The Most Effective Marketing Campaigns For Consultants With Natalie Kaminski: Podcast #319

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In our industry, you can’t just market to sell. When the value add is high, you need to actually build trusting relationships with your clients. This episode’s guest is proof of this. Natalie Kaminski, the Co-founder and CEO of JetRockets, has not only started her company but also grew it over time. Now, she has a team of 63. She sits down with Michael Zipursky to talk about the importance of trust, especially when creating an effective marketing campaign. From generating qualified leads to making unpopular leadership decisions, Natalie gives us a masterclass in marketing as consultants to the next level. Tune in now!

In this episode with Natalie, you’ll learn how to:

  • Find your niche within a crowded marketplace.
  • Avoid the biggest sales mistake consultants make when finding new clients.
  • Find new clients using Natalie’s three-pronged approach.
  • Create strategic relationships with other companies.
  • Break through limiting beliefs to grow your practice.
  • Implement a self-managing management structure within your business.

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Connect with Natalie on LinkedIn

Check out JetRockets

Welcome back to another episode of the show. Joining Michael on the show is Natalie Kaminski, who’s the CEO of JetRockets. She’s a tech entrepreneur with a knack for bridging the gap between non-tech founders and the digital world. With a journey spanning multiple countries and roles from programmer to COO, she brings a wealth of hands-on experience in turning tech ideas into reality.

At JetRockets, she leads a global team that specializes in helping non-tech businesses launch successful tech platforms, ensuring they’re well-built, user-friendly, and perfectly aligned with business goals. Natalie has built through business a team of 63 employees. In order to scale to that size, you need systems in place to help you grow.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you feel overwhelmed in your business and want help, the Consulting Success Team is offering a free, no-pressure growth session call. We’re on the call. We’re going to dive deep into what makes your situation unique. We’ll have a real talk about your business goals and whip up a success plan that’s tailor-made for you. We’ll help you dodge those frustrating, costly blunders and save you from the headache of trying to figure it all out on your own.

Lastly, you’ll get the ongoing support and accountability you need. Plus, join a buzzing community of successful consultants like you. Let’s be honest. Growing a business by yourself can be pretty lonely at times. To book your free growth session call, head over to ConsultingSuccess.com/Grow.

Let me tell you about what we’re going to learn in this episode with Natalie. First, how to find your niche within a crowded marketplace, how to avoid the biggest sales mistake consultants make when finding new clients, how to find new clients using Natalie’s three-pronged approach, how to create strategic relationships with other companies, how to break through limiting beliefs to grow your practice, and implement a self-managing management structure within your company. Plus, so much more. Here to share her story and insights with you is Natalie Kaminski. Enjoy.

Natalie Kaminski, welcome.

Thank you.

It is great to have you here on the show. I know you are a team of 63 people at JetRockets. We’re going to get into how you built the company up and the lessons learned along the way. There’s a lot I know that you can share. Let’s start off by going back in time a little bit. You’re in the US. You’re based in Brooklyn, but that’s not where you’re from originally. Share where you can. Take us back to the story of how you got to where you are, where you grew up, and what did that career progression look like to get to where you are.

Thank you for having me on your show. I was born in the Russian part of the Soviet Union. Subsequently, my parents moved to Ukraine, where I spent the first several years of my childhood in the city called Dnipro. When I was about nine years old, my mother and I moved to Israel because my mother remarried. My parents got divorced when I was five, and then my mother got remarried. We moved to Israel. I spent the rest of my childhood up until I graduated from high school in Israel in the beautiful city of Ashdod, which is located on the sea. It’s wonderful. Thinking back, I realize it was a very difficult time in many aspects, but it was also a beautiful time in my life. I really enjoyed growing up in Israel.

