Getting your new, online business to $10,000 per month is a huge milestone. In this episode Brice & Mike discuss how they did it, and how they help the companies that they work with each day do the same.
These transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting more than 60 minutes, it can be difficult to catch all small errors.
Brice: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the building an online podcast, a podcast all about the successes, failures and learnings from growing businesses online. Yo, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the podcast. Brice. And Mike here with you today. Glad to have you with us.
Brice: You know, today, me and Mike are gonna be talking about how we got to 10k a month, the journey to $10,000 a month. So we’re diving in and talking about the journey to 10,000 because for whatever reason, out there on the internet, a place where Mike and I spend a lot of time, having your first $10,000 month is like a big accomplishment as an entrepreneur, I especially if you’re coming from any kind of job ever, you know, like it’s not super common for, I think employees that are at any lowly status outside of like financial industries. And maybe if you’re in like New York City or something to be baking, like 10k a month. So as an entrepreneur, once you’re doing 10k a month, you’re like, you’re at this level where you’ve exceeded what you were doing, like you’re at a new pace. And you’re making 10k a month, which is pretty sweet.
Mike: Yeah, you’re above the industry average, I think, to the…
Brice: broken the norms
Mike: Yeah, the people that are doing that, in the geobee. Right. I think that people that are making over 10k a month are almost killing themselves. You know, I know a couple people that are doing it, and they’re working seven days a week, and it’s insane. So to have the flexibility of an entrepreneur, as well as the consistent income of over $10,000 a month is a huge accomplishment.
Brice: Yeah. So that’s what we’re talking about. Mike and I have both broke the $10,000 a month barrier
Mike: consistently now
Brice: consistently, consistently breaking 10k a month. And so we’re going to talk about what was like to get there, because I don’t know about for you, but it wasn’t really it was not easy for me.
Brice: I definitely thought that breaking 10k a month was gonna be like, when I did the, when I was doing like napkin math getting started, I was like, oh alright, if I’m just, you know, for me, it was like, cool, I’ll get 10 clients at $1,000 a month, because, you know, when a client basis, I get 10 clients a month, and I’ll be making 10k a month, and I’m not gonna have any expenses. And I’m just going to be doing 10k a month. And that’s like, insane. So I’m should be able to do that. Like, what if I just bring on like, I can do that? Like, what, two, three months?
Mike: that’s what you think, right?
Brice: Yeah! But it took me like three years to start consistently breaking the 10k a month in revenue to like 10k a month in business revenue. Before we take out taxes and payroll and stuff
Mike: Let’s go into the actual life stories behind that. Because, for me, I feel like our stories are slightly different, but very similar in a lot of ways. And for me, I was right there with you. And I started I was like, Oh yeah, this is gonna be simple, like, go out and you know, get 10 clients or get five big clients, you know, whatever. And it would just be a very clean cut, easy, sloping road up to success, right?
Brice: On linear path
Mike: Yep. And we’d be there. And that was it, that was the goal. And as we both know, that didn’t work out quite how we planned but I think worked out in a way that it was supposed to work out with a lot of learning lessons along the way. Do you want to tell like the initial story of how you started and different contract sizes and what that meant for you.
Brice: I’m excited to hear your story. But yeah, I will start with my story.
So when I got started doing this, I had a business partner. And we were doing digital marketing for local businesses in the medical space. Tattoo removal were like my first clients online, we had tattoo removal businesses, and we kind of did a little bit of everything with them. He started the business, I came on, and was basically like running all the operations. And so, I was just getting paid a flat monthly rate. And then after like two years of doing that, I went out on my own and like started my business by myself. And my first contract was with a local business for $800 a month doing Google ads. And then like, I feel like everything since then has been like a grind upwards. Because we brought on those clients 100 a month and we had 1200 and 1500. And then we had a 2000. And then we had a $2500 a month client, just trying to like grind our way upwards, but not having had a ton of experience. For me. Like I feel like I got really good at the marketing and in paid advertising is my specialty. So I got really good at that. But like the business side of things has been a constant learning experience. Yeah. And so yeah, like clients would come on, but then they leave after like three or six months. And so it’s this constant churning. And for me like, I got to the point where we’re doing like seven or 8000 a month in revenue consistently every month for a long time, but just kind of plateauing there. And then after years of doing this after about three years, we finally brought on a few more really solid clients that got us past 10k.
Mike: and just consistently pushed you over that.
Brice: Yeah. How about you? How did you get there?
