Ben Adkins was a very successful chiropractor working out of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. But even though his business was thriving, he realized that working 7 days a week in one place wasn’t something he wanted to do for the long haul. He eventually sold his practice and went on to build a Multi-Million dollar Marketing business that he could run from a laptop anywhere in the world.
Nowadays, Ben teaches high-level entrepreneurs how to build a successful lifestyle business through his mastermind called Digital Agency Insiders. He also runs Serial Progress Seeker, a blog that serves as a journal for his Multi-Million dollar business.
In this episode, Ben shares his expertise on the Micro Service business model. A Micro Service is a service that every business needs and is super easy to deliver. Ben breaks down his system step by step and shows us how to turn a Micro Service into a 6 figure per year business.
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Joe: 00:00 Hey guys, it's Joe Troyer
and welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets. I'm super excited to be here with none other than Ben Adkins. Welcome officially to the show brother.
Ben: 00:16 What's going on man? How are ya? I'm doing good.
Joe: 00:18 I'm doing good. It was great seeing you in San Diego a couple of
weeks ago and really excited to to be hanging out a little more in depth here today.
Ben: 00:26 We had a little too much fun, ate too much good food and I'm
still recovering, but yeah, it was a good time.
Joe: 00:32 Yeah, great time. So for those of you guys that don't know, Ben,
you guys can find Ben over at a serial progress seeker. Just go ahead and look them up or digital agency insiders and and I'm really, really excited about that one. Ben, the digital agency insiders. I know that my crew will be too. You're doing some really awesome stuff over there.
Ben: 00:50 Yeah, we're excited about it. More of just a diary of the ups and the downs of running an actual agency, the stuff that's worked. But I, you know, I think the fun part is sometimes we get to put the stuff that doesn't work out there too. And you know, sometimes I think as marketers we don't want to show people that side of ourselves. But that's, that's been the big thing is what's working, what's not working. And that's, that's it. It's part of the being an insider over there is that. So we love it.
Joe: 01:18 That's awesome. The good, the bad, the ugly, the really ugly
showing it all. That's what I'm learning man.
Ben: 01:22 Exactly.
Joe: 01:24 So for those of you guys that don't know, Ben is a former
chiropractor turned marketer and was able to grow his practice using Facebook ads and social media. And obviously now is where he is today, a social entrepreneur, I would say doing all kinds of crazy interesting things. But today, man, it was really hard for me to nail down with my team what to talk about today. But I really want to talk about the, the digital agency insiders and the microservice kind of millionaire angle if we can.
Ben: 01:57 Absolutely.
Joe: 01:58 To set the stage. Man, can you, can you talk about microservices
a little bit and why there's such a big focus?
Ben: 02:05 Sure. When I was a actually in the chiropractic office before I
got into this whole like hardcore internet stuff one of the things that happened really quickly is we got busy because some of the little stuff that we were doing was working, you know, the just we're getting people through the door and really, really quickly it became very apparent that I didn't have time to do the things that I needed to do in my business online to get, you know, sort of the foundation layers established because we were busy. And so I started looking around for help and I was looking around for people that were offering these services. And so a couple of the big things that I needed help with or number one, maintaining a website, what was really apparent to me really quickly is what I was capable of doing, even though I was capable of doing was not the best way to put, you know, our, our practice out there.
Ben: 02:56 And then another thing is, you know, Facebook page and social
channels. We, we knew that it was not just about publishing content on our social channels so that our existing fans could see us. That you know, that that was cool, but that was not the big thing. The way I always looked at social media was there going to be times when people are going to hear about you. There's going to be times that people are just searching out for a certain type of business and they're going to come looking for you. And when they get to your Facebook page, if the last post that you posted was six months ago, it does not convey a good message of what's actually happening inside your practice. And if the last post that you posted looks like you borrowed it from Pinterest or you know, someone eight other people that had used it before, it does not give the best impression of what's going on inside of the practice.
Ben: 03:43 So, you know, early on kinda, I started thinking about this, I
started thinking, how do people find out about you when they want to know about you? I said, well, you know what, what do I do? I go to their websites and I go to their Facebook page and I really, whether it's fair or not, I judge what's going on in those businesses. By that it's almost like you drive by a business and you see whatever's going on. If they have it swept their driveway out, if their sign this, you know, hat letters are knocked out, it conveys something about the business and what's happening inside. And so with microservices, that's the thing. I started looking around and I started finding out to get somebody to manage your social media, to get someone to do the website. You know, people were offering, you know, five $10,000 to build a website for us, which was fine.
Ben: 04:28 You know, like I said, I totally understood the value in that, but I
was like, at the time I didn't have that kind of money. And a lot of, you know, chiropractors didn't just people that are getting going don't always have that. And so that, that was one thing from a social media standpoint, people that wanted to post for us maybe twice a week, we're looking to do four or $500 a month, up to a thousand to $1,500 a month. And as I said, it was something that was very difficult for us and what I took in just the way that I think, I said, you know, it's because they're doing a lot of custom stuff. And so with micro services that, that's where that thought started to play in itself. Even way back when I was in my chiropractic office, I'd be like, wouldn't it be cool if somebody just had this down to a science and could come in and could use a system that they've already built to do this stuff for us so that we had posts on our Facebook page every day so that we always had a great looking website that did its job and you know, looked great.
