Earning $10k+ Per Month With A Productized Service (And Only 2 Hours Of Work) | With Brian Casel

Episode art

If there was a way to shift your freelance business in a way that consistently led to higher income, fewer hours, and more predictability, would you be interested in hearing more? 

This is exactly what Brian Casel did with his business.

He created a productized service that allowed him to hire a team to remove most of the work from his plate to the point where he was spending less than 2 hours per month on that business.

The best part is that his clients were paying him a flat fee every single month, which meant he had predictable, recurring revenue. 

Whether or not you ever want to run your business this way, this interview is a must-watch for anyone looking to grow their income.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • What it’s like to launch, grow, and sell a business
  • How to create a scalable business that runs without you
  • Why having a productized service is a smart move for freelancers
  • How to provide a service you have no experience with
  • Why it’s important to choose an industry you’re passionate about
  • How to build a business that runs on autopilot
  • What to do when you find extra time because your business runs autonomously
  • How to hire the right people

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Quotes 

“Even if you never intend to sell your business, it’s just a good practice to build your business as if you might sell it someday.” – Brian Casel

 

“If you want money, ask for advice, if you want advice, ask for money.” – Brian Hood

Episode Links


Brian Casel

Brian Casel website

@CasJam on Twitter

Bootstrapped Web Podcast

Audience Ops

ProcessKit

Zip Message

Restaurant Engine

 

Facebook Community

6FC Facebook Community

 

Instagram

@chris_graham

@brianh00d

 

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The Six Figure Creative Podcast

 

Related Podcast Episodes

#155: How One Freelancer Earns Over $300k Per Year Copywriting On Fiverr | With Alexandra Fasulo

#164: How To Stair-Step From Freelance Income To Passive Income | With Austin Hull

 

Books

Built to Sell by John Warrillow

The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow

 

Companies

Soundstripe

Brian Hood: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast.

Brian Hood: I am your host Brian Hood. I'm here with my big bald beautiful red shirted, cohost Christopher J. Graham. How are you doing today, Chris?

Chris Graham: it's more of a mauve color. It's somewhere in between purple and red and you know, I'm great, man. I'm great. I'm I had a wonderful week since the last time we had. And me and my new, my new dog Buster, our written our rhythm buddy

Brian Hood: Yeah, you changed your episode. You changed your camera and go from last episode. So now we don't get to stare at the dog the entire time, and I'm really mad about that, but it's fine. It's fine. He'll show up into the shot every now and again, but yeah, I, I, this is my first episode back in the studio at home after the month long vacation to Europe.

Brian Hood: I got to say, man, it is so nice to be back here and like settled in back to my routine and all that kind of fun stuff here. So let's move on to the episode we have in store today. Today's episode, I think is going to treat for a lot of people because most people that we talk to on this podcast and especially with Chris and I's background, we are pretty much solo operated businesses.

Brian Hood: [00:01:00] We are freelancers like through and through. Do the work ourselves, we might have an assistant, but like most of the work we're thinking, it's more like the employee mindset when it comes to running your business. And today's guest, Brian Casel has done something that not many people have done and what I would consider the freelance space or the services space, he has built systemize and now sold a business that does forgive me if I'm wrong here, you do content writing or content creation as a service.

Brian Hood: Is that right, Brian?

Brian Casel: Well, my company did do that. I'm still getting used to talking about. 10th here, but yeah, that, that was called audience ops. It was a productized service business, if you will. I owned it for almost seven years, like six and a half, seven years there. And yeah, it was basically content writing as a service.

Brian Casel: We, we wrote the blogs for uh, lots of different companies.

Brian Hood: I can't wait to dive into this. See kind of like where he started with that, how he grew it to, where he got it to and how he actually exited it. But I just want to say something before we actually get to this interview, even if you have no aspirations whatsoever to sell off a business or to systemize and like remove [00:02:00] yourself from the business, which Brian did.

Brian Hood: And we'll get into that kind of story there, where he really had it on a really good system where it was kind of like it frees you up to work on other things like software, which we'll talk about as well. And so Chris and I both resonate with your story, but I want to say like, even if you're not ready for this, even if that's not something that even vaguely answers to you.

Brian Hood: keep listening to this episode, because no matter where you are in your business, there is going to be something to take away because at the very least there is something in your business that you hate doing that you need to get off your plate. And I think that Brian will, we'll be good at kind of explaining some of those things and how he hired and how he delegated and how he created things that made sure things got done on time at the quality that he expected every single time.

Brian Hood: And I think that's one of the major reasons that hold us back as freelancers from hiring in the first place.

Brian Casel: Hey right before we kick off. I just want to like, say, cause we were just talking offline before this I know a lot of your listeners and you guys are, you know, you know, music, heads, music production. Like I don't get to talk about that stuff on air very often with, with other people. So I'm just like [00:03:00] looking at your backgrounds, like kind of take an inventory of your gear back there and stuff.

Brian Casel: So

Chris Graham: The fender amps from 1966. I know you were wondering the answer to that question. How old is that amp it's

Brian Casel: awesome. Yeah. I see the telly on the wall. Awesome. Um, You know, I, I that's, my background is I'm a musician and music producer and now it's a hobby these days, but I've always been a technical maker creator, you know? Um, And that's ultimately early in my career, I pivoted into web design and, and went into like design and coding and development, and really like, that's where I, I, and that's what I'm doing today.

Brian Casel: I'm designing software product. So That's that's where it all comes from. And I was still able to, to be a creative and pivot into like building a business. I find that pretty creative too. Sometimes

Brian Hood: And I see that in our own community, people that they start with their passion and music, and then they develop a skill set and the business acumen and, and they, and they redirected somewhere else and have wild success in other areas. So just because of your music now doesn't mean you will be in it forever.

Brian Hood: Even if you think you will be, because I'll say right now 10 years ago, I'd have been like, if I have a studio for [00:04:00] the rest of my life, I'll be so happy, but things change, opinions, change and your desires change. So just be open to that during this conversation today.

Brian Casel: so many designers and software people that I know are musicians and like built their first website for their band. You know, like, like, like at least half of them come from that.

Brian Hood: let's dive into this, Brian. So we have the first thing I wanna really talk . About is the very beginning, like, were you doing content creation as a service yourself?

Brian Hood: Or was this something you started from the beginning with, with the thought in mind that this was going to be an agency or a business you built with other people writing.

Brian Casel: No, I, I don't come from a background in content writing at all. I mean, I've had my own blog and written newsletters and stuff, but um, I'm not that great of a writer. Audience ops was not my first business. The one before that was restaurant engine, which was a website builder for restaurants and hotels.

