Are you a freelancer who aspires to have your own boutique agency? How do you manage a team and still run a profitable business? What are some of the roadblocks you might come up against along the way?
In this episode, we’re going to hear a different perspective on scaling a service-based business. Meg Witt is the owner of Six Figs, a boutique agency that provides coaching, branding, and business support services to female entrepreneurs.
Meg talks about her jump from corporate into the world of entrepreneurship. She will show us how she built a 6-figure boutique agency in a year and a half- all without debt!
We get into the nitty-gritty of the challenges she overcame along the way. We chat about building a team, setting up systems, and serving multiple clients– all without sacrificing your family life.
- The first steps to take when working for yourself
- Outsourcing for growth
- Paying your subcontractors well, while still being mindful of your profit margins
- How Meg offers a combination of hourly and packaged services
- Hiring for others vs hiring for yourself
- Creating an open-door policy for your team
- What tools Meg uses to run her agency
- Pricing your hours and services according to the value you provide
- The problem with setting goals too high
- Being a ‘one-stop-shop’ vs niching down
- When and how to make the first hire in your business
I know many of you have questions about creating your own boutique agency. You might be wondering how to bring on subcontractors. What should you pay them? Are they client-facing? What profit margins should you strive to hit with an agency?
I loved having Meg on the show today to break down what it’s like to run an agency. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to run your business. Whether you decide to scale your business as a solopreneur or with a team, there will be challenges and roadblocks along the way. True growth happens when you are able to adjust and overcome them.
Remember to go out this week and serve your clients, scale your business, and soar into that six-figure year you deserve.
Links Mentioned on Today’s Episode:
Where to Find Meg
Don’t forget to sign up for my free training >> How to Scale to Consistent 10K Months Without Hiring a Team
Hello, Serve Scale Soar family. I am so excited because I had megane on here from six figures and I actually met in a mastermind that we were both in and we got to spend some time together in San Diego and we sat beside each other at dinner and just connected it.
And I loved getting to know her business a little bit. And she has a boutique agency which is such a different model than me. So I'm excited that we are going to really dove into what that looks like, how she created it and what it looks like now and how you go about doing that. If you're someone who wants to actually hire subcontractors instead of doing this without a team. So thank you so much for being here. And I would just love for you to tell my listeners a little bit about you as a person and then who you are as a business owner.
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. So my name is Meg and I live in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
So if any of you are watching little fires everywhere on Hulu, then you might have some insight into the community that I live in. I started my business just over two years ago. I'd never been a business owner before. I always worked for other people, mostly in management positions. My degree is in organizational management. I was actually in the yoga world for about eight years. I managed a Lululemon Athletica store. I don't know if you have any of those stretchy pants Brandi, but it's a pretty cool brand. So I worked for them for a while and then I managed to yoga studios for a local company called Cleveland Yoga. I taught for them. Did their buying manage their teams? I always got myself into situations, either corporate or local, where I was running someone's organization for them. And even if I didn't start that way, I would quickly move up to that position. And I loved the problem-solving of it creating community with teams and very results oriented. So I liked seeing results within their companies. And I just I guess they got to the point where I thought, why am I not doing this for myself? So I decided that the thing getting in the way really for me was just courage.
That was it. Like I was looking at people around me who had small businesses and I'm like, what did they have that I don't have? Right. I think I'm smart enough. I know I have the skills. What's getting in the way? And it was it was courage. It was me just kind of going, I'm going to do it. There's no perfect time. So I was working for someone else full time. I started my business, my agency, which I didn't even know what an agency was when I started. Six figures. But I decided I was going to start supporting small businesses by creating my own small business. And about three months after I started it, I quit my day job because I was able to replace my income. And I thought, all right, let's do this. And then at a year and a half, we reached the six figure mark with no debt, which is something I'm very proud of. No debt piece in particular. And we've just continued to grow and add to the team. And it's been a really fun, wild ride.
So I want to back up. So how did you find out about the online space?
Because I'm assuming you started working. Are you working locally in your community or are you working with online entrepreneurs?
Who is your boutique agencies like Primary Focus to work with?
Yeah. So the answer is both. There's definitely a lot of local, mostly female entrepreneurs. It's kind of our specialty somehow that happened. So we have people with brick and mortars from yoga studios to boutiques. However, now we've moved more into the online space. So I would say probably 90 percent of our clients are just from anywhere because everything we offer, apart from brand photography, everything we offer can be done on the Internet.
