If you want to expand your agency you need to get out of the freelancer mindset of doing everything yourself and figure out how to grow consistently.
But that can be easier said than done!
So in today’s podcast, I am joined by Alex Schlinksy to discuss the 7 key systems you need to put in place to go from the freelancer trap to building a 7-figure agency.
[01:40] What is the typical entrepreneurial journey - from starting out to freelancing to hiring and what are some of the pitfalls you see along the way?
[04:18] 4 steps to hiring
[04:50] Mindset is such an essential part of the entrepreneurial journey
[05:50] Longevity and focus is key to your success
[07:30] Most things that happen in your agency on a day-to-day basis are business as usual, not a catastrophe
[09:31] 7 Key Systems that focus on prospecting, fulfilment and retention
[10:37] System 1: Your operating system: The 80/20 principle
[10:54] System 2: Your A team
[11:02] System 3: Your KPIs- your monthly numbers
[11:06] System 4: Sales
[11:10] System 5: Long-term retention
[11:48] System 6: Automated/delegated fulfilment
[11:54] System 7: Inbound ads
[12:55] How does the 80/20 principle apply to running an agency
[14:39] Alex’s story of having open heart surgery at 29 years old!
[17:20] Stop offering ‘more’ and instead, apply the 80/20 rule based on your longer-term goals
[18:01] DEFINE, DESIGN & DO
[20:43] Keep your vision and goals simple
[21:25] Digging into System 6: Auto fulfilment
[23:20] Focus on your strengths and delegate the rest
[27:41] Document your processes
[28:13] System 7: The fastest way to consistently grow consistently using ads
[31:42] Does this ad strategy work for B2B?
[34:39] If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“If you want to grow an agency then be comfortable in the uncomfortable.” - Alex Schlinksy
“Ask yourself not ‘will they do it as well as me?’ but ‘will they do it well enough?” - Rob Da Costa
“If your goal is to make more money but you are not clear WHY, then you will sacrifice a lot, including your mental health in order to get there.” - Alex Schlinksy
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If we want to grow our agency beyond ourselves, we need to get out of the freelancer trap where we have this mindset of having to do everything ourselves. But often people don't know exactly how to grow their business. So in today's episode, I'm going to be talking to Alex Schlinsky about the seven key systems to go from the freelancer trap to building a seven-figure agency that can run on autopilot. So I'm really excited to dive in. So come with me and let's get going. I'm Rob Da Costa and this is The Agency Accelerator podcast as someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown and sold my own agency and just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life.
So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guest's experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business. Hey everybody! And welcome to this week's episode of The Agency Accelerator podcast. I'm really excited to be joined today by Alex Schlinsky, who's joining the podcast to discuss the seven key systems that you need in place to go from being a freelancer to running a seven-figure agency on autopilot. Now, Alex has sold over $15 million worth of products, and he's worked with over 700 clients in 50 different markets.
He's the author of Multiple books, and today he runs Prosper, acting on demand that helps impact-driven entrepreneurs achieve time and financial freedom, which is music to my ears. So welcome to the podcast, Alex. Rob, thanks so much for having me excited to be here. Excellent. Now, before we jump in to talk about the seven key systems, can you just talk us through them? What you see is the typical entrepreneurial journey from having that spark to starting your own business to working as a freelancer initially, then think about hiring staff and maybe share some of the pitfalls that you see along the way.
Yeah, absolutely. I think the standard entrepreneurial journey is the initial spark, right? I think the initial spark, usually in today's day and age, either comes from your parents or loved ones, relatives that have been able to achieve some sort of opportunity through entrepreneurship themselves and thus you want to replicate that or now because you know social media is so proficient everywhere. It's likely that some people have seen biz up either from, like originally Tai Lopez back in the day or seeing you know, current gurus, if you will.
Running ads make promises that probably aren't true but ultimately will capture someone's attention to start. Maybe I don't want to go this traditional route. Maybe I don't want to go back to school. Maybe I don't want to get a job. Maybe I want to try to make it myself. And so it starts with the biz up then from there, Usually, it starts with the local market. The people that you know, religious community. Sometimes if you're a really aggressive person, maybe some door knocking and then you just slowly but surely probably over a year or so start building out and recognising.
Are you really cut out for this or not? I think a lot of people, in the beginning, we'll start with this mindset of “Oh, this is easy”. Nothing is easy. Ever. I don't want to have anyone listen to this podcast and think that any of this is easy. It's definitely not. But there are no specific systems in place you can make. It will make it easier. Doesn't make it easy. I think once after a year or so, most people will either flame out and go back to a regular job or they'll push forward after probably two years and build out some business.
