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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

The month of August has been my best month yet with the business (ended up doing around $15.5k). I know I still have a long way to go before meeting my ambitious goals for the next business that lends itself to scaling on a massive level (as this business there is a ceiling with the current setup), but it's really been the first month since I quit my job around 3 years ago that I've been able to take a minute to appreciate the journey so far.

While it wasn't all from recurring revenue and I closed out a web design project from earlier, I did mention a yearly goal was to get to $15k+ in one month during this year. I will need to close out the last few months strong to reach the $150k yearly goal, but there's been a lot of encouraging signs and growth this year, even though out all of the chaos going on in the US here.

I think a fair criticism for progress threads like these are that they just highlight the best days and people rarely post about the tough times and challenges they run into, even if it isn't directly related to the business - so I make it a point of emphasis to touch on the positives and the challenges that come up.

Although the business has been doing great this year, the last I'd say 18-20 months have been a revolving door of health issues for me. Obviously no one is guaranteed ok health, but I feel like an old man at age 29 right now with how often I'm going from doctor to specialist to surgeon, etc and it's been difficult. It stresses me out because I know in regular circumstances I'm completely fine with the good stress that comes along with owning the business and growing that and being ambitious with my goals, but dealing with everything associated with the business growth + what seems like a full-time job with my health issues has been a real struggle.

Fortunately I make my own schedule so it isn't as a big of a deal as it was back in my corporate days, but my sleep has been a mess when I'm stressed out about some health things happening and I know I don't want to continue down this path as it's having an impact on what I can get done in a day with the business and working towards my goals.

I've never gone down the therapy route before, but I'm always someone who's believed that it could help even the most well-adjusted person who isn't having any issues, and now that the business has been doing well I'm going to take action and find a good local person here to speak with about everything that's been going on.

I don't just want to tread water and "survive" with everything that's been going on, I want to find solutions and be able to get out of my own way and keep moving forward to get towards my Fastlane goals. Updated numbers below:

2020 Revenue Tracker: $77,266.64 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $9,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

Zcott

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Congrats on the big month Dan, and for also taking a step to help your mental health. It's so easy to advocate that someone sees a doctor to speak to but when it comes to yourself it's so easy to back away.

Looking forward to see how you end the year.
 

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Love seeing your success, Dan. I could tell when we chatted that you really love what you do and are excited to go after it every day. I struggle with sleep too, have you tried yoga? That not only has helped mentally but with breathing patterns that help me fall asleep as well. Anytime you want to chat again about whatever, let me know.
 

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Hey Everyone,

I wanted to share another quick update as a follow up to my last post. I ended up finding a good therapist to speak with in the area and made an appointment right away and had my first session last week.

It was strange, I won't lie - I've always been someone who focuses on the positives/opportunities and tries not to dwell on the past for things that weren't that great back then. Either way, I was glad that I took action on it because I've been considering this for a while and am curious to see if it will help or not, but I'm keeping an open mind.

I liked the fact that this specific person I'm seeing speaks with a lot of athletes and professionals looking to basically get out of their own way and maximize their potential... that's exactly what I'm seeking as well.

On the business front:

  • A few of my clients have been sharing some feedback about the results they've been getting from the SEO work and it's been really encouraging and rewarding so far. They've been bringing in a solid amount of business and are really happy with me so that's been great to hear.
  • One of my new clients has been so happy he asked if he could move up to the next tier of SEO package so I invoiced him for the difference and signed him up on that.
  • I cut ties with my Google Ads contact as it wasn't a good fit so I need to get a new system in place to bring in leads because I don't have the time to do outreach.
  • I spent time the last few weeks coming up with different business ideas and now will focus on choosing which one makes the most sense and where I can add the most value to start pursuing that.
Also, updating the numbers below:

2020 Revenue Tracker: $81,599.97 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $9,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

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Hey Everyone,

I wanted to share another quick update as a follow up to my last post. I ended up finding a good therapist to speak with in the area and made an appointment right away and had my first session last week.

It was strange, I won't lie - I've always been someone who focuses on the positives/opportunities and tries not to dwell on the past for things that weren't that great back then. Either way, I was glad that I took action on it because I've been considering this for a while and am curious to see if it will help or not, but I'm keeping an open mind.

I liked the fact that this specific person I'm seeing speaks with a lot of athletes and professionals looking to basically get out of their own way and maximize their potential... that's exactly what I'm seeking as well.