So did you start out knowing, like I went to an agency and did you come right out the gate with subcontractors or did it start out with just you?
It started out with just me. But actually, the first kind of big girl move I made in my business was to hire somebody. And that was two months in, I think. I mean, so just to levels that the first I'm very connected to my numbers. So and I try to encourage all of my clients to be very connected to their numbers and give them the tools and resources to do that. So it doesn't feel scary. But in my first month in business, I made two hundred and eighty dollars. So that was very exciting for me. And actually, it was very exciting. It was a workshop that I did locally that I sold out and I was excited. It was like in a little coffee shop, 15 women came together. It was a goal setting workshop. That was the first thing I ever sold. And I was super proud of it. And then the next month, I think I made just over a thousand dollars. And I was like. Now, this is growth like we're killing it here. And the third month I hired, the third month, I said, OK, I'm going to need support. This is gonna be a thing if we keep growing. I was gaining competence actually really rapidly. And I brought on my first hire Tess out five hours a week and just said, I need your help with my calendar, email, customer service, whatever. I'm not even fully sure. She probably helps me a little bit with social media, too. And and then that was kind of addictive because her support gave me back time to do the stuff that I was loving in the business. And so then every time I found myself doing something that I thought maybe I shouldn't be doing as the founder, that might hold me back from growth, I found someone to outsource it to. So now we have a team of I think there are eight of us now.
Ok. And so when you said you hired her and she was doing stuff that you didn't feel like you should be doing. Was that client work? Was that back end stuff? Were you still the person that was facing the clients? How did that work?
That's a really good question because it's evolved. I. I. Let's see. So you're one. Everything I did was very hosley like I was in the trenches. And I think that's pretty common for small business owners when they first start out. You have your hands in all the things. I was in my own social fields.
I was definitely doing most of my client work and all the interaction with them, a lot of the customer service. So I kind of started by just outsourcing my calendar in my email organization and maybe some of the graphics, little things like that. And I don't think I fully trusted that I could outsource other things. And so I learned through lots of coaching and all the podcast, great podcasts like yours. I mean, I've listened to all the things like we do. Right. And we're just kind of dedication to personal development. Read all the books. And I'm like, oh, yeah, I have to learn to let go of basically everything that's not sales oriented.
Right. Content that only I can create and coaching, which is what I'm really good at, strategy and coaching. So then I began to up my delegation.
I used to think I was a really good delegator. I wasn't. I'm still learning to be better and better and better at it. And realizing that there's very few things that only I have to do. And that's true of every business owner. There should be very few things that you're not that important to your company. I think we think we are crucial to the company and we are in some ways our vision and our voice definitely is and is irreplaceable. But almost everything else you can delegate. And so I've learned that.
So now the only thing I do in my business is client relationships on the front end, sales, coaching and content creation that only I can create. That's it. Everything else is delegated.
I love it. I love it. So tell me. Because a lot of people think about like they come in and they're either like, yes, I'm going to create an agency or they're like, no, I'm going to do this alone, or they have one intention going in and then change their mind throughout. So with subcontracting, what do you like? Is it if you're someone who wants to start an agency hiring subcontractors, what do you pay? Not necessarily a dollar, but maybe a percentage. Are you paying your subcontractors?
Yeah. So it depends what the work is. Obviously I have a rule personally that I don't pay anyone less than $15 an hour regardless of what they're doing, because I just believe that's what minimum wage should be.
So even if someone is helping me with something really small, I don't outsource to the Philippines or other places like that or hire really cheap V.A. Some people do. And that's really important to their business model. But for me, it's just been a personal value that I hire women. I pay them, you know, at least $15 an hour. Usually my my contractors are more in the like $20 an hour range, which we're in Cleveland. So I'm sure it's different in a big city or it may be different in California, but in Cleveland, that's a pretty good entry level rates. If they do things that are very highly creative or technical, then I might pay them based on the project as well. But I have to make sure that my margins are good. And for me, I want to make at least 50 percent, which of course doesn't mean I make 50 percent, but the business does. So I don't know if that answers your question, but you have to be tricky. I will say there's a tendency to. Well, for me at least to overpay contractors, because especially if they do good work, you're like, gosh, like, I really want to make sure that they stay with me or I want to make sure they really love this. But you have to add and that is great. I run my business paying my contractors well. But you do have to walk the line of making sure that you have an eye on your margins.
