Kim Barrett on How a Business Misstep Led to a Productised Service
In today’s episode of the WP Elevation podcast, Troy talks to Kim Barrett, the founder and CEO of Your Social Voice. Kim sheds some light on what the impetus was to hastily start his own business, some missteps he made along the way, as well as how he productised his service as a result.
A Rough Start
Like many of us, Kim started his PPC agency as a reaction to a less-than-stellar experience working for someone else. More specifically, his story involves an employer who failed to recognise the importance of time off around the holidays, only allowing employees to take Christmas off every five years.
But that wasn’t the only reason Kim jumped ship. Although he was in a position suited to what he’d studied at university, it quickly became apparent how poor a fit it was.
Unfortunately, Kim was unwilling to wait until the timing was right before leaving the Employer from Hell. When he gave his notice, he only had a single social media client to his service and they were paying him $200 a week.
It’s always easy to look back in retrospect and to say, “Oh, I should’ve done such-and-such differently.” Kim doesn’t really do that though. He sees this experience — no matter how painful it was at the time — as a big reason for why he and Your Social Voice are where they are today.
Instead, Kim focuses on missteps he made when his agency was new (about 5 years ago now). He sums up everything he did wrong with a single word:
Oh, you’ve never heard of this before? I believe Merriam Webster defines it as:
A business owner who will do anything for anyone at any price.
Build your website? Check.
Create your company? Check.
Manage your social media accounts? Check.
Nope, Here’s the Real Lesson Learned
Kim did finally find his niche in PPC social media. However, his expertise still wasn’t enough to convince clients to work with Your Social Voice.
The turning point came around when this happened:
- Kim pitched a $4,000/month PPC service to a prospect.
- At the same time, they received a quote from a conversion rate optimisation agency for $20,000/month.
- The CRO agency won the bid — for three months, anyway, until they failed to see any improvements.
After the fact, Kim wanted to know why the company chose the CRO agency over the far cheaper and likely more effective PPC solution. The prospect explained:
“Those guys had a methodology and process. We felt like you were just shooting from the hip and going with your gut. We didn’t want to bank our business on that.”
So, Kim went back to work and immediately set out to create his own processes and methodology. As he explains in the podcast, this was something he had long struggled with — how to take the knowledge inside himself and somehow relay it to someone else to use.
Once he took the time to do this, everything changed.
It’s inevitably what allowed him to hire others and delegate work to them.
It’s also what enabled him to develop this immensely profitable productised service.
The Idea for a Productised Service
Funny enough, it was a TV ad for P90X that got Kim thinking about productisation:
“These guys are just working out at the gym. They’re doing the same thing everyone else does, but they’re calling it P90X or Crossfit… That’s what I should do.”
In general, there are three kinds of coaching and guidance one can provide to others:
- Group coaching
- One-on-one coaching
- DIY coaching
Kim has leveraged the latter two and productised his service into something other PPC agencies can use.
A lot of this is possible because of what happened with the previous rejection. If he hadn’t set out to document and develop a robust process for everything, he never would’ve been able to hire others to whom he could delegate tasks to. And his agency never would’ve been able to grow to $1,000,000+ in revenue per year.
Then, with the time he had free to work on the business instead of inside the business, he was able to come up with ways to leverage his intellectual property and use it to make money through other vehicles.
These days, Kim is working on a new product. This one is a program that provides registered agencies with Your Social Voice’s assets to sell social media lead gen just as well as they do. There’s also a unique value-add.
Your Social Voice turns away clients that are unwilling or unable to pay the standard $5,000 monthly fee for PPC management. Or, rather, they refer them onto others. That said, referrals can be a tricky business. If you pass a prospect on to someone who fails to deliver results, it can reflect poorly on you for making that referral in the first place.
Which is why agencies that sign with Your Social Voice now get those referrals. The way Kim sees it, he knows they’re going to do a good job because they’re using his process and assets.
Having gone from $200 a week in client revenue to running an agency making over a million in sales every year, this is the kind of story every new business owner needs to hear. As you can see, Kim’s earlier missteps provided crucial lessons that eventually led him to the path of success.
If you find your initial start is feeling a little rocky or just isn’t living up to the expectations you had for it, now is a good time to look for a lesson of your own. And we have one for you to start with right here:
Too-low of fees and bad client choices are often the reason why young businesses fail to get off the ground.
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