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Decided to switch over to a SaaS/SwaS business, looking for help getting started

A topic related to SAAS or APPs

BPH1994

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This has the potential to be a very long post.

Some of you may remember me from my initial post here that I made after finishing The Millionaire Fastlane . Had a lot of helpful replies and I was led to this gem of a post by @Sean Marshall . I immediately did a deep dive and completed his Clone My Business SAAS course, as well as SaaS University, which I found through YouTube in an effort to get some more insight onto how this all works without listening to some YouTube finance guru.

Those courses, in case anybody wants a reference, can be found here for Sean's, and here for the one off YouTube.

I spent most of my weekend trying to learn this stuff, and I'm excited, because I think this would be more helpful to loan officers than simply running ads, but there are also a lot of holes in my knowledge on how this is supposed to come together.

When you get right down to it, I don't know what to start building, or how to start building it.

I've launched this business twice now, using the SMMA model, so I have some limited experience with GoHighLevel and Facebook Business Manager, so I'm not totally clueless on EVERYTHING thankfully. I'm not coming in at ground zero so I do have some things in place; a business entity, a logo, a domain, social media pages for the business, a Google My Business profile, a Stripe account, a GoHighLevel phone number, etc.

Anyway, I'm experiencing a little bit of "analysis paralysis", so I tried to take some baby steps, starting with Sean's checklist which I took the time to fill out here. Listed there is a suite of offerings that I'd like to provide to loan officers that provide them the one thing they need the most, learned from my time with the first two launches - appointments with qualified homebuyers.

The problem is I'm absolutely overwhelmed by how much has to be in place that I'm not sure where to start; a built-out website, funnels for my packages, calendars for booking appointments, potentially a VSL, and automations to nurture all these sequences on autopilot, because most of this is ultimately what I'll be providing to these clients in the form of snapshots.

Now, I did ask on Reddit, to zero help, and I emailed Sean himself, but didn't want to bother him with too many messages. In his course, he advocates for tools such as UpHex and HL ProTools to take most of this burden off my hands so I can focus on selling. He also says that what he would do is try to make a sale, then turn around and find a contractor to build out the things I need to fulfill. Problem with that is I don't know how I'm supposed to sell clients a solution if I don't have that solution prepared to sell them. Beyond that, most competent contractors I see on Fiverr cost several hundred dollars just to build out a website, let alone configure automations. And I can understand why, given the complexity of all this, but at that point I'm worried about spending too much before I even have sales to prove that the market finds this useful. That said, I'm not sure how long ago Sean's course was updated since GHL has a website builder that eliminates WordPress from the equation - something he suggests users invest in as a form of getting a good website up and running quickly. As far as the technical research I've done, it seems HL ProTools could alleviate some of these issues, and I do plan to hop on a call with them, but I thought I'd ask here as well in case Sean or anybody else knowledgeable could weigh in.

Really, I just don't know where to start.

Like I said, I've launched this twice under an SMMA model, and "failed" both times. Everybody emphasizes speed, but I think part of the reason those attempts failed is because I tried to rush something out the door before I made sure I could fulfill and help my clients. Due to that, I've taken a page out of Abe Lincoln's book and want to spend more time "sharpening the axe" before "cutting down the tree" this time around.

I think this is an instance of "you don't know what you don't know", so I'm hoping somebody who DOES know can advise me on how to proceed.
 
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Paul David

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I've been using Highlevel since it was launched, I was one of the first users from the UK on the platform.

I also use Uphex and I'm familiar with HL Pro tools.

In the Highlevel facebook group have you asked if anyone has a snapshot for loan officers? I'm pretty sure there will be quite a few people who could help you with that.

Also you could ask if anyone is working with loan officers, then see if they are using a 3rd party company to fulfill the advertising side of things.
 

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BPH1994

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I've been using Highlevel since it was launched, I was one of the first users from the UK on the platform.

I also use Uphex and I'm familiar with HL Pro tools.