On the business front:

  • A few of my clients have been sharing some feedback about the results they've been getting from the SEO work and it's been really encouraging and rewarding so far. They've been bringing in a solid amount of business and are really happy with me so that's been great to hear.
  • One of my new clients has been so happy he asked if he could move up to the next tier of SEO package so I invoiced him for the difference and signed him up on that.
  • I cut ties with my Google Ads contact as it wasn't a good fit so I need to get a new system in place to bring in leads because I don't have the time to do outreach.
  • I spent time the last few weeks coming up with different business ideas and now will focus on choosing which one makes the most sense and where I can add the most value to start pursuing that.
Also, updating the numbers below:

2020 Revenue Tracker: $81,599.97 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $9,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
Web design is a tough business , competition is too high , I think you have enough income to live, give time to your health to recover, money come and go , but health /youth /age is never come back , dont loose yourself for money .
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Guys,

Haven't posted in a few weeks so I wanted to update the numbers below in the tracker and to share a few updates of what I've been up to since the last post:

  • Narrowed down the next business ideas to a few different ones, doing research now to see what problems I could solve in those industries/ideas I've come up with so far to start my real Fastlane business/journey
  • I've been fortunate that currently, all of my recurring clients have been great to work with and very low maintenance (except one). There's a good chance they drop off which honestly I'd be ok with at this point, they're definitely an example of the Pareto principle where this one client is causing the majority of my headaches. It's a good learning lesson for the future of screening clients better, as there were some warning signs. It's always been a challenge for me to make sure I'm balancing my ambitious revenue goals vs. working with the right types of clients. I'll update the recurring monthly revenue if they officially drop off, right now they're on the fence.
  • Looking like Sept will be at least $13.2k or so (another $2k will be added onto that if my difficult client signs back up) so still another solid month.
  • In the works to outsource and build out a system / train someone else to do outreach for me and the business. Ever since stopping Google Ads, I haven't had the time to really build out a list of prospects so I've been relying on referrals and other lead sources, which isn't enough. Looking to spend maybe $300-400 per month to have this new team member do this for me part time (and they'll be from an international VA). I have experience from my investment banking days (used to manage teams in India) so I know how to work with employees in Asia and make sure I set them up for success.

2020 Revenue Tracker: $90,499.97 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $9,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

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@GuitarManDan Just finished reading the whole thread and wow. It's great to see how you built this up with grinding and solving one problem at a time. It is really inspiring to read threads like this where it shows you over time how it is possible to change and put yourself in better situations in life if we just get out of our comfort zone and take action.

It was really nice to have a call last week with you, a straight guy with no BS which I really liked compared to lots of other wannabee online coaching. Answered all my concerns and questions!

I wish you lots of success and lots of health! :)
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to make a quick post to update the numbers below and to share some updates of what's been going on:
  • Been wrapping up some one-off projects to close up web design projects and collect some outstanding revenue for the business and was able to pass through the $100k mark for the first time since starting this business. This is more than I was making at the old investment banking jobs, so it was a cool milestone to hit that.
  • One pain SEO client who was paying me $2k a month dropped off. There were a lot of warning signs, but I did end up getting them good results and onto the first page of Google, but just being honest, this was the exact type of client that you don't want to deal with. He was someone who thought he understood SEO but really didn't, so he'd track the rankings daily and never understand why there was volatility in the beginning. We left it on a good note though and just agreed it made more sense to stop working together in this capacity. I knew I had my work cut out with this one, as it was a high-end luxury real estate company in the US and we targeted some very competitive keywords so it was cool to take on that challenge and get him ranking on page one. This was definitely the Pareto principle in effect though where 20% of my clients were causing 80% of the headaches, and I have much more capacity to bring on new SEO clients now
  • Been getting a lot of organic leads in the door, my site ranks #1 for a few key SEO keywords and they've actually brought in some solid leads. I pitched one client for $3.5k per month to handle SEO, PPC and a few other services too so it should be cool to expand in to different services besides just SEO and web design. I'm working on getting a VA in the Philippines to do outreach for me and in the final steps now to use that to outsource my client outreach.
  • Had a great call with someone doing a very similar business to me and doing very well themselves, and learned from him that he basically doesn't do any of the work himself and acts just as sales and management. Really opened my eyes that I'm stunting the growth of my business by doing too much myself, so going forward I'm going to force myself to outsource all of the day-to-day work for the next few clients and adjust after that.
2020 Revenue Tracker: $103,833.30 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $7,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

