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79. How to Go From $0 to $33K in 6 Months With a Productized Service Business, Featuring Jake Jorgovan

15 January, 2020
The Bean Ninjas Podcast
79. How to Go From $0 to $33K in 6 Months With a Productized Service Business, Featuring Jake Jorgovan

What does it take to launch and scale a productized service and grow a freedom business?

Jake Jorgovan talks about being a start-up entrepreneur and founder of ‘Lead Cookie’ & ‘Content Allies.’ Lead Cookie is a done-for-you LinkedIn lead generation service. Content Allies turns consultants into thought leaders through content marketing. Tune in now to hear Jake’s insights.

In Episode 79 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl Johnston talks to Jake Jorgovan about launching his productized service businesses and the challenges he faced. Jake explains how he was able to remove himself from his first business and why he chose to develop a second one. Listen now to learn about building a productized service business (or two!) and how Jake really feels about the term “productized service business.”

Episode Highlights

What does it take to launch and scale a productized service and grow a freedom business? @JakeJorgovan shares how he's done it (twice). Click To Tweet

2.04 Jake introduces his two productized service businesses, Lead Cookie, a done-for-you LinkedIn Lead Generation business, and Content Allies, which turns consultants into thought leaders through content marketing.
6.45 How Jake removed himself from day-to-day operations of his businesses
8.57 Jake’s thought process around starting a second business as a diversification strategy
11.27 How Jake felt starting his second business, Content Allies, as compared to building his first business, Lead Cookie
13.15 The cultural differences between Jake’s two businesses
18.00 What financial freedom means to Jake
19.45 How Jake got on top of his business metrics and the effect it had on profitability.
26.30 Building Jake’s personal brand as an asset
30.53 The platforms Jake uses to promote his personal brand
33.00 The value of learning how to deal with numbers

Learn the foundations of financial literacy and using Xero with Meryl.


How to Go From $0 to $33K in 6 Months With a Productized Service Business, Featuring Jake Jorgovan

Meryl Johnston:

Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Bean Ninjas Podcast. Today, we’re chatting with Jake Jorgovan, who is the founder of Lead Cookie, which is a done-for-you LinkedIn lead generation service, and Content Allies, which turns consultants into thought leaders through content marketing. 

So Jake runs two different businesses. He originally founded Lead Cookie and then diversified into another business, being Content Allies. And I think it’s pretty interesting to hearing the contrast as well as the comparison on what it’s like in running two different product-type service businesses.

Jake’s got a whole lot of great information around things that he’s doing to grow both of his businesses, scale his teams, team culture, and he actually has a really interesting story around some things he’s learning to do with finances. And there was a period in his business in the last 12 months where he really focused on finances, accounting and did some workaround that generates some results. I think we’ll find that story interesting as well.

Hey Jake, welcome to the show.

Jake Jorgovan:

Thanks for having me on here, Meryl.

Meryl Johnston:

I think I actually met you on your podcast. So it’s probably a couple of years ago now. And I’ve been keeping an eye on what you’ve been doing, reading some of your content over the years. So it’s great to have you here and chat all things product-type services.


Jake Jorgovan: 

Yeah. I’m excited to share everything with your audience here, so I’m an open book today.


Meryl Johnston:

So why don’t we start with a little bit about who you are, and I believe you’re running two businesses at the moment. So maybe you could give just an overview of what those businesses are and how they help your customers.


Jake Jorgovan:

Yeah. So at the core, I am an entrepreneur and an artist and a creator. So I love to build things and that is where I’m at my best with businesses. And so, after doing consulting for a long time and putting my energy into working for other people and putting all that creative energy for others, I decided to start building businesses and take that creative energy instead of solving other people’s problems to consistently trying to build new systems or new processes and just kind of build up a single company.

The first company that I really have hit a good success with this is Lead Cookie, which we are a done-for-you LinkedIn lead generation business. And so, I’ve built that up to a good size team and everything there and we’ve got a pretty good scale with that, which has been really cool. 

