How to make 7 figures from 6 clients

The Biz Bros

November 18, 2020

“When they schedule a strategy call with me, they’re basically already sold.” On this episode of Biz Bros, I tell Kyle Nelson and Eli Libby how I maintain a seven-figure business from six, maybe seven clients. There’s no way I could do that if I didn’t figure out a way to separate my income from my time. That is, I’m not charging by the hour, but based on the value I provide.

Look at it this way—if my agency makes a client $100,000 in new profit and I send them an invoice for $10,000, they don’t care if I produced that result in 500 hours or one hour—they’re going to pay happily because to them the result is what matters, not the time it took me to achieve it.

We also discuss:

  • Why blue collar clients are so good for digital agencies.
  • How to quickly gain an advantage in your niche.
  • How I make sure my prospects are already basically sold—before they get on a sales call with me.
  • The two major problems you invite by lowering your prices.

About the Show:Eli Libby is the host of The Biz Bros.

Full Transcript

Kyle Nelson: Welcome to the Biz Bros podcast. My name’s Kyle Nelson and this is my co-host Eli Libby. And today we have a very special guest:  Dylan Ogline from Ogline Digital. He helps companies scale and grow online through digital marketing advertising and management. Dylan, welcome to the podcast.

Eli Libby: Welcome to the podcast.

Dylan Ogline: Hey, guys, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Kyle Nelson: Yeah, we’re excited.

Eli Libby: Yeah. Well, so in terms of what we’re going to talk about, we’re going to dive into a little bit about how to value you yourself, value your company, kind of deep down into that low end pricing tier. But before that, we kind of want to dive a little bit more into your background. You have a pretty unique background. A background that I think a lot of our listeners can really latch onto and grab. We have a lot of kind of early-stage start-up listeners, hustler kind of mentality. And I think your background really paints that picture for them. And we’d love to kind of just hear from kind of the beginning. Tell us a little bit more about you.

Dylan Ogline: Sure. Sure. For me, I am a high school dropout. I got my business start prior to dropping out. My first business when I was 14 was flipping cellphones on eBay. This was back pre-iPhone, pre-smartphones, all that good stuff. And the United States, we just didn’t have the good stuff, like the better cellphones were in Europe. And somehow someway I found this like wholesale company that allowed me to apply for a membership or whatever, and I was able to get wholesale priced European cellphones, ship them to the United States, and flip them on eBay. That was the beginning.

Eli Libby: That’s the gateway.

Dylan Ogline: That was the gateway.

Kyle Nelson: Natural entrepreneurial DNA right there.

Eli Libby: Yeah. Absolutely. How did it evolve from that? That was kind of like your spark. Kyle said it was kind of the evolution of entrepreneurship for you. Where did it go from that?

Dylan Ogline: That lasted maybe six months to a year. It eventually got shut down because my merchant processor shut me down because I was under the age of 18. They found out. But this was the infancy of Google ads. I don’t even think Facebook had launched yet. This was 2003, 2004. I know Facebook ads wasn’t a thing. But I had played around a little bit with like this thing called Google Adwords and started reading some of these marketing books.

And I picked up on the idea that like, dude, you could buy growth now. Like this stuff is trackable. You’re not doing billboard ads anymore where you’re just throwing money out and just hoping it comes back to you. You could literally track it down and be like, “I spent $1,000 on these ads, and I got $1,500 in sales,” or whatever. That just blew my mind.

Started reading all this marketing stuff. Then my business got shut down. That led to like 12 years of pain and suffering and bouncing around from one idea to the next, not really getting anywhere. It wasn’t until like 2016 that I finally got things to click. But that whole time I was hustling, trying to make things work, doing anything I could to make ends meet. During that time I did a lot of website design, graphics design, logos. Basically any quick digital type of work I could find on Upwork, or back then it was Elance or Freelancer, something like that.

Kyle Nelson: oDesk? I think it was oDesk also.

Dylan Ogline: Yeah, oDesk and Elance merged and now it’s Upwork.

Eli Libby: Well that’s awesome.

Kyle Nelson: That’s crazy, man.

