I’m just back from two weeks off work in Slovakia staying with my girlfriend’s family. This time has really given me perspective on what’s happened business-wise over the last year and what my goals and focus is for 2015. It’s also been great to have a VA doing lead gen, customer service and service delivery whilst away – this is due to having created Standard Operating Procedures for the majority of aspects of my business (more on that in a subsequent blog post).
2014 was a year of learning: how to productize services, how to automate marketing and how to sell. My income actually contracted over this process vs 2013 but I probably should have expected that from selling off all my clients, spending 3 months writing a book and closing down a small ecommerce biz.
I have no doubt that 2015 is going to be huge for me and this isn’t from over-confidence of believing in the secret or anything. Over the last 2 months I’ve created, refined and written down a sales process that my VA has been running. We’ve sent out over 1000 cold but personalised emails using Replyboss created by my buddy (and soon to be podcast co-host) Ben Perove and have achieved over 15% reply rate testing a variety of services across a number of niches from ski to social enterprises. Now I need to focus and decide what to sell and to which vertical.
2014 in review
Over 2014 my main focus was scaling snowbistro.com which I set up back in October of 2013 after attending my first ski show. As the title of the blog post shows, I was still in the picking up clients mindset, however after I had acquired a few clients again I had the realization it would be far better to standardize and productize my ski inbound marketing service offering in order to scale. I created individual products with corresponding sales pages and pricing tables and played around with pricing until I had found the best product / market fit. For example, I sold a ski SEO Audit for £750 however am selling something very close for just £40 now as lead gen for my SEO monthly recurring products (copied the approach by James Schramko from superfastbusiness.com) as have learned that in order to build a team and scale a business you need predictable revenue.
I’ve also learned that ski companies have extremely tight marketing budgets to acquire customers as the general public are always looking for the best deal which is why my monthly products have gone from as high as £1100 a month for one customer to now £249/m to appeal to the mass market. This price point works well for ski chalets and small operators and there is little friction to convert someone who is interested and I feel confident that if I focussed 100% of my time I could get 20 customers at this price point and get to £10k monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by the end of 2015 (i.e. 40 ski chalets) which would be an ok lifestyle business.
My main focus and business for 2015 is funnelengine.com which currently offers inbound (lead capture & marketing automation) & outbound (sales development) products for b2b companies, rather than b2c in the case of ski. My customers will be businesses whose customers are also businesses – as such I will be scaling a b2b2b agency. I will be revamping this entire offering into one monthly product at between $2.5k-5k/m and will be targeting sales focussed businesses with revenue between $2MM-$10MM. This will be a generic agency site and I will likely be setting up smaller sites focussing on a single niche / vertical as well.
2015 Goal & Duel
My goal for 2015 is to get to $100k/m, with the vast majority as MRR as myself and Ben Perove are launching our BootstrapDuel Podcast later this month which is a competition between us to be the first person to make a $100k month with $10k going to the winner.
The math is simple: I need 20-40 customers to hit $100k per month and *just* need to add $10k/m in pipeline in order to hit a $100k month by the end of the year. I’m aware this is super ambitious but if I were to aim for £10k/m by the end of the year that’s likely where I’d be whereas this way I have a chance of hitting multiple five figs even if I don’t make a 7 fig revenue biznass this year.