Also, just to kind of diversify, I have also started another company called Content Allies, which is; basically we turn consultants into thought leaders through content marketing. And so, this one is; it looks a lot like an agency, but I’m really treating this as a series of productized services. So even though we offer kind of more than just one service and someone can hire us for a few different options, we’re really kind of building each of those internally and building systems around those to deliver just like we did the Lead Cookie Service. And so, it’s been really interesting to take the learning’s from Lead Cookie and apply them to a second business as well.


Meryl Johnston:

I actually have lots of questions around that. Before we go into that, we did talk about productized services quite a bit on this podcast and it seems like everyone has a slightly different definition. So what does a productized service business, or that business model; what does that mean to you and how is that different from what you were doing previously when you were consulting?


Jake Jorgovan

Yeah. I think it’s honestly just like a silly buzz word, to be totally honest. And I’ve even talked about this with Alex McClafferty, he is my advisor and he’s helped me a ton from the start. And when he started, he was all about productized services, and then like, as I was going through and I started to really to build Content Allies, I was like, “I don’t really care if it’s like a productized service, like we only do one thing and we do that over and over. I care about building a company that can run without me and be scalable.”

And so, for me, like the way that I looked at it is I’m a little less, like when I started Lead Cookie, I was all like, “Productized service. I’m going to be like Design Pickle and WP Curve and like all these companies and do one thing over and over.” And I realized there’s actually some like horrible weaknesses to that, especially I’ve written a whole article about this. But if you run that on like a marketing tactic, like what we do with Lead Cookie, like marketing tactics have a shelf life and they kind of go out of style over time or they don’t work as effectively as they once did. So like, there’s some serious flaws in that as a business model.

But if you can just take that same mindset instead and look at just really moving from consulting, which is where a lot of people are, that are interested in product-type services; and move from consulting to building products, and you can have even a series of products, which is just really something that you can deliver and you can actually scale-up and you can hire other people to run and it is not dependent on you, that’s more or less what I am interested in and what excites me. 

And I guess the product-type service is just the fact that it is a service business that happens to have products, which are very stringent; they have boundaries, you don’t allow a lot of customization within them, you’re very strict on where that is, and when someone comes in and they want something different, you say, “Nope, that’s not what we do. This is how we operate because of these reasons.” And that’s how we ‘take it or leave it’ kind of thing.

So yeah. I guess that’s my spiel on productized services and I guess my viewpoint in it has evolved quite a bit since I started. 

I care about building a company that can run without me and be scalable.


Meryl Johnston:

It’s interesting you talk about wanting to be like a WP Curve or Design Pickle. The Bean Ninjas evolution was along those lines where we started with a $99 bookkeeping package and wanting to have that same kind of business model. But I think my thinking on productized services sounds like maybe there’s some parallels with what you’ve talked about where we started to create a lot more products than just one. 

But to me, it was about having clear boundaries and a very defined scope and not going out and trying to consult and solve a problem for someone else. It was building the solution and then trying to sell it. 

So again, it’s really interesting hearing you talk about that and that actually leads into a question I wanted to ask around operations. Because that’s something else that I was working hard with Bean Ninjas on is to get out of the service delivery quickly to build a business rather than a job. And so, I wanted to ask how you would have achieved that in your businesses, in both Lead Cookie and Content Allies?


Jake Jorgovan

Yes. So with Lead Cookie, basically, from day one, I basically, in both companies, from day one, I hired someone to run implementation. And so, for Lead Cookie, I had a guy that was basically working with me and supporting me and my consulting and everything. And so, I just, he just basically was handling whatever I threw his way. And then, whenever Lead Cookie started, we basically, he started helping actually doing the implementations while I did just the strategy. And over time, he took more and more of the operations and I still the strategy for a long time. But eventually, I got strategy off my plate, and then eventually, I got sales off my plate. And that took a good amount of time.

