“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings” – Theodore Roosevelt.
You may have heard (or read) that part of the speech given by Theodore Roosevelt at least once in your life. Or perhaps you read it on “Productize & RELAX”?—the ebook Matt wrote about how to productize your business and exit the client roller coaster.
I remember editing that ebook in May while getting ready to relaunch AutoGrow’s productized Done-For-You service.
A lot of people were requesting to sign up for the service and to join the waitlist.
And fast forward 5 months, Roosevelt’s quote truly reflects what September has been like for AutoGrow…
Hard work (mainly)… but also a lot of enjoyment—our company’s 3rd core value =) …
A team that’s only getting stronger and more solid as we keep getting the right people in the right roles… but also several people that had to be removed for not reaching the bar…
One client who left… but came back to us with the wrong expectations…
And a LOT of money coming in… just shy of $23,887!
I think it’s pretty great how we’ve been consistently growing, yet I’m not ready to predict the future because it’s a tough business model to scale this fast.
In this month’s growth report, I’ll tell you more about some of the challenges we’ve faced as a team and how we’re already overcoming them.
And I’ll tell you some interesting lessons learned and big wins that I’m sure you’ll relate to.
So let’s go!
CROSSING THE $23,000 MARK
Like a runner at the end of a race trying to get to the finish line, when we relaunched our Done-For-You sales funnel service, crossing the $20k mark seemed tough but not impossible. And today we proudly share our numbers—$23,887 (we grew revenue by 20.16%) just for September.
Not bad, right?
$20,000 in monthly recurring revenue—with 11 active team members (1 on a trial basis) and 11 active clients accounts that we’ve been retaining since the beginning of the service, plus 3 new ones that recently started.
At AutoGrow, we know nothing about getting tired, because “he who gets tired loses.”
And that’s the opposite of the destination we’re headed for—keep building a scalable service to help busy business owners like you plan, create, and optimize your sales funnels on an ongoing basis.
Also, we are getting ready to launch our own app, which will let our clients request On-Demand any funnel tasks they want to be done.
Want a landing page? Click a button.
Want to create a lead magnet? Click a button.
Email copy? Click a button.
Ad campaign? Click a button.
All that and more, our app will do for you.
I know we’ve been saying that we’ll launch it soon but we are finalizing just a few small tweaks (like adding some new features) as we speak.
DRIVING FACTORS IN SEPTEMBER’S GROWTH
Matt’s obsession with finding where the bottlenecks in the company are has been a critical factor for growth.
Always tracking those possible bottlenecks has led him to quickly identify if there is a problem in, for instance, the hiring process, or maybe on the acquisition side. It has let us improve the sales process and help our clients make more money and get more leads.
It even led the company to rent AutoGrow’s first office in New York!
However, detecting those bottlenecks on time has also helped us pre-qualify clients and determine if they are a fit or not early in the process. This has saved us a LOT of time.
The ones who are a fit, we try to move them to the next step. For instance, if a potential client during our consultation is willing to buy our service that same day, the process goes smoothly and we start working together right away. All that while the client doesn’t lift a finger.
But achieving all those things in one month hasn’t been easy.
Every time you have a problem, you go to someone for help or advice, don’t you?
Whether it’s a friend, a coach, a boss, you always go to someone.
As a team, we support each other. If we have a question, there’s someone there with the answer. But sometimes those answers and “mentors” are not that easy to find.
So, where does Matt go or ask for help when he’s unsure of what direction the company should go?
He stays motivated by starting the day (or at least he does this at some point of the day) listening to any of Mixergy’s interviews, a podcast network dedicated to entrepreneurship.
His practices have actually made the team stronger and the company more solid. And that means happier clients too.
We’ve earned some new testimonials in the past weeks…
“I’ve been struggling with building an automated lead gen sales funnel for my WordPress agency for a long time and tried pretty much everything from every guru out there. None of it worked. But with Matt that changed. He’s a superstar b2b lead generation sales funnels guy. He built the exact blueprint of funnel for my business from ads to sale and everything in between. Exactly what I needed for so long. I would highly recommend him if you want a sales funnel built for your B2B business.
Ram Shengale, Founder of FantasTech Solutions
And all that thanks to hard work, solid systems, uncompromising discipline, and high-quality work.
Matt has programmed his brain to think in a competitive mindset. That has definitely inspired team members to be more competent and diligent.
And seeing where other successful companies are at has pushed Matt to pick the best tactics, insights, and perspective for AutoGrow. Also, his relentless focus on not being satisfied with where we are at has been a critical factor in the growth of the company and the team.
Because when you are never satisfied, you’re always striving for something better. And that’s exactly what the team has been doing. Reaching ALWAYS for the bar because quality always wins.
