theihofficial

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Here’s a little backstory for you.

I started back in 2015 with a simple blog with an intention to share my life lessons and earn while doing it. (The gurus online made me believe it's gonna be easy).

Making it short, from 2015 to 2017 I started more than 20 businesses, all of which failed. Not a cent earned.

I've spent more than $45K on courses, most of which were shit and tens of thousands on products, tools & services believing that they will help me earn.

Honestly, I was a victim of shiny object syndrome, jumping from one thing to another believing this is what I need to be successful, but that never happened, until 2018.

Somewhere in January or February 2018, I had a near-death experience that shook me to the core. I still remember crying in front of my Mother. That was what pushed me to take action irrespective of what obstacles or failures I might face.

I used one of the things I learned in my years of struggle, used some free tools to setup a free webinar of sorts, utilized Facebook groups for traffic and pitched a $5,000/hr for consultation after webinar + free half-hour consulting sessions to 30 people.

$5,000 for an hour was way out of my ballpark (but I saw certain gurus charging anywhere from $5,000/hr to $20,000/hr, so I thought, why not).

Honestly, I never expected a single yes, however I wasn't doing it for money this time, but because of what I experienced. I just wanted to do something and I wanted to do something insane. I didn't care about failing for the first time in years. I just wanted to push.

In 15 days I went from $0 to $35,000 - 7 Willing People. (Out of 30 people I gave consulting sessions to and pitched).

I decided not to go ahead with it, because I felt like an impostor. (I gave myself many excuses about why I'm not going ahead with it and made myself believe them.)

From that point on to October 2019 I spent my days and nights in self-education, trials & errors, and just trying to gain back my self confidence.

October 2019, I started a marketing agency with big dreams. By the November's end, I made it invite-only to pursue a challenge.

I wanted to do something that I had never done before and that I was afraid of doing. And do it to actually build a business that I can be proud of.

I have always been afraid of cold calls and cold emails. I'm of the kind who would go blank in a cold call and just sit their with a dry throat and a shivering voice.

Cold emails, even though less daunting, were still a challenge for me.

So I decided to take what felt a little easier (and less scarier) and use it to build a business.

I started another marketing agency, this time focused on small and local businesses. And I promised myself to not use anything else except cold emails to get clients and scale it to 5-figures/month. I gave myself 93 days. 3 days to prepare and 90 days to execute.

I failed. I took a little more than 90 days :D

Actually for the first 2 months I was a downer (because of communal situations in my country, thanks to the divisive politics) but I eventually picked up the pace and made it happen.

I sold it for 6-figures in March in a private deal to a guy who came to know about me from a Slack group I am a part of.

My primary agency (which I don't intend to sell ever) is still invite-only and has a waiting list. (Recession didn't affect me. If at all, it increased the demand).

Currently I'm trying to build my personal brand (which is what I intended to do when I started in 2015). It took 5 years to just gain the confidence.

I'm still planning in terms of how to start, what to include / exclude and just how to go about it in general.

I enlisted help of someone from BWH for PR but later decided to not focus on it until I have systems & processes in place to take advantage of it. (I still made an order anyway).

My reason of doing this AMA

I intend to write a very detailed post about how I built, grew, and sold the agency on my blog in coming weeks. And I want that post to be so valuable that it can best those $2000-5000 *life changing courses* out there.

This AMA will help me find what questions someone who's interested would have and that would help me make that post as valuable as I possibly can.

Besides, I still am not sure how to go about my personal brand. Sharing some lessons might give me a light bulb moment for that as well.

So yeah, that was it. Ask away anything that comes up in your mind. I'll answer if I know and I'll learn if I don't ^^
 

jefis

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What did you actually sell? Brand name? Because there is no brand after 90 days.
Contracts with recurring revenue?
Because an SEO agency without the team is just a name and is almost worthless.
 

auuuu

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Cold emailing and local business is what I'm trying to do. In particular I would like to offer them Google My Business optimization (and then Facebook Ads if the buy them).

The results sucks. Sent out thousands emails and no one gave a call.

Would you mind share a tip, a "good" approach to get them in touch with me?

- I tried saying: see my case study in PDF (and inside the PDF there was my number with a specific CTA)
- I tried saying: due to Corona Virus I'll happy to setup it for free for one month, 1 answer and at the end of the month he didn't replied to me anymore

Thank you so much!
 

theihofficial

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Inspiring story, thanks for sharing.

Thank you ^^

What did you actually sell? Brand name? Because there is no brand after 90 days.
Contracts with recurring revenue?
Because an SEO agency without the team is just a name and is almost worthless.

Contracts with recurring revenue. (Facebook Ads and Website maintenance retainers). I retained the brand name and social media channels.