And so, it was probably about, I’m trying to think, it was about 18 months to get sales off my plate at Lead Cookie, it was about 12 months to get strategy off my plate. But operations, literally from day one, I was maybe helping build systems, but I was not involved in any way of the actual sending of messages. Actually, my ops guy fired me from even helping because I was literally, I can’t. Like, he’d be like, “Hey, go send a hundred connection requests today.” And I would have typos in like 7 of them because I just like, I can’t do that. So got fired from operations quickly. So that’s kind of like the Lead Cookie version.

And then Content Allies, I literally was just like I’m committed to building something new. And so I had this, one of my team who goes part-time with Lead Cookie who expressed a real ton of interest in Content Allies. And so basically, hired her full-time and it was just like, “I’m going to build this up. I don’t even know exactly what this is. But you’re really smart, you’re really dedicated and I can tell you’re going to be a really like help-a-ton.” So I just started figuring things out, selling things, sending them to her and we kind of just built and iterated along the way.

But I think, for me, at least, because I enjoy the selling and marketing, just to have someone who I can just hand delivery to and even if I’m involved or I have to really guide a lot at the start, I can quickly get that into a system if I have someone else who’s actually doing the nitty-gritty work. But if I’m doing the nitty-gritty work and trying to build the system, then there’s like no chance in heck that I’ll ever be able to do that.

Meryl Johnston:

And what was your both process behind starting a separate business or a new business while still running Lead Cookie?


Jake Jorgovan

Yes. So one of the things was, this is a few pieces, I mean, ultimately, the biggest motivation I have behind that, it’s again what I mentioned that we have Lead Cookie around the marketing tactic, in a singular marketing tactic of LinkedIn lead gen. And the truth is that like it is a marketing tactic and it is very risky around a single platform of LinkedIn, which could disrupt it over time.

And so, this is just like the simple reality of kind of what we built and when I looked at how to evolve this company, how to diversify it, how to protect it, the path wasn’t totally clear to me or I see paths to doing it but it’s not something that I’m necessarily excited about going through because I don’t actually love the lead generation space that much. And so, when I looked at that, what I kind of decided, I was like, “Well, I don’t really want to just like keep going in trying to build or evolve this and protect this.” And instead, do you know what I want to do is take the skills, take the knowledge and focus on areas that I believe are really strong and something that I believe will last and be around forever. 

And content marketing is one of those things that I’m just saying, “This is not going out of style anytime soon.” She’s not going away. It has been around for years from when days people used to write trade publications and it will exist in form of years to come. And then, just the tactics or little things around that may change. And so, it was really kind of a mentality of diversifying and then really wanting to build something that I look at and I can say, “Hey, 20 years from now, I can see this company being as relevant or more relevant than it is today.”

It’s an interesting thing I guess when I started Lead Cookie and I’m just kind of like trying to have a success and trying to hit that first home run in business and you finally succeed. But then, to like I realize, “Oh, I built all this and I invested all this time and energy, and it’s cool; I’m getting great returns, but it can go away.” And I’m just like, “Oh, I don’t like that.” And I want to invest in something where that just keeps growing, the more time, the more energy I put into it. Like, I know it’s going to be stable and I know it’s just going to build momentum and nothing else externally can disrupt it. So it was really thinking through a business model that would be robust like that.

There’s just like so many, so many things you just don’t know that you don’t know until you really start to build the team Click To Tweet

Meryl Johnston:

And what was it like for you having already been through as many lessons and challenges along the way with Lead Cookie? Were there things that you did differently? Or did it feel different when you’d started this second business?


Jake Jorgovan

It definitely did. Again, there’s just like so many, so many things you just don’t know that you don’t know until you really start to build the team. And yeah, it’s just way, way quicker learning, way faster, like there’s just, like most, like there’s so many things that I’m just like, “Alright. I’m just going to copy that from Lead Cookie and I’m just going to replicate that over here and we’re just going to change stuff a little bit.” And cool, we’ve got a process. Like, it was just so many things that I had to figure out the first time around Lead Cookie. 