Setting up achievable goals in the short term has also been part of why we’ve been growing so fast. We are heading to 23 clients, and by that point, we’ll be generating half a million in ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue).
We hope the team keeps growing. In fact, it’s most likely we’ll be hiring two people for each team role.
Sure, some people may not work out in the long-term. In fact, that happened in the past weeks where we had to let go of a team member for not reaching—or simply not wanting—to reach for the high standards of our work.
But, as it turns out, saying “the bar is up here” actually makes the best people stay, and it works (almost) automatically to remove the people who aren’t performing well.
So anyway, we’re expecting to have two team members for each role. But it will depend of course on how much work 23 clients will bring to our plates.
We’ll do everything except sacrifice quality for our clients.
LESSONS LEARNED AND BIG WINS
So one lesson we learned this past month was to hire the right people when necessary. And we talked a bit about this in August’s growth report.
In September, our biggest bottleneck was our hiring funnel.
We started getting busier as the workload increased.
Things started getting a bit hectic because we only had one Project Manager to handle the management of the team.
So we started trying new things to overcome those problems. We started posting jobs regularly on free and paid websites to look for new hires. And lots of applicants started applying to work with us.
Something else that helped us overcome our own bottleneck was to add “We’re Hiring” (which we still are by the way) in our navigation and footer. The Law of Visibility there helped us attract more applicants. And also, we actually got ranked higher in Google search for SEO purposes.
We actually look at every visitor of our website as a potential hire, fan, customer, or client. And there’s no reason why we cannot convert a ridiculous percentage of our traffic into one of those in the long run.
We had to go through 100 applicants to find the right ones for the roles.
We actually hired 4 new people (Project Manager, Funnel Strategist, Web Developer, and a Designer that has been working with AutoGrow on and off for almost 10 years). We’ll see how that goes.
In 2017, our standards weren’t the same as today. We weren’t that good at qualifying clients because the process wasn’t so well-ironed out like now, and we weren’t that good either at hiring great people. And that’s totally an improvement!
Looking forward to seeing what it’s going to be like in the near future. We are aiming to grow 20% each month but without sacrificing the quality of course.
And I think that’s a huge attraction for clients—the quality of our work.
There was actually one client who ended the work with us a couple of months ago. This happened because his company was going through some internal changes. But as soon as the new CEO stepped into the role, they came back to us and continue the work with AutoGrow to this day.
That was not a very pleasant situation since the new CEO had the wrong expectations about our service and started demanding things that didn’t fit AutoGrow’s model.
But with transparent communication, we set the right expectations for him.
Another big win for this month was that we relaunched our new homepage and started seeing some leads.
We’ve been sending newsletters again two times a week. And posting content regularly has increased our traffic significantly.
We need to keep growing like this in order to be a strong organization and so the company is not all dependent on one job position.
We also learned this month that wasting time is a waste of time.
We are now better prepared to filter bad leads before even getting on the phone with them. And we now know when to say NO to a client who isn’t a fit. We simply cut to the chase…
Are you the decision-maker?…
Are you able and ready to decide today to move to the next step if we agree your business is a fit for our service?…
Do you have an ad budget?…
I mean, I get why people would want to insist on working with AutoGrow even though they aren’t a fit for our Done-For-You service.
First, our pricing is very affordable compared to agency options. We don’t really consider these agencies direct competition because if a client knows about us vs. a $50,000 or $30,000 payment for an agency—they are going to choose us.
It’s a much better value. Businesses are slowly waking up to the idea that if you want results and to work with someone who has incentives that are better aligned with your success (and ongoing success)—then the traditional agency model is BROKEN.
And that’s the opportunity AutoGrow is capitalizing on. We work hard, we care more, incentives are better aligned so that our goal isn’t just to GET a client, but to keep a client.
And the second reason why people insist on working with us is because we literally do everything for them. And with our soon-to-launch app, the experience will be even better!
In the month ahead, we want to get our calendars FULLY booked out with client appointments, see the launch of the new homepage keep on converting, and actually start using the AutoGrow app ASAP.
Looking ahead to the next month.
Our goal is to finally launch the app and integrate it into our workflow and break $30K in revenue for October. We’ll see what happens…
We’re launching our clients’ funnels within 20 days, so I look forward to sharing more results about that pretty soon. They’ve already started seeing some leads coming in…
Other priorities for this month include hiring a Project Manager and a Designer. We’ll keep improving our hiring funnel but we’ll also keep saying NO to bad candidates.
We also want to keep delegating the work so the business doesn’t depend on just one person.
It has been a tough month with lots of lessons learned. Looking forward to sharing October’s growth report so wake me up when September ends. Ok, it’s already over, never mind!
That’s it for this month’s update.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you got from this growth report that was most beneficial.
Keep funnelin’, stay focused.