In the Highlevel facebook group have you asked if anyone has a snapshot for loan officers? I'm pretty sure there will be quite a few people who could help you with that.

Also you could ask if anyone is working with loan officers, then see if they are using a 3rd party company to fulfill the advertising side of things.

I'll check the link you posted and see if that group can help.

However, I'm not sure if a snapshot would be my solution. How much do you think I need to know about what I'm selling in order to sell it? I'm familiar with HighLevel, but what I'm not familiar with are the automations, which is ultimately what I think will be most helpful to the loan officer.

It's very daunting to have everything connected and working in tandem; messages from multiple sources being taken through multiple nurture sequences while also being removed from them via certain triggers all on autopilot and somehow being easy enough for the client to understand and use.

You said you have experience with HL ProTools, do you they offer any support for the user, or just for clients when they run into issues? I was looking at review videos comparing them to Extendly and growthable.

The major difficulty I'm having is that Sean's course details how to build a SAAS business, but not so much a SAAS product/service. There are plenty of ideas for what to offer clients, but I don't know how to build them, and is that something I need to learn or should I be paying somebody to do that for me? And if I don't know how to build them, do I even know what to ask them for?

EDIT: So my post to the Facebook group was quickly removed by the admins, who pointed me in the direction of a separate page to contract work...I now have several people who did see the post messaging me trying to sell their services.
 
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BPH1994

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I considered making another post about this because a lot has happened since my last message with this, but I thought it better to both have this act as a catalog of my progress and to keep from cluttering the forum.

I purchased HL Pro Tools and the SAAS Plan on GoHighLevel for $297 and $497 monthly respectively.

I spent the weekend getting onboarding, inputting values, and going through everything I needed to do to have a functional service and page, along with white-labeled support helping me along the way.

The current state of the site is here, and the page is currently live and will show updates as they occur: https://www.digitaldiamondsmedia.com/

Currently, the buildout supports ME, but I'm looking to make sure that it will be able to support any clients as well. The list of features is present on the site, but essentially the thing that mortgage loan officers need are APPOINTMENTS, not necessarily LEADS. Many of them will go through hundreds of leads to set up an appointment with somebody they can help through the loan process - something I learned while operating this under the SMMA model.

I found out through talking to some loan officer friends that what I presented sounds like a great solution, but they would also want to be able to run ads through it, so I have a call scheduled with Uphex tomorrow to see if I can use their service both for myself and for my clients. That would be a $95/mo service that would scale to a point depending on how many clients were using it.

Now, Sean's business model says to leverage software and other's skills rather than learning and doing everything yourself. So in order to help my clients the best, rather than selling something I'm not sure I can fulfill on, is to potentially purchase one of the industry-specific snapshots they supply, which is why I'm making this post mostly...to get opinions from you guys.

I had an onboarding call with HL Pro Tools, and have another one scheduled Wednesday, and was given an offer that I can't think of a good reason not to take - despite its high price tag...

Basically, I could purchase a snapshot for mortgage brokers, which they have priced at $2497, but instead of taking that on as a standalone price they would bundle it into my monthly subscription with them for a price of $2997, but I would be paying it up-front and it would cover me for the year, which does also give me 2 months free.

With this, I get two bonuses (which I can pick from here, for those curious, and I'll probably pick the No-Show VSL and Sticky SaaS offerings) and a 60-day money-back guarantee. In which case, I would be refunded the difference minus the two months worth of subscription I would have paid anyway.

This has all taken a lot longer than I initially intended, but I want to release a good product that will help clients so they will stay on board month after month, as well as "sell itself" when they see what the service does to provide them with their solution.

The plan would be then to advertise this service using Uphex and try to cover these costs as quickly as possible to reinvest into advertising and fine-tuning the service with their white-labeled support, industry-specific snapshot, and any other bells and whistles I build into it so they can be successful. One thing I will have to figure out is onboarding since HL Pro Tools doesn't cover that, but I'm sure that's something I'll learn by doing.

