Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Joining me is someone who made make money on Upwork. I always thought Upwork was a place that you could get cheap workers to do quick design anyway, laughing at me because how much money did you make on Upwork
Evan: um, over a million.
Andrew: over what period of time?
Evan: Um, we broke a million in about two and a quarter years.
Andrew: Okay. You know, I doubted it. When someone on your team sent that over to me, I said, look, I found researcher says he didn’t do it. And they said, actually, he has to do it under, uh, I think you have to do it under your personal name, not your business name or vice versa. Do you remember which one it was.
Evan: Oh, it was under my personal name. Yeah.
Andrew: That’s so they corrected me. I looked at it and I said, Oh, this is pretty fricking who knew that this could be possible. Anyway, the reason that I invited him here is to find out how he did that, how he was able to go from. On a platform like Upwork and generate, not just money for himself, but also use it to build his business.
Evan Fisher runs unicorn business plans. They create pitch decks, business plans and financial models. Basically he says everything you need to go out and raise money. Yes, they do it on some of these freelancer networks, but it seems like the majority of your business right now haven’t is on your own site.
Evan: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s sort of transitioned really, really fast from, um, you know, where we were previously really, really heavy on, um, freelance type of sites and whatnot, because that, that’s just where the earlier stage work was. Um, we transitioned. And now it’s just gotten crazy, crazy into a huge referral flow.
And a lot of just direct people reaching out saying, Hey, I found you guys heard about you from some VC or investor or whatever, and like, let’s talk. So yeah.
Andrew: I’m going to have to ask you who needs a business plan anymore. And if somebody can’t right there, Oh, I saw your eyes blink. As I said that you don’t like, we’re going to, we’re going to get into these questions in a moment. First, I’ve got to say that this interview is sponsored by two phenomenal companies.
The first, if you’re doing any kind of online marketing, you need SCM rush. They’re going to let you use their software for free. If you go to mixergy.com/. S E M rush. And second, if you want to get better, leads, more qualified leads, more of them. You need to know about outgrow. I’m going to tell you later why you should go to outgrow.co/mixergy, but first who needs a business plan anymore?
I thought we were living in a world of create a minimum. I have a product that is your business plan. Tell us where you’re going. That is your business plan. Keep it to like a few, a few slides, but mostly we want to see the product who needs a business plan.
Evan: Short answer, you know, everybody ends nobody. So. Basically the, the, the, nobody on this end of the equation is nobody, as far as founders are concerned. you can grow a business. Anybody can grow a business off of the back of nothing. Yeah. I mean, look at freelance platform, you can grow a business off of the back of nothing.
Why do you need a business plan? As long as you know what you’re doing and which way you’re going, then what founder really, and truly needs it. But. When you are looking for serious capital, then you have to have it. And when I say serious capital, I’m talking, the sort of rule of thumb is like 5 million.
When you get sort of in that area of between two and 5 million. And you’re talking about serious check size and, and whatnot. Um, you know, that’s generally when investors are going to start to say, okay, I need more than just 10 pages on this because otherwise. You’re leaving a lot, kind of open to discussion and, or a chance like, am I rolling the dice here?
So you are going to get asked for a more detailed look at like what’s under the hood and how does it work and why is everything you’ve got proprietary better, faster, more profitable? Like, what is it that, and how are each of the things going to be built out? So.
Andrew: Shouldn’t a company. Be able to do that themselves. If they’re asking for that much money, if they should be counted on to manage that money well, shouldn’t, they be able to create their own business plan to express themselves.
Andrew: Are you going to say yes and no again?
Evan: No, they should be able to, they should be able to, but the fact of the matter is, especially in like complex businesses and think things like biotech. where you’ve got a lot of, you know, formulas and molecules and all different things going on. And yeah, it’s got FDA over here and whatnot.
It’s complicated, right? It’s complicated. And it’s about the communication in an extremely, extremely clear fashion. And so the days of old where it’s like, okay, let’s write 60 pages and just throw it on a word document, whatever, um, and put some headings in there and maybe intersperse some. You know what that is dead, that’s gone.
And so the expectation is get me through it faster. Tell it to me clearly. Make it look as if you’re business, you know, you have spent the time and energy and whatnot that you not only can sell me as an investor, but that you can sell your clients to improve that to me in the same sentence. So weave it all together.
And that’s kind of a tall order for a lot of founders whose skill sets may be in something completely different. Like a lot of people are expert in what they, what they do, but not in raising capital.
Andrew: What about on the, on the younger side? So a newer business, would they, if they’re raising a seed round or something a little bit, let’s say a million dollars where they need unicorn and we should get into how you built this business and where your revenue is. But I want to understand the business a little bit better first.
Evan: we operate a lot in the, when you’re taking that next step. So from one step change to another, and typically that is when you go from, you know, friends and family and you know, your own internal contacts and stuff like that into, um, okay. Now we’re going after VCs.
Totally different ball game, totally different level of expectations of, of what you need to provide and, and how you need to go about the process. And, you know, yes. A million dollars is really, uh, it’s very borderline. So it kind of depends on the individual circumstances. For example, some founders that are repeat founders that just, they know their weaknesses and they’re like, okay, listen.
I don’t. I know what I don’t know. And I know that I’m not good. Good at telling a story very clearly. And this is typically in like the sort of I’m comfortable pitching and I’m comfortable talking about the business, but I can’t leave it together anywhere near as well as you guys can. And furthermore, I don’t have the time.
So that’s where we look at, you know, businesses that are raising around about, um, you know, a million where there’s like a multi time founder and whatnot. But generally with us, it’s sort of absolutely starts around 2 million. Like if you’re raising less than 2 million, um, and you don’t have a, um, another exits or, you know, you are.
Maybe senior running, uh, one of these, um, but you know, a previously, uh, exited business, then it’s probably not going to be that great of a fit because the, the, the stakes are just, um, not, you know, not right for what we’re geared for really.
Andrew: All right. I’m with you. I’m going to come back in and ask, is this the type of clientele that is on Upwork, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s get to know you a little bit better. You’re a guy you told our producer. I was, I was always up before everyone else in my family before the other kids, I was always a hard worker.
I, you always seem to have a job. Why did you, why did you get up before all the other kids in your family?
Evan: Um, honestly, because I was in the basement and I didn’t know when the alarm was going off.
Andrew: You lived, you grew up in the Bay. I mean, you’ve lived in the basement
Evan: Yeah, yeah,
Andrew: I so wanted to be able to do that. It’s like having your own apartment and your own house.
Evan: It’s like your own cave, you
Andrew: I would have loved
Evan: hide out there and it’s yeah. It’s like your little secret spot, but no, I don’t know. I was, I was, I guess I was always a, let’s say a little bit different from everybody else. I don’t know why, but, um, kind of independent view and. For me, it was just always a drive of like, I wanted to go into the financial sector.
I wanted to, you know, um, make a success of something and that kind of played through, into. W sort of every step of, of my career, um, where, like, for example, where a lot of people would have maybe started working, you know, later on in life, um, you know, when you get to like mid-teens and whatnot. Yeah. Soon as I turned 13, got a job, also got fired from that job, but I did get a job after that and
Andrew: You’re talking about the KFC job. It’s kind of interesting. I wanted to get a job at the local fast food by my house, just to get some money, understand how they’re growing. Like, what is it about this business that makes it work so well in all these different States, I couldn’t do it at 10 and I wanted to couldn’t do it at 11 or 12.
I think I had to wait till 13. And if I’m not mistaken, I think I might’ve even need to get some kind of paperwork to show them that I was eligible to work. That’s what it was for you. You were waiting for the day to be able to do
Evan: Exact same thing. Yeah. I mean, realistically, it was that, I mean, I was the kid who’s shoveling snow since like what, eight years old. So I dunno, maybe it’s like an entrepreneurial thing. Maybe
Andrew: For me, it was, it was in born. Was it for you to, were you born with it? This is lady Gaga was born this way.