I offered just 3 services with my agency - Web Design, Facebook & Instagram Advertising, and SEO.

I'm well versed with WordPress and have been designing sites for my own businesses ever since I started, so I was comfortable there. I also knew Facebook & Instagram ads thanks to a course I started doing back in April 2019. I'm a noob at SEO but I have my trustworthy sources I could have outsourced the SEO projects to, if I got any SEO client. But I got none. (Because I intentionally didn't pursue them, but just offered the service on website for a little diversity.)
 

jefis

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Contracts with recurring revenue. (Facebook Ads and Website maintenance retainers). I retained the brand name and social media channels.
The buyer was acting bold, because I don't see why would anyone pay for contracts which probably can be ended within 30 days. All his investments could be lost by just terminating the contracts within a month. There is no history with your clients. Maximum 2-3 month recurring revenue? Not much history between your agency and customers to make an assumption that they will still use the services in 12-24 months.
 

theihofficial

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Cold emailing and local business is what I'm trying to do. In particular I would like to offer them Google My Business optimization (and then Facebook Ads if the buy them).

The results sucks. Sent out thousands emails and no one gave a call.

Would you mind share a tip, a "good" approach to get them in touch with me?

- I tried saying: see my case study in PDF (and inside the PDF there was my number with a specific CTA)
- I tried saying: due to Corona Virus I'll happy to setup it for free for one month, 1 answer and at the end of the month he didn't replied to me anymore

Thank you so much!


I don't know what exactly you're doing in terms of your approach, but I'd try to be helpful here.

When I started cold emailing, I aimed to get people to book a call. Because that's what everyone out there suggested. To get them on a call.

However failures and lessons from some more experienced people taught me that the goal of cold email is to get them to reply first and get them on call second. Most local businesses probably receive anywhere from 20-30 cold emails each day and almost all those emails say / promise the same thing. The rate is even higher if you're targeting popular niches like Chiropractors or Dentists.

So here's what I suggest:

1) Try to find and target niches where they don't receive as many cold emails each day as popular niches like gyms, chiropractors, dentists, med-spas, plumbers and so forth. (It's not impossible to convert, just difficult, relatively.)

2) Craft your cold email in a way that entices a reply. That's your goal. Don't go for the kill (call) in the very first email. A little twisted tip here is that use a female name. Females generally receive more responses. Also, act as a potential customer. They can ignore a marketer but not a potential customer.

3) Rather than PDF, I'd offer a short case study video of 5-15 minutes. And then a CTA. I don't think most business owners would bother downloading and reading a PDF.

4) Lastly, in order to win in recession, you need to approach in a way that either reduces the risk for the client or completely eliminates it. And you should do it in a way where the risk on you is either none or very minimal. Though make sure clients perceives it as if you're actually shifting risk on you. (This gives an aura of confidence to your abilities to deliver and gives a support to their trust).

It will require a little creativity on your part. But I'm sure with some brainstorming and some more trial & error you'll figure it out.
 

jstover77

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I've spent more than $45K on courses, most of which were shit and tens of thousands on products, tools & services believing that they will help me earn.

This makes me cringe. Crazy how much these so called "gurus" are charging for information that is readily available for free online. Glad you made it out, as most people don't.

Best of luck with your AMA.
 

babelonia

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Here’s a little backstory for you.

I started back in 2015 with a simple blog with an intention to share my life lessons and earn while doing it. (The gurus online made me believe it's gonna be easy).

Making it short, from 2015 to 2017 I started more than 20 businesses, all of which failed. Not a cent earned.

I've spent more than $45K on courses, most of which were shit and tens of thousands on products, tools & services believing that they will help me earn.

Honestly, I was a victim of shiny object syndrome, jumping from one thing to another believing this is what I need to be successful, but that never happened, until 2018.

Somewhere in January or February 2018, I had a near-death experience that shook me to the core. I still remember crying in front of my Mother. That was what pushed me to take action irrespective of what obstacles or failures I might face.

I used one of the things I learned in my years of struggle, used some free tools to setup a free webinar of sorts, utilized Facebook groups for traffic and pitched a $5,000/hr for consultation after webinar + free half-hour consulting sessions to 30 people.

$5,000 for an hour was way out of my ballpark (but I saw certain gurus charging anywhere from $5,000/hr to $20,000/hr, so I thought, why not).

Honestly, I never expected a single yes, however I wasn't doing it for money this time, but because of what I experienced. I just wanted to do something and I wanted to do something insane. I didn't care about failing for the first time in years. I just wanted to push.

In 15 days I went from $0 to $35,000 - 7 Willing People. (Out of 30 people I gave consulting sessions to and pitched).