As I graduated from high school, my father who, at that time, had already moved from the Soviet Union to the United States separately, reappeared in my life or in my mother’s life, I suppose. He said, “I know Natalie is about to graduate from high school.” In Israel, there’s a compulsory Army service that every child at the age of eighteen gets to go to. My father said, “How about she comes over to the United States? I can help her. I can get her into the university and give her some other opportunities,” which were not necessarily available to me at that point in my life.

My mother got really excited about it. She said, “You should go.” I was very hesitant. They had my life in my mind, playing out the way that I saw my friends’ lives playing out. You do the Army service, take a year or two off, travel the world, come back, get a job, and go to school, or maybe not. I was up in the air about what my future would look like with the exception of the immediate couple of years, but my mother was very adamant about me joining my father in the United States, so I didn’t have a say at that time.

In October of 1998, I landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of all places. I wasn’t very happy about any of this. I had two things in my pocket, so to speak. I had $500 that my mother gave me and a return ticket to go back to Israel with an open date that was valid for the next 12 months. Without going into too many personal details, my father and I didn’t work out. We were able to survive next to one another for about three months. I moved out after 3 months into a rented apartment and decided to give myself 9 months to make it or go back home.

I spent the next nine months getting a job as a programmer. It is important to note it was 1998. It was the peak of computer jobs. Everyone wanted to get into IT. Y2K was upon us. It was relatively easy to get a job in IT. All you had to do was claim that you knew how to program and then you had a job offer. That’s pretty much what I did.

I got my first job as a computer programmer. After about three months, I understood I wasn’t one, but I wanted to stay within the IT world. I spent the next decade working in different roles in the software development life cycle, going from QA into business analysis, a webmaster in the early 2000s, a project manager, and so on and so forth. I moved from Minneapolis to Boston and then subsequently to New York with my last full-time job in the year of 2009 at which point I took my first consulting client.

There’s always an upside to any financial crisis. People are trying to create something new, so there’s always an opportunity. Click To Tweet

Tell me about that. You started JetRockets right in 2009 when you decided to start the company. You mentioned that first consulting client. Where did they come from?

I did not officially start JetRockets in 2009. In 2009, I quit my job as a director of operations of companies similar to JetRockets at that time. It was an onshore software development company servicing the hedge fund industry. Since it was a relatively small company of about 25 people, I was wearing a lot of different hats. I was managing a couple of projects. I was helping the CEO with the operations. I was helping in sales. In addition to my background in software development, I also learned the business of software development inadvertently through his job, which I held for about four years at that time.

I felt like I hit a ceiling. The company wasn’t growing fast enough. The company, as a matter of fact, wasn’t growing at all. It was stagnating. I felt like I needed to take a step back. I also had a 3-year-old, my first daughter. She was three at the time. I felt like I missed so much time with her the first couple of years. I felt like I needed to get away from it all, so I quit my job and said, “I’m going to consult for a while.” It wasn’t the company yet. The company will come later. I said, “I’m going to freelance.” That was the word at that time.

When you decided that in your mind that you wanted to freelance, where did you think that you were going to get your clients from? It sounded like you were already confident that you would make this work. What gave you that confidence? What were the signals or signs for you that this would come together?

Due to the nature of my last job, I made a lot of different connections in the industry because I attended a lot of industry events. I made a lot of connections through the people and clients I’ve worked with. It’s important to keep in mind it was on the heels of the 2008 collapse. A lot of companies went belly up, but then also, a lot of new companies popped up.

With some of the people I knew, there was some chatter about, “Can you help me do this? Can you help me do that on the side?” I felt pretty confident that if I went out there, emailed a few people, and said I was available to do some consulting gigs, I could get something. At no point was I sure, “Clients are lining up.” There was no such thing. There’s always an upside to any financial crisis. People are trying to create something new, so there’s always an opportunity. I felt like I could find my way.

I had all this knowledge, especially in the financial service, because we were servicing the financial service clients industry. I said, “I could go and maybe help develop some new products and Software as a Service tools specifically around research.” That was one big area of interest of mine at that time. I reached out to a few people that I had in my contacts list and said, “This is what I’m doing. I’m trying to find a client. I’m trying to help someone build a new product.”

