Sleep better at night: How this agency owner grew recurring revenue from 10% to 90% in a year
Are you stuck dealing with day-to-day work at your agency, and you don’t have enough time to focus on the big picture? It helps have recurring revenue, so that you don’t have to re-“sell” every dollar your team delivers.
Working with Karl ultimately helped Joe stop needing to micromanage. This enabled Joe to concentrate on higher-level agency business strategy, helping him reach his goal of working less and earning more.
Using Coaching to Calm the Chaos
Joe Quinn founded agency Big Vision in 2014 with his wife Alyse. Initially, she focused on building the business, while he managed client work. Demand quickly outpaced how much they could take on themselves, and they soon began hiring people to handle client fulfillment.
Joe suddenly found himself managing a team while also being involved in the day-to-day work—he was acting as agency owner, account manager, project manager, and more. Some of this shifted as he hired more people, but Joe was still far from Optional.
Six years into running the agency, Joe knew that he needed help to get himself out of the weeds. He’d been following Karl’s content, and knew he wanted to hire him as a coach—but Joe was waiting for the “right” moment to do so. After signing up for Karl’s free DIY Coaching email series (and talking through his goals with Karl via email), he realized that the right time was now.
Joe signed on for Executive Coaching in April 2020, sooner than he planned. It paid off: the COVID-19 pandemic had just started, and having Karl on-call helped Joe keep the agency running smoothly throughout the chaos.
“Karl was always available to provide a cool and calm demeanor to work through the challenges at the time,” Joe later shared.
In their early conversations, they identified Joe’s key pain points—particularly, restructuring revenue to move away from dependence on projects, and bringing on executive-level support to lead day-to-day agency operations.
“If you don’t already have an EOS Implementor or full-time COO or other #2, then you need Karl. Once you grow past that 15-20 person threshold at your agency, so many things happen week-to-week that you’ll either need a Karl to help you work through the issues… or you’ll lose a lot of nights of sleep.”
—Joe Quinn, Founder, Big Vision
Reducing Workload to Focus On High-Level Initiatives
One of Joe’s priorities for achieving “Work Less, Earn More” was to boost his retainer-based revenue, by reducing the proportion of project-based work. At the time, the split was 90% project-based and 10% recurring. Karl noted that the baseline 10% reinforced that Big Vision could sell and deliver recurring work. Now to grow that number…
Another priority was reducing Joe’s own workload overseeing agency operations. As CEO, this would help Joe transition to focus on higher-level initiatives—including passion projects to grow residual income. Joe credits Karl for laying the foundation—and getting him closer to his ultimate goal of making himself fully “Optional” at his agency.
“If you don’t already have an EOS Implementor or full-time COO or other #2, then you need Karl,” Joe explained. “Once you grow past that 15-20 person threshold at your agency, so many things happen week-to-week that you’ll either need a Karl to help you work through the issues… or you’ll lose a lot of nights of sleep.”
Within a year of prioritizing the change, Big Vision successfully grew monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from 10% to 90% of agency revenue, thanks to following Karl’s guidance on selling and delivering retainers.
Mindset Shift Helps Owner Sleep Better At Night
The common thread on these successes was accountability—it can often be difficult for agency owners to remain focused on long-term goals when they don’t have someone holding them accountable. According to Joe, this was a major obstacle Karl helped him overcome.
And beyond a single specific thing, Karl helped Joe create a mindset shift that’s helped him reach where he is today.
“Karl’s entire body of work is very insightful and valuable,” Joe explained. “The more you apply his content and advice to your agency, the better you’ll succeed at leading your agency. I’m thankful for the time we collaborated together and would love to do so again in the future.”
In 2022, Joe reflected: “2020 was a crazy and difficult to navigate year for everyone—especially anyone leading an agency. Karl’s support, counsel, and partnership to solve problems no one had ever faced before was invaluable. Knowing you had someone in your corner like Karl made it easier to sleep at night during a challenging time.”
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