I love this interview with my friend and client Ravi Abuvala. Ravi is the founder of Scaling With Systems, as well as a couple of other businesses. He helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses through his “Eliminate, Delegate, Automate” framework.
I brought him on to talk about scaling agencies, but we went super-deep on “advanced” CEO-level topics. We talked a lot about what it really means to make an impact as a business owner. About how to create and curate a culture in your company. And the milestones you must hit on the path to scaling your business to 7 figures.
- How Ravi's agency went from servicing 200-250 clients to only servicing 12-12 clients and making A LOT more money [01:42]
- Impact is one of those corny words entrepreneurs love to use, so what does Ravi mean when he says “impact?” [05:37]
- How Ravi built a culture of loyal employees who all eat, sleep, and breathe growing their company… and the one book he read that helped him do it [20:23]
- What happened when Ravi Abuvala tried to hire his own sales reps – instead of working with CoachingSales. com 😈 [24:47]
- The transformational epiphanies Ravi experienced while growing his business from $30k-$50k/month to $400k-$450k/month in a year [32:30]
…And much more!
Mike Mark: [00:00:00]
What's up fam? I am here with Ravi Abuvala. We got already a few people live with us. What up Houston? What up, Forrest? So if you guys don't know who Ravi is already, what he's been able to do in a really short amount of time has been pretty spectacular. I mean, well, Ravi, you were in Medellin at what point? It was about a year ago?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:00:21]
Literally just, just had a, one year ago today of Jeff and I was sitting in the WeWork in new Colombia yesterday, so, yeah.
Mike Mark: [00:00:27]
And then, so where was your revenue level when you were there?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:00:31]
Oh, we were doing probably consistency consistently, like 30 to 50 K a month, I think, around that time.
Mike Mark: [00:00:38]
And then where are you right now?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:00:40]
And the month of April, we did close to $400,000.
Mike Mark: [00:00:45]
That's awesome. and that's, that's crazy. I mean, that's true. 10 X without being corny about it.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:00:52]
So you just said that. Yeah, I guess.
Mike Mark: [00:00:53]
Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, that's, if you guys are on here, I mean, that's truly amazing to go from 30 grand a month to 400 grand in a month.
And especially to do it at a point in time where it's the midst of a global pandemic, right? And everybody's panicking. People are literally shutting down businesses. People are depending on government handouts in order to be able to survive. And in here you are having record month over month growth.
And the cool part is, is that, so much of what you do inside of your business isn't actually being delivered by your team members as opposed to you. And so you're also just, I want to highlight this for anyone here. You're running two separate businesses, actually, right? I am. Yeah. So what are the two separate businesses and then kind of what's the revenue breakdown of each of those that contractures?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:01:42]
So I'm essentially in many in Columbia doing the 30 to 50 K a month, and that was, I'm not just making numbers up and that's why there's a huge swing for 20 grand. It's because like, it would literally, I have an advertising agency called prospect social. That was my first ever online company. And I scaled that to seven figures, but in the majority of the life cycle of that company, we're working with real estate agents and the churn rate, if anybody hears where real estate is insane, so it would literally be some months, that'd be okay, someone's even 20 K.
I mean, I would just be, it was an unbelievable cycle. We transitioned over to a lot steadier, a business model on that. At one point, we had over 200 real estate agents.
I had almost 20 employees in that company. It was insane. And then it was just too much. It wasn't the lifestyle that I thought I wanted. So I scaled that to a different model where we essentially sell leads to the guys that sell leads to real estate agents or the guys that sell leads to lawyers or doctors or whatever it is.
So we sell to lead aggregates. So instead of having 250 agents and doing, you know, a 50 to a 100 grand a month, depending on what the packages are. Now that we have, I have really 10 to 12 clients that are buying. Thousand two thousand three thousand four thousand dollars or 4,000 leads a month from us.
And then while I was in Medellin, Colombia, I actually was posting on my Facebook page, I think it was a week ago, another, like this time last year. It was a photo of me in front of a whiteboard that I had my roommate, Jeff, taken me. And it was the highlight of what essentially would become scaling with systems, which is when I originally started working with you, Mike, and got the amazing team that you gave me.
And so I was doing zero in that, which is my coaching program where we place virtual assistants. But now fast forward to about a year, prospect's social does about, it's actually the majority of the revenue share. But we're at a lower profit margin, so approximately social does about 260 to 280 K a month but it's only with three employees, myself and account manager and an ads manager.
And then I have Scaling With Systems. And that pretty much makes the other, revenue share of that up. But just for everyone that's listening, when people hear 500 K a month, when I started hearing like 500 K a month, they'll say like, so my advertising agency, we run at close to about a 20% profit margin on that.
And then for scaling the system last month, I just, the numbers were about 65% profit margin on that.
Mike Mark: [00:04:02]
Nice. Yeah, and I mean, you and I get this because of the perspective that we have, where it's like a hundred grand a month isn't that much money. Right. And even like, like I feel like even several hundred thousand dollars a month, that's like not that much money.
Like, and you know, in my head, I have this concept that if things start to really change at a million a month. But I really don't even believe that. I think I'm probably going to get there. And then it's gonna be like, Oh, that's not even that much money.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:04:28]
My idea that like, you know, you have to, I mean, I would literally, so I keep a journal and I have like 15 journals and like I remember I read, I'm making $5,000 a month.
I mean. I remember when $10,000 a month seemed like life-changing money, and then you really realize that after tax that $10,000 a month is really nothing, right? That's the work you're doing that it's $20,000. That is 50,000 there's a hundred thousand then it's half a million, and then, yeah, I agree. I'm on the, we're on the track to a hundred a million a month right now.
That's what we're doing as well. But yeah, I mean, realistically speaking, after you take out all expenses and everything and then your profit margin, it's not even a crazy amount of money. Yesterday was a good bit amount of money, don't get me wrong, but for the goals that I'm sure you and I both have.
It's like, you know, it does, it's not enough. Right? It's not enough. And money, I think number one should be impact and money should follow. but, you know, I always say it, and I still talk about it in my program as well. Like, unless you're a fraud, you can't do half a million a month or a million a month without having some kind of value or impact on your clients.