Relatively quickly, I got a few responses back. The first response I got back was from a client who I used to work for who left the company that he used to work at. He was contemplating starting a new business. That’s exactly what happened. He said, “I loved the work that you did when we worked back then. Why don’t you help me figure it out and be the product manager?” At that point, he wanted to figure out how and if his product idea was feasible.

What I’m hearing is you took the path, which is a very classic and common path in the world of consulting. This is what we call internally a network reactivation. You have this network. You build up these relationships with people. You decide that you’re going to start this business or at least start consulting even before the business. You reactivated your network. You said, “Here’s what I’m planning to do,” or, “Here’s what I’m interested in. Do you know anyone? How does this resonate? Do you have any thoughts or ideas?” From that, there would be some opportunities and that becomes your first group of clients. Is that correct?

CSP Natalie Kaminski | Effective Marketing Campaigns

Pretty much. That was the goal. To me, financial stability has always been of importance. I couldn’t take my time and figure myself out as many people do. I had to act quickly. I reached out to my network and said, “I’m available. Does anybody have any ideas?”

If we fast forward to now, your company is very different. It’s not you as a solo consultant anymore. It’s a team of 63 people around the world. What’s working best for you from a business development marketing standpoint? How are you filling the pipeline? How are you generating qualified leads? What are 2 or 3 things that you’re focused on that are working really well?

I’m going to start by saying what does not work in my world at all, which is cold sales.

Define cold sales for those who are joining us who may not be clear on what cold sales mean. Define what that means to you.

It is reaching out with cold emails, cold LinkedIn messages, or cold phone calls sometimes to people you don’t know and saying, “Buy my services right now. I’m the best at this.” I’ve always had this theory that in our world, specifically in the things that we do, it doesn’t work. We have to build trust. We have to build relationships, especially because, most of the time, the price tag on the services and the platforms that we build is quite high. It’s not like we’re selling $100 software.

Give a range. When you say it’s quite high, what is that?

We typically start at about $50,000 and up. That’s our entry point. For many people, it’s a significant amount of money. It’s a significant investment. I personally would never buy anything like this through a cold email. I like to always say before I do something, “How would I react to the same thing?” I’m one person.

I talk to clients about this kind of thing all the time. When people wonder, “What kind of email should I send? What should I do? What kind of content should I create?” Put yourself in the position of your ideal client and really think about what’s going to resonate with them. What would they appreciate? What would they pay attention to? How would they likely respond to what you’re planning on doing? If you think about that, you often know quite quickly whether pushing the send button makes sense or completely rewriting makes sense. That makes complete sense. Cold outreach or cold sales is something that you do not think is effective for your business. What does work? What is effective?

Pretty much the same approach. Networking, building trust, building relationships, thought leadership, and referrals.

Networking is about building relationships, going out there and meeting people without a particular intent to sell to them but rather to meet, learn, and see what people are looking for. Click To Tweet

Let’s go into each of those a little bit. Maybe not all of them. You said networking. To some, networking might mean attending events in person or physical right events, or it might be part of some associations, groups, and so forth. Can you share with us what networking is? When you say networking is working for you, what are you doing from a networking perspective?

All of the above. I attend events. Historically, conferences have not been a place where I would find or my salespeople would find a lot of leads only. I feel like at conferences, they are very similar to the cold calling approach. People are there for a reason. A lot of people are there to learn something. I always look at sales from the point of, “What can I give you before you even start paying me money? What is that value add that I can offer to build the relationship?” When I say networking, I’m going to bring it home. When I say networking, I mean building relationships. I mean going out there and meeting people without a particular intent to sell to them but rather to meet people, learn about people, and see what people are looking for.

Where are you going? When you say conferences are not the best,  what kind of an event would that then be?

I’m lucky I live in New York City.

