If you’re just tuning in, I’m blogging my journey to building a successful consulting business that provides my family more freedom.
In my last report, I covered the months of April and May. This post will report on the months June through November. Yes, I’ve been slacking.
My wife and I relocated to Denver, CO in October. This has been an overall positive move but it hasn’t come without it’s challenges. Having literally no network in Denver has been difficult. However so much work these days can be done remotely that it has forced me to lean on my existing network for work opportunities. And establishing my company as a remote team that consistently delivers great work is not a bad thing by any means.
I’m just beginning to reach out to the Denver business community by attending meet ups and conferences. My resolution for 2016 is to attend as many business meet ups as my schedule permits.
In my last report I set the following goals:
- book 1 sales meeting per week for rubytogether.org
- book 1 contract engineering services
- book 1 contract leadership services
- finish service offering deck for email distribution
After moving to Denver I’ve slacked a bit on the rubytogether.org sales work. I hope to continue pitching my clients to contribute.
I’ve booked at least two engineering service contracts since I set these goals in June.
While I’ve flirted with several opportunities, I have yet to book a meaningful gig doing any sort of leadership.
I started but have not finished an offering deck.
I had been kicking around this idea of a podcast or show about entrepreneurial failures for awhile. In June, at the suggestion of a friend, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to start a podcast. Failcast, is a podcast run by myself and Adarsh Pandit. On the show we discuss entreprenurial failures and interview folks willing to discuss their failures openly, all in an effort to pass on those lessons to our listeners. In our most current episode, we talk about the role of luck and serendipity in career development.
Choosing a Niche
Up until recently EPSILON EIGHT was operating with no real focus. Our primary angle was Product Development – “We transform ideas into products”. After talking to a friend and mentor, he urged me to lean on my previous experience in the payments industry. I took his advice and have started changing some of the language when I talk about EPSILON EIGHT to be payments focused.
EPSILON EIGHT did a sad $1,500 in revenue in June, $4,400 in July, $4,300 in August, a whopping $8,400 and $8,700 September and October respectively, and $6,500.00 in Nov. There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s dive in.
June was clearly a bad month. One of our clients announced they were short on cash. This caught me off guard and I scrambled to find some more work. When I did finally land some work, typical NET30 rules prevented that revenue from being reported in June.
In July and August I spent a fair amount of time attempting to find more work. This consisted of meeting with several referrals from friends. We landed one of those referrals and billed ~$5k in September and October to this new client. The remainder of our revenues came from the client who had cut back in June.
November revenues came entirely from a single client.
Most of my sales efforts centered around asking friends for introductions and referrals. This generated several strong leads, new connections, and opportunities. Our new client in September and October came from one of these referrals.
As mentioned above, I’ve started positioning EPSILON EIGHT as a payments integrator. We’ve updated our Services page to include these services and formed an informal partnership with several payment companies. This has resulted in several leads being passed our way, one of which we’ve already begun to work on.
On the horizon is another lead for Ruby on Rails maintenance and bug fix contracts. Crossing my fingers that those pan out well.
Thus far, referrals have been the strongest source of business for us and I plan to focus more effort on expanding my network. While revenue continues to trend upwards, more than ever, it’s clear that we need a larger pool of clients. We simply can’t have another month where we only do $1,500 in revenue.
At the moment we have several offers for near full-time work but at a rate that is significantly lower than our already-competitive market rate. I find myself struggling with the the pros and cons of persueing these opportunities. On the one hand, increased cash flow would be much welcomed. On the flipside, full time work at a lower rate robs me of time that could be used to book more lucrative work.
Our payments partnerships are treating us well. We’ll continue to lean on those partnerships and I have plans to build new partnerships with several other payments providers in the future.
Goals for the next several months include:
- finish the service offering deck
- build parternships with one other payments comapny
- subcontract one engineering project to free time for more sales
Thanks for reading everyone and happy holidays!