BlackSuperman

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to make a quick post to update the numbers below and to share some updates of what's been going on:
  • Been wrapping up some one-off projects to close up web design projects and collect some outstanding revenue for the business and was able to pass through the $100k mark for the first time since starting this business. This is more than I was making at the old investment banking jobs, so it was a cool milestone to hit that.
  • One pain SEO client who was paying me $2k a month dropped off. There were a lot of warning signs, but I did end up getting them good results and onto the first page of Google, but just being honest, this was the exact type of client that you don't want to deal with. He was someone who thought he understood SEO but really didn't, so he'd track the rankings daily and never understand why there was volatility in the beginning. We left it on a good note though and just agreed it made more sense to stop working together in this capacity. I knew I had my work cut out with this one, as it was a high-end luxury real estate company in the US and we targeted some very competitive keywords so it was cool to take on that challenge and get him ranking on page one. This was definitely the Pareto principle in effect though where 20% of my clients were causing 80% of the headaches, and I have much more capacity to bring on new SEO clients now
  • Been getting a lot of organic leads in the door, my site ranks #1 for a few key SEO keywords and they've actually brought in some solid leads. I pitched one client for $3.5k per month to handle SEO, PPC and a few other services too so it should be cool to expand in to different services besides just SEO and web design. I'm working on getting a VA in the Philippines to do outreach for me and in the final steps now to use that to outsource my client outreach.
  • Had a great call with someone doing a very similar business to me and doing very well themselves, and learned from him that he basically doesn't do any of the work himself and acts just as sales and management. Really opened my eyes that I'm stunting the growth of my business by doing too much myself, so going forward I'm going to force myself to outsource all of the day-to-day work for the next few clients and adjust after that.
2020 Revenue Tracker: $103,833.30 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $7,033 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
Whoa man! That is absolutely insane and congrats on the 6 figure mark!
Your thread is really something to learn from.
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

It's been a busy month so I'll provide a quick summary of what I've been up to, what the future plans are, what challenges I've dealt with and what's gone well so far:
  • Overall Revenue Milestone - Since my last post, officially crossed the 2x mark in revenue for 2020 vs. 2019 (last year I believe I did around $54k or so). What's nice is that I know from my time in corporate America, regardless of how much I make per month, I basically spend the exact same amount so I've been saving a lot this year. I need to pick @JordanK and others brains who are experts in the real estate industry on what I should be doing with my extra savings now. I've been storing some away to combat inflation, but I know I could be doing more and I'm sure there are opportunities out there now (although I know the Phoenix/Scottsdale market has been on fire with everyone remotely working and moving to warmer climates).
  • Building Out Business Systems / Outsourcing - I hired a VA in the Philippines to help me with a system I created for outreach. It was a great learning experience and any challenges that we ran into (which were expected from my time managing teams offshore teams in my Corporate days), it helped me update the procedures I created and really fine tune my process. I'm going to keep going with this until I have enough data to compare to other outsourced outreach systems (I had a friend doing Google Ads for me with a budget of $500 per month which worked decently well). Will compare and see which one makes more sense.
  • Removing Myself From Doing the Actual Work - I've been doing this for almost 3 years now and although I've worked a lot this year on building out systems to outsource some of the work, it's time to really work to move into just doing sales/management at this point to treat this more like a real business. I've made a commitment that any new clients that are onboarded now I will be outsourcing 100% of the day-to-day work and I'll just handle client relations and sales.
  • Adding in New Service - I've been leaving money on the table, at first this became clear when I was just doing web design and added in SEO, but I know now that I should be offering Google Ads/PPC services as well and it's time to step into that. I have a lot of trusted contacts in that space that I usually just refer that out and it doesn't make sense to keep doing that. A lot of clients just may not be a fit for SEO, but I've built a large network of contacts over the last few years and I know I can grab a handful of clients pretty easily here. December will be a test run to see how that goes. I've been speaking to some experts who already outsource PPC to see which companies they use / what margins they add in for themselves.
  • Quality Leads Close to Closing - Right now seems like one of those times where sales are going to happen very soon, I'm in serious final discussions for 4-5 different prospects who are very interested in moving forward with SEO so just working on getting those wrapped up. Obviously you can never tell with timing, but I'd imagine at least 1-2 go through this month.
  • Next Business Venture - After the summit, a group of Fastlaners that I met decided to create a mastermind and it's been absolutely fantastic. Ever since February we've all had a Zoom call every other week and the progress we've all seen has been amazing. @GoodluckChuck helped me gain a little clarity around the next business venture I want to work on. Being critical of myself, I've been too involved with the current business and it's eating up too much of my time. Too much to the point where I haven't been able to actively spend time looking for needs/problems to fix. Due to this, when I set arbitrary deadlines of "new business idea to commit to by X date" then I feel disingenuous because I know I'm just forcing something that I think will make money and NOT something that solves an actual need. The solution is pretty simple to just go back to the fundamentals MJ talks about for looking for problems. I'm going to make sure that I'm setting aside time each day, and when I'm just going about daily life to be more cognizant of this. For everyone following, know the game plan is still the same - move myself away from the day-to-day of the current biz and use that to fund my expenses while I spend more of my time/effort on the business that can scale up much more easily.
2020 Revenue Tracker: $119,599.96 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $6,733 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal (Note: one client who paid monthly for a year for a website finally finished their payments for monthly rec. revenue dropped around $300 per month from that).
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to put up one final post for this year to wrap up everything around what happened this year with the business, what is currently going on, and what the plans are for the future. Besides the goal I set to hit $150k this year, I met all of my other goals (business and personal) so it's been an overall solid year, even with all of the chaos involved with the pandemic.