Eli Libby: Yeah, we talk a lot about through our experience, but also with other guests, we talk about those kind of pitfalls and things that you have to fail with as you grow in your entrepreneurial career. These are the things that I think are kind of keystones to actually being able to where you are today. And it sounds like you had a lot of those, and now you kind of be able to spin off and create this agency that’s doing really well. And now you’re also teaching, right, isn’t there a course kind of back behind that?

Dylan Ogline: Yeah, now I have two businesses, which is almost I’m not practicing what I preach. I tell people focus, focus, focus. But so, once I got things to click, that’s when I just focused on one service and one business, which was digital advertising management with the agency. And within a year or so hit seven figures and it’s been two or three years now in a row that we hit seven figures. During that time though, I’ve had a lot of mentors, a lot of coaches. I used to play hockey, so a lot of hockey coaches that were a huge impact on my life.

I always had this desire to do some kind if coaching or mentoring, teaching, something along those lines. And for years I would meet people at industry events. This is before I even had anything to show for my efforts. And just the fact that I owned my own business, and I worked from home, they’d be like, “Oh, that’s the coolest thing. How did you do what you do?”

I started doing some mentoring, even though I didn’t have any financial success, I still was working in home, I had my own business, and was doing my own thing. And through multiple iterations that eventually became what is my education company now, where I teach people how to start their own digital marketing agency.

Kyle Nelson: That’s awesome. Diving a little bit about your current agency that you have, who are some of your like key target kind of clients that you work with? What do you kind of specialize in? And going  into the holiday season, what’s that looking like for you right now?

Dylan Ogline: Sure. My particular area of expertise you could say is typically blue-collar home services companies. A niche I always talk about is plumbing and heating companies. I have, it varies, during the course of a year, but anywhere between six and seven clients like that’s it. Typically, it’s even under that. Under seven years out a year. And during the course of a year like that’s all I have.

And most of them are in the home services industry. And if I were to want to grow the agency and take it another step, maybe get to eight figures, I would certainly target probably just plumbing and heating companies in the United States. Maybe roofing contractors or something like that, but just home service places.

Kyle Nelson: How did that evolve to like the very specific like who you know you can work with and really get some really good like traction for them in return?

Dylan Ogline: This is actually a great question. It’s a great lesson too. One of the things I’m really big in when I’m teaching people to start their own agency is niching down. Everybody talks about niching down. But with an agency, it’s mission critical. In my particular case, the plumbing and heating niche, all that was is my house I had in Pennsylvania, it was three years ago or something like that, I needed to get a new boiler installed. That was all it was.

And through family friends or something, I finally get this guy to come over, he puts the boiler, and I just become friends with the guy. We’d go and grab a burger and beer and stuff like that. We’d go out for dinner or something and we’d start talking business. He didn’t own his own plumbing and heating company, he just did stuff on the side.

And all I found out was that plumbing and heating companies they don’t like repair jobs. They like install projects because the profit margins are higher, it’s easier, people aren’t arguing wit h you, they aren’t calling you at 3: 00 in the morning. It’s just easier. All I did was I just targeted plumbing and heating companies and spoke to them. I would say, “I specifically help plumbing and heating companies grow and get more install projects.” Stuff like that that makes a huge difference.

I’m not just saying, “Hey, I help any business grow with their online marketing,” or something like that. I’m specifically speaking to that clientele and I’m saying, “Hey, I specifically help you.” And then I’m talking about the kind of stuff that they actually want. They don’t want more customers. They want more install projects. If I were to be like,” Hey, I can help you get more repair projects,” they would be like, “I don’t want that.”

Stuff like that is what makes just a huge difference. And that’s all it was is I just knew a little bit about the industry. I knew a little bit about profit margins in the industry. That was it. People think they have this misconception that you need to know everything about the niche. Just having that little bit of an advantage allows you to speak to the client’s particular wants and needs.

Kyle Nelson: That’s powerful.

Eli Libby: Super impactful. And I think we’ve seen it on our end as well.