Mike Mark: [00:05:24]
So, I want to kind of ask you something about that. When you say impact, I feel like impact's one of those corny words that people use. So what they, what do you mean when you say impact?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:05:37]
I love that. And yeah, call me out on my bullshit. If I say anything that you're like, yeah, this guy's a fraud. So for me, the impact.
I didn't, you're right. I'll be, I'm going to be totally transparent. This whole video, a year ago when I was running my advertising agency, when I talked about impact, it was with real estate agents and real estate agents. And honestly, I, that was the corny rubbish, right? That was like the, Hey, let me say it for a PR.
Talk about impact. In reality, I really didn't mean a whole lot to me, right? I was, I was in a kind of a poisonous industry. I was making money, but I was in kind of a poisonous industry in this life cycle. And, now though, the impact that I have, in scaling with systems, and even in my advertising agency as well as like, we're working with fewer people that have more money and like, so I know you were about to have a kid, right?
We're just talking about a second ago, which is awesome. So, Taylor and Joel, they joined our program a few months ago and like, he was having a daughter and he posted inside of our Facebook group. He was like, today, my wife had an emergency C section. I had to get rushed to the hospital and went in there.
A beautiful baby girl was born. That's where I got the Ravina joke from. I told him he needed a name, her really on it, but a beautiful baby girl was born and he put it up a really beautiful post in our Facebook group and it was like, you know, shout out to Ravi Abuvala and the Scaling With Systems team because this whole time our closures had closed two new, new, real estate agents.
They got onboarded, and we started the fulfillment process. And the entire time I get to focus on my wife and my brand new kid and make sure everybody's healthy and I know that my business is running in the background. So like that kind of impact where I know these people's names and I know that before they were working just like 8,000, 120 hour weeks and not really moving anywhere to now be able to, I mean, they're talking about going Halloween, like trick or treating with our kids.
He's like, I don't know, the last time I went trick or treating with my kids. And then the other side of it with us as well is, part of scaling was systems. As you know, as we place virtual assistants from the Philippines and we like a training center there. And as of, literally beginning of April, we hit 500 virtual assistants place.
If for our clients, in North America, the UK or whatever it is, which it's really easy to get caught up in the, Oh, like US-based clients and they're doing this and they're doing that and they're making a hundred thousand dollars a month. But the cool thing about what we're doing over in the Philippines is we're taking people that were working at AT&T, Amazon, these big companies where they are just nobody, and they're just a number for them.
And if they don't hit certain metrics on a monthly call sheet, they won't pay them that month. And like, they don't have really any skills and we're not talking about the ones that aren't Upwork or fiber who know how to do it. We're actually taking it through a whole training process and allowing them and teaching them how they can work from home, just like we want to work from home right now as well.
And so, like, just recently I'm getting emails that are like, you know, thank you so much from these Filipino virtual assistants, that's like, thank you so much, the whole call center that I worked at for five years is shut down right now. But because we joined your program and were placed with the client, and that client is still in business because they're an online business, they're still able to work and feed their family right now, even in the isolation.
So that's the kind of impact that I'm talking about where I'm like genuinely like it actually makes me emotional thinking about our changing lives here and, and in the Philippines.
Mike Mark: [00:08:44]
That's cool. Yeah, and with the people in the Philippines, I mean, people on the outside who have no idea or any concept of what you're doing, they will attack you and say stuff like, you know, you're taking advantage of people in third world countries and blah, blah, blah, and like they don't really understand what these people have to go through on a day to day basis.
It's like, they'll drive four hours to go to that BPO work center. They'll work a 12-hour day and then they'll drive four hours back and they'll get paid less than $2 an hour to work at the BPO center. And then here you've given them the opportunity where, yeah, they're making $3 an hour, but they're doing it from the comfort of their own home.
They bought back four hours of their life commuting. They're working where they have a lot more flexibility and control over their schedule. They're able to spend the time with their family. They before that was nonexistent. Their kids did part of it probably didn't even know who they really were almost, unless it's the weekends and like when you can really see that change too.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:09:43]
Yeah. It's insane too because, and you've nailed it. And I know you've worked over there, cause he even said BPO. Most people don't even know what a BPO is. So like, I know that you know, the industry over there and yeah, it's like, you know, my, our, essentially call center virtual assistant for my own company, and she worked for ATNT and she was sick for three days and she missed her call quota by three, by three calls.
And they didn't pay her that BPO didn't pay her for that entire month. Right. So it's just.
Mike Mark: [00:10:08]
Ravi Abuvala: [00:10:08]
It's insane how, yeah, you're right. For people on the outside, they don't think it's [inaudible], but like we are, I'm not, not me, but my team and everybody over there is literally changing lives over there. And the coolest part about it is like, so my birthday was last Sunday, and, we, my team in the Philippines, they're on lockdown and it's illegal for them to get together.
But on, if you guys look at my Facebook, you'll see I posted something. We had a daily meeting with our team the other day, and they got together like 30 or 40 of the people that we've placed before in the local area and the training center, and they literally threw a party for me in the Philippines with a birthday cake and all that stuff.
And so it's like, you know, if you're on the outside, they're like, Oh, you're taking advantage of these people, but I dare you to message these people and just say like, do you feel like you're being taken advantage right now? Because we're literally training them on skills that, that eventually they could even start their own business that they want as well.
So just like anything else, most people that don't understand something, they just make assumptions. But if you actually dig a little bit deeper, you can see that it's really incredible work that these people are doing and who was part is we placed them with really great people in the United States or the UK or Canada, that like you're building a real business with real people and it's just a lot more refined that way.
Mike Mark: [00:11:16]
So clearly you have the virtual assistant thing down to a science. What are some of the most common mistakes people make when they go to hire virtual assistants?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:11:26]
Yeah, great question. So the first thing that I noticed is like if you go to like Upwork or Fiverr or anything like that, you can get incredible people there, do not get me wrong.
And I actually still, people think that I'm like, I ban those sites. I use those sites all the time. If I need like a one-off graphic design or I need like a one-off something where like it's a specialized skill where it wouldn't really make a whole lot of sense to train somebody on it, then I'll pay five, seven, 10, 15, $40 on Upwork or fiber to get that thing done one time.