They recognise that they're kind of this freelancer where everything relies on them. They're saying yes to anyone with a dollar. They're not understanding opportunity costs or how to automate or delegate things. They're thinking very short-term, usually like on a month-to-month plan. Like if they lost money or broke even one month, it's like the end of the world, even though you know the next three months, if they invested appropriately, would be unbelievable profits. And then I start thinking, at that point, probably mentorship is where most people would start considering around the 20 to 24-month mark like, “Hey, I really need someone that's been there before”.
You can help me accelerate that, whether it's Rob or myself or other people in the space, and then from there. You start building out systems operations, hiring a team, and hopefully, you can build yourself out of the business with willingness. I think that peace is so key. A lot of people forget the willingness factor of hiring. I like using these four steps for hiring which might help some people in the freelance mindset right now. Number one. You do that job yourself. Number two. You build a system to have someone else do the job.
Number three. You hire someone to do this system to do the job, and then, lastly, number four, you let them fail. I think a lot of people struggle with the idea that “Oh, they're never going to be as good as me or anything like that”. You don't need someone to be as good as you just need them to be roughly 70 or 80% as effective with your system so you can scale and grow beyond yourself. And I think that's kind of the main plan, the main process of like an entrepreneurial journey.
There are a couple of things that are worth picking up there. That mindset becomes such a huge part of growing an agency because the entrepreneur by definition is the person that's got loads of ideas and they're pretty. They probably started their agency because they want to control it. They're pretty sure that they don't want to let go. I'm saying that a lot of owners started their agency because they want to control it, and so they find it very difficult to let go. And as you said, they asked the wrong question.
The question should never be well. They do as well as me. It should always be “Well, they do it well enough”, but I really like your four systems. And the other thing I wanted to just kind of agree with you on is the fact that we are surrounded by supposed gurus who are standing in front of a yacht that probably isn't. Here's how to get rich quickly, and I think what you teach and what I teach there is no magic formula to getting rich quickly. They're just doing the right things and putting the right systems in place and surrounding themselves with the right people.
Right related to that mindset comment that I think is key. The other mindset needed is longevity understanding what you're doing this for. If you're doing it to get rich quickly. You're probably thinking this more like some sort of crypto opportunity where, like maybe you can make a lot of money or lose a lot of money. It's really not like that. It takes time and effort and responsibility. But over time, what I like to tell people is that fewer and fewer things become new, which makes it easier.
Like your first client that's frustrated is a huge deal. And then the first chargeback, you get a huge deal for sale. Huge deal. But over time, all of these things become the same, and you learn how to handle them over time. And I think one of the other elements related to mindset is I think most people start the business with this roses and daisies or roses and rainbows mindset where nothing will go wrong. The reality is things will go wrong. You can't win at 100% of the clip.
It's not possible. You will have bad clients. You have bad experiences and bad hires. And most people don't sign up for that. But that's what it takes a long term. And I just want you to know that if you're listening to this, it will get better. As long as you're comfortable in the uncomfortable and recognise the stakes are pretty low. I mentioned this to you before we started the pod Rob, but I did have open heart surgery. My brother is a doctor, feel like the agency owners have this weird tendency to make the stakes massive.
Like they have a $5000 client that pays them for three months. And the results don't go well. It's like, “Oh, my God, life is over”. It's like, now you know, it's marketing, it doesn't go amazing every single time. And that's not to diminish the value or impact that we make. It's just to hopefully make your mindset a little bit easier. So you're not going to bed thinking like you're ruining someone's life, which I actually have clients that think that way. And I feel bad about that because it's totally inappropriate mindset.
It's not like, “Oh, I care too much”. You're putting the onus on caring and like what you are doing too heavily and I think it's a really unhealthy thing. So just a couple of things on, like buying what's necessary to grow. Yeah, it's good. Shout. It's interesting. I was saying I had my group coaching cool this morning, and one of the questions that one of the members posed was the fact that she just had to. Senior people resign totally unconnected Lee. But within a week of each other and we were talking about what that means and one thing I said to her, which is what you're saying, Alex, is that you have to see this as business as usual.
