TMBA582: The Upwork Hustle

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Since the start of the year, we’ve been focusing heavily on stories about starting new businesses as well as what we believe are the “fundamentals” of being an entrepreneur.

When we received a video message from today’s guest, who was telling us how excited he was to finally join our private membership group The Dynamite Circle, we knew we had to hear more about his story.

In just a few short years, Sam Hill has grown his company EcomCFO to nearly $300,000 in annual revenue, and he was able to do it by straight-up hustling on the freelancing platform Upwork.

This week, we’ve invited Sam onto the podcast to share the origins of his entrepreneurial story, the nuts and bolts of how he was able to grow a business on Upwork, and some of his guiding principles for entrepreneurship.

See the full transcript below

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How Sam was able to make a detailed plan to leave his job. (5:05)
  • One tool that has Sam attributes a large amount of his success to. (10:43)
  • The steps Sam took to start a business from square one on Upwork. (15:52)
  • 8 guiding principles that Sam adheres to. (24:19)
  • How we “accidentally” started a successful productized service. (32:40)

Mentioned in the episode:

Before the Exit – Our New Book
Partner With Us
The Dynamite Circle
Dynamite Jobs
Dynamite Deals
Tropical MBA on YouTube
Post a Remote Job
Dynamite Jobs – Remote Recruiting Sales Page
EcomCFO.co
Loom
Upwork
Jim Huffman
GrowthHit
Cal Newport
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Principles by Ray Dalio
HubSnacks

Enjoyed this podcast? Check out these:

TMBA479: Quitting Social Media – “The ‘Walled Garden’ Experiment Is a Big Failure”
TMBA546: Adjusting to the ‘New Normal’
TMBA570: Productizing Your Way to Freedom

This week’s sponsor:

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Woven.

Woven is an all-in-one calendar that helps you manage and blend both your work and personal lives, enabling you to spend time on what matters the most.

With Woven you can sync all of your calendars in one place, including Google Suite and Microsoft integration, create new scheduling links from directly within your calendar, and much more.

Woven makes it easy to plan, join, and manage video events, helping you schedule with Zoom and Google Hangouts. With multiple timezone integrations, Woven is ideal for remote workers and productivity hackers.

Woven is a calendar for power users and those who are serious about their productivity, allowing you to schedule time with others and protect that precious maker time for yourself, all while giving you analytics so you can track your time and gain insights into your week.

Check them out over at Woven.com and a huge thanks to the folks at Woven for sponsoring the show.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Dan & Ian


Full Transcript

Sam: It’s grinding through the 20 proposals every single week. I had the sticky apps on my MacBook on the left side of my screen, and every Sunday reset it to 20, and I didn’t allow myself to go out with friends or whatever until that number was zero at the end of the week.

Dan: Happy Thursday morning. Welcome back to the podcast. stick around to the end of this one, I’m going to try and share more sort of day to day business learnings. So I have a little tip about productizing done for you services and how that’s working out for us and one of our current businesses. But today is an interesting episode for you guys, we are pretty public about our email addresses. And over the years, we’ve had ambivalent relationships to email volume and how much time to spend on it, and so on. But the reality is, is having that open front door sometimes a pearl drops in their or into the team Slack channel. And so it was with today’s guests, who sent us a very cool loom video saying how excited he was to finally join the dynamite circle after years of listening to this very podcast while at a corporate job. And to cap it all off, he’s just moved to the very fine city of Austin, Texas.

So, I thought it would be cool to give them a call. Because the theme of these early 2021 episodes has been getting started as an entrepreneur, we thought why not invite that person, his name is Sam Hill, on the pod to share the precise steps he made to make that transaction. When you got an idea in your head that maybe what you’re doing isn’t quite right for you. How do you make that transition to running the type of business that you imagine in your mind? And it turned out to be a really interesting story involving lots of other loom videos, some hardcore Upwork hustle, which I think is a really interesting strategy and something we’re particularly interested in because we hope people will someday do similar hustles on our very own job board dynamite jobs. And honestly, if you’re just looking for inspiration from an awesome guy, today’s show is full of actionable insights. So let’s get started with Sam’s story sitting in that place familiar to so many of us at the desk of a well paid, but deeply unsatisfying, J-O-B

Sam: So five years ago, I was working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their mergers and acquisition consulting practice. I’d gone to business school, spent 100 k on your MBA, I went to Vanderbilt Nashville, had an incredible time for two years. The money is great for graduating MBA students. I mean, I was 27, 28 at the time. And then six months in, I just knew that this was not for me

Dan: Why?