Kyle Nelson: This is just an automatic maybe assumption. I would think blue collared style services and businesses, those business owners might be a little bit more reluctant to try the digital landscape. I think that maybe that’s not where their mind is. I think more local, maybe newspaper magazine, hitting their local news station up. How are you able to only have six or seven a year and have a seven-figure business? Like how do you get them to understand the value of what digital can really do for them and then pulling those revenue dollars out, pulling their monthly retainer, however you build them. How are you able to do that and really like speak to them and really show them like this is what we can do for you in terms of scale?

Dylan Ogline: I could go in so many different directions with that. Fantastic question. It’s a few things. One I believe that when you’re doing client outreach, when you’re trying to get new customers, the best thing to do is to pre-qualify people. There’s this sales term, I think it’s called the buying pyramid, or something like that. Basically, what it talks about is like only like 3% of people, if you were to randomly ask 100 plumbing and heating companies, “Are you looking for digital marketing services right now?” Only like 3% of them would say, “Yeah, I’m looking for it right now. I’m thinking about Facebook ads, but I know nothing about it.”

When I’m doing targeting, or if I were to be targeting that particular niche and trying to get more customers, I’m not writing an ad, or a landing page, or anything trying to get all 100% of them. All I care about is that 3%.

Kyle Nelson: Right.

Dylan Ogline: When they actually schedule a strategy call with me, they’re basically already sold. They know that they’re already looking. They’re thinking about it. The way I do it is Google Adwords. It’s not Adwords anymore, but Google ads. If they’re searching for certain terms, they’re coming to me, they’re already looking to grow their business, and the landing page speaks to them. And it’s not just I’m not cold-calling random plumbing and heating companies. When they already come on, they are part of that 3%. There really is no convincing or showing them.

This particular niche like home services, blue collar businesses or whatnot. I think it’s probably easier to sell those people because they pretty much like 90% of businesses know about Facebook ads, or Google ads, or YouTube ads. They know about it, but that is so far out of their realm of area of expertise. It’s not like an ecommerce business. Ecommerce businesses it’s going to be more difficult because they’re like, “Well, I know how to do this internet thing, so I can manage my own ads, of course I can.” But a plumbing and heating company, that’s going to blow their world.

It would be like me trying to put in my own boiler. I would have no idea what to do. But if I was, say, a pool builder, I was building pools all the time, I’m familiar with construction, I might be willing to try it myself. It’s a little bit of all of that combined if that makes any sense.

Kyle Nelson: Oh yeah. No. That’s super interesting.

Eli Libby: It is. I remember when just you talked a little bit about grabbing a little percentage of the market, same thing with ecommerce. I think a lot of sellers think--and this is kind of how our thought was--is say like the snowshoe market is like, I don’t know, $10 billion. If you can just get a little sliver of a percentage of $1 billion, like think about the numbers you can get. That was how going into an ecommerce business. I think a lot of people think like that as well in the ecommerce space. I think you hit it right on the head when you’re talking about getting a percentage of that hundred plumbers that you’re talking about. That was super impactful.

Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Most people when they’re writing ad or copy, they make the mistake of thinking, “I want to write this for 100% of everybody.”

Eli Libby: Yup.

Dylan Ogline: Your service could be free and there’s still a certain percentage of the market that’ll say no to that because they want the higher premium option. It could go in different directions. You could ask 100 people on the street, “I’m going to give you a free car.” There’s still probably like 3% of the people that’ll say, “No, thank you, I want a Mercedes. I want the higher end solution and I have the resources for that.”

When I’m doing customer outreach, this is something else that I forgot to mention, I will write ads, I will write copy trying to get people to not click on my ad.

Kyle Nelson: That makes sense.

Dylan Ogline: Most people they’re trying to get everybody to click on it. I want only the 3%. If you look into the buying pyramid, it’s actually like 10%. 3% is ready today. Another 3% to 7% is ready within the next three months. It’s something like that. But I want just that top 10% to click on my ads or the top 10% that are looking to pay for a premium solution.

Kyle Nelson: To get you the strongest ROI. Because then you’re wasting spend on people that you know don’t have interest.

Eli Libby: That’s awesome.

Dylan Ogline: Exactly.

