How a CPA Got A Battle-Tested Roadmap to 7-Figures A Year For His New Business – In One Afternoon, Over Coffee.
The insights from this case study can 10x your business (even if you’re already running a successful business)…
And show you how to bring the most glory to God in the process.
Things were going well for Paul
His Finance background had set him up on a great career trajectory, climbing the corporate ladder in his early 20’s.
By 2015 he was an Audit Consultant for 2 stalwarts in the CPA/Finance space – years ahead of others his age.
His jobs demanded a lot of time, but Paul’s a pretty driven guy – and it didn’t hurt that he traveled to Southeast Asia all the time as a job requirement.
Man, what a chore.
Yeah, things looked pretty good, alright!
There were only a couple problems – but they were big.
1) The words “Work-Life Balance” drew sarcastic laughs from his coworkers – who regularly pulled 70+ hour weeks, joked that they lived on coffee & had “no life outside of work.”
To Paul, that wasn’t a joke.
He had been given a chance to see what his life might look like in 10 years – by looking at the Seniors & Managers above him on the corporate ladder, as well as his strung-out coworkers.
He could see they were all headed for burnout & perpetual 70-hour weeks… For a driven 20-something with family aspirations & a desire to serve in the church, he wanted no part of it.
2) He didn’t like that “freelance CPA work” meant a “race to the bottom” when it came to pricing.
They all knew their work was valuable and worth top dollar – what sense did it make to drag everybody’s rates down and fight for scraps?
Since you had to work extra hours to make a living, this ended up being the same problem from the corporate job – without any of the benefits (literally… freelancers don’t get benefits).
3) Paul was an entrepreneur at heart. He was super-driven and couldn’t stand all the wheel-spinning, and trading time for money. The inefficiencies & ethical failings of his industry made him want to tear his hair out.
Enough was enough. Paul was DONE. It was time to make some big changes.
In fact, he set out to change an entire industry. Because that’s the kind of guy Paul is.
His initial idea?
The idea was to have a niche “Upwork”-style site specifically for audit professionals, then grow into the broader finance and accounting realm.
Not a bad idea in theory… but when it came to his actual plan, he was struggling to come up with the exact steps he’d need to get it off the ground. He was quickly getting overwhelmed with all the advice for “how to start a business” out there – he was sick of trite advice like “get a Facebook page” and robotic sales scripts for cold-calling.
His heart sunk deeper with every crappy list article he clicked on.
He was smart enough to know none of it would work… But the real problem was nobody could tell him what would work. He was trying to do something unproven… something innovative.
As if that weren’t enough, Paul is a devoted Christian… and he was having a tough time finding Internet Marketers that really understood his mission in life – to bring God glory & change the world by partnering with God through his work. Everywhere he looked, it seemed like all people cared about was the money – even at the expense of their customers.
After a few months, he was really getting discouraged…
“I was super busy with my work… and honestly I was dealing with some fear of failure, but that wasn’t the biggest problem; as far as the business, I had no idea if I could source the freelancers and convince them that they can work in the industry (especially audit) without hating it.
Between that and the 2-audience problem, that caused building the business to look somewhat daunting… I had doubts as to whether people on the “supply” side would materialize.”
What’s the “2-audience problem?” We’ll get to that in a little bit.
One thing that ambitious-but-discouraged Paul “knew” he needed was a website. So he scoured the internet for the best in the business… and he landed here.
At first, his goals were modest. When asked about what led up to him booking a session:
“We had talked about freelance platforms before and of course you have a great skill set and track record of success in business, web, marketing, etc. Originally, I wanted to find out what building the platform itself would entail.”
He wanted to see how much it would cost to build an online freelance job board. He was looking for website bids.
And you know what? Growth Sites could have done that.
We could have taken him at face value and built the Lamborghini of websites… all the bells and whistles… whether the business was actually going to work or not
(hint… it wouldn’t have. Can you see why? If not, keep reading…)
We could have made a 5 figure payout and built an awesome website. No problem.
But we didn’t want to just “build him a website” and make a quick buck… we wanted to partner with him to build a meaningful business – one that could change his life, the lives of his clients, and his entire industry. A business that would really bring glory to God & promote the greater good of humanity.