Sam: I personally think I’ve always had this innate sense that I wasn’t going to be truly happy unless I owned my own business that I was fully responsible for my own destiny. I remember, when I was like eight years old, when most people were cutting yards, I was doing the same thing. But I wrote this, like a 10-page point system, and distributed it to everybody in my neighborhood. And of course, you know, no one responded, because I was, you know, eight or 10 years old, had written this, this whole plan that made absolutely no sense. But you know, if you got enough rewards, then you got a free cut or free like bush trimming or weeding or whatever. And I kind of think back on those little moments here and there. But yeah, so I was at PWC. And, you know, frankly, one of the things that got me over the hump was the TropicalMBA podcast. Seriously, I was around a lot of people that were always in the corporate environment and just interested in being partners at the firm. That just did not appeal to me. In a lot of ways, I felt alone, like none of my close friends were entrepreneurs, a couple of them have since become that. And so I started planning my exit. I got a life coach because I didn’t really know what else to do. So every Friday on my walk to work, I was living in Atlanta at the time, we would chat. And I created this whole Google Sheet with a step by step plan of like, ‘Well, here is the date, you need to sell your car, here’s the date, you need to create your Upwork profile, here’s the date, like, you probably need to tell your parents that you’re going to move abroad’, like all these different steps, and that made it seem so much more tangible once I got that on paper, so I ended up staying at the firm for two years,

Dan: What’s remarkable about what you’re laying out here is that you, I mean, on the one hand, you can say, oh, you’re super capable, you’re smart, you’re just gonna walk out the second base, you’re going to be fine. But on the other hand, you can say, there’s a popular thinking that suggests, well, you’re making a lot of money, you’ve already invested in this career, you got a bunch of friends who are buying houses and driving Audis and all this kind of stuff. And it’s like, that’s kind of hard to like, basically, say, I’m gonna like go against all this and work for many years, and probably be a lot broker.

Sam: I am looking at my Google Sheet, and the first bullet point is the hardest hurdle. And the first sub-bullet is complacency. I think at the end of the day, it’s all about pain. And the pain for me is like, Alright, well, when I’m 90 years old, am I going to be, you know, talking to my grandkids? About ‘Oh, that like, you know, slowly progressed through the firm? And I made it?’ Or am I going to be able to say, No, I’m, like, super proud of that I progressed through all this and went through that hardship to get to this point, whatever that point ends up being? But I think most importantly, it’s just kind of finding your why. Whether it’s, you know, is it to spite a girl, is it that you just want extra cash,

Dan: Was it to spite a girl in your case?

Sam: So I knew that you’re going to ask me what my why’s were. And the three that I wrote down are, ‘My 85-year-old self, a few women that broke my heart. And the deep sense that I would never be happy until I owned my own business’. Those have really been three whys. But the important thing too is it doesn’t have to be the same why at all times. The women that broke your heart, can take you for a few months, and then that’ll fizzle out and you need to find something else. Doesn’t matter. There are too many y’s out there. You just need to find yours and embrace that.

Dan: Now, doing worry, we’re going to fill in the very practical dots about how Sam moved on from the ‘whys’ into the ‘hows’ but I asked him first to fill us in about the current business he’s building, which is about 2 years old:

Sam: The name of the business is E Comm. CFO. We have a handful of clients that we service in a lot of different ways. We deliver outsourced CFO and financial operations to e-commerce brands. That’s what the business and tagline are today.

Dan: Can you give me a hard sales pitch for why listeners to the show want to use your service? Or who would it be good for?