Mike: So mine was a little bit different. I worked for this plastics company. And I’d been there for a couple of years. And when I left, my goal was to continue working with them. They were pretty dependent, I was planning, I want to say $12 million in revenue for them through Google Ads a year. And they’re pretty reliant on me to be there in order to do that. And that was strategic on my part. So then when I left, I explained to them, you know, the only reason that I was leaving is because I wanted the flexibility to work from home and travel and do the things that you could do as a digital marketer. And they were good with it. And they signed a six month contract with me, that actually gave me a raise from what I was making with them, that basically started my journey, it paved a runway of six months to get any new contracts that I needed in order to not have this one. So when I did that, that was about is between four and $5,000, a month that I was making, which started me, I think, significantly higher than most people that start, but only for six months. So during that six month period, I knew that I wasn’t good at sales. So what I did is I started befriending people that did this step prior to when people would need me. So for me in a digital marketing space, that was befriending website designers. So I went on all of these like Upwork and Fiverr, and different websites or different platforms, I guess that people would go search on if they wanted a website designed. And I made friends with the web designers and said, Hey, will you give me a referral once you’re done designing these people’s websites. And that’s how I started to get my 4 5 6 hundred dollars a month clients that would then replace the plastics company once they hired in house again. So there’s a little bit different, but then, after six months, they did leave, they hired somebody in house, and I helped train them. And then once we parted ways, I was in the exact same place that you were saying where there’s a handful of clients that were smaller. And I assumed that I would be able to take on, you know, hundreds of those at the time, because if they’re smaller, that means that they’re obviously going to be lower touch less impact, and they’re not going to need as much right. And one of the things, I think the first learning lessons that I had was that that’s not at all the case, you know, the people that are paying $600 a month versus the people that are paying $6,000 a month for the exact same service are exactly inverse in their needs. And the reason for that is because the $600 per month person can’t afford to lose $600, right. So they’re taking a huge risk. And they want to know, every detail of every ad and everything that we were working on. Whereas the $6,000 a month person signed the contract, because we were a good deal, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to them, because they had much more revenue than what we were working with. So for about a year, I held on to all of those small contracts. And I think over the course of a year, and I wound up getting 10 or 11. And none of them were for over $1,000 a month. And that was a huge mistake, a big stressful period in my life of frantic phone calls and constant education cycles and teaching, you know, clients what the expectation should have been. But then after that I randomly acquired one contract that was over double that is almost $2,000 a month, and realize that I thought the expectations were gonna be way higher, and the touch points were going to be way higher, and it was just going to absorb all of my time. And it was not at all. And it was just an eye opener, that taught me that I needed to drastically increase the pricing. For me personally, I think that that first year, so of having the smaller clients and whatnot, really let me get my feet wet in all the other details that I needed to know in order to have the bigger contracts. Because while there’s not as many touch points, and there’s not as many, just the level of involvement and time commitments, in communication with these people were a lot lower, they still had higher expectations that you would understand how to do your invoicing, you would stay on top of you know, the expectations that you say you would send the deliverables on time without being asked and a little teeny tiny details that pretty much make up entrepreneurship in the business as a whole. And over the course of that year. And learning that it really put me in a good place to then go get these bigger contracts and say, hey, look, here’s, you know, the template and these are the dates that we invoice. And these are the expectations and this is what our proposals look like and all of those little details that really helped land on those bigger clients that I don’t think I would have been able to do and would have been much more discouraging, had I tried to do it in the first year.
Brice: So that like first year was what really gave you what you felt like were the fundamentals of being able to like professionally run the business.
Mike: Exactly! It was almost getting my feet wet in business without having the like overwhelming nature of these big contracts and, these people that you know, would expect me to do things that I didn’t even know existed at that time.