Although I didn't hit the $150k mark, business revenue from last year was up around 2.5x so I'm happy with the progress made, but ready to keep taking things to the next level.

Here are some notable updates and then I'll include the final revenue tracker stats for 2020 below:
  • Finally Set on the Next Business Venture: This past week and a half has probably been the most stressful time running this business for the past 3 years or so. From the recent experience of having a miserably bad client, I happened to stumble on a huge gap in a very needed service. Also, before it happened to me personally, I had never heard of these services before and the opportunity and need are definitely there. I'm going to be a bit more vague with this business, I hope you'll all understand I've seen too many stories on the forum of people ripping off businesses (because the original creator was being generous and trying to give back and went through the entire process which someone just copies). Also, fortunately I resolved the issue with this client and it's completely wrapped up so that miserable experience is over and if it didn't happen, I would still be stuck thinking of the next biz idea. One of the biggest challenges I ran into earlier this year is I was trying to force a business idea, and I wasn't actually trying to solve problems and fill needs... instead, I was trying to think of what business would scale easily and be a good fit for what I wanted (vs. what the market wanted). I'm really excited about this next venture and I know I'm going to learn a lot.
  • Actions for New Business: I ended up purchasing a fantastic domain that was way cheaper than expected (for pretty common words it was only like $10 per year... other name combinations I liked less were ridiculously expensive in the 10s of thousands range), I've put up a rough landing page so far that still needs a lot of work, but most importantly I have my first client already! Helping a friend on the forum who mentioned he could use help with my new business when I told him the plan. I'm fully going into this knowing that I don't know everything and there's A LOT of work to be done, but I know I'll find the right people and learn as I go.
  • Business Goals for 2021:
    • $250k with the digital marketing business in revenue
    • Removing myself from the business and not doing anymore fulfillment of work and outsourcing all work for new clients in 2021
    • Focus mainly on the next business venture and get this up and running
2020 has been a solid year for the business, even with all of the chaos this year and with all of my usual fun medical issues that have been coming up, but I know I can take things to the next level and keep going.

Just wanted to thank you all, this forum has been so instrumental in any traction I've gotten with my business over the past few years. Now I'm ready to take on this next business and next year!

2020 Revenue Tracker: $126,999.96 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $6,733 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

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Awesome brother, you got to be proud of the progress. Hope your 2021 shakes out even better.
 

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to put up one final post for this year to wrap up everything around what happened this year with the business, what is currently going on, and what the plans are for the future. Besides the goal I set to hit $150k this year, I met all of my other goals (business and personal) so it's been an overall solid year, even with all of the chaos involved with the pandemic.

Although I didn't hit the $150k mark, business revenue from last year was up around 2.5x so I'm happy with the progress made, but ready to keep taking things to the next level.

