This is a follow up story for Boundless Labs. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Boundless Labs is an eCommerce email marketing agency that specializes in working with 7-9 figure eCommerce/DTC brands.
Since my last update, Boundless Labs merged with a paid social agency called Structured Social (March of 2020). We’re now operating under the name of Structured, however, most people in the industry still know us as Boundless Labs.
We were fortunate to have had a great year on the agency side. Our email division alone is averaging $157,000 per month over the last 12 months (we ~3x’ed our revenue since my initial post on Starter Story ~1 year ago).
In 2020, I also launched my own personal website and newsletter, ChaseDimond.com, where I’ve had over 100,000 people visit my site and consume my content. In October of 2020, I launched an ecommerce email marketing course to my newsletter subscribers and have done ~$300,000 on that course in ~4 months.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
As briefly mentioned above, we’ve grown our team, client roster, and revenue substantially in the past year. We now have ~30 full-time employees, 50+ clients, and averaged $157,000 per month in agency revenue (specifically for the email division of the business) over the last 12 months.
The goal of a great leader is to build other leaders.
We’ve been north of $200,000 per month in agency revenue (on the email division side) for the last couple of months, so we’re excited to reach our next milestone of $300,000 per month this year over the coming months.
We actually have the demand to surpass the $300,000 per month milestone at the moment, however, we’re obsessed with providing the highest quality service, that we have north of 2 dozen brands on our waitlist.
We are actively hiring new team members and training them to shorten our waitlist.
I’d like to dissect each of the three metrics that we’ve focused on:
1) Team Growth
We went from less than 5 full-time employees to 30 full-time employees in about a year. The biggest reason we’ve been able to scale is that we’ve focused on offering a single service (email marketing).
Additionally, we have 5 defined team roles (email marketer, designer, copywriter, account manager, and developer). Each of the department heads is responsible for the recruitment of new team members. By having this type of hierarchy, you allow the experts on each team to recruit people who’d be a perfect fit for their particular team. When a copywriter can recruit and interview other copywriters, you essentially are pairing two people who speak the same language. Whereas, if you had a copywriter trying to hire a designer, there would be a mismatch.
In-terms of sourcing talent, we have primarily been leveraging our network, LinkedIn job postings, and Facebook Groups.
We’re about to bring on an internal recruiter to assist each of the team leads with sourcing talent quicker and easier.
2) Client Roster Growth
One thing we noticed with a lot of our clients is that they’re serial entrepreneurs. They’ll typically bring one business over to us to work on, and as we prove ourselves, they roll us onto additional brands they own. This has been great for allowing us to scale our service to additional clients, without having to find a brand new entrepreneur for every business we want to onboard. By working with people we know and trust, onboarding additional brands from the same client are super seamless.
Another thing that we’ve been fortunate to experience is how supportive and vocal our clients are on social media. On a weekly basis, our clients will shout us out on their own posts or tag us on their network’s posts whenever anyone mentions needing a good email marketing team.
Here’s an example below (I didn’t screenshot the entire post, as it’d take up too much space).
One other thing that’s been super helpful for increasing our client roster was our merger with the paid social agency. That naturally leads to a lot of cross-selling of one another’s services.
We each had dozens of unique clients already, so teaming up, opened up the ability to pretty quickly and easily onboard new brands for email and paid social.
3) Revenue Growth
This is directly related to the client roster section above.
The main thing to add here is that as our demand has increased at a faster rate than our supply, we’ve been increasing our monthly rates.
For far too long, we were selling ourselves short with how little we were charging in-comparison to how much revenue we’re driving.
Only just recently did we go from being on the low end of the pricing matrix, to now we’re somewhere in the middle.
The sooner you can raise your prices as an agency, the better.
The more profit margin you create for your business, the better talent you can hire to work for you.
Outside those three things above, getting mentioned in articles like this one below from Business Insider have been clutch.
Additionally, I’ve been doing a ton of podcast interviews. The two biggest ones I did were both with Foundr Magazine which was monumental.
285: The Art of Mind-Blowing Open Rates, Email Flows, and Authentic Email Marketing, With Boundless Labs’ Chase Dimond (episode link here).
319: Chase Dimond Teaches You How To Crisis-Proof Your Email Marketing Strategy (episode link here).
Pivoting a bit from my agency to my personal website and newsletter. I’ve been putting out high-quality email marketing content for years on social media. The more content I produced, the more that people wanted even more.
I finally decided to launch my own website and newsletter to dedicate even more time and attention to it.
I can honestly say it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Fast forward to today, I’ve had over 103,000 people visit my website and read my content in a little over a year. I also have 9,000+ founders and marketers who subscribe to my free weekly email marketing newsletter.
After consistently publishing content on my website and to my newsletter for 6 straight months, I accumulated a list of over 100 people who expressed interest in purchasing any paid products I put together.
The main paid product I launched was an eCommerce email marketing course that’s done ~$300,000 on that course in ~4 months. 99% of these sales came organically (I’ve only just started with paid marketing where 1% of the sales have come from).