I decided not to go ahead with it, because I felt like an impostor. (I gave myself many excuses about why I'm not going ahead with it and made myself believe them.)

From that point on to October 2019 I spent my days and nights in self-education, trials & errors, and just trying to gain back my self confidence.

October 2019, I started a marketing agency with big dreams. By the November's end, I made it invite-only to pursue a challenge.

I wanted to do something that I had never done before and that I was afraid of doing. And do it to actually build a business that I can be proud of.

I have always been afraid of cold calls and cold emails. I'm of the kind who would go blank in a cold call and just sit their with a dry throat and a shivering voice.

Cold emails, even though less daunting, were still a challenge for me.

So I decided to take what felt a little easier (and less scarier) and use it to build a business.

I started another marketing agency, this time focused on small and local businesses. And I promised myself to not use anything else except cold emails to get clients and scale it to 5-figures/month. I gave myself 93 days. 3 days to prepare and 90 days to execute.

I failed. I took a little more than 90 days :D

Actually for the first 2 months I was a downer (because of communal situations in my country, thanks to the divisive politics) but I eventually picked up the pace and made it happen.

I sold it for 6-figures in March in a private deal to a guy who came to know about me from a Slack group I am a part of.

My primary agency (which I don't intend to sell ever) is still invite-only and has a waiting list. (Recession didn't affect me. If at all, it increased the demand).

Currently I'm trying to build my personal brand (which is what I intended to do when I started in 2015). It took 5 years to just gain the confidence.

I'm still planning in terms of how to start, what to include / exclude and just how to go about it in general.

I enlisted help of someone from BWH for PR but later decided to not focus on it until I have systems & processes in place to take advantage of it. (I still made an order anyway).

My reason of doing this AMA

I intend to write a very detailed post about how I built, grew, and sold the agency on my blog in coming weeks. And I want that post to be so valuable that it can best those $2000-5000 *life changing courses* out there.

This AMA will help me find what questions someone who's interested would have and that would help me make that post as valuable as I possibly can.

Besides, I still am not sure how to go about my personal brand. Sharing some lessons might give me a light bulb moment for that as well.

So yeah, that was it. Ask away anything that comes up in your mind. I'll answer if I know and I'll learn if I don't ^^
You sold some WebDesigns.
Im starting with this now.

How do you charge? 1 Time Charge or 1 Initial Charge and Monthly payments for hosting ?
 

theihofficial

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The buyer was acting bold, because I don't see why would anyone pay for contracts which probably can be ended within 30 days. All his investments could be lost by just terminating the contracts within a month. There is no history with your clients. Maximum 2-3 month recurring revenue? Not much history between your agency and customers to make an assumption that they will still use the services in 12-24 months.

If there's one thing I've learned about selling Facebook ads as a service to clients, then it's this - You either commit to at least 3 months or we can't work. Learning whatever I learned taught me that first month is usually the worst month. Because you're just testing what works and what doesn't. You can still deliver results but you can't guarantee them in the first month.

So if I were to take clients without that commitment in written, I'd just be wasting my resources.

Even the oldest contract there would still have 1 month left and the other contracts would have 2 or so months left depending upon when they signed up. Now sure those contracts can be terminated, but I don't see why someone would stop giving money if they're making more money by giving money.

Besides, I was doing it all alone, so even though I had a plan, I had very limited manpower. The guy who bought the contracts has a team under him. I don't see why he can't recover what he spent.

And in current times, you can help many businesses pivot so that they still make money even in a lock-down. One example would be to help a local gym owner to create an online fitness program and then use Facebook ads to help him sell.

So yeah, I agree with you that it was bold of him, but I also believe it was* a stupid decision.
 
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Heiko

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1) What advice would you give yourself if you had to start at 0 again?

2) What mistakes (besides spending cash on courses) have you made that we can benefit/learn from?

3) Do you think your near-death experience is the reason why all of this stuff has happened afterwards?

Great read, by the way.
 

theihofficial

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Inspiring story, thanks for sharing.

Damn I haven't seen anyone do this before

Nice job, looking forward to some questions and answers.

Thank you ^^


This makes me cringe. Crazy how much these so called "gurus" are charging for information that is readily available for free online. Glad you made it out, as most people don't.

Best of luck with your AMA.

Guess it proves how with confidence you can sell snow to Eskimos :D In any case, Thank you ^^


You sold some WebDesigns.
Im starting with this now.

How do you charge? 1 Time Charge or 1 Initial Charge and Monthly payments for hosting ?

I wanted to keep it simple so I decided on a one-off charge. After reading people's experience, I decided that providing hosting would be too much of a hassle.