Brian Casel: I built and sold that business. I sold the business in 2015. I was, it was dropping that since like 2012. And before that I come from a background in, in web design. I was a freelancer as a web designer for, for many years there. [00:05:00] So that was sort of the evolution. It was like front end web design into freelancing and growing that for several years and then trying lots of product ideas, eventually getting into a restaurant engine, which was like a, this like SAS slash serve like a hosted web design service restaurants whose draft that sold it in 2015.

Brian Casel: And then that's when I started audience ops. And the idea at that point was know, every business that I start, even the one I do today, which is called zip message. Everyone is, is sort of a, a reaction or based on a learning from my previous business. Right? So in the case of audience ops, when I started it in 2015, I was, I knew I was exiting restaurant engine.

Brian Casel: I was selling that business to someone else. And at the time the way that I had built that previous business restaurant engine was content. I had a team of writers and we did really well with SEO. We were doing email newsletters and social media, but it was all off of my plate. I had a team and processes handling that.

Brian Casel: I started talking about that my other founder, friends in [00:06:00] 2015 and noticed that, Hey, there there's a lot of other, especially software companies. That need to do content on a regular basis. and they don't have an easy way to hire writers and they don't have a process for that. And, and so I knew that I wanted to build a business that could grow revenue pretty quickly and, and be recurring like a recurring revenue model and a business that I knew I could like productize as I, as I like to call it.

Brian Casel: I don't talk that much about productized services these days, but for many years, that that was the thing I, I love talking about. I loved the business model and I was looking for a business that really fit that. Because I, one of my personal rules for that business was I don't want to be the one writing the con.

Brian Casel: For the clients like that from day one, I never wrote any articles for clients. I'm not good enough to do that. I have no interest in doing that. the whole idea was hire writers from the, from the get-go. We grew the team over time. Like it, at the time I sold it, I think it was up to like 25 people or so you [00:07:00] know, writers, copy editors, account managers, assistants and then we actually pivoted into a podcasting as a service as well.

Brian Casel: But yeah, that was the idea was, was build. I sell something that, that companies need on a repeated recurring basis and then build a process and team.

Chris Graham: I think that brings up a really interesting question. So just for anybody that's listening that hears the phrase, productized service and thanks. W what, what is that? Why don't you explain that to us? Just sort of give us like a pretend, no one, no one this listening has ever heard of this

Brian Casel: Yeah. Well, so I come from a background as a freelancer for, for many years there, I was a freelance web designer. I made my living doing that. And what that usually looks like, whether you're a freelancer or even lots of agencies out there, you're living project to project. Every project is different.

Brian Casel: You're working with all different clients and all, and doing different types of projects, different budgets, all, all different stuff, right? You're doing these custom proposals. You're doing invoicing. You're, you know, you're, you're, you're on these long client calls and all this different.[00:08:00] We're productized services became really attractive to me.

Brian Casel: And to a lot of other, especially freelancers is it brings like order to that. And it brings a lot of predictability. So instead of doing all different types of work for all different types of customers, you, you start to focus in on doing one type of service or one type of customer, and you find lots of, lots more customers who are just like that person and you'd do the same service repeatedly.

Brian Casel: And then what that enables you to do then is number one, it's easier to market because you can find more of the same type of person, whether you're doing content or you're going to conferences, or you're doing ads or podcasts or whatever it may be rather than trying to sell to anyone and everyone.

Brian Casel: Right. But the other thing is, is it actually enables you to be able to build processes and then hire people to slot into the role. That are required for those processes. Because before, I mean, I was doing [00:09:00] web design work and I occasionally hired other freelancers and assistants and stuff, but it would constantly be like custom.

Brian Casel: Sometimes me directing other people, sometimes me doing a lot of the work myself. You know, it doesn't fit a process. Whereas once you, once you get into something really repeatable that people need on a recurring basis that, that, you know, makes it easy to scale up and then ultimately, you know, remove yourself from the day-to-day.

Brian Casel: I mean, I ran audience ops for almost seven years and I only really worked in audience ops for like probably the first three years was like heavy on my hours and like building the team and building the processes and fine tuning it and working on growth and stuff like that. But the last three or four years of running that business, yeah, I would be pulled in and tweak some processes here and there, but I was literally.

Brian Casel: To the point of spending like two hours a month, total, you know, and like 10 minute bursts even touching that business. I had teams who, you know, [00:10:00] managers who are talking to the clients, writers doing the work, the sales person, doing the sales, like I was out of the day to day, just sort of running it and spending all my time, you know, working on software products.

Brian Casel: So.

Brian Hood: So there, there is so much to unpack and everything you just said there. And, and for anyone who's been kind of follow along with my journey. I just launched a new podcast production agency called good fortune media. And this is literally to the T exactly what I am like envisioning and building is what Brian has already done.

Brian Hood: Here is something that is scalable. It's a productized service. It's something that you can create systems for and hire people to take enroll so that you're not doing the day to day. And it is a lot of work upfront, but on the backend, it frees you up to do some other things that you would maybe rather do than do the tedious parts of the business you don't want to work on.

Brian Hood: So even again, even if you have no aspirations to sell or completely remove yourself from the business, this sort of stuff is crucial. And I think it's also, it goes hand in hand with the conversation we had with Austin Hall back in episode 1 64 on stair-stepping from freelance income to passive income.

Brian Hood: One of the, like, there's very few ways to get passive income as a freelancer, but this is [00:11:00] actually one of the ways is taking a service, productizing it and then systemizing it, which again, a lot of the AISES is it sounds really technical and nerdy, but it's just taking the things that you don't want to do, slotting other people into it.

Brian Hood: And then they're working for you. And you're basically profiting off of that. This is a business model that plenty of people have done. It's called the agency model is Misco you're running an agency. That's what Brian was doing at the time. He had just done it so well that he removed himself from it. And he still had a profit margin at the end of the month, every single month that he was working two hours a month for which sounds pretty.

Brian Hood: Dang good.

Chris Graham: One of the things that I think that to kind of turn this into an example into a story is we talk an awful lot on the podcast about this idea of a restaurant that serves every type of. This is sort of similar to a, I will work for anybody and I will do anything so long as the money is like more than $2 an hour.

Chris Graham: That's how a lot of freelancers get started. And if you think about this illustration in regards to a restaurant, it's like, yeah, man, we get the best Chinese in town. We get the best pizza, you know, we've got really good Italian, we've got Thai food, you know, we've got [00:12:00] sushi, literally, whatever you want, we'll make it for you.

Chris Graham: It's going to be. Like, obviously, it's not very, very rare to find a restaurant that can be good at more than one thing. But I think we could take this one further and we can talk about condiments. If you are at a restaurant that serves everything you need on, on every table, you gotta have salt, pepper, ketchup, tartar sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, Parmesan.