Ben: 05:20 And so that's what I, when I got into, you know, kind of the
point where we were doing something about it. I said, nobody else is doing this quite the way that I think it should be done for my chiropractic office. So we started building it for ourselves. So I did the thing, I, I went as a chiropractor and I had a bunch of images commissioned for social media and we branded them with our logo. And I went in and had a website built. But I built it in a way that you could pull out individual pieces and transfer it. So if I, you know, if I ever wanted to open up their office, I had a system. And so we, we originally built this whole thing for a chiropractor's office. It was just little things that can be transferred from office to office because I knew I had kids that I would school with that needed the same stuff.
Ben: 06:06 And so fast forward a little bit down the road, I started looking around and saying, okay, the stuff that we've got, can we take all of these social posts? And we rebrand them with another officer's logo. Can we take this website and rebrand them with different faces and different things and just pop things in. And so what we ended up doing is instead of having this giant customized thing that you had to do for every single client, we had something that within a couple hours you could take the templates rebrand for someone else. So what we were able to do with that is now from my chiropractic office and then moving forward to like what we do today is we were able to go man and say, Hey, this is what we do. This is the quality of what we do. We'd love to have you on.
Ben: 06:45 And instead of you paying $500 a month or five $10,000 for
website, what we do is for about $200 a month, we'll run two
posts a day on your social media. It'll look great. It's tested material that we know plays well. When people come to your page, they will see that you know what you're doing and it conveys a sense of, Hey, this person's got it together. Same thing with the website. It conveys a sense of this person's got it together. This is the kind of person I can trust with touching my neck or touching my back. And so that's what we did. And so from a perspective of, you know, as an agency, somewhere along the way, I did have classmates start asking me for help. And then I had people that weren't classmates. I'd show up at a conference and be talking to people and they would want this kind of thing.
Ben: 07:27 And so I kind of back into it into an agency with just the stuff
that I had and I, we just sort of built a team to rebrand it and to get it going. And I think the thing was, for me, this is what, you know, when I first started helping people, I was doing some customization stuff and it drove me crazy and I thought, you know what? We built this for chiropractors. Wouldn't it be cool if we could go in and we could just use this model? Because every time I took on a friend I literally didn't have time. And I was like, pay me 200 bucks and we'll put it in it's software, ran it. So we'd get everything built, customized, and then it was pretty much software from there. And it was one of those things where if you do something that works, you completely run the opposite direction.
Ben: 08:09 And so we had this going for awhile, this micro service stuff that
was working without me touching it. But of course for a while I ran towards the stuff that was of course all consuming to me. But after a while you burn out and you get back and you say, well, you know what? Why don't we do more of this? And so I took the mindset that what if my entire agency, everything that I did to help local businesses was based on this microservice model. So instead of focusing on a ton of Leadgen, a ton of really focused activities, we would start focusing everything we did on, Hey, let's build a template for this type of business. Let's go into that business and let's offer them something that's extremely high quality. But that can be branded really quickly for different businesses across the world, across the country, and of charging thousands of dollars a month, we could go in and we could charge a business two to $300 a month to take care of that foundational component of everything that they did.
Ben: 09:04 What was so great about this is number one, was it great for the
business? Yes, it was much cheaper. Was it great for us? Yes, because we could set it up and run it and very low maintenance
to make sure that it was continuing to do what it did. But overall it started setting the stage for a lot of the partnerships that we had. We work with people that do pay-per-click, we work with people that do a lot of Facebook ads, lead gen stuff there. And what we started to figure out is having those two components done the way that we did actually set their ads up to be much more effective because they looked great when people saw the ad, clicked on it, went to the landing page, said they're like, you know what? I'm gonna actually go check them out while I've got this open and they'd go check out the other stuff.
Ben: 09:43 And so it made them look great across all channels. And so it
came out to this really interesting thing. And the beauty of the microservices for us was we were always able to stay in selling mode because we could sell and very quickly have them onboarded very quickly, have it going. And our clients loved it because they didn't have to pay a lot to look great. And so that's, you know, in a nutshell, that's how it kinda got started. You know, that's how I backed into actually doing it the whole time. And it became this thing that was a very scalable process and our agency that we could help a ton of businesses in all kinds of niches all across the world without having to, you know, get too crazy about how we customize things for people.
Joe: 10:28 Yeah, man, that makes a whole lot of sense. So when you're chatting with an agency owner right now what, what kind of agency owners do you think that microservices apply to? You think it's kind of industry wide? You think it's a very specific type of agency? Who's it for? Who's it not for?
Ben: 10:44 All right. One of the things that we see a lot of is we have a lot
of people that have been doing it for years. And this is the conversation that I have. Of course it appeals to people that are new because it's something that's a lot easier to start out with. But what's so interesting is the people that have been doing things for years and they offer a really high ticket service. It's a really boutique agency. What they get into very easily as it becomes sort of a process that they can apply to all of their existing clients, establish more of a regular type of income. Plus a lot of these people that have these high ticket agencies have this big chunk of people that they have that they've wanted to work with them. Because they typically do a good job of bringing possible prospects in, but that weren't really there.
