Superlearner Devesh built an online outreach agency to $25k MRR in 2020 while still in university, and started a profitable influencer marketing agency in 2021. Here he explains how he learned the necessary skills in a few months with Twitter and some online courses
Connect with Devesh at https://twitter.com/DONVESH
Find out more about Superlearning at https://superlearners.traverse.link/.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the podcast today. I'm joined by Devesh. Devesh has built an agency business from zero to, I don't know, 25, maybe you're more K MRR. And since then he's outsourced that and started some new exciting projects. So I'm sure we have a lot to talk about. So welcome.
Simbro, I'm excited to be here for the second time.
Yeah. I mean the first time, it was very interesting because we talked a lot about how you built your first agency business, maybe for the people who haven't seen that one, can you do a short story about how you got the idea, how you then set to actually do that? And what were your main learnings there?
Yeah, so for my previous agency, it was in the cold email Legion space. and I was Helping my clients generate leads using cold email, LinkedIn outreach, cold calling, and all that stuff. I started that agency in September last year, and then I got it to 12 plus clients by I think, July and August this year.
And then I have been very less focused on that. I have operations guy who is managing most of the stuff. And then I started a new agency, which is inferties in September this year again, and then I'm focused on that. Nice. So, yeah, to recap a bit about your previous agency, how did you learn all the processes necessary to build that business?
Okay. So I didn't go and study theory for four or five months and then start my agency. I just started it. And then every time I got a problem, I searched on YouTube. I searched on Google and that's how I figured stuff out. I bought multiple courses, coaching programs, and that's it like a learning? I don't read a lot of books.
I don't read any books. I had a book list of maybe 200 plus books, maybe eight months ago. I deleted that whole list just so that I could start from scratch again. And then I, again, I have like a recommendation list of, I think, 15 plus books, but I haven't ordered any, I don't read a lot of books. I would like to, I used to read a lot of books when I was. Maybe around 15, 12 to 15, 12 to 16, but now I don't have enough time to sit back, relax and read and learn. So I just go to the field, go to the trenches and learn that. Nice. Yeah. Learning by doing it's the best way. And then as you build your business, you also grew a lot on Twitter.
What did you do to achieve that? And, yeah, what are the tips you can give people who want to grow on Twitter?
So the only one thing I did to grow on Twitter was to document my journey as Gary V says. So all I was doing was just making threads, writing threads, posting threads about what's going on outside of Twitter, in my life and my business in my agency, how I'm getting lines, how I'm growing agency, how I'm getting results for my clients, how I'm making money, all that stuff at each step every month, maybe every two weeks from October last year to april this year, I was writing threads every like every month. And then I stopped doing that because I focused more on growing my agency. But the initial growth of my Twitter account came from those documenting my journey, Twitter threats, building public, all that stuff. All right. And then you also build a course about that process.
So how did you go about selling that course that really helped you there? Or did you use other channels?
I didn't use any other child. So the only channel I use for that course, I launched it may, it's called agency cashflow roadmap. And then all I used was my Twitter and then my email list, nothing again.
Right. And so how can you sell to, cause it's one thing to get followers on Twitter, but it's not a thing to actually get them to take action and sell.
Yeah. So I do this thing for my clients, also like selling with advertise, which is my second agency. I sell products, coaching programs, and all that stuff for my clients also. And the only thing required is your audience needs to know that you are legit. You have credibility, you have authority, you have a business outside of that social media platform. And. That's basically it like all, that's all they need to know. And then you give them something to buy you, show them why they need to buy it. You show them how they are going to benefit from it and then they'll buy it. That's that's the basic gist of it. Like I used email marketing and then I used to sell in my threads in my tweets. But, yeah, that's it. I never did any sales and discounts until black Friday. So I'm not very well-versed in that area of things like doing discounts, just because I don't like to, but I kept on increasing the price every time I added more updates and that's all I did. Like I sent emails regularly. I sent tweets and that's how I sold my course. It has her around 750 plus students right now.
So how are those students doing? Like, do you get any feedback from them? Are they actually building their own agencies or are most of them just reading it and not doing anything? Like what's the feedback there?
Yeah. So I think 50% of the people are just going through the course and not doing anything, but the rest 50% are actually asking me questions every day. I get questions. So my courses hosted on a platform called Podio. And I get questions in the comments on that platform. I get questions in the DMS on the podia platform, and then I get questions on my Twitter also. So it takes a bit of time to answer all the questions, but I try to answer all the questions once a week. And I have a block of time where I answer all the questions at once.