Evan: I don’t know. I’m not that kid who was like, um, but you know, you always see these, these things like, yeah. Magical kid makes, I dunno, $90,000, you know, he’s seven years old and I’m like, That wasn’t me, you know, good for the kids, but
Andrew: So, what was you? I was a kid who was admiring that, wanting to be that and waiting to bust through too. That was right. So it’s not that we were doing it. We want it to, for me, part of it was, I was born this way. The other part was the influences. I would go to the library and read biographies of people.
Who’d made it big and think, you know what? They always start. That’s what it was for you. Who was it? Who are some of the people that you used to read about
Evan: Oh, a hundred percent. Ben Franklin, um, Walter Isaacson’s, Ben Franklin. Favorite book ever. Yeah. Steve jobs, obviously, same author, um, Isaacson Steve jobs. Um,
Andrew: What was it about Benjamin Franklin that made you want to be like him?
Evan: Worldly guy, diplomat. Um, but you know, was, was widely, widely respected. Um, but most importantly, you know, practical thrifty, um, and clever I’ve really liked how cleverly, um, uh, he would write him in him and Mark Twain.
So. That was really the major, like draw for me, to me of like how somebody, you know, hundreds of years go was basically doing the same thing that we’re now doing today. For example, you know, he would, he would put an article in his paper and just to drum up some sort of controversy, he would pend the article.
That would be, you know, I’m in the pen name of somebody and the following week, he pen another counterpoint article from somebody else, you know, opinion column and, you know, sort of get into a, a
Andrew: It’s on the internet. It’s called creating sock, puppets, these fake characters, and then they fight each other and he was doing that. And you like that? What about any business
Evan: the paper
Evan: and he
Andrew: And he owned the paper, right? So the more you’re reading about the controversy, the more he’s getting paid. Okay. I get it.
Why did you then get fired? Here’s a guy I’m looking at a kid eager to get a job. Finally gets a job. How many hours were you working? You told Ari 20 to 20, 30 hours a week.
Evan: I mean, not officially according. Yeah. But no, it was, yeah, it was, it was a pretty substantial part time job. Um, when I was, when I was there. Um, but I don’t know, it was, it was maybe a tension of like, I couldn’t do the things that somebody else was telling me to do. Um, And, and just continue to pay attention to what it is that they wanted me to do.
I’ll I was never a really great employee.
Andrew: So you would go in there, you had this job 20 to 30 hours. What would you do? Get you fired.
Evan: I mean, I would end up in the back, like trying to practice my Spanish with, with, with some of the guys that work there. It was, you know, purely for, for entertainment and like bettering myself. And it’s like, okay, why are you not working the register? Whoops. Uh, we had customers
Andrew: And you had, you had people skills enough to feel comfortable as a teenager, talking to adults in a foreign language. I was too, too shy at that point to talk to them.
Evan: Yeah, it never, I don’t know. Maybe this is like one of those things where you just, you never see the difference in between. Adult and, and child. I mean, I never felt the difference between like myself and, and someone who’s like 50 years, my senior we’re peers, it’s just, you’ve been around longer than me.
There’s probably a lot that I can learn from you. And so why would we not speak, you know,
Andrew: What about this? The other problem that I had, Evan was I found the people weren’t rational, or I didn’t understand the rationale behind what they did until I read Dale. Carnegie’s how to win friends and influence people. And then he says the operating set, because they would do these irrational things that weren’t even in their best interests.
How do I even talk to someone like this? And then Dale Carnegie starts off by explaining the ego. And he says, people are generally guided by their sense of self. And I realized, Oh, so no wonder people are making bad longterm decisions because in the short term it makes them feel good about themselves.
No wonder you have to remember somebody’s name it literally doesn’t matter. Right. I could just keep talking to you and say, hi. And just talk to you. But if I say the name Evan, I noticed when I talked to my guests, their ears perk up or their eyes perk up, or there’s a thing that I feel because we feel good hearing our name.
Anyway, Dale Carnegie gave me that, but I didn’t get it until 1813. I couldn’t do it. How did you a 13 be able to talk to these adults?
Evan: I mean, I don’t
Andrew: wasn’t a thing for you.
Evan: Yeah. It just, it was, it was never like some mental block for me to, to, to, to be able to speak to other people. So I don’t know. It just never had never had that problem. It was, um, just like an individual thing, I mean, but that sort of ended up biting me because. When I’m, I’m being told to do one thing and not doing it and spending time kind of, as I see fit, then, you know, yes, great for entrepreneurship and great for, you know, personal skill building.
And I guess that’s where the ego comes in. Um, but not so great for when you’re being told to do something.
Andrew: Okay. By the way, if you send me what my notes it’s because there’s so much freaking smoke in the air here in San Francisco. I’m still looking out the window. I’m not going to take the laptop out the window for you to see. Cause last time I did it, we lost the connection for a moment. It’s terrible.
Where are you? We’re in the
Evan: shouldn’t, I shouldn’t laugh. I shouldn’t laugh because that’s probably extremely scary. So just like one
Andrew: not scared. I’m disturbed. It’s so eerie, dude. It is pitch black out the window, but weird. When I opened the door here, the sky is red. And so I forgot to shut the window because I wanted some air. It felt a little cool, but now I’m, I’m sensing it. If it’s definitely throwing me off, not breathing very well.
Evan: there’s no like fires nearby.
Andrew: No, as I was telling my kids, my kids and I on the, on the drive to their, um, elementary school bubble or pre and fury school bubble, I said, we’re living in San Francisco. They’ll fire would have to jump over that Bay in order to get to us. We’re pretty well insulated from that. Yeah.
Evan: Luckily you’re in the right place. And even like to answer your question. Yeah. I’m in Atlanta. So little bit on the other side of, of, of that, uh,
Andrew: Yeah, you guys are doing well with this. That no, no natural catastrophes going on right now. They’re all right. You end up going to bear. What was it as a kid that you saw bear Stearns. And we’re going to get to how you built up this business. I know I’m taking some time with it, but yeah, I just freaking love business.
So tell me about where your, your love for, for finance came.
Evan: Yeah, it was, it was one of those weird things. Like I always, uh, I had had a mind for numbers and, and just knew that I wanted to be in the financial sector. Cause I thought that’s where the money is made and everything. Um, since I was a teenager. And so in preparation for that, I started working at a bank literally the day that I was.
I want to say 16, the youngest that any bank would hire the day that I was six was the, was the day that I put in my application and started working like literally from that week. Um, and so. When I, when I was looking at schools of where should I go to college and whatnot, there was this, let’s call it like a, um, bring your child to work day kind of thing.
Um, and neither of my parents worked there, but it was like, you know, allow kids to come in and check it out. Right. And so one of the places that we could go to was of all places, bear Stearns. And I felt like it was. If you’ve ever seen the film. Wow. What’s it called? I want to say the big, short, right?
Where they go and check out Lehman brothers, uh, just, you know, the, the trading floor or Wolf of wall street, where he gets in there and he’s like, man, it was like male mainlining, adrenaline. I instantly, I was hooked. That was me as like a little teenager looking around and, and hearing traders, shout into the phones.
I want to do that. And so I just did everything that I could. So I started asking the traders, I’m like, where do I go to school to get here? And so they ended up giving me a couple of recommendations. I ended up going to two, one of them, funny enough. And, uh, yeah, so that was like always in my head as that’s what I’m going to do after school.
Um, after I got out of college and none of that.
Andrew: We’re going to get into how you ended up in Geneva and then from there, how you ended up on Upwork. But first I’ve got to tell you about my first company outgrow. I feel like before this interview started, I might’ve made you feel uncomfortable because I said, dude, people come to your website, they hit the button and they go directly to your calendar.