Ben: 11:27 And so they've been able to go back to these people and say, but we offer this in the meantime, while you're getting ready for this. And what's so great is people that have these more established agencies, they do more boutique stuff. They're able
to bring on one person in their agency that can handle a chunk of these micro service clients. So on one hand we have the folks that are brand new because this is something that's much easier. Like you don't have to be a Facebook ad expert to do this. This is something that pretty much right out of the Gates, you learn the process of what we're doing. And it's really easy to explain to a business owner. It's really easy to actually implement. It's good. But on the other hand, we do see a lot of folks that have had agencies that have done really well for years. And this is just that thing that puts an extra on most, you know, in two or three months, an extra 20, 40 a hundred thousand dollars into their agency recurring because they're just taking something that an existing client base and applying the model and their clients are very, very happy that it's a much more simple thing than what they've had to do in the past.
Joe: 12:26 100%. Yeah, that makes total sense. It's like, it's perfect for the
beginner because it's not over complicating it. It's easy to get started. And it's really good for the boutique agencies that like boutique agencies have figured out lead gen, they've had to, to be a boutique agency and to stay a float. So for them, all the prospects that wouldn't pay them five, 10, 15 grand a month, right. Like they can finally actually make a sale to them and groom them and turn them into the customer that they want to be longterm for that boutique agency. So exactly. Becomes almost the perfect downsell.
Ben: 12:56 Exactly. And it's like, you know, I, that's the thing, it's, you have
so many people that want to work with you. They really want to work with you, but they just can't be there. And as you know, and I've operated as a boutique agency too, and it was one of those things where you're right, it's either all or nothing. And that becomes something that stinks because you see these people that you really care about, that you'd like to come on, go do business with other people a lot of times. And this gives them a way to bring them in, but also give them the foundational components that they will be ready down the road to do the bigger stuff. And I think that's a big thing.
Joe: 13:30 How do you, how do you keep micro service clients in check?
And what I mean by that is like, it's, it's not very much margin, right? So if you're charging let's say 200, 300 bucks a month for a service and they're hitting you up once a week, twice a week, right? Very quickly as a business owner, you're not making any money from that service. So what are some kind of best practices to make sure that you set the stage or maybe you sell correctly so that that doesn't happen?
Ben: 14:02 I think there's a, there's a process and this is the, this is the part
that's really hard for someone that's actually starting out new. And so I try to get this across to any agency that we're training that's tried to do microservices in the beginning is, you know, this just as well as I do with anything you sell when you're selling, it's about pre-framing something correctly and letting them know what they're getting and what they're not getting, saying, Hey, this is it. If this is what you're happy with, then we're going to have a great relationship. But we don't do a lot of modifications because this is what it is and this is why you get that done. If you want something more, you know, customize that we can tweak all the time. We're talking this amount of money, which is a lot more, and so it's a pre-framing praying process.
Ben: 14:37 We do really good with that. The other thing is is when you're in
that sales process, it's understanding red flags because I don't care how well you pre-frame certain things. Sometimes you're going to run into people that just can't lead well enough alone and so along the way when you're selling lots of clients, you start picking up these little things that you say, listen, no matter how good I think their money is, there is no way I'm taking this client on. And one of the things that we run into, and I think this is super important for anybody that's just starting out, that's not been down this road yet, so I understand is one of the things that you start to see with people that are going to be a giant pain in your rear is it becomes very hard to sell them, number one, and they have a lot of questions on the front end.
Ben: 15:21 Typically when we have somebody that gets this, we go in,
we're talking to them and we're sort of walking through what we do and they get excited about it. Number one, like right away you can tell it's a solution to a problem that they've had. Typically the people that we're working with have already worked with other social media companies that have charged them a lot. They felt like the posting was at odd times, it was in sort of weird places and where they did it, the content wasn't that great. So we start seeing people that are excited when we walk into someone and they are talking about what can you change this? Can I check all of the posts? And there's nothing wrong. Like I have clients that have wanted to check all the posts and it was because they were at a specific area where this was a giant deal.
Ben: 15:59 But when you run into someone where that's not the case and they're really over the top and very much a micromanager and all this stuff, that's a problem. Most of our really great clients, both in the website and with the social media stuff is they take
one look at it or they take a look at the sample of things that you're doing and immediately they get excited about it and they're ready to sign up pretty much right away. They get the value behind it. If I have to do too much selling into the value or even more this case why you should be doing social media, have a great website, we're already in trouble. And so I think that's the thing is it's, it's very much before we close the sale. But if we accidentally bring on one that it is something, I'm very quick to say, listen, this is what it is or it's going to cost this. If this is a problem, we need to probably let me refer you to someone that's going to do more of this. And I think you'll be much happier there. And so it's having the ability to cut ties before you spend too much money on a client that is low ticket. So yeah, that's a great question.
Joe: 17:00 We've had low ticket clients before. And then we've had sales
guys that that like oversell the deal, right? And so then it's just a man that's, it's a headache. It's hard. And so what we started doing was on onboarding, we'd resell the deal. And so somebody that is not a sales person, that's an ops person that's actually going to get the job done is saying, okay, so this is what you signed. This is what you agreed to. You understand this. Right? And if they say no, and Billy promised me this, we let them immediately jump out of the deal. Yeah, this isn't what you want. You can walk away no harm, no foul. We understand. And it's like, Oh, like even the people that were oversold then accept it and they're like, okay, I understand. And now they onboard correctly with the right expectations.