Nice. Yeah. That's good. You got some good engagement from there. And then to build your neck, like to take on your next project how did you go about that's, how you get the ideas the other people on Twitter help you with that or how'd you go about it?
Yeah. So with I got this idea because I was struggling to do it myself. Like you could, I wouldn't call myself an influencer, but I have like 20 K followers. So maybe you could call me kind of amicro influencer. And I had my businesses, but I didn't have so much time to promote my own courses. So I saw that there's a problem. I saw that the target market is influencers who have other businesses and they are not selling to their audience. So I thought about it and then I realized that what if I go to these influencers who have businesses outside of like selling sponsorships and they have other businesses. They want to sell a course or a coaching program, whatever, but they don't have the time. Maybe they don't even have the skills to do it. And then what if I helped them monetize their audience? So that's what is all about.
Nice. And is this something that you are doing by yourself or are you partnering up with other people from.
Yeah. So Chris is my co-founder. I found him from Twitter. He's doing half of the work. I call him the CEO of just to make him happy.
Nice. So. How do you find the right people in Twitter? Because I think there's a small part of Twitter called money, Twitter that has a lot of people similar to you who are having online businesses and growing them. How do you make the most of that in terms of connecting to people who have had successes and working with working together with them or learning from them?
Yeah. So the only thing that's necessary is you need to be active in your DMS. And if you're talking to people in your DMS, then you will eventually find the right people who you could build partnerships with. And then just talk to people in the DMS. Ha get on a zoom call with them, see what they feel like, what it feels like talking to them. And then with grace, I knew him for nine months before partnering up. I, I found him, he DMD me in January this year, and then we had, we had been friends ever since. And then in September I partnered up with them.
Nice. So what was that like? What was Chris's previous experience? Why did you decide to partner up with him?
This is an interesting story because I started. I w I was doing a small coaching kind of thing in January this year. I didn't want to become a coach. I don't want to become a coach still, but I still did it as like a small experiment. And I took five students in January for 30 days to help them get clients for their service business or freelancing business. And Chris was one of those five people. So that's how I found. And then he got, he set up his own goal, email agency. He got clients there. And then we have been talking about since January and I was giving him tips. So we were like brainstorming ideas and all that stuff. And then after I decided to get out of cold email space actively, then we decided to partner up nice.
I think one of the main skills. If I'm correct with both with cold email, it's growing on Twitter is a copywriting. So yeah. Clear talk a bit more about copywriting. How did you learn to write good copy and how can other people learn it?
Yeah. So for copywriting, I want to go back to July, 2020. I was scrolling through Twitter and I found this guy, Oliver again. And he was talking about like learn copywriting and you'll be making a lot of money in 2021 if you invest. So this was in July. So you're saying invest the next six months of 2020 to learn copywriting. And then in 2020 to learn copywriting, and then you will be able to make a lot of money 20, 21. So that's how I first found out about copyright.
I didn't have any skills back then. So I thought, all right, I was just learned this thing called copywriting. And back then, I didn't even know what copywriting is. Like I used to write, I used to think copywriting is like, copy, like the copy, that word, which has some stuff to do with like, I don't know what, like intellectual properties and all that stuff.
So I didn't know anything about copywriting, but I decided to learn it. And then. I won't call myself a very good copywriter, but I know the basics and that has helped a lot in the cold email agency because I was reaching out to other businesses. And I used to use my word. I had to use my words to sell my services and send my clients services.
So you are supposed to use short form. Good copy there. And then in my course, promotions, Cooperating what's helpful. And then is also cooperating is very helpful. So in all the businesses, the most, the basic common thing, all three of them have is copywriting. Right? So what I love my work would be your number one tip for writing.
Good copy on Twitter, for example, writing good copy on Twitter, like writing good tweets or. What do you mean?
Yeah, basically, if I want to write threats or threats to get more followers, get more sales, how should I approach it?
So there are two ways to go about writing on Twitter. The first one is the professional way where you have very, you have a good hook, which grabs attention.
You have some strong words in there. So a strong word. $1 million or billionaire investor or angel investing. So you might have seen a lot of these threads where they say that how I interviewed this billionaire investor and these are the 10 mistakes I learned. Right. And then something like that. So you could use power words, grab attention, and then hook them up and then tell them the whole story in the upcoming tweets in the whole.
And the other thing that you could do, which is like business pro level. But I talked about right now and then there's Voke level Voke level is when you don't give a shit about Twitter, when you don't care about anything, which is the level I am at right now, I don't care about what hook I'm using, what headline I'm using.
