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Bright & Early Podcast

Finding a Business Model that Works for You with Marie Poulin & Ben Borowski




Episode Transcript

The following transcript has not yet been edited. I am slowly editing them, identifying speakers, and cleaning up issues; but I haven't gotten to this one yet. For now, it's helpful for some Ctrl+F action to find a pull quote.

Brian: Hey everyone and welcome to bright and early the podcast for people building early-stage startups.

I'm your host Brian Rhea.

I talk to entrepreneurs, product people, designers, and marketing pros to learn what works, what doesn't, and why; giving you at least one thing to apply to your business first thing tomorrow.

my guests today are Murray Poulin and Ben Borowski they are the creative force behind the digital services agency okie-dokie and they are also the creators of doki a product that allows creators to offer courses training and mentoring programs online Murray and Ben welcome to bright and early thanks for having us hello that's it's my pleasure this will be fun this is the first time I've had two guests on at the same time so why don't you tell us a little bit about yourselves and why the both of you are on Oh together we are okey dokey Marie and I are consultants first and foremost I've been doing the independent consulting since 2010 and I think Marie started a year or two before me and when I emigrated to Canada in 2014 we afterwards decided to kind of join forces and that was when we became okey dokey yeah so I was handling most of the sort of design and marketing side and strategy work and Ben was doing a lot of the programming and development so it just kind of made sense to kind of merge forces so we sort of thought we'd work on projects together but you know what ended up happening was actually it was almost like running two separate companies under the same umbrella which we didn't really expect but we just sort of leaned toward different types of projects and different types of clients so even though we are one entity okie-dokie the kind of operate like two different businesses are there benefits to that that that you're protecting and keeping or is it just kind of the way that it continues to go a little bit of both I think the main benefit for us and just the way that we work is that we tend to have quite flexible roles in terms of what we do I will sometimes do a bit of design because I have a background in design as well but most of the work I do is programming but we do have these very clear strengths that each of us you utilize and I think that because I'm very programming focused Amory's very design and strategy focus we tend to be able to work kind of side by side without stepping on each other's toes a lot but we always we always defer to the other person for certain topics and we're very respectful of our of what what our strengths are so I think that they kind of just reinforce each other so you know when Murray needs a deeper understanding of some kind of technical thing then she can reach out to me for help and if she you know vice versa so if I'm looking for a kind of UX or a strategic thing or we need to collaborate on how we might build a certain customer or what our scoping our scoping works so we each kind of run our own projects but we is each other to to make sure that we're doing the making the right moves for the business together because I'll at the end of the day all the revenue goes the same source so so yeah it's it's not - it's not hard for us but we are we didn't really say this at the beginning but we are a we are married as well so I kind of it's kind of a reflection of our partnership as well in the way that we work together we're Annie but you all are not married when you originally formed okie-dokie is do I have the timeline yeah that's correct we were up all at the time but we weren't married out okay okay so I honestly and I like to joke and I think a lot of people joke about a business partnership is actually a little bit more serious than marriage in a lot of ways and so when we first did that it was we were pretty good we committed basically at that point we're like yeah we're in this together for sure yeah yeah when you if you've run a business together for a one-year that's like five years of dating yeah yeah yeah so do you I'm kind of curious about this of the of running the Services Agency and each of you having your own strength where you could kind of operate it in those strengths do you collaborate on the proposal and sales side or how does how does that all work yeah typically we have we sort of have a bank of of standardized templates that we use for a lot of our projects some standardized proposal things some standardized contracts and if we have a whole bunch of different agreements a lot of that stuff came from the legal side of stuff came from when I was running my business I had a whole you know little portfolio of contract templates and things like that and the Murray and I both have a kind of a different way of ID aiding and doing research for potential clients and things like that so we tend to have our own proposal templates that we fill out and then we kind of use one of those template contracts to tack it on at the end that makes it and then we build it into one of our designed templates so it feels more like a company thing but we tend to have our own styles for for proposing I think Murray tends to be a little bit looser in her in the way that she structures her product projects and I'm I'm incredibly rigid and I like to get very very very detailed on scope and and you know functionality and things like that but one thing I've actually been doing lace lately is that has allowed me to be a little more fluid with my proposals and scoping is adapting some of Murray's style of doing paid roadmaps before you start in on a full full size project allows you to to get paid to do that scoping stuff because I've for years