Ben: 17:46 It's what you do literally in the first week that makes the most difference in your agency. I mean it's, it's crazy to say that and you have to keep delivering value, obviously, but what you do in that first week is absolutely huge. And I think that's the thing that I try to convey to new agency owners that we talk to. And I know you do as well. It's, you've got to be very honest with what you're selling. You've got to show them what, you know, what the benefit is, but you want to go after people that get it. But that first week, that first onboarding session is insane. You've got to keep selling, but you've got to sell exactly what you were selling. If you go too far overboard, it becomes a problem that just grows and grows and grows. So yeah, I totally agree with that.
Joe: 18:33 When it comes to microservices criteria, what, what comes to
mind? Like what are the price points? What are the time requirements? What's profit margins, right? Like if you were to give me some bullet points, things, here's the four things, here's the 10 things. What are the main criteria so to speak?
Ben: 18:50 So let me just kind of start from the ground up. It's when you're
doing social content and scheduling, number one, we don't call it social media management because we don't manage anything that's still on the office. What we, what we do manage is does the content show up on the page when we say it's going to show up in as the content high quality and is it branded for the business? So that's number one. That's a big deal. One of the things that we sort of do is when we actually are putting this content out there, the margins are low because like I said, you're looking at a hundred to $200 a month thing.
Ben: 19:23 And so the software that we use to run this stuff typically, and by the way, the things that you can use are like a post planner, are a meet Edgar. There's lots of things that do what we call rotation. And so when it gets to the end of your bucket of content, it starts again. So you don't have to like keep scheduling stuff. And so we'll use something like that. And what's so great about that both of those programs is they allow you to have multiple businesses within an account. So you can have an account that's like 24 bucks and you could run 20 businesses out of it. And so from a margin standpoint, you look at, Hey, we've got a client that's paying us a hundred $200 and just the software that it takes to run it. That's, that's the key. Now, the real expense is if you have to create all of your own images, what we typically do is we run a three month set and so 180 images is what we run and that's the rotation and there's two posts a day.
Ben: 20:19 So that takes us to about three months and we build that stuff
in the beginning. Now for us, we've got, you know, like I said, we've got these templates that we use over and over a lot of the people that we train just by a template that we've built. But if you want to do it yourself, like I said, absolutely doable, but that is the largest requirement of time to starting that business is to actually building the images. But the beautiful thing about this is is once you build your set of images that you're going to use for one client, you've got a set of images that you can use for a thousand clients. And so that's the, like I said, being completely upfront. That's the one time consumption thing. Past that, we use a tool called watermark.ws and watermark dot. Ws allows you to pop in all 180 images or however many images you've got.
Ben: 21:07 Instantly put a watermark up in one spot. So we always leave
like the top right corner of our images open so that we can put the watermark all over there and just that one spot across the images past that, you know, if you're doing this yourself, it's your top. If you hire someone on a, it becomes their time and
you've kind of pay them. How I tell all our folks to structure this and just getting real inside how we do this is take on your first 10 to 20 clients, run the business yourself, you're doing sales, you're doing the actual fulfillment, but that gets your hands dirty enough with all this that you know how to actually show someone, you know the ins and outs, you know the onboarding issues that you might have. You know, the sales issues without hat. But also, you know, the scheduling stuff at this point.
Ben: 21:52 I've got one person that runs this and what it kind of looks like is
this, they spend an hour to two hours a week on client outreach. So new client outreach, new people that we're going after, they spend an hour to two hours and that's, you know, like I said, the majority of what they do now is actually email. They started off with something we call donut drops. It works really well to get your first few clients. But then I typically graduate to emails once we exhaust a local market and we have to move on from there. So we've got an email system that we use there too. From there, one to two hours a week to actually get new clients and we move into a, okay, once you sign a client up, we've got this process down to onboarding them is about an hour to two hours per client that's getting the images branded for them, getting it into the software, talking with the client, making sure they understand kind of what's going to be happening over the next little bit and when their service starts.
Ben: 22:46 And so that's there. So you look at that and this is, that's the
bulk of the, of a lot of it, right, is your prospecting time is that, and when you do sign up a client, you spend an hour to two hours with that client. From there with clients, what we typically do is we have a mass email that we send out to all of our clients, sort of saying, Hey, this is what's going on. You know, this month it has something to do with the month that's happening. You know, what's, what's going to be coming on because not only did we schedule a rotation, but for holidays, for clients, we'll actually schedule holiday. So if there's a holiday posts coming up, we'll remind them that that's coming up. But that's sent to all of the clients that are in our thing, which takes very, very little time.
Ben: 23:26 And it's pretty much everything's written before the year even
starts. And so that's there now from there, that's it. The software runs it. And what happens is if a client ends up with an issue, they'll email you back. But that little touch that was sent to everybody that sort of sits in the queue, Hey, we're watching this, we got this for you, and they'll send you something back. We always give them a way to get support. But the beautiful part about the person that's running this is as you're scaling this
up there's two hours per per new client and then there's about two hours a week that they've got that they are doing prospecting for. Okay. And then if they have to get on a sales call, there's an hour here and there. So overall as you're starting to scale this up, it's something that's very easy on a new employee to actually get as you'd going and to do it alongside you.
