JF2371: How to Scale a Business to 7 Figures in 3 Steps with Ravi Abuvala #SkillsetSunday
Ravi’s business started with a Google search “How to make money online.” After investing in a course, he started running ads for other people. That’s how he started an advertising agency and massively scaled it.
Ravi believes that the foundations of advertising hold true no matter what business you’re in. Once you write sales letters that convert, that skill can be applied to any industry.
Ravi Abuvala Real Estate Background: #SkillsetSunday
- Law school dropout and founder of Scaling With Systems
- Scaling With Systems is an accelerator that works to bootstrap and scale businesses
- In the past 14 months, he has scaled two 7-figure businesses with less than $1,000 of his own capital & 4 commission-based employees.
- Based in Miami, FL
- Say hi to him at: www.scalingwithsystems.com
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Best Ever Tweet:
“Everyone offers leads; no one offers closings” – Ravi Abuvala.
Theo Hicks: Hello Best Ever listeners and welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks, and today we’ll be speaking with Ravi Abuvala. Ravi, how are you doing today?
Ravi Abuvala: I am doing excellent, you nailed my name perfectly Theo, better than some of my closest friends. Congratulations on that. Thank you so much for having me on here. I am super stoked to be on here; I’m hopefully going to give some value to the listeners today.
Theo Hicks: Yes, I’m very looking forward to this conversation as well. Today is Sunday, so Best Ever listeners, we’ll be doing a skill set Sunday where we talk about a specific skill set that our guest has. Ravi is an expert at scaling businesses. So that is going to be the conversation today, how to scale your business to a massive scale, and we’re going to go over some specific examples, business he scaled over the past 14 or so months.
Before we get into that, let’s go over his background. So he’s a law school dropout, and the founder of Scaling With Systems, which is an accelerator that works to bootstrap and scale businesses. As I mentioned, in the past 14 months, he has scaled two seven-figure businesses with less than $1,000 of his own capital, and four commission-based employees.
He is based in Miami, Florida, and his website is scalingwithsystems.com. Ravi, before we get into that skillset, do you mind telling us some more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Ravi Abuvala: Yeah, sure. So I’ll keep it pretty tight for all the listeners out there, but just in case you have somebody in here that’s just new to the business, or thinking of being in business, or what have you – I have pretty much zero background in business whatsoever. No background in sales, no background in marketing. I was actually going to law school about two and a half years ago, and then I inadvertently dropped out; I decided it wasn’t for me. It’s a long story, with my dad’s cancer, and I pretty much had to take care of him. It kind of let me know how fragile life was. I won’t go too deep into that now.
I then got a job at an Italian restaurant around the corner from where I was living, making about $2,000 a month. I pretty much Googled – I’m not joking, for everyone that’s listening to this – “how to make money online”. I was retargeted by some ads, clicked on it, bought in, invested about $1,000 in my first course, and it pretty much was teaching me how to run ads online for other people.
My girlfriend at the time, her dad ran a plastic surgery clinic, and he comes up to me – well, he really came up to her, and he said, “Hey, do you know anyone that can run ads online? I need somebody to help me with my social media.” She’s like, “No, I don’t know”, because no one knew what I was doing at the time. I was so afraid to tell anybody I was running a business, because I had just left law school. So I said “I can,” and I remember he goes, “Oh, you can?” Then my girlfriend at the time goes, “Oh, you can?” I essentially signed him as my first client. I was pretty much addicted from then on.
We went and took that advertising agency from that first client at about $2,000 a month to, now we’re consistently doing a few hundred thousand dollars a month, spread across all around the world. Clients that range from personal injury, real estate, higher ticket clients that do e-commerce, consulting, coaching, services, businesses. Then in kind of that whole little realm of me doing, that I started helping other people to follow my journey and my path, which was pretty much leveraging paid traffic, sales funnels, product-market fits in order to scale really, really quickly. So through that, essentially, business accelerator, I started Scaling With Systems. We’ve helped grow over 800 different firms around the world, a dozen or so in the seven-figure range, and multiple dozens in the multi-six-figure range. That’s essentially what I’m working on right now. That’s pretty much my full-time job, if you want to call it, although it’s more of a passion for me now.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Thank you for sharing that. As I mentioned in the beginning, and as you mentioned multiple times in your background, we’re going to talk about how to massively scale your business. You mentioned some of the clients that you have, some of the industries that you’re in… Before we get into specifics, just kind of generally, would you say that the tactics are going to be the same in all industries? Or do you need to know specifically what industry they’re in, whether it’s real estate or something else, to determine exactly what they should be doing to scale their business?
Ravi