Sam: There’s are many other outsourced CFO and bookkeeping companies out there. And not to say that some of them don’t do a great job. But the deeper I go into the e-commerce niche, the more validation that we’ve gotten from the market, there are very few firms exclusively focused on e-commerce, like there are some highbrow firms that have like a SasS department and an e-commerce department and like a services department and all that. But I’ve decided to niche down as much as possible, and solely focus on e-commerce. Last year, we did almost $300,000 in revenue. So I am trying to build and this is, again, why I’m so thankful for the podcast, but you had Jim Huffman on, And I was in my car, and I thought, ‘Oh, holy shit. I have to talk to Jim Huffman’. I’m serious, he and I have kind of similar backgrounds, and that he was an investment banker. I was in consulting, he was looking around the room going, ‘I don’t want to do this’. And I want to be the actual entrepreneur and not the person selling the thing. And his business model GrowthHit, the way in which he’s building it is exactly what I want in two years.

Dan: I just want to warp in here to say that Jim Hoffman, who was recently on the show found a growth hit which is sufficient As an agency that performs data-driven growth experiments for Shopify e-commerce, SaaS, and lead generation companies, of course, we’ll link up to that episode in the show notes. Now back to Sam.

Sam: that has become the model. And it was the day after that podcast, I cold emailed him and sent him a Loom video. Because I cannot recommend Loom enough. I can probably attribute at least $150,000 of revenue to that single tool. It grabs people’s attention.

Dan: How do you use it? Help me make money, help us all make money with Loom right now?

Sam: Well, let’s take sales out of it for a second. And just operationally, you know, everybody hates meetings. No one’s listening. Everyone is doing other stuff, especially because everyone’s remote blah, blah, blah. The asynchronous communication ability with Loom for me to be able to record and pack in directions information, anything to my team, or to a current client is incredible. And it’s a huge time saver. I mean, I’m from Alabama, sometimes I asked them to watch it at 1.5 because I talk really slow. But yeah, that’s the operation side. So that’s been absolutely massive. But the other side has been sales and sending loom videos to prospective clients to give yourself just a personal touch and be able to make it as close to face to face interaction as humanly possible. Again, has changed the game for me.

Dan: The bottom line is like I’m thinking about how I might use it, say a DJ, as someone sends me over an inquiry that’s like, Hey, I’m looking for a marketing manager like in you know, Estonia is Is that something you can help with? And like, rather than responding and saying, hey, sure, I can help out here like, you know, schedule a meeting or whatever, I respond with a Loom video saying, Hey, you know, I’ve hired two people in Estonia before, like, you know, here’s our process, you’re gonna we’re gonna hand you off to Greg, Greg’s been doing this for 10 years, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, people get a lot more information about who you are and what you’re doing through that than they would through the email kind of situation.

Sam: Oh 100%. And just being able to cut through the noise too, if 50 people send emails, doesn’t matter how great the emails are, doesn’t matter how clear and concise they are. But if you’re the one that sends the video, you immediately go to the top of whatever pile.

Dan: Case in point in this podcast. You sent us a video when you applied for the DC and within five minutes of you applying our community manager dropped it into our slack group. So now like the 10 people that are like DC adjacent that monitor the community, they all saw your application, they all know who you are. They all know the story now, just because of the freakin loom video, it’s genius.

Sam: Loom video, I’m serious. And, and, you know, on the flip side, too, for some of my team members, or contractors that have hired in the past, especially if they’re in a different time zone, had this amazing woman in Ukraine that built some financial models for me, I paid for her loom subscription. I was like, whatever you’re done, you know, you’re five hours ahead of me or whatever, just send me a loom video walkthrough. Don’t care if your English is not perfect. Just walk me through your process of what you did and what you still have left to do, instead of her trying to send an email or slack note or whatever, it just saves so many people so much more time.

Dan: Let me just back you up to – I love this concept of like the life coach in the spreadsheet and breaking down what looks like an enormous hole to have to scale out of which is like I make a big check every week going to this job. And now I’m trying to do it for myself. I understand your motivation, I understand some of the processes of, breaking it down into individual acts. Looking back on it. Were there key things that you did that made a big difference?