Ben: 24:17 As you sort of sneak into this, we are, and I just tell people to do
it this way, about 10 to 20 people is where you start to feel the crunch per person. Okay? So 10 to 20 is where you start to feel the crunch per person. But when you start to get to 10 to 20 people, that's when you hire on your first person. And all you have to do, and this is pretty simple, is we pay someone about $500 a month to come help us with the processes on that. And then what you're looking for is, is Hey, how often do we have to hire a new $500 per month person to come in and work part time? And who we're actually looking for to help us part time are people that absolutely love being at home. And so these are folks that typically what we do, and we hire mostly folks that are in the United States for us.
Ben: 25:04 But we're looking at people that are stay at home moms,
they're college students, and they've got other things that they've got that their time is required for. But they can carve out, you know, a set of five hours a week to help with something. And that's what's so crazy is this is a business that is relatively hands off past the onboarding. And that's how it works. So I don't know if I answered all the questions, but like I said, from a margin standpoint, you're looking at 99 to $200 a month for just the social posting. And when we do that, like I said, that becomes something that the first month you're kind of close to breaking even like, let's just be honest, right? You're close to breaking even with the client, but as the months start to stack for that particular client, that's when you don't have a whole lot of extra work going into any of it. And so that's when you really benefit. So it's almost like a loss leader for us when we do those things.
Joe: 25:54 Yeah. I mean, ultimately you're at breakeven, let's call it, or
making a little bit of profit, maybe a or losing a little bit depending on how you manage the front end, but then every month thereafter, right? Your cost of goods is probably just posting software. Basic business model.
Ben: 26:13 Yeah. Like I said, it's just, if you can get past that first month
you're golden. And the beautiful part about this is, you know, we've had clients when we make a mistake with selling, it'll be
one of those clients, who only stays three months. But that's one of those things that within the first few months, you understand, Oh, they all followed this pattern. We should not have hired them in the, you know, brought them out in the first place. But most people, this is something that they stay on for years. And with what, with what we've tracked over the years, you know, clients are just happy that it works. And you know, they're not expecting the world from this. They just understand that it's got to work. And they look better because it works
Joe: 26:49 And the pitch is simple. It's not like this is going to bring you all the clients in the world. Right? Right. It's when you're doing all this other marketing and somebody's about to choose you or a competitor, right. What happens when they look you up and they look up the competitor, right? Is that not the big sales pitch? Like
Ben: 27:04 100%. It's, you know, can you tell me the return on investment
of your business? Sign it every month? No, no. Well, but it's got to be there, right? Yeah. Well that's exactly what we're doing too. And we try to stay away from anything that says this is going to bring leads to the door. This is just making sure you look great as you said, when people search you out.
Joe: 27:24 Perfect. Yeah, we found that that's so huge too. The bigger the
purchase price too, right? So when people are gonna make a big investment, for example, we really found it in a, in HVHC we were driving leads for installs, right? And the business owners, like I don't understand why none of these installs are converting. And we went and we Googled them and we're like, dude, like you look like a brand new business and people go to Facebook, there's nothing there. You got no reviews. Right? And we just helped him control that image a little bit. Nothing magical, right? Just, just slight tweak and quite literally instantly that the installed jobs started coming through and trickling through the system.
Ben: 28:03 I think people, you know, even marketers sometimes overlook
that when we get to a landing page, when we get to a lead conversion form, it can look amazing, but that's not how the world works anymore. They are going to leave that tab open and they are going to go look at least three other places to see what else you've got going on. And if something doesn't jive with them or it seems like something's disorganized or outdated, that's it. They're going somewhere else. And that gives them a vibe. And Amazon has trained us to do this, right? Like, if you really get down to it, there is not, there is not a lead ad that I see or a product ad that I see on Facebook or you
know, it's anywhere that I go click now that I don't say, Oh, I wonder what it's priced over at Amazon or if it's for sale over at Amazon or what the, you know,, we've been trained over the last few years to do that. And I think a lot of people miss that. We do that with local services too. So, you know, it's a little bit of a different process, but at the same time we're going to go look the first place. I always go look as the website, the Facebook page. If that's legit, I get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling and I'm going back to fill in the lead or I'm calling business.
Joe: 29:11 Yep. Perfect. That's awesome. So do you think as, as you've
helped more and more agencies with this process, do you think that most of the microservices kind of followed the same model in terms of it's very heavy, front-loaded. You're kind of breaking even on the front, but then after that it should just be right, like mostly profit.
Ben: 29:34 Yeah. You know, and so like the other model that we do is we're
very heavy into websites, like boring stuff, right? Like that, that, that is pretty much my business model is what is the boring thing that you have to have. And so like with the websites, right, with the websites, it's like everybody knows you've got to have that on point. And if they don't, they're in trouble. But that's the thing with a website, we'll have someone come on and you know, it's one of those things where some people get really weird about us charging 99 bucks a month for a website. Well, I can go build one over here, we'll go build one. You know? But the, our thing is, is like, wouldn't it be nice if you never had to worry about it? And it was just good to go. And so for a lot of what we do with websites, we'll have a setup fee that's listed, but when we get to really talking with someone, we'll say, listen, if you're signing up for this long, it's this much per month, we'll waive the setup fee.