Kyle Nelson: I think that’s it.

Eli Libby: That’s a value bomb. Absolutely. Before we jump off, spinning off another topic. I just had another question, in terms of blue-collar workers in the industry you’re working in, what is the most successful channel that you’ve seen with your clients? Is it Facebook? Is it Google?

Kyle Nelson: YouTube?

Eli Libby: Yeah, YouTube.

Dylan Ogline: It would be Google. Specifically, if it’s a bigger company, Facebook can be extremely successful. Google is just easier.

Eli Libby: Like local-wise.

Kyle Nelson: Like local approach, geo/

Dylan Ogline: Yeah. How can I answer this best? If the company is looking to continue to grow to other regions, say in the Pittsburgh area and they want to start growing to Cleveland, and Philly, and they want to start growing their network, Facebook is probably best. If you’re just, “I want to stay in Orlando and saturate that market,” Google is probably best.

Eli Libby: That makes sense. I’m just trying to think. We had a recent project where we needed to install a lighting fixture for a video production. And I was just trying to go through my process of how I look. I did do a local search on Google, but I actually went more back to like the word of mouth. I went into a local Facebook group here in Oregon, and I asked like, “Anybody have any good electricians that they can refer us to?” Simply because of a trust factor, some credibility, maybe some word of mouth. That’s how I found our electrician, but I did do the first search in Google, but then I actually use people’s backing and their word to help us make the decision.

Dylan Ogline: For those types of businesses, reviews are massive.

Eli Libby: Oh yeah.

Dylan Ogline: You definitely want to. We don’t particularly help with this, but we’ll provide kind of consulting and kind of give them advice on how to…

Kyle Nelson: Receive more reviews.

Dylan Ogline: Yeah, receive more reviews, encourage their clients and customers to provide more reviews. If somebody searches electrician, most of the time you’re going to go with the highest reviewed.

Kyle Nelson: 100%.

Dylan Ogline: That stuff is huge.

Eli Libby: Totally.

Kyle Nelson: Let’s kind of go from your digital agency to your training programs. Let’s talk a little bit about that. You’re helping people like how to begin an agency, right? How to start an agency. Now are these people that you are helping that they’re just like, “I know I want to get out of the 9: 00 to 5: 00 and I know an agency sounds right. I’m going to give it a try. I know nothing about it.” Are these people that kind of understand a little bit and you’re just kind of grooming them to really help like launch them and get them moving and what’s the process like? Do you help them get started and then you help them on their journey or is it just kind of like this business in a box, this is what you need to do? Is it one-on-one consulting? How does that go down?

Dylan Ogline: Sure. That was a lot of questions in one.

Kyle Nelson: I know. I know. My brain kept going. Sorry about that.

Dylan Ogline: No worries. I know what I want to answer. First, I would say the goal of the program when I built this newest version was, I want to be able to take anybody, a soccer mom, somebody who just got out of college who knows nothing about starting their own business, knows nothing about the digital agency space, knows nothing about marketing. I wanted to be able to take that person, teach them everything they need to know within six weeks so that they can start, and start growing their agency and get to that six-figure level.

Students that I’ve had so far probably it’s, I’d say 75% they want to get out of that 9: 00 to 5: 00, they knew nothing about digital marketing, they knew nothing about an agency. They’re just convinced that, “I want to start my own business.” They saw my ad on Facebook or something like that, and they’re like, “This is the route I want to go.” And the other 25% are people that I would say probably have some experience in marketing or whatnot.

Maybe only like 5% actually have their own agency and they’re just looking to go, but there’s some people who they’ve been doing contractor type of work and like hourly work building websites, building logos, maybe managing somebody’s Facebook ads, getting paid by the hour, and they want to actually start their own serious agency and grow an actual business.

Eli Libby: Cool.

Dylan Ogline: What was the other questions? There’s so many, man.

Eli Libby: I think it was just kind of like do you help launch and then do you like help them with the journey or like are you always kind of like holding their hand through the way to make sure they’re going the right paths? Because you’ve done it before, and you know like how to guide someone.

