1. Hello! Who are you and what is your business?
I’m Mads Singers, born and bred in Denmark. I left when I was about 18 (too long ago now!) and lived in Ireland, the UK, some Europe and Asia. I spend most of my time out here in the Philippines, but I’m currently living in Vietnam. My background was in large corporate organizations and I’ve been passionate about management since I was 18. After I stopped working corporately, I focused on helping other people with management.
I started management coaching for small business owners because so many people nowadays they start a business but don’t have any sort of management background. I help them gain a little bit of skills in that area really helps them grow their company significantly.
I also run an outsourcing business that has about 130 staff, and I have a smaller SEO business where we promote and build affiliate sites and stuff in-house.
The idea came when I realized I was suddenly making more money doing coaching outside of work than I was doing work. I started coaching people in my network bit by bit.
I make $780,000/year and I’m planning to get to seven figures at the end of this year or early next year. I’m not super focused on growth – we’re making enough money to be very happy.
For my coaching, I have two business models. I have a course I’ve developed, priced at $1497, which is where most people start. Then I have my consulting, which used to live up to $1000 for 2 sessions per month. Business owners and CEOs of small and midsize businesses are generally my core clientele.
My margins when it was just myself was 95-99%, and now they’re probably about 75-80% depending on a few things.
2. How do you attract and retain your customers?
The first customers came from word of mouth. I met a lot of people and they were asking if I could help them. In fact, for both my coaching and outsourcing business for the first 4 years, we didn’t even have websites. So my general focus was consistently networking, getting to know people and helping people. When you give people a great product, they tend to tell all their friends and that helped us quickly and consistently grow.
I marketed through events, getting out, and getting to know a lot of people – focusing on social networking and always asking people for referrals when people are happy, if they know someone else who could benefit from it. Just asking makes such a huge difference.
Initially when I started with my management coaching, it was just for broad management. Now I focus a lot on the people management side of it, like how to manage staff effectively and so on.
For most clients I’ve touched on all of it, but that’s cut as a starting point I have from a niche perspective.
My focus is not particularly on customer retention – my management business is. I’m not really trying to get people to keep paying me just to pay me. My focus is really helping people solve problems and sometimes it takes 3 months, 9 months, or 3 years.
I’d say the most important thing with not losing customers too early is making sure you have very, very, very clear expectations.
3. What were your challenges and obstacles of growing your business?
Well, there’s many. When I started out initially I was trying to hire a sales guy because I absolutely suck some sales and marketing and stuff. I found a guy that had about 20 years worth of experience and I got totally blinded by his resume.
When he actually started working with me, he totally wasn’t a sales guy in any way, shape or form, but I was just so blinded by the fact that he had 20 years experience. I know very little about self-promoting. So I made a horribly bad hire and it was pretty early on in the business.
4. What has been helpful to help you to grow your business?
Networking is probably the most overlooked method for growth.Business is all about people. From a sales perspective, if you get to know a lot of the right people and they start talking about you, getting clients becomes a lot easier. My focus has always been, how do I touch a lot of people very quickly?
If you go to a conference with 1000 people and you meet 50 or 100 people, sure not everyone will connect with you. But if you meet 2, 3, or 4 people that you know are a good fit for your business or maybe sell similar products (but aren’t competitors so you can actually work together)?
I’m a huge fan of affiliate marketing. If you know someone that works in a similar space and you know you can help them push their products and they can help you push yours, you’ll make more money from the same audiences – it’s great! A business success is about increasing customer lifetime value, which means it’s increasing the money you make from each customer.
A happy customer is worth so much. If they’re happy with you and you recommend something else, they’ll listen because they have a good relationship with you, and that’s a fundamental way to grow initially. Sometimes people will send you leads just because they like you. The mindset of networking is just so critical for success.
As for tools, I’ve always been a big fan of Trello simply because it’s very simple to use. The biggest problem with people when they make processes and when they use product management tools is implementing something that everyone isn’t using. Make sure everyone uses it in your business otherwise you’re just hurting yourself.
The benefit I have always felt with Trello is that it’s so easy to figure out and learn. Trello is definitely a tool that I love. I’m also big fan of some video calls and conference calls and stuff like that.
One of my favorite management books is called First, Break All The Rules. I think that’s an exceptional book for managers to learn how to be themselves and focus on their strength. Marshall Goldsmith’s book called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There is also an amazing book.
I joined a place called the Dynamite Circle, which is a network for online entrepreneurs or location independent entrepreneurs. I’ve met amazing people through it. I’ve been to amazing events all over the planet with them. If I had to point at one organization that made a huge difference, that would definitely be the one. I’ve always been eager to give back to them because of how helpful they’ve been for me.
5. What is your advice for those are starting productized services?
My number one advice: test it out. I see a lot of people investing a ton of time trying to build a perfect system and stuff before they even test it. Before you start building anything, just get 1-3 customers. You will learn a lot from them. And when you do that, you start finding the system over time.
The mistakes I see people make are when they are successful getting 3 clients but don’t learn from those and actually build into some good systems. They basically just keep running it and sometimes they end up with a hundred clients and everything’s a huge mess because of the labor systems, some local management, etc.
6. What are your plans for the future?
My focus right now are webinars, building more video products and training course products and very much because I can touch a lot more people that way.
I’ve sold 250 courses and I haven’t had a single unhappy customer to date. I’m in a niche that not a lot of people are in – I deal with management for specific niches they operate in. It’s pretty rare.
I build a good team. I plan to keep growing my team as we move along. My main goal is just to make sure that we keep helping more and more people. I have an unofficial personal goal to make sure that I help at least a million people in my life develop. You know, that’s a lot of people.
I love public speaking. Sometimes you talk to a thousand people, but you’d need to do that a fair chunk of time to help a million.The market I’m in really needs to help, so I don’t anticipate any big blockers besides myself, my time, building the right team and so on.