Ben: 30:23 Now we know we lose that first month. Yeah, period. But here's the thing that I do know because I've been doing this for awhile. As long as social media clients stay, website clients stay way longer and that's the thing is I can have a website client that will be with us for 20 years and I know if I get them signed up for that, they're with us for 20 years. I also know the affinity is someone that sets up a website with you to actually purchase. Every micro service that you offer is extremely high. I know that. I ha if someone signs up for social posting, I probably going to get them for a website client. Eventually. If they sign up for a website, I'm probably getting them as a social posting client within the next month. I'm probably writing their email newsletters, which is another one that we have for, you know, within the next two months.
Ben: 31:12 And that's what's so interesting about the website stuff. So like I
said, with websites, it is a front loaded thing with everything that we do, it's that initial onboarding that costs us the most money. We typically break with about a $20 profit that first month. Like, you know, it's, it's right there hair right there on the line, but those are things that people just don't want to have to worry about and we get there. So yeah, across the board I would say if you really had to like lay down the microservice model, it's your efforts to get them signed up and to actually get them onboarded. You're breaking even if not a little bit over. And especially when you first start, we've been doing this for a while, so we've got a little bit of profit on the front, but if you haven't been, you're going to lose a little money in the front.
Ben: 31:55 But the thing about these things are, is your money's made on
the back. And so yeah, I would say that is a definite fair assessment of how this model works is you've got to be cool with that first month being just kinda break even.
Joe: 32:07 Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So you said something there
that I want to piggy back on and clarify. Sure. so is your goal to stack these longterm?
Ben: 32:17 Yeah, the, the thing that I really love about this is it is a model
that just about anybody on the planet with the hustle can go after and stack. And yet the, the big thing for me is, is, you know, I, I know so many people that in their life, they built a monster business by selling something that was really boring that people needed, but that everybody could understand why they needed it.
Ben: 32:43 And it wasn't something that would be such a giant bill on a
business that when they had a down month, and listen, every one of your clients, no matter what, are going to have a down month, they're going to have a down set of months. And so your service can't be the thing that is so expensive that, that you're even in the conversation of them canceling. And so that, that's, that's the other side of that. But yeah, the goal is to stack. And the goal, when I say stack, it's stacking away that it's not a business that I have to be in the middle of [inaudible]. Joe, you know this, I have a couple businesses that I am the centerpiece of and I thank goodness I love them, right? That's I, I'm okay with that. I love being the centerpiece for that. But the beautiful part about other parts of my business, this part included this agency model, is that it's, it runs without me.
Ben: 33:36 And so I'm able to put people in the middle of these things and
they can run it, they can stack it and it can stack without me. And one of the things that I'm doing right now inside of a digital agency, insiders, is we've brought on this guy and this guy's entire gig is to be part of a reality show for us. And what we're doing is we're putting her in the middle of this microservice model and starting in, you know, we're going to start it in a month. We're going to document every month of what he went through. He's going to get interviewed by our staff every month. And that's the idea. And we've done this internally in the past with people, but we've never actually like publicly like put this out. And so the reason that I am confident enough to do this is because I've seen so many people take the model, stack it, and they get to a place.
Ben: 34:25 And what's so good is there's that line where once you stack,
you know, 10 20 people about the time when you have to start thinking about getting a little bit of help, it's when you've got the system down and it's just like, okay, you can literally sit down and do the math. You can say, it's going to take me another six months to get to this income level with my current pace. And that's the thing that becomes a numbers thing very, very quickly. And so that, that's what's so fun about it.
Joe: 34:51 Yeah, man, that's, that's wonderful.
Ben: 34:57 No, no, no, it's, it's exciting and it's, it's one of those things that,
like I said, every time I talk about this, I, I get a little bit weird because I'm like, ah, you know what, I, I love, I nerd out about marketing stuff. This is like the most boring thing in the world. But then you see what's hitting your bank account every month and you're like, God, I'm cool with boring. It's good. I'm curious.
Joe: 35:17 Um what are your thoughts on niching down? Ben?
Ben: 35:21 Niching down is super important. I think the number one reason
that we were successful with this early on is because I accidentally niche down. I'd be, I, you know, I didn't always play by those rules. But with this I kind of accidentally did and it was because of my background was a chiropractor. It was extremely easy for me to have one set of images.
Ben: 35:39 It was extremely easy for me to have one website template and
to understand how to sell that. And there are little nuances to selling every niche. You know, it's all kind of the same thing, but there's little nuances. When I got really good at it, and this was, I was beating the pavement, I was dropping off donuts when I, when I first took this seriously, it wasn't just classmates and
stuff. I was beating the pavement and I was like, you know what? I'm gonna take some donuts by some offices and meet some doctors that I don't know. I'm going to go to some events and meet some doctors that I don't know. And when I first started doing this, that was the thing is it was, it was a matter of getting in there and getting it in front of people a certain way and doing it to just one niche.
Ben: 36:23 Because what I found out is there's these stories, there's these
sort of weird things that go on in the back of people's minds that happened when they go through school. It happens when they show up to their trade conferences that once you understand those stories, it gets easier and easier to sell them because you can take care of the concerns. You're not taking advantage of them. But you actually understand the concerns that they have. And so of course from a perspective of, Hey, we've got a chiropractic packet and a chiropractic website template, let's just keep rebranding that. That made my life easier. I didn't have to keep reinventing the wheel. But from a sales perspective, that's what really got interesting is I started to understand that when I showed up at a chiropractic conference and I sponsored a lunch because that's eventually what I got into and it works really well is my story and how my story related to them.