Here are some notable updates and then I'll include the final revenue tracker stats for 2020 below:
  • Finally Set on the Next Business Venture: This past week and a half has probably been the most stressful time running this business for the past 3 years or so. From the recent experience of having a miserably bad client, I happened to stumble on a huge gap in a very needed service. Also, before it happened to me personally, I had never heard of these services before and the opportunity and need are definitely there. I'm going to be a bit more vague with this business, I hope you'll all understand I've seen too many stories on the forum of people ripping off businesses (because the original creator was being generous and trying to give back and went through the entire process which someone just copies). Also, fortunately I resolved the issue with this client and it's completely wrapped up so that miserable experience is over and if it didn't happen, I would still be stuck thinking of the next biz idea. One of the biggest challenges I ran into earlier this year is I was trying to force a business idea, and I wasn't actually trying to solve problems and fill needs... instead, I was trying to think of what business would scale easily and be a good fit for what I wanted (vs. what the market wanted). I'm really excited about this next venture and I know I'm going to learn a lot.
  • Actions for New Business: I ended up purchasing a fantastic domain that was way cheaper than expected (for pretty common words it was only like $10 per year... other name combinations I liked less were ridiculously expensive in the 10s of thousands range), I've put up a rough landing page so far that still needs a lot of work, but most importantly I have my first client already! Helping a friend on the forum who mentioned he could use help with my new business when I told him the plan. I'm fully going into this knowing that I don't know everything and there's A LOT of work to be done, but I know I'll find the right people and learn as I go.
  • Business Goals for 2021:
    • $250k with the digital marketing business in revenue
    • Removing myself from the business and not doing anymore fulfillment of work and outsourcing all work for new clients in 2021
    • Focus mainly on the next business venture and get this up and running
2020 has been a solid year for the business, even with all of the chaos this year and with all of my usual fun medical issues that have been coming up, but I know I can take things to the next level and keep going.

Just wanted to thank you all, this forum has been so instrumental in any traction I've gotten with my business over the past few years. Now I'm ready to take on this next business and next year!

2020 Revenue Tracker: $126,999.96 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $6,733 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal

Amazing Dan.

Since we talked about it (summit mastermind group) I know what you are referring to and I think this niche is perfect for you. With your background, personality, and work approach you will crush it. Also there is massive market need and you already spotted.

Exciting times and can’t wait to see your continued progress in 2021.
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

As I start to type this out, I'm trying to decide if it would make more sense to start a new progress thread specifically for the new business, as that's my main focus these days, but for now I'll just keep everything consolidated on this thread.

Highlighting the action that I've been taking and what it's meant so far will be a bit tougher since I'm going to keep this next business closer to the vest, but here's what I've done so far:

1. First Clients - Although I've been helping out a friend on the fastlane forum as my first client, closed my first outside client today! Got started right away on the work and honestly just very curious to see how the process plays out.

With this business, once I really get my process in place, I can just focus on building out the infrastructure and scaling (and of course the challenges that come with that) but it's really set up for success if I can get past the initial hurdles.

2. Running Into Challenges, As Expected - It's funny how we've reframed the way we look at common struggles... whereas in the past I'd be frustrated with challenges, now it's making me spin it in a positive way.... difficult to do means difficult to imitate/copy. Once I really crack the code with this business (some moderate success so far, but a long way to go), it means the average person who sees this business idea can't just throw up a landing page and copy it.

3. Constantly Looking for Opportunities - Ever since deciding on this business, it's unbelievable what's been happening. My last two client meetings for SEO/web design and at a recent doctor's appointment... all three randomly brought up the specific problem that my new business is solving.

At first I was thinking I needed this perfect pitch, and instead just leveraged what I've learned running the digital marketing business and was just super honest in my early days, and that's what got me my first legitimate outside client today. I didn't pretend to be the expert, I didn't pretend to be this huge firm... I just told them you mentioned this problem, let me see what I can do to help.

4. Documenting Everything - The wins, the challenges, and everything in between... I'm documenting it all so that once I start to figure things out, I can get some quick policies/procedures to train others in so that I can start scaling things.

5. Housekeeping Items - This is the easy part since I've already done all of this for my current business, but once I land another client or two, I'll get my contract lawyer to help me draft up a templated contract for clients brought on for this new business, I'll speak to my accountant and see if it would make sense to create a separate LLC and have separate business accounts or just to merge it with the current business.

Will keep everyone posted, but it's been exciting to not have to force this idea and to know there's a huge demand from business owners in this space who need my help!
 

