How I Started A $10K/Month Innovative Online Marketing Referral Program

Published: October 7th, 2020
Gilberto Rosas
Maverick Media Lab
from Los Angeles, CA, USA
started January 2018
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi everyone! My name is Gilberto. I’m based out of Los Angeles and I am the founder of Maverick Media Lab. I started the company to make an impact and provide businesses with innovative online marketing systems that generate growth and more profitability.

Having worked for a digital marketing agency myself, I learned the ins and outs of what it takes to market local businesses. I leaped and branched out on my own to create services that would impact the lives of business owners and create a ripple effect on everyone around them.

Our flagship service is our Referral Connector System which is an entry point for businesses marketing in traditional means (newspaper ads, direct mail, etc) or simply businesses relying on referrals to be able to enter the online marketing space to generate more business without having to put down a large sum of money into advertising.

At the time of this interview, we’re currently at $10k/month at the time and projected to double that in the next 6 months from our advertising campaigns. We’ll be building out a sales time, hiring more virtual assistants, and pushing for multiple six figures in 2021.


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

Growing up in an immigrant family in the US, financial independence and success has always been something that was top of mind for me and that I strived for. It’s what kept me focused on my studies during school. Once I entered college, I began to explore what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that my personality complimented the entrepreneur route and as I began to explore the possibility it became more real to me. So I switched my majors from aerospace engineering to marketing and before starting my business I worked for a marketing agency as an intern where I learned the ropes all while attending college full time.

In that job, I refined my skillset and saw the behind the scenes behind a successful agency. Eventually, I left the job and leaped faith to start my business and within a month got my first client. That was the beginning of Maverick Media Lab.

Our core service is based on the Referral Connector Blueprint which is a 3 part process that helps a business generate more referrals without networking events, cold calling, or advertising. The idea for the Referral Connector Blueprint stemmed from listening to the market and what its needs were. I noticed a lot of competitors were doing the same thing which, in turn, has made the service of lead generation a commodity. Instead, we focused on using Linkedin and email (which are essential to any B2B business) and began to grow our clients’ businesses through referral partnerships.

Within 30 days I got my first client and it began to take off from there. I realized then that amazing things happen when fears are faced head-on.

We find their ideal referral partners, we do the outreach to those business owners and even book the appointment on our clients’ calendar. To add to that, we help them with the processes and systems to help them convert that meeting we set for them into a referral partner sends them businesses through our meeting framework process and unique value proposition analysis.

As I talked to many business owners I began to notice that there were common problems that came up for various business owners. I then sought out to create a productized service that solves a very specific problem for a specific type of client.

The problem for a lot of service providers is not having enough leads but also not having the proper funds, sales personnel, or process to handle online lead generation. So instead of jumping straight into online lead generation, which would require a complete revamp of their sales process, funnel buildout, and marketing plan, we took the best next step… we focused on getting them more referrals.

Referrals only come from two places: their sphere of influence (past clients, family, friends, etc) and referral partners. Eventually, your sphere of influence only has so many referrals they can give but the number of referral partners you can get is unlimited. At that point, we knew if we simply just increased their network of referral partners, a natural byproduct of that would be them getting more referrals… except now it would be more frequent, more predictable, and more diversified. And that’s how the idea for this service was born.

Describe the process of launching the business.

What I’ve learned from not only my mentors but from my own experience is that the success of an endeavor relies heavily on how fast you can turn an idea into profit. Once the offer was created, I began to book appointments with business owners to start pitching the service.

Having a mentor will be what I call a “feedback accelerator.” It’ll speed up the process so fewer iterations and less time are having to test and tweak.

That is the best feedback there is a sales conversation with a business owner. I knew instantly by the end of the first call that my market found this valuable but that was only a hunch, I needed to validate with numbers. After 10 calls, the feedback was great.

We would constantly be told that our product is different, that they had never heard of something like this and it is something that they need. Within that first month, we got a client for this service and it began to grow quickly from there as we began to refine the offer, the ideal client, and the prospecting system to book appointments.

I think the biggest mistake I’ve made in the past and what I’ve seen from others who have been at a similar point in the entrepreneurial journey, is the need to have everything perfect. When we had launched this offer, there was no website or testimonials. Yet we still got clients. It was the value and the sales process that made that happen, not the website. Had the offer not been the right fit, we would’ve wasted so much time creating a website, a logo, business cards, etc. All those things are nice to have but they are not prerequisites to a successful business.

I’ll give you another example in a different niche to bring the point home. One of my clients who’s a mortgage broker grew his business from 0-$450k in revenue in only 2 years and he had no website, no business cards, or any sort of online presence. He simply had consistency, steady lead flow, and a strategy that he refined and perfected for 24 months.

