1. Hello! Who are you and what is your business?
I’m Andrew and I founded Luhhu – we’re Zapier experts.
I’ve always been entrepreneurial – with a much bigger interest in running a business than working for one. As a teenager, I used to buy scrap computer parts, reassemble working units and sell them locally. Then when I got to university I started a web design business for extra money.
The next few years were spent in London doing sales, before I travelled and eventually found myself as an expat in Budapest. My next go at a business was setting up a lead generation company for language teachers – and through that I learned to use Zapier.
Did I mention I tried my hand at writing? That ended when I tried to sign up to Upwork but got rejected? Undeterred, and on a whim, I signed up again as a Zapier specialist and this time got through.
That was the end of 2017 and through 2018 I grew a very successful freelance career, starting at $40/hour and reaching $125/hour when, in 2019, I decided I needed to have an agency so I could scale. No real planning went into the move other than to create a brand and website and put together a small team of contractors to work with.
Fast forward to 2020 and after a solid year of $60k revenue and a double-digits profit margin, we’re on track to 2.5x that this year. Our running costs are minimal, with a remote, freelance team and just a handful of software subscriptions.
In terms of revenue – we’re doing on average $5-6k per month.
2. How do you attract and retain your customers?
Getting a listing on the Zapier Experts directory has been a real boon for winning new clients – UK ones in particular as I’m one of the only UK-based agencies listed.
Outside of that I continue to win clients through Upwork and Fiverr where I first started as a freelancer, and thanks to the active following I’ve built up on places like Twitter and Reddit by evangelising for Zapier and nocode in general, I continue to get semi-occasional requests and referrals.
It stuck with me the advice I’ve heard from a few people that everything you do compounds on itself – and it’s true. After doing this a few years now I’m always surprised when I get a new client or opportunity from an unexpected place.
3. What were your challenges and obstacles of growing your business?
Most of the challenges we’ve faced are the natural ones associated with transitioning from freelance to agency. Aside from developing a brand and building a website – how Luhhu positions itself and the type of clients we look for is in constant flux as we learn and experiment.
A holdover from my freelance days, we’ve always tried to say yes to any client (that has the budget), no matter which industry they are in or which tools or processes they’re looking to automate.
We have our strengths, and that tends to be ecommerce companies, law and accounting firms as well as education providers – but we’ve taken other weird and wonderful projects, some of which we’ve struggled to make profitable, because they’re in an area we have less expertise in and therefore have taken us longer to deliver.
4. What has been helpful to help you to grow your business?
Twitter’s ability to drive my business as well as help me solve all sorts of problems and get connected with interesting people has been invaluable. I invest hours a day in there, talking about Zapier, signposting resources, joining discussions and trying to help people – and the ROI has been clients, team members, new business opportunities and great resources.
On a wider scale, I think we’ve been lucky to join the market at the right time – the move towards lean businesses with as few staff as possible and a focus on efficiency, means the skills of an agency like Luhhu are in constant demand. In essence we’ve never really had to look for work, but as I mentioned before, it’s become more about working out the types of projects where we can do the most effective work.
5. What is your advice for those that are starting productized services?
Look for a skill you have (or can pull together in a team) that is in real demand. Understand why companies need it and what the value is to them. Manage that and you’ve got the basis of your product. From there you need to first deliver it once, at least, profitably, and then work out how to deliver it at scale.
6. What are your plans for the future?
As I’ve said, growing our revenue and client base – but in a focussed way – is the big target for 2020. To achieve that we’re investing heavily in SEO and I’m looking to work with a couple of different agencies to achieve that.
This will mean properly articulating the types of clients and industries we can really help people automate and then producing content and resources on our website to attract them.