Like things down like multi months to figuring out how we were going to set up our invoicing and recurring payments; and there was like a week-project to evaluate all the recurring payment tools out there and what was going to have the flexibility. And it was just like, “Oh, no. I’m just going to lead.” And then like, then once we had that, like how do we actually track that and keep that organized, stamp proper billings? I was like, “Oh, no. I’m just going to replicate that system and just run it over here.”

And so, there’s so many of these things like that that were like this, just like back of this fundamental how the business operates or how processes operate that I was just able to copy and paste over. And so, we’ve built essentially two really strong productized, I guess, offerings already within Lead Cookie and we’re ramping up our third one now. And it’s just amazing how quickly we’re able to do that this time around versus, it was a long, painstaking, two-year process just to like really ramp up and get one good product going with Lead Cookie.

productized service


Meryl Johnston:

Interesting. And I imagine with the service offerings being slightly different, you might need different kinds of people in these two businesses. So have you noticed, is there any sort of cultural difference or any different feel to the two different businesses?


Jake Jorgovan:

Yeah. That’s something that is; that’s heavily on my mind right now. And I was talking to my ops guy at Lead Cookie; like, my ops guy at Lead Cookie is just goofy and he’s like super fun and like jokes around. There’s like our stand-up calls were like a stand-up comedy hour where we somehow get stuff done; it’s like really fun and hilarious and entertaining and it’s like the highlight of a lot of our weeks that we all look forward to them.

And like the Content Allies calls right now, we’re early, but man, it is just like dry. And no one’s talking and I’m just like, “What the hell is going on here?” So it’s cool, like we’re all delivering and like everyone’s happy, but it’s just like, “Wow.” Like I tried to copy and paste the culture and it’s just doesn’t work. Like, these are different people; they are creatives versus like Lead Cookie; we’ve got just a lot more project management type people and a few creatives on the team. 

And it’s just, and ultimately, Jess who’s over in Content Allies and running operations is just like a very different personality than Jeff who is at the Lead Cookie. And Jeff, ultimately, I realized, I’m like, “Wow. Jeff’s actually really has lead a lot of our culture,” and I didn’t even realize that until recently that him, just being his goofy, weird self, like really, like creative, a lot of that is not just from me. Literally, culture was like, I was like journaling about this today. Like, “Man, I don’t know what’s going on or how to make this stronger.”

But like, we’re doing well, but the culture is not nearly the same. Like, it’s good, but it’s not like to say a bad culture, but it just doesn’t have that same fun and vibe that Lead Cookie has. And I’m just trying to figure out how to build that and I’m realizing is I can’t just copy and paste and do the same goofy thing that I did over at Lead Cookie and expect that to work with a totally different group of people.


Meryl Johnston:

It’s really funny. I like how you put it, you can’t copy and paste culture. That’s going to be a quote to go out somewhere. I think sometimes, company cultures, so especially with small teams, and company values, often come, they’re partly derived by the team and they’re often are related to what the founder values’ as well.

So do you think that you will end up with similar values across the team because they will align with yours? But you’ve also got different team members you’ve described in the two different teams. So could you foresee a future where you’re running two different companies and you have your own set of values but these companies might have different values?


Jake Jorgovan:

Yes. So I once again try to copy and paste, we do this thing called a culture deck, which is like borrowed from Netflix. If you ever Google about Netflix, this culture deck; that’s a really cool practice where they just bring every new hire through this to share how they think about their culture. And so, I do a similar thing with every new hire and I literally copy and paste it, from Lead Cookie one and just change the name and it was for a while. I was like, “Oh, crap. I got to change out some of the specifics on this as well.”

And I’m starting to realize, I’m like, “Okay. So there’s a lot of values that are overlapped.” Like, life is greater than work is one of our values; have fun and stay positive. It’s a value that I would like to keep, but with Content Allies, it’s like, they’re just more quiet right now. But hope that I can still embody that in like, win-win, mutual, beneficial transaction is like another big part of it.