This is all rather expensive, and I want to make sure I'm not falling into a consumer rather than producer mindset here since I don't have any sales yet to prove the business. I understand things will break, but I'm trying to provide the best service to my clients so that the only direction this can go is up.

I've sent @Sean Marshall a couple of emails, but I'm sure he's enjoying the holiday weekend with his family, maybe he'll read this, but I'll also tag @Paul David to let me know if I'm on the right track here. Anybody else is free to weigh in, but I'd especially like the opinions of anybody currently running a successful SAAS business.

Thanks.
 
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Paul David

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I found out through talking to some loan officer friends that what I presented sounds like a great solution, but they would also want to be able to run ads through it, so I have a call scheduled with Uphex tomorrow to see if I can use their service both for myself and for my clients. That would be a $95/mo service that would scale to a point depending on how many clients were using it.

Did you specifically ask them if you could run ads through this solution and it does a,b,c and d would you pay $497 a month ?

Uphex is great and really simple to set up clients. You could probably just go to facebook ads library find 20 ads for loan officers and use them as templates inside Uphex.

Can you create your own version of this email and speak to 20 loan officers and see if they'd pay for it?

ScreenShot2015-01-05at3.55.28PM_29575.png
 
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BPH1994

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Did you specifically ask them if you could run ads through this solution and it does a,b,c and d would you pay $497 a month ?

Uphex is great and really simple to set up clients. You could probably just go to facebook ads library find 20 ads for loan officers and use them as templates inside Uphex.

Can you create your own version of this email and speak to 20 loan officers and see if they'd pay for it?

View attachment 56149

No I didn't ask them their price point.

I can create a template of that and message people on LinkedIn perhaps. I've tried cold email marketing before so I would assume if I try that my reply rate would be miserably low.

I know that getting appointments with qualified applicants is the LO's primary problem, and this would help automate a lot of their organic traffic and give them a platform to advertise themselves where they aren't beholden to a $1,500/mo retainer agency.

I'll ask some loan officers, and I have calls scheduled with these companies about implementing their products into my service, but so far does it look like I'm going in the right direction with this or do you foresee some issues?
 

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@Paul David here's the template I made and sent out:

"Hi ,

I know this might’ve seemed like a random connection, I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything or get you to opt into something.

I was hoping for your feedback on a project, since you’re my target audience, before I spend too much time building something that nobody wants.

Here’s the idea: I have software built for mortgage loan officers that can collect and nurture organic lead traffic on autopilot when you’re unavailable (texts, calls, GMB chats, etc) and can even let them book onto your calendar, all in one CRM where you can message back and forth instead of having to respond across each channel. Also, automated review campaigns for past and current clients to get you ranked higher on local searches, a simplified Facebook ad platform with proven templates that you can launch in 3 clicks and run on your own, and comes with a REAL 24/7 support team where you’re talking to actual humans to guide you through any questions or issues with the software, among other things.

Do you think features like that would help loan officers get more leads and appointments without having to pay big agency retainer fees, or is all that just a waste of time?"

It's a bit wordy but I wanted to get the full message across. I sent this to 37 loan officers in my LinkedIn network, 2 of my loan officer friends on Facebook, and another on Instagram. I have a past client I could ask as well.
 

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@Paul David here's the template I made and sent out:

"Hi ,

I know this might’ve seemed like a random connection, I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything or get you to opt into something.

I was hoping for your feedback on a project, since you’re my target audience, before I spend too much time building something that nobody wants.

Here’s the idea: I have software built for mortgage loan officers that can collect and nurture organic lead traffic on autopilot when you’re unavailable (texts, calls, GMB chats, etc) and can even let them book onto your calendar, all in one CRM where you can message back and forth instead of having to respond across each channel. Also, automated review campaigns for past and current clients to get you ranked higher on local searches, a simplified Facebook ad platform with proven templates that you can launch in 3 clicks and run on your own, and comes with a REAL 24/7 support team where you’re talking to actual humans to guide you through any questions or issues with the software, among other things.

Do you think features like that would help loan officers get more leads and appointments without having to pay big agency retainer fees, or is all that just a waste of time?"