But the issue was that. The people in Upwork and Fiverr, there are business owners, so they're not your employee, so if you go under or whatever it is, they don't really care to be honest with you. They have plenty of other clients that they can move to and work with. You know, it's like, I used to work, we use closers.
I didn't work with me full time. Right. I was just like one of the closer’s clients. And when that's the case, they're not as invested in, dedicated to you. And one of the biggest things I've learned about having like fully dedicated employees under the virtual assistants, closers, CEO a COO, is whatever it is, is that in their free time, they're thinking about ways to optimize your business and thinking about ways to make yourself better and researching stuff.
And the free time of Fiverr VA's or Upwork VA’s, wherever it is, they're thinking about how can I make money from somebody else? so I just think there's a huge different mentality shift between those two types of people. If they live and die by your check, they're going to do everything that they can to increase that profit margin for you and for your company, et cetera, et cetera.
So that's probably the first thing that I see is going out to those instead of getting an in house one. And then the second one that I see just way too often is, just they think it's the virtual assistant's fault, but more often that's not. What I see is, people not having a really clear set of instructions on what they want them to do.
I mean, more often than not, I talk about it in my video sales letter. It's like, getting a virtual assistant and hiring one before you actually know what you want them to do. And then getting upset at them for not doing it right is like telling a waiter that you don't really care what you eat for dinner.
And then when they bring it out to you, you throw it in their face, right? It's like, how am I gonna have any idea what you want? And so the secret in that is like. Come up with, we call them KPIs. Obviously, you know what it is, key performance indicators and it's like deciding what do you want them to do? And we don't like to do like emails sent out a day, cold call Sunday cause those are really just like pump and dump numbers almost.
We like more like how many quality conversations did you have, how many appointments were booked, you know, that those kinds of numbers. If you can say, Hey, look, I'm hiring you for, I want you to generate 10 appointments a week using cold email. Here's the way that I want you to do it. Do you have any questions about that?
They say, no. Then you can start working together and build a relationship. But most people are just like, I want 10 appointments a week. Alright, go. And the way the Filipino culture works is like, they're very prideful people. And they also never want to upset you. So they would rather not ask you for help and not send it when they don't know how to do something cause they think that you might get upset at it. So you just have to make sure the lines of communication are super clear. And we've even gotten to the point where like my virtual assistants will correct me when I make mistakes, which I always mentioned them.
I'm like, thank you for literally showing me that I did this wrong, like, and I, and I built that trust up over a year and a half with these people. So yeah, just having really clear expectations, really clear communication, and then hiring someone who's an employee in your company, a team member, a family member, versus just like an outside contractor.
Mike Mark: [00:14:41]
Interesting. And. I really liked the idea of what you're saying with someone who's fully dedicated to you. That's like, it's interesting for us because in the sales side of things, there's like this messaging that's being put out there, and that's kind of [inaudible out that these sales reps needed to go get their own business.
They need to not depend on any one business owner, but. It's not about, and this is kind of what I said back to the person when we were talking about, it's like monogamy is healthy, right? Like there's a reason why have monogamous relationships exist in the world. It's that because it's healthy and if you find a situation where you're both far better off in this situation than any other situation, is that really stupid and dependent and slavery?
No. That's a choice. They chose to be there and you chose to be there and if you're both making that choice to be together and to contribute towards the greater cause. Right. Cause it's also about like, like what you pointed out is that. They're spending time thinking about ways to grow the business, but, and especially if you make the business about something more than you and your own financial interests and your own financial freedom, like most business owners, you guys, if you're in here, you probably started your business to become financially free and you sat with the calculator and the napkin and you calculate it.
If I get five clients and they're each worth five grand, then I make 25 grand a month, and you did your client money math, right? But, after a given level, you can't retain people to want to spend their waking hours when they're in the shower, when they're driving, when they're on the weekend, when they're doing stuff that's outside of their typical working hours, they're not going to contribute that time towards your financial freedom.
They're going to contribute it towards something that's meaningful, that's bigger than all of us, and you have to be a leader and show them that. And I think when you talk about it Ravi, you do a great job because it's like your team members can see. And even I want to highlight something you did, which is you deferred the credit.
You know, like I gave them, well, my team gave these people the jobs and you even corrected yourself when you started saying that because it's like they can see the impact of the work that they're doing. So they spend their waking hours trying to figure out how to do more work and do it better and faster and create more leverage. And it's just like, so.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:16:58]
Well said. That's honestly one of the best ways I've heard of a breakdown of that and I'll even add onto that as well. One of the number one questions I get is like, Ravi, how do these virtual assistants work for you for $3 to $5 an hour and you're making 400 grand a month, right?
Are they going to steal your sauce? Are they going to run away? Whatever it is, and it's because we've, like you just said a second ago, we built a family and a company that's not, if it's AF, if everyone there is after $5 then the sales guys are going to be gone soon. The virtual system is going to be gone soon.
The account manager's going to be gone to them. If everyone's just out for dollars, then yeah, if it's a purely money-driven company, then yes, you would have an issue with only paying someone this amount of money with, but like it's, you know, the messages that these people get every single day, even the ones in the Philippines, the one that they get from the people that they're working with, to place them with jobs.
I mean, it's emotional. We'll read them on our date, on our weekly meetings every single Monday. Some of the emails we get from other virtual assistants, and so that's like so fulfilling for them. I mean, they're like, they're like people in there, in the Philippines, in [inaudible] city. They're like regarded very highly because of what they're doing for our clients and in our clients and like our sales reps, like some of the incredible guys that we got from you.
Like they get messages from guys that are like, I cannot believe we broke through this like, and, and my, my guys non-included inside the program and not, I didn't ask them to do this, will like get on a one on one call the people that they close and help them with sales training and help them with whatever else it is because they just thoroughly want to see them succeed.
I'm not paying them any more money for it. Like that's, that's the truth. I'm not paying them any additional money for that extra one on one time, but they see the bigger picture and they see the value inside of it. And I'm just super, super blessed. There's a great book. I just made it to my roommate, Jeff.
But there's a great book called Good to Great by Jim Collins, and it's like when you can get the right people. So I am, I tell you what, I am literally, it's not that I'm trying to be like humble. My team is unbelievable right now. We have it so dialed in and like, the reason that is the case is because I read that book and I realized how important really great team members are.