But one that we’ve already changed is a Lead Cookie value that we had, which is details matter. And that’s just like we’re very detailed in the team; the people we bring on are like project management. It’s like everybody, like we screw up, you legitimately; like we send out over 250,000 messages on LinkedIn every month by hand, and where we can literally know like count the mistakes we have in a month on one hand, which is insane.

And so, the detail-orientedness of our team, and how we hire; all that is super important. But on Content Allies, it was already a shift, it was like, “That doesn’t actually; man, it’s not, it’s like as important.” And so, for that, it’s kind of one of the values that’s kind of become like quality over quantity, which is like similar but it’s a different approach. So we’re kind of starting to see some of this kind of, I guess, like principles or values that we have are starting to diverge based on the teams and then just kind of really what these businesses are ultimately doing or how they’re functioning in the market a little bit as well. 

But ultimately, I think the core of the values will hopefully probably stay the same because I carry through those and I want to attract people that embody those as well. But yeah, there’s definitely been some differences throughout that as well.

Learn how @JakeJorgovan changed his thinking on productized service businesses and how he developed two companies that can run without him. Click To Tweet

Meryl Johnston:

Next, I wanted to talk a little bit about finances; that’s one of the things that we have on the Bean Ninjas Podcast. So the first question I have for you was does the term financial freedom mean anything to you? And if it does, what would be your definition? And then, let’s dig into any financial lessons that you’ve learned from running your businesses.


Jake Jorgovan:

Yeah. There’s definitely lessons I’m happy to dive into. But on the freedom piece, I guess when I looked toward what I’m working toward is ultimately, if I built Lead Cookie just by never had to worry and I thought it would like just run forever, like if Lead Cookie was a totally robust, defensible, business model, like I would be there right now. Because I don’t feel this need to be insanely rich, insanely wealthy. 

I’m a really; I did an interview recently with this guy that runs a company called Campfire Labs and like, he pays himself a modest salary. And then, he gives 50% of the company profits away to charity, which is like a lot of money. And his whole mentality is like, there’s just no point in spending more money and just becoming a huge consumer.

So for me, it’s getting to a point where I have a good salary that puts me to a point where I’m never worrying about income, but then, really just like not having to work as much. And the really interesting thing is like Lead Cookie has grown since I’ve stepped away from it. And so for me, it just like the challenge of building this life that allows me to do really fun things. 

Like, I’m really like getting serious about going into like a music EDM production career is a goal over the coming years. And like having a business that enables that is I guess where like, freedom for me is to let me go; just do something totally crazy, fun and creative and saw this steady, great income coming on the side where I never have to worry. 


Meryl Johnston:

I think you’ve articulated that really nicely. I know you mentioned, we were chatting a little bit before we started recording, and that you’ve been investing time into learning about financial literacy and digging into the finances with your businesses. So could you talk a little bit about that and some of the challenges you may have faced and some of the things that you’ve been learning? And maybe some results as well.

 I tried to copy and paste the culture and it just doesn’t work.

Jake Jorgovan:

Yeah. So basically, I just have this picture in my mind. From when I started Lead Cookie, I was just like, “Oh, bookkeeping,” that is not like, that’s just something you just go hire somebody and they do it so that like you can do your taxes at the end of the year. Like, that was my mentality and I would be afraid. I was on QuickBooks; now we’re Xero now, but I was on QuickBooks and like, I just basically synced everything to QuickBooks and just had some guy who would turn out to be a horrible person who got me into a very terrible tax situation because I cheaped out on the accountant. So lesson, don’t be cheap on your accountant. That is a horrible lesson there. 

And basically, like, I operated for my consulting in the first really year and a half with Lead Cookie without really looking at books and it was like me and my operations guy like kind of running numbers and just like Google Spreadsheets trying to calculate our cost and stuff. And it was just like crazy and there was just like; I literally, I always just feels afraid and I didn’t know anything about how to use QuickBooks or anything like that and having this horrible accountant didn’t help because he wouldn’t, like didn’t advise me at all or help on that. So I didn’t have reports or anything. And so, we’re just like running off with these crazy spreadsheets that we put together that were often horribly inaccurate.