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Collected my first payment for the new business today! It may only be $250 but it feels amazing to know that I've proven the concept (even though there's still A LOT of work to be done). This price is way less than my competitors are charging... plan is to increase my prices asap but this was just my first client to figure out the process with a real example.

With this business model, I basically don't collect payment until I do what I promise that I will, so I successfully completed that today and sent over the invoice to the client. Next steps:
  • Find a good contract lawyer to draft up a templated contract to be used for all clients going forward as part of the onboarding process
  • Continue to work on a few more projects for a friend from the fastlane forum for this new business (as there are some differences from this client)
  • Speak to my accountant about strategy for splitting this into a new LLC and to get new biz bank accounts
  • Get a testimonial and a success story highlighted on my website
  • Now that I know I can deliver for the specific situation with my current first client, look for more of that type (with updated prices)
Will keep everyone posted. Since it was really helpful for me (from an accountability perspective) to post the revenue made last year from the digital marketing business, I'm going to track the revenue made from this second business from now on.

The digital marketing business is still going, may actually have a new $1k per month client on board, but I want to just track this new business' revenue going forward so the below tracker will just be for the new business and no other revenue streams.

New Business Goal: $250,000 in revenue in 2021

Jan Revenue: $250
Total Revenue: $250
 

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Man, I love binging your thread. Glad to hear things are looking up.

Question for you. Do you anticipate hiring staff or outsourcing the fulfillment for your agency? I prefer to hire locally, but I like hearing other agency's thoughts on it.
 

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Man, I love binging your thread. Glad to hear things are looking up.

Question for you. Do you anticipate hiring staff or outsourcing the fulfillment for your agency? I prefer to hire locally, but I like hearing other agency's thoughts on it.

Hey man! It's been a while, hope all is well on your side since I last saw you at one of the AZ meetups.

I'm currently outsourcing a decent amount of the web/SEO work for that business and I don't see myself hiring any full-time staff for that. Even with the outsourcing I'm still making solid margins and the clients I'm working with are happy and getting solid results.

Since I am still handling some parts of the work myself and obviously handling the client relationships/sales side of things, there is a cap to how much capacity I'd have to bring on new clients in this space, but the main focus this year will be the second business so it's ok if I just have a handful of clients for the web/SEO biz.

If things really pick up on the web/SEO front, I would look into other options to outsource larger components of the work and maybe even some of the communications/sales.
 

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Hey Everyone,

With how busy things have been I'm going to make it a point to at least post an update around the end of each month with the new business.

Digital Marketing Business Updates: As a quick note, I'm still keeping the digital marketing business going. I'm in a fortunate spot where I still have a lot of great recurring clients who are a pleasure to work with, and that income stream is solid while I work on this next business. The way that I see it, the digital marketing business ceiling is only so high, and the plan all along has been to use the digital marketing business to learn how to run a business / improve my skills in these areas and then leverage that to move onto something that can scale much larger.

Since I've gotten my process down and still get a good amount of referrals and such, I know that even if a few recurring clients drop off I can hustle and get a few more on the SEO side of things to pay the bills / continue to save while I grow the new business.

New Business Updates: It's been a crazy busy month, but I've made a lot of progress (and still have a long way to go). Here are some updates with the new business venture and updated numbers for February revenue:

After closing a few more clients, I took the money that I've made in this business so far and started investing in getting the foundation set up, such as (total costs for starting this business has been under $1k which is great, I didn't have any interest for now in starting a new biz with huge costs upfront):
  • Started pitching more contacts from my network that I've built running my digital marketing business (converted 5 clients so far... lots of work still outstanding/pending as I'm figuring out my process)
  • Created the LLC
  • Hiring a contract lawyer to create a contract
  • Created the business bank account
  • Created a custom payment gateway on the site to accept online payments from clients
  • Grabbed a few testimonials and success stories that I put on the site
What was fantastic is I increased my prices, and one of my clients told me "you need to charge more for this" which is always great to hear. The demand is 100% out there for this, and this is something almost no one knows about. There's still A LOT of work to figure out on my side to get my process in place.

The more hurdles I run into, the more I keep thinking that this is going to act as a natural barrier to entry for anyone trying to copy the business / my process to it's not the worst thing, but there have been a lot of challenges that I've run into so far (which is to be expected).

As I keep refining my process, I know that once I figure out a few big challenges on my side, there's nothing stopping this from being huge. Of course challenges will come with scaling as well, but it's been really exciting to know the potential here.