Chris Graham: You gotta have all these different things that your customers be like. Um, Excuse me. Do you happen to have any mustard and then the waiter or the waitress has to run in the back and get it. And it's this whole thing.

Brian Casel: And don't you hate that person who like who the waiter comes and they, and they, I want this on the menu, but I want to customize these. Can you cook it in a different way for me?

Brian Casel: You know, like

Brian Casel: why'd you even come to a restaurant?

Chris Graham: but you look at a traditional pizza shop and what do they have on the table? Parmesan and red pepper flakes. That's.

Brian Casel: I love that example. I love that. I mean, [00:13:00] look, I, I, I love fine dining, a great restaurant, just as much as the next person, but you know, what, what restaurants, my wife and I really love Chipotle McDonald's Starbucks. we have kids, so we want it to be as predictable as possible when we go there so that they can get the same thing on the menu every single time.

Brian Casel: I mean, I'm an adult. I still, I still love picking up the same thing from, from my favorite restaurants. And I love those types of restaurants because it's predictable. Not just as a, as a customer, but for, but I love looking at those restaurants. I mean, it's, it's, it's pretty incredible to think about how like five guys scaled across the country and, and, and other countries and stuff, you know, like it's systems and processes and they have a product that lots and lots of people like to buy and they, and they sell it in a, in a very predictable way.

Chris Graham: for my kids. They love canes. It's called raising canes and raising Cane's cells chicken fingers, piece of bread, [00:14:00] coleslaw, French fries, sauce. And during. They don't do anything else. And the chicken fingers are great. They're so good.

Brian Hood: Well, let me, let me just cut you off now, Chris. Cause there is, there's a point to all this. Let's just bring it back to the

Brian Hood: freelance conversation because again, we've been on the restaurant thing for so long as freelancers. especially as creatives, we crave the creation process. And so we have to make this, this there's a balance between endlessly creating unique things every single time and running a business.

Brian Hood: The straight up business owner me says, I want to make it as repeatable and predictable as possible. I want it to be raising canes with five items and drinks. Like that's what I want as the business owner, but the creative man, he says, no, I want to have the fine dining experience where we re do the menu every single week from scratch because that's what scratches my creative itch.

Brian Hood: It's really hard to make that work. Without being the absolute best chef in the world. So let's go back to the freelancer. We have to find that balance between what, what scratches our [00:15:00] creative edge and what is systemizable and, and something that actually can be a profitable.

Brian Casel: and look, it's, you know, it's perfectly fine. If, Again, like I come from a background as I'm a creator, I'm a designer by trade, you know before that I was a songwriter, composer, music producer and stuff like that. So I love long, deep work hours of, of creativity. Like I need that. And I do it today, mostly designing software and there's nothing wrong if you're a freelancer and, and you're, and you're just, you know, like kind of raising your rates year after year, working with better and better clients.

Brian Casel: That's a beautiful, beautiful thing. But, but at some point, like I, that was me. I was doing web design for a few years there. did start to feel like there's a ceiling to this and I felt like I can't take a vacation or I can take a vacation, but I'd have to take a pay cut because I can't work those.

Brian Casel: And so it got to a point where it was like, well, how, how does a business like this actually grow? And, and one way is to just grow, like grow like a traditional [00:16:00] agency. And I used to work for one before I became a freelancer, a web design agency where, you know, they just get bigger and bigger clients and they charged tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a project.

Brian Casel: And they, and they have a payroll and they hire really great people and that's one way to do it, but there's, there's also a lot of stress that comes with that because, you know, you, you have to land the next project which is the case with any business. But, but I, I prefer product businesses or productized services, businesses where it just becomes a lot more predictable.

Brian Casel: And especially if it's a recurring revenue model yeah. That's and that I found going from being a freelancer to products, I found the product high's service model to be. the path of least resistance, you know like now I'm into SAS software as a service, but that is a really, really hard model to launch.

Brian Casel: I mean it literally takes years just to, just to get into one that sort of works. And then even then you got to spend a year just building it and then, you know, growing the customer base productized services, I [00:17:00] launched audience ops to paying customers in under 30 days. I mean, it was fast you know, it grew pretty quickly from there because it was a service that we could sell immediately.

Chris Graham: I love that. Brian, let me ask you a question. Have you read John? built to sell and automatic.

Brian Casel: Yeah. I those a couple. Yeah.

Chris Graham: Awesome. Yeah. As you're talking, I'm like, man, I'm a huge John Warlow fan. And Brian mentioned sound Stripe are our friend, Trevor runs. This company started this company and that company is really built on these ideas from John Warlow about how to productize a service and then how to get into reoccurring revenue with software as a service or potentially, you know, with, with a service that's as built in reoccurring revenue as well.

Chris Graham: So if you. R R into this conversation and you want to learn more that's one place you could go check out is John warlords book built to sell talking about taking a service and productizing it. And then if you really want to get into this reoccurring revenue model, John wireless automatic customer is like ruin my life.[00:18:00]

Chris Graham: When I read that book, I was like, oh my gosh, this business model is so good. I need to become an expert in it. And for those of you that use my, my software bounce back. It's I came out with that because of that book because of automatically.

Brian Hood: Yeah. So maybe let me bring this back a little bit and just say, okay, so built the cell is one of the best books any freelancer in the world could read, because it sounds like you're building a business to sell it off, but the, the whole gist of the book is like once he gets his business to this wonderful place where he could sell it, he doesn't really want to sell any more because it's such a wonderful asset at his disposal and it makes his life wonderful.

Brian Hood: And so we'll get into your acquisition later on Brian, where you actually sold your business off. But let's actually back up a little bit.

Brian Casel: Well on that point, I like to talk, I like to say, you know, even if you never intend to sell your business, it's, it's just a good practice to build your business as if you might sell it someday. It just adds value to it. It re it gives yourself more freedom as the founder. And I mean, I felt like I could have, I thought about selling audience ops years [00:19:00] ago.

Brian Casel: Cause it was, built in a way to be able to sell, but I held it for a while because it worked.

Brian Hood: you there's, there's something you mentioned earlier in the conversation where you said we did two things, we or you did two things. You X service, one specific service, and then you found the one type of person that would benefit most from that service.

Brian Hood: That's kind of what you built your productized service around. And that was content creation for software companies. It was kind of how you got your start. There is that.

Brian Casel: Yeah, that that's right. But I would try to point out here. I went with the communities and the networks that I already had. Um, So anyone listening to this don't necessarily look for software founders or don't necessarily, you know, don't do what I did in my, in my first business, which I literally made a random list of industries.

Brian Casel: And I picked restaurants to sell a website platform to, and I, I mean, it sort of worked. I, I bootstrapped that for a couple of years and then I sold that business, but it was super hard. Like head banging on the desk. Like how do I market to restaurant owners? And I'm not [00:20:00] connected to restaurant owners. I have no interest in flying to a restaurant industry conference.