Right. OK. So I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into this.
So when your clients are paying you because I'm a firm believer and like everyone should be on packages like hourly is not serving. And this doesn't include like I'm don't build an agency you type. So I love this like different perspective. So when you are meeting with your you know, like you're having a discovery call with someone and you're saying, here's our package. Is it a package? In saying like, we will accomplish this for you or is it an hourly rate and you're working for the hour yet?
But it's also a great question and we debate this internally on my team all the time, like is there a better model for us? Go by.
But right now, what's working for us really well is accommodation. It's a package of ours. So when you come on to six figures, we sell you monthly a package of ours that either many have really original names. It's either a mini small, medium or large. And you buy that package of ours. And then we use them to accomplish our goals that month. So part of what we do is I offer two half hour strategy calls to all of my programs called his bosses. So I offer two half hour strategy calls to a client in the big city program each month so that we can talk high level goals and I can connect on their vision much like an integrator would like. OK. What are you up to this month? What? What are your top priorities? What would make you feel successful at the end of this month? And then I take that insight and I delegate it to the team. And then I have I have an integrator who manages that process named Miriam. So we sell a package of ours. And then Miriam is responsible for tracking all of the hours that go. Two words, each client. And we use toggle for that.
Gotcha. Do you feel like your team would be more efficient if they knew, like, OK, I'm going to actually accomplish this in 30 minutes, but I also want to make sure I'm getting paid.
So it's gonna take me an hour.
I think that that comes much, much of that comes down. I see what you're saying, but much of that comes down to the hire for me. So I am a stickler about hiring. I've probably hired, oh, I don't know, hundreds of people who over the course of my career for other organizations. And it is a little different, I will say, hiring for yourself, for your own company. I noticed that from the beginning. I'm like I'm a pro at hiring. And then the first few people I hired, I was like, maybe not, actually. When it's your own business, it feels a little different, more emotional or something.
You get a little clouded. But I have gotten good at it now in the past couple of years.
And I look for people who are highly internally driven, self-motivated, organized on top of it.
Women, that's who I look for. And those women are go getters and they're efficient. And I don't find that we have a problem with that with many of our clients at the end of the month. We have extra hours left over. And then those hours, we roll into the following month for them. So not always the case. Sometimes things take a little bit longer, but oftentimes we have hours left over because of course, as we grow and get better at things, those things take less time to achieve.
Right. So then actually our client gets more out of us, to be honest.
Ok. So that works out in the client's favor. So that's good. OK. Back talk a little bit because I like to unpack this.
So you said you really good at hiring like these go getters like driven people. So my question is and I know my listeners are going to want to know this then. Do you have a high turnover rate? Because my job, if they're go getters, they're driven. Then are they going and starting their own business and getting their own clients?
I haven't had that happen yet. Why do you think that is?
I think working for six things is really fun. But obviously, I'm biased.
Well, I think that there are certain types of people who are entrepreneurs, as you know, like you and I. And then I think there are certain types of people who really love working for other people and working alongside a vision. And as you know, it's not all cherry pie owning your own business. I mean, it's fine. There's nothing I would rather do. But I think it takes a specific skill set that not everyone has. And because we love it, we assume everybody else would love it. Like, well, why?
I think that all the time about my contractors, why would they not just steal this client and go do this for themselves and make twice the money? Right. Take my profit margin with them. It hasn't happened yet.
And I don't actually. This one's gonna maybe blow your mind a little. I might get in trouble later. But I don't actually have contracts with my contractors. It's completely honor system. So my rule with them is that if they, quote unquote, steal a client. Good for them. And also goodbye so they can take that client. I'm totally happy to release them. And that's actually great for them if that's how they decide to roam. But they don't get to stay in my company, obviously. So that's just it. Like they know that if they want to do that, they can. And I think it creates a really nice open door policy and no one feels change to being here. But at the same time, I try to create a really fun. Lobbying work environment, celebratory work environment that people like to be a part of. One of my contractors just said to me the other day in a team meeting, I was thinking about how much more it was really honest of her. I was thinking about how much more money I could make. I just did this work on my own. And then I thought, I really like being a part of the team, though, and I wouldn't have that. And I was like, well, there you go. You know, so, yeah, I mean, it hasn't happened yet. I anticipate that it will I'll be totally OK with it. I think I'll secretly be cheering for that person if it happens, to be honest. And then they just won't work for my for my business anymore. And I'll find someone else.