There’s lots of stuff happening.

I like to go to, sometimes, what could be simply a networking event for people in tech, maybe a startup convention or not so much a convention but rather an evening listening to VCs talk about stuff, or some particular themed events, maybe AI or maybe something of that nature.

I’m going into this a little bit deeper because I want to really make sure that everybody can get value and see this clearly. You find it’s not like the big industry conference where people are going to learn. You find that maybe a little bit smaller or more highly curated events, maybe often in New York, where the types of people that are your ideal clients go. For you, it might be technology, software, and those kinds of places where people will congregate over dinner, happy hour, or things of that nature.

Not just my potential clients but also my potential strategic partners. Remember. It is also very important to build those relationships with strategic partners who will then be able to send clients to you, and you will reciprocate by sending potential clients to them. We’re in this consultancy world. It’s all about creating additional value for our clients.

If my client comes to me and I can provide a certain service, which is software development, for instance, but they also need help with go-to-market strategy, it would be a lot of value for me to be able to say, “I know these five companies that can help you. You should talk with these three people for your particular needs.”

CSP Natalie Kaminski | Effective Marketing Campaigns

Give me a quick list. When you say strategic partners, what kinds of companies? You’re in the software development business. Who’s a strategic partner for you?

For me, an MSP is anyone providing IT services. Go-to-market or marketing companies are big strategic partners, as well as design agencies, companies that focus on product build and product design without the engineering component. Even though we do offer some of the services, we find that a lot of our counterparts on the agency side do not offer our piece of work. Those are great relationships for us to build. Accelerators and venture capital funds are very big for us.

Another thing that you mentioned that works really well for you in addition to networking is you said thought leadership, which we talk about quite a bit here on the show. We do a lot of this ourselves at Consulting Success. It’s thinking about how you can create valuable information, insights, data, or whatever it might be. You create it, but you also have to distribute it, promote it, and get it out into the world. It’s providing valuable intellectual property or developing your body of work and getting out into the marketplace.

You mentioned referrals as well. I want to go into that one a little bit because, for many people, referrals are something that they welcome. It’s a big part of their business, maybe the majority of their business, but they’re more reactive than proactive. When referrals come, yes, but they’re not doing anything intentional to generate more referrals. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing. It’s what’s common. I’m wondering. When you talk about referrals, is there anything that you’re doing that you feel like doing A or B things contributes to us getting more referrals?

First, you have to really take care of your clients. You have to not just ask for a referral, but you have to create a situation where your client brags about you every place they go without you even asking them. You’ve created so much value for them. You’ve become indispensable for your client at every step of the way.

I’m going to keep drilling down on this. Our audience knows that I always like to go deep to try and get more stuff for them. When you talk about that, is there anything that you do specifically to take care of your clients or to create that level of value that you feel maybe others don’t do or you feel like, “This is an important part of our process or our approach?”

Absolutely. One thing that a lot of my competitors don’t do is they do not provide this CTO level of support. We do the software development piece. As a matter of fact, we specialize in working with non-tech founders. The add-on value service that we provide is acting as their CTO, especially at the time when they decide to fundraise, at the time when they start to grow, or at the time when they have already raised funding and are trying to strategically think about what’s next for their company.

We take ownership of being that guidance to them and that strategic thinker and strategic partner from the standpoint of how their stack is going to grow over time as they succeed. We’ve always done it, but frankly, we’ve never realized that it’s a big value add-on. That’s what clients love about us. We don’t simply develop the code that they want us to develop. We take it to the next level. That’s one example.

The second example is we really take ownership of the product development on their behalf. Even if our clients have a product owner or product person on their side, from our end, we also have a product person who works alongside our clients. We help not just think about, “What’s this iteration of your platform going to look like?” but we’re constantly thinking about creating the product roadmap for the foreseeable future. That’s another value add. That’s another thing that many of our competitors do not do.