Ben: 37:10 And you could, you could be sitting there saying, well of course
you were a chiropractor, so your story. But no, I've had people that have done this and it's just telling the story as to why you started the agency, why you thought this was a problem, why you got into it. And when you start understanding how that story is taken in by a group of people or by one-on-one with a person that's with the history they've got it. Cause all chiropractors believe it or not, as goofy as we all are, we all went through the same sort of testing for national boards. We all were exposed to the same trade magazines, the same thing. So there's a culture there and once you understand that culture, it's big. So from a, from a perspective of scale, that is the huge part of niching down, which I know you preach, preach this to when I first got going, if I was not just focused on one set of images to Mark it out, one website template that I could recreate over and over again, that was simple to me.
Ben: 37:59 I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. It was over and over and
over, rebranding the same thing over and over again. But also the sales process. Once I understood that sales process, how what I was saying was being interpreted and making those little micro tweaks to it to play into that a little bit more, that's when things got a lot easier. So I don't think that I would be as
successful with this and the people that we've taught would be as successful with this if they had not started off that way. Now we have people that are now in three different niches, but they pretty much dominated one before they even thought about going anywhere else. And that's sort of the stack for them. Yeah,
Joe: 38:36 I think there's so much complexity from sales to fulfillment
when you stack more than one. No joke. I mean, I probably in my last agency gained 40 or 50 pounds because of the stress of me simply not picking one niche and, you know, sticking with it, just being add and wanting to play business, you know, builder and entrepreneur instead of like really thinking through it. And that's what ultimately led to me getting out of that agency and, you know, getting out of thankfully a life that I really didn't enjoy.
Ben: 39:07 Yeah. You know, I, I'm, I'm right there with you. It was when I first got started, I just was a hustler. Just like most people out there that are listening to this, there's hustlers, they're like, let's put money in the bank. And that's cool. I respect that so much that you just like, Hey, I'm going to take on whatever I can take on and put money in the bank. But what you miss is the trade off because you're right, I was the same way when I was in sort of this mode of ha, okay, how many different people can I get a check from? My health suffered, I didn't sleep as well. I gained weight and so I was more sluggish all the time and my, my head wasn't as clear. And so what I sacrificed those years doing that was completely not worth it.
Ben: 39:48 And it, it seems so silly that you'd be so stressed by something
as easy as operating in multiple niches, but it's the truth. It's very much the truth. And I think that one of the big things that we talk about kind of behind the scenes is how do you be healthier? How do you have a more enjoyable life? And how do you, you know, make sure that you're around for your kids. And not only talking about like not being actually around, but like how do you actually be around for the stuff that's happening right now? And I was able to do that because I was focused on one thing and there was a time during the day where I can actually walk away from the work and go, you know, be a dad and be a person that was there for my friends too. And I think that's super important. I could not have done that had I been on four or five different tracks in my head at the same time.
Joe: 40:30 100% agree, 100%. So, so important. I like want to shake people
sometimes I'm, I'm a coaching call and I'm like picking nits and they're like, no. And I'm like, please, like you're killing me. But
it's funny you said it earlier, that that you sponsor lunches at events. People often hit us up at invisible PPC and they're like, Hey, can you run PPC campaigns for me to get clients for my agency? And I'm like, yeah, sure, no problem. What niche do you go after? And they're like and I'm like, how on earth could I ever drive you traffic if I don't know who I'm targeting? And if you don't have a message that's appropriate for them and an offer that's appropriate to them, you're not speaking to them. It's like, how, how could I possibly help? But you know exactly who your market is. And even if you don't sell them today, you're going to sell them tomorrow or down the road. You can reuse that list and those relationships. But obviously it's very shortsighted if, if you can't pick on a niche or a vertical hustle every day,
Ben: 41:29 It's across the board. It's, it's something I try to tell my clients,
like my chiropractors, I'm like, no, you're a general chiropractor. I'm sorry you, you, I mean, that may have got you to here, but you're not going anywhere else. I mean, you've got to focus on some sort of condition. You've got to focus on something and be known as that. And it's no different for us marketers and people that are doing this stuff. In an agency side, people want to work with specialists. That's all there is to it. [inaudible] Especially this day and age, everyone wants to feel like you actually understand what they're going through and when you can convey to them that you understand what they're going through, they want to do business with you. It's that simple. When they pick off that you're just an a money grab or that you're just trying, that you're going to end it out and you have a process.
Ben: 42:11 And of course it's great to have processes, but when they can
pick out that you don't care, you're just trying to bring them on. Even if you're going to do a good job, there's somebody out there that will give them that warm and fuzzy feeling. And that's I think is key is everybody that I do business with, yes, they are good at what they do, but there's that something extra that makes me feel they're specialized for my particular needs. And I think that's the key. When I, as you said, when I go talk and I'm like standing up talking to people and it's definitely not something that I recommend for everybody. It's just something that sort of works for me. But when I go talk to that group of people, I know what they're feeling, I know what they're going through. And it's something that when I convey this is what we're doing and this is why we're doing it, they understand that we really get it. And you can't get there if you're all over the place. And I think that's the thing. Wouldn't you rather be the person that someone knows is the solution to their problems
rather than someone that they kind of have to think about. And I think that's the key.