Ok. I like this. I like some of this work. In fact, a little bit. What made me dislike my heart sank a little bit. And that's the contract.
Ok. I knew I was going to get in trouble for the contract. I went to law school. I don't know if you knew that.
And so this is something that we actually have. I had an attorney draft contract template so that my members inside Serve Scale Soar will never not have a contract that makes me a little sick at my stomach. Do you have contracts with your clients, though?
I do. OK. Talks with my clients. And to be honest with you, briney, that's just for me. I've worked a lot with friends and not not really friends, but acquaintances. People I knew, people I recruited from previous jobs I had worked. There is a level of trust with the team I have right now that as we evolve, it's just not going to have you know, it will be the way we have. We're gonna have to implement contracts. So I do want to say it's an oversight because I'm I'm present to it. But it's just we haven't gotten there yet.
I get that. I get them. I love that you've created an environment that they feel like that. And I totally agree. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. And that's why I asked, because the first hire I made the question I ask is, where do you see your business in a year or two years? And I was specifically looking for someone who wasn't looking to grow a business because I didn't want to hire someone that in six months was gonna leave me to have their business. So I'm not knocking anyone who does not want to have a business. I am not knocking that. I just wanted to see what you said about it. So I love that. I love so much about this. So what do you feel like is the biggest struggle with having your agency?
The biggest struggle is probably the obvious one, which is just keeping everything straight. When you have so many clients, I didn't realize this fully, but we were looking through our client pipeline. We have a very kind of rudimentary spreadsheet that I love, a color coded spreadsheet like no system can replace a good Google sheet for me. So we have every client in there and color coded according to what program they're a part of. And I looked at it recently and we were over 60 active clients in the various programs that we have, not all in Biz Basti.
And then we have, I think fifteen now in the Biz Varsity program, which is for sure the most labor intensive program we have because of how much we work one on one with the clients. And that program is only two months old. It's brand new, so we weren't fully sure how it would work. We're still figuring it out, but people love it so far. So keeping all of the pieces of those clients straight is tough because it's not like it's all these people in a membership or a course. It's worked pretty intimately involved in their business. So sometimes I get on a strategy call with someone and I have to think, OK, name business.
How many years they've been in business? Their current struggle. Right. Like there's a lot of.
Remembering and keeping its streets involved in serving your clients, and I'm huge on customer service. So I want to be intimately connected to them. And the bigger we get, the harder that becomes.
Which is my struggle. OK.
And then what system do I use to organize everything besides like. Like, what is your project management system?
Click, click up now.
It was Monday and we are now using slack. We used to just say no texting. So everything was through email. And then we have actually three weekly stand up meetings.
So Monday, Wednesday, Friday for an hour, which sounds like a lot. That's, you know, three hours of meetings. Every week is a lot for me. But in my agency right now, at this stage, we're in. I feel like it's important to stay connected. And in those meetings, my team can ask me whatever questions they need answers to. And that cuts down a lot on email because we're big on trying not to to fill up the inbox.
Right. OK. Awesome. Do you use the chat feature? And so I'd click up. Yes, that's what we do. I love it. OK.
So my next question would be then it is because I know this is a big question with some of my mastermind members who are like wanting to grow a boutique agency as well. Is are you the only one that has contact with the client or does like are they assigned someone? How does that work?
No, absolutely not. I am not the only one. And in fact, I'm trying to get it so that I have very minimal contact with my clients apart from those 2 1/2 hour strategy sessions that they get every month. So, you know, it's it's tricky because it's forty dollars an hour right now. Full transparency to work with us within the Biz Basti program. You buy that our packages at the start of the month.
Forty dollars an hour is not my rate, right? To do a coaching session with me in person is five hundred dollars an hour over the phone is four hundred.