And you said, yeah, that’s how we do things. Let me suggest a better way. Tell me what you think of this. You offer pitch decks, business plans. What else?
Evan: Financial model is pretty much everything in the capital raise pack that you need to go out and raise five 50, a hundred million
Andrew: And it’s a different price depending on what people need for their business plan. Okay. All right. Imagine this, imagine instead of that button that gets people to schedule a call with you, or maybe in addition to it, you allow people to get a price for the investment, the material they need to raise money.
Right. So they come to your site, they have a special, you have a separate page where they say, what do I need? Pitch deck, business plan, et cetera. And you described the diff what the difference is, what do I need in my business plan? How far along is my business? Answer a few questions. Five, seven questions.
You’re smiling. As I’m saying this, what, what are you thinking? As I’m saying this, talk to me,
Evan: I’m thinking I have literally built the exact same thing in type form, and it was a super pain in the ass to try and build myself. And if I had known about this, I mean, it would have been job
Andrew: This is the beautiful thing about outgrow is it, does the math, all these other things are about forms with a little bit. If then that’s a pain, this will do the math. Then you create the page, the resource, and it doesn’t just become a good way for your clients to understand, is this a good fit for me or not?
But. It becomes a way for people to say to their friends. I know you’re spending a lot of time writing a business plan right now. Just go check this out, get a price of what it would cost you to do this. And for you, Evan, anyone who went through it. Even before they got their results, you could get their contact information.
So you could follow up with them and say, I saw that you went through our material. Here’s what you might also want to know. Or can I send you a pitch deck to give you a sample of what we’re talking about? Can I show you a business plan? Can I introduce you to one of our clients? And you’re basically qualifying them because they’re answering questions themselves.
That is the beautiful, the beautiful part of outgrow. These guys created it for themselves. It helped them get more leads because people are starting to pass around the form that they created for themselves. This calculator they did. So you know what? This could be our SAS. Why don’t we just do it? So on the side they created the SAS outgrow.
It became super huge. And now they’re advertising on Mixergy. And anyone who’s listening to me can get to use this for free. All you have to do is go to outgrow.co/mixergy. You could do cute quizzes, calculators, all this stuff that will get you more leads. Yes. Go viral, but also help you qualify so that you know who the right person to talk to is it’s available to you for free they’re experimenting.
I think they bought three ads and I might’ve overshot it. Evan. I might’ve given him more ads than they paid for already, but, um, here’s the thing I paid for three ads. They said, Andrew, space it out over three months. I go, I get excited. I’m not talking here because somebody puts stuff in front of me. The only ad I ever recorded based on what someone put in front of me was LinkedIn.
They didn’t know who I was. They said, let’s give it a shot. I, I can’t help it. I’m still excited about outgrow. So I’m recording this ad and we may not end up getting paid for it, but I’m psyched about it. That’s what I like
Evan: it’s awesome. I personally think it’s awesome. Like no BS. I think it’s awesome. I think we’re going to use it too, by the way.
Andrew: And use the free, the URL, outgrow.co/mixergy. All right. Up in Geneva in investment banking. What did you do there?
Evan: I mean, standard investment banking stuff. I’m writing business plans. I’m doing a bit of pitch decks, basically buying and selling, uh, companies, cross border transactions, stuff of that nature.
Andrew: Okay. And then how does that lead you to creating a business for yourself? You were, you were going in there. Can you give me an example of a client that you worked on or a project that you worked on?
Evan: I’m trying to think of one. Okay. Yeah. Audio. Italian aerospace company. Um, I believe that they ended up after we ended up working with them. Uh, they were Italian aerospace company buys a, a mountain. No, sorry. It was the other way around Italian aerospace company sells a piece of their operation to a Spanish, uh, engine, air, um, aircraft engine, um, maintenance organization.
So we were doing like all cross-border deals, all country to country, which was perfect for me because I’m like a languages guy. Right. And, uh, and, and so we were doing all sorts of stuff, a lot in aviation, aerospace, defense, stuff like that. Um, and everything from one country to another, a lot of like cross cultural things.
So there’s a lot of like interpersonal stuff that you had to get to think about and all of those, um, all those deals that, that, that we ended up doing.
Andrew: You told our producer, I created a pitch deck. My boss didn’t give me guidance through it. I just had to kind of figure it out.
Evan: Not, not exactly. It was, it was, um, sort of trial by fire, um, in a lot of, in a lot of what we did, just because we, through the course of, of, uh, when I was working there, it was a very flat, flat organization. And so there wasn’t, um, There wasn’t like a, a sort of mentorship system that you might get in a wall street bank or something like that.
So it was, um, a lot of, you know, learn by doing and, um, when you, when you just have to sort of, you know, go ahead and figure it out then, um, you know, you have to see what else is working in other places would what’s working for other people. Um, and. Basically just figure out what works. Um, and a lot of it sort of, you know, started to click that.
Okay. Maybe there’s, there’s something in this, um, which was after, uh, after I, I. I finished working with the, uh, the bank. Um, one of the, uh, former clients of the bank who, you know, had raised, you know, 4 million pounds as UK company and whatnot. Um, I ended up working with them as a consultant and so I had prepared the, uh, the materials for them in the past.
And so I knew the business and everything. Um, and, uh, basically. You know, they came back to me while I was consulting for them and they said, okay, Hey, listen, can you, can you do our, our documents again? Because we’re going to raise again. And you know, it was not, you know, 4 million anymore. It was like 40 million.
So that’s sort of guiding. Um, so the guiding instruction at that point was a little bit different. It wasn’t, uh, you know, just do it and put it together. It was, we want something very, very specific. So. No, this is a media company and they’ve spent a lot of money on their image. They spend a lot of money on, you know, making sure that they present themselves properly.
And it was like, listen, if it’s black and white words on a page, you know, the sort of traditional business plan, um, pitch it, it just, it wasn’t gonna get the job done. And so. The sort of a package was, we want to see an extremely punchy story. We want all of the financial information that we’re going to need, and none of the bull crap that’s going to throw us off track in an investor meeting.
And we want the entire package to look absolutely beautiful and wonderful and tied up with a little bow on it. And that was, that was a sort of like light bulb moment of like, wow. That actually makes sense. I don’t understand why more people doing that. And from there that’s okay. Sort of sparked something in like the back of my mind and it really started to grow when other, um, other clients of mine, uh, started approaching me and saying like, Hey, listen, we met, you know, Uh, three years ago or something at some event or whatever.
Hey, can you put together our deck too? Because we saw, you know, the, the, the work that you put together and we want, we want that too. We want that same package. Can you, can you do that for us? And that’s when I was like, wow, maybe there’s an actual business in this. Maybe, you know, maybe we can do something out of it.
Andrew: This, uh, the investment bank was Barron’s financial services, boutique investment bank. You were in Geneva for them. You were creating pitch decks, right? For companies often that were public.
Evan: I’ll be ASOS on behalf of clients that would be raising capital or I’m trying to sell their business. Yeah. Things of that nature.
Andrew: And for the most part, it was the state stuff that we you’d expect. If we look at an , when it comes out and we just look at the PDF it’s it seems like what you’re saying is it was like that
Evan: Not really.
Andrew: but no, then what.
Evan: Yeah. I would say like in general, what gets produced out of a lot of investment banks is just, it’s good, but. What tends to happen is, you know, you end up using the same template over and over and over again, and it doesn’t look good. It’s not punchy it’s. Um, and, and a lot of like white space consulting, um, type of stuff.