Sam: Yeah, so let me I want to step back and actually answer your question about pragmatic approaches because this is what really changed the game for me, it was so easy for me to go on Upwork or Catalin, or pick your favorite freelancing platform and look at all the freelancers that had billed 60, 100 $200,000 to the platform who are ranking on the first page, and you go, how the hell am I going to compete with them? I’m looking at my profile, I have zero reviews, zero projects? How do I don’t start? It’s super overwhelming these people must have some crazy advantage or thing that I don’t know. And I started to look way too much. Outwardly and not enough inwardly I don’t know if I’m phrasing that right. But you get the point. So the thing that helped me the most, and I’ve given this recommendation to a couple of other people that have asked me recently is – I documented everything that I’ve ever done, from work stuff, side projects, business school projects, and I tried to pull out the key elements that like, actually drove value for that project doesn’t matter what it is. And so once, once I built that big inventory of stuff, then I put it into a presentation. I’m not a designer by any means. And I tried to just write in a few sentences. ‘Okay, what was the problem? What were the results that I delivered? You know, is that client happy?’ Try to quantify it as much as possible. And then I gave that to a designer and said, ‘Hey, can you make this pretty?’ Then I had 15ish slides of really pretty quality work that I had done in, you know, a number of different areas weren’t all the same as that. Okay, cool. I can go to market with this. And then before I knew about Loom, when I would submit, like a proposal on Upwork, I would submit that deck and so many people commented on that to say, ‘Hey, you know, no one else provided this, thank you for, you know, all this in-depth experience. And you know, you got to tailor it to of course, what project you’re

Dan: Now what’s interesting, though, is I want a lot of people to think about becoming an entrepreneur. They think about big ideas, they don’t think about going to Upwork and sending out decks to people.

Sam: I have eight guiding principles here. But then the fourth bullet here is understanding and embracing who you are. I forgot what book it’s from, but there’s the visionary and integrator. I am not a visionary. I’m very much an integrator. And I’ve had to just embrace that over the years and understand who I am and what I’m capable of, and what I’m good at and what I’m not. And so I have no illusion that I’m going to start the next billion-dollar SaaS company. And that’s never really been me. It’s not to say that there’s not some technology, offshoot ideas that I’ve thought of for EcomCFO that I’m super excited about, and we’ve been in the process of building. But at its core, like, I’m just, I’m not gonna come up with the next Uber.

Dan: It’s also a ‘Stairstep’ approach. Like, you know, like, this idea that you’re gonna go to B school, work a year and as a consultant, and then bam, start a SaaS company with like, and it happens all the time you go get 100 grand from a rich uncle, and you hire a bunch of people in another country, and you got a good idea. And now, you know, use your cases, the alternative, you have $300,000 a year cash flow, you got a bunch of wealthy people using your service, and you have a bunch of immediately profitable tools that you can build that will, at least at minimum, reduce your operational expense, but possibly you could sell to other people when you start building software for your own stuff. So this is the way it gets done.

Sam: Exactly, and again, that was tangentially related to what I was doing. Yeah. And I get that some people go off and have this other crazy idea to do whatever. And sometimes it works..

Dan: It’s rare, and part of the reason I have guys like Jim on and people like you is to try and show the bones of how it happens. Because I think part of what I was sharing the last few weeks is like, this stuff was pretty mystical to me. You know, when I saw other people doing it, I was like, ‘Oh, shit, like, I can hardly like, tolerate my job. How am I going to be able to start a business? You know, yeah, travel and not work?’

Sam: Well, it’s not really ‘Stairstep’. It’s more how Ray Dalio describes it in ‘Principles’ that it’s a loop. And you, you have an upward trajectory, and then you get hit back down, and but you’re assuming that the loop is going up into the right. But it’s much more of a loop, I think than a stair step.

Dan: How long did it take for you to like, make a comfortable living, within your own base principles following your heart? Was that a struggle? Or was that something that fell into place relatively easy for you?