So we have to be really careful to protect my time so that I'm not in clients. Business is constantly working at the $40 and hour rate because that is not what they're paying for. Right. If they want coaching, if they want strategy and big picture coaching, they have to pay me as a business coach. Now, we realized really quickly when we started Bizz Bestie that all of these clients wanted connection with me and that wasn't part of the program initially. So we added in those strategy calls, we felt like this should be a perk of people in the program, that every other week they can have a touchpoint with me to talk vision and goals.
But other than that, if they want more time with me to either review their projects or run things by me, they have to purchase that time at my hourly rate for coaching like you would if you were, you know, paying a life coach or something like that for an hour. So I'm trying to remove myself entirely from the operations of it. I have an inch a full time integrator. Miriam, who is that touch point person? But there are other people on my team as well who might get assigned to a client if someone buys a small package that's only five hours a week. And so they might have a very specific project they're working on like a podcast. We do podcasts, production. Podcast production is our small package. If you put out one podcast a week, so it takes us about five hours between three and five hours to produce a podcast, you the audio grant, you know all the things that go with it, write the show, notes, all that. So that's eight hundred dollars a month for for podcast episodes. And we have someone on our team who's a full time marketing and media manager. And so you might only have contact with Katie if your project and Biz Basti is a podcast. So it kind of depends what you're working on. But the main point person of the program is Miriam, not.
Ok. Very, very cool. And then. OK.
So you said the business is besties. This is a BSD is a newer thing. But you've had your agency longer. That's right. Yeah. OK. So what was the difference between the agency and biz bestie?
Ok. So you're one of my business. We had a program called also Super Original.
The business support program. And you bought 10 hours. It was just one package. You bought ten hours a month from us. Much like the big Vestey now. It was hugely popular. And also I wasn't prepared for it. So I was the one doing all of the work in those programs. And I found that wasn't the work I liked doing right. Spending all my time in that kind of integrator and implementation role wasn't really my strength. So instead of evolving the program, I scrapped it entirely and I had a lot of sad clients that we finished out their contract and they couldn't renew with us. But we tried a bunch of other things that actually are still happening. Like we have a photo club, for instance, where you can buy six photo sessions from us and then use them anytime you want throughout the year. So we have a lot of clients in that for brand photography. We did start a membership. The Six Big Society is so that we have like a low price point option for people to work with us. I began to focus on I don't call them masterminds, but 12-week coaching programs. So I just finished one recently called the Profit Project. So I started creating these kind of higher end coaching programs. We've played with a lot of fun things. Some of them super successful, some of them total flops, of course. And then this year, twenty twenty, we decided to bring back the business support program and try it in a different way with more supports. And with me, less involved. And that's where Biz Basti came from. And the reason we brought it back is because everybody wanted it. I mean, my clients, my coaching clients would say to me, well, now where do I go? Like they come to me for the coaching and strategy.
And it was, well, how do I implement? You know, they wake up Monday morning and they're like invigorated from our coaching session. And now they have a list of 50 things they need to do and they're all alone. Most of our clients are solo producers. They might have one or two part time contractors, but most of them don't have full time employees or teams of full time employees. That's definitely the exception. So Biz Best comes in and kind of acts like their team. And we thought, all right, let's try it out. Let's see if people love this. And it you know, it's been a hit. We do a trial month. And then at the end of the trial month, you can decide to sign on for it for 90 days, which is the length of our contract. And we haven't had anyone yet not sign on for 90 days. So we're now making it the primary focus of the business and growing it. So I just brought on two more contractors to support with it. And that's kind of it's gotten us through the season, by the way. I know all anybody is talking about is covered 19. So maybe you want to avoid that conversation. But it's gotten us through this season. And Q1 was our biggest quarter yet in the business. We reached all of our goals, our goals for March as well. And I know I'm really blessed to even be able to say that truly, like not in the sort of hashtag blessed, annoying Instagram way, but actually from my heart, I feel really blessed that that happened. And it wouldn't have happened without this basti because so many people needed support.
I love it. I love it. OK. So I want to backtrack just a little bit.
So are you providing what services are you providing all the things or like are you a niche one that's just like launching or digital marketing? Like what all does your agency do?