Brian Casel: Like that's, that's also ultimately why I sold that business in 2015. And so when I, moved into audience ops, one of my main goals was all right. I'm already friends with and connected to a lot of other software founders. I'm going to those conferences. I like hanging out with these people. I know a lot about them.

Brian Casel: I know a lot of them. So that was like the easy, low hanging fruit for me was to just learn what they need and sell something to them. So that, that's where I would, you know, I'll always look at the people that you're already connected to.

Brian Hood: so you're writing content for these businesses, but the, the question is that's a really, this is really saturated. We had Alex Fasulo on the podcast back in episode 1 55 she's she was making like 300, $4,000 a year as a freelancer on Fiverr, which is a completely different game altogether where it's like really high hours.

Brian Hood: You're not really delegating as much, although she, she eventually did. but it's a really saturated industry. So what did you do to stand out at the very beginning when you were [00:21:00] building this business? to differentiate yourself?

Brian Casel: Well, part of it was, the industry looked very different in 2015 than it does today, It, but it wasn't new, but it was sort of at that time it was content is still very hot today, but it was like really hot back then, especially in the way that we're selling it. Everyone knew, like you had to do content marketing and SEO, especially for software companies.

Brian Casel: But the idea of going out and hiring a writer was not as easy as, as it is today. It's not easy today to be honest, but it's, it wasn't as common as it was, you know, back then. And so that just, just making that process easier and more straightforward was, was one of them. The other thing was we weren't just content writers.

Brian Casel: We handled what I like to call, like the end to end solution. Right. So when you work with audience ops yes. At the core, they have really talented writers, but we also assign assigned, I gotta think about the [00:22:00] past tense again, I'm a copy editor. An assistant like a technical assistant and account manager.

Brian Casel: These are four different people who are all working on your account. And we log into your WordPress site, we upload and format and schedule and publish your, your blog posts. We write an email newsletter. We write and schedule social media posts. You know, we, we keep that schedule running for you week to week and as the founder or your team or your marketer, like they don't need to review or edit the work.

Brian Casel: I mean, they do give us requests and edits and stuff, but like ultimately we get through those, those rounds of edits and then we're on autopilot. Like our team is just going to make sure we're publishing a quality article every week or every two weeks and sending the email to your list and just that's happening in your business.

Brian Casel: And, and you didn't need to hire a full-time employee to handle that or, or assemble all the pieces and the process yourself and manage it all like that. That's where the benefit of. Of outsourcing to, [00:23:00] to an audience ops makes a lot of sense compared to like the cost of hiring a team or spending the time doing it yourself.

Brian Hood: Yeah. So just take it, take a note of just listening through him, explaining that, how valuable it sounds to that type of customer and, and think through in your own, in your own business whatever you're doing. Does it sound that valuable to your, to your ideal customer? Because a lot of times, like people fall into their, their careers just out of sheer passion, which there's nothing wrong with that, but they're struggling as business owners because the thing that they're passionate about isn't that.

Brian Hood: Unfortunately. So even if you don't want to go the complete different route, which is what Brian did, which was from the very start, it sounded like you had this as you want it to be a hands-off business from the start or eventually be hands off business. You were growing it as a team from the beginning.

Brian Hood: You weren't going to be off in the weeds doing the work yourself, even if you don't want to necessarily do that, there's still a lot. You can take away as someone who makes sure you're offering an absolutely valuable thing to your ideal customer or else you're not gonna get paid a lot if at all.

Brian Hood: So actually let me, let me go back now and [00:24:00] say, when you started out, Brian, and you were, you said in 30 days you got your first customers. What does your team look like at that?

Brian Casel: Yeah. So for audience ops the very first thing was just putting together the concept for, for what this service would be, what would be included in it, what the pricing would be who it's for. And I put that stuff together on, on a single landing page. I'm a web designer. So putting up a landing page is super easy, fast for me.

Brian Casel: But you know, people do this in just a Google doc or something. Right. But I put up a landing page and then what I did was this, before I hired anybody, I sent an email to like 25 or 30 friends in the industry. You know, again, like going to people I already have inroads with. And these are people I've personally hung out with in person.

Brian Casel: Like not just strangers on a list that I found

Brian Hood: They already know you like you and trust.

Brian Casel: Yeah. And, and I I'm really just sending them a link to this page. Like, Hey, this is the new thing that I'm, that I'm working on. I would just like [00:25:00] feedback any, any questions about it. Does this make sense? And if you happen to know anyone who you think might be a fit, I would love an introduction.

Brian Casel: And a couple of those people were interested themselves. A couple of them introduced me to other people that I should talk to. And out of that, I believe I had like six or seven good conversations and three first paying customers.

Brian Hood: Let me, let me stop right there and just mention something that this is something that has always stuck with me if you want. And this is like from the VC world. If you want money, ask for advice, if you want advice, ask for money. And so in this instance, you asked for advice and you got customers from it.

Brian Casel: Yeah, I literally was asking for advice though. Like that's not just a tactic, like I'm and that's in almost anything I'm ever doing. Um, I'm really, I treat it like, I just want to ask questions and learn from you and let's see if, if ultimately, if there's something here that makes sense. And if there's not, then that's a good learning for me.

Brian Casel: I can move on. yeah, so from there we had the first paying customers and I immediately [00:26:00] hired like, I think two freelance writers. It took a couple of weeks to find them these first paying customers, they knew that they were the first, so they were a little bit forgiving in the timeline and stuff like that.

Brian Casel: But one of the really nice things about a product high service though, is that you, you can literally start not only selling it, collecting revenue from day one, but also delivering the service from day one. Before you have processes before everything is optimized, you can actually start delivering the value to customers compared that to selling software or writing a book or a course or something like that.

Brian Casel: It takes time. Like a lot of people talk about like, you could, you could pre-sell those things, you can get orders in, but then go, go back and build the thing or create the thing for months. That's, that's fine. I, I I've had some experience in some issues with that, but the thing I love about productized services, that you can start collecting money for it and start delivering the service right away.

Brian Casel: and then from there, we, we spent the next few weeks just figuring out our [00:27:00] process for how to produce and deliver blog articles on a, on a recurring basis. And literally figuring that stuff out, documenting it as we go along. As we go with these first customers, and then it got to a point where, you know, the customer base grew it probably got up to around 10 customers or so hired another one or two people, but then we paused like all new sales for a few months to say, okay, we've, we've learned a lot.

Brian Casel: Let's, let's regroup and really nail down our processes and we'll keep a waiting list. And then we'll, we'll open it back up again. And uh, you know, just kind of kept going.