And. That doesn’t really embody, you know, the person who’s going to be pitching this business. So whatever ends up happening is you’ve got someone who is, um, representing a business, um, in a lot of cases that. That they are external, you know, they are, you know, maybe an analyst or an associate or, or vice president of, of, uh, of a bank who is paid to go out and, and, uh, market this business.
And, and they, you know, sort of stay within. The, um, the, the box that they have learned, you know, this is what is, what’s worked in the past for us, but a lot more of what’s happening these days is founders are just going out, you know, themselves on their own, and they need to be able to approach investors on their own.
And have all of that strategy and all of the, um, let’s say no how woven into that, but in a way that also makes them look extremely good, as good as they actually are as a
Andrew: And this was you realizing this for one client or the client asking you to do it for them?
Evan: Um, it was a little, a little column, a little column B. So the client told me those words. I want it to be this, that, and the other. And I want that all
Andrew: beyond brand. Don’t just give me the usual description on brand. So you start working on that. Give me an example of what it means to be on brand. What did you do? That was a little different that you still remember.
Evan: So lot more imagery than what you’re going to see of on a pitch. I mean, Yes. Very much. So, a lot more visual, a lot more. Let’s explain it to you. A picture says a thousand words, right? And so as far as content goes, it’s going to be a lot easier to explain. This is what we do. And if I show a picture, if I show you a picture and I say, we build that, then instantly, you’re going to know.
Okay. Yeah, I get it. I’ve seen that before versus if I try and describe to you, you know what, um, What, what an Apple is, but you’ve never seen an Apple then that’s kind of hard. So it’s a lot more storytelling, a lot more strategy built into how those meetings go. Because a lot of times it ends up being the founder.
Who’s closing the deal deal. Anyway, the intermediate he’s the one who was just making an introduction,
Andrew: You know what, I know what you mean about an image. I was pitched this company chartered spot for a while for doing interviews and I, it seemed familiar. I didn’t get it exactly. Then I saw a picture of it. And I said, Oh, I’ve seen these cubbies at target. They just didn’t have the branding charge. It’s spot prominent.
It was Target’s design. Right. And that’s where you go and you put your phone. Now I get it. That one image helped me understand it. So that’s what you’re talking about, making it really clear through pictures. You understood it. Your mom comes to you, bang the microphone. Your mom comes to you. And she says, I heard about this thing called Upwork.
Is your mom a technical person? Is she someone who’s usually in the know? Is that, is that how she discovered Upwork? I’m feeling like our connection’s losing a little
Evan: she actually picked up on it. Um,
Andrew: yeah, yeah. Go for it.
Evan: Okay. So I think that she had picked up on it originally from, uh, my brother had maybe either found a contractor on there or was contracting, um, and doing a little bit of work there, sort of brainiac, um, tech guys, my brothers, but, uh, yeah, she had mentioned it to me and she was like, Hey, maybe this is, is something that you guys.
You know, want to check out and, Hmm. I don’t know like what the clientele is going to look like, but I have no idea. So, uh, but I said, if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right. And I want to do it well. And honestly, I want to be number one because that’s, it’s like sort of a philosophy thing. Right. Um, so.
Got started got kicked off and, and it became a pretty solid distribution Avenue for us, um, to just grow off the back of very early on.
Andrew: to pay you to create business plans. Right. So the thing that I wonder as you, as I’m hearing, this is why didn’t you think that Upwork was beneath you? Upwork was seen as this place to go get cheap design, cheap development work done. I’m not care about the people who do the work. You’re a guy who aspired to greatness, who read about Benjamin Franklin, who was in Geneva at a finance company, investment banking.
You’re finally there. And now you go to Upwork. Why didn’t you see it as being beneath you?
Evan: It wasn’t so much that it was beneath me. I just didn’t realize that that had so much power of the network as it actually did. I didn’t know that freelance was a thing, to be honest. I didn’t know that
Andrew: So any of the negative
Evan: a business.
Andrew: or any other negative connotations that other people would have had, you just didn’t have it connected with it. You just said, Hey, this is the place where I can go and get business. Let’s just go try it. That’s what it was.
Evan: Yeah, let’s let’s, let’s go check it out and find out. I also, I did understand that some of the freelance platforms out there are just, you know, not super. Like a high ticket in terms of clientele, because to be honest, what we’re doing is not cheap. And so it requires that you have a budget and, you know, if, if that budget is like $500 to do something, that’s not gonna work for what we do even remotely.
Right. Um, so it became clear like very early on. Maybe if it hadn’t, if it hadn’t been for. Us being able to be successful in like the first three, four, six months. Um, in, in doing that, then I don’t think that we would have continued because, uh, but I mean it did, it
Andrew: what did you, what did you charge for a business plan in that first couple of months?
Evan: Oh my gosh in the beginning. Uh, yeah, honestly that was like a sort of hand to mouth. Like let’s try and figure it out. That was like let’s bootstrap mode. And so I was like, okay, let’s, let’s try this out. And let’s in spite of all, whatever, uh, common wisdom of like, don’t start with doing something for cheap.
I was like, you know what, screw, I’m going to do it for cheap. So just for like the reviews and whatnot, right. Um, review driven platforms and everything. So, uh, the first one that I ever did in the last one that I ever did was, um, at $35 an hour. I mean, that was the cheapest I could ever, ever imagine.
Andrew: how much did you get for business plan at 35 an hour?
Evan: So again,
Andrew: How much did you get for a full business plan at 35 an hour.
Evan: Uh, um, it wasn’t just a business plan. It was a bunch of different things, but overall that client probably ended up somewhere around eight to $10,000 worth of spend.
Evan: I know that was the whole thing. I was like, wait, they actually have a budget. Is this thing for real? It’s not just like individual people.
It’s actual companies
Andrew: started with, it started with $35 an hour. What did they expect to get for 35 an hour?
Evan: Uh, is a lot of financial modeling, a lot of totally unscalable stuff that, uh, I just did on my own loans, whatever. Um, but yeah, it was like, that was the start. That was the start of, wow. They’re actually, you know, maybe some scope in here and. You know, after that, it was just like, okay, well, we’re building on reviews.
We’re building on successful work. We’re building on, it was always about reputation, reputation, always over above anything else, if it’s going to be a bad fit. And I can’t say, I’m going to knock this out of the fucking park for you, then we’re just like not going to do whatever it is that needs to be done.
If it’s not a perfect fit, then no way. Right. Um, but by. I guess by, by, you know, vetting our way through and making sure that reputation stayed like perfectly intact. Um, yeah, we ended up being able to just raise and raise and raise and raise and raise and just do more and better for, for, for people. And it ended up just paying huge, huge dividends.
And we were able to actually build a solid business off the back of that.
Andrew: It was you for a long time on your own? Am I right for how
Evan: Uh, no, actually it, it became like, it snowballed. That’s why I said, if it hadn’t been successful early on, then there’s no way we’ve, we would have continued like, um, on that, on that path. Um, so what ended up happening was once the first one was locked in and it was like, yeah, excellent job, fantastic work, et cetera, et cetera, then.
It just sort of snowballed and we started getting a lot more people coming back to us or, um, you know, responding to when we would put something out there and yeah, it just, it, it grew and grew. Um, and so we added, we added people just successively. I think we probably brought in one, two, three, maybe four people within the space of the first nine, six to nine months. It was basically like break up the job into different buckets. So it would be the writing aspect of it, the strategy aspect of it, um, project management, um, you know, bookkeeping design. I mean, those were the, the real major pieces that we had to solve for and figure out how is this system? How can we make this work in a way that, um, is going to end up with just outstanding results for the person on the other end?
Andrew: How did you hire what worked for you in the beginning?
Evan: I mean the most important was always making sure that there was a perfect fit as far as alignment. And there’s two things that I think are most important in looking for, in somebody that you’re going to work with. And you know, how the old adage goes. If you wouldn’t hire the, if, if you wouldn’t, um, have them around for lifetime, don’t keep them around for a day.
