As I type this, over the past six weeks, we’ve added an additional $17,000+ in MRR – monthly run rate to my business.
That means, should all those clients who signed up remain with us, each month that money will keep recurring, adding over $204,000 a year in revenue.
This amount of monthly revenue is more in than what our company did during the first two years of its existence. It took two years just to reach $17,000 in MRR, so to add that much more in just six weeks is very satisfying.
I say satisfying because for much of those years of slow growth it was frustrating as a founder to feel like we were going nowhere. The company was alive, we had some happy clients (which is what kept me going), but I wasn’t paying myself anything yet and I was very eager for growth.
I thought I was good at marketing. With my prior online education company, I’d reached a consistent $30,000 a month in revenue and paid myself a lot of cash dividends over the years because I had high profit margins selling digital courses. I was used to a certain lifestyle and expected a certain result.
Of course business, as in life, never goes as you expect.
Building A Company Is Like Building A House
You’re probably wondering what made the difference in the past six weeks to bring in so much additional revenue compared to the slow early years in my business.
I’d love to say it’s because we found this one thing that just worked, but that’s not the case.
We had to lay a lot of foundations, learn a lot, build a lot, and then finally it all started to come together. I couldn’t plan what happened, we had to live through it.
To be more specific, here’s a quick list of some of what made the difference:
- We refined our point of differentiation and really committed to it
- This commitment was then reflected in our website copy and sales approach
- We completely overhauled our website to better present our core competencies
- I spent two years refining our paid Google ads
- We invested thousands of dollars into content to rank organically in Google for specific long tail phrases
- I appeared as a guest on podcasts, including paying for an agency (PodcastConnection.org) to help book me on shows, attracting clients directly and helping with link building for SEO
- A lot of money was spent testing various marketing channels that did not work (cold email, Twitter DMs, Facebook ads, conference sponsorship, consultants)
- We increased our prices…twice… and not just to make more money, but also so we could pay our team a higher hourly rate and thus attract and retain better people, making our service better and clients happier
- The price increase keeps away clients who can’t afford us, which in turn increased customer life time value (reduced churn timeframes, increased total spend)
- The price increase attracts a better quality client, who in turn refer to us better quality clients
- We have a larger base of clients, so word of mouth grows
- Our systems and processes were refined and expanded, which reduces errors, sets clear expectations and delivers a better onboarding experience for staff and clients
I could go on, but you can get a good picture of the kind of progress we made from this list.
The overall point is that all of these things happened and they are interconnected. Not a single one of these changes would have significantly moved the needle, but together they produce something special.
Some of these changes were small, some were more significant. Some you can measure directly, some you can’t. They are like cogs in a machine, each contributing to a process in incremental ways (like the Kaizen approach in Japan), with the combined improvements speeding up overall performance significantly.
Compounding Is More Than Just Interest On Your Savings
We’re used to talking about compounding as it refers to money saved and grown over time.
As Warren Buffet famously quipped, his strategy for wealth creation is to never lose money.
Mitigate your downside so your money can continue to multiply itself. The longer you do this the more time compounding has to play out.
The same can be said for your business. You need to keep moving forward, keep refining, testing, tweaking, improving — adding to what works, quickly discarding what doesn’t — to give compounding the time it needs to take effect.
The most dangerous thing to do is to stop. Compounding is all about time invested.
The time to improve, the time to see what results come in (good or bad), time to adjust, to learn more, to see problems you didn’t see before, to hire better people, change prices, build a better website, test different target markets and so on.
Compounding in a company is like magic. You know it’s there because the flywheel starts spinning on its own and the value your company delivers is produced organically through the collective of parts that make it work — the people, the processes, the technology.
Unfortunately, before you reach this point, the feeling of confusion and lack of specific solutions to problems, and the sheer number of problems, can be overwhelming.
When something is not working, you know it. However, you don’t necessarily know why it’s not working. You probably have ideas, but you don’t know which potential solution is the right one — and it will be many of them combined!
It’s even worse when you don’t know what you don’t know. You can see the lack of results but you don’t understand enough about what you are trying to do to know how to begin to improve things. This leads to confusion, frustration, a feeling of loss, and then ultimately paralysis, which kills momentum.
Then you stop, and it’s over. Dead business.
One Day You Will Have Hindsight
One of the things I love most about writing about business is the opportunity to reflect with the power of hindsight.
My early writing is full of doubt, fear, a yearning to achieve great things, and a lot of impatience. I’d never climbed the mountain before, so I couldn’t look back and fully appreciate the journey.
Now, almost 25 years later as an entrepreneur, I’ve climbed a lot of different business mountains and I can look back with the power of hindsight.
This gives you perspective. It doesn’t solve all your problems, or guarantee everything you do will succeed, but it does help with your mindset. You know movement is what matters and you have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t. From there, everything is an experiment.
Building something is never easy. I still face fear and doubt and especially hate the feeling when you don’t have momentum. But I know that if I keep trying things, something will change. It still may lead to closing down a project, but it could also lead to explosive growth, which feels extra good when you’ve been working towards it for years.
Leverage Other People’s Hindsight
If you are just getting started and you’re still feeling lost, one of the smartest things you can do is leverage the hindsight gained from other entrepreneurs, to start your business compounding journey.
The internet is full of podcasts and youtube videos and articles where generous entrepreneurs share their experiences.
If in particular you want more from me, you can join us in the Laptop Lifestyle Academy.
All of the training videos I created inside the academy came from living through the experience of growing multiple business in different industries. From selling services, to growing an education business, to buying and selling websites as a side hustle. It’s all covered in the Academy.
Don’t stop. Momentum is always a choice.