I've spent you know two three days at a time doing research and writing proposal and getting all that you know getting that domain space knowledge together to really convince the client that you know they should hire you to do this you know a hundred thousand dollar project or whatever and a lot of you know for some of those larger projects that's it's pretty costly in breach yeah cuz of my tendency to be a little bit more loosey-goosey and kind of let you know let's see where this project takes us and where it evolves I think I needed a way to give my projects room to grow but still be very structured so the road mapping was a chance to say here's what I'm noticing here are the many unknowns and the places where I think there might be scope creep and it's a chance to kind of identify them first before diving into a project and then that way I'm kind of building that fluidity into my projects which I really like because I think it's almost impossible to you know quote on a large project without things just taking left turns and changing and as new information becomes available you know adding this other feature will actually make this project so much better yep know that yep yes so okay so along with say York you've got okie-dokie digital Services Agency and you you all are talking through common scenarios that people in that area and that business are dealing with you are also you also have dokey a SAS product so talk to us a little bit about that and how you're running that yeah I mean that sort of evolved from we were looking at a way to help me streamline some of the work I was already doing with clients so a lot of the people I was working with tended to have some kind of online course or they were running group programs and we noticed that the people that had the biggest budgets and the people that were really seeing a lot of success in our work together already had these other sort of hybrid business models they weren't just service providers they weren't just product providers they were kind of doing a little bit in between so we started seeing this opportunity like how could we streamline all of this you know custom integration work that I was doing and you know hooking up PayPal or stripe or whatever it was a time-consuming process and so it was like we could build our own and we sort of kind of laughed about it at first and then we thought well actually maybe there is something here maybe we should try this yeah actually the catalyst for that was a little bit before that when Murray spent a year after I first emigrated to Canada she spent a good deal of time launching a mentorship program for designers called digital strategy school and for a year or two she ran this program and it was really quite successful and one of the things that she was struggling with was maintaining the content and being able to distribute it and because we it was a sort of a cohort based system we started thinking about ways to you know relaunch the program without having to you know do a bunch of programming and stuff like that how do I manage all these different students and spreadsheets and so we had this you know this problem of our own and also we were starting to see these opportunities for helping other customers because at this time that there was a kind of a beginning of the courses courses gold rush so to speak so we were seeing all these people that are coming to us and saying God have a course and I often talk about it in relation to 2008-2009 when the first iPhone came out and everyone when I was doing consulting for iPhone apps at the time every single client was like we need we got to have an iPhone app and and I would say what for and they wouldn't really have an answer for that and I think that you know early on in that course thing it was like oh yeah we gotta have quits all about courses now gotta has guru Tommy needed of course I need of course but they didn't even know what problem is so we started having that with our clients where every single one was like I need a course and you know there was no real rhyme or reason for why they needed it it was just something that they had heard about and seen a couple of successful large-scale entrepreneurs doing this kind of info product type thing like Nathan berry and Marie Forleo and these types of customers who already have these quite significant audience large audiences yeah and so people started coming to us as you know as we started as Marie was building her own course and we started working on this platform to kind of help ourselves and see if we could develop a thing ourselves you know people started seeing us as these course experts which technically we really weren't like we you know we didn't know the first thing about curriculum design and and we were basically building software that solved the need so that was kind of the origin story of doki and we essentially funneled while marie was shipping this digital strategy school of course the funding mechanism for me spending most of my time on this product was the revenues from her course sales so I took I took a break on consulting for a bit and I think it was for about three months I was kind of going half-speed on on the software and doing a little bit of client work I had a contract with a company in San Francisco that would just basically I was a basically a retainer but that was eaten up about half my week and the other half I was tinkering on dokey doing some experiments and we kind of weren't getting anywhere with it and in and in terms of having a product to be able to show people to get traction and so we made the decision at the beginning of the next year that I would go full-time on it and then so we basically had saved up that money from Marie's course course stuff and that allowed me to spend full time six months on it and then we shipped it mid mid that year okay so that's okay so that's that's how you were able to manage the resource allocation yes is that the the services