Um, well, That’s how we always looked at it. And it’s honestly, it’s, it’s like, if you can deliver excellence consistently. Excellence. And you can deliver things on time. I don’t care if you are on a beach in Fiji, if that’s where you do your best work and you’ve got a solid wifi connection, do do it like that’s where you should be.
If that’s your element be there. So we’re totally remote. And we always have been, probably always will be, um, just because that’s what works and when people have total flexibility, it’s awesome.
Andrew: give me a tip one tip for how you got, how you hired people, how you hired right in the beginning.
Evan: Brown M&Ms you know, that story.
Andrew: Tell the story for people who don’t know the van was at van Halen,
Evan: Yeah. I think it was van hell. It was either van Halen or iron maiden. I always forget. Um, but yeah, basically the story was that, um, They used a vetting mechanism of Brown MnMs as like a super hidden buried thing. And this long ass writer, like 80 pages, whenever they booked a show, then there would be a tiny little, you know, balls in there that says we want M and M’s in our dressing room, but no Brown M and ms.
Whatsoever, if you have any Brown M and M’s in this well, uh, you know, little bowl in our dressing room, if there’s a single Brown M&M in there. The contract is null and void, and we are taking the money and walking in the hole for that was because I want to say David Lee Roth, one time he goes on stage and you know, this is a long thick contract because these are very, very, you know, deep and intense okay.
Productions. Right. And. That’s why the contract is so long, you have to follow it to a T. And so he went on stage at one point and, uh, it said like hookup, the electric to this power outlet, not that one. And he grabs the microphone electrocutes himself almost gets killed. And so from then on, if there were a Brown M&Ms in, in the dressing room, when they walked in there, then they were not playing that show that night because the stage is probably fricking unsafe.
So if you, if you see that as a tiny little marker of, you know, for vetting, it’s like the single most effective thing, basically it’s if you want to work with us, then the first words from your response should be Brown. M and ms. And then we know that you’ve paid attention. You care about the details and you are listening.
Andrew: What’s what’s your version of Brown. I’m an ms. Maybe
Evan: So, um,
Andrew: you don’t want to reveal it
Evan: no, no, no, I actually, I love revealing it. I love revealing it for the pea because for the people who know and the people that care, I love you because it’s, it’s wonderful when people just understand that there are probably 80% of the people out there just are not following directions, but those that do.
We love working with them because they, they follow a process. And the whole thing about what we do is people are successful when they can follow a process. And so, um, our little secret, our little secret phrases are use the force and the other like major vetting thing that we use is, um, before a call, you better have two things prepared, right?
Better, have a 62nd pitch prepared and keep it under 60 seconds and a good joke. So start us off with a joke
Andrew: And so you tell anyone who you’re going to hire have these two things prepared if they don’t have it prepared. If they go
Evan: and clients. That’s how we vet clients.
Andrew: Oh, really? You want a client to have a 62nd
Evan: We vet clients.
Andrew: and what’s the deal then with the force, how do you get them to say the phrase, use the force.
Evan: So there’s a little like Easter egg trail in, when you book a call, then what’s going to happen. Next is you’re going to get a couple of messages along the way. Um, and there’s a little Easter egg trail in there that leads to a certain article that was posted once upon a time by me of why we vet people.
And, you know, the whole theory behind it of like limited resources. And we only want to work with great people. And so on, basically that leads you to the article where it says, if you use the words, use the force, then you’re getting a discount with us. And you’re the only people apart from veterans and first responders that are going to get a discount with us.
Andrew: And, and you do that to know that they’ve paid attention to the process. God, and they’re going to be easier for you to work with. Alright, I’m glad I asked, let me talk about my second sponsor, because I think this is another one that I’m gonna pitch to you. Evan. I looked you up also. Not only did I look you up on Upwork and top towel where you’re doing really well.
I also looked you up to just see. Do you have any traffic? Similar web has shown that you guys have, tell me if I’m wrong. Maybe I did something you seem to have hardly any traffic to your site. Am I right? You don’t have much content on your site. I think that’s going to be an issue for you. I think as much as you’re getting business from Upwork, you have so much expertise from having created business plans, pitch decks from talking to customers.
This one little tip is incredibly helpful for businesses to know. If you have a couple of other tips that you could write about of how to raise money, how to talk to investors, how to present yourself, how to weed out people. You don’t want to do business with. Every one of them could be a potential blog post, but how do you know what to write about how do you know what’s going to pay off?
Well, that’s where SCM rush comes in. It’s a whole set of marketing tools that you can get to allow you to figure out how to market well. And so one of my, I reached out to my audience. I said, how are you guys using it today? Rubin Metcalf, who I’ve known for years said, I wanted to know what works. I didn’t want to figure everything out by myself.
And so he discovered that there was someone in South Africa who was running a business, very similar to the one that he was working on. He said, let’s see what’s working out for that guy. It turns out they’re both going after lawyers, but Ruben was going after lawyers were there. The other company was going after lawyers who were about to become lawyers.
What articles did they need? What are they reading about? Ruben said, that’s what we should be doing too. Started doing something similar in the U S growing his business, because what he did was a little bit of market research on somebody who is in a similar business. Evan, you could do the same thing that people will do.
Business plans. There are also people who just weren’t with your clients in one way or the other, or work with people who are about to be your clients in one way or the other. You do some research on them on SCM rush. I’m gonna let you use their software for free. And it’s going to show you these aha moments.
And you’re gonna say, of course, I can write that. And since you’re a competitive person, they’re going to show you what people who are. If you’re going after a phrase to rank and Google, they’re going to show you what others are doing to catch it a phrase, how they’re outranking everyone else. And you could say, I think I could beat them and do it, or I think I’m never going to beat them.
Let’s just move on to simpler, uh, slim, simpler terms. Alright, here it is. SCM rush is one of these things that you have to actually try. To understand what it is. You can’t just hear it. You can’t see bullet points. You have to just try it and go, Oh, you know what? I get it now. It’s kind of like kombucha you tell, if you tell someone kombucha is this foul tasting thing and they don’t understand why people like it.
You tasted and then realize, Oh, you know what, maybe I do kind of like it, or maybe I don’t like it. A lot of people don’t like cook kombucha. The only way to know it. And I’m gonna let you use it for free, try and get results for yourself. See how it works, improve your business. If you don’t like it, you can’t.
Well, if you do like it, you can still cancel. They’re not going to charge you anything because if you use my special URL, they won’t even take your credit card. I can tell by looking at Evan’s face and I’m going too long with this ad. So I’m going to close it out by saying
Evan: Totally into it. I’m totally into it.
Andrew: all I do is I like, I could just record this.
I dunno how it guys like Tim heiress and Joe Rogan, they record their commercials. Some of their ads go on for five freaking minutes and they’re just talking into a mic. I wish that I can’t do that. I need to see someone’s face to know whether I’m still on it or not.
Evan: It’s good to do a live.
Andrew: Let’s yeah, let’s close it out here.
It is. If you want to use it, I didn’t even give him a chance to create a landing page. I just want to show them how effective this ad will be for their audience, because I know this will be useful for you. All you have to do is go to mixergy.com/s E M rush. We will redirect you to the right place that is Mixergy.
That’s my site. dot com slash S C M R U S H mixergy.com/sem rush. Speaking of rush Boyd, and I rushed through that ad. All right. Am I too fast of a talker for you? Like I feel like maybe, um, no, I feel like our energies are a little bit off. You, you come across as a very, um, Polished person you’re fricking Mike is positioned at the exact spot.
Look at me, I’m at my house. I’ve got the shadow behind me. It’s driving me freaking nuts because I’m not recording at the office. This shadow. I want to punch the wall because of it. You have no shadow behind you. You have a mic with a pop filter, and I don’t know what that’s leave is on top of it. It might be redundant, might be like belts and suspenders on it.