And so like, yeah, that's, it really all boils down to that. It's like having a community and our culture at your business where it's like. It's not about money. Look, we all love making money. Don't get me wrong, but it's like the impact and the change changing the lives is first, and then it's like, great. And then we get paid at the end of the month for it as well.
Mike Mark: [00:19:13]
Yup. And I think that when you also spend time to educate your team members is another big part of it, right? Like, I imagine you spend a lot of time educating your team members. I didn't know internally for us, we, I do this a lot where I teach our team accounting, so even if they're not an accounting person, they understand that when we make a certain amount of money, they know where all the money goes.
They know who gets kind of what, and like they have at least some general idea that it's not like, there's a person who's running off with all the money and then they're getting there, they're sitting there getting screwed. They understand that like what we make in revenue trickles through the rest of the business, that the business has its own cash on hand demands and needs, and so we have to prioritize those demands and needs to make sure we have the cash on hand so that the business can then continue reinvesting into growth to continue getting better than everybody else, to continue beating our competitors to continue really like, actually doing the work that we're here to do, and when they all see that, it, I think you get a different person on your team then when you just kind of keep them in the dark all the time.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:20:23]
Yeah, I agree a hundred percent. And on top of it, it's like, you know, like you just said it really well, it's going to go, it's not like anybody's running away with all the money, right.
Like, so the other day I posted on my birthday, we rented a bunch of Ferrari's. We drove around and like I posted like, should I buy this Ferrari? And everyone's like, yeah, I was never going to buy a Ferrari. I'll tell you the variety here, this like, right? Cause like I, that's not who I am. And that's not what I would do.
But it's like, my team sees that like, you know, we're putting all the money that we're making right back into the business and ads and hiring coaches and hiring consultants and working with people like you to make our process even better and more defined. So it's like they get it.
And like, even right now. I set the interpretation when, when COBIT hit, I set the expectation like, look, right now advertising costs are down like we can, our CPMs are super low, so what I'm going to do right now is I'm just going to put the pedal to the absolute metal and I don't want to go on the red, but the four one to one on, on expenses and cash in between buying assets and advertising and paying for like coaching programs and email lists, all that stuff.
I'm totally fine with that. And so I said the explanation in the beginning, like, Hey, we're going to be picking up speed right now and we're not going to be slowing down. And it's okay if we don't even make money this month because I just want to capture as much attention as humanly possible. And for the first two weeks, that's what happened.
Other than the last two weeks, it ends up being one of the best cash of months we have ever had so far. And there's just, cause I put it pedal to the metal on it. And my team was behind us the entire time. So yeah, it's a big part. My team in the Philippines, they pay payroll to themselves and they pay it to the sales team and they paid the whole C level executives.
She, cause she was from, Meljane and she was from me with me and my first employee from a year and a half ago. So she has asked my PayPal all my stuff. So she's paying out our top salesperson and she's paying out, you know, the virtual assistant that she works with. And so she sees the discrepancy and money there.
But also the other really great thing as well as like, I think people inside of our company, at least they understand like the value they add versus the money that they get back and like instead of saying, Hey, I want more money, I've had team members come to me and say, Hey, how can I add more value so I can get a percentage of profit or so I can whatever it is.
And they come to me, ask me for more responsibilities. And like when people come to me like that, I'm always like, let's figure this out versus someone just like, Hey, I want more money, or I'm leaving. Then I'm like, all right, well then this is obviously about money for you, so then you can leave.
Mike Mark: [00:22:43]
Yep. That's, that's an interesting distinction too because I, I do like, there are a lot of salespeople, cause you know, obviously, that's our zone of genius is dealing with salespeople.
A lot of salespeople come with this, like pay me more or I'm out of here, almost like a threat type of offer. And it's like. First of all, buddy, I don't respond well to threats. So that's not gonna work. And second of all, like, do you understand accounting? Do you understand the economics and the unit economics of the business?
Do you understand these things? Cause I don't think you do, otherwise you wouldn't be asking for more money. You would already know that you get paid more than the CEO of the company. Like in a lot of the sales reps that we work with get paid more than the business owners or the CEOs. They just don't know that cause they don't understand the math, you know.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:23:30]
And there's so much of a culture fit too as well. It's like the guy we, so I'm gonna give you an example. We hired another rep and we made the mistake and I didn't go through you. Right. This is somebody else that was like a referral from somebody else and like there's so much I know. I know, but this is, I ate it, right.
I'm eating my own words right now. Cause like it was just, someone else was like, Hey, this is the guy who's looking for work and we needed somebody. And it was like, just be quick. And so I did it. And like, you know, it kind of crashed and burned and it crashed and burned on my own face. And like, we spent a lot of time and energy investing in this guy and like, he wasn't, never turned his camp.
And these are little things, right, but never turned his camera on whenever we're doing our daily meeting calls, never asked any questions, never gave any opinion, never laughed at any jokes, never joined in any of the Slack channels, like banter or whatever it is, like totally removed himself from it all.
And then, we were doing payouts and, I usually do payout at a certain time, but because I was traveling, I didn't get to do it to later on that night. And the first message I've ever gotten to him from him for 30 days, it was like, where's my money? Where's my money? And I was just like, ah, this is just the wrong kind of fit right inside of our culture here.
So like I let them go because it was just like. Like, I was going to pay the guy, trust me. I've never missed paying any one of my employees. And I was traveling, I was on a plane. But, it's just interesting how you have to, and you don't really understand it until you have employees. And like until, and I think Mike, the cool thing about you and I is that like not only do we have our own employees, but we're dealing with other employees of other companies as well, right?
So we have a super unique insight onto, what makes really great employees. I think I'm really blessed for both. We're really blessed to have that observation. And so like, before, I probably would have kept that guy on just because he was producing cash and I was like, yeah, whatever. We still want to make money.
I'll deal with it. But now it's just like I would rather have fewer people make less money and just have more fun and more of like a cultural and family fit and like, let me just get as many bodies on this company as humanly possible so we can just suck in as much cash as possible.
Mike Mark: [00:25:21]
Yeah, that's an interesting distinction you've made cause it's like, we do have a lot more data on what makes teams work and what makes teams not work. And like asking the questions as to, you know, from a leadership perspective, why did this break down? And from a team member's perspective, why did this break down? And I think like some of the things too with, with culture, culture is really interesting because.
