience for the customers as they feel they can just reach out via email while on our end we have a full support system to manage and assign tasks throughout the team.
Like I said, I’ve been refreshing my memory on outbound strategies and resources. I’ve probably spent a bit too much time on it as I look back but I do feel better having re-engaged with others that are building agencies and service based businesses vs info products.
It’s easy to let this “research” slow you down and prevent you from taking action so be cautious on consumption of content. It can easily spiral and take you away from the very thing you should be working on. I’m guilty of this from time to time, especially when getting into something new.
One of the hardest things I’ve dealt with is that I have this feeling of “starting from scratch”.
It’s a weird feeling going back to the beginning but I keep telling myself that the last year has more than equipped me for success.
Alright, here are some of the resources I’ve found super useful are:
- Predictable Revenue: A great book recommended by Damian Thompson of Demand Genesis.
- Close.io blog: The founder Steli is a sales expert and has provided some great learnings on cold email hacks.
- Sendbloom blog: Another great resource for outbound strategies
- Alex McClafferty: Alex is the co-founder of WP Curve and I’ve had multiple conversations with him which have been extremely helpful. He is always looking to help other entrepreneurs and I’m super grateful he’s taken an interest in what I’m working on and helping me achieve my goals.
- Brian Casel: Brian runs a successful productized service business called Restaurant Engine and he’s become a friend and mastermind partner. His insights and experiences in building his RE have been invaluable.
- Groove Digital Marketing blog: Trent’s built a successful content marketing and automation agency and he actively interviews others that are growing agencies. These interviews have been massively helpful in gaining clarity on how I want to build Mobile Marketing Engine.
Some new podcasts I’m listening to:
- Startups For the Rest Of Us
- Bootstrapped Web
- Bright Ideas
- Build & Launch (although this is product focused, the concepts apply to launching anything)
I realized how afraid I was of getting back into sales.
I’m not too sure why but I definitely lost some time and held off on beginning my prospecting due to fear. It’s real and it got me good this month but as I write this I’ve gotten started and am moving forward.
My outbound efforts have already allowed me to setup multiple calls with potential customers this week.
I’m confident once I get going and gain some momentum, these fears will subside, but it definitely prevented me from being as aggressive as I should have been in January.
I feel you if you have fears and it’s holding you back from action, but you have to find a way to push through. If it’s by talking to others and verbalizing things or finding a coach/friend to hold you accountable, do whatever it takes to push through.
I’ve had multiple pep talks with myself late in the month. Although, I did have one week of vacation with Sarah in San Diego, where I didn’t work at all, I still beat myself up for not taking action. I am my biggest critic which I’m sure you may be able to relate to.
Even if things don’t start the way you want, it’s important to follow through at the end of the month. I closed January strong and got my act together by just starting.
Now I need to keep this prospecting momentum rolling.
Prospecting should be a daily/weekly activity: Between myself and my assistant we need to make this a regular activity so we can be reaching out to at least a few hundred leads a week. Over time we’ll figure out how well we convert prospects to leads to opportunities to customers.
For now, we need to be prospecting and touching ideally 50-100 new leads a day, 2-3 days a week if not more.
Cold email is effective for getting the first meeting: Cold calling can sometimes not be effective if you’re just one person. Using our cold email strategy has enabled us to contact more leads each week and coordinate a phone call with what is now a warmer and sometimes more qualified lead.
Surround yourself with likeminded people: I’m fortunate to have strong friendships and relationships with some of the top online marketers and business builders in the game. It’s been super valuable to have conversations with them now with this new direction. I get fresh perspectives that challenge me everyday.
It’s also nice to be building new relationships with people building service based businesses like Mobile Marketing Engine. Some of these new connections have already been instrumental in my mindset, clarity and game plan.
Man up: Staying focused and not letting fear be a reason for procrastination. I know I’ll have to deal with this on and off but at the end of the day…I just need to man up. No excuses and no complaining.
Want to join myself and others that are trying to reach their goals? Join our Facebook Group.
We’ve got a small community in our Facebook group where we share tips, tools, and accountability on reaching our goals whatever it may be.
Do you have questions about the Zero to $20k/month – January Report? Just leave them below.