No, we provide all the things. That's a perfect way to describe it. So we are a one stop small business shop. So and some of the businesses that we work with are not so small, actually, but we are a one stop boutique shop. I I prefer the term boutique over agency. I don't know why does it feel like agency is so like corporate sounding or something in my head. But we are a boutique agency that offers brand photography, business coaching, high end V.A. services. Although everyone who works with me, I would not put them in the visa category there. There are very executive level and can do things like help you with a launch and copywriting and build a sales page landing page. So we do some things that are administrative like organization, but we also build client journeys. We help you think through your high end sales goals for the year and how to reach them. We create graphics and support with social media, produce podcasts. There is not much we don't do that an online service provider would need.
Do you feel like that your agency or like benefits?
I think it benefits us because I don't know personally and I'm sure there are tons of them out there, but I don't personally know of an agency that offers all that we offer as well as we do. And I think people who come to us like the idea of the One-Stop Shop not having to go here, there and everywhere to have 10 contractors in 10 different fields that they then have to manage and manage the communication between all those people. They come to us and say, here are my goals. And then on the other end, we can get them results. And that sort of happens, a lot of it without them meeting to be a part of it. So we give a lot of time back to our entrepreneurs by managing the implementation of it so that they can go on doing what they need to do and not manage all these different client and contractor relationships with different firms. So there are certain things that have come to us where I'm like, we're not ready for that. That's not something we offer. A perfect example is Facebook ads. We don't offer that, you know, even now with photography. Photography is a pretty big part of my business, actually.
But obviously, we can't offer that right now. And I'm wondering if we'll go back to it after we're finished sheltering in place, because the margins aren't great on photography. Now that I'm not the one doing all of the brand photography now that I'm having other people do it. But other than that, most of what we do, we've gotten really good at now and we enjoy doing there's someone on the team who loves it or more than one person on the team who loves it. I have struggled with the whole niche thing because I know that Seno riches are in the niches. It's a very popular thing for entrepreneurs to talk about. And I actually had a conversation with our with our friend Rick already. I think during the mastermind, you might have been there. Brandi, when we were talking about this, but where I was a little in my head about do I need a niche? Like is what I'm doing niche enough? And what I always get back from people. Is, Meg, you're you're a small business that supports female entrepreneurs by offering them all of the things in one place.
You're a support system. That's your niche.
And I'm kind of embracing that. And I have to say, it's working in my business. So if it ain't broke, right?
No, I agree. You are niche down.
My question is, do you think that if you only provided, like, let's say, social media management, launch support podcasts, like things that are very like one person provides it. Do you think that would it would help with the systems that you're able to create?
Definitely. I mean, for sure, if we chose one thing and all of our energy went into that one thing. Yes.
And I'm not saying like one thing, but right now, are your people like you? You brought up Katie and Katie does the podcast stuff. Is she the only one that does the podcast?
I see what you're saying. Yes. Katie's the only one who does podcasting. We have two people who do copy writing. We have one person who does social. So, yeah, I guess the answer to that is the people on our team are pretty nation what they provide.
So they're not doing all the things, just the agency, you know.
Yeah, exactly. It would be really hard for me. Like I could do all the things. You know, I'm superwoman. I could do all the things if it was me doing it. But I'm not going to do that. So I have to find people to, like, fit all those things.
And then the one thing that I do that I'm I guess niche shot is the strategy and business coaching peace. Right. So that's where my energy needs to go. And then I find people to fill the other gaps that are really good at the things they do other than Miria, my integrator. I don't know that there's anyone on my team that could really do the full gamut. And also, I don't think they'd want to. They all kind of love their thing that they do there. One or two things that they do know.
I love that. I think that's great. Okay.
So let's talk a little bit about money and then we'll wrap this up. I love numbers. And you said you love numbers, so you open the door for that.
Ok. So let's look at 20 19. How much did your agency bring in revenue?
Ok. So I'll tell you from the very beginning, twenty eighteen. My first year we did around seventy thousand. That was year 1 and I started full time in Q2. I still had a full time job in Q1 of that year. My goal that year was to prove that I could replace my salary. That was kind of my big goal and I did that right then. Year to last year two thousand nineteen we did 1 0 7 in revenue, which my goal was to have a six figure a year, my first six figure a year, which we did that this year and that was a 67 percent increase in revenue year over year. And then this year we are shooting for two twenty five I think is our your goal. So we're shooting to more than double what we did last year and twenty twenty one. Our goal is four hundred thousand, OK.
So to add to that, I like these numbers. Let's go back to those 19. So 1 0 7, that was revenue. How much was your expenses.