So, when he asked for a website, we said no… and what he ended up with was a LOT more valuable:
With GrowthMaps, we combine our expertise with yours to build a battle-tested plan for growing your business to 7 figures and beyond.
This is how we’ve helped dozens of businesses make more money sooner, look good in front of investors, save time by eliminating useless features, avert disaster, de-risk their business, and give them a clear, step-by-step process to follow all the way to the online business of their dreams.
How it Works
We set up a call, get everything on the table, and learn your business deeply – your clients, what you provide, why you do what you do…
And combine that with our expertise in starting and scaling online businesses.
Then, we dive deep to develop a complete end-to-end model and plan for 10x-ing your business… the right way.
- We interview your customers, to learn their hopes, pains, fears, and dreams, in their words.
- We help you solve their deepest pains – and charge good money for it.
- And then we put together a battle-tested, concrete plan to implement it.
It’s your customized, battle-tested, proven roadmap to 10x your specific business online – in one document, with a fool-proof phase-by-phase breakdown.
And you can take it wherever you want. Take your plan to another developer, do it in house, or stick with us… whatever you prefer. You have all the control!
What you Get
Every GrowthMapping client receives:
1) 1-Hour Deep Dive Phone Call – Where we combine our expertise to get everything out on the table and arrange things in the right way to unlock your business’ 10x roadmap. We tackle risks, share expert insights, & cover the overall strategy of winning at business in 2017.
2) The GrowthMap document – A CEO-ready report that breaks down:
• Our most accurate estimates for how long it would take to execute the plan.
• An honest suggested budget for the project – which you can take anywhere you want, to use in negotiations.
• A Phase-by-Phase walkthrough of each step on your way to 10x your business – in the right order.
• Wireframes & Mockups from our innovative, expert designers & UX masters – designed specifically for your business, to convert as well as possible.
• Specific Tool Recommendations & Implementation Notes, to fool-proof the implementation process.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then here are your next steps…
1) Take our Quiz (so we can learn a little more about your business
2) Watch our free video training – customized to your answers, as prep for our 20-minute Strategy Session
3) Schedule a time for your free 20-minute Strategy Session.
And we’ll keep a spot open for you in our GrowthMapping queue once you’re on the other side!
Go ahead and get started by taking the Quiz now!
Here’s what paul Had to say:
“I have a real strategy now. One that I know is going to work. Rather than starting with the tech-specifics of the platform, I’m developing an audience using relevant content, then developing a career coaching practice first. Definitely a 6-figure business, based on the model.”
When Paul applied for a 20-Minute Strategy Session, we weren’t sure what to expect. But after our talk, we knew that if he invested in a GrowthMapping session, it would be something special. This was a chance to clarify the best possible next steps for Paul’s business idea and give him a roadmap to 6-figures (and beyond) that he could follow with confidence.
Paul no longer has to worry about his business. In fact, he’s having fun with it! (And he still gets to travel.)
We averted disaster and plugged all the holes in his business plan before he wasted any money – and took him from a “pretty good idea” that was actually doomed to fail, to a fool-proof, insanely valuable business idea with an obvious path to 6-figures in year one.
Now he’s got peace of mind… He has a proven system, a step-by-step roadmap to a successful business. He knows what will work before he wastes his time and money on anything that won’t.
He’s got the deep satisfaction that comes from knowing that what he is doing solves real problems, changes lives, and really benefits humanity – a business he can thank God for.
He’s well on his way to starting and scaling a life-changing business the right way… and fast.
“How do I convince them to work with me?”
Paul’s biggest mistake happened WAY before the business ever got started. The flaw was in the idea itself. Let’s have a look at the initial idea again, and see if you can spot the problem:
“The idea was to have a niche “Upwork”-style site specifically for audit professionals, then grow into the broader finance and accounting realm.”
Maybe it’s not obvious right away. Especially if you don’t know what the heck an “Upwork” is. Let me explain:
He wanted to connect CPA/Audit freelancers with businesses that need to hire them out for seasonal or temporary work. Totally valid business idea.
There’s just one problem.
His idea depended on building TWO audiences –
1) CPA/Audit talent
2) A host of companies that need to hire CPA/Audit talent.