New Business Goal: $250,000 in revenue in 2021

Feb Revenue: $750 (+200% from Jan)
Total Revenue: $1,000
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

I'll make a point to post at least once a month on here to provide the monthly updates, but it's just been crazy busy on my side (in a good way) with both businesses.

It's a bit more challenging to post updates about this business since I'm not revealing the actual concept of it (only from reading too many horror stories of people's businesses getting blatantly ripped off haha) but the more I work on this business... not only is there more upside that I see, but the barriers to entry are pretty high with how challenging it has been.

My plan may change, but I think once it's more established I'll reveal the nature of the business, but for now I'm still going to keep that hidden for now - so I'll do what I can to give as much info as possible without giving away the business with my updates.

New Business Updates:
  • The basic framework has all been set, I had the LLC created, I had the bank account created, I set up the payment portal on my website, I had a lawyer draft the terms and conditions of working with me for this new business, but I knew there still was A LOT of work to be done to figure out and iron out my process before I could think of scaling... that was basically what happened in March. There's still a long way to go, but I made a lot of progress and have been hustling the entire month on this business and working through the challenges that come up.
  • Although March ended up being $0 in revenue, I just closed my biggest single sale for $1000 today, so April is already my best month yet only two days in!
  • In order to really deal with the challenges that I've been facing, I have a new way to pivot so that I don't run into so many issues in the future that I'm currently working on and I have a strategy in place for how I can scale this up without having to spend a crazy amount on pay per click advertising or anything along those lines.
  • I don't feel like I'm ready to scale things up yet, but being a perfectionist myself... I don't think I'll ever "feel ready" so I'm just going to go for it this month and see what happens. I'm sure more challenges/issues will be uncovered and exaggerated as I scale my operations for this business that I may not have noticed before so that will be great to keep tightening up the process.
New Business Goal: $250,000 in revenue in 2021

Mar Revenue: $0 (-100% from Feb)
Apr Revenue (so far): $1,000
Total Revenue: $2,000
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

In case anyone is wondering, I've still been running the digital marketing business as it's fantastic cashflow as I grow the next business and that's been averaging this year so far in the 10-12k per month range. I've gotten to the point where I've basically outsourced a large majority of the work for that so that I can focus on the next business and still make solid margins.

I know that I'm a perfectionist and I kept feeling like I "wasn't ready" to scale this new business up yet, but truth be told, I've proven the concept, I've gotten results for the clients I've worked with and I know enough to add value and help businesses out in this space.

It may not be perfect yet and there's still a lot that I have to learn, but there's still no risk for my clients as they only pay me if I succeed at the agreed-upon goal of this new business.

That being said, I didn't know where to start with scaling, it's already a very complex process so I was putting off training a VA or someone else when I was still learning it myself... so instead of overthinking it, I just rolled up my sleeves yesterday and spent the entire day finding leads. As it's a somewhat longer process than it is finding leads for SEO or web design, it took me about 5-6 hours to get 50 solid leads.

I've got my messaging down, I put together a quick video of FAQs for this business, why I started it, etc to send out with my cold outreach to stand out from the rest of the noise, now it's just about executing and using this small sample of approximately 50 businesses to check on:

-Open rates
-Response rates
-Conversion rates
-Success rates (for clients that I close)

There's still a lot of variables I don't know yet, but I look at it this way...

1. There's approximately 6 months left in the year, I've made $3k with the business so far and the goal is to surpass $250k so I will need to average around $41.2k per month to pass that for the remaining months.

2. Right now I'm charging about $750 per successful project for a client so that's 55 projects per month (14 per week).

3. This is a service where I can get paid for multiple projects from the same client, I'd say on average I can help them with about 3 projects per client... so that's 4-5 new clients I need to obtain each week.

4. Since this is a risk-free offer where they don't pay me anything unless I successfully complete the task that we discussed, I'd imagine the conversion rate (if I'm targeting very specifically and not just taking a scattershot approach) could be around 10% so therefore I'd need to reach out to 40-50 businesses per week to meet the $250k for this year's goal

There's still a long way to go, but when it's broken down that way it doesn't seem nearly as overwhelming. Now what isn't accounted for (yet) is the bottlenecks that will inevitably come up when I start increasing the scale of this business and start handling a huge amount of clients.

I'm going to notate every challenge I run into personally when I handle it all myself in the beginning so that I can provide training materials for VAs and other team members that I bring on as I scale this up.