Brice: That makes a lot of sense, man, I mean, I had a really similar experience. And I talked to people about this all the time, because there’s so many ways that you can go about this. And I think that there are a lot of people who maybe worked at a big agency, or were a consultant for IBM, or have had a lot of professional experience in a space like ours. And so they come out the gate and just hit 100 k running because they’ve got clients, they’ve know the systems, they know how it works. And so that’s absolutely possible with that experience. But like, you know, your story is the same as mine is like, I was a bartender before I did this. And I’ve just always been really tech savvy. So I learned how to do all this stuff. Like I, I’m a tech savvy person, I’m a numbers guy, I get how this all works. And I’m, like, very driven and motivated to figure shit out. And so I was able to, like, just learn this stuff, in my own time, pick up a couple of clients, get them really good results, position that as a case study to go get more clients learn on the go, like get all this stuff going. And so, but like, Yeah, when you start having $800 a month clients, and you’ve got four of them, like you’re making enough money to survive, I remember, like, my biggest goal was to make $3,000 a month that was like my original benchmark, I was like, if I can just make $3,000 a month, like, then I will feel like the job that I left, I’m being paid equivalently. But I’m also getting the benefits of like making my own hours working from home all of this stuff. And so to like come from the benchmark of like, I just want to make $3,000 a month, and then grow to this stage where we now have much bigger contracts, we have employees, we have like, now I understand like margins, like what are the margins in your business, I’m like, I make a lot more money, I also spend a lot more money, but I’m very confident what I spend money on because I know what my margins are. And I know where I need to be. So I know what my expenses can be each month, I know what my payroll stuff is going to be. So I’m the same as you like I learned all that stuff coming from having no knowledge about how any of this worked. And learning that on the go. And now like you like I have much bigger contracts. And we’re able to deliver really good results look very professional, because we are very professional, and we work super hard. And we’ve like dialed in, we’ve got like a real, almost sounds persist like we have real business going on here. You know, it’s like, we run a very serious operation. But that came from just picking up smaller clients. And so for me, I think what it sounds like for you and like a lot of people that I talked to like what really helped me break that ceiling was I got started with these small local businesses. And this is so prevalent online today. Like if you go online and start looking for how to get started online, there’s 1000 courses out there that tell you like, yeah, go sell to plumbers, because there’s a million plumbers and they all need your services, go talk to local businesses, get them to pay you $500, $1000 $2,000 a month, what they don’t tell you at all is like if that person doesn’t have a marketing budget, and they start spending $2,000 a month, they are panicking about the fact that they’re investing $2,000 a month. And they’re gonna call you every single day wondering when their $2,000 is coming back plus, and it’s a constant stressor for them versus a company that has a $40,000 a month marketing budget, they give that budget to the CMO. And the CMO is trying to find the most qualified team to help them spend that money wisely, because they’re looking to aggressively grow their business. Like when you’re dealing with someone like that, it’s a completely different ballgame than dealing with someone who has no marketing budget or is just getting started. And so when you’re able to build your business on these bigger clients, life gets a lot easier. But like we’re talking about is like that path to getting there was really like grinding our teeth on a bunch of smaller clients, learning how this all worked. And then getting confident in the running a business part getting confident in the skills part. And then being able to go talk to bigger companies. For me, like a lot of it came through networking, you know, like people that I knew people that I got really good results for on a different project, whatever it was like those guys still bring me a lot of business because people call me up and they’re like, oh, Bryce, we’re doing this now. Like, can you help us with this? We’ve got another launch coming up. Can you help us with this? We got a new product coming out. Can you use this? And yeah, like that. That’s work. So building that reputation and like really building those skills over time.
Mike: And I think that’s, I mean, the gist of, you know, the episode, how I got to $10,000 a month is there’s a certain aspect of grinding, you know, and you just have to kind of go do it. But there’s so many training courses and motivational speeches that I’ve heard in the past that said, like, just do the first step. And for us, the first step was, you know, forming that business and then going out and getting a contract regardless of what the amount was and learning from it. And knowing that like that first one that you get might not be the one that lasts forever, but it’s a learning process and you’re going to get so many different educational tidbits while you’re going through that. That’s going to pay off tenfold. In the end.
Brice: Yeah, everything is a learning experience. And if you’re really serious about building a business and getting started, like, it’s a long journey, it’s a really long one. And I think that one thing I would do differently if I went back and started all over again, was, if I knew what kind of business I wanted to have, like, very specifically, like, I want to be in the nutritional business, I want to be whatever, I want to be in the SAS space, I think one of the things I would have done is I would have gone and worked for somebody for like a year, a year or two. And like really learned a lot of stuff, working for somebody and then taking the leap to grow my own business. Because coming from my first business partner, when we were working together, like he, we were not super successful, we had a few clients, and we paid the bills. But like we didn’t have any real growth. And we weren’t, like, that’s why we stopped working together was because we were making a little bit of money, but like not really that much, because we were just hustling local businesses clients, not hustling, but like, that’s where we’re just hustling all the time to work with local businesses. And so that was my foundation was like not having a great foundation, and building all that up over time. And now I feel like I’m really confidently in a place where it wouldn’t make sense for me to go back and try to work for somebody else now. But if I was 22, again, and I was getting started in this for sure, I would spend a year working for somebody and then go start my own business, because then I think you come out the gate a lot stronger.
