How I Started A $290K/Month Business Strategy Consulting Company

$293K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
product
hellofuture
from San Jose, CA, USA
started January 2011
$293,220
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
2.74M
alexa rank
255
followers
1.22K
subs
market size
$250B
avg revenue (monthly)
$127K
starting costs
$15.8K
gross margin
90%
time to build
7 months
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
Consulting
best tools
WordPress, Hubspot, Instagram
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
tips
8 Tips
Discover what tools kalaboukis reccommends to grow your business!
productivity
blog
Discover what books kalaboukis reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Consulting Business

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Kalaboukis, I am a futurist and innovator. Over my career, I’ve worked with both major corporations and startups to futurize their enterprise, and envision, create, build and ship great, profitable new products.

I help humans and companies to forge their ideal future by teaching them to embrace the future instead of fear it. I do this via creating tools, workshops and educational materials, and personal or group coaching.

I’ve been in business for around 10 years, and have built a practice that works with both major corporations and startups in the technology, financial services, and retail space, with revenues around $293k per month. I’m named inventor on 122 patents and cited on 1181 patents in the internet, social networking, and fintech space, plus I’ve authored several books on innovation and the future and blogs and podcast at thinkfuture.com

how-i-started-a-290k-month-business-strategy-consulting-company

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

For as long as I can remember I always wanted to live in the future - and to be able to create that future. I distinctly remember reading science fiction novels under the covers with a flashlight, long after the rest of my family went to bed, reading about and imagining futures, and working to make those futures into a reality, and I was able to make that a reality. This drove me to work in tech - then I realized that the biggest sticking point people have about embracing the future is not the technology at all, it’s people.

We have met the enemy, and it is us. We constantly hold ourselves back from being the best people we can be and creating the future we want to have. We constantly question ourselves - we say “should we?” when we should just “do it”. This is how I believe people really are - either driving straight towards their ideal future or holding back due to fear - specifically the fear of change.

Do the Disney thing of repackaging your content in as many different forms as you can - if you wrote a book, turn that into a lead magnet, and a series of videos, and an online course, and a video blog and a podcast, etc.

For one company, I helped them build a patent portfolio worth between $1-4B. For another company, I increased their employee engagement by 20%. For another client, I generated $150M in new revenues from 50 new profitable products in a single 2 hours meeting.

At the time, I was working for a technology startup with fast dwindling funds. I realized that I had to do something about leaping into the unknown and pursuing my dream vision, and hellofuture was born.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

At first, I developed bespoke innovation programs for major corporations. As I worked with client after client, I realized that many companies make the same mistakes when attempting to innovate. The problem was never the technology or the tools, it was the people and the culture of the organization. I then developed a set of tools, workshops, and coaching to move people from their comfort zones and into a space where they can innovate without fear.

I wrote several books on innovation - but I realized that people and companies need one-on-one and group coaching as well and well thought out programs to help to drive culture change within the organization.

I also host an award-winning podcast “thinkfuture with kalaboukis” which runs on both YouTube and Apple Podcasts 6X a week - I’ve interviewed folks such as the author of the best-selling book “The Click Moment” Frans Johansson and Ford Saeksof PrimeConcepts

Describe the process of launching the business.

I had a little strategy - it was more of a revelation: that the biggest obstacle people have to move towards their ideal future is the fear of that future - that the fear that that future will be worse than what they are doing today. My startup was failing - so I started calling around to everyone I knew.

I was not a salesperson. I was an engineer. I didn’t know the first thing about sales. So I had no idea of what to do. So I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to do on a sheet of paper, and came up with a company name. I got the domain and then signed up to create a WordPress website. I bought a theme and created my first website.

I didn’t know anything about effective selling - so I just reached out to everyone I knew and just told them what I was doing. People were interested in what I was doing, and I started getting business - contract after contract just started coming in.

I was selling without selling. It was great. I learned that the most effective way to sell is to just come up with something that people need, then start telling them about it. No hard-selling required.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I have a very highly structured approach to lead generation. I have tried and given up on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc), AI-based lead generation, marketing companies, Facebook ads, other ads, networking, SEO, and partnerships. I have found that the internet is too noisy for these kinds of communications, plus my target audience is extremely niche.

I capture leads through research, of specific individuals and companies who I believe require my services. I then send a series of emails and other communications in a specific order and timeframe. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with an exclusive process that works great to pack my calendar with meetings.

I could tell you the exact process - but it's a trade secret.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

My business is highly profitable - but I spend a lot of time on it. My typical workday is 12:30 hours long. I get up at 5 am and am at my desk by 5:20, then I finish around 5:30 pm, although depending on the day, I will have calls with international clients in the evenings or earlier in the morning.

I’m attempting to offload some of my expertise to online courses and workshops, allowing me to refocus my personal hours on more high-ticket engagements.

As a private corporation, I prefer to not reveal the inner financial workings of my business, but suffice to say it is very profitable.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Yes, many, many things.

Most “marketing” doesn’t work. Everything you do has to lead to sales. Don’t waste time on social media. Automate as much of your work as you can.

Do the Disney thing of repackaging your content in as many different forms as you can - if you wrote a book, turn that into a lead magnet, and a series of videos, and an online course, and a video blog and a podcast, etc.

No matter what you sell - a direct personal connection with your customer is the most important thing you can have.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

WordPressfor my website, with the LaboratorKaliumtheme, hosted on Bluehost

I use Hubspotreligiously for its CRM and email marketing capabilities, all of my sales communications go through Hubspot which tracks everything.

Google Workspace for my email, calendar, documents and spreadsheets.

I use Asana for the task and project tracking, and a series of tools for developing my content: video editors, microphones, and Audacity for podcast production.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Anything from Robert Greene. Mastery, the Laws of Human Nature.

Horse Sense from Ries and Trout (a rare hard to find the book), The Click Moment by Franz Johansson, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and too many other books to mention.

For podcasts, the best are:

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

You need three things for your startup to succeed: demand: someone must be willing to pay for what you are doing, skill, you, or your business partner, must be able to skillfully create your product or service, and passion - because you may need to be going for a while before you see real results.

Don’t be afraid to pivot! Be single-minded in your approach - but be open to pivoting your business to what your customers want. Twitter, Nintendo, Flickr, and Slack are all pivots from the original company that the founders started.

Try not to waste your time - don’t be afraid to spend money to offload work that is better completed by others. Figure out how much your time is worth and if you can get someone else to do the work competently for less, don’t hesitate to delegate it.

Most “marketing” and “social media” are a waste of time. Experiment little and focus only on what works.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Looking for assistance in content creation.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
kalaboukis,   Founder of hellofuture
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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