business is doing extremely well you're seeing patterns you're seeing this need or you're seeing demand anyway and so you you kind of slice off a bit yeah so can you you talk just a little bit more about you know in hindsight now seeing that time management wise and everything is is does it continue to feel like that was was the right move at the time you wish you had gone a little bit more all-in are you you know comfortable with the degree of resources then time that you put into it how are you managing that now what's what's that like I think I think the the progressive approach is a really good idea to we've done that we've made this mistake a number of times throughout our business where we say this is the thing that we're a hundred percent focusing in on and we go all-in on it and it and we what we we talk about this a lot where we shut off the taps of other revenue sources so at one point I think Marie cited that she wanted to do a different course and so we shut off the taps of our of the digital strategy school thing and then we also shut off the taps on on my consulting stuff at some point to focus on dokey so there was some there was some really grindy grindy months there where we weren't dokie hadn't really established any kind of revenue yet and marie was doing some light client work but not lovelies feeling pretty stretched during that point too i think because you know digital strategy school was doing long well that's where the revenue was coming in but then seeing that Joe key had been launched and then realizing like oh it's not if you build it they will come now we actually have to like hustle and get people on but because we were services people and we were always flush with projects with clients finding us we've never really had to do any kind of active marketing or outreach so I think this was really the first time we were it was like sinking in for us that we didn't have a plan to market it we didn't really know we couldn't only rely on word-of-mouth so I was like crap I'm like I'm gonna have to shift gears in some capacity just start doing this work and getting our stuff out there so instead of doing this slowly I was like oh I'll just like shut off this thing over here and shift gears and it was like well crap now like neither of us has a full-time income how are we gonna do this so I I would have done that very very differently I would have done that much slowly but I sort of felt like I was stretched and I and we needed to do something to start getting the word out what what so what are some tactics that you all tried during that time I'm thinking like pay-per-click or content marketing social like anything that you found as you started testing that out that you found to be super effective something that you wish you had done quicker or I mean we we never really did am any sort of marketing campaign our entire operation was word-of-mouth and just and you're like podcast interviews and yeah lots of work podcast interviews actually led to one of our best paying yeah some some of our initial had like revenues jumps for us were were when we were featured on the divi podcast so getting into these markets where there are a lot of people that are doing for other customers so a lot of our early stage customers and still still to this day are people who are doing service based work for other customers a lot of web designers we're putting putting websites together for people who have an online course and then they're trying to figure out oh how do I help my help yours yeah so web designers became a good niche that was a niche that I was already in communication with so we were sort of relying on our you know network cuz that's just that's kind of what we knew like all of our work has come from word of mouth so that was sort of what we knew how to do so I of our entire customer base on the sass platform probably fifty to sixty percent of them are people that we have but we had some sort of relationship with or kind of have become friends with so it's if we don't have a lot of of people who find us organically in a way it kind of reduces some of that customer support issue in a way of we don't really have the same tire kickers like we're not dealing with as much of this sort of you know high volume of people in a way it's it's almost like we're a personal brand right people kind of know of us and they they're they kind of trust what we're able to do [Music] hey friends this is a great time to pause and let you know that bright and early is brought to you by transistor dot FM transistor offers you professional podcast hosting and analytics they host this very podcast that you're listening to right now and my friends I got to tell you it could not be easier I can tell you from personal experience as you also probably know podcasting is becoming one of the best ways to develop a closer relationship with your audience and so if you're thinking about starting a podcast trust me look no further just visit transistor dot FM and if you decide to sign up let him know that Brian sent you it's still so fascinating to me that you are that your your services business is you know fed some leads through your SAS product and a little bit vice-versa even is that the long-term goal is that the plan at this point or how are you how are you how do you view those two separate businesses so those those kind of came about in an interesting fashion in we we you know a lot of our customers on our SAS are people that we we often know personally and have developed relationships with and some of the so in mid about after a year after we launched we started doing these things to try to generate more leads and more interest so he started doing a little bit of advertising and and added the ability to book demos if the software on the site because there were a lot of people that were coming to the site and they're like you know it sounds great but can I see it can I try it out because we have we do have a free trial but