So my. I know you're getting to like what my profit margin was, right.
Well, I just wanted to break this down for everyone. So, yeah, you can tell us your profit margin number, but I don't know how much you knew in your head with these numbers. Sorry.
I don't know them exactly. It's but I know them generally.
So I my expenses were about 60 percent last year, which is actually higher than they should be for. Well, it's higher than I want them to be. I'd like them to be closer to 40 percent. Most of that with contractors.
Right. OK. And then.
So how much was your take home? And you can say with or without Texas liquor.
So last year I was like fifty thousand. I want to say awesome. And how long?
Each week. How many hours are you putting in?
It depends on the week. Right now, because we're in the throes of this new program, the big Vastu program, and kind of figuring out the system for all of that. I've been working more probably 40 hours, but there are weeks where I work 30. I would say a typical week for me is about 30 hours a week. Yeah. Yeah. And my goal like my goal this year is to pay myself six figures. That's just a personal goal that I have. My company had to get there first. Obviously, I always tell my clients that when they're setting goals, I think a big mistake we make is setting our goals really, really high and then feeling let down when we don't reach them. And yeah, I mean it's exciting obviously if you do reach them, but when you get momentum in your business, like most businesses don't profit in the first year, most businesses aren't even around in year five. Right. Or I think you're 3. Even a lot of businesses fail. Many businesses have a huge amounts of debt. For instance, I have clients that have one hundred thousand dollars in debt. So it was very important to me from the beginning to run a business that always had a profit margin, even if it wasn't a high one. And that wasn't in debt. That was a huge personal value of mine. And then the other piece I mentioned earlier on is that I always wanted to pay my team in a fair way. And so sometimes my team makes more than I do, to be honest. Like when I when I do that payroll every month, sometimes it hurts a little bit. Like I'm like, well, I don't think I made this much.
But I also know that what I'm building is a sustainable business. My business model is sustainable and it's growing actually by all standards really quickly, but probably a little slower than I'd like because I would have loved last year, for instance, in year two to bring home six figures. But this year I will and I can do it knowing that it's debt free and that everybody's being taken care of and that it was done with a high level of integrity. And I know within five years that what my business is capable of, if I continue to set reasonable goals and, you know, some people grow too fast. I mean, we know people too like that. Right. In the online world, it's like there they blow up and then they're like, oh, my God, I don't have the systems, the structure or the energy for what I just created. And so six things has been like this really cool blossoming where I felt supported each step of the way as we grow. And I'm always thinking one step ahead. Like, if we're gonna have a $400000 a year next year, we reach this year's goals, which we're on track to do then. What kind of team am I going to need to support that kind of year? And then, you know, next year is going to come and I'm going to be like, OK. So for my first million dollar a year, what kind of team am I going to need to support that? And I'll be building that ark kind of before it ever comes so that I feel ready and set up for it. If that makes sense, totally makes sense.
And I love the different perspectives because my audience hears my perspective all the time. And so I love this other perspective.
I do. I just want to throw this out there. I don't think that any goals can be too big. I do like that. You said, though, that we get disappointed when we don't reach them. I think that's important to know, but I know that a lot of people have. When I told them this year we'll do a million and they asked, what did you do last year? And we say, four hundred thousand. And they say, well, like. Yeah, OK. And I let them do that. And that's OK. Because now when we're doing the income reports, which will link up, we're more than on track, four million. And I think that when you just know in your heart of hearts that you will reach that goal. And it doesn't matter how, though, like you don't know all the steps along the way, but you just know that it's going to happen, then it will happen. And so I just wanted to throw that out there. I don't think I always can be too big. And I think the bigger and the scarier, the better. But I also know that come the end of this year, no matter what happens, there will be no disappointment in my heart. And I think that's the important part that you said in there. And I love that you're doing everything through integrity. That's my number one core value in the business is integrity. I love that. And I just love that this was a different conversation than we've had on the podcast before.
And I think not everyone wants to grow their service based business alone. And you brought a different perspective. And I love that. I also think it's so interesting how also like to people that run very different businesses are working the same amount of hours.