You got a shirt that’s nicely pressed. I’m valuing the whole thing. And meanwhile, I’m the guy. Who’s the pro at this. You’re the person who’s just talking to customers.
Evan: Okay. Let’s let’s let’s let’s let’s talk about this. I will tell you, um, so since we’re recording this on zoom, I do zoom. We’re we’re a hundred percent remote and we have been for, for years and years and years, I’ve literally taken like three in person meetings in the past four years. Right. Um, so I do zoom all day long.
Sometimes I’m on zoom. Like. I don’t know. I feel like I should get a sponsorship deal with them because no, seriously, like six hours a day. Uh, I’ll be doing calls. And so, yeah, so you gotta kind of have a proper setup and, and, and the whole thing. I mean, honestly, before we kicked off, I was gonna tell you, like, listen, I love that Mike.
And tell him, tell me more about that. Cause I think that we actually have the same road, uh, arm. Oh my God. Love it. Love it.
Andrew: it’s really good. I just brought it in from the office today. I said, I’m going to figure out how to get into the office. I drove over to the office and I brought back the boom arm because I need to put my hands on the desk. I need to put stuff on the desk without it. You can’t get the mic up to your mouth and you can’t move your hands around.
I think a lot of people live on zoom though. Evan, I want to give you more credit. You do live on zoom, but a lot of people live on zoom. You actually are taking the time to make it look good to make it sound clear for people. I don’t think most, uh, most people who are on zoom are like that. There’s a sense of who you are that is expressed in, in this design that I’m looking at the backdrop that has a step and repeat that has the right image of your logo.
Evan: Yeah, but the whole thing, I mean the whole thing, that’s like part of the package, you know, Our job is not only to, to, to do it well, but also to make it look good in the process. Right. It’s one thing where you can just like put lipstick on a pig. Like we don’t do that and not even, never have never will.
Right. Um, it’s always about the, the content of like, is this actually any good? Right. But you have to make it look good in the process as well. So it’s when you. When you marry those things together of content, substance, and yeah, we’re going to make money out of this then that’s when things start to make sense.
And so that’s, that’s kind of the whole, yeah. Why do we have a proper setup? Why do we have, um, you know, as sick of a boom arm, as you do exactly
Andrew: Give me one other tip for doing zoom. Well, what else do you do since we’re all on zoom or Skype or Skype, we’re all doing remote meetings. I’ll give you one tip of mine. I found that a lot of the meetings that I was doing were getting very transactional. In fact, there was one woman I paid $500, half an hour phone call, incredibly useful, half an hour.
But towards the end I realized. She doesn’t care about me at the end of this call, she’ll have forgotten about me. I’m not going to get an email from her in the middle of the night or a week later or a year later. Yeah. I came across this thing. That’s perfect for you, right? I’m not going to feel comfortable reaching out to her.
There’s no connection there. And I realize it’s because we got right down to business. And so what I started doing right after that was the first thing I would say, had to do with something personal. To warm up the conversation, but also in it, I would slide something that would let us know we need to get back to business.
And I kind of did that with you without even noticing. So now when I get on zoom with someone it’s. I just took my four year old into school. It’s his birthday today. He was strutting out like a peek. I know we should get back into work, but he was striking out like a peacock who should also be that proud.
Right. And I saw you smile right now, a little something. And then it gives them an opportunity to say something personal, but also know we’re not going to get dragged into a long conversation about some fricking four year old on this business call. Give me one of your tips.
Evan: So my thing is like we were talking about before that we vet people with a, with a joke at right. And so there’s a lot of loaded things into that, of. Of like, why, why do we do that? Why would we, you know, it’s not like I’m a friendly thing and our calls are short. Like when we have a call of like, if you want to work with us, our call is gonna be 10 minutes.
Right. And so that’s why 62nd pitch. You’ve got to nail it and you’ve got to nail the joke too, though. Right? You gotta be a funny guy. You’re smiling. Um, so, so the reason why is because when we. When you can come up with a joke that tells us a bunch of different things, then this exact same way, and this is kind of like deep level strategy and the exact same way as an investor is going to be testing you and not telling you about what it is and why I’m asking you these certain questions.
And what does that mean to me? I’m not going to tell you what I’m, how I’m processing the information, but you’ll only know the test that there was a test when you passed it. And so what the joke tells us is, is this a funny person? Do they, uh, you know, do they have like a decent sense of humor? Okay. But more importantly, did they prepare, did they do their homework?
And do they seem like a person who is relatable that. You know, is going to have good interpersonal relationships with other people and work well with others. And so when you have all of those different things, um, you know, coming into play, then that’s kind of how it plays out. And most people don’t know a joke off the top of their head.
It’s like, you have to go out and Google it. Right. So, I mean, that’s, that’s part of the test of, can you do your homework?
Andrew: It does also warm up the conversation a little bit to start off with that, to have a conversation that also includes a little bit of levity in there, by the way, is that, is that a child I hear in the background. I know when you got
Evan: Yeah, I have one and a half year old and you know, so we’ve got a one and a half year old and a three year old daughter and, uh, yeah, they, uh, same, same here, you know,
Andrew: I’m with you. I wish so lucky. Our kids are finally in a bubble. Um, we spent so much time. My oldest is six years old. He was going nuts. He was just basically in the house all day by himself because school was closed and you couldn’t. Connect with anyone. Finally, we hooked up with three other parents and we got our kids, a teacher that we hired.
Who’s like, I think she’s out of work from the charter system here and she’s teaching them in the garage. My kid loves it. He gets to be with a few kids, not a big class. He gets someone who cares about him. And then at the same time, he still does zoom with his own class, which is remote now. So he’ll do two zoom classes for half hour each.
And then he has a real person, a real teacher in person there to help them. And then a few
Evan: That’s so good. Best of both worlds. I mean, it’s, it would be ideal obviously, if they could go to school and everything, but the fact that you have that, you know, balanced
Andrew: might be even better than school. He said he never wants to go to school again. I hated school. I hated sending my kids to school. Imagine if this becomes a
Evan: an, a school kid. I would picture you as being like really good at school.
Andrew: They wouldn’t let me study the things I cared about. It was always stuff that books that I didn’t care about. If you love books, having somebody pick a book for you that you don’t care about is time away from a book.
You really love having somebody tell you what’s going to be on a test instead of for the love of learning or for the. This is the thing you’re going to be able to do with it. That’s super power it’s. Um, my wife is amazed. He goes, every time you take up a hobby, you get so lost in all the details of it.
She says, where do you even find the time to learn about how to massage? I’m learning how to massage my wife. I got a freaking massage table. I get the whole thing. When you love to learn, you want that outcome? Oh, that’s a win. It’s a good win.
Evan: I’m just thinking of the possibilities. It’s wonderful.
Andrew: So good. Um, alright, let’s talk about, you said I wrote this down. I wanted to be number one. How do you become number one at Upwork? How do you be, how do you stand out? Get business? How do you grow there? And then we’ll talk about what you did next one. When you wanted to get people to your own website.
Evan: Yeah. So, I mean, it, it was really the biggest focus that we had was on reputation and just making sure that whenever we’re working with somebody, then they’re going to get results. Right. That. We’re vetting super heavily that if somebody just has an idea and it’s it’s way early on and it’s like, I don’t know if this is actually going to raise her.
I don’t know if this is going to do well then, like by default it’s if you have any sort of gut feel, that’s a little shifty on any front instant, rather not take it on
Andrew: Why not just take the money. You’re starting a business. You’re bootstrapped handed over to somebody else. Why not just take, do for the money?