I just, I don't even turn off. The caps log. I just write everything in small caps or all caps. I don't do any formatting. I just write. And then you can't go to the VOC level at a hundred folders. No one will listen to you. So if you want to grow, you have to do the pro level. You have to use corporate rating, just have a good headline.
And then you have a sub headline, which suppose the headline. So a headline usually has to make a big claim. And then the sub headline has to give a premise, which suppose the headline. So you have to have a sub headline, which makes the headline look possible. Right? And then after that you go on and each the goal of each sentence is to make the reader read the next.
That's it like just use storytelling, just use curiosity. And then there are multiple good books about cooperating, like great lead scientific advertising and all that stuff. Read a few books and then just, just go and write copy. That's that's it. Right. And then I guess at the end of the tragedy, we'll have a, a call to action and the same is true, probably in the cold emails you sent.
How should I think about writing a good call to action. So you need to think about your call to action before you think about your headline before you think about your trade idea. So before I ride a thread, I think about what's my goal. I'm sitting, I'm sitting on my chair when fine evening. I don't have anything to do.
I feel like, oh, let me. Right at Twitter thread. I never feel like that way. I never do. I feel like, oh, I want to make money with my course. So in that case, the goal of my thread is to sell my course. So the CD is defined from the beginning and maybe one other day, I feel like, oh, I need to pump up the subscribers in my email list.
So the goal of my trade is to get email subscribers. So that's how I define myself. Maybe one day I decide, oh, I need more clients for inflow ties. So I write a thread related to infer ties so that I could get more clients for info days. So you need to decide what your Google of the thread is goal of any content for that matter.
Before you make that content before you even think of content ideas, and then think of content ideas after you define that goal and then make the content. And then your CTA is untreated. Right. Yeah. So think about the action first. Right. So then I guess now, at least for your, like, for your first agency, you've outsourced all of the work.
How did you go about that? Like finding the right people to hire like initially VAs and then also like higher level people. What's the process for that?
So I used to hire. Low level, like views as DRS and everything from work. And then I got my operations guy from LinkedIn and then I'm not completely out of it. I still have to do like two or three calls every week and then that's, but that's all I do like two to three hours per week and yeah, it's 99% delegated. I have like four SDL. Doing most of the work. And then I have like first-line writers and my operations guy, and then two account managers. So everything is well structured.
And then I have notion SOP is for long videos for everything. So I don't have to invest a lot of time in it. Neither does my operations guy. He just has to talk to account. Right. And then there are like team meetings every week and that's like, everyone does their work. Everyone knows what to do if you're not trying to grow it, like we're not trying to get more clients for corporate rate, which is the cold email agency.
We're just trying to sustain it and keep the cash flow. That's that's the only goal. So we're not trying to get more clients. You're just trying to get results for the clients that we already have. And so how did you find most of those people? Like you mentioned Upwork then other platforms, what are good ways to find good people?
So if you want to find account managers or SDRs or first-line writers, I think of book is the way to go. If you want to find VAs, I think online jobs pH is good while you have to do. Both in a book. And then in online jobs, you need a job application, like job posting. I don't know what they call it. Like, just have a paragraph where you define the requirements of the job, what you need from the person.
What do you need the person to do? What their experience level has to be? Do they need to have any skills? What's the time requirement, what's the pay and that's all. Then after that you'll get many applications, you filter through those applications and then you get on a zoom call with all of those people and then just hire them.
So just, I think around 10 days ago, I think around 10 days ago, I was hiring three people for infirmities. And I didn't want to go to work though. It would have been cheaper. If I went to work, I didn't feel. Spending my time. So I just wrote it to eat. And then I got, I got multiple applications. So what I did, I wrote a tweet.
I said, you need good English. You need five, five sprays. And then you need one other thing I don't remember. And then I told people that you're going to work with me and Chris directly. So a good thing with Twitter is that since it's your audience, those people want to work with you. They want to learn from you.
So that's a very big incentive. And then I told them to fail a telephone, which is like Google phones. And then I went through all the applications and then I schedule like 900. In the schedule nine calls in the upcoming three days. But on the first day, the first three calls I hired the first three people and canceled all of their goals. All right. So it was really fast. I hired three people within 24 hours and I had to cancel the other goals. Oh, yeah. So Twitter can definitely be useful as kind of thing as well.
And so it's a with inflow ties with your new business. How, how is that like running a second business? How has that compared to your first businesses, is, are things easier? Is you repeat a lot of the stuff you've already done or are still new things that you encountered. The fulfillment is completely new.