Personally I believe it's better you charge one-off but charge premium. I aimed to sell a site for at least $5,000 but then later settled on $3,500. Though now I won't charge anything less than $5,000 if I have so start again.

1) What advice would you give yourself if you had to start at 0 again?

2) What mistakes (besides spending cash on courses) have you made that we can benefit/learn from?

3) Do you think your near-death experience is the reason why all of this stuff has happened afterwards?

Great read, by the way.


Thank you :D


1) I'd tell myself it's better to do and fail than to not do and be safe. I've seen people selling BS online but still making a bank, simply because they take action and remain consistent. There are YouTubers in my country (India) who make Hindi videos on "How to make money online" and what they share is complete crap (things like do surveys or download an app -__-) but almost every of those YouTubers who have remained consistent for at least 1 year have either crossed 100K subscribers or are near the goal.

So if they can do it while uttering random BS, I believe anyone who can take out time to do research, create value, build a business and be consistent can do much much better. And it goes for any kind of business.


2) I was moving with the idea that "more resources = more chances of success", which is why I got burned again and again. I eventually realized that "more resourcefulness = greater chances of success".

Another mistake that I have been making ever since I started (and still do sometimes) is aiming for perfection from the get go. I always turned my back to the fact that everyone starts at zero at some point. I've been stupid enough to spend weeks and months on designing websites for my businesses rather than finding customers.

Lastly, and probably the biggest mistake, I overlooked my health. For years I've spent 16-18 hours in front of computer doing nothing but work. Never went out. Often times days would go by and I *literally* won't see the sun because I wouldn't even step out of my home for a few minutes.

The idea of hustle & grind is all inspiring but if you're going to put your health and well-being at stake, it's going to come back sooner or later to destroy you. I'm still recovering from the mess I've made of my health.


3) That near-death experience was certainly a massive push but I won't count it as the only factor in my success. I believe everything that has ever happened with me, no matter how small, has shaped my views and who I am in some form or the other. I am what I am because of the cumulative effect of all those big & small happenings, experiences, and lessons in my life.

I've always been the kind who'd never give up and I believe that trait of mine gets its power because of the WHY I have in my life. It's very important to have a reason to WHY you must push forward. Often times in life you won't find anything tangible to hold on to, and in such times, it would be these seemingly invisible forces like your WHY that would keep you moving forward no matter how many times you fail.
 
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Nubian Content

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The buyer was acting bold, because I don't see why would anyone pay for contracts which probably can be ended within 30 days. All his investments could be lost by just terminating the contracts within a month. There is no history with your clients. Maximum 2-3 month recurring revenue? Not much history between your agency and customers to make an assumption that they will still use the services in 12-24 months.
True. Either OP is lying or the buyer has some big cojones.
 

Heiko

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Thank you :D


1) I'd tell myself it's better to do and fail than to not do and be safe. I've seen people selling BS online but still making a bank, simply because they take action and remain consistent. There are YouTubers in my country (India) who make Hindi videos on "How to make money online" and what they share is complete crap (things like do surveys or download an app -__-) but almost every of those YouTubers who have remained consistent for at least 1 year have either crossed 100K subscribers or are near the goal.

So if they can do it while uttering random BS, I believe anyone who can take out time to do research, create value, build a business and be consistent can do much much better. And it goes for any kind of business.


2) I was moving with the idea that "more resources = more chances of success", which is why I got burned again and again. I eventually realized that "more resourcefulness = greater chances of success".

Another mistake that I have been making ever since I started (and still do sometimes) is aiming for perfection from the get go. I always turned my back to the fact that everyone starts at zero at some point. I've been stupid enough to spend weeks and months on designing websites for my businesses rather than finding customers.

Lastly, and probably the biggest mistake, I overlooked my health. For years I've spent 16-18 hours in front of computer doing nothing but work. Never went out. Often times days would go by and I *literally* won't see the sun because I wouldn't even step out of my home for a few minutes.

The idea of hustle & grind is all inspiring but if you're going to put your health and well-being at stake, it's going to come back sooner or later to destroy you. I'm still recovering from the mess I've made of my health.


3) That near-death experience was certainly a massive push but I won't count it as the only factor in my success. I believe everything that has ever happened with me, no matter how small, has shaped my views and who I am in some form or the other. I am what I am because of the cumulative effect of all those big & small happenings, experiences, and lessons in my life.

I've always been the kind who'd never give up and I believe that trait of mine gets its power because of the WHY I have in my life. It's very important to have a reason to WHY you must push forward. Often times in life you won't find anything tangible to hold on to, and in such times, it would be these seemingly invisible forces like your WHY that would keep you moving forward no matter how many times you fail.


Great answers, i can certainly reflect on a lot of your viewpoints.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions, take care and have a good one!
 
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