Evan: But because it’s not about the money, it’s about making sure that you’re always the guy that gets it done. And if you can’t get it done or you’re not certain that you can get it done, then you’ll say, I don’t think we can get it done
Andrew: Let’s let, let me get philosophical with you. I’m sorry. I just have to understand this because I could see in your eyes, the significance of this. Wouldn’t it make sense for you to take money from people who are, let’s not talk about you for another person to take money from people who, who aren’t necessarily going to get the results, their business isn’t strong enough.
No, one’s going to blame you. Their idea. Wasn’t good. Their business wasn’t strong enough. No, you’re disgusted by that. Beyond the sense of it’s icky. I want to get to the, the phrasing, the understanding of why that doesn’t work for business.
Evan: Yeah, it’s just, you can’t build a sustainable business. It was always about, you know, So I talked before about like the snowball effect and how that happened, like really, really fast. And we had to, to grow and add more people and whatnot bias was always toward, let’s not hire more people. Let’s keep the team small and let’s just do outstanding work.
Let’s be the best at what we do because we want to be. Basically be able to say, we’re we do it better than anyone else. And so that’s like, you know, you have to be very, very careful about who you’re working with, but I always want it to be the people that if you needed the job done and you needed it done perfectly and extremely well, then.
Deer the guys to go to there. Nobody else, you don’t need to talk to anybody else. It’s just, it’s them. You need to talk to unicorn. Right? And with that, that was always the mindset. If you ended up taking on work, that you’re just not certain, then what’s going to happen as a result, whether the review is public or not.
Nobody can guarantee you that you’re going to raise capital. Nobody can. And anybody that does, you know, either is lying or doesn’t know what they’re talking about has never done it. But. You can’t be taking on things that just clearly have no fit or they’re just too early stage, or they need to work things out internally and figure out what they’re doing, or, you know, just, aren’t a pleasure to work with for whatever reason then there’s just not that cultural fit.
You’re when you are doing your best work with great people that are getting results. Then, I mean, I attribute that to, to how we’ve done so well, so fast. Right. And I don’t know, I don’t know anybody else who’s done anything even remotely close it’s. Cause it’s just like focusing your energy on where you’re going to have the most impact for people.
And I think that that has just been really, really helpful for us, for whatever reason.
Andrew: Based on what you’re saying, here’s what I’m coming away from it, uh, with it’s it’s a distraction from the good work that makes you better and build your reputation even, even more. So, regardless of whether people blame you forward or not. Yes. It’s more money, but it’s more money that distracts you. It’s like taking on side businesses while you’re running a business.
Evan: No amount of money is worth a headache and a headache in the sense of, um, it just wasn’t a good fit, cause it’s always a collaborative. Thing. It’s a very personal thing. I’m writing about your baby. I’m telling the story of your baby, and I’m telling you, this is your baby’s story and, and how it, it all goes and how it all fits together.
And basically like, uh, imagine if you wanted to get your baby into a Gerber baby commercial and you needed to position it correctly, and you’ve got to have, uh, the things that, that we’re directing come out of your mouth
Evan: I mean, that’s a very personal thing. And if, if you’re not perfectly aligned, then yeah, you end up, you end up being a distraction and there are enough people and businesses out there that are a fantastic fit.
That, I mean, we turn away like 84% of the people that come our way, just because, I mean, I don’t know if it’s, you know, we need to like filter better or whatever, but it’s. A lot of making sure that there’s an absolutely perfect fit and move. We’re not a perfect at the moment. We want to try and find that perfect fit and say, okay, maybe you want to check out this, this or that.
Maybe that’s a better fit for you right now. Uh, but it’s just, it’s turned into when you focus on being. That number one. And I’m not saying the number one in, in best in the world at one single thing, but when you have a combination of something that you’re at least at 85 percentile in three different things, then, and you marry them together, you’re crushing it.
And that’s, that’s how it worked for us.
Andrew: You’re kind of inspiring me to want to use some of this in my, in my business, even for the interviews. Like I could imagine. What if we tell people you need to have your setup done at least this, well, at least have earphones. If we’re buying you a mic, plug it in. And then if someone doesn’t have it, I’m sorry, it doesn’t look like it’s the right fit today.
Let’s reschedule it. Or if you’re too busy, now we can come back years later or I’ll understand if it’s never a good fit for you. Maybe we should have these, uh, these Brown M and M’s that we, we give people, it feels like that’s the answer, but it’s weird to turn away somebody who’s prepared otherwise. And you do that.
Evan: Yeah. It’s okay. Honestly, it catches a lot of people off guard because while a lot of people are a good fit, it’s unfortunately a minority. And, and we’re not, we’re not scaled in that fashion. We’re not growing in that fashion. Um, I would rather to be, you know, I’d rather be small, but extremely effective.
Dave would have whatever they call them rockstars assassins or, or, I mean, I th I think lifeline is to think of us as pirates. Right. But, um,
Evan: rather say again,
Andrew: why pirate? I wouldn’t have thought of you, is that it feels like it’s more like, like crafts people. Why pirate.
Evan: Hmm. Yeah, we’ve been called like artisans. I mean, I’ve been called a lot of things, but, um, pirates in the same sense that you had Steve jobs and co as, um, parts of Silicon Valley for kind of pirates of the capital markets.
Andrew: Great. Great movie. Got it. You’re helping to, you’re helping these smaller businesses. Do something a little subversive to the main, to the Navy to I get it. I’m I’m over, uh, uh, I’m overthinking this. Let me
Evan: got to get to somehow.
Andrew: Upwork. I get, talk to me about one thing you did to get business beyond word of mouth to get business directly to your site, to your company.
Evan: So, yeah, a couple of things. I mean, probably the biggest was most recently that, um, That we got a nice, fantastic writeup from Elaina Feld in, in Forbes, which was just a total, I mean, implosion one of the calendar, like could not even handle. Right. Um, that was, that was a real big one. Uh, but apart from that, we just started doing case study interviews with clients and it was always so like something that was really, really super hard, um, And we’re never able to just extract the, how did this affect you and how did your raise go?
And, you know, It just turned into something much like this format where, when we just talk through it of like, how did this work out for you? And what were the challenges that you had along the way? And you know, what, uh, what effects did you see and what did your investors say when you showed them? Okay.
Here is what our new pitch is and how we’re going to talk through it and what we’re going to say and how we’re going to act in the room and have all the strategy plays into this. I mean, When we started collecting those case study interviews, it just like really exploded. Um, a lot of the stuff that we were doing, particularly email marketing, um, and just minded some of the people that we were working with in the past, like, Hey, you know, this, there’s some cool stuff of like, yeah, we’re, we’re doing other stuff with it, people, and it maybe is a little bit bigger than you might’ve thought.
Andrew: Ah, so going back to clients, getting case studies from them, reminds them of the work that you did, and then also lets you share their stories with other people who you did work for again, emphasizing what else you’re doing. And then the case studies I do notice brings people in. Um, and then the Forbes article, I saw that one of the things I think that stood out for me, I think it was that article that I read where you could have done any writing, but you decided to.
The market that you happen to pick is high value people, value writing for business plans for pitch decks, much more so than they do for blog posts. I, I took that away from your story a lot also. And then, you know what? I actually don’t know. See, I didn’t see the case studies on your website. It’s one of the things that I went to when I was researching you, where is that?
Evan: You check it out on unicorn business plans, dot com slash work that’s that’s where we sort of, uh, drop all of
Andrew: see our work. There’s a button right there for folio. Got it. Logistics. Got it.
Evan: Actively sees. So there’s, that’s where we house all of our, um, case study videos. And it’s very similar to how we’re talking through some of this stuff today, um, where it’s just, here’s some of the founders and here’s some of the stuff that they’ve done. And I mean, some people it’s, it’s, it’s like crazy stuff that like, if I told you.