Brian Hood: Yeah. So with, with this, like, what's your, what's your go-to like, how do you approach creating new processes at this point? Because you've had a lot of experience with it. I'm sure what you do now is different than when you first started audience ops. And I know you're doing stuff a little differently now with software, but the creation of process is generally the same.

Brian Hood: And I think our audience could benefit a lot. If hearing from you on the general process of creating processes from someone who has done it.

Brian Casel: Yeah. I mean today, literally in, in zip message, the company I'm [00:28:00] working on right now, software it it's very different and actually processes aren't as an important factor, at least not right now, because it's still really small. But in other services, like, like in audience ops early on in the early days, it was me documenting the processes.

Brian Hood: Can you explain What that means? What does it mean? Documenting the process?

Brian Hood: Just, just dumb it down for, for people that don't follow along with.

Brian Casel: Yeah. I mean, look, the, the idea is so standard operating procedures, right? Think checklists of how things are done, but then getting really, really granular and detailed in how it's done. So ultimately the goal is I'm going to spend extra time writing these up right now.

Brian Casel: So that ultimately I could hand this document off to someone else and they can do this job instead of me doing the job. That's, that's the ultimate goal of documenting. For a while we used Google docs for that uh, later on uh, process software that I designed and built called process kit. Um, We moved everything into there.

Brian Casel: And the nice thing about that was not only [00:29:00] can you document, but you can also start to automate, like if this client ordered this service, then let's run these processes or these steps and, and show and hide different things and due to some different logic there. So early on it was about documenting and then.

Brian Casel: But then over time, like those, those, those docks, those SLPs are never done, you know they're always going to be updated and improved. Like we had to update a lot of our stuff as the client base grew, as our team grew, you know, it started at like two writers and then we had eight writers and then we had one manager and then we had five managers and then we had a higher level team manager.

Brian Casel: And at every one of those levels of growth, we need new processes for how, how the team gets paid, how we manage this, how w how we do that. Like every part of the business, like we ended up having like hundreds of different processes built out over time fast forward a few years. And then, and then it's, then the team is the ones who are updating and improving the processes and creating [00:30:00] new ones and, and that sort of stuff.

Brian Hood: So you, you mentioned something called a process kit. This is the software. This is another example of you kind of scratching your own itch as a creator. You are experiencing issues with just using something like Google docs. And putting like checklists or bullet points in Google docs, which is kind of how I currently do things.

Brian Hood: And then I move it over to other systems after I feel like I have a good process down, but what is process count? Like what's the, is this something that our audience can maybe use or is it too complicated? Like what's the use case for that?

Brian Casel: Yeah. So a lot of freelancers, especially a lot of agencies and productized services use it. And so yeah, if you have a team that you're delegating repeatable tasks to I mean, Chris today on this podcast, before we got started and you were going through a checklist of, of getting all of our mic set up and everything, right.

Brian Casel: That it's that kind of thing. But when you're dealing with clients a very big process that is super important in audience ops and it's super important for a lot of customers of processing. Is the client onboarding process,

Brian Casel: right. You just signed up a new client. They've got, you got to gather materials from them.

Brian Casel: You've got to [00:31:00] get, get their stuff set up in your systems. You got to, you know, communicate with them, do kickoff calls, do, do all, all this and that,

Brian Hood: Access log-in information, further WordPress site, things

Brian Hood: like that. Yeah.

Brian Casel: Yep. Yeah. Assemble the team, get them on board and get all set up with this new account. Right. So in audience ops, that process takes a whole month to do with every new client.

Brian Casel: And so we, and it's a multi-step process multiperson process. So we use process kit for that sort of thing. And then, you know, same thing with like team member onboarding, like hiring someone and then training them and getting them all like, like spinning up new team members. It's all this stuff, you know, is, is pretty complex processes that there's a lot of like, if this then.

Brian Casel: Right. And that's, that's where we ran into with Google docs where we'd have everything documented. And it's like, if this situation then jump over to this other doc and figure it out from there, and, and process gets sort of like automates that for each person. You know,

Brian Hood: So as, as you kind of started getting things humming along, you took a quick break after you got 10, 10 customers and you started kind of bringing more people on. What was your, what was your [00:32:00] main way of getting clients at that point as you started to grow?

Brian Casel: I think in the early days it was pretty organic. It started from my personal network lot of word of mouth and then our own content and SEO started to really kick in a few years in there. And it's still, you know, through, through this day experimented with other things like, and going on podcasts like this, having our own podcasts that, that stuff has helped too.

Brian Casel: But these days it's, it's mostly word of mouth and customer referrals and, and just people in the industry know of audience ops. So they refer people our way. And I think that naturally happens with any good business over, over time. You know, word of mouth tends to just kick in. know certainly for musicians and, and like studios and stuff like that, that's a huge driver.

Brian Casel: You know, you can't necessarily track it. You can't, you know, get super technical about it, but eventually more and more people know, know you and they refer you.

Brian Hood: Yeah, and this is really where recurring. Or reoccurring income as Chris Graham calls it. This is where it really like really, really, really pays off because once you have [00:33:00] recurring income in your business and your clients paying you every single month, you no longer have to necessarily search for people every single month, just to pay the bills.

Brian Hood: You have a floor, you know, you are going to make, I mean, within a reason, you know, you're going to make a certain amount of money every month. So any clients you add that month, it's just going to add to that bottom line. And I'm looking at I'm looking at audience ops pricing on their pages as they have right now, which is public.

Brian Hood: And your highest plan is like $1,700 a month. Your lowest plan is eight 50. So if your average client value is like a thousand dollars a month, then it doesn't take that many clients, 10 clients would be $10,000 a month. 20 clients is 20,050 clients is 50,000. So. You know, the only time you really need to worry about it is if you start losing a lot of clients at once.

Brian Hood: Did you ever experience that point where you lost a lot of clients that, that things started to fall off? Cause that's the that's called churn. When you have a recurring revenue business, your ch your client churns, they stop paying you and now you have to replace that client or else you no longer have that monthly income from them.

Brian Hood: So what can we talk about that?

Brian Casel: Yeah. I mean, it churn is real. It happens in [00:34:00] every recurring revenue business. So SAS product has services that are recurring. Yeah. I mean, it is, it's, it's beautiful to have recurring subscription revenue. Like you said, every month, you're, you're not starting from zero, but then the battle is churn. Like how do you get customers to stay on board for, for a longer period of time?

Brian Casel: And that that's something that we continue to like optimize as the years went on in, in audience ops. And again, a lot of that was, was about what I learned was that new client onboarding process, the better you make that first month experience. And I think this goes for really anybody. The better first run the experience they have with you.

Brian Casel: the more likely they're going to stick around with you for a really, really long time. Like, even if, even if things go Rocky, you know, if, if they had a really good experience up front they're gonna like try to make it work with you. They're going to, they're going to be on your side.