Sam: No, it definitely wasn’t easy. I would say, again, 90% of my customer acquisition in 2019. And most I would say probably, at least the first quarter of 2020, was Upwork. Period. It gets back to math, it’s Hey, are you submitting 20 proposals per week? How are you getting responses, getting on calls, and ultimately, closing the deal? I looked at the number of jobs that were available on Upwork. And, you know, it’s a little convoluted, because they’re not all, you know, real jobs, or they’re there, they stay on the platform for 20 days or whatever. But if you just look at the jobs, you know, that are, let’s say less than 10 days old. There are a lot of jobs in every dimension. So yeah, it’s grinding through the 20 proposals. every single week, I had the sticky apps on my MacBook on the left side of my screen, and every Sunday I’d reset it to 20. And then throughout the week, I would backspace it and go now it’s at 18. Now it’s a 12. Now it’s a 10 and I didn’t allow myself to Go out with friends or, you know, go to bed or whatever until that number was zero at the end of the week.

And that took several months to get traction, and start actually closing business. Get comfortable with, you know, there’s a bunch of quirks on Upwork. I mean, we could have a whole other podcast on Upwork. But to actually answer your question, I would say, I replaced probably 70 to 80% of my income within nine months, but I was also working my ass off like, there was no. ‘Oh, this is easier than working at the firm’. No, I worked. Maybe not way more, but definitely more working for myself as a freelancer than I did at the firm. But I cared a hell of a lot more too. And I was doing all those things to ‘Okay, well, I made this financial model, how can I make this a template? How can I update my profile to better attract other clients?’ and then eventually you’re getting invites, and you don’t have to submit as many proposals and it’s just, that is the grind. And that is the work that no one tells you about until you just do it. Finance on Upwork and freelancing in finance, I think is different. Because it’s not as tangible as, ‘Oh, I need you to create this graphic. I needed to create this image or I need you to update these slides’. Like No, it’s I need you to build a financial model for the viability of my company and my livelihood.

Dan: Run me through those other eight principles real quick, and maybe we’ll pull up one.

Sam: So number one, this comes from Ray Dalio ‘Principles’, can’t recommend that book enough. I also have a lot of just podcast-specific things that I want to tell you about and just fanboy out a little bit at some point. I don’t know how much time we have for that. But the principles that I wrote is ‘you can do anything but you can’t do everything’. Yes, you can go to Bali, yes, you can live on 1000 bucks. But if you have clients that depend on you in the US, good luck building your business successfully from Bali. There are too many different ways to make money online to not enjoy what you’re doing at least 80% of the time. Three, this is the Jordan Peterson mantra comparing yourself to your yesterday and not someone else’s today. That’s been massive for me. I mean, I deleted my Instagram three years ago, partly from the podcast with Cal Newport’s ‘Digital minimalism’, that put me over the edge that has totally changed the game for me. Number four, just embracing and understanding who you are, we kind of already talked about that, like visionary versus integrator. IT doesn’t mean you can’t change. Just gotta be brutally honest with yourself. Number five location and people matter, you and me and I’ve talked about this, a tonne. The universe slash market doesn’t owe you anything. I was being billed out at $353-75 an hour at the firm, translate that to Upwork if you list yourself as 375 an hour 400 bucks an hour, you will get zero responses, zero, that was very humbling. And I think I started like 45 bucks an hour and slowly worked my way up. The universe doesn’t care about your corporate controller or that you were a consultant or investment banker or whatever. Like that is a totally different world and it doesn’t play in ‘entrepreneur land’. You don’t have to decide on everything right now. So it’s okay that you don’t have, again, the tax plan? Or what happens if I need to hire this general manager or other contractors? You will solve that problem when the time comes?

Dan: Yeah, like the problems you’re facing are hard enough that you don’t need to have the general anxiety. In fact, kind of what I’m hearing through your principals is the sense of and what I love about your story, so far, as you’ve laid it out is – you as an individual who wants to become an entrepreneur, you have to have thrust, you have to be able to like move the football forward, and like Instagram, all this bullshit, it doesn’t matter. Like, you can have a handful of clients on one channel. And you can make a living for yourself and a handful of others, just by having thrust. This is like a 10 true clients business model, essentially.

Sam: Absolutely. And I want more than 10 clients, and we were trying to acquire 10 clients this year. And, you know, we’ll see how it scales from there.