Think about it – how do you build two audiences at the same time, when neither gets value out of the platform without the other?
Short answer: you don’t. You can’t. It’s a Catch-22.
The way his initial idea was structured, he couldn’t provide value to anyone – and if he tried to build both audiences, he’d get neither.
Boom. Business idea, dead in the water.
You see, he skipped the most important step in starting & scaling a profitable online business: customer research.
This is a mistake that a lot of new business owners make… and few are more deadly.
Before you start – or if you’ve already started and you’re trying to grow – you HAVE to know your ideal clients inside and out. And you have to be able to solve their deepest problems. Nothing else is going to work.
(We go over how to do just that in our free training video. If you’d like, you can just answer a couple questions about your business and we’ll send you some customized training on “The 3 Hard Things That Matter in Online Business”.)
But I digress.
We reached our first major breakthrough – Paul needed to pick one client-base and build a profitable business with just them first – before building the other audience and scaling this thing big.
Insights like this can be the difference between a business idea that bombs – blowing up thousands or even HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars in startup capital – and a 6-figure business that grows massively year over year & changes people’s lives. And I go over exactly how to do it in every GrowthMapping Session.
De-Risking Your Business with a Battle-Tested Plan to 6-Figures & Beyond – In An Afternoon, Over Coffee
Once we zeroed in on an idea that was actually going to work, what tripped up Paul the most when it came time for planning this thing was timing:
- What should I focus on first?
- How do I know when to move on to the next step?
- How do I know which order I should tackle these steps?
- When do I need to get a website?
- Should I pay for ads now or later?
- When do I need an automated funnel? They seem so complicated!
These questions are so common that I always tackle them first in every GrowthMapping sesion. Everybody from designers, SEO specialists, web developers, and ad managers thinks their service needs to come first – but there’s actually a sequence you can follow that sets the business up for success right off the bat – and none of those guys comes first. We go over that in GrowthMapping, too. Lots of businesses get great results from cutting through the noise during our sessions. Even a free, 20 minute Strategy Session usually yields great insights!
But first, let’s establish something:
You only have a real business if you can solve important problems for a very specific target customer.
No fancy webinar funnels or slick website designs can save you if you’re not solving important problems for someone willing to pay for it.
This sounds like common sense, but in my experience, common sense is not common practice.
So I developed a system to get the BEST answers to these questions and discover “the right path” immediately.
What I’m about to show you is what we call “The 3 Hard Things That Matter in Online Business” – our proven system for de-risking your business and creating a step-by-step roadmap to scaling your business.
Get ready… these are very common-sense, but in my experience, most new business owners (even owners of businesses that have fought their way through growing pains, kicking and screaming) have never gotten them right.
The 3 Hard Things That Actually Matter are:
1) Learning an Ideal Client Deeply
2) Solving their Biggest, Most Burning Problem
3) Getting the solution in front of as many of them as possible.
That’s it. The basics. Get these things right, and you’re off to the races. Fail, and none of the fancy stuff will save you.
(We go over them in much greater depth in our free training video.)
Now, back to Paul. How did we put together a plan to ace these 3 areas of business together?
Know your client better than their spouse does
Paul had a dilemma here.
He had those 2 audiences still. So how did he pick?
He stuck with the one he knew better… the CPA talent.
This solved a lot of problems for Paul:
- He knew their problems intimately. He had lived with them for years.
- He knew the language they spoke. He was an industry vet.
- Maybe most importantly… He actually knew how to solve their problems.
He knew that he needed to develop an audience of CPA Talent. However, he resolved to go a step further.
In fact, he was so excited about the idea that he knew it needed to become his main focus to start with. Check out his responses to a questionnaire I sent after our session:
He’s got a plan to drum up interest now. And the biggest “aha moment” for him?
The importance of developing an audience.
If you don’t know why that’s so important yet, stick around.
For now… Paul had chosen to focus on one audience, and serve them to the best of his ability.
Where did that lead?
Solving problems that matter
Paul closed his laptop, sat back in his chair, and thought deeply about the problems that actually plagued these people.
The things that were keeping them awake at night. The stuff they cringed about when they were alone with their thoughts.