You have to really take care of your clients. You have to not just ask for a referral, but you have to create a situation where your client just brags about you every place they go without you even asking them. Click To Tweet

I appreciate you sharing those examples. Those are fantastic. Do you communicate those publicly, both of them? If you do, when do you do it? Is it on the website? Is it in sales meetings? Is it in your content? Is it all the above or none of them?

It’s all of the above. We also have an eBook that we’ve published that’s geared towards non-tech founders and how to launch a tech platform as a non-tech founder. I also have a series of webinars that I do personally because I love talking. That’s a good opportunity for me to talk some more. I do webinars and try to educate. That goes into the thought leadership realm.

The reason I was asking is I’ve seen and had lots of conversations with consultants and firm owners over the years. When we talk about, “What’s your competitive advantage? What makes you different? What’s unique?” they’ll describe certain things. Usually, the response initially is not very good. We have to drill down to identify what makes them different. Saying things like, “We’re high quality. We care,” is whatever. Everybody can say that.

Usually, when we arrive at something that is truly unique, differentiated, and valuable, people often don’t do a very good job of communicating that publicly. It sounds like not only have you identified those things, but you consistently do communicate them to the marketplace. Would you say that those are key drivers or things that attract people to you because of those components?

Absolutely. The way we know is because we constantly do surveys with our clients. We ask them, “Of all potential partners that wanted to work with you, why did you choose us? Why do you continue to work with us?” The response has always been amongst the things like quality, responsiveness, etc. Amongst those things, we also get, “The fact that you care strategically about my future and my growth. You do not just execute the tasks at hand, but you think ahead.”

These are great gems for everybody joining us because not only is it an opportunity for everybody to, first of all, figure out what makes you different, but then second of all, make sure that you communicate it. The third is capturing. A lot of people don’t take the time. They don’t have a process or a system to capture that feedback. Ultimately, when you start seeing that feedback not just from 1 person or 2 people but over and over again, you see that thread. You want to figure out, “Do we put more spotlight onto it or make an adjustment?” This is good stuff.

We’ve talked about what things are working well for you from a marketing lead generation perspective. We talked about one thing that you stay away from, which is the cold sales and the cold outreach. What has maybe been one big challenge that you faced in growing the business? It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to marketing, business development, or lead generation. For you as a business owner, it is something that maybe you struggled with, and it was hard to get through. Is there anything that you can share? Is there anything that comes to mind?

We did have a huge challenge that we had to undertake a year ago when we had to relocate our entire company from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus into Georgia as a result of the Russian war.

Did you relocate people?

CSP Natalie Kaminski | Effective Marketing Campaigns

Physically, yes. The moment the war had started, probably 2 days in February 2022, I made the decision. Especially looking at my Russian and Belarusian employees, I said, “Nobody’s going to stay here. We’re not going to continue to pay salaries in those marketplaces.” I don’t want them to pay taxes. I don’t want these people to participate in the marketplace or the economy of those countries. We made the decision to relocate our employees. That was quite a challenge. Even though you may say, “It was a year ago,” that’s true. It was a bit long ago when we finished that process, but it is still a challenge because along the way, we’ve lost about 25% of our workforce and we had to rehire new people.

When you say lost, was that because they didn’t want to move to Georgia?

Yes.

When you came up with that idea, it sounds like you felt very strongly that that was the right decision for the values that are important to you. Did you have a concern inside of, “What if some of our top people don’t agree with me on this?” How did you approach it? That’s a big decision to make.

As a leader, sometimes, you have to make very unpopular decisions. You have to double down on them, especially if you have a certain conviction. To me, this particular decision was non-negotiable. I was hoping that most people, especially my key people, would feel the same way and follow us. We’ve lost several key people during that transition. We try to transition in such a way that our clients will not feel any disturbance to their ongoing business, etc. We’ve succeeded for the most part, but also, thanks to our clients, who were very understanding and patient with us.