New Business Goal: $250,000 in revenue in 2021

Apr Revenue: $1,500
May Revenue (so far): $500
Total Revenue: $3,000

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4. Since this is a risk-free offer where they don't pay me anything unless I successfully complete the task that we discussed, I'd imagine the conversion rate (if I'm targeting very specifically and not just taking a scattershot approach) could be around 10% so therefore I'd need to reach out to 40-50 businesses per week to meet the $250k for this year's goal
10% conversion rate seems pretty optimistic.

Assuming you get a 20-25% open rate, you'd need 50% of the people who open your email to convert. That's alot.

Not sure what your sales process is like, but the more complicated it is the lower your conversion rate is going to be.

If it was as simple as them clicking "Sign me up!" Then maybe that would be possible to get a 10% conversion rate, though it is still unlikely. But if it involves a sales call and follow ups, i would be careful of expecting such a high conversion rate.
 

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10% conversion rate seems pretty optimistic.

Assuming you get a 20-25% open rate, you'd need 50% of the people who open your email to convert. That's alot.

Not sure what your sales process is like, but the more complicated it is the lower your conversion rate is going to be.

If it was as simple as them clicking "Sign me up!" Then maybe that would be possible to get a 10% conversion rate, though it is still unlikely. But if it involves a sales call and follow ups, i would be careful of expecting such a high conversion rate.

Hey man - that's completely fair! I'm curious to see what the numbers look like since this is a completely different animal than what I'm used to (mainly because 1. there's no risk for the clients as they don't pay if I don't get them results and 2. there's no education to explain the value like with SEO as they'll know exactly what I'm referring to with this new business).

For now I figure those are just estimates and as I start doing massive outreach I'll be able to better refine my numbers.
 

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Hey man - that's completely fair! I'm curious to see what the numbers look like since this is a completely different animal than what I'm used to (mainly because 1. there's no risk for the clients as they don't pay if I don't get them results and 2. there's no education to explain the value like with SEO as they'll know exactly what I'm referring to with this new business).

For now I figure those are just estimates and as I start doing massive outreach I'll be able to better refine my numbers.
Totally, looking forward to seeing your progress!
 

MJ DeMarco

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One month later, any updates?
 

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One month later, any updates?

Hey MJ - believe it or not I ran into some more health issues that I've been dealing with so between that and working on the two businesses I've definitely not done the best job updating this thread but I have some big updates with the second business.

I'll make a much longer post at the end of this month, but so far here are the updates:
  • May 2021: $500 revenue
  • June 2021 (so far): $6,000 revenue for this new business
What changed? I was working on the process part of the business for I think too long and then instead of just rolling my sleeves up and doing the work, I was thinking huge picture of scaling like crazy but that came with issues too as I never did the work myself for more than a client or two.

I realized I was leaving money on the table and if I did a large amount of targeted outreach myself + did every part of the process, I could do a much better job of documenting challenges and nuanced issues that may come up for when I train someone else.

So I reached out to the around 50 businesses at the end of May and converted around 4-5 into clients (so far) and the great indicator for the future success of this business is that so many clients asked me to do more work for them once they realized I was legitimate.

To be honest, it's been overwhelming in a good way how crazy the potential is for this business. At the end of this month I'll do a more detailed report of what's happened so far with the business but it's been great to really pick things up from a client and revenue perspective.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to put together a quick overview for June, as it was a big month for this new business that I've been working on this year.

Ended up doing $6,500 during the month of June, and all of that was by myself (currently looking at my options for the best ways to scale this up).

If anything, it showed me the legitimacy of this business and the huge scaling potential that there is here. The profit margins are really high as well so that means I can get creative with lead generation (hiring VAs, giving commissions, paid advertising, etc).

It's a bit challenging to give more info without describing what business this is and what I'm doing, but until this is more established I'm going to keep that undisclosed for now. Updating the numbers below:

New Business Goal: $250,000 in revenue in 2021

May Revenue: $500
June Revenue: $6,500 (+1200% from May)
Total Revenue: $9,500
 

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Dan- congrats on the progress despite the health issues! Yours sound a lot more complicated/challenging than the ones I've been facing (knee surgery complications), but you've forged on despite it. Really impressive, since I've found my relatively minor issues to be very distracting, so just wanted to give you some kudos after meeting you at the Summit last year. Keep up the good work!
 

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