This isn't some catastrophe that's happening. It's just bad luck. But it's business as usual. Most things that happened to us on a day-to-day basis of business as usual, even if we don't feel in the moment like they are, because it feels like a catastrophe that's about to happen. Absolutely. And I love using this mindset. Rob, that helps me a lot. I kind of I'm catastrophizing, I try not to be, but it's just human nature of who I am like I'm a bleeding heart where my emotions on my sleeve I'm very excitable and very depressive and sometimes I try not to be that way.
But it's just who I am. One of the things that I like to remember is that usually if you're watching this on YouTube, I'm making a small like a big circle with my hand, Right? this is the problem you think it is, and this is really what it is, and it's just a very small circle. And when you look back on the past and do some reflection, some problem you had in October 2020 as an example you thought was the biggest deal on the entire planet.
Here we are. You know, roughly two years later, everything's fine. So I think it's just a good reminder to remember you're never going to wake up and everything is perfect. You're never going to wake up and everything is done. You're never going to wake up, and nothing is to work on. There are always things to do. Always were tinkerers. That's what we do. But ultimately, if you really believe in the process long term and you build a foundational process with the appropriate seven systems, you will be able to grow and hit the goals that you have, and I'll happily share them with you today.
Well, that's a great segue, isn't it? A great segue into the seven key systems that you need to put in place if you want to move from a freelancer or a smaller agency into a bigger one. So what? Let me hand it over to you to tell us what you absolutely. So let's start first with just the three core tenants of the business before we dive into seven systems because I want to make sure it's really easy for everyone to understand and very simple to execute.
When we talk about the three core tenants, it's going to be prospecting lead generation sales, converting those leads into clients right and then fulfilment, delivering on those services. Is there a lot more to that? Of course, that's a very gross oversimplification. We can even make it grosser in terms of oversimplification if we want, which would be client acquisition and fulfilment. I don't think that's a good idea. It's just an easy way to encapsulate kind of where my mindset is and where my frames are for when I share these seven systems because some of the cysts, you might think, are a little bit unique in comparison to what you probably expect.
So if you're listening to this process, this podcast right now, if you pause and write down the seven systems you believe I'm going to share, I think you'll probably get a few right. But I don't think you'll get all of them right. So what I'll do to start is I'll share all seven of them just off the back, and then we can dive into any of them that you want to right away. The first and most important one to me is the 80-20 principle, the Pareto principle.
We're going to come back to this, but this is your operating system as an entrepreneur, and frankly, this is my operating system as a human being. It's really important to me. My wife and I work on this every single week for our personal and professional life. It's very important. The next one is going to be the A team. It is kind of like a play on the old show, but obviously having a quality team. We just go with the A team. Your KPI. The monthly numbers that you're tracking sales.
Long-term retention. I like to use the word long-term retention versus just retention because I think the average and the agency space right now is like, I don't know, three months. Maybe it's very bad. I want all of my clients and every agency owner to have a minimum expectation of six months, Meaning If you're turning your clients roughly twice a year, it's certainly a lot better than four times or six times a year, which is pretty common. Obviously, I'd like you to have it longer, but I'm not going to sit here and be like, “Hey, you know, you currently retain your clients for 60 days”.
Let's magically make that a year. Now, I like to take things in chunks and be reasonable. I think six months is a very healthy, expected KPI for long-term retention. The next piece is going to be automated fulfilment or delegated fulfilment. I'll explain that in just a bit. And then inbound ads, we'll talk about it. Ads related to prospecting, but ultimately just a quick note into it. Everyone wants to talk about all the sexy, exciting ways to generate prospects. There is only one effective, long-term scalable way, just one.
And that's ads. And if you are an advertising agency, a marketing agency asking your clients to invest in ads and you're not doing it yourself, not only are you hypocritical, but you are not serious about growing, and you are probably very scared of the same thing that your prospects are scared of, which is, what if it doesn't work. So there's that. Those are the seven systems. I'm happy to dive into any of them. But I wanted to share that first with you. Rob. Yeah, that's so interesting.
I've got to admit, if I had paused the video and written down my seven systems, I would have had 18 KP's cells and retention. Those are the four. I would not have the other three, so talk us through. I mean, hopefully, everybody understands what the 80-20 Pareto principle is, but talk us through how this applies to running a business. Yeah, so I think that to me first and foremost before we can even talk about the 80-20 principles. Understanding the purpose of it, right? 80-20 principle, of course, is what 20% of the effort is generating 80% of the results.