Brian Casel: They're not going to be adversarial. And plus you're just sort of like setting them up for success, like setting our team up for success and then it just clicks and then we're [00:35:00] going to work with them for years, you know? Churn. Yes, it happens. It happens unexpectedly and there, there were a few moments in the history of when I owned audience ops, where we had a string of cancellations and it's super stressful.

Brian Casel: I mean, when COVID first set in and March, 2020, there was definitely a downturn. Luckily we, we bounced right back and we kind of grew out of that pretty quickly. A lot of our customers are SAS and they, they, a lot of them didn't do so badly during COVID. So that was. Terrible, but there was a bit of a freak out when, you know, in, in early 20, 20 different moments in the years before that, like where a lot of it is like unexplainable, which is super frustrating.

Brian Casel: It's like randomly this, this two week period, we got more cancellations than usual. And then same thing with, with sales and leads. Like they just kind of come in waves. It's like, are all of our clients talking to each other or something like what's happening right now, you know? and so that, you know, it can be stressful.

Brian Casel: And one of the harder things like I'll, I'll sell the benefits of productized services all day long. But [00:36:00] one of the, one of the sort of downsides is when you, when you're in the higher priced, services. And you know, when they're paying monthly, there it's even higher than those it's like 1900 a month.

Brian Casel: You know, just a couple of signups and just a couple of cancellations can see pretty huge swings in MRR, monthly recurring revenue compared to like a SAS that might be like $49 a month, you know a couple of cancellations doesn't really make a blip, but you know, just a couple in that. That's what makes it so great to be able to launch.

Brian Casel: And, and we got to like five figures and MRR, like really quickly with audience ops. But I mean over time, like, yeah, turn, can, can, you can see some pretty wild swings.

Chris Graham: One of my friend's first businesses. Was he sold? It was a subscription to fancy types of butter, but he had to close it down because there was too much churn.

Brian Casel: I see it did there.

Brian Hood: Gotcha. Yeah, here's the thing again, if anyone watching on YouTube, you probably didn't see this cause Chris's video isn't shown when he's not talking, but on the split screen that I see right now, I could [00:37:00] tell Chris wanted to say something. And so I, I just kind of hung back to see what he would say. And he was, he was coming up with that pun and he was

Brian Hood: so excited about it. so

Brian Hood: shame, shame on you for embarrassing me in front of our guests here.

Brian Casel: I

Brian Casel: mean, that's gotta be the clip, like upfront at the that's like the teaser for this.

Chris Graham: well, and let me, let me back up and just agree with everything that you're saying, Brian. So I have a saw, I mentioned it before, but I have a software company called bounce Butler for audio engineers that have to do a lot of exporting at the end of the day, that's all manual and most audio software bounce Butler, automates that.

Chris Graham: And he texts you when he's done. It's like a AI personal assistant free recording. And, you know, this was a new venture for me. I had never started a software as a service company before. And, you know, initially I had the same resistance that I think all creative freelancers have. They're like, ah, like money and automation and business and product.

Chris Graham: I just want to make the, I just want to do the work. It's going to be creative. And for me, as I started to lean into that, one of the things that was, that was really wild, that happened is I released bounce [00:38:00] Butler. And in the midst of COVID hating I got diagnosed with PTSD from childhood stuff and it was like a whole just mess.

Chris Graham: And I didn't really start to understand the value of having I'm going to get it wrong. Reoccurring, reoccurring, reoccurring.

Chris Graham: don't know the difference between these two words

Brian Hood: a difference. There's a difference. I'll explain later.

Chris Graham: yeah. Having recurring, recurring income. So that it was able to like this business. Thank God.

Chris Graham: Like, I, I basically took like a month off and just focused on my health entirely. And when I came back after that month, bounce Butler was making twice as much money as it had been before I left. And it blew my mind and really saved my bacon in a lot of ways. Cause it kept cashflow going while I was trying to figure out everything else in my life.

Chris Graham: And I think for a lot of people, when they start to think about this particular part of. About productizing a service or having people do the work for you or building an automated service that people are using. All of this sounds [00:39:00] yucky, I think would be the right word to a lot of, a lot of creatives.

Chris Graham: But when you start to get old and you start to experience life and you start to experience like, oh my gosh, like I'm not 25 and I can't work 16 hour days, 16 days in a row anymore that this stuff starts to make a lot more sense. And I am so. That I read automatic customer and really dove into this it, it really it dramatically increase my quality of life because I had the flexibility to focus on what really mattered to me at that.

Brian Casel: 100%, man. I totally relate to that. in 2018 at that point I had been like, basically like hustling, like hustling on restaurant engine built and sold that business, then hustled to build up audience ops for a couple of years to get it to that point where it's like recurring and it doesn't and I'm removed from the day-to-day in that, and with that space that like space to breathe.

Brian Casel: Like I have. Income that was funding my time, you know, [00:40:00] I didn't go, yeah, we take nice vacations. We like to do that, but that's not why I do it. It's it's to have the space to work on and be creative with whatever's next and it, and in 2018, up until that point, I had been a designer and a front end person, but never backend software developer.

Brian Casel: I would always have to like hire out development or you know, just didn't know much about like full stack. So I, so I decided like in 2018 I have all this free time and my time is paid for, so let me just devote this whole year to learning Ruby on rails, you know, take, take what I already knew on the front end, HTML, CSS, little JavaScript, and let me figure out how to build an app myself

Brian Hood: Which for those who are not aware of Ruby on rails is just a programming language. That's very popular when it comes to building a lot of the online tools that you use, whether it's a project management software or file sharing app or anything, that's, I, I can't guarantee it, but one of my SAS companies file pass, I believe is built Ruby on rails, but I'd have to ask my, my technical co-founder

Brian Hood: about that, but that's just to clarify that.

Brian Casel: it's a, it's still around today. It's not as you know, [00:41:00] there there's other more popular frameworks today, but I went for Ruby because it's tried and true, been around forever. And, and, finally I was able to devote the hours, like full-time hours, 40 hours a week to just learning and working with other friends and coaches going through courses, doing practice projects.

Brian Casel: so that ultimately I can take any idea or opportunity that I see and design and build a working software app. That was my goal. And I spent less than a year doing that. And I was able to release a couple of software products. And then the next big one was processed kit. And then more recently. it completely changed the trajectory of where I'm at today and going forward.

Brian Casel: Like, that's why I'm like full all in, on softwares. Cause I'm, I'm so deep in it, in it now. And before I didn't have the time or space, like I didn't have the energy to do nights and weekends to do that kind of stuff. Like I had to develop a devote like a whole year to it. And, and the only reason way I could have done that is because I built the business to fund all that,

Brian Hood: Yeah, this was a [00:42:00] perfect example of stair-stepping from just a it weren't a freelancer at that point, you were a business owner, but just the stair-step. I love the stair-step where you have something that you've created, especially something that's running in the background while you're able to then take your time, energy and know-how, and the things you've learned from that last thing and build something new.