The decision was not up for negotiation. If one of my key employees would be like, “I’m not moving,” I didn’t say to them, “Stay. I’ll keep paying your salaries. Some of those people have remained for a couple of months, and we have slowly transitioned them out. We couldn’t make some abrupt decisions or steps without affecting our clients’ work, so we had to do some things slowly.

For the most part, 75% of the company has relocated with us. Out of the 25% who decided to stay behind, the majority had valid reasons. It could be family members who couldn’t or didn’t want to come with them. It may be elderly sick parents or other reasons that I don’t judge. As a company, we made the decision. We stood by it. We’ve relocated. It cost the company about $250,000 to make that move. It was not insignificant.

At the end of the day, it all came to the point where, as a company, we became stronger. We learned that we can go through adversity and come out on the other side. People who came with us have proven their loyalty to us and vice versa. As a company, we came out stronger, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging. It was extraordinarily difficult.

After spending about a year in Georgia, many of them have decided to continue on their journey. They moved to other countries in Western and Eastern Europe. A lot of them ended up in Portugal, Serbia, and Spain. Those are the key areas where a lot of those people have gone to. People are still struggling. They do not have a place they can call home. There are a lot of visa issues and a lot of situations that people are still trying to deal with. It does create a certain level of stress for everyone and pressure. As a company, we try to do everything to support them. That’s been probably the key challenge over the course of the past few years.

As a leader, sometimes you have to make very unpopular decisions and you have to double down on them. Click To Tweet

I appreciate you sharing that because that’s a big challenge and one that I would imagine would be controversial in some ways, possibly for some people. I appreciate you sharing that. You talked about how this was a hard one for you. The other thing I wanted to ask you about was with a team of 60-plus people, and I know, at times, it’s even been higher than that. If you pushed the rewind button and went back to when it was you or a handful of people, did you always think, “I want to build a company that has 50, 60, or 70 people.”

Oftentimes, people will have a bit of some kind of a limiting belief, like, “I can’t build to X number.” I’m wondering. Did you have any kind of limiting belief around building to a certain size of company? Do you have any concerns about, “How can we manage this number of people as we continue to grow?” If you can take me inside your mind and walk me back a little bit, what’s been your relationship and mindset around growing to this number of people over the years?

I love this question. Thank you. The first answer is I’ve never had a business plan. I’ve never had an idea of, “I’m going to build a company with 62 people or 75 people.” That’s never been the case. As a matter of fact, they still don’t, but we’ll get to it. It has been a lifestyle consultancy business for the first 5 to 6 years. We were a team of maybe fifteen at the peak before we decided to take the next step. It was 15 to 20 because we fluctuated up and down a bit.

We had 3 to 4 projects at the time. We didn’t have any project managers. I was doing a lot of the project management work. I was doing a lot of work in the company, not just on the company. I sometimes think about those times and reminisce back. I’m like, “It was such an easy time. It was so cool.” We were making enough money to feel good to maintain a certain level of quality of life or quality of life. There was not too much stress and not too many people to worry about. It was good.

My partner, who is my CTO, came to me and said, “So,” and I said, “So?” He said, “Why aren’t we growing? Why are we stagnating in this size with these revenues that haven’t grown year over year for the past three years?” I said, “What do you mean? We’re doing awesome.” He said, “We’re doing fine, but why are we doing this?”

It was really him. He was the driver behind that decision to say, “Maybe we can do something bigger here.” He said, “We have such an amazing process going on. Why aren’t we applying this process? Why aren’t we actively growing?” I was very hesitant. I said to him, “I had my second child. I love this life. I don’t have to work too hard. I make enough money to feel good. Why do we need more?” He said, “We have something good going on.” I took some time, thought about it, and gave in. I said, “Let’s try. Let’s see what happens.” By, “Let’s try,” what I really meant is, “I’ll go and try to do some more sales.” That was really the, “Let’s do this,” behind it.

