What it’s about
Dan Martell learned to code when he was 16 and in rehab. While cleaning, he found an old computer and a book on Java programming. This, and receiving the first encouraging words of his life from a prison guard, was the beginning of a whole new world for Dan.
When he got out, the internet was exploding, and he started his first company at 17. Some of them were failures, but the software agency that he started at 24, sold at a profit for millions when he was 28. Since then Dan has gone on to found more companies, become an angel investor, and help entrepreneurs.
“I want people to judge me for my ideas and the things I create,” says Dan. “Anytime I’ve had capital, I’ve just re-invested it in other companies.”
In this interview, Dan talks about his ‘rags to riches’ story, what motivates him in business (hint: it’s not money), and his vision of a perfect agency model.
You can’t be the centre of your business
When you’re the one who started the company, it can be hard to pull yourself back from being involved in EVERYTHING. But if you want to be scale and scale successfully, you have to hire a great team, set up systems, and delegate to your team.
You need a niche
You may have heard this a million times, but it’s surprising how many agencies don’t do it. They generalize. A great agency has a process where they communicate a core value proposition to their market, they become known for it, and they create a system for executing it.
You need an onboarding offer
According to Dan, every agency should have an onboarding offer: something to sell that delivers your customers an outcome. If you’re a design agency, maybe it’s a branding discovery, or if you’re dev agency, it’s wireframes. Charge for the thing you you usually give away in your proposals.
This helps get rid of tire kickers, allows to systemize and monetize upfront. The outcome of this offer should be something that the customer can execute themselves, (or maybe hire you to do it). Make sure you price it accordingly because you’re investing time and research in producing it.
You need signed contracts
To create real enterprise value in your agency, you need to lock in customers with contracts. 12, 16, 24-month contracts for ongoing services, beyond just one-off projects. Maybe it’s social media monitoring, or executing a strategy - something that happens every month that you can bill for. This will build recurring revenue and value in your company.
You need to offer service enhancements
On top of the onboarding offer and retainer services, your agency should offer enhancements. Services like copywriting, design - things that go above and beyond. Package those services up and teach your team to look for opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to your customers.
Dan created a special download for Proposify Biz Chat. Three videos to help scale your business and be more effective in your work.