it's behind a credit card pay wall and stuff like that so so people were asking to see the product in action we didn't have a video at that time which which is you know we still need to do really because we recently took down the demo situation because we're taking a different direction now but but early on we started doing these demos and what we were finding was that people were coming to the SAS with this idea that a software product was gonna help them launch the course and and you know from a technical perspective it does but what people the main reason that people were worth quitting after the trial or paying for a while and then churning was because they showed up to the to the course with no content and no concept sometimes you didn't even know what they were just native course and so they would immediately sign up for a bunch of different course software and be paying for these things and not do anything with it and then they would quit so what we realized was that we were missing this component of sort of this educational component about how basically how challenging it is to ship a course and how much content creation it is and that and so from that a a new program started forming that marie was working on called run your learning launch and we started basically when people were really hesitant to sign up we would do a demo with them and then and then some people we would give access to this course called run your learning launch which was essentially about how to launch your a first MVP version of your course like super bare-bones might have nothing to do with the software and so on and so forth but it it educates the customer on how to how to create content and then and then we would talk about how you might ship it with our product and so that started getting more leads and more people signing up because it was helping them actually create actually yeah get the get the course content created so our platform works amazing when people bring an existing if you've got your content ready to go like great we can super zippy you can you can create and launch a multi tiered course and you know a couple hours in a lot of cases yeah very very simple so so we had this demo thing going and that so that started driving some traffic and then what we noticed from these demos was that people would come and I honestly it felt like a therapy session sometimes because they would get so frustrated about how hard it is to for them to ship this course cuz they just heard that you know you get a course and then the six-figure launches just start rolling in so what happened was these I was doing these very highly technical demos just showing the software and I was having to kind of say like well maybe you should try an email course first it's a lot easier than trying to ship on our platform and again we're very transparent with our customers and and so we would tell them stuff like we don't think of course is right for you actually based on what you're telling me about your business have you considered trying mighty networks have you considered blogging for a while or like something you know or an email course or something smaller so we would often suggest these things that were in our platform and maybe even suggest our competitors because they had a thing that worked fit better with them where we're actually pretty terrible salespeople I think it's I mean it's it is an interesting approach and strategy to you know over qualify who's going to get into the to the product and continue to try to you know get them to hire something else instead but if I'm recalling correctly through some of that insight though you you alluded to it a little bit but Marie you you created like a series of like done for you done with you or Do It Yourself levels of courses were those did you charge for those to help people get on boarded or what how did that come about and and what was the was the learning behind that yeah I mean obviously our biggest learning was just that people weren't really ready and they were struggling to create the content and you know I had friends of mine who've been working on their courses in some cases I had a friend that had had been working on it for three years and it's kind of heartbreaking to see people spend so much time on a course that doesn't really sell because maybe they just weren't they weren't testing it they weren't putting it out in the market so I wanted to get more people testing out a kind of rough-and-ready version earlier so I think the first version of that I ran and I pulled some content together I partnered up with a curriculum designer someone who I had hired when I was working on my course as well so she was awesome it was really great to get her perspective in terms of adult learning and how to structure it from a more technical standpoint so I partnered up with her and we ran as a mastermind and so I think it was live in four weeks or six weeks and it was you know one live call with the two of us 60 minutes and then we would also review people's materials so we had assignments we had a little bit of content for them to consume and we ran it just sort of as this you know cheerleading group like we've got your back you can you know run your questions by us let's get you launched in six weeks forget perfectionism let's just get something out there that you can see if anyone is even willing to pay for this and it was kind of a secretly sort of secretly a customer research course kind of disguised as you know running a learning launch and so once I ran it first I think I ran it twice as a paid mastermind then we turned it into a sort of self-study course and then we also bundled it with it's a one-hour call with me or a one-hour call with Stacy and then I think we also gave a little bit of your Google Docs review time that we would do and that that sort of helped people take that first step and then we built in this sort of hey when you're ready sign up for dokie you know right