Brian Hood: That's why I have so many businesses is a on ADHD. That's part of it, but be like, I just love the process of stair-stepping and, taking what I've learned from one area and bringing it into another area. So there's, there's one other area we haven't really talked about that I would just feel so bad if I didn't go into this area.

Brian Hood: Is that, how do you hire in an area that you have no real experience and you were not a content writer, you are not a writer yourself. How do you find good hires for this? Because that's the most intimidating thing that I could think of is trying to hire in a space that I have no real experience.

Brian Casel: I think it is, it, it does take years of experience and lots of failures in, in hiring across the board. I mean, audience ops is not, not the first time I started hiring people. I, before that I had hired writers before in my previous [00:43:00] business, I had hired other designers and developers on projects virtual assistants and then through audience ops, I got to build up a lot more experience in hiring.

Brian Casel: And then it even got to a point where I was not the one doing the hiring. The people on the T the manager at the app on the team at audience ops, they talk to the candidates and they bring them on. And a lot of them, I never even met. but you know, the thing with hiring is gain experience, but there's like, part of it is it's still sort of a crap shoot, you know, like a lot of, a lot of times, even today, like, somebody might be brilliant in your interviews and the way they present themselves online and stuff.

Brian Casel: And you think they're just going to be a rock star and they're just not like, maybe they're really talented, but they can't meet deadlines or they can't communicate, you know?

Chris Graham: Or they have no integrity.

Brian Casel: Yeah. You know? But then other times it's like, people are like the nicest people, super professional, reliable they're fast, but the quality just isn't there that, you know, you got to redo their work and, you know, sometimes it doesn't work for that reason too,

Brian Hood: So, did [00:44:00] you, do you live by the uh, the old adage of, uh, hire slow fire fast or what's the, this isn't like to fire somebody because either they're not a good fit culture wise or talent wise or whatever. Like how, how long do you wait before you just that band-aid

Brian Hood: of a bad.

Brian Casel: in audience ops specifically in that business, like we got better and better at hiring. So we started to identify like, who are the, and one of the, honestly the, one of the things I'm most proud of in that business is, is the tenure, the the length of time our team stayed with and continues through this day, working in audience ops, like some of them five or six years still working in there.

Brian Casel: And, and, and we tried to understand, like, what is it about those people? What are their characteristics that make them such a perfect, great fit for us longterm? then we start to try to really identify those characteristics in the, in the candidates that we speak to. And then also, I think it even got.

Brian Casel: More importantly, like how you attract those candidates in the first place. Like what headline do you put on the job posting? Like just changing the wording [00:45:00] on that attracts completely different types of people. And then what questions are you asking them? What's the sequence of how much information you're showing them at which stage in the hiring process?

Brian Casel: these are things that we really spent a lot of time, like figuring out and optimizing over the years to try to basically increase our batting average on, on making good hires, because it is pretty painful to, to go it's a several weeks process to bring somebody new on. and if, and if they don't work out like it's pretty painful to have to go back and try to find someone else again.

Brian Casel: So we try to get it right. But yeah, w th there have been people, usually they, they don't last, like longer than two or three months. But then if they do last pass that point they're going to be there for years, you know, and, and ultimately we want more, more and more people. I mean, you know, the, the second half of running audience ops, most of them in my experience are still there today, you know?

Brian Casel: I think those very first two writers that I [00:46:00] hired from day one, they are still working in audience ops today. Um, And there've been other people who've come and gone and then other people who are just awesome and they spend three years of their career working there and then they sort of grow and, and move on to bigger and better things, which is fantastic too.

Brian Hood: So I'm thinking through this, from the perspective of somebody listening to this right now, our audience, and, and they're in a position where maybe, maybe they love this idea of product I service. Maybe they, maybe they're thinking through the journey you took Brian and they want to do it themselves. But see a lot of people trying it and not having the traction you had within 30 days hitting that amount of, of customers and, and getting frustrated and quitting, which I would hate to see someone do.

Brian Hood: But I'm curious, like when, when did you know this was going to work? Was it just the fact that you had that much traction early on? Would you have kept going, had you, not that hadn't been that much traction early on, like what does someone need to know before? Like what is, what is time to say? This is not something that's going to work.

Brian Hood: I should probably try something else.

Brian Casel: I've had plenty of products that did not have traction and I didn't work on them for much longer or, or I pivoted pretty [00:47:00] drastically. So I mean, in audience ops, it did grow, especially in revenue. Faster than I expected. And so that's, that's sort of what kept me working on it. Well, one more thing about, hiring in general too, just before we leave that is that the team is basically all freelancers.

Brian Casel: And they have worked on audience has for years in a freelance capacity, like part-time part of their work part of their week. But for years on end I think that there's a huge market, especially post COVID of super talented people. I mean, you know, we had lots of US-based people, some in Europe and Canada and elsewhere Asia, but there are really talented people who don't want a full-time job and they don't want to commute and they want flexible hours, but they want to do really good creative work.

Brian Casel: There's a lot of people that are hungry for that, you know? So they're out there. they want the stability that, you know, they don't want like random gigs [00:48:00]

Brian Hood: They want that regular paycheck and not have to go out and find a new client ever since.

Brian Hood: Time they lose one. yeah.

Brian Hood: that makes sense.

Brian Casel: Yeah, but, but audience ops sort of grew really, really quickly. And I ended up spending more time early on than I expected I would.

Brian Casel: Cause I thought it would just be something to try to get some cash while I figure out how to build a SAS company. and I ended up spending several more years working on audience ops before I finally like pivoted with my free time into, into SAS. What I'm doing today.

Brian Hood: Yep. All right. So the acquisition this is an interesting part because we never get to talk about this because very few people in this kind of world ever exit from a company, meaning they sell the company, the freelance service-based company that they started. Could we talk a bit about that? I know you actually have on your other podcasts, you have a full interview or a full episode where you and the guy that bought the company from you, came to the podcast to discuss all the details.

Brian Hood: So first tell people where they can go there and then I'd love you to just share a little bit about that.

Chris Graham: Well, and let me hop in real quick, because this is a great transition. I have to make an exit on this episode right now, because I have [00:49:00] an important meeting with my,

Chris Graham: five-year-old at her school.

Brian Hood: boo.

Chris Graham: I will check out the rest of this. Cause Brian, you have been a pleasure to hang out with men.

Brian Casel: Yeah. Chris guy. Great to meet you. This is.

Chris Graham: Yeah, you too,

Chris Graham: man. Take it as you guys.