And the key here is in terms of results only you listener can identify what results in matter to you, Rob, myself, or anyone else. Your parents or your mentors can tell you what life you want to live and what success means to you. Success is different to every single human being on this planet. Everyone wants to make more money. That is just a baseline. Anytime I do coaching and I start with the training of, like, “Who wants to make more money?”. Every single person in the audience raises their hand.
You probably right now, Mr Podcast, the listener or Mrs are thinking immediately. Yes, of course. I want to make more money. But then when you're asked why and if you pause this and you're like why, you probably have no idea other than it's just capitalist mindset and entrepreneurial hustle mindset. And that's the way you think you are supposed to feel because you've never even taken the time to really journal and clarify why you want to make more money. And the crazy thing about this is most people who want to consistently make more money are sacrificing their own mental health, their well-being, and their time with their family right now for a money goal that's not clear or purposeful or intentional.
And then they'll never really hit it anyways. Because when you make more money, what do you want? More money so it never works. Can I just give you a hallelujah? Yes, please mark that, because it's so true, isn't it? I think we're driven. Were driven by peer pressure, were driven by what we think success looks like or think, or how other people will judge our success. But surely success is about being in control of your own destiny and knowing what that direction is. Let me be really blunt about this for a second, Okay?
At 29 years old, I was told that I had to have open heart surgery. I don't want to have open heart surgery. I don't recommend open heart surgery to anyone. I had to have surgery 10 months later because covid delayed it, which was by far the worst part of the surgery was the delay because if I had to do it in two weeks, I would have a lot less time to think about it. But 10 months was terrible. In the midst of those 10 months, my wife got pregnant with our first child, which more than anything in the world, we can talk about this in another podcast.
But I wanted to be a dad more than anything on the whole planet. And now I am, by the way, almost two years old. He's the greatest thing in the entire world. But in general, right, like having this opportunity in front of you where life is about to provide you with the thing you've wanted more than anything with your amazing wife and with the business you built only to say, “Hey, here's a potential finish line that you didn't expect and anticipate”. With one mistake by a doctor, you could be dead.
Essentially, you really change your mindset about what successes? I was really bought into hustle culture. I was very invested in the idea of more never because of a reason there was no reason it was just more that was easier to do. It's always easier to say more than put the reason together, so I just let that be. As soon as the doctor tells you, “Hey, you need to make sure you have a living will”. You need to make sure you have these things or and I was just in case, even though it's unlikely you're going to die you start recognising what really matters.
And what I like telling people is, Look, I'm only 31. I get the opportunity to tell you this versus maybe your 70-year-old parent or your 85-year-old grandparents. I feel like hopefully, you'd listen to me because I'm a lot younger than most people in this scenario, and I'm super grateful to be alive. Two years ago, on October 15th 2020 I had my surgery and I'm alive and well, it's incredible, it's an amazing thing, and I think what most people just need to hear is you can only 80-20 if you know what your actual goal is.
You can't run a marathon if you don't know the finish line, it's impossible or a race. Technically, a marathon is the same amount of miles or kilometres every time. But you get the point right. The idea behind the 80-20 principle simply comes down to where are you finding the most satisfaction, enjoyment and financial wherewithal-like growth in your business. It's not just money, in my opinion, the purpose of running a business is to also have satisfaction and fulfilment. Otherwise, you're probably listening to the podcast. I would guess, but to me, the problem in the baseline of this is if you're doing too much in the business and you're not making enough money or you're not making, like having enough joy, satisfaction fulfilment, it all comes down to simply 80-20 in your life, 80 20 in your business because it should be your operating system, right?
What we end up seeing is people do this wrong at the beginning, and later in their journey, you attempt to be like a full-service agency, and then you end up getting spread too thin, which really cripples your growth at the start and then stifles you as you try to surpass 100 k a month. Because of this desire of offering more, you want to offer more to everyone because you know you can make more money. But then, without a T 20 and things become way more complex, more convoluted, and more challenging, the team is not able to execute.
You have to get inside. It's weird how it ends up working on both ends of the spectrum for beginners and experts. But what we identify is, if you exercise your ability to choose and define your North star, you clarify exactly what you want. Then what you'll be able to do is very simply 80-20 and it just comes down to three steps. It's effortless, Rob. You define your design and you do define the design. Do is the method that I believe in more than any other in age, see or life.
All you have to do is just to find what you want, design the path, and the milestones to get there and then take action on it every single day. The craziest thing is how many people skip defined design, and they just do imagine going to a gym. Okay, never define what you want as the success of the gym, never design a path to achieving it and just go to the gym always. How could you ever feel like you've made any progress? You're just doing stuff that never worked.