Culture is so nebulous, right? Values are very nebulous and you don't really know what your culture is until you start adding people in and then you watch your culture reject them. Right? Your culture is its own organism in a way, and your business's its own organism. And it starts to eject people naturally.
Like they just, you ain't supposed to be here. And everyone knows it and it's, it's really weird.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:26:09]
I actually like it a lot and I've never heard of it. And so, like, like in a [inaudible] people, but that's so very true. And it felt like the guy that I was talking about, and he's a great guy. There's nothing wrong with them. Like, you know, but it just, it did feel like he wasn't supposed to be, it just felt like we were forcing the relationship almost.
And like, you don't have to do that in business. You really don't have to do that. And, and I think Joel Kaplan, I know he was just on here as well, like, him and I have done business a few times and a bunch of different things. And one time he told me like. Like with him and I literally buy stuff from each other all the time.
And like one time I was like, isn't that funny how like most people like giving away stuff for free to their friends and they said it really well. He's like, if you can't do business with your friends, then like what's the point of it? Right. And I think that's really true. Like, like I honestly really cared about all the people inside of my company.
Like I would have them sleep over at my house. Like everybody in the company, they could sleep in my houses and black out. Don't bother me at all. And for me it makes me love work so much more when that is the case, when I like just really care about those people and they really care about me. And then that makes me want to work more inside of it, which in turn makes us more money.
So yeah, it's an interesting cycle, but that's really, I'll have to remember that the cultural objection people, cause that's actually a hundred percent of what happened.
Mike Mark: [00:27:20]
Yeah, it's cool. It's cool to watch it kind of develop itself in a way, and then, then I feel like we aren't even creating the culture. We're just curating the culture, right? Like the culture. It's almost like we're like, gardeners that have to tend to this garden and the gardens growing on its own, and we're just here to kind of observe what naturally is growing and then help it grow in the direction that it's supposed to, as in like trim out things and kind of a, you give certain things a little bit more light in.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:27:52]
You're really good with damn metaphors. I'll tell you that. The funny thing is that I, some part of this like a high level mastermind, like eight-figure entrepreneurs inside of it. And I went to this eight-person event, the first one I went to and I just paid like, you know, it was almost 40 grand. And so we go to this thing and I'm sitting down there and the first day, the guy, the only thing he talks about is values, values, and culture.
And this was like a nine, eight, nine months ago, and I'm like, dude, get to the fucking ads. Get to the funnels, like can we get to the point? Part where it's like, you know what, what's the often paid secret? What's the email automation secret? And it really wasn't at the end of the thing. He was like, you guys should get these books and you'll understand this more.
And he talked about, this one right here, which is Sam Walton's, makeup, Making In America, Made In America, excuse me. And then, Jeff Bezos had The Everything Store. And both those guys are so, like so much culturally driven and values-driven inside of their company. That's how they're so successful in the end.
Even when, cause Amazon, you know everything about Amazon, like Jeff Bezos, they're high-level executives. They pay for parking at the Amazon campus. And they, for the longest time was Sam Walton when they were making multi like eight or nine figures. They're high-level executives were flying. Hmm. I'm a first-class and they did not have a private jet.
And so it's like, why would you when you know that the company's making so much money and you know that the owner has all this money, that it's worth all this much on this stuff, why would you agree to do a sit in a shared hotel room with six guys? That's what happened with Sam Walton when they went to the New York trade show. Six guys, six grown men in one hotel room, and they all float a coach over there.
And that's because you, you share the same values. And so like that's one thing that we're looking for inside of our company and is like, do they share the same values as us? Right? So like frivolous essentially, where it's like, I think that frugality breeds creativity, so it's like they're not just like, Oh yeah, so we have a 65 profit margin, percent Bravo, so should we buy a bunch of software or should we care a little bit more about like.
How we're spending the money that we have right now. How can we increase the profit share more and more and like honesty and communication and these things that are just needless buzzwords? You think that people just say to say almost like the impact or that we talked about earlier, but if you actually have an interview with people and you write that down and you hang it up in your virtual office or whatever it is, and you say it every single meeting, it does like just, it adds a fuels to that culture and just starts creating a culture and at some point of your company becomes big enough.
You can't do the hiring process anymore. Like it's just gonna be impossible to see everyone who gets hired at Amazon. So that's why it's like the first few people that you hire inside of your company need to really embody that culture and those values that you have. Because there's a good chance that those people are eventually going to hire the next set of people.
And if they are not in the same values that you are, then eventually those people are going to have not the right values. And then, but you keep them on board so that those people are not gonna have the right guys. And the next thing you know, you have this monster, this literal monstrosity. People that you hate to be around that don't share the same values, but you're literally so engrossed in it that you can't get out of it.
And so for us, I used to live in that culture, which just this like super boring word that like didn't really mean anything and I just want to make a million dollars per month, but now I know that I will never even get to the million-dollar a month Mark without the right culture inside of our company.
Mike Mark: [00:31:02]
Yeah. That's interesting. So in the process of you starting to evolve and starting to delegate more and more and more. What, what was like one or two major epiphanies that you had? You know, outside of culture and some of the stuff that we've talked about. What were sort of these like things that maybe you bang, like we're banging your head against the wall, banging your head against the wall, and then you made this shift and kind of had up, Oh my God, this thing's really working now?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:31:32]
So, and it's funny, I'm going to say them and everyone's would be like, Oh, that's so boring. But like, if anybody really knows what an epiphany is, it is just like, Oh yeah. Like it's like, it's like, it's like that was obvious the whole time.
Why did I not even really think of that? Right? It's like you just see something from whatever perspective. So like the first one, and I recommend everybody that's watching this, whether it's alive or the replay, whatever it is. And I appreciate you guys sticking around for this is, is like consistent and predictable lead generation.
So like one of the greatest things is, I know, I'm pretty sure you just got it. The same thing Mike, like your sales closers, should not be generating cold, new appointments, like absolutely. Like they should, that you need to think of your closers as like. Professional athletes, like professional athletes, they don't, they don't know where, they don't like look up hotels to stay at.