It's a bit wordy but I wanted to get the full message across. I sent this to 37 loan officers in my LinkedIn network, 2 of my loan officer friends on Facebook, and another on Instagram. I have a past client I could ask as well.
If its too long they won't read it.

Firstly I'd probably just send an email asking for their advice on something, the majority should say yes.

When they reply send something like this:

Thanks, I've built a software for mortgage loan officers that (INSERT NUMBER 1 THING THEY WANT - if thats leads being nurtured on autopilot into appointments say that). Can also help with getting more reviews from your clients, and you can launch proven ads in 3 clicks.

Would this be helpful?

I know you want to get as much into the email as possible but if its too long they won't read it.
 
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BPH1994

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If its too long they won't read it.

Firstly I'd probably just send an email asking for their advice on something, the majority should say yes.

When they reply send something like this:

Thanks, I've built a software for mortgage loan officers that (INSERT NUMBER 1 THING THEY WANT - if thats leads being nurtured on autopilot into appointments say that). Can also help with getting more reviews from your clients, and you can launch proven ads in 3 clicks.

Would this be helpful?

I know you want to get as much into the email as possible but if its too long they won't read it.

Wanted to follow up with this.

I haven't had any where near 20 conversations yet, but I have had some responses.

The general consensus is that this looks like a valuable resource, but it's competing with CRMs and tools the LOs would already have since they're provided by the company. A lot of these people seem to want qualified leads dropped at their doorstep where all they have to do is take the application. Because of this, they value relationships with real estate agents who can offer their clientele, rather than just leads.

A workaround for this regarding advertising could be setting them up to advertise to real estate agents rather than leads with the software.

One of my good friends is an LO and told me that he would rather spend that money on improving his current referral base rather than paying for leads that might not convert. However, he thinks that newer LOs that don't have that clientele could benefit from it.

A problem seems to be that people are seeing this as just another CRM or tool to get leads, but overlooking the fact that this stuff happens on autopilot and would help them rank higher in their searches so they could get these leads without doing extra work.

It seems I have the right idea, but I may need to focus on LOs who see the value in new leads and marketing and aren't lazy and complacent with their current referral base - thinking it'll never dry up.

EDIT: And I have one person on LinkedIn disconnect from me AFTER answering my questions for a while, so that's fun.
 
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BPH1994

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@Paul David would it be a bad idea to create sub-accounts for people to test the service for free with the snapshot?

My thought process is that it would be a great way to test everything live and make sure things are working, and fix them if they aren't, before handing them over to somebody who's paying $499/month and having them get upset that not everything is as promised.
 

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Anyway, I'm experiencing a little bit of "analysis paralysis", so I tried to take some baby steps, starting with Sean's checklist which I took the time to fill out here. Listed there is a suite of offerings that I'd like to provide to loan officers that provide them the one thing they need the most, learned from my time with the first two launches - appointments with qualified homebuyers.

The problem is I'm absolutely overwhelmed by how much has to be in place that I'm not sure where to start; a built-out website, funnels for my packages, calendars for booking appointments, potentially a VSL, and automations to nurture all these sequences on autopilot, because most of this is ultimately what I'll be providing to these clients in the form of snapshots.

Now, I did ask on Reddit, to zero help, and I emailed Sean himself, but didn't want to bother him with too many messages. In his course, he advocates for tools such as UpHex and HL ProTools to take most of this burden off my hands so I can focus on selling. He also says that what he would do is try to make a sale, then turn around and find a contractor to build out the things I need to fulfill. Problem with that is I don't know how I'm supposed to sell clients a solution if I don't have that solution prepared to sell them. Beyond that, most competent contractors I see on Fiverr cost several hundred dollars just to build out a website, let alone configure automations. And I can understand why, given the complexity of all this, but at that point I'm worried about spending too much before I even have sales to prove that the market finds this useful. That said, I'm not sure how long ago Sean's course was updated since GHL has a website builder that eliminates WordPress from the equation - something he suggests users invest in as a form of getting a good website up and running quickly. As far as the technical research I've done, it seems HL ProTools could alleviate some of these issues, and I do plan to hop on a call with them, but I thought I'd ask here as well in case Sean or anybody else knowledgeable could weigh in.