And I love this because I think this is so cool that like we are just online. No debt. I think that's a super important part. I think that's one of the best parts about having a service based business is that we don't have to have debt and we don't have to have a ton of overhead cost. And we don't have to worry about like, is this business not going to be around in three years? It's totally up to us. And so I think we're so blessed by that. And so I love this conversation. But before we end. Are you ready for some rapid fire? Absolutely. It doesn't have to be the first word that comes to your mind, but it does have to be like the first phrase. OK. So what is the favorite part of your business? People, people. OK. So what is your favorite software tool you couldn't run your business without?
I like when we have guests, when I'm expecting something different, but click up and Dub Sardo are always the two answers. I love it. OK. What is the best conference you've ever been to? Virtual or in-person?
Oh, my God, that is so good.
I think it was Rick's mastermind weekend. That was the best and even the best parts were like sleepover talks with my roomie. You know, like just like the off line conversations with really cool people.
I love in person. OK. Tell me the best piece of business advice you've ever received.
Who hired before you're ready?
Yeah, that's the one I repeat to my clients, too, all the time higher before everybody says I'm not ready yet. Higher before you're ready.
And I totally agree. I disagree and agree with this business advice cause and it's not because hiring is scary. Like I remember we have a team of seven now.
None of them work on the ad side of my business. They're all unlike the Serve Scale Soar side. But hiring is scary. And I think that that statement's so true when it says hire before you're ready, like emotionally. Yes, but I feel like a lot of people take that as a gateway just to hire before they know what they're hiring for. That's the biggest mistake people make is they don't have a foundation. They don't have the systems. They don't actually know what they're gonna delegate out. And then that's hiring like to hire.
Now, that's a really good point. That is definitely not how I mean it. And I'm glad you said that because you want to know what you need to give away before you give it away. Probably for most people, the best first hire is going to be an executive assistant or MBA. That's going to be the best. I always say like the first investment should be that person so that those administrative tasks are taken off your plates and then the hires after that get a little trickier.
So we actually don't even I don't even have an executive assistant and I have some thoughts and I do not have an executive assistant, but I agree. We just like onboarding an integrator. But my first one was a B.A. and she actually like runs the whole membership now. So I show. So it's great fun. Thank you so much. Bag working. My listeners reach out to you and just connect with you more.
Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram almost every day. My favorite social media platform at Six Flags coaching my Web site is six hyphen thigs dot com. And you can listen to my podcast, which is just called Six Bags and you can find us on all the places.
I love it. We'll link up to all of this in the show notes. Thank you so much for being on here. This was so good.
And until next time. OK. Bye.
Serve Scale Soar family. I am so excited about the conversation that is about to go down with Mag. because we're talking to all about creating a boutique agency. This is not something I'm so familiar with because. Jarno, my journey has always been to scale your service based business with out a team. But that doesn't mean I'm against it. I just have some concerns about growing an agency too quickly. And today with Mag. or jumping into. How do you even bring on subcontractor's? What do you pay them? What are the problems you face? Do they actually look and work with your clients? Are you forward facing? How does all this work? And then at the end, I ask her the question I was dying to know. What are your profit margins and how much she brought home last year? So without further ado, let's dig on in. Yea, I just love this conversation. I felt like Meg was such a trooper when I got really nitty gritty on asking the questions, but I wanted John to have a full, transparent story of what it's like to have an agency and to hire subcontractors and to bring on a team to work with clients. And I don't believe that there's a right or wrong way to run your business.
I'm so fortunate that we can all decide how we run our business and the ways that we want to do it and the lifestyle we want to create. And so I think that this conversation was so good. It opened up so many amazing questions like, do you want to agency? Do you not want an agency? What do you need to have in place first? When should you hire? Who do you hire? Do they work with your clients? And what does all that look like? And I know as a solo pan-eu when just with the ads, there's hardships that come with that. There's challenges you're gonna face with Meg and a boutique. There's also challenges and roadblocks that you will face. And so what I love is no matter what direction you decide to take your business. That is the right direction for you. And you can always pivot if it doesn't end up being the perfect decision for you. So I would encourage you to connect with Meg and go out this week. Go out this week, serve your clients, scale your business and soar into that six figure year. You deserve.
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Brandi Mowles is the host of the Serve Scale Soar podcast which is a podcast dedicated to helping service-based entrepreneurs scale their online business to five-figure months so they can soar into six-figure years. Brandi is a wife, mom and in less than one year, created a six-figure business. Now she is spilling all her secrets so you can too.