017 | Dan Norris | Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
In June 2014, after failing at entrepreneurship for seven years, he founded WPCurve.com, a worldwide team of WordPress developers providing unlimited small fixed and support 24/7 for $69 a month. It became profitable in just 23 days and 14 months later has 21 staff, 500 customers, and continues to grow at 15-20% a month.
Dan is a passionate content marketer and has created 600 plus pieces of content around entrepreneurship, WordPress, and online marketing. In 2013, he was voted Australia’s best small business blogger by the readers of Telstra’s Smarter Business Ideas magazine.
In 2014, Dan released his book The 7 Day Startup, which became a top 10 bestseller in three Amazon categories, and I know personally has changed the life of entrepreneurs across the globe.
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Nicola: Hi, I’m Nicola Cairncross, and you’re listening to “The Money Gym” podcast, where I interview successful entrepreneurs and investors, and ask them, if they could go back in time, and give their younger selves one big tip about money, what would it be? I really hope you enjoy the show.
Today I’m joined by Dan Norris, whose book “The 7 Day Startup” had a tremendous impact on me, leading me to start my Facebook ads agency “clicksandleads.com”. Dan is an award winning content marketer and the author of the best selling business books, The 7 Day Startup content machine, create or hate and operation brewery. If you haven’t read The 7 Day Startup and you’re interested in business, go and get a copy of it now. It’s amazing.
In June 2014, after failing at entrepreneurship for seven years, he founded WPcurve.com, a worldwide team of WordPress developers providing unlimited small, fixed and support 24/7 for $69 a month. It became profitable in just 23 days and 14 months later, had to 21 star 500 customers and continued to grow at 15 to 20% a month. It was eventually sold to GoDaddy for an undisclosed figure.
Dan is a passionate content marketer and has created 600 pieces of content around entrepreneurship, WordPress and online marketing. In 2013, he was voted Australia’s best small business blogger by the readers of Telstra’s Smarter Business Ideas magazine.
In 2014, Dan released his book, The seven day startup, which became a top 10 best seller in three Amazon categories, and has changed the life of entrepreneurs across the globe, including myself. So tell me about your business money. Have you always been good with money? Have you always been terrible with money? What have you had to learn about money and running a business and all that stuff?
Dan: I’ve always been terrible with money and I’m still terrible with money. I mean, in terms of I don’t know how to answer this question. I mean, the only thing I would say in terms of business, which makes it infinitely easier, is to build a Predictable Revenue business. It just makes absolutely and in our case, recurring revenue is the is the best option. If you can do it, you can always do it. But that just makes absolutely everything easier because you can plan everything, you can hire before you need to because you know that revenue is going to grow next year.
I was hopeless with with the inconsistency of running an agency. But the Predictable Revenue business is just a totally different animal. So that’s probably the number one tip. The number two tip is that I have a spreadsheet that I actually included in the book, it’s free up in our site. It estimates our revenue and expenses live at any given time.
We still manually update that every day and the reason I do that is because the matter how up to date your accounts are, it doesn’t really give you a clear picture of you know what your upcoming expenses are, or what your upcoming revenue is like not unlike a rolling month basis. Like if you’re growing 15% a month. It’s a huge difference if we look at our finances in on the first of November, and the 12th of November, like this particular month, we’ve grown 10%. We’ve had 60 signups in 12 days.
We’ve employed three people. So, if you look at our accounting system, it’ll be a totally different metric than then looking at a little spreadsheet that just simply estimates what it looks like when we grow 10%, how many staff we need, what our expenses look like. We’re continuing to use that spreadsheet I’ve used it from day one. I continue to use that and they’re really the only two slightly organized things we do when it comes to money as well as having a good accountant and a bookkeeper and keeping the books up to date.
Nicola: You gotta have your back covered there. I’m a big fan of weekly cash flow forecasts that you update weekly at the very minimum and the fact that you update us daily is is even more inspiring, because, you know, as a business founder, you have to have your finger on the pulse every single day, don’t you? You can’t wait.
Dan: Yes, that’s that’s true. A lot of our assumptions and our decisions come from our revenue. So, for example, the amount of cost us to service customers comes directly from how many customers we’ve got, which directly translates in how many staff we need to manage those customers. So every x amount of customers sign up, we need to hire a new staff member.
Every time we hire a new staff member, that increases that cost by certain amount, and we need to grow by a certain amount, so and the end and again, every time we would hire a new staff member, there’s a direct cost for a whole bunch of systems that we pay per staff member.
So all of that kind of stuff it like literally, if we’re hiring once or twice a week, or if we’re signing up 10 or 15 customers a day, which at our absolute best we will do then then this kind of stuff like you really need to have a really good handle on this sort of stuff and an accounting system doesn’t really give you that.
Nicola: No, it doesn’t. I know you still largely a virtual company or do you have proper offices and grown up desks and things now.
Dan: Now, both me and Alex work out of co-working spaces, so I’m going to co-working space in vastly likes on the Gold Coast in Australia. He works out, we work in San Francisco. So we’re up to I think, 25 people now, and all of those guys are remote. That’s including me and Alex, but other than me and Alex, they’re all remote, some of them work from home. Some of them work from coffee shop, some of them work from co-working spaces.
I don’t think we’re going to be anything more than remote unless we need to be. We want to employ someone in each of the three time zone as like a project manager. So it’d be someone like me or someone like Alex to replace ourselves and if for whatever reason, it makes sense for those guys to work in our offices, we might do it that way. But other than that, we don’t have any plans to kind of open an office anyway.
Nicola: Well, that’s brilliant too isn’t it for anyone listening because it means that you can grow a infinitely scalable company and keep it remote and to suit your lifestyle which is very cool.
Dan: Well, that remains to be seen with this virus. I think 650 customers and I think we’re up to 50 grand a month or something. But that’s very far from infinitely scalable. So we’ll see how far it takes us.
Nicola: Okay, and what else? What about your personal money to invest in anything else apart for your business? Do you have time to even think about that? Or have you got any aspirations to invest in anything else in the future?
Dan: I’m hopeless with my personal money. I’ve bought real estate before and lost money on it. I’m hopeless at saving. So I’ve been trying to work all that out at the moment. I’ve got a bunch of different businesses. So I think I might put a bit of money into my business, will probably buy some sort of real estate if we can figure out how and that’s probably about it. I don’t think anything else I’m too excited about in terms of investing personal money.
Nicola: You’ve been listening to Nicola Cairncross on “The Money Gym” podcast. If you’d like to find out more about The Money Gym and how we can help you become more financially intelligent, just come on over to themoneygym.com. We’ll see you over there.
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