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

We use a multi-channel approach when it comes to getting clients. We’ve found that using Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and email has been the most effective in terms of client acquisition. Posting client testimonials, articles, case studies have brought us clients but also taking a more proactive approach and reaching out directly to business owners has brought us the most appointments and predictability in our lead flow.

At first, it was a bit frustrating but the biggest thing that created a breakthrough was knowing our niche, crafting a relevant message to that niche, tweaking and testing that message, and then being very consistent. Once these things were in place, we were off to the races and saw a consistent flow of leads coming in.

As far as retaining customers, we found that it comes down to results and relationships. Providing results is our #1 priority and alongside that is building these client relationships by providing support in any way that we can even if it’s outside of what we’re supposed to do.

Over delivering is an absolute must and I think that’s why our clients stay on for so long is because they’re profiting from the results and they also feel supported because we’ve got their back and we let them know that through our actions and words. Results alone are great but paired with building solid relationships...that’s what makes the difference between clients who leave right away and those who stay on for a long time.

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

Our most recent big change is expanding our reach to Canada where we're now taking on clients and implementing our systems there which has brought incredible results so far! We've also seen a dramatic increase in demand recently due to social distancing. Now that in-person networking events and conferences are not going on right now in 2020, there's been a lot of traditional business owners that were not using online platforms that are now beginning to find ways to leverage the internet to grow their business.

What I love about this business model is that it can be done from home and has exceptional margins. Since we offer a productized service (which means we have one offer to one niche) we’re able to streamline our process to the point where I have my virtual assistants take care of the service delivery while I focus on business expanding activities like sales calls, forming referral partnerships, and generating new ways of prospecting.

These are really exciting times and we're looking forward to not only the growth of our company but the growth of our clients' businesses as they grow with us!

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

There have been so many mistakes as you’ll probably hear from many others who will share their stories here. Mistakes are inevitable and they are a necessary part of the learning process. They are neutral. We get to assign the meaning of those mistakes. If we label it as bad, then we don’t learn from it and the business stays stagnant. OR we can choose to view mistakes as necessary and as opportunities to grow and as a result, the business will reflect that growth.

There was one thing that my mentor said to me that has always stuck with me and changed my actions in business. I’ll never forget it. He said “fear of failure stops a lot of people. What they don’t realize is that failure is necessary for getting to the next level. All it is is feedback. Therefore, fail faster. You’ll learn faster and by effect, get to your goal much faster. Fail faster.”

As far as what I did right, I would say that getting a mentor and investing myself has brought me the biggest return and saved me the most amount of time. I figured, why wait to make all the mistakes myself when others far ahead of me have already made them and know how to get past them easily. There will be mistakes either way, but having a mentor will be what I call a “feedback accelerator.” It’ll speed up the process so fewer iterations and less time are having to test and tweak.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

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

Reality Transurfing by Vadim Zeland - This book opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and viewing the world. For those with an open mind and hunger for learning, I highly recommend this book.

Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza - The journey of entrepreneurship will require a better version of yourself and reading this book (get the Audible version too) sheds light on how to transform into the person you were meant to be.

The Alchemist - I read this back in high school and it’s still one of my favorite non-fiction books. It’s perfect for anyone who is looking to start a business. There’s a lot of wisdom and golden nuggets to be gained from this book. I’ve read it twice now!

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

The biggest thing for me was leaping faith. I had once read a story of a Spanish conquistador who took his men to conquer new land that every other explorer had previously failed to conquer. To prevent that, he gathered his men when they arrived at the new land, told them to look towards the ocean, and gave the signal to burn the boats. He told his men that they would be leaving with treasure or they would stay to die. They ended up taking the land and the treasure.

I decided to leave my job and pursue entrepreneurship. Financially it didn’t make sense as I was a college student at the time and had a few months of savings. It required lots of courage and commitment. But ultimately, it came down to a decision to choose growth and freedom rather than stagnation. Within 30 days I got my first client and it began to take off from there. I realized then that amazing things happen when fears are faced head-on.

Now, I’m not saying to do anything to put yourself in the danger zone but simply stepping out of your comfort zone into the growth zone and having faith in yourself will take you very far ESPECIALLY in the beginning. The comfort zone has a very sneaky way of keeping us there, and you’ll know it’s happening when you catch yourself saying “someday” and “when I have X, then I’ll do Y.” It’ll require an act of will to fight against those patterns and realizing that lack of growth comes from choosing comfort for extended periods. Seek comfort and you’ll be uncomfortable. Seek discomfort and you’ll be comfortable.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

At the moment, we are looking for a commission-only sales rep to help with taking on appointments. This position is ideal for someone with at least 1 year of experience (ideally selling high ticket services) and a hunger to learn and constantly improve. If you’re a high ticket closer, send me an email and let’s talk.

Where can we go to learn more?

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