with material and that was pretty helpful and that feels like even another I mean that that is like a productized service which is like a part like a perfect fit for you for you yeah and and so I'm is there any is there any thought of taking that even further are you that's that's effectively what we're doing now I think and and you know Murray can speak to this but there was a primary one primary case that we started recognizing the potential for using SAS as a as a lead magnet for services where we had this designer book a demo with me and he he was in the UK and he said something along the lines of I've got this client that want dude she is teaching these workshops in person and she wants to take them online and totally revamp her her whole online presence and and take it to a global market essentially and and so all and and when I went through the software and he's like this is all sounding great and everything and then he was kind of talking about the client a little bit and talking about like you know in then maybe the client is and isn't able to use the software yet we were not sure what the courses are gonna look like and I said you know well you know I'm happy to do a demo for your your your end client as well just you know shoot heard the demo link so she booked the call and we did a separate demo with her and then she was so confounded with the the setting it up and just how she should structure her courses and how how do I translate my in-person stuff to online and how does this apply and so we started seeing these again these problems where people had this that had this successful in-person workshop aren't sure how that works online and and connecting all the pieces together so basically I said well I think you should I think you should book a consulting chat with with my partner Marie this is what she specializes in service services and you should do you should do a quick chat with her so we got a paid consult and we did a chat with her Marie did that chat and that turned into a road map project that I don't recall how much that was it was just under five thousand and it was kind of like a MVP let's get your course launched and in three months I think it was so we did a we did a consulting offering rode productized roadmap and so a lot of the times we do these things where we repeat the same thing with a different customer and and then we say hey that worked really well let's let's try that again let's try to do it again with some tweaks and that's how we developed these product eyes offerings that that customer actually turned into you know five figures of revenue pretty quickly and then like you know it's been a huge chunk of our revenue in this last year because you know we sort of scaled up to meet her demands and so now she's got a whole sort of Academy of courses that we're helping her with website design we're talking about a whole nother x' there's a whole nother side business that she has that we're now helping her consult on and that was all driven from this one days demo that we did with her one of her designers that was helping her with her with some badges on her website or something like that so it's always it yeah sorry so what's what's interesting about this part of of y'all's story is you know a lot of conventional wisdom will say you know one who chases many rabbits catches none kind of thing you know and you need to you need to focus and and just do one thing well what what would you say to that and and why do you think that that you two seem to be operating it pretty well I don't I don't think we necessarily they taste different rabbits it's all the same it's all the same rabbit kind of but the Rabbids changing directions a lot and we just kind of follow it and if it's going in a good direction then we say okay what can we what can we learn about this direction that this rabbits taking and then kind of adjust our thinking going forward so I think a big part of this is that you know we we started off with this idea of we're gonna build this SAS it's gonna replace Ben's salary that was our initial goal setting was it's going to replace all the revenue that Ben pulls in and then Murray will continue consulting and you know that'll be our next five years or something I think we learned quickly that because we were able to leverage our platform and our expertise into these higher paying consulting projects that and there they just felt so easy for us consulting it's just so much easier and I think we kind of made this realization that you know we loved working on the product but we're actually we decided we are services people we like to have that really hands-on on deep dive in a project rather than these low touch you know if we have a hundred clients and we just communicate them with them to help them you know send more support send them documents or help them resolve bug fixes and things like that like it's it wasn't as inspired it wasn't as personally satisfying for us then really really impacting one or two clients and and helping them drive these kind of life-changing businesses yeah I think there's something to you know getting an email from that woman after helping her you know build her course business and being like you have no idea how much this has changed my life like I have time with my husband now like I I live for those kind of emails for sure and I I just don't think we felt that kind of impact when it's like a you know $30 a month software fee versus someone who's paying you a lot more but there's more at stake and there's more results and that's I think that's kind of what yeah what drives us yeah so we just we never got the traction that we thought we did and so we started looking at ways of how do we how do we transition this into a product and I think a lot of people have side businesses that are info products but I don't think too many people have these you know side businesses that are sasses that work really well for there for supplementing their