That's fantastic. I love that. I always talk about the vision and the plan for your agency, like a car journey. I mean, imagine going on a car journey, but you've got no idea whether destinations or even worse, imagine having your team jumping in their own cars and saying go or even if you do have a destination, you have no way of getting there, so you have no plan of how you're going to get there. So I always like that vision and strategy and plan as a planning a car journey because it's it would be stupid.
Everyone knows that, like you, just the way you just decided. It's a shame. I mean, it's a shame that sometimes we have to have things like that happen in our lives as awful happened to you to make cars open our eyes and I mean hopefully to a lesser extent the pandemic has sort of helped everybody focused on what they want because suddenly we weren't able to do what we wanted. So I always talk about I help my clients build a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable agency, and the enjoyable part is super important.
My goal for any speech or podcast that I do is to try to use my personal experience and my health scare as an opportunity for someone to recognise that you don't have to have this opportunity happen to you. You can just learn from me because I did go through it and I obviously didn't want to go through it. But I'm on the other side now. Two years later, a full bill of health, and an amazing two-year-old son. I get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I still work pretty hard.
I would say that's the truth, but I have an incredible business and I have an incredible community and I've done a lot of amazing work. But much more important than my business or my community is my life and my family. And I'm very grateful for that opportunity and I want you to have the opportunity to Mr or Mrs Listener, but you got to define it. You got to design it. You can't just keep doing it. And if you are doing it, it just takes some journaling time to write it out and identify what you want.
Don't be afraid that you will never be able to hit your goals. And don't be afraid of not knowing what goals you have. Just put together a plan based on what you think will make you satisfied and happy. And then you can optimise over time were not in any sort of race. You're not competing against anyone. There are enough fish in the sea for all of us to be very successful. And I think that's ultimately the key to how to be able to be successful long term.
I'd like to start with that. Those words of wisdom that keeping it simple is a really smart approach to all of this because we are overcomplicated. Banks give us complicated templates for business plans, and we try to follow those. And then they get put on a shelf and gather dust. So we keep it simple. Like Alex's journal. Just I use a very simple three-page template to help people do this because I want to keep it as simple as possible. After all, we keep it simple.
It's more likely to get done and it's more likely to remain a living, dynamic document. I want to dig into two more of the seven points that you mentioned because I think people hopefully will understand the idea behind hiring a team or we can dig more into that, then understand the importance of measuring KPs, of having sales and putting retention strategies in case. But I wanted to talk about six and seven. I wanted about six, first of all, which is also fulfilment to just talk to us a little bit more about what that means.
So I think one of the main problems that we see from agencies consistently is that they are very often the ones doing the work themselves. There's this funny mindset related to like people's prospects telling someone “Oh, I know enough to be dangerous, right?” Like I'm sure you guys have heard that on prospecting calls, which is very frustrating because you're like, look if you know enough, be dangerous. What you're really telling me is that you're going to get in my way of work and you're not gonna let me do my job.
You're gonna bitch about everything you're going to be very irritating to work with. And I think that the great irony is that's what most agency owners are dangerous enough to do some damage, right and what it ends up being is they refuse to remove themselves from fulfilment altogether. And if you don't remove yourself from fulfilment, you're going to end up being stuck in that reality forever. And what it comes down to in terms of success in building an auto fulfilment process is really understanding what type of business you're trying to run.
I think a lot of people want to throw shade at white-label marketing companies, but to me, if that's the business model you want to run, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it. There's certainly some danger that if the white label company gets acquired and they change their numbers that you don't own it. But like so what? At the end of the day, you're smart enough to likely figure out a different solution. They're on to me. It's really focusing on what your strengths are for me.
As an example, when I was running my PI agency, the idea of me trying to learn how to run Google ads was a joke, just I don't know anything about this kind of stuff and wasting my time on it was so silly. I spent $2000 and, of course, in like 2015 on how to run ads on Google. And as soon as I started the course, I was like, This is stupid. This is just dumb like there's no way that I'm going to become even mediocre enough to be able to get results at the level that I can sell because my sales skills are so clearly far and beyond my ability to understand data numbers strategy.
I don't even think I'm a good marketer. Still, I'm okay with that because I don't need to be because my team is, and the people that I pay is you have to identify what your strengths are, and in order to make sure that you delegate fulfilment, it really comes down to two pieces. One, if you are the expert, you need to make sure you have documented processes to hire someone else to do them for you. Or if you're not the expert, you need to hire someone internally.