And so, just like, it’s crazy how far you can get with being a complete idiot on this stuff, basically. And basically, hit a point where I realized this accountant’s totally screwing up my taxes and I’m just like, “Oh, God. This is bad.” And then, I try to migrate from QuickBooks to Xero because I was sold the promise that Xero was better, and ultimately, I do; I think it is better. But then, in the process of that, the migration went horribly. We literally lost eight months of our books that we just had to go re-reconcile from last year, which was probably good because that horrible accountant, the stuff he had reconciled was all pretty off anyway. There was just like really terrible categories and like, just not actually useful.

So basically, my ops guy and I had to go back and retroactively do almost an entire full year of books in a matter of about like 30 days to hit our tax deadline and like, it was horrible. When we talked, we’re like, “Man, we could open a bookkeeping business now. Like, we’ve got this tight.” Like, we just spent so much time in there. 

But the amazing thing that came out on the other side of this is I was like, “Wow, I can just open up Xero and run reports and understand stuff, and now I’m like building Content Allies.” And I’m like, “Oh, wow. I can categorize my different team members on their functions into different categories. And then I can see how much profitability or how much revenue like a strategist can generate versus how much revenue a writer can generate.” I was like, “Holy cow.” Like, I can do all of these things and have this visibility and that is amazing and ultimately, like this is no joke. 

Like, the profitability of Lead Cookie and the decisions that it helped me make and see, our profitability has gone up by like 4 to 5X like multiple from actually just; from going from just like a cloud of like, “There’s expenses and there’s revenue and I have money hopefully at the end,” to understanding that and actually having control on my books and the decisions I’ve been able to make over the past eight months, which sometimes involved laying off people was not always easy decisions. 

But it is just been like, “Whew!” And I just feel like it levelled me up to this finally like I understand finances and this is awesome and it is a totally different world and I just lived in the dark way for way too long. So that is like my; a big part of the financial story and there’s some books in there and stuff that were useful but that is the experience. I’ll pause there. 


Meryl Johnston:

I love hearing stories like that. As almost daily, I’m advocating learning about finances and financial literacy and actually doing what you did. I mean, doing; catching up eight months wouldn’t have been fun, but just getting into the detail for a little bit and getting your hands learning in Xero or whatever software you’re using and learning it, it’s so important and gives you so much visibility. So I love hearing stories like that. 

So what are some of the numbers you look at or you track in your business now? So say, the month of August has just passed, what does that look like now in terms of the numbers that you track when you look at them and any next steps from when after you look at the numbers?


Jake Jorgovan:

Yes. So we have a whole dashboard that we’ve always kind of held on our own that tracks kind of the MRR that we have as a company that tracks; we recently started actually tracking how much we collect every week, it’s something we started looking at. Then we track a lot of our sales numbers, our leads in, our sales calls, our closed deals, our turned customers. So those are like things that I’ve been tracking for a while. 

But now that I’ve actually got insight since the books, probably the biggest things that I look at are really the what is our top-line revenue each month and how is that like trending? What is our expenses and that’s actually just been amazing; like, we dropped $7000 a month of expenses while the company grew. Like, it’s just crazy when you actually get inside into this and you can start to think about things and see things clearly that you realize how much, I guess, fact you might be carrying as an organization that you don’t realize.

So those are definitely some big things, and ultimately, like that’s just helped me look at the net number at the bottom, which is just really useful. And I just like, for a long time, I just didn’t, it’s crazy as I didn’t have a great mentality on net. And then also, even if I did, I would be looking at it on a monthly basis, and now, I can look at it over a quarterly and stuff like that.

So it’s really just like looking at that net number of what is the total amount. And that’s just been really useful because I just always look at how much I could pull out and that’s like really deceiving because you can maybe pull out more but that actually might not be good because you might be overdrawing when you really need that cash for other stuff in the business. 