I went back to networking. I went back to emailing. I went back to very actively asking our clients for referrals and being like, “Do you know anyone who’s looking?” Amongst those things, one thing led to another. The train started moving along. We got to 35 people fast. That was a little bit like, “What’s happening? There are way too many people. It looks like we need to start hiring some ‘overhead positions’ such as project managers,” and we did. We grew probably twice. We doubled our revenue in a year.

Let me ask you about that. When you were at fifteen people and then your CTO or co-founder says, “Let’s take this to the next level. We have a good process. We can make a bigger impact,” and so on and so forth, how did you get to that next level? You went from 15 people to 35 people. Was that landing a couple of big projects or was it landing a handful of projects? What took you to that next level?

We had 2 or 3 projects. The key here is not getting one-time projects. The key to our growth has always been building long-term relationships with our clients and creating those retainer agreements with our clients that allow us to hire people, knowing that I’m not going to have to downsize next month.

CSP Natalie Kaminski | Effective Marketing Campaigns

How important is or are retainers in your business?

They are very important. 80% of my business is retainer-based.

Do you think that other web development or software development companies that do not use retainers create a website or create a piece of software and that’s it? Do you think they’re completely missing the boat, like they’ve lost their minds and they’re missing something huge?

It depends on the business model. To me, it’s such an obvious decision. If you have an opportunity, if you have a client, if you’ve found a client that requires this long-term care and support, then why wouldn’t you try and develop that relationship with them by yourself or make yourself this peace of mind this long-term project?

When the company went from 15 people to 35 people then, which now, you have 63 people, what have you seen in terms of the financial impact? A lot more people means more revenue. What has that done to the profit margins?

At that point, we didn’t see any effect on the margins, quite frankly. JetRockets is very top lean. We’re lean at the top. We have always wanted to be a lean organization. When this whole relocation effort began, we hired an HR manager for the first time. Until then, we were dealing with everything on our own. My partners and I were handling all the administrative parts of the business. We don’t have this sometimes wasted structure of managers underneath managers. They are managers of managers. I never wanted that. In early 2019, we implemented teal structures within our company.

Define that for the people who aren’t familiar.

Teal management talks about self-managed teams and how you really don’t need a lot of middle management in your organization. You have your company executives. Everyone underneath that layer is an active, self-managed employee. It requires a lot of trust. It requires a lot of self-awareness. It requires a lot of accountability. Not every employee is capable of that level of accountability and self-awareness, but this is something that I believe can be taught.

Is this part of your hiring process? Do you look for people who you do a personality assessment or some kind of an assessment that helps you to identify whether they have the right mix?

The key to growth has always been building long-term relationships with clients. Click To Tweet

Absolutely. To me, cultural feats always matter a lot more than concrete skills or hard skills.

I have a few more questions and then I know we’re going to wrap up here shortly. Knowing what you know and experiencing what you’ve experienced, going from 15 people where things were good as well as the lifestyle, there was a good balance, and money was fine to 63 people. There is a lot more revenue. The profit margin may have gone down over that time. It was a much bigger company than it was. There is a lot more to potentially manage than before. Would you do anything differently? Knowing what you know, do you ever have the desire to go back to what you had before to have fewer people? What do you think about the business compared to what you experienced before?

We make mistakes every day. For instance, in 2023, we’ve made three hiring mistakes, which I would if I could go back and undo them. We’ve tried a lot of different approaches. For instance, we’re working on implementing the EOS within our organization. For those who don’t know, it’s the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s wonderful, but it’s a challenge. It’s not easy. They say it’s a simple process, but it’s not easy to implement. Already, we’re seeing a lot of benefits and value from implementing it and embedding it into our organization.

What I love the most, and to answer your question, is that a lot of early hypotheses that we had, for instance, instead of hiring very expensive and experienced people, in the past, we’ve always relied on hiring junior people and teaching them the way we like them to work. At some point along this way of growing, we’ve lost that. We started to hire more experienced and more expensive people, and they never worked out for us.