Dylan Ogline: Sure. The business in a box that you mentioned, I kind of like that description. It is a step-by-step process for people to go through. It’s not a one-on-one element, but I do group calls. I do a weekly group call. They can go through all the content by themselves, take action steps, but if they run into roadblocks, if they have questions or whatever, they can jump on those weekly group calls. It’s over Zoom. Actually, have a conversation with me. Most of the times that’s just sales issues. A lot of people just nervous about jumping on a call with somebody and trying to sell them. But yeah, but it’s not one-on-one, it’s that group element.

Eli Libby: Cool. Let’s talk a little bit about pricing and kind of the meat and potatoes of this podcast, which is value. And you mentioned earlier before the podcast, and you just mentioned it there, talking about hourly pricing. How is that changing in the world of service providers and how do you view kind of hourly pricing versus thinking about more of the ROI side?

Dylan Ogline: Sure. When it comes to if you are doing contractor type of work, it’s probably going to be difficult to move to more of a value-based pricing model. You’re just stuck in that hourly-based, managing your Facebook ads for $20 an hour or whatever. I’m building websites for $50 an hour. But when it comes to starting your own agency, your own business, the value-based model is certainly better to go with. When you’re doing business to business, it is very easy to calculate. It’s just based on ROI.

An example I think we were talking about pre-show was say somebody comes in, they’re doing websites, because websites you’re building a product that people can actually see. A contractor looks at that and says, “Okay, well it took me 50 hours to build this website. I charge about $50 an hour. I’m going to charge the client $2,500.” I look at that and I say, “What is the value to that client?” You’re building that website for them. They’re a plumbing and heating company and they’re able to get three extra leads a month that generate them $2,000 in profit each. They’re making an extra, what is that $72,000 a year from that website.

I’m just throwing out numbers as an example here. That client wouldn’t care if that website cost $10,000. And if you can show them that value, $10,000, $20,000, that price almost doesn’t matter. And the key to that is basically understanding where the client is now, point A, where they are now, and point B, which is where they want to be, and truly understanding that. And if you can define point b where the client wants to be better than they can, they would just automatically assume that you have the solution.

Another direction is obviously I own a digital agency. If our company’s managing $50,000 in ad spend for a client a month, and they generate $250,000 in sales off of that, and they’re making an extra $150,000 in profit off of it, they don’t care if it took us 500 hours to do that work and manage the ads, or one hour of work.

Kyle Nelson: You’re making the money at the end of the day.

Dylan Ogline: Exactly. They don’t care. If it takes us one hour and we send them an invoice. We charge 10% of their ad spend. If they spend $50, we’re going to send them an invoice for $5,000. They don’t want an hourly breakdown of that because it’s a very clear ROI.

Eli Libby: Love it.

Kyle Nelson: That’s so strong and powerful and helping people pricing. Because I know like with digital agencies, like the hardest thing for people to do is understand how to price it. People are nervous, they’re afraid to like really go in, and like pitch the price that they know they’re worth. But they don’t end up doing it because they just want to win the client. They just want to make more money so they will underbid themselves big time. But when you put it into the perspective of it doesn’t matter if it’s one hour or 500 hours. As long as you’re giving them an awesome ROI, that’s key, that’s strong.

Eli Libby: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dylan Ogline: Go ahead. I was going to focus on something Kyle said about you then lower the price. That can cause two major problems. The first is that you end up hiding behind low prices.

Kyle Nelson: Right. Not what you expect.

Dylan Ogline: Let’s use the website example because it’s clear you’re building a product for somebody. If you’re charging $2,500 for that website, and it’s taking you a lot of time, your quality is going to naturally decrease. Because you as the business owner, as the contractor, the person building it, you’re going to start to be like, “Well, I mean I’m barely getting paid anything.” Subconsciously you’re like, “The client paid a cheap price. This is kind of what they should expect.”

What happens is, is you end up standing behind low prices. You’re hiding behind your low price. A perfect example I like to use with this is cars. I think you can go get like a brand-new Chevy Cruze for like $15,000. It’s probably even cheaper now. And it’s going to get you from point A to point B, but a lot of people have problems with those vehicles because they’re cheap. But if you start to complain, everybody’s like, “You paid $15,000 for a brand-new car. Like what did you expect? At the end of the day, what did you expect?” At GM, Chevy, they’re going to stand behind their product, certainly, but there’s just this subconscious thing that we’re all like they’re standing behind the low price being like, “What did you expect?”