I also launched a second course as an add-on to my main course which has done about $29,000 in 2 and ½ months.
Outside that, I also have a paid weekly newsletter which does about $3,250 MRR.
So all in from my paid products, I’ve done just shy of $350,000 in revenue.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
For those starting out or even those sub $100,000 per month in revenue, here are the main things I’ve learned from scaling from $0 to $200,000+ per month in revenue (in about 2 and ½ years):
1) The quicker you can get away from leveraging freelancers and part-time employees, the better. You need to hire people that are all-in and committed to your business. I know in the beginning to get by, using freelancers and part-time employees is necessary, but the sooner you can move to onboard full-time employees, the better.
2) In-addition to bringing on full-time employees as soon as possible, it’s crucial that the quality of the people you hire is high, especially in the beginning stages. You need to hire people that are better and smarter than you. The goal of hiring a team is a) hire people to do the job(s) that you aren’t good at and b) the job(s) you don’t enjoy doing. Talented people can get expensive, however, they’re worth every single penny.
3) My last note on the team before talking about acquiring clients. I used to think my goal as the founder was to build followers at my company. That’s the wrong approach. The goal of a great leader is to build other leaders. I don’t want to have to be involved in every decision and when I was grooming my team to look up to me, I had to be involved. As soon as I was able to hire the right leaders and build them up, this allowed me to only have to make the absolute crucial decisions. All other decisions were decided by our team which is the most freeing thing ever.
4) Being able to remove yourself from the day-to-day is key. I used to spend my time split between servicing clients and doing business development. Now all my time is spent on business development. As a result of this shift, we haven’t had to do any cold email, cold calling, and so on. All of our business is now inbound. Inbound leads will close at a higher percentage, at a quicker rate, and at the price you name (so long as it’s reasonable). I’ve been able to make this happen by a) having great partners, b) ensuring that the quality of our work is best-in-class, c) being able to put myself out there and in-positions to be successful. I spend my entire day, every day, focused on creating content (website, newsletter, and social media), forming relationships with other service providers and platforms, and recruiting the right people.
5) Having a waitlist is actually a growth hack. We figured this out by having no choice but having to have a waitlist in the first place. We average about 5-10 qualified leads a week through what I mentioned above. There’s no possible way we can service all those leads promptly while maintaining quality control. So we’ve been telling people that we have a first-come, first-serve waiting list. The waitlist right now extends into April (~2 months out).
This has reinforced that we’re on the top of our game and has allowed us to really crush it and hit the ground running through ample time for onboarding.
6) As a retention-centric team, we’ve applied a lot of the same tactics that we implement into our client’s business, for our own agency. We’re extremely good at what we do and very thorough in our communication. We’re very transparent and honest with our clients. And we’re perfectionists so we always go above and beyond. By underpromising and over-delivering, our client retention is extremely high. A lot of our clients will stick with us for a year, year, and a half, two years, and we even have some that have been with us since we launched about 2 and ½ years ago.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
One of the main reasons we merged our two agencies was to build a powerhouse of an agency that we could eventually sell to a larger agency or PE shop in a few years.
After having run the newly formed agency for close to a year, we’re now unsure of whether or not we want to still sell the business.
We’re torn, as on one end, selling the agency in a few years would be a massive achievement. However, on the other end, we’re building something that produces great cash flow and it’s opening up the door for us to launch additional businesses (we’ll be launching a new business within the agency in the coming weeks).
And truthfully, we’re having so much fun doing what we love and making a good living.
So what I can say is that in the short-term, let’s say the next year, we’ll be launching at least one new business and looking to potentially acquire a business or two.
And on the info product side, I’m looking to continue scaling the revenue and impact. I love being able to monetize something that’s helped so many others make money as well. I also plan to host my first virtual event this year as well.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Sadly, I haven’t read any books at all in the past year.
During the day I’m full-time running a fast-growing agency as well as a fast-growing info product business.
And I’m also a new dad so any time I have outside of work has been dedicated to hanging out with my daughter.
That being said, I am a big podcast guy though. Been loving a podcast called My First Million by Shaan Puri and Sam Parr. I love all the practical and crazy business ideas they give away.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
My 5 best pieces of advice:
1) Business Owners:
Never forget to boost the confidence of your team.
-Reward their good work
-Always pay them on time
-Help them grow as a person
A good team will go above and beyond for an owner that does the same for them.
2) Business Owners:
Stop being an expert at everything.
Start being an expert at delegating.
3) Get yourself a network obsessed with seeing you win.
4) Knowing when to stop working is an underrated productivity hack.
5) Normalize building an agency that works perfectly fine without you.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re constantly looking for talented people to join our team. We’re hiring a few new employees every month right now.
So we have a major ongoing need for email marketers, email designers, email copywriters, and account managers.
If you’re interested in a potential opportunity with us, please connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn (my profile links are in the section below) and shoot me a DM.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Boundless Labs Website
- My personal website and newsletter
- My Ecommerce Email Marketing Course
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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