They don't look at the flights are going to stay at, they don't think about what food they're going to have, what exercises they're going to do. They just show up and someone else has all the work for them. And when it's time to perform, they perform. And that's really how we treat the people, the closures inside of our company.
And so like we have fully dedicated outbound sales reps who don't close deals, who generate appointments. Then we have ads and funnels and all that stuff as well. And so one of the biggest epiphany moments for me was having consistent lead generation separate from my closers and separate from referrals that are bringing in new business every single day.
So whether it's like sending three to 5,000 cold emails a day, whether it's LinkedIn, automation, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook ads, YouTube ads, LinkedIn ads, whatever it is, it's making sure, and this is something as the CEO of the company that I take on personally. I made sure that my sales reps' calendars are full every single day.
And so whether that is email blast, a warm lists, increasing advertising spend, you know, maybe lowering the barrier for people to book an appointment with us so we can have a little more appointments. Whatever it is, I just try to have consistent lead generation. And that is what has been the essentially J curve that has been our company.
And when we talk about a year ago, to now, has been that in two years, I have not had a day where we did not have lead generation going on. Right. And just over time, it compounds and compounds and our sales cycle is not like, you know, one call close. I don't want to say that those days are behind us, but I will say buyers are a little more aware and they are, you know, they do a little more shopping and have a little more questions, whatever it is.
So like our sales cycle can be five weeks long. And you know, if I just like do lead generation until we get somebody that's about to close, and then I wait for that person to close to do lead generation again, I'm just on this like roller-coaster ride. That's unbelievable. So that's probably the first epiphany moment that I had inside the company.
It was like, hire a virtual assistant or learn funnels or set up automation so that no matter what, your calendar is full every single day for either you to take calls or for your team to take calls.
Mike Mark: [00:34:09]
Yep. Makes sense. And I think, right. So most of the business owners listening to this too, they'll have this experience where if you've ever done 20 or 30 grand in a month and you've done it by yourself, especially, you know what it's like to be on the Seesaw where like one month, you're, you're making a lot of sales, and then you're like, Oh, snap, now I've got to go into fulfillment mode. And then you get 30 60 days later and then you got no sales and you're like, Holy crap, I got to get something fast to get sales. And then once you're on sales, you've got no work. And like you just keep going like this.
And if you ask your sales reps to do prospecting, it's the same thing. It's just a microcosm of that event, right? Because if they're closing and they're closing a lot, they're not going to be prospecting. And then if they're out prospecting, they're not going to be closing as much. And so you just have that Seesaw effect where you're like, eh, it's almost like a cartoon where you see them constantly trying to run back and forth either.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:35:04]
And. And my email list. I literally, I don't know if you saw my email this or not, or I'm on Facebook, but I just posted a photo that I drew the other day and it was literally like a roller-coaster like this, and it was like, you don't know when you're coming up the Hill right here and you're working hard on prospect and you're working a hundred possible.
They finally get to the top, you get a client, and then you started going down a little bit, and then you have the new fulfillment other then that client leaves you for whatever reason, right? COVID 19, their kid gets sick, they get a divorce, their house goes under anything. It doesn't have to be related to you.
All of a sudden that client leaves you and now you're back up on that prospect and didn't get in. And that was what my first like eight months in business was like. That's why I did $3,000 in my first eight months of business because it was just like I was doing everything myself and it was just this roller coaster ride.
I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now. Like I just wasn't healthy. I thought this entrepreneurship thing wasn't for me, and then it was like literally that epiphany aha moment, which was like. Well, what if I just get somebody else to do the stuff that needs to happen every day? Like the lead generation, that's easily outsourceable.
Right? Sales is not easily outsourceable. That's why you have a great job because you're really well needed. That's why we hired you inside of our company and it worked out really well because like that's not a really easy job to do, but, but someone that can send three to 5,000 emails that has the same messaging or LinkedIn messages, that's something that you can definitely have go out.
And even if, the quality is not incredible. If you can just get the quantity up in the beginning and then you can start running paid ads or whatever else it is in the backend, then you can really start getting some interaction. But most business owners, and I was doing this for a presentation an event I spoke at a few months ago, it's like the small business association said that if you are a Solopreneur, so you're the only person inside of your company that your company employees on average United States, you make $67,000 a year.
Right? So whatever that is a month, right? So was that five, six grand a month? And then if you have up to 10 employees, your average annual revenue in the United States is $5 million a year. So literally at the 10 employees, the difference is just the number of employees at the number that they looked at.
And obviously there's a bunch of different variables in there, but the point being like. You can not do it all by yourself and you will burn out so fast and to do it all by yourself. And I think the quickest way you can get places is number one, hiring people and the number two, hiring coaches.
Those are the two biggest things that changed my life and everything that I do cause the coaches part, like I worked with you, I knew plenty of people that could have been sales guys like, but I was like, look. And I actually talked to you when I was in, Spain. I was living in…
Mike Mark: [00:37:27]
Ravi Abuvala: [00:37:28]
Yeah, yeah. On the call, and, I forgot who referred you to me, but, you were like, I knew.
Well, I did my homework and I was like, this guy is awesome. And we got on the call and I was like, look man, I don't want to do the whole training. I don't want to find them. I've had problems with before, like, can you just speed me up to the end part? And you're like, yeah, we can do that. And that's literally exactly what I did.
And all the guys that you gave me, we still have a year later inside of our company right now. And guess what? The exact thing that I was talking about earlier about people like. Well, spending their free time working on your business instead of trying to find somebody else. That's exactly what the guys you gave me.
We just had our daily meeting this morning and like one of the guys like, Hey, this old offer, I used to work a while ago, they did this. I think you should do it as well. I was thinking about that yesterday on Sunday when I was on a walk and I was like, that's a fucking awesome idea, man. And I appreciate your feedback on that.
And like instead of him thinking about how am I going to make more money and how am I going to go start my own business using about how can you make our business even more efficient? So it all kind of plays together in that.
Mike Mark: [00:38:26]
Yeah. I, that's like the greatest thing ever when you hear that. It's like, yeah, I was in the shower, I was thinking about this or I was up, I was up last night, I couldn't sleep and I was thinking about this.