The first problems they faced were all surrounding Work-Life Balance and the culture at CPA firms – and by extension, the culture of freelance CPA.
The second problem CPA Talent faced was pricing. The “race to the bottom” was killing everybody – and torpedoing their earning potential. He knew he could change that by anchoring his prices as a CPA against the VALUE he provides, more than the TIME he spends.
Great CPAs get RESULTS for their clients, that drive real value for companies – and many companies are in turn willing to pay for that value to get the best in the market.
This was a big eye-opener for Paul – he didn’t know how big the pricing problem really was until he and I went and talked to other people in this audience.
This is another insight that could change the shape of his business forever – and he would never have discovered it if he didn’t go out and talk to the people he’s serving.
The last major problem for Paul’s target audience was actually finding clients to pitch services to – and closing them.
He knew that if he could come up with compelling solutions to those problems, he’d have an army of raving fans.
Once again, he decided to focus – and he saw that the most leverage was with the pricing problem – and it was the simplest to talk about.
Now… how does he get his rock-solid solution in front of the people that need to hear it?
Go where the fish are
This is where Paul’s at right now.
This is really a great place to be.
Most people that start businesses tend to go about things in the wrong order.
We’ve all heard advice like “oh, you need to have a professional logo”, or “build a Facebook page!” or “get on Twitter!”.
But when people shout out tactics like that, if you listen to them, you’re just going to get distracted from your real goals by shiny objects & fancy tools.
And you’ll waste thousands of dollars & months of blood, sweat, and tears… BEFORE you know how you’re actually going to help anybody!
It sounds insane to me, but this is what most business owners end up doing.
Not so with Paul – or any other GrowthMapping clients.
Paul has front-loaded the work of getting to know his ideal clients deeply and distilling some truly excellent solutions to their most burning problems. He’s got an audience of people that can pay to have the pains taken away and are motivated to buy.
Think about it… Paul could sell a Word document in 12 point Times New Roman… if it actually SOLVES THE PROBLEM FOR THE CLIENT, he doesn’t need to pay for any fancy stuff to get going.
And for starters, he probably shouldn’t!
But as this thing grows… as word spreads about Paul’s solutions & his credibility grows in the market… he’ll have everything in place to get REALLY serious about his business.
Again, thanks to GrowthMapping, Paul’s got a great plan for getting in front of as many people as possible…
NOW it makes sense to have a website.
NOW it makes sense to do the marketing.
And if you’ve got the right team, all the risks are gone.
All he needs is the right tools, and he can turn this into an automated sales funnel – a flywheel that spins out money & changed lives – with paid traffic as fuel.
At the risk of revealing too much… I’m going to let you in on a little bit of our backend math.
For most clients we work with, we’re able to secure a 10X ROI for acquiring a customer,
That means the cost to acquire a customer is usually a 10th of the lifetime value of that customer.
That means if you put in $1.00, you get $10.00 out.
And if you put in $1,000.00, you get $10,000.00 out.
We’ve worked hard and dialed in our exact process… especially for service-based, high-end products, and info-products businesses. If you get the first 2 “Hard Things that Matter” right, this is honestly the easy part.
This “done-for-you” service isn’t included in GrowthMapping – but the exact path to get there sure is.
“This Thing Is Ready to Scale”
Fast forward a couple of years on Paul’s current path.
Paul’s got an emerging business – he’s growing an audience of CPA talent looking for a better career.
He’s helping them to see the value they really bring to the table, focus on the important things that actually matter to their potential clients, and focus on doing top-notch work.
Guess what else he’s building?
An entire audience of the exact kind of driven, focused people that you’d want to hire… if you were a medium-to-large company looking for CPA help.
Now he’s ready for audience #2 – and both are going to get HUGE value out of the platform he’s creating.
None of this would have been possible if he hadn’t gotten in touch with Growth Sites. He said so himself.
“If You Get the Chance to Work With Growth Sites, do it. The GrowthMapping process was incredibly insightful and energizing. Tim’s broad base of knowledge combined with that specific to marketing and web creates a very well-rounded strategy. And of course, his positive energy is very motivational.” – Paul Manos
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Let’s 10x your business together!