Mike: Yeah, and what like, you have such a different outlook on it, you know, if you’re an employee in a business, and you’re just there to work and make a paycheck, and do, you know, good work, and have the right intentions for that mindset, I feel like you’ll get some things from it. But if your goal is to go out and run a business doing that role, but for multiple people, or multiple clients, I think you would take away so much, you would almost do better work for that company, because you’d be testing different things and improving processes, and really trying to figure out how you would do this on your own, if that company weren’t the only ones funding you. So I think that’s a really good first step, essentially, if you don’t have the experience in what it is you’re trying to do just yet.
Brice: And I think too, like looking for… I worked with a guy for like 90 days, right after me and my partners put up, I had like a 90-day stint where I was working with this company. At the end, I was like, this isn’t gonna work. But it was because like, they told me afterwards, they were like, yeah, like, we would have paid you just enough to keep you around. But not anything more than that, to like affect our bottom line. Like, that’s what they told me after I quit. They’re like, that’s cool. Like, go start your own thing. That’s what you really want to do, which is great. That was always my experience working with companies was like they just want to pay you just enough to keep you around, but not really enough to affect the bottom line or be competition. But now having been in this game for long enough. I’ve met in entrepreneurs who are like, I want to hire A-players with the expectation that they’re going to leave me one day, but they’re going to help me grow my business, I’m going to help them grow their business. And hopefully one day, we can partner and do deals together and like make a lot of money together. I never found that as an employee, but again, like if I knew what I knew now going back going and finding someone like that who’s like startup entrepreneur minded and understands like, yeah, you’re trying to be an entrepreneur, you want to do your own thing, but you’re not there yet, great! Like, come hustle for me for two years, I’ll teach you a ton of stuff. And then when you leave, you’ll be in a great position. Because I think, like I said, it took me like three years to start breaking 10k in revenue, and you have that kind of experience. I know people who have come out of that situation and like hit 10k in three months, you know, but they already understand how to run a business. They already know how it all works. So that’s a big benefit. But, you can always just hustle your face-off the whole time, that’s what Mike did.
Mike: Yeah. So step one is start today. As soon as you can, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be there.
Brice: You want to do something, just spend enough time doing it really well. And eventually you’ll figure it out. I really believe that.
Mike: It’s that there’s so much truth to that, even if it’s not like if I start out wanting to do A and I go in for a year like there’s a lot of people that are doing things now it’s like make a 1000 videos on YouTube. Alright, if you want to be YouTube influencer or make money on Youtube, whatever, do a 1000 videos. And I think there’s so much truth to that statement in any situation, especially this, you know, how do I get to $10,000 a month, because you just start doing and even if your vision today is that you’re going to start here and you’re going to end or start at A and Z and it’s going to be this linear path. And then you start at A new ended, you know, seven, however you would get there that just learning that process and doing those things you’re never going to know if you don’t just start at A.
Brice: I agree with that 100%! The only thing I would add to that and this is what my gymnastics handstand teacher taught me, he was like “practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” And what he meant by that was, if you want to do something like yes, like the biggest thing that’s going to help you is like the brute force of doing and taking action, but make sure In that action taking, you are modeling the right people and doing good work, and you’re not just doing stuff to do it. For the example of like learning how to do handstands, right? Like you can just practice. But if you’ve never learned any form or do anything, right, you’re gonna just build some bad habits and it’s going to take, then you’re gonna have to break those bad habits later. So if you want to start a business like this, model people who are doing good work and like, figure out what you can learn from them. And when you’re doing this kind of work, make sure your intention is to like, do it a great job at it. Because if that’s your intention, and your intention is always to get better, then you will for sure. I really believe life is a series of like building positive habits, so.
Mike: I agree. Cool.
Brice: And that’s how me and Mike hits the 10k.
Mike: Yeah. It was a fun journey, though. I’ll tell you what, and like, once you get here, it’s addicting to not want to stop like it now that we’re here. What more can we do? You know, I think I’ve moved my goals before I ever got to 10k, to be on, you know, let’s say you see it coming. And you know, I don’t even want to like settle there. Like, what else can I do?
Brice: It’s just blow through past this…
Mike: Yeah, there’s no celebration. You’re just like, yeah, I’ve already moved on.
Brice: Time for that.
Mike: Talk about a dangling carrot for myself, but cool. Well, yeah, guys. Thank you so much for being here, per usual.
Mike: If you want to give us a review on Apple podcasts, or follow us, or subscribe, anything that we can do.
Brice: And if you have questions about this, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike: We’re here to help.
Brice: Gmail addresses, oh God!
Mike: I love it.
Brice: So unprofessional, we should get real email addresses
Mike: Gotta start somewhere, gotta start somewhere
Brice: Gotta start somewhere, that’s how our podcast got started
Mike: so, cool. Thanks guys!
Brice: Alright, word man! You guys have a great day, and we’ll see you next time.