Is it possible to take bootstrapped business from low 4 figures to 5 figures monthly income when the founder has zero experience in cold selling or biz dev experience in a B2B context?
That’s what I want to find out. In addition to my reasonably successful iOS consultancy, I have a side business that makes branded apps for mortgage lenders; basically if you’re a mortgage lender or broker, you can get your own iPhone and Android app to give to prospects and referral partners (like realtors).
It’s a pretty good way for these firms to boost referrals, as it gives their loan officers something to talk about or show off to their referral sources. In particular, real estate agents uses mortgage apps to calculate payments and lookup rates for clients a LOT; and real estate agents are the primary referral sources for a lot of lenders out there.
I originally launched the business as “BrokersApps”, targeting individual loan officers and charging in the $50/month range. Turns out that’s not a great business plan for a couple of reasons: 1) individual loan officers would have to put this expense on their personal credit cards, hence $50/month is expensive, and 2) most loan officers work for larger brokerages or lenders and would not be allowed to use their employer’s branding. So I quickly canned that idea.
A breakthrough came when Mortech, a company I’d worked with before approached me to offer their lenders an app of their own. Mortech (recently acquired by Zillow) provides realtime pricing for hundreds of lenders across the country, and with an integration with them, I could offer real time mortgage pricing in app format for all their lenders.
Thus followed a quick re-branding, and LendersApps.com was launched. This was actually reasonably successful, and selling to their clients put me where I am today – in the low 4 figures/month range. Respectable, but not quit consulting territory.
Hence this series, after a couple of time consuming partnership deals stalled or fell through, I decided it was time to explore and grow my own direct sales channel. After all, my product was plenty good and served a need (as witnessed by my existing clients), and also had a high enough price point that doing direct sales made some sense.
However, the problem is – I’ve never done any cold calling or sales. I have no problem with it, I just have never done it – most of my consulting work just kinda walks through the door. So I have to learn, and learn quickly.
That’s what this series is about – will I fall flat on my face? Maybe. Will I learn something? Probably.