Sales, padded margins, and reliability.
I started out fresh out of high school with 2 clients I had for web design. Eager to grow and get money for colleges, I ended trying to find more clients. I mean their was no upfront cost and it was pretty easy when I was low balling on pricing for web design.
At first I focused solely on web design. I would ask for referrals of business owners friends who may need a website, and I’d schedule a consultation. I always charge around 750-1500 for web design and 1 year hosting for a basic website. Addition cost of $60/m for maintenance and minor updates. (Original I would hard code website from templates I made, I then switch to word press for faster development).
I had hired a business consultant to help me start up the business. I had it as an LLC, with me as the sole owner.
I started on my own doing sales and web development, ending up getting a small office in the suburbs of Chicago, hiring 4 salesmen, 1 office Admin, and co developer in the first year.
I didn’t grow fast till I learn about running ad campaigns, managing new product campaigns and sales analytics.
I would contact our old clients upwelling them on brand growth, with a flat rate + 15% charge for managing. A minimum of $500. Initially, I wasn’t expecting deals to be huge. Clients threw outrage numbers for advertising. All of a sudden non profits were contacting me left and right. You won’t believe the amount of money they had for PPM campaigns.
My employees contributed towards new ideas for growth and we gamble the ideas with successful results.
Eventually I was tied into multiple contracts with Fortune 500 companies, overall I had 27 employees and an office in downtown Chicago.
Unfortunately I reinvested too much into the company I never focused on treating myself, I only allowed me to pay myself $55k a year. Most money went towards decorating our office as a modern startup, gifting clients bottles of wine and throwing company events to celebrate milestones, and multiple bonuses to pay for my house and cars.
I was contacted by a representative at XXX company as they tried to acquire us multiple time, through the year. I was offered 8 million initially, but work for them as CEO for 2 years, and sign a 10 year non-compete.
I negotiated for 5 million, no work, and no compete.
I have not looked back on it in the 3 months.
Ironic thing, despite being the youngest person in the company and the aim of this thread. I was very bias in the hiring process, I only hired people with bachelor degrees because I felt they would be a better asset to the company.