So I enjoy that, but I have this feeling of having control. So I know what's happening. I know I have had experienced this stuff when, so. When you're supposed to do word, like, like the first time I did this, I didn't know how to invoice my clients. I didn't know how to make contracts. I didn't know how to hire people.
I didn't know how to build SOP. So I learned all that stuff for the first time. And this time I feel like I know most of the stuff regarding like the setup and growing the agency except the fulfillment, which I have to figure out right now, which is a good thing. Like I'm enjoying the fulfillment side of things.
You have to try new strategies for each client for each campaign, which is pretty good, but I feel like I have much more control and that's it. Like, it feels like I can grow it to much bigger numbers, much faster. And yeah. So when you talk about those new strategies, but what do those strategies look like and how do you how do you find the right stuff?
So the strategies are just related to audience monetization, whether you want to use an email list, whether you want to use a webinar funnel, whether you want to use VSLs or do you want to use like sales calls? Like there are all these tactics that you, you can use, but it depends on the situation and what your goal is, and then you just need to figure out.
What do your clients need? Where do your clients are comfortable with doing, and then do that thing. And it's just like, try it, try this, try that, right. This, try that until something works and then just double down on that, which books, right? Yeah.
So yeah, you're talking about knowing what your, what your clients want. I think in general, it's very important in business. Like to know what your, what your user wants to know is your client. So how, how do you go about that? How did you fill up like a feeling for kind of what the client needs and what they want.
So you need to know what your client wants when he's hiring you before he, before you have like signed the contract, you need to know why your client is working with you.
Is it because you're going to make him a lot of money? Is it because you're going to save him an order for. Is it because you are going to do something, which he doesn't know how to do, or is it because you are going to do something which he doesn't want to do? So many of my clients are afraid of selling, right.
And they don't know how to sell. And they also want to know how, like, they also want to make more money. So it's all three of them, but they, they have a lot of time. So I know that this. Has a lot of time and he's willing to invest an extra 10 hours. So I could use strategies which require 10 extra hours from him.
But I can't use strategies which require him to go talk to a hundred people and give them a pitch because he's not comfortable with selling and he doesn't want to do that. So that's how you figured out what you are supposed to use. You talk to your client, you have a discovery goal. You have the sales.
In those two calls itself, you get a good feeling, what the client wants, what the client needs, what he's afraid off, and then you can make applied right from the back neck. Like whenever I talk, whenever I talk to someone for the first time I start calculating in my head, what I could do for this guy and what I couldn't.
So it starts right from the beginning. And then you just try multiple things, see what works and then student. Right. So that's, that's where it's a B2B clients. You have this discovery call and you can find out flat out all of that, but then you'd also have B to C sales when selling your course. So how did you go about finding out what your what the people who buy your course and will take your course, what they need and how did you get their feedback?
And did you like listen to our feedback and update your course as you went and how did you go to.
So here's a crazy coincidence. I want you to think about with copyright. When I started it before copyright, I was like freelancing and I was struggling to get clients. So copy droid was helping my clients get clients.
So I was the target market, right with my course agency cashflow roadmap, like eight months before I launched the course, I didn't know how to start an agency. So I was the target market. Like I was teaching my previous version, how to start an agency with info ties is the same exact thing. I didn't have time.
I didn't want to sell my car. So I was doing that for other people again. So you don't need market research if you are the market and it simplifies things a lot. Yeah. It's almost like you're, you're building the business or the product for yourself, like for your, for your past. I just came to this realization like three seconds ago that all three businesses have this thing in common and just selling to a previous version of myself.
Yeah. That's interesting. Also like, cause also like the product I'm building, it's like what I would like to have hats myself, like I don't know, three years ago maybe. So I think that's quite a common theme quite a good strategy building things that you want for you. And then I guess one tricky issue is, as you said, a lot of people are not comfortable with selling.
And I think especially like pricing is very difficult for many people as well. So how do you become comfortable to sell? Like what should you practice and how do you decide how to price yourself or your products?
So there are two questions. How do you become comfortable with selling and how do you. Decided what to charge for becoming, for becoming comfortable with selling. The only way to do that is by selling more. There's no other way to do it. Like the Lao. I feel, I don't feel comfortable selling. I feel a bit weird when I'm on a sales call and it's the last phase of the sales call and I'm supposed to give my price and I'm supposed to pitch the client.