So looking at like the actual just net number of net profits as opposed to just like, “Oh, how much do I feel like I can pull,” which is what I did for a long time. Or I even used the profit-first system for a while, but I kind of like got my percentages too high. And then, I was actually like couldn’t pay down my credit card that I had put on some cash. So like, I totally, I just screwed up that system for a while. It’s just, probably the net is probably like the biggest thing that I look at now and just kind of the numbers that feed into that.


Meryl Johnston:

Now, I wanted to move the conversation into your personal brand. I know you have the different businesses that you’re running, but a lot of the content that I’ve read of yours has been hosted on your personal website and I wanted to get your thoughts around why you’ve built a personal brand and whether it’s been effective for you.


Jake Jorgovan:

It is amazing. It’s the whole reason I built Content Allies and this idea around building a company to turn these good people into thought leaders is that my personal brand, I calculated, at some point, like in December and 68% of Lead Cookie’s revenue was a result of my personal brand in some capacity. So that could have been through directly people that were interested in my content that were came over, some of that was through referral partnerships that I lined up as a result of basically through my podcasting or stuff like that. Some of that was through basically kind of using my brand and getting interviewed on other places or appearing on podcasts. 

So it was massive and the thing that I love about a personal brand, why I’m such a huge advocate for it is like, it is like cheating at business once you have a personal brand. Because like if I look at this and I do investment, if I had invested all that time and energy in the content for Lead Cookie, then if Lead Cookie does get disrupted someday, then that investment goes away. And if I’m investing like your personal brand is never going anywhere. Like, you’re always going to have your brand. Like, that is something that just can’t be taken from you.

And so, I look at it as just this asset that you can just always pour into just even slow and steady. You can even take breaks from it for years at a time and come back to it and you still have that past investment and you can still keep pouring more in. And so, it’s just been absolutely huge and like, if I look at Content Allies, like it has been so easy to build this up again because I have this personal brand, I have credibility, I have an email lists that when we launched our first iteration, which when we started, we were just doing LinkedIn content, we now do full article writing and podcasting. 

But I literally send some email out to my email list and I had 23 customers sign up for LinkedIn content, then that’s again just like this beauty of having a personal brand and just being able to kind of do that and launch stuff really quickly, put ideas out there into the world. And I’ve also launched some things that failed and it was like, “Oh, it’s pretty handy to have this to where hey that didn’t work. But now, I learned a lot quicker as opposed to not having a platform or anyone to share this stuff with.”


Meryl Johnston: 

So would you recommend that every entrepreneur build a personal brand or would there be some things to be careful of around that? Or is this something that everyone should be doing?


Jake Jorgovan:

I think it’s worthwhile. I really think in some capacity, I really can’t think of too many situations where it’s a bad idea. Maybe if you’re like a really confidential industry or something, then you shouldn’t be talking a lot about what you’re doing or something. But it’s pretty rare. 

I really think for most people, like even if you’re going to have a job or something, having a personal brand helps. Like, it’s just, it’s a level above what a lot of people do. So I’m definitely just a huge advocate and I think the things to be cautious of or the things that probably were a little; so one of the things is if you think about the fact that my personal brand does drive so much of Lead Cookie’s traffic, that is not a good thing if I’m trying to sell the company.

So if I ever want to sell the company, the fact that I’ve used my personal brand to grow it so much, not actually an ideal thing because I can’t just sell my soul kind of thing. That would be counterintuitive. So there are some downsides there if you lean on it too much, but that doesn’t meet you still can’t use it to grow a business and then like just build other channels that aren’t dependent on you.

So there’s some kind of things to be cautious in there. Also, you’ve got to understand that just because someone is interested in your company, it doesn’t mean they’re interested in your personal brand. For a long time, I just treated the Lead Cookie email list as my own personal email list. And then, I like drop a few F-bombs in email newsletters and realized, “Oh, I need to segment this.” 

It’s like; I think we lost a customer because I wrote a curse word in an email newsletter, which is just like what I do. And I was like, “I need to peg the Lead Cookie people and separate that out.” So just making sure that you do have definitive, clear lines between your personal and your business if you’re going to go that route as well.