As a result, you know, there’s a lot of time lost and financial loss. You have to replace people and go back to basics. As we go through this process, make mistakes, and try new things, we quickly realize, “This is not for us. We have to be honest with who we are and what works best for us. We have to always hire based on cultural fit because I believe that any hard skill can be learned.”

I’m hearing you say you would not go back to the way things were before. There are a lot of challenges, but there’s always going to be challenges. Whether you’re small or big, they are different kinds of challenges. I want to ask one more question and then we’ll wrap up. Your website has a really interesting page where buyers can move some elements around to get a sense of their project cost. I would love it if you could share how that works and why you created it. We’ll let people know where they can see it later if they want to see the example.

It’s quite novel. It’s quite interesting that you have that because a lot of companies will not publish their pricing. They want to have a conversation first. They want to move forward with a sales process. I understand that what you’re showing is an approximation to give somebody a sense. It’s not the final price. Where did that come from? Why do you have it? What purpose does it serve? Is there anything that you think is important for people to know about that?

The purpose is twofold. It is to not waste anybody’s time. I don’t want clients whose budgets are $3,000 or something. It’s not that insignificant, but I want to make sure that we don’t waste our potential client’s time and then they, in turn, don’t waste hours. We give them an idea of what types of projects and what types of budgets we typically work with. That’s purpose number one.

Purpose number two is also to help people understand that the development process of any platform, be it a web platform or mobile platform, can be very different. The cost of it can have a wide range depending upon so many different aspects. That page gives you a little bit of an insight. It asks you enough questions that you could answer and be like, “What could I potentially plan for even if I’m not yet ready to talk to a developer? I’m not there yet. I’m contemplating a business idea. I’m thinking, “Should I be investing? Should I not be investing?” How much would it cost?”

We have to always hire based on cultural fit because any hard skill can be learned. Click To Tweet

If you go out there, Google, and say, “How much would it cost to develop a platform that does ABC,” the range you get is wild. It will tell you between $10 to $100 million. It’s a super wild range. We try to bring that range a little bit and give you a slightly better understanding. These are not random numbers there. There’s an algorithm underneath and it’s based on years of experience. I always say that any product should start with an MVP or a development of a Minimum Viable Product. An MVP, depending on its complexity and details, should cost you anywhere between $50,000 and $125,000. It’s a very wide range, but it gives you somewhat of an understanding of what to shoot for.

We’ll make sure people can go and have a look at it. It’s a good example of how to put something like that into practice. For those who may be getting started, it may not be where you should be focusing in terms of putting your pricing right away on the website. Especially as a company is gaining more experience and is becoming more established, and in your case, very well established, with a lot of inbound lead flow and people checking you out, the last thing that you want is to spend all your time or your salespeople’s time on calls with people that are unqualified. Having that qualification component in there is great. With that, I want to thank you so much for coming here. Where should people go so they can see that pricing vehicle? I don’t know what you want to call it. Is it a pricing tool?

Calculator.

What’s the URL for your website or where should they go to have a look at that and also all the work that you all are doing at JetRockets?

Our website is JetRockets.com. You go there and there’s a pricing menu item at the top menu. I welcome everyone to come and check it out. You can also find me on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. My name is Natalie Kaminski. If you Google me, you’ll find me there. My email address is [email protected]. If you have any business ideas, I’m always happy to chat and offer my advice.

Thank you so much for coming on again.

Thank you. I  appreciate you having me here.

There you have it for this episode between Michael and Natalie. If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to subscribe to your favorite shows wherever you tune in. If you want to help support the show, I would encourage you to share this episode with a colleague. Also, as a reminder, if you want to book your free, no-pressure growth session call with the Consulting Success team, be sure to visit ConsultingSuccess.com/Grow to book your free consultation. Thank you again so much for tuning into this episode. That’s the end of the line for us. We’ll be back soon with another one. Until next time.

 

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