Really, I just don't know where to start.

Like I said, I've launched this twice under an SMMA model, and "failed" both times. Everybody emphasizes speed, but I think part of the reason those attempts failed is because I tried to rush something out the door before I made sure I could fulfill and help my clients. Due to that, I've taken a page out of Abe Lincoln's book and want to spend more time "sharpening the axe" before "cutting down the tree" this time around.

I think this is an instance of "you don't know what you don't know", so I'm hoping somebody who DOES know can advise me on how to proceed.

You have the answers, but you are sticking to what you have been doing before, even though it failed twice. I mentioned it in your other thread: speed and rushing are two different things. Speed is "act, assess, adjust". Rushing is "Act, act, act".

You are not moving fast enough on things that matter at your stage and sabotaging yourself. What If You Already Know Enough

Stop focusing on your tools. Focus on getting your first customer, learn how to be comfortable with not having the perfect system/answer and work on how you come across. The email you drafted screams, "I don't know what I am doing, but still, please pay and trust me." hum... no.
 
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You have the answers, but you are sticking to what you have been doing before, even though it failed twice. I mentioned it in your other thread: speed and rushing are two different things. Speed is "act, assess, adjust". Rushing is "Act, act, act".

You are not moving fast enough on things that matter at your stage and sabotaging yourself. What If You Already Know Enough

Stop focusing on your tools. Focus on getting your first customer, learn how to be comfortable with not having the perfect system/answer and work on how you come across. The email you drafted screams, "I don't know what I am doing, but still, please pay and trust me." hum... no.

I have adjusted. This is a system built on a leveraged model using other people's proven systems and expertise to solve a problem I've discovered from those two prior failures.

The email I drafted isn't solicitation to get people to pay and trust me, it's feedback. For example, this probably won't appeal to loan officers that aren't buying leads because they don't value new business and would rather reinvest into their referral base - whether that's right or wrong, that is their perception of my service.

To use the analogy of What If You Already Know Enough, that kid with the lawn mower didn't know how to start a business and cold call and all that, but I bet he knows how to operate the lawn mower, how to clean it, how to fix it if something breaks, etc. I do not, I am relying on other people with way more experience than myself for that. I would have to take my lawn mower to the store and have somebody else identify the problem and then fix it for me.

Would you not agree that in order to sell something that I'd have to at least understand a little about what I'm selling? I'm asking loan officers to trust me with $499 per month to provide a software that will get them new leads, streamline their communication, and allow them to advertise without an agency.

Ultimately they want leads, because they want deals, because they want money. I doubt they care HOW that happens, so on one hand I could say "hey, if I did a rain dance once a month that magically got you 5 appointments per month would you be ok with that?" But on the other hand, if you showed up to a sales call with me and I had no social proof and didn't know how to answer all your questions, would YOU have confidence in me?

EDIT: Just for clarification, I agree with you to some extent. I'm not trying to understand the inner workings of everything these people have built for me to leverage. However, I will be responsible for onboarding my clients and for selling to them, so I think I have to understand a little bit.
 
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@Paul David would it be a bad idea to create sub-accounts for people to test the service for free with the snapshot?

My thought process is that it would be a great way to test everything live and make sure things are working, and fix them if they aren't, before handing them over to somebody who's paying $499/month and having them get upset that not everything is as promised.
Yes I would do that. As you said in your other post above you don't know what you're doing yet regarding the service.

So in your email, make it sound like you've built something new and you're looking for a loan office to test it for free in exchange for feedback.
 

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Yes I would do that. As you said in your other post above you don't know what you're doing yet regarding the service.

