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Interview with a Successful Startup Founder

Reaching $6k in MRR Providing Cold Emails as a Service

Laura van den Herrewegen
Laura van den Herrewegen
October 26, 2021
Category of startup
Marketing
Country of startup
Remote
Revenue of startups
$0-$10k/mo
Interview with a Failed Startup Founder

Reaching $6k in MRR Providing Cold Emails as a Service

Laura van den Herrewegen
Laura van den Herrewegen
October 26, 2021
Category of startup
Marketing
Country of startup
Remote
Cause of failure of the startup

Laura founded ZenOutreach, a lead generation company for agencies. They offer handcrafted lists of leads and cold email as a service. They reached $6k MRR in less than a year, with 75% margins and only 2 part-time employees.

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Hi Laura! Who are you and what are you currently working on?

I am Laura van den Herrewegen, founder of ZenOutreach. I am currently based in Cyprus. I am working on the best lead generation service for B2B companies.

ZenOutreach is a lead generation company for agencies. We offer handcrafted lists of leads and cold email as a service. I am the company’s founder, so currently, I am focusing on marketing the company and building the team. 


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I am a law graduate and became an entrepreneur. I previously started an online letting agency that grew to $300k/year in revenue. Right before doing ZenOutreach, I was working as a sales manager for an e-commerce service company. 

The idea of ZenOutreach came from my past experiences. Every business needs clients, and companies struggle to get them.

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How did you go from idea to product?

When I started ZenOutreach, I decided to offer list-building and cold email services to everyone. After looking at my most successful clients, I decided to focus only on agencies. This helped us clarify our messaging and gave us a clear strategy as to where to get clients. Crystal clear positioning also helps prospects when considering to work with us vs. the competition.

We focus on prospects that:

a) Have a minimum budget to spend.

b) Have a LTV high enough to focus on outreach.

c) Are committed to spending 3 months min. with us.

d) Have a strong value proposition.

This eliminated a lot of prospects in our discovery calls, but those ready to commit were a much better fit/easier to work with and likely to stick longer with our services because they were patient enough to see a ROI and had a strong value proposition. 

Once we identified the right-fit prospects, we made sure to properly onboard them. A few areas to consider:

a) Clarify what's your role as an agency (what you do/don't do).

b) Explain how much input you need from them + what are the expected timelines.

c) Give them best practices to be more successful with your services.

The idea is to make clients feel part of your team and your agency an extension of their existing team.


Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?

Email outreach mainly from the start until now and networking in different Facebook groups for entrepreneurs.

I want now to start also focusing on SEO by onboarding a content writing agency this month. This is a long-term investment (6-12 months) but hopefully will generate leads with high intent and a low acquisition cost.


How are you doing today and what are your goals for the future?

We have reached $6k MRR. We have about 75% margins (our costs are currently some software tools + two part-time employees), so that means I can focus full-time. That was my biggest goal this year!

Now that we know who we are willing to target, we focus on growth but setting up strong foundations first.

ZenOutreach Landing Page

I am looking for a Project Manager to handle the day-to-day work + onboard new clients. I am still planning to do discovery calls myself, but once I've got that process ironed out, I'll delegate this as well.

We’ll also start investing in SEO with our new agency that’s being onboarded this month.

As odd as it is, I am running a lead generation company but haven't set up my CRM yet! The plan is to do that this quarter as well to nurture and follow up on leads.

Since starting ZenOutreach, what have been your main lessons?

Having a specific niche is essential to have tremendous success.

Do not hesitate to raise your price when it makes sense. Clients are easier to work with, have more established businesses, and know exactly what they want.

Margins are now a lot higher (70-80%), which allows us to reinvest in the team (we can now afford more experienced staff) + reinvest in growth.


What tools & resources do you recommend?

I would recommend ManyRequests to manage your clients, tasks, payments, etc.

I would also recommend the podcast Talk to Stefan.


Where can we go to learn more?

You can check our website to learn more about us.

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