Mercedes, they sell a $180,000 vehicle, everybody knows that that’s paying a lot of money for that vehicle. They’re going to do their best to deliver an absolutely perfect product. And instead of standing behind low prices, they’re standing beside high premium prices. And it’s just the clients end up happier, most people who are buying $180,000 Mercedes probably end up happy. The product ends up being incredible. You end up with more money. You’re not ending up with all of these consumer complaints. It’s simply a better place to be.

Eli Libby: Absolutely.

Dylan Ogline: Second thing, and this is absolutely critical, especially for those that are starting out. When you start lowering your prices, you can end up in a situation what I call, “Being price trapped.” Especially in like building websites, or doing agency type of work, one of the most common questions that people get is, “Can I have a referral, or can I talk to a previous client? Or who else have you worked with? Case studies, whatever.”

Say you built that website for $2,500, and now you’re charging two times that, you’re charging $5,000, or four times that, $10,000. If that new client reaches out to that old client, the very first question they’re going to ask is, “How much did you pay?”

Kyle Nelson: Right.

Eli Libby: Huge.

Dylan Ogline: Now they’re going into it with a certain price point in mind and you’re charging way more for the same product. It’s like if McDonald’s all of a sudden tomorrow started charging $20 for a steak.

Eli Libby: Yeah. Exactly.

Dylan Ogline: McDonald’s doesn’t charge that much. They charge five dollars for a meal. It doesn’t make sense. Very similar to that.

Kyle Nelson: Stress trap I think is real for so many people getting started.

Eli Libby: So many people.

Kyle Nelson: Because you’re just trying to sweep up the first few clients to get the revenue going, maybe get some referrals.

Eli Libby: That’s what we say about Amazon. Again, I keep bringing it back to ecommerce, but Amazon really on the first page is really just a race to the bottom in terms of price. You want to be on the first page? You’re going to be the lowest price competitor.

Kyle Nelson: 100%.

Eli Libby: I mean that’s what it is.

Dylan Ogline: You’re probably not going to make any money.

Eli Libby: And your product is probably crap. We say that quality is the best business model. And in order to have a quality product, that allows you to stand at your price and not really back down. Yeah, there’s exceptions for maybe some cash flow issues, but as long as you’re producing quality product, there should be no reason to back down on that price.

Dylan Ogline: 100%.

Kyle Nelson: Yeah, when we started Results Imagery, we were somewhere between the low-price leader to the medium, and now we’re just we’re flipped. We’re like trying to have less clients so we can focus more on higher quality client. Everyone’s a higher quality client, but higher paying clients so they can get the time that they deserve.

Eli Libby: Back to your point, Dylan, like you say and you preach is focus. And if you can have less customers that are paying more, you can focus more.

Dylan Ogline: 100%.

Eli Libby: I love it.

Dylan Ogline: No doubt about it.

Eli Libby: Dylan, we’re going to wrap this podcast up. Where can everybody find you at?

Dylan Ogline: Really simple, my website’s O-G-L-I-N-E.

Kyle Nelson: Perfect, Dylan. Well, we appreciate your time, man. That was an awesome conversation. It’s really cool to kind of speak with other Millennials kind of in the same space and seeing so much success. It’s really cool because it speaks to us and it speaks to our listeners.

Eli Libby: Absolutely. Some true value bombs today so we appreciate everything.

Kyle Nelson: It was cool, man. I know, I think there was a ton of takeaways that we’re going to take, which is always fun. And we’re having conversations on our podcast.

Dylan Ogline: I’ll send you guys an invoice after the show. My hourly invoice.

Kyle Nelson: Cool, Dylan, man. Well thanks, man, we appreciate it. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to the Biz Bros podcast and check out our Instagram @biz.bros, and we’ll see you in the next episode.

Eli Libby: See you, guys.