income and driving new business to your consulting leads we we have this thing and I think it's like a Silicon Valley driven outlook of start the side business then all of a sudden like quit my day job and now and becomes my full-time business and then I I'm totally free and I have no obligations anymore we look at it as such you know if you have 200-300 SAS clients you you've got two hundred three hundred people that you have to keep happy and that's that's a whole different ball game you know you have to talk about relationship scaling to accommodate customer support and and now you're talking 24/7 service and we're pretty specific about our availability being you know business hours only because we just don't want to grow to that size yeah and five nines of uptime if you're mission-critical and it depends on your comfort level for that too yeah but yeah we had a very we had a very sort of I would say delusional view of what this thing would become we were so naive for yeah yeah regret any of it like I feel like I've both learned so much so much stuff about customer the importance of customer research you know that all of the stuff that we've learned on the product side now informs what I do in my services and vice versa right so I feel like getting a really interesting well-rounded perspective of what do things look like on the product services you know on the services side what they look like on the product side what does it look like for online courses for masterminds group programs so in a way sort of my specialty became helping people figure out what their product service ecosystems look like because I had seen so many different versions of it behind the scenes helping people do it so even though it felt like my attention was kind of disparate and I was like oh what do i do what's the white rabbit in a way that was that's kind of been the thread is like helping people actually figure out how to build a more sustainable revenue it just took a while to to kind of see what that undercurrent was yeah so um Marie when I first reached out to you on Twitter to see if you're interested in coming on I completely had zeroed in because I was curious about you know y'all's experience building dokie and then I was we kind of chatted I realized oh I mean they're so she's definitely you know drawn toward and as you just said you're you you all are services people and so I'm curious what Marie what what advice do you have for services people who find themselves dreaming about doing what what y'all did and and launching assess don't do it I'm certainly my biggest advice would be I sort of wish we had started on a smaller scale or a smaller guy who I think inherently like there were certain challenges that came with something like course creation where worse telling to the teachers and they're selling to their students so there was like multiple levels of tenants both for like the data side the payment side there were just so many complexities that we didn't foresee as a part of me that wish we had instead of trying to you know build an all-in-one as a tiny one two-man shop you know could we have done something that was smaller that solved a really specific problem really really well that's not the biggest thing I wish that that we had done differently yeah I I think go back go back to your services and look at the look at the problems that you're solving for clients in a way that it that doesn't exist in the market yet and some some specific thing that you're doing repetitively and if you're doing mostly services can you can you productize that first and sell that as an offering because I know one give you a feeling of of what sort of things can be turned into a process I know that jokingly I've heard I think it's a Patrick McKenzie talks a lot about how if you look at what businesses are doing with feeds there's a hundred different Sasa's in Google sheets document you know if they're doing some kind of number crunching or you know combining data in some way that's really unique to them there may be a way to productize that that you can create that experience over and over again and then you know productize it and sell that so one thing we're looking at right now is Murray and I are going are kind of nuts over this software called notion mmm-hmm notion that Esso and Maurice kind of you know becoming this guru in the market and people are looking to her right now for how is she structuring the information and notion what are you doing how do you get started with it it's so confusing because it it's kind of this super powerful tool that lets you design all your own systems but it's also very simple in a way but it's it's so it's so elegantly simple that it can be a little bit daunting to get started and so repeatedly people are just like Marie muri muri your notion stuff is so amazing tell us your secrets and so we're seeing more and more people just demanding this so it seems there's this huge demand before we've created anything really for her to create some sort info product around notion or a templatized system that or if if only there were a piece of software you could create an online course that's kind of the joke is that think about these things is like like let's create an online course let's create a software that will allow them to easily create notion but it's like what's the what's the smallest thing we can do to sell yeah first off and that might just be creating a page that has a button on it that's like pay us 20 bucks and we'll send you a link to our notion template yeah yeah we don't need to go right to the to solving the hardest problem the sales page and building out a funnel and going nuts over it it's like can you through a conversation with someone offer them something and they're willing to pay you for it in terms of the services thing I think it's interesting Beth one thing I see this this happens a lot where as a programmer for example the service the service that I provide is is creating