Dan We might have to revisit you at some point and see kind of how your journey goes along. Because I’d really love the Upwork hustle, that’s something I’m really big into. We’re doing that at Dynamite Jobs, we’re building like a fiver sort of marketplace there. And it comes back to the conversation we had earlier, this idea that you had to like build your own channel, and like build your own website and marketing and all this stuff. It’s so expensive. There are clients out there on platforms, that’s why people, a lot of people come to DC events, because the clients are all there, right? And they’re also cool. But there is that element of like, I don’t need to like build a website and run campaigns, I just need to shake some hands of some cool people. And like, I’ll figure it out, you know,

Sam: I had no website, all I had was that deck and a decent proposal.

Dan: And I hope that you’ll run your service off of DJ as well, so that people searching for financial services on our platform, like your fit, your business will come up as well as an option.

Sam: I was looking and gone on Dynamite Jobs before, but I didn’t see an area to post that. But yeah, just let me know where and I will absolutely do that. And, of course, help you guys in any way possible from all my lessons learned from Upwork because there’s a lot of them.
I definitely feel like the balance of debt is in my court, because I’m listing off like 10 things that the TMBA has provided me.

Dan: Yeah, let’s go through, go through them as quickly as possible or things that you think other listeners would enjoy hearing?

Sam: Cal Newport is a no brainer. And I’ve been thinking about deleting my Instagram and Facebook and everything. And one thought I had on that is it’s only going to get harder to delete your Instagram. Because you just get more and more pictures and more and more connections and, ‘Oh, well how am I going to keep up with whoever and their baby?’ The way you’re going to keep up with them is you’re going to pick up the phone and call them or you’re not. And if you don’t, that’s okay. They probably weren’t that great a friend to you. Just the concept of SWaS. And you guys had the hub snacks guy on not too long ago, that really got me thinking about like, Okay, well, there’s no single platform that I can attach my business to QuickBooks is not the answer, because founders don’t understand QuickBooks. But what if I were to attach a SWaS to a business function like Finance? So can I say, ‘Hey, if it touches the p&l and balance sheet, we do it’? And I’ve been really testing that messaging and trying to understand what that would look like for my business to

Dan: So you mean hooking your service into a like, software process that essentially happens in their business right now?

Sam: Not necessarily a software process, just a process, to say – if it has anything to do with finance, we do it, period, for, and here’s your monthly fee. And so you don’t we don’t have to have this scope conversation of, well, do you fill out these forms? Or like, will you talk to the tax person for me or whatever, I would rather just pull that into our sphere of control. Say that we do it, build that trust and value and just handle it. We may learn something new and can apply that to other clients. I think that’s, that’s played for, for the last, I don’t know, three or four months. And Jim.

Dan: Sounds like Jim was like your precedent case, these things are so complicated when you can see it embodied in one person and what they’ve done. You can say, I can do that, you know, I can be like that.

Sam: Well, and Jim was very graceful. Jim, if you’re listening again, I really appreciate everything that you continue to do for me. Yeah, he shared some of the Gantt charts and like, what they show clients and just created a mental model for me. And I mean, a lot of his clients are kind of my ideal client as well. They’re in there, like two to $20 million range.

Dan: Awesome, final question, I’ll toss this out. This has been a real pleasure. It’s so cool to connect with you. You joined the DC. Super cool. You sent the loom video and you moved to Austin, Texas. I mean, you’re on a freakin roll here. What are your first impressions of life in Austin, Texas?

Sam: Man, Austin has been everything that I could have ever asked for and more despite COVID. It’s the perfect all-round city. I hate to say that because that’s just gonna incentivize more people to move here. But I mean, the community here, the general vibe, the food, the outdoor scene, it’s unmatched in the US, period. I have really enjoyed it here. I mean, we signed a short term lease and are now about to sign a much longer lease and actually plant a flag here.

Dan: Sam, I’m glad you’re planting a flag, man. And I’m glad you came by the show to share your story. We appreciate it.

Sam: Oh my gosh, I cannot be more thankful of you guys. So again, really appreciate it and hope to see a person very, very soon.