So in your email, make it sound like you've built something new and you're looking for a loan office to test it for free in exchange for feedback.
Since I want to give them the advertising suite through Uphex, which has a limit on the number of clients, I would just have 2 testing it; one would ideally be my loan officer friend that I used to work with via Facebook who's been giving me feedback, and the other would be my performance client that I couldn't get good leads for back when I was running this as an SMMA model.

So I'll do those while still trying to get feedback via LinkedIn messaging loan officers, but I'll learn Uphex through running my own ads on it and if I get paying clients quickly I'll just have to phase out the freebies.
 
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Since I want to give them the advertising suite through Uphex, which has a limit on the number of clients, I would just have 2 testing it; one would ideally be my loan officer friend that I used to work with via Facebook who's been giving me feedback, and the other would be my performance client that I couldn't get good leads for back when I was running this as an SMMA model.

So I'll do those while still trying to get feedback via LinkedIn messaging loan officers, but I'll learn Uphex through running my own ads on it and if I get paying clients quickly I'll just have to phase out the freebies.

You get a free trial with Uphex anyway so you should be able to test it during that. I've seen lots of people in Uphex group signing clients before their trial with Uphex ended.
 

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You get a free trial with Uphex anyway so you should be able to test it during that. I've seen lots of people in Uphex group signing clients before their trial with Uphex ended.
True, I just don't want to forget to remove excess free trial clients to test my service before the trial with Uphex expires and get slapped with 3x the price I was expecting.

They have an agency bundle that comes with tailored audiences and custom templates for your niche, among some other things. Have you found that to be worth the $299 price tag? I have a mortgage list as a custom audience when I ran my paid ads for my past model.
 

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True, I just don't want to forget to remove excess free trial clients to test my service before the trial with Uphex expires and get slapped with 3x the price I was expecting.

They have an agency bundle that comes with tailored audiences and custom templates for your niche, among some other things. Have you found that to be worth the $299 price tag? I have a mortgage list as a custom audience when I ran my paid ads for my past model.
To be honest I'm moving away from running ads for clients so the ones I get these days are recommendations, usually I try and get access from their business manager rather than via Uphex so I can stay on the lower $97 a month plan for 3 users.

I don't need Uphex templates I create my own. Ideally within 12 months all my clients will be Saas only. Although I've probably been saying that for a year.
 
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To be honest I'm moving away from running ads for clients so the ones I get these days are recommendations, usually I try and get access from their business manager rather than via Uphex so I can stay on the lower $97 a month plan for 3 users.

I don't need Uphex templates I create my own. Ideally within 12 months all my clients will be Saas only. Although I've probably been saying that for a year.

Just wanted to provide a little update.

Signed on with Uphex, and went through their entire Lead Gen U section as well as any of the other sections in HL Pro Tools' library.

As far as beta testers I had my performance client from SMMA model agree to it, but he's dragging his feet...I can't even get the guy to spend time on the app messaging support to properly attach his subdomain to the funnel so we can get A2P certified and start running everything.

My friend who is a loan officer and was giving me feedback agreed as well, but apparently he can't find an hour for me to onboard him until the end of this week, because he says he has some events with his referral base and will be on his boat...

So really I think I just need to start running the ads...Uphex's SaaS template library is quite limited, so I'm not sure how substantially I'll have to edit the templates to get them to appeal to the niche I'm targeting. I don't know if you have any experience with this or how you ran your own ads to acquire your clients that you'd be willing to share? They do have an option to commission a custom template and creatives, which I'm considering. That would cost $100. Apparently that launch bundle thing I asked you about earlier is being sunset soon in favor of their MVP program, which is $2,000 and hosted as a Skool community.

Also, I don't have a pitch deck set up for this service yet in the event somebody requests a demo. My plan would be to show them the systems in action rather than a bunch of slides TELLING them what the system does. Not sure if that's the best way to go about it, but curious what you might think on that matter.

TL;DR - Need to design an ad to start running tomorrow since my beta testers are moving too slowly. I think I need people who are paying rather than getting this for free in order to give a shit. If anybody has suggestions or experience running their own ads through Uphex with their limited SaaS template library I'd love to hear them.
 
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