That's the export or a white label team to do it. And I think those elements are often missed by most people. They refuse to accept that because they're so dedicated to ensuring that they deliver results over and over which I appreciate and respect. I only want people selling with integrity. But if you're doing that based on, I need to learn everything myself, you're never going to get there right. It has to ultimately be the opportunity to get out of the fulfilment black hole. You don't want to do it all yourself.
In the beginning, you don't want to make sure that you're the one handling all of the results for every single person. And what I like to tell people is as the leader of your agency, your job is not to get things done. It's to get things done through other people, and when you get too deep into the fulfilment, you get stuck in the business. You get trapped and you never allow yourself to get out so you just need to create clarity on the exact roles and people you need to deliver amazing results to get your clients the results that they want without your direct involvement so that you can grow otherwise you will never be able to get out of it.
This is why it's a stand-alone system outside of the A team because some people be like, “Well, isn't this just part of the A team?” A team is a whole business. It's not just fulfilment. If you do not separate the fulfilment or misunderstanding the key most important characteristic, is retaining your clients. You cannot build a business if you're consistently turning them in, which is why I've separated them into this format twice. Once again, I think that need for control that a lot of agency owners have is part of what keeps them I talk about. And I want to add one quick thing to this, particularly for people that aren't just a little dangerous but are actually like expert marketers because it's a totally different thing.
Like people that are expert marketers that now want to build a business where they're not involved first and foremost, I think Rob and I will both agree. We know that is extremely challenging. We understand that right when we're talking about the last five minutes is for the people that really don't know what they're doing, and you just got to let it go for the people that are amazing. The problem is, it's like asking sometimes Picasso to put down you know, the what's it called the brush right?
And to hire someone else to do the painting. And it seems like sacrilege almost. Let me clarify the right. You have to identify if you want to be a freelance artist, right, a freelance market or if you want to build a business. And here's what I tell people that are. Are the Picasso of marketing right? Probably inflating their ego a little bit. But in general, what I would tell you is build a simple system right that you can create revenue from that creates freedom for you to do what you want in freelance marketing.
So if you've built a business that's generating you, $50,000 recurring revenue per month $20,000 take home. Now you want to take on a project that buys yourself $10,000-6000 dollars a month, where you get to pick up your brush and do enjoyable marketing work and build out these crazy funnels and proposals. By all means, you get to choose to do that Rob, or I get to tell you if that's right or wrong. You get to choose that. But doing that is a choice consistently and then telling yourself that you're frustrated about how much work you're doing and you don't have to build the business.
That's your choice also, so I like to tell those specifically to people that are really artists. But let's be frank here. The amount of people that are at that level of artistry is less than 5% probably of this market. 95% of this market, our sales. People who don't know anything about marketing that don't know how to run at the 5% that are exceptional at it, just build the business and then come back to it, maybe 6, 10 months down the line, and then you can go back to where your skills lie. Yeah, you definitely can't have it both ways, can you and I think a lot of people get frustrated, but they behave like the freelancer where they don't want to be.
I think one nugget that you said that it's certainly a lesson I've learned is that you need to document your process if you need to get some of the stuff that's in your head out onto paper so that other people can follow so that not only can you let go, but also it means that your customer is going to get a consistent experience no matter who they're working with. Let me just dig into number seven now before we wrap this up and this was interesting.
You talked about the importance of running inbound ads as the only scalable thing. Now that is interesting because I always talk to people about the importance of building their email list and how they need to nurture their list to get those inbound enquiries. So but you talked about ads being the number one thing, so let's just try to square those two different approaches and let me clarify, right? I don't think it's mutual. I do think building an email list is extremely valuable over time. I just think in terms of the fastest way to consistently grow.
Predictably, it's always going to be ads, right? It's the most consistent way to book interesting leaves on your calendar. There is such a different approach than when you email someone. When you direct mail someone, when you prospect someone you go in person, you are the party that says, “Are you interested? Versus an ad?” Essentially a billboard online that says, here's an offer and someone clicks on it because they are interested. The intent is so drastically different that will make a massive difference in your sales long term.
Ultimately, outbound is great when you use it at the right times when you're just starting or you don't run ads yet or your ads aren't working. But to have another channel on top of ads to trickle leads is still valuable. But in my opinion, all outbound is a means to inbound all of it, because the idea comes down to the more that you invest into ads, the more opportunities you have, the more opportunities you have. The more at-bats you get to test your offers and sales processes.