For most people, like even if you're going to have a job or something, having a personal brand helps Click To Tweet


Related: A tactical guide to Linkedin Social selling with Brynne Tillman


Meryl Johnston: 

And are there any platforms that you recommend? I’ve seen yours as a website and email list; you use social media for your personal brand as well and how do you allocate your time between the various platforms? 


Jake Jorgovan:

Yes. So I pretty much cover them all. I’ve got my website where I host my blog articles and everything. And then I’ve got a podcast as well. I also do social media; I literally do daily posting where there are like short, little mini-posts and articles kind of. So every single, I have up to about a 1,200-character post that I put live that I write every single morning.


Meryl Johnston: 

I do wonder about that because I had seen that you did the daily post, and I thought, “Do you sit down and write that every day or are you batching this?” I think that’s a big commitment. 


Jake Jorgovan:

It’s really not. So I’ll tell you like where; it just kind of comes from this practice from Derek J. White and it’s like this idea of discovering the clear. And so every day, you’ll learn something and then you teach that back out so you reinforce what you learn by teaching it. And so, every day I pick up and I read a book or I’ll watch a video training, and then I basically take something that I learned and I try to look at how that applies to my world or how maybe I can retroactively seal how that lesson apply to some situation on my past or something like that. And then I just simply write that up into like a short snippet there.

And so, yeah, I literally do it every day, but it’s like, it’s literally just like this self-development learning practice that I’m doing in public and it creates great content and people love it and it creates; it generates business and customers and trust in everything at the same time. So it’s a super fun habit; I cannot recommend it enough. You do that a little bit every morning and you will go through some serious material quickly and you’ll remember it and retain it way better than you would if you just sat down and binge-write a whole book. So…


Meryl Johnston: 

As you’re saying that, I’m tempted to commit myself to doing something like that, but I’m known to overcommit. So I’m not; I’m going to hold my tongue and not say that I’m going to do that, but I love the idea. I think it’s brilliant, especially the way that teaching actually submits that learning for yourself and embedding ongoing learning into a daily practice. Love that. 

So, Jake, we’re coming to the end of the podcast. Was there anything else that you wanted to mention or recap on from either what we’ve discussed so far or anything that we haven’t yet talked about? 


Jake Jorgovan:

Just anything, just learn how to manage your books and don’t put that off is one of the biggest lessons to this audience. Just as again, it was absolutely painful. I can’t even think of; if I think about just how much money I saved by keeping out on that accountant and then how much money though I probably could have made if I actually had financial visibility for that first year and a half. And like, the dumb decisions or the things that I was missing or not catching because I didn’t have that visibility.

And so, it’s like this weird thing because I think like, in my mind, it was hard for me still, like whenever I started to invest in go into actually hiring decently, expensive people  to help me get my finances in order, it was really hard for me to invest and actually start spending that money. But like, it is just paid off massive dividends, and so, it is worth learning. It will just give you so much more insight. 

If I even just look at the number of the subscriptions that I catch that I cancel now on a monthly basis because I’m actually on top of my books; like that probably will easily like over the course of the year equal to the amount of like that I paid my accountants now. So like the things that I catch that I just cut in costs. 

So there’s just so many things like that that I’d just say, learn how to deal with money. It is a skill that is not fun and I was not a numbers-person and a lot of people say, “Oh, I’m not a numbers person. I hate this.” But like, it’s a fundamental skill of business that you have to learn. So I’ll end there.


Meryl Johnston: 

Well, thank so much Jake. It’s been so fun chatting with you. So thanks for coming on. 


Jake Jorgovan:

No problem. Thanks for having me on here. 


Meryl Johnston: 

Thanks for listening to the Bean Ninjas podcast. Here is three ways to grow your freedom business faster. Number one, download our free Xero Small Business Toolkit. Go to beanninjas.com/podcastgift and use our cash flow forecasting template as well as the other resources available.

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