It's like, yes, love hearing that. Cause like that's a good indication that your team members are actually invested in the journey and like in going on the process of scaling with the rest of the team. So I think we're kind of touching on it. You said something about how like, hire out the predictable marketing stuff that's easily higher-out-able and then stuff that's not easily hire-out-able, like a salesperson.
Hunter S asks the question here, he said, I'm currently at about 50 clients. A full schedule for sales. So it sounds like he's done the predictable marketing thing, hiring a sales guy soon. Number one, where do I find the best? Number two, what kind of payment structure do I set in place? Recurring or flat commissions.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:39:22]
So, so your two options when it comes to closers, and I'll give you both of them. I'll give you the free option, the cheaper option. I'm gonna give you the paid option. So the free option is you just go on your social media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and maybe an email list, if you have one and you say, Hey, I'm looking for a closer. These are the qualifications. If you go to my, you can even go to the ClickFunnels Facebook group and type in my name and you'll see I used to post hiring closers in there and you can just say, Hey, I want them to do this, this, this. They're gonna have this many appointments a week.
This is our company. Apply here. And you go through the application process. I've never paid my closures any kind of draw, meaning no salary. It's only commission-based. If there are too many closers out there for you to ever pay any kind of draw, in my opinion, you can find really quality people for just commission.
And so they kind of live and die by your company. and, and that's not so that you can have more money to be greedy. That's so you can increase what's known as a cost per acquisition. So you could pay more money for you to get a client versus if you have more and more expenses than you can't pay as much as your competitor.
So, so the first way is free. Just leverage your personal brand post out there. That's what I did for a year. I got a bunch of Dan locks people. I got a bunch of friends, whatever it was. And they just didn't have the right mentality. And it was, it was almost a roller coaster thing, again. And the worst thing in the world is to onboard a team member and trying to start with 'em and then it just like, it goes down and then there were…
Mike Mark: [00:40:42]
Four months later. Yeah.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:40:44]
Yeah. That's just so much time. And if you're spending money on ads too, it's like you're spending money for these people to mess up. Right. So it's like an absolute nightmare. And so that's what we did. And look, I got to almost 30 grand a month, before I, I started working with the paid version and the paid version.
It's just like for the virtual assistants inside scaling with systems, and it's just like a lot of other stuff. It's finding someone who finds and trains these sales reps and puts them through a qualification process and does all the bullshit that you don't want to, and then hand you over to the liver, the finished product.
And obviously Mike does that. And that's who I reached out to and the difference is this. And the choice between the two comes down to this. If you have a lot of money, you probably don't have a lot of time and that's when you hire someone like Mike to do the stuff that takes up the most time. I might find those salespeople, train the salespeople, make sure they're up to par, understand the commission structure, whatever it is.
But then if you don't have a lot of money, you probably have a lot of time. And so then you can do it all yourself, right? So if you're doing 50 clients, we're probably making a little bit of money. I don't think there's any reason why you wouldn't hire someone like Mike to kind of help you avoid that, the kind of roller coaster ride that you did.
And that's why I would recommend that. And then for commission, we pay a flat 15% commission for every single one of our sales reps. it doesn't matter who they are, what they do, and there's no draw on top of it.
Mike Mark: [00:41:57]
Cool. Love it. And one of the things, too, is it depends, obviously if it's, this is your first business and it's your only business.
If you have a lot of time and you can take the free option, then that means you probably don't need to hire out sales yet. if this is your second, third, fourth business and you already have another one that's set up, then that's a different situation. But even if you have a lot of time, you're probably better spent using that time for things like, you know, big JVs acquisitions, like even like million-dollar things, not, something like going and finding salespeople. So that answers his question. There are a couple more questions before we wrap up. But, this has been awesome. We, I feel like the conversations and like what we're talking about it, we've gone deep, like really deep.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:42:46]
Talking about cultures and values on this call at all, and then we got really into it. Yeah, it's been fun so far. Ah. Oh. So Forrest
Mike Mark: [00:42:53]
asks, when do you know that you're ready to hire a VA?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:42:58]
Awesome question. I made the joke that if you're thinking about hiring a VA, you know, for $3 an hour, you might as well just go hire a VA.
Right? Yet, I love virtual assistants because it's such a low barrier to entry inside of like the employer-employee relationship. They're probably going to be your first employee at $3 an hour. You don't have any health insurance, you don't have dental insurance, you don't have HR. So it's like, what do you have to lose? Like inside your company to hire somebody like that?
Like maybe a little bit of time but I, you learn so much about yourself and I put a really great post a while ago when I was talking about like, I truly believe you would go a bit better business owner when you have employees, right? Your, your people depend on you, right? Like during COVID, I didn't like, lay out and watch Netflix every day.
I told myself I wasn't gonna let go of any of my employees and we're going to figure out how to make more money now than we were before. So like, I kicked my shit in gear cause people were relying on me. So I think that you should hire a virtual assistant as soon as humanly possible. The only time I wouldn't necessarily hire a virtual assistant would be if like, you didn't, if you don't know who you're targeting, and if you don't know what you're offering, like then, then there's no point. A VA is not going to help you figure that out, but if you know who you're targeting, what you're offering and what your messaging should be, and maybe where they hang out, then the very least they can do is start sending messages out every single day or start getting you booked appointments.
Or even what you can do as well that I love about virtual assistants is it forces you to systemize your entire company. So like not only the lead generation process but the backend fulfillment process, right? So like, do you offer a hundred things to a hundred different people? It just depends on whatever they want.
Well, hiring a virtual assistant forces you to bring it down to one to two things. That's a duplicatable process. Copy and paste over and over and over and over again. And so like that's the benefit of it. And that's what I hadn't a prospect social. We used to offer real estate agents, website design, social media, graphics, posting, you know, ads, funnel setup.
And then we literally boil, when I had to train him, I was like, every time we sell something that I don't already have training for the virtual assistant, I have to stop everything I'm doing and then train the virtual assistant on how to do this. And is it just a one-off project or is this going to happen with more clients?
So instead I told my sales guys and I set myself, we're going to offer a one, we're only going to offer buyers and we're only going to run these two campaigns using Facebook ads. And I went from a six-hour set up for my backend fulfillment for real estate to 15 minutes. And it was unbelievable that a virtual assistant could do it.