The more at-bats and testing of your offers, the more opportunity you have to sell, the more opportunity to sell, the more you make and so on and so forth. It's just the simplest, most effective way. Is it also the riskiest? Of course, it's the riskiest because you're gonna have to spend money to do it right. This is why most people do the other prospecting solutions. But I would tell you if you really just want to head start here is the absolute reality, right? And this is going to scare a lot of people.
But I know an agency. Okay, in the real estate market, place a very saturated niche. Okay, that started at the beginning of this year. They started, and within three months they had 10 clients. I know it's not a lot. All of those were people that they know from outbound, right? They used every single cent of profit to put into ads. They started putting $10,000 a month into ads and got some results, but they were negative for two months. A lot of people would have a heart attack at that point, but then here's what happened.
They got along for their business because they recognised that they were getting a lot of calls, and if they just made a little bit more sales, they'd be not only profitable but significantly profitable. They start putting $40,000 a month into ads. They now run an agency that does over $350,000 per month, with a profit margin of roughly 35%. They're not good at retention. Bluntly. They're not great at results bluntly. They're kind of just focused on agency sales, which I don't really like. But that's not the purpose of today's conversation.
But it's just proof of what's capable. There have been agencies in the real estate space working for five years, still stuck at, like $35,000. And you know why? Because they spend $1000 on ads a month or nothing. At the end of the day, it's a simple math equation. If you're worried about the cost per lead and total ad, spend your misunderstanding. It's the cost per acquisition and then the lifetime value. If you have a lifetime value, that's pretty significant, meaning your clients are retaining you a long time. You can spend up to 20% of that lifetime value to acquire that client because we're playing a long-term game, right?
So if your average client pays you $10,000 over three months, you can pay up to 22K to acquire them and to keep them. There's a lot of money to acquire a new client, but when they're paying you the 10th or 15th or 20th or 30th time, you won't care that you spent that amount of money even if you lost money in the first month. So it's just math. And look, I'm not the biggest math man by any means, but it's just simple math and really, what it comes down to more than anything wrong, I think, is fear.
A lot of people fear making investments in their business, which look, I completely respect and understand. But that's what it takes a long term. And do you think I'm listening? But this is a whole rabbit hole. We could go down for another podcast, but do you think that strategy works as well for the B to B business? And I'm just asking that because most of my clients are in the B to B space. They're not the direct consumer. Yeah, the space most of my clients for me to be in.
So I think it works in every industry. The difference is the sales process. In some sales processes, you can speak directly to the person that's going to buy and in other sales processes like, for example, attorneys or doctors or nonprofit organisations or political organisations. The reality that you're going to get on a call with someone right away and sell them is unlikely. You're probably going to get on with Mary, who then has to convince David, who then has to convince Charlie. And then Charlie will make the investment.
Is it a little bit longer? Yes. Well, does that extend your investment time? Absolutely. Your sales process, maybe three or six weeks instead of a day. In which case, you know, you have to have the longevity of the financing. But you have to be serious about what you're growing here. 100% works B2B. But I also again understand my positioning of saying this is a lot easier than people having the audacity to do it. I'm not the one spending 50 grand you are. So that has to be your call and your choice.
My recommendation at minimum is 10% of your recurring revenue. But if you're at 20K a month and you're spending two grand on ads, you're going to grow slowly. That is just the truth. So hopefully this helps some people get out of their fear of investing. But it 100% works. B2B as well as B2C. Yeah, I guess you need to find a good partner to help you run those ads. I think you need to have your eyes open that your initial investment is research to find the right message and the right audience and all that stuff, I think have a quick on this rap, very simply and very quickly.
All you have to do to start is just run Facebook lead ads. It's the lowest cost type of ad to run because you don't have to get them off of Facebook and into, like, a whole funnel plus, then you don't have to, like, build the whole funnel and take all that time. Just running an extremely direct offer the bluntest offer you can do. Let's say you work with chiropractors. For example. It's like, “Hey, chiropractor, do you want 10 new patients every single month guaranteed? Click on this ad”.
The bluntest ad you can possibly run obviously needs someone good with targeting. That's not me. And then just see what the results are called speed to lead as fast as possible. If you have someone that's on your team, an appointment sets if they book an appointment, call them right away. “Hey, this is the result that was promised you. Do you want this?” They don't care about the delivery mechanism or how it works. They just want the result to confirm that they wish to do this. The prospect quality will undoubtedly be lower than on the funnel process, but the costs will be lower and you'll be able to see what's working so that you can then build a funnel.