Joe: 43:11 And think about your confidence, right? If you knew that you
were going to be able to provide them with a great solution, right? Confidence is going to lead to lots of sales. Lots of conversations. Right. Better conversions. Right. So it all stacks for sure. Yeah. Sorry man. Real quick we're just getting to the top of the hour here. So I want to be cognizant of time. This is super fast. All the good ones do. What are some more things that you see your, your people doing in terms of microservices, right? Agencies that follow you and what are some other microservices that that you're working with?
Ben: 43:46 So the keys that we work with, we really stay within three. We do the social contents scheduling, we do the websites that are templated and then we do newsletters. Every business should be sending out a newsletter by email. Every month we go in, we make sure that a business is doing that. We actually write them for them. And of course as if you think about it, you can rebrand a newsletter for every business. And so we stick with those three that ends up being either between a hundred to $500 a month per client, which next up pretty well in the long haul. But at stay there, get good at those and you're awesome. Don't make it more complicated than that.
Joe: 44:17 Perfect man. And then for prospecting, you said kind of the
doughnut method where you're going in a and and dropping off donuts and building a relationship. You mentioned some cold email. What are you, you mentioned speaking at meetings what, what's kind of your core things that you recommend or that you do?
Ben: 44:33 You know, like my core things are donut drops. We have, we
have a method that we do take donuts to people and then sort of get on their radar and get a meeting. That's huge for us. But also we have something that we call our show and tell funnel, which is a two email sequence that gets people to start to understand what we do about, puts our work in front of them. And it sets up a phone meeting that's more of your long distance stuff. I don't know where the conference thing came from, but along the way I think I was probably going to get hours and they've just ask us to do something. And I got up and we signed up 10 clients at once. I was like, Oh, that works. I should do more of that. Right? And so those three are my bread and butter. And the reason I stick with there is the same reason I stick with three services. It's I want to be really good at three things and you know, you could really be really good at one, but
I, with those three that, you know, I get enough clients from all of those things in those three services that it just works. And so that's the thing. Someone out there can build a multimillion dollar per year business doing those three prospecting methods.
Joe: 45:29 Yeah, three very simple uh done in a couple months, perfected,
I would say six, eight months. I mean, you could perfect three services that are highly specialized and productized for a niche and build a very substantial, you know business. I've seen it over and over. Agree.
Joe: 45:47 Cool brother. So wrap it up with one last question. So instead of
asking you to recommend three books, you know, like they do on the back of every podcast, I ask a little twist to that question. I ask Ben, what's the one book, right, that's made the biggest actual impact on your business? Like you look at it and you're like, man, this one book, like all the other ones are great. It's all theory. Or it was good. Like I think about it every day. But when you look at your business, you're like, man, this really looks like that book.
Ben: 46:19 This is the most embarrassing thing. And I would not say it on
anybody else's podcast. But it's you. So I'm going to say it. And then I have a little explanation the game by Neil Strauss. It's embarrassing because it's a book about how to pick up girls and this pickup artist he was, and he was a writer for the New York times and he learned how to pick a girl. It has nothing to do with that. What was very interesting about this book and how it applies to business for me is I, it took this someone who was, you know, a very passionate person, a very detail oriented person, but very unsuccessful and very unconfident within an area of his life that he wanted to be confident in. And as I'm reading through this book, you know, the goal was how to be able to talk to women better.
Ben: 47:00 And he, he, you know, it has a lot of ups and downs and things
that'll make you cringe. But by the end of this book, this person was a new person because he had established ways to become more confident in his life and how to become a better person so that he was more desirable to other people. And he did it for himself. By the end of this book, I started to see a path and I started to see a parallel and I started to see a parallel in my, in my business and ways that I could communicate with other human beings, things that were wrong with myself, how I felt about myself that made it difficult to do that. And so what's funny is I get done with this book and you know, I'm like, well,
I'm never telling them anybody else that I ever read this book, but here you go.
Ben: 47:38 Right? And so this is what Joe does to you. He brings this stuff
out. So I get done with this book and I start really applying some of the things that I learned into communicating with everyone, not just females. That, I mean that's, that's what the book sort of has the tinge. But when you get done with this book, that's what you can pull out is how to communicate with everyone. And I started, you know, putting some of these things into practice in my business life and the relationships got way better and people wanted, people were more attracted to what I was doing and which made it easier for me anyway. And so if I had to recommend a book get through the cringy parts but that book has done more for my mindset in terms of how to be a better human that communicates with everyone better. And that translated to my business very quickly and it translated to my personal relationships with my wife, with my friends, and it was a huge, huge thing for me.
Joe: 48:27 Dude, that's awesome. Thank you for opening up. Thanks for
being so honest. Thanks for giving my crew a little peek into the, the mind of Ben Adkins. That's awesome, man. And thank you first and foremost for coming on and just sharing. So openheartedly man, super appreciate it. I know my crew is gonna gonna to absolutely love this and we'll make sure to, to link up to everything that we talked about in the show notes. And, and Ben, man, thank you so much and look forward to, let's, let's let's, let's do this again sometime.
Ben: 48:53 Yeah, let's do it. Thanks for having me. And it was a blast as
always.Joe: 48:57 All right guys. Sayonara Joe Troyer signing out.