custom solutions websites applications for my clients and a lot of programmers will quit their consulting gig in order to build tools for other programmers but they don't have experience selling tools to other programmers they have experience selling solutions to clients yes I too look at what what do they have experience selling and what are they really good at creating instead of what do they want to create because I think with the courses with the courses thing we didn't I I wanted to build it because I had the interest in in a new tech in engineering a product and it was exciting for me but I didn't know anything about online courses you know we just started doing the research right when I said you know we should build something for you Maria because she had this experience and putting together online courses with wish list and I think one piece of that that we didn't realize was the people who were paying us quite a bit of money to help build their custom backends was not the same audience that was going to sign up for a $29 a month do-it-yourself software like those were actually two different audiences and they don't think we realize that when we were putting all this effort into building the product do you have any advice going in the different in the other direction people who are who have a extensive background in sass but are looking for a little bit more personal touch and moving over into services and the enterprise contact us I think is really good a friend of mine told me recently a couple months back that there's a kind of a dirty secret and in sass and that the majority of most larger sass companies actually count the revenue actually comes from doing integrations with their sass so there you know these billion-dollar sass companies they may have lots of subscribers but in a lot of ways something like notion for example you pay $4 per user so murine I get insane value for I think it's like $200 a year or something we use it all day long every aspect of our business in our lives we plan everything in there from our what we're eating at lunch to what we're what we're supposed to be working on so we give them like next to no revenue right you know they have lots of lots of customers but I'm guessing that the majority of their revenue actually comes from like you you sign Microsoft or Enterprise dollar-a-year and then they basically say here's what we need in the product and you build that for them yeah well listen we need to go ahead and wrap up here in just a few minutes but one one last question I'd love to hear from both of you on is that you know build it building your own business it can be stressful and so I'm curious if there are any practices that you found helpful in managing your own stress that you'd like to share so many this is stressing you out to narrow it down to just one so many things that we use and one one thing that we've been obsessed with lately is actually doing this really obsessive meal planning recipe database and notion it's pretty amazing but we we spend we spend multiple hours on Sundays preparing all of the food for the week and this kind of frees us up to just eat eat and we don't have to do any cleaning really stressing about what to eat like you drive you can carry so so and that's it's kind of a metaphor for how we operate in business in life we do a lot of planning we do we probably over plan to be honest but it allows us to be a little freer and flute more fluid in our thinking and our and allows us to pivot quickly because we make less we make fewer decisions we're kind of you know we wear the same clothes every day pretty much we you know we look pretty simple I yeah we try not to we try to remove decision-making from our our business in our lives as much as possible so that when we you know when you have that willpower issue because every decision you make takes a little bit out of you everyday and then you have to rest to be able to to recuperate that willpower again and so you know saving yourself from that decision-making is really good so we do a lot of planning we have we obsess over our personal agendas for the weeks and how we build those out in notion we do a lot of commitments to to like working out right like you have certain routines and rituals that just kind of if you know that you have those habits in place I know that I work out that this time every day then the rest becomes easier it's like you're you're committing to yourself first and you're saying this is what I need to be happy first plug that into your schedule and then the rest can kind of business falls into place around life mm-hmm thanks for that how can listeners find and follow you online you can check out our site at we are okey dokey calm or you can check out jokey IO and both of us are pretty active on Twitter so you can find just search Murray be pulling on Twitter and then we're asking you'd find me all right well a thank you both so much for everything you shared and appreciate your time [Music] all right it's good to be back after a couple of weeks off so let's do some closing thoughts I got my tea here with me just finished doing the dishes by the way shout out to anybody who's doing the dishes and listening right now shout out also to anybody in Australia after the US Canada and UK which I would kind of expect fair amount of listeners in Australia so if you're down there listening reach out and say hi love to get to know ya I really enjoyed that that interview it was great to kind of hear both of their perspectives along the way and I was interesting the bit when they were forgetting exactly which which is Ben Emery said you know that they'd made the mistake before of going all in a little too early maybe expecting it expecting the growth to happen much faster than it did and it's kind of something I've been thinking a lot about recently just the fact that that launching challenging as it is launching is the easy part the hard part is gaining traction