Dan: Big shout out to Sam Hill, what a pleasure to meet him check out all that he’s building over at Ecomcfo dot co. And I’d love to have Sam back on the show in the future so we can follow along with his narrative. Also, we weren’t able to air today a lot of interesting ideas he has about common financial problems that entrepreneurs get involved in. Plus some like nuts and bolts of this Upwork hustle stuff. So lots more to talk to Sam about, maybe reach out to him with a Loom video if you’re curious. We appreciate him taking the time to join us today. But to talk about the power of Loom, why not it clearly worked to bring this episode together, it works for Sam and his business. And of course, we love to receive your voicemails, your emails, your Loom recordings, we take it all.

I gotta say, you know, one of the reflections on this. And part of the reason I’m thinking about just going from an unrealized idea to something that’s actually the reality is something happening in this community every single day. Ian and I did a few weeks of like these very theoretical episodes like we’re talking into, you know, the ether. But there are actually 1000s and 1000s of listeners of this podcast that are taking concrete steps towards building wonderful businesses. And I thought it was really cool to share one of those stories today.

I promised at the top of the episode, I would share a little something, a little concrete tip that’s really been working out for us. And I think there’s an opportunity for a lot of you that run services to experiment with a high priced, completely concierge ‘white-glove’ done for you service option. That’s a flat fee in your company. And the example that I’ve learned from is posted currently at Dynamite Jobs dot com slash remote dash recruiting. And if you go there now you see it’s the sales pages. It’s not that great, it has taken me a lot of time to create the sales page, but it’s still there’s so much room to improve and sales pages just take a freaking long time to do. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. It seems like this simple thing. You’re just gonna sit down and type away. And in reality, especially with services, what you’re actually doing is you’ve sort of created something new in the world. And, as you type sentences, you’re either introducing or taking away costs and trying to figure out timelines and how it’s all gonna work. And, so these sales pages are a little bit more complex than they appear on the surface. But then the other side of it is they have to be simple or otherwise your potential prospects have a hard time taking action.

So I just want to give you a story of this kind of accidental productized service. What we were essentially doing earlier in 2020 was, we were posting jobs for people, and then we would do like these tack on services, like, ‘Oh, if you want us to promote your job, or, you know, we really know that you should probably be posting this job at like this other job board that you don’t know about, or it needs to go into this Facebook group to get maximum traffic, or do you want us to like filter’ .. and again, when you’re posting a job? Nothing is quite that simple, even constructing the job post is something of a sales letter. How do you position it? What are candidates looking for? What are the right salary levels? How do you get the maximum number of applications? It goes on and on and on. And it just gets more complicated when you start interviewing people.

Somewhere around July, we were just like, well, okay, we just had this phone call where we explain all this strategy to you. And we were sometimes a little bit frustrated that our clients weren’t putting a little bit more effort into it. But look, I understand like, you’re busy running a business. And so we started this thing, where we would say, like, Look, we can do all this for you. All this complexity and we realize this person is really important to you, and you don’t want to spend a month on it, you don’t want your top people to spend a month on it. So how about we just do it for you, you know, it’ll be 5000 bucks. And we started to present this idea to clients, like, ‘Look, if this is too complicated for you to use our database, or to post jobs or whatever, and you want to get this thing rolling, just pay us’. And it just started taking off. And I call it accidental because that wasn’t really our intention. But we put a price in front of people when we weren’t solving the problem and said, ‘Well, if you want that problem solved, just pay us $4,650 and we will solve that problem for you’.

We’ve done the math, it works out on our side, if it works out for you, you know, I mention it because there’s potentially an option for you and your business to take your product and figure out what that high level ‘done for you’ version of it is. So this is kind of cool. Like it’s a little bit of Ian and I’s theories about productized service and different levels of that sort of coming out into a reality in our own business. And so I wanted to share that with you guys in case you have any tips for us or ideas or just to keep the narrative going along because I think there’s going to be a lot of change here in the coming months. So I wanted to share that little tip with you. It’s been remarkable, because I guess you know, had you asked me about this, of course, like a year ago, I don’t know what I would have said about it. It’s worked in a way that previous service offerings I’ve been involved in weren’t so great, but this thing seems to be going pretty well. So I want to share that with you guys. more updates on that shortly. A little bit of insider stuff, but why not? I hope today’s episode sparked some ideas in you to build a better business. So that’s it. We’ll be back next Thursday morning as always, 8 am Eastern time.