So long story short answer to that question. It's pretty much now, honestly, you don't really have a whole lot to lose. And I just think it makes you a better and more efficient business owner.
Mike Mark: [00:45:25]
The other thing I think like what you guys do, that's really amazing. I was having a conversation about this like last week.
I think most business owners, they make the mistake of they go, shoot, I need someone to do this low dollar per hour activity so I could focus on higher dollar-per-hour activities. So I'm going to hire someone. to go help me get my laundry or schedule this appointment or book my travel, or schedule this thing with this doctor. Or like things like that.
And the sneaky little thing about that is it basically what you do if you do that is you accelerate your expenses. And like I did that at first. And most people I know do that first, they delegate all of these like things of like ordering food and booking travel and things that they don't want to do and basically I'm spending money to have someone spend money and they are able because now it doesn't require my time to spend money.
They can spend a lot more money, a lot faster. So it was like, this is actually totally not working.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:46:26]
And I've never heard that before. That is unbelievably true. I've never even heard that. That's awesome. Yeah, you're right. Like they should be focused on money to interactive hot, like spending money activities.
Mike Mark: [00:46:36]
Yeah. Yeah. Cause everybody's like, Oh, I don't want to do my laundry. I don't want to order food or whatever. But it's like, yeah, what you do is you've set them up to where it's like, okay. You already got the systems to train them, to onboard them, to get them going, and then you just point them at the thing that's going to generate more money.
And then like that's why your students get such good results is because they're, they're bypassing that mistake altogether and then they're bypassing the need to build out and like set up all these systems. So now they're able to just generate more money and they are actually stepping into higher dollar-per-hour activities.
But the low dollar per hour activities are getting done. So it's like the actual whole tide rises, so their boat gets bigger.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:47:19]
Yeah. And you definitely shouldn't hire a sales rep before you have consistent appointments. Like you should be your own sales rep for the longest time that you, in my opinion, the longest time that you possibly can be a sales rep and record every single one of your calls and understand all the objections and all of that stuff.
And so in order for that to happen, you need to spend all your time on calls, and so you need to have somebody else sharing with you all the appointments. Right. The biggest mistake that I see people make too when hiring sales reps, it's like. Oh, I don't like to sales, so I'm going to without any appointments, anybody on there, I'm going to hire somebody to be a sales rep, a commission only.
I'm gonna tell you guys a secret. Like, and the funny thing is, so we use Mike Mark inside of our program as like a really big referral partner. We send them a lot of business and like he denies a lot of the business that we send over his way. They're really particularly who they work with because it's like if you have a really great closer, a really great salesperson, they're not going to work with somebody that doesn't have a consistent set of appointments.
So if you think you're the, and that's the lesson that I learned. I thought that I was like, the best businessman in the world. Cause my first closers I ever got to convince them to do just commission on 10% only. But then I realized that if you have a closer that's working for you for just 10% commission and one appointment a week, they're probably not a really great closer or they'd have another gate somewhere else.
So you need to make sure that part of that site is down those lead generation tactics. That kind of sip is systemized and automated so that you can look at hiring the bigger generating delegation, which would be like six.
Mike Mark: [00:48:39]
Love it. man, this has been awesome. It's been a blast. And, it just genuinely, it's been really cool to see your progression from, you know, when we talked, it was like June or July, late June, early July.
If I remember, and I think you're at 60 grand a month and you were going to go do the whole digital nomad thing and like. Then you really shifted gears. You bunker down, you got the house with the homeboys in San Diego and like to watch you go from that 60 grand a month into 400 grand a month at the speed with which you did it.
It is really inspiring and it's like, it's just been fun to see. I think as you've done the journey, the crazy thing is like people think that in order to do that, you have to have a worse and worse life. But at every level I see you grow, you have more and more fun, which is like for most people, counterintuitive but it's really cool to see that.
Ravi Abuvala: [00:49:35]
I appreciate you saying that brother. Yeah, man. I live in incredibly less life and it goes back to the team members that you have, that like are they allowing me to live the life that I want to live and I allow them to live the life that they want to live as well.
And it's a really beautiful and healthy relationship that I have with my guys. And yeah, look, I will say this, we do a lot of business with Mike because I'm very, very particular with who uses references inside of our company, especially inside of our coaching program. Anybody I refer out, I'm pretty much giving my word that that person's going to deliver.
And I will say this for everyone listening to this right now, I personally worked with Mike Mark, he's not paying me to say this, but if you guys are considering working with them, considering booking call with them, I would 100% recommend doing it. I literally never have to worry about where my next sales rep's go and coming inside of our company and the guys that he gave me we're so freaking top-notch, and they came with so much more experience.
And if you're a great business owner, you want to hire somebody with more experience in something than you do. So like, I just saw it as an example earlier. These guys have worked multiple other offers that were doing three, 4 million a month, and so they're able to tell me, instead of me having to pay a consultant, they're like, Hey, that's what these guys are doing. Three, 4 million a month. This is how their funnel was set up. This other backend was set up, whatever it is, and I'm just going to use all that knowledge.
And as a business owner, I'm like, thank you for that information. Let me implement it myself. So I want to do a big shout out. It's honestly, this relationship has been awesome, man. It's been a blast doing business with you, sending business to you. You send business to us as well, and I appreciate everyone that listened on this live as well. I hope you all got some value out of it.
Mike Mark: [00:51:04]
So where can people find you, especially imagine they want to get a VA, they're ready to start to get some more of their consistent lead gen activities done, and they're going to take your advice here. Where can they find you? How do they reach out to you best?
Ravi Abuvala: [00:51:17]
Yeah. So you can either look me up on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn.
I'm sure Mike will drop down my name below. It's just Ravi Abuvala, if you spell here, R A V I A B U V A L A, that's my Facebook name, my Instagram name, and my LinkedIn name. You can shoot me a message there. Let me know that you came from Mike. I was like, don't know where people come from and we hook people up and they do that.
And also if you're just a little more curious about like the VA process hiring, it. We get, I give away a free course and like where to find great virtual assistants, all that stuff. If you just go to scaling with systems.com just as it sounds, you can go there and we'll give you a bunch of free training and resources. You can see some student testimonials, and a little bit more about what we do.