afterwards to the point that your business can be sustainable and so you got a plan for that I think that's that's just an important thing to know to keep in mind because we've all we've all experienced how difficult it is just to get something built you know to go from nothing to something and to get it to the point where you feel like it's ready for the world ready for you know not only strangers but people that you know personally and respect to see a thing and you know you and make a judgement on it and whatever that may mean so as different as difficult as that is all that planning and hard work and pushing through you know the trough of sorrow as difficult as that is it's not it's it's just the beginning and so I said I thought that was I to hear that from them and and to think about that and I just I thought I think their their business portfolio so to speak is just is fascinating how they they span services product ties services info products and a SAS product and I just think that's fascinating of you know all the ways that you can make money running a business online you know that kind of that kind of gets it and they they have a you know get their toe in the water in all of those places the reason you know it seems that that it's that it's working out that it's not that they're um you know bucking you know conventional wisdom or whatever that would say oh no you need you need to focus that that everything for them is it's within the same problem it's within like the same domain and the same customer and so it's not as if they are offering you know professional photography services and then a product a service for content marketing and then an info product around UI design and a SAS for law firms right with that that would be scattered and probably destined to fail they're they're all within this one one encompassing umbrella of helping entrepreneurs to produce rich experiences digital experiences and so they're they have one customer who has do you know who comes who has a different job to be done at this at that certain point so I think that's a pretty fascinating way to think about it's also a really smart way to be able to to find which of those business types which of those models you like I enjoyed talking to them and I was excited to hear their thoughts because kind of mentioned this in the in the interview you know when I first reached out to Murray that you know one of the things she said was hey you know it's hope this is this is interesting like the you know we aren't SAS people we're services people and you know SAS is just really hard it's crazy etc etc and I'm sitting here thinking well I mean I'm in the services business trying to move in the direction of a SAS product not because I dislike services but because there's just so much about SAS that's that's attractive and so I just I don't know I just think it's it's a interesting thing to imagine you know being able to do what they have what they have done which is to have a successful service offering productized service offering an info product and a SAS and fine you know if there's is there something about each of those that you can can do well so I thought yeah I just think it's important to know where you're good and what you want do you want a small number of extremely important clients or a large number of individually less important clients I mean in either way like you the the client the customer is all important but whether or not you know the the relative importance of a given customer is is much different in SAS versus services Jason freed of Basecamp I'll link to this in the show notes that of really fascinating graphic there's like just a circle it's just a bunch of super tiny dots and so I mean just look like you know a bunch of like several thousand tiny little tiny little points and it was you know this is this is our customer base is what he said and that's interesting it just it spreads your risk you know across that entire surface area as opposed to having a small number of of clients where any you know you lose anyone and it could do this Syria has a serious impact on your on your revenue and then yeah finally you know that the lesson learned for them around that they would just have started smaller that they would have tried to build less make it less complex this is just this goes back to Episode one with with Jane Portman talking about gals law how any any successful complex system had to have begun with a with a functioning a well-functioning simple system and that that has stuck with me as I've continued to do this show just in thinking about it might you know a day-to-day work life that that one particular principle from that first episode is something that has has come back up for me a number of times personally and in conversations with with people I respect and with other other people in this industry and so I just yeah just another other reinforcement there that yeah start start smaller than you will be tempted to do less than you think you have to but I would love to as always I'd love to know what you all think you can reach out to me I am beer a on Twitter that is booyah radio hunky-dory excellent and alright and if you would like you can go to bright and early podcast com sign up for the newsletter there you'll get an email from me about every one or two weeks I try to do it weekly but miss a week from time to time and you'll get thoughts similar to this one short little article that you can read over your morning coffee and listen if you're enjoying this podcast it would mean a lot to me right now if you would take just a couple of minutes scroll down on your phone or wherever you're listening to the podcast and leave a five star rating or review it helps this podcast show up a little bit higher in the search results where people tend to listen to their podcasts so that would help out a whole whole lot and until 50:57 next time i'm brian ray


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