This is a very low barrier to entry. Anyone listening to this podcast can literally run this ad in less than 30 minutes. Now, Facebook has to approve it, which will probably take a day, but in general, it will take you less than 30 minutes to set it up and it works. It does so interestingly, like saying a whole other. How is the topic? I think for another broadcast. Really interesting. I hope people have written down those seven systems. I hope they have thought about what they need to do to implement them in your in their agency.
So a couple of things, really let me, first of all, ask you the question that I ask all of my death. Guess which is, if you can go back in time and give your younger self just starting in business. One piece of advice. What would it be? Yeah, it's kind of a shocking one, but it's going slower. I'll tell you this quickly, but when I was 18 years old is when I found out that I was born with a congenital heart defect, and was born with what's called a bicuspid aortic valve.
The aortic valve is supposed to open up with three leaflets. It looks like a Mercedes Benz sign or a peace sign. Mine opened up in a semicircle because that third leaflet was attached to the second and so blood lead back into the heart. And just like any muscle that works. Eventually, that muscle grows in size. And in terms of your heart, there's a point of no return where if it grows in size, it has to be transplanted out, which is a significantly more dangerous surgery than aortic valve replacement.
Medicine is incredible, by the way, 99% of aortic valve replacements are survived, especially for people of my age. I mean, it's just amazing. It's crazy to think about it if you look it up and see what the surgery is, very not safe for work warning. But if you look, it's just crazy, like what? Medicine can be, what medicine can do. But in general, you know, when you're 18 years old and you find that out, I think when you're that young, you anticipate hopefully having a long life. But my thought process was maybe now I'm capped to like 60 or 70 years old because they said I would probably have the surgery when I'm 50 or 60.
But 100% guaranteed I would have the surgery. So what I did from 18 to 29 basically, when I found out I had to have it 30 years before they told me I was supposed to have it. I burned the Mineta always. I read the engine into the red every day. Always high anxiety, high stress, and high emotions. Like nothing was good enough. I'm always having work more. I'm not doing good enough consistently. And then you get told by a doctor 10 years later that what are the results of this overworking and revving the engine?
Well, you accelerated your heart problem essentially, and now you have to have surgery and you may die. Unlikely. But it's possible. And then everything you worked for in the first place is gone. So to me, it's going slower, and being more intentional. I'm a very intentional person, a journal, every single day about what I want from that day. I'm trying to have satisfaction and excitement, and I'll leave you all with this. And it's really important to me. And I tell to every client I work with, to do a journal every day about the main emotion that they had about this business and most people when they hear this journal prompt get very nervous because over the last 365 days, they would estimate that more than half of them, they'll put stressed lack of fulfilment.
Anxious, frustrated, annoyed, irritated. And when you look at that and you recognise life is so precious, time is the most valuable resource we have you spending the majority of your time frustrated, anxious, annoyed, irritated, lack of fulfilment. Something's really wrong, right? And the crazy thing is you have an agency, not a marketing agency as in choice, right? And the choice that you are choosing to make is these feelings leading you instead of identifying intentionally what you really want. And that's why I'm such a big believer in divine design and due process.
And that, to me, is the lesson I would tell my younger self. Wow. So what's so powerful and such good advice and also, well, just really thought-provoking is the fact that, as you say, most people's emotions would not be positive ones. And that's what's making up the majority of the day. So thank you for sharing that course, and I want to just say, by the way, for me, I'm not in the mindset of every day is perfect. Still, even after surgery habits don't get broken in two years.
It takes time. And I'm committed to that. I'm sharing it with you because I know you need to hear it as much as I need to hear it too. I'm not sitting on our high horse saying I'm happy. Perfect. Fulfilled every single day. I'm always working towards getting better. Fantastic. Yeah. Thank you. And if people wanted to find out more about you, Alex, where was the best place for them to go? Yeah. Easiest places prospecting on demand dot com. Probably a lot easier than trying to spell my name.
But hey, I mean, if you're listening to this and want to guess how to spell my name, I'd be impressed. Schlinsky. What do you think? It's Schlinsky. But I bet you got that wrong. But if you want to try to time the online you can prospect on demand dot com is the easiest place that I would share that link in the show notes. I just want to say a huge thank you for joining us today. That was so insightful.
And I'm pretty sure everyone would have gotten a bunch of key learnings that they probably didn't expect they would get from the title of this episode. So I really want to say thank you again for joining us today. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.