You'll have to pay this much and we can do this for you. I feel I, I have a weird feeling in my stomach. And then similarly, when I'm supposed to sell my course, I have this weird feeling that, oh, I'm not supposed to sell. Why am I selling to these people who are alive? So the only thing you can do is just sell more and it will get better slowly. That's the only solution. And then for prices, You have two strategies for pricing, you could either maximize your profit right now. And then you could either build a fan base, a big fan base, or I should say a big customer base, and then you could keep selling to them. So there are two strategies here, like you could add.
Like, let's say you have goals. You could either go and sell that course for $1,000 while it's worth like $50, or you could go and sell it for $10 while it's worth $50. So in the second case, you will get a return customers when you make a new offer, maybe two months later. So it depends, but in the first case, you're going to make more money.
So it depends. Do you want to make more money right now? Or do you want to keep making money for the future? And then it also depends on how much are you comfortable with charging? How much is declined comfortable with paying and how are you structuring the payment? So you could for. Normal courses you could do one time, or you could transition them into communities where you charge a recurring and for services you could do.
Like I had paper appointment model. So the more leads I get from my clients, every, for every lead I got from a client, I used to get a certain amount of money or you could get a retainer. So you promise them a fixed number of leads. And then. They will pay you a fixed amount of money every month. And then the money will be fixed.
The leads will obviously be variable because you can't control how many leads you get. And then the other thing you could do is person DHBs. So the more money your client makes, the more money you make. And that is the option. I love the most because the incentives of both the parties are aligned. If they are making more money, you're going to make.
And then your clients also feel very comfortable with that approach because they don't have to be you anything from their own pocket. Did you just, when they make more money, they just give a percentage of that extra revenue to you. So it's very easy to close. Yeah. Yeah. I've been trying to find a copywriter who would accept that model for my business, but I haven't, I haven't found one yet, so which I, yeah, I agree.
It's definitely the best to have those incentives. I'll hook you up with someone just, just takes me after this and I'll connect. Oh, great. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that. And then I know you've also been thinking in the past about maybe building a business that can create a recurring revenue.
Cause it's always a kind of a debate on Twitter. Right? Do I build a service business or a product business that I sell as a one off? Or do I create like a SAS which has recurring. So, what are your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of service businesses versus like recurring revenue of SAS?
So I'm still waiting for you because for me, I have no time, but yeah, I think I really liked the use of SAS. It's making less money right now to get that big amount of money later. So I really liked that idea instead of making two K per month forever, you could make 2 million in at the end of five years.
And then I think 5 million is more than two K per month for five years. So that is a very good business model. I should say. It requires a lot of work though, and I want to get into it very soon in the future. Yeah, I'm just waiting for the right time and the right partnerships and the right people, just because I don't want to get into the coding side of things.
And right now I also have no idea what sounds stupid. So I I'm thinking about it in the back of my mind, but it's, it's not a major priority right now. The major priority is just scaling in for ties to the moon. And do we have any do you have any future plans or strategies that you want to reveal about what you're going to do with things for ties in the future?
I have a few strategies. I'm talking to a few people to partner of it, to get more clients for and hopefully when, and if we have a third episode of this. We can see if that stuff works out because none of it is final right now, but yeah, I'm talking to two, three people and I think I could, they could get me some really big deals.
Awesome. Yeah. Hope we we will have that to turn into fuel very soon and to be able to talk about that. And then, I mean, I asked you last time who I should interview next on the podcast. And I think you mentioned some people. Money Twitter. I have messaged them. I don't think I've gotten a lot of replies yet.
So who can I get on a podcast who will actually agree to, to come on? Okay. So who can you message?
I love if you could get Ken on, so his username is add a vision and seals. So try to get him on, I think. He's a genius. Like he's a total genius. And, but if Ken doesn't reply, go to Chris. So Chris is my business partner and I think he'll reply and he's, he's a cool guy. Awesome. Yeah. I'll I'll try to talk to talk with both of them.
All right. So I'm thanks to the vet and yeah, people want to follow you or hear your story, or maybe use your services. What's the best way for them to follow you in getting.
Go to Don rash, like twitter.com/darwish. Don rash on Twitter, D O N V E S H. And that's where I spend most of my time. Like I am spending way less time right now, but I opened Twitter every day for at least 15 minutes.
So that's the easiest way to get in touch with. And get you more followers. Awesome. Yeah. I agree. Follow you for a long time on Twitter and your email list and I, I enjoy your copy writing, so I'm sure to, you will get more followers. All right. Thanks bro. So, yeah, thanks a lot for being on a podcast again we learned a lot of new things and I'm already looking forward to to the third interview and learning even more.
So things don't mesh. All right. Awesome. Good job.