Chris Graham: I'll see you soon. Bye.

Brian Hood: So we're first of all, where Brian, can they go to hear this episode? Where you, you go through all the details?

Brian Casel: Yeah, that's on the podcast that I do with my buddy Jordan gal. So the, the podcast is called bootstrapped web dot com. That's the website. So you know, we could probably link up that episode if you want.

Brian Hood: Yeah, it'll be on our show notes over@sixfigurecreative.com slash 1 609. You'll find the link to that. And anything else you mentioned this podcast will be at that show notes.

Brian Casel: we've been doing that pod for like over eight years or so. I'm just behind the scenes, just talking week to week. We don't really have guests too much. Except in that case, we actually invited the buyer of audience ops on and it was, it was a lot of fun. Yeah, so, so we, so that w it was kind of cool because like, I started audience ops while we did that podcast.

Brian Casel: So like the whole journey of like, from idea to starting it, to ultimately exiting it and the guy who bought it came on the show. So that was kind of a

Brian Casel: [00:50:00] cool thing.

Brian Hood: for anyone interested, like, okay, so we've said the word SAS, that just means S a S software as a service for anyone who doesn't follow that world. It's just lingo in the software world. I've been following Brian's podcast, actually for the last couple of years, as I've built file paths. And now easy funnels, which is my a website building thing for studios, but It's cool because this is where I actually found you.

Brian Hood: Brian was you talked about that journey. And so I really felt like kind of a kinship to you, someone who first built the service-based business and then use that to kind of stair-step into the software world. But talk about like, where did the, where did the acquisition, the thought of selling the company even come from?

Brian Hood: Like w w what made you think that you could do that and then actually go through with it?

Brian Casel: Yes. Earlier this year in 2021. Um, had been kicking around the idea of selling audience ops for a couple of years. But I never acted on it. Just because I, I felt like I, I wasn't personally ready. Like I liked having this business, especially the fact that I'm like removed from a day to day.

Brian Casel: and it's just a good cashflow, sustainable income, good business, good people, good [00:51:00] team. Good, good customer. So I really liked it. In 2021, I, I felt like with zip message, my current SAS product that I'm working on, it has traction that came faster than any other SAS products that I've worked on.

Brian Casel: And I really like this product zip message a lot. I love the like today I'm, I'm really deeply into, as I've talked about like making software, I love this process. So. I felt like audience ops is in a really good place for it, to, for me to exit. And, and just put like a hundred percent focus into this new company.

Brian Casel: I also raised a bit of funding for zip message to yeah, I just joined um, uh, comp fund and that's, that's a new thing for me as well as the first time I ever took funding for something. So not, not that that necessarily had any impact on my decision to sell, but it, it was like for me personally, it was like, let me try focusing on one business for once in my life,

Brian Hood: I I can't relate to that. I've never been able to do that.

Brian Casel: uh, I still own a couple of different [00:52:00] things, but that's, that's where I'm putting all my energy going forward. So there was that it was just the, the business was in a good place. The team was in a good place and I felt like I could. I wasn't certain that I could, that I would be able to sell the business.

Brian Casel: But I was overall, it was a pretty good outcome in the end.

Brian Hood: That's great. Real quick before we wrap this up. Can you, can you tell us what zip message is? Cause I, I know vaguely a little bit about it. It's kinda like a, a, a two way way to communicate via video, almost like a, it's almost like a web-based Marco polo from what I gather.

Brian Casel: Yeah. It's pretty similar. Marco polo was a little bit more like consumer, like friends and family. But yeah, zip message is a way it's so it's all asynchronous. Meaning I can record a video, send it to you like a message. Record my screen, record my camera. Just audio text. Send that your way.

Brian Casel: Send you a link. You click it. You could record your response in the browser, nothing to download nothing to install. and then you can reply back to me. We go back and forth

Brian Hood: so it keeps it in one [00:53:00] light kind of nice and neat

Brian Hood: timeline

Brian Casel: one, conversation thread on a page. And it's really nice for working with clients especially showing designs or sharing audio or sharing,

Brian Hood: was going to say, I could see a lot in the, in the uh, like on the collaboration side of things, especially on the revisions and the audio world where it's like, sometimes you just need to show something or sometimes you need to explain something that's more than just writing a word out or whatever.

Brian Hood: Or sometimes you need to say something to your client that if you write it out, it's going to sound like you're a a big meanie. And if you just speak it and say it with like the inflection that you mean, they're not going to take it the wrong way. So I could definitely see some use cases in that, in the freelancing

Brian Casel: Yeah, totally. And it automatically transcribes your audio too. Just kind of cool. So but yeah, and the big, the big thing for me is that it's asynchronous. Like you don't have to hop on all these zoom calls with, with your client or with your team or whoever you're collaborating with. You know, you just send them a link and again, like it's frictionless, like other, other tools, like they like Marco polo, like they would need to download and install Marco polo in order like this, you can just send them a link.

Brian Casel: So

Brian Hood: Yep. And that's I [00:54:00] get the, I love the, the, the frictionless experience. That's what we did with file pass, which is basically like just, you're not familiar with a brand, but it's basically like Dropbox, except when I send stuff to my client, they don't have to sign up for anything or download anything. They can literally literally listen back to the file, the full wave quality file and leave timestamp comments on the wave file for feedback, for revisions process.

Brian Hood: Um, So it's like very specialized, but the whole point was like, I don't want them to have any friction of touch, sign up for an accounts or like any of that crap. And so I'm glad that you did that with zip meshes as well, where what's the link to that. And then also, like where can people go to find out more about what you, what you're into and, and kind of fall on your.

Brian Casel: Yeah, so that, I mean, that's a zit messaged.com. And the other kind of cool thing is that you could have your, your own, you know link. So like mine, like if, if anyone even listening to this wants to send me a video or audio message, you can go to zip message.com/brian, and that's my mailbox. And so like any, any user gets their own name or their own brand, you know, on-set message.

Brian Hood: Except can't get that now because

Brian Hood: you took it, Brian.

Brian Casel: that's right. And you don't use a, Y w we [00:55:00] both use the I and

Brian Casel: Brian, so.

Brian Hood: the proper, spelling of it. Yeah.

Brian Casel: Yup. Yup. So, so yeah, that's that message like Twitter is the other place where I live, so I'm, I'm cast jam on Twitter bootstrapped web is my podcast that I do that we talked about.

Brian Hood: Yep. We'll do every, I encourage everyone if you're at all interested in the software world at all. Like if you're working on a software product for whatever reason, which is not many of our community, make sure you check out that podcast be sure to check out a zip message. It sounds very interesting in our world and check out process kit as well. And Brian, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today, man.

Brian Casel: yeah. Thank you, Brian.

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