You would not believe me. Like if I told you that, um, we, you know, one client, uh, he came to us second time. Founder had an exit under his belt. He excerpted exited a previous business for like $25 million comes back to, to a new business, um, and says, all right, now I want to raise some money, goes to all of the investors who invested in his business, a previous round, who had, he had already made money for them.
He pitches them and they’re like, no, I don’t really like this. We end up working together. He goes back to them, all these investors who said no, and he ends up within three weeks with multiple term sheets. Two and a quarter million dollars over subscribed round, and just job done. Like if I told you this like two and a quarter million dollars within three weeks, you wouldn’t believe me, but when he talks about how it actually went down, I mean, then it’s, well, how can you, you know, so that’s, that’s it, man.
Andrew: Oh, no, who’s the, who’s the person I’m on the work
Evan: Brandon Metcalf of
Andrew: that $10 million. Am I right? Is my memory right on it? Sorry. I thought it was, is that the guy who raised $10 million? I remember scrolling through this and seeing it.
Evan: Uh, no, B 2.25, uh, oversubscribed.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah. You know what? The reason that I didn’t notice it, the CR work was on homepage top, right. Is because it looks like a button and I assume the button is contact us or schedule a call or start here. And I was looking through the navigation bar. It was just the way I was thinking. Let’s talk about revenue then for your business.
What’s the revenue.
Evan: So as we stand right now where we’re at a run rate North of 2 million.
Andrew: And last year, 2019, how did you do
Evan: Last year was about 1.2.
Andrew: 1.2? So you’re going to do better this year. After the, you know, the crisis you are.
Evan: That’s that’s. That’s where we’re at right now. I think that we’ll probably actually break that number, but yeah, it was one of those things where I don’t know, right place, right time. Right. Products and
Andrew: I’m noticing some businesses are doing much, much better. I’ve got a friend who’s a VC here. He says some of his portfolio companies aren’t doing gangbusters. Others are completely damaged from this. Why I’m trying to understand the pattern. Why did your business grow?
Evan: We, I think we ended up growing just because we had, um, we had already established that reputation of like, when you need to raise money and when things get harder. That’s when it’s more competitive for you as a founder, like you have to raise your game because if, if you look at it, I’m like what happened in terms of COVID all of the VCs?
Well, not all, but by and large, like they thought they had a hundred million now that’s 50. And so they’re not writing smaller checks as a result, they’re writing half the number checks. And so that means that that group of, you know, start off with like, th the capital is more competitive. And so if you need to, uh, you know, raise from them, then, then you gotta bring your a game.
And so that’s where some of it came from. And the other side was March. There was like a big selloff in the market. I don’t know if you saw that, but it was like down 40%, right. Yeah. So, uh, what ended up happening, what we found out from just over and over clients were telling us this, like, we keep hearing from investors that.
All of these private individuals, high net worths and whatnot. They just sold all of their stock. They exited everything. And that’s why the stock market went down by 40% because they were getting out and turning everything into cash. And now they’re like, I don’t even want to touch public markets. I want to see what the private individual companies are going to do, because that’s where the opportunity is.
And that’s where we’re cutting checks. Show me some good deals because we are writing. Like major checks for dollars. So
Andrew: does feel like the public markets are overvalued and smaller companies are, are undervalued because we’re, we’re just kind of scared of the future. Actually. I don’t know why I feel like they’re undervalued. Um,
Evan: it’s kind of that feeling of like, you know, Is COVID real. And if I try and come with too aggressive of a valuation, am I going to get torpedoed on the basis of that? It’s people are, are more skiddish. And so the, the effects of perception are really, really powerful on that side.
Andrew: All right. For anyone who’s interested, who wants to go check out this website that I’ve been talking about? It’s unicorn business plans.com. You start out with business plans, but you’ve expanded way beyond there, right? Um, I’m seeing right on the homepage pitch decks, business plans, financial model models, anything you need in order to raise money.
Um, It’s at unicorn business plans.com. Do I need to tell people that I don’t get a commission from talking about it? No, they know it. Unicorn business plan.com. Here’s what I do it paid for talking about, and I love them. S E M rush. I was using my own account to research today’s guest, and I do that for other guests too.
If you want to try the tool for free to figure out how you can get more traffic to your site, come up with ideas for what to write about places to do some advertising, and frankly, even for social media to do it intelligently, I’ve got software that you can use. For free don’t even need a credit card, but it’s a temporary option because they’re just testing me out.
We didn’t even have time to create a landing page on their site. I’m just going to tell you to go to my site, which will redirect you to them and plug in all the information you need to use it for free. Here it is. It’s mixergy.com/sem rush. That’s M I X CRG y.com/s E M R U S H. And of course, if you want to create a quiz, a, a calculator of any kind, really, if you’re.
Offering something, let people see how much it would cost if they wanted to buy it. And this tool can go viral. If you want to use it for yourself again for free, this is you trying it out and seeing if it makes sense, go to outgrow.co/mixergy, outgrow.co/mix ERG Y. Alright.
Evan: just did, by the way.
Andrew: Uh, thanks Evan. I’m going to let them know
Evan: I think they already got it from the tag, but yeah.
Andrew: That’s right, but I’ll tell them that it happened within this interview. How cool. You know what? This is one of my favorite things to do, clip out the guest, talking about my sponsor. I always tell my guests talk about your negative politics positively. I don’t care, but when I clip it out for the, for the sponsor, even if it’s negative, it feels like there’s a real conversation here.
Evan: Okay, let me tell you about my experience of trying to build exactly what algorithm is trying to do to
Andrew: Oh yeah. Tell
Evan: I mean, I sat for probably six, six hours trying to figure out that I can’t swear, by the way,
Andrew: Do it and you can, you did already,
Evan: I’d sat for like six hours trying to figure out the fucking room math of like, how do we build this whole calculator inside of a Typeform, which is not designed for that at all.
Super hardcore, like bad use
Andrew: but it feels like you could, because you could do, if this, then that, if they tell me this and they do that, then we
Evan: that you can, but you can’t pass the variable. And if you want to, then you can’t pass multiple variables. So it’s like, it’s like you, I want you to fit into my square hole, but you’re just a round peg and we’re just not a good fit, you know? So
Andrew: and these calculators are amazing when they’re done, right. It’s just to give people the answer they
Evan: I’ve wanted this for the longest time.
Andrew: I told him, I didn’t even know it existed. How did you guys not even reach out to me? It’s nothing else. I would say the standing with my audience. If you create just interesting, just first of all, send it to me.
Say, Andrew, look what we created so that I could talk about it. And number two, to send it out to other people just like here, here’s a cool thing. I just want you to show them a maker. I’m not looking to get you to buy it. I just want you to know about it. Send it out a little bit. You know, we tried to do this with me.
I wish you’d done a better in mod. He had this company sold it. He created this company, this bank mercury for startups. It looks, I didn’t even know. Good. I just found out about it the other day I tweeted out it. I said, look, I want to interview a mod. He’s created mercury. Anyone uses thing. The love tweets that I got for a go look at my Twitter stream.
You’ll see. He should have told me he should have said, Andrew, I want you to know this my new project. And you could see people and want to sign up just because I tweeted about the fricking thing. Yeah, it looks beautiful. It looks, but one person, a Ruby, even gum is one of my past guests at Andrew. You’re not gonna know until you see it.
I’m just going to screen cast me, paying out of my mercury bank account. I see his fricking bank account, the money, his bank information is logged into the whole fricking thing he showed me because he trusts me. see it. I go, now I get it. Now I understand why Rubin’s on it. Alright. I better run Evan.
Thank you so much for doing this. Let’s close it out with unicorn business plans.com guys. Thank you everyone. Thanks Evan.
Evan: Thank you so much, Andrew.