Pia and her partner work one to two weeks a month, bring home around $250,000 a year, don’t have to spend all of their remaining time networking, and have no employees. But things weren’t always so great.
In our chat, Pia shares how she went from $40k in debt to $500k in profits in 12 months.
She did it without spending a dime on advertising. She did it by completely rethinking her business. In today’s podcast, Pia breaks down the process to help other service businesses make similar transformations.
Pia has really been through it all. And she doesn’t hold back when talking about her successes or her failures.
If having a steady stream of qualified clients coming to you without spending all your time on the phone or networking sounds like a dream, then this is the episode for you.
So, without further ado, here’s Pia Silva, author of Badass Your Brand. Hit play above and listen to the episode now!
Want to download the transcript? Click here and we’ll email it to you.
Refocusing the business
Pia’s success actually started out of what felt like a failure.
At her lowest point, Pia had two employees and $40K in credit card debt. Every month, she was putting herself deeper in the hole trying to keep her employees paid.
That’s when her husband and business partner said they needed to let the employees go.
Pia felt defeated. She had initially dreamed of creating a more traditional agency that grows and grows according to the expected model.
Pia’s husband, however, asked her to think of it as a new opportunity to critically evaluate their business. And, at the same time, to keep themselves from going any deeper into debt.
The money saved from letting the employees go gave Pia and her husband a little room to breathe. Now they could step back and take a big-picture look at what they actually enjoyed about their business.
They loved branding projects and working with clients, but they did not like project management. That was where the fun got sucked out of it for them, and it was also costing them money because of client delays and the general slog of a long-term project.
By stepping back from the more traditional agency model, Pia saw that the thing they as a company really enjoyed was a smaller product they had created basically as a favor to their networking clients who had gotten priced out when Pia’s company increased their going rate.
This product was called a Brandup. Instead of a long, drawn-out design process, in the Brandup, Pia and her husband sit down with a company and basically do everything in a day.
After a brief discovery process, they nail down the client’s graphic design elements, business cards, website, everything.
Clients walk away with serious value. And Pia and her husband get to do what they love without the parts they hate.
Closing stalled deals
When Pia decided to revamp her business, she, like most agency owners, had a bunch of stalled client deals to take care of. She was waiting for responses to see if any of her clients were interested in her initial proposal.
At this point, obviously, the clients were not getting the proposals she’d initially pitched. Her company’s offerings had changed.
Instead, Pia contacted the clients and offered them the Brandup process. By offering a more focused, unique service for a fraction of the price, she closed four out of those five deals.
Aligning your agency with your goals
The other part of Pia’s agency redesign was looking at what she actually wanted to do with the profits from her company.
Pia and her husband, like a lot of agency owners and self-employed business owners, were drawn to running their own business because it offered them a lot of freedom, both creatively and in terms of work-life balance.
With that in mind, they took a look at the profit from their Brandups and dug into what they wanted that money to allow them to do.
Now Pia and her husband do two to three Brandups per month. The price point ranges from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the chosen service. They use their free time to focus on brand building.
For example, Pia writes for Forbes. She’s also recently finished her first book, focusing on how her process has really helped her clients and what others can learn from her experiences.
This way, Pia and her husband can continue to build their brand and maintain client relationships. And, at the same time, give themselves the freedom to experiment and find new ways to expand their business.
How you can get started
Pia’s advice for agency owners looking to pivot starts with looking inward. Really ask yourself what you love and what you don’t like about your work now.
Give yourself the freedom to let go of what you think a small business is supposed to look like or how your trade is supposed to work. Then think about how you would handle yourself in an ideal world. Forget about what you think will sell.
If you find a way to put passion into everything you do, clients will respond.
Want to learn more?
Pia has a very special offer for Agency Advantage listeners. Go to badassyourbrand.com/aap.
There you can download the first chapter of Pia’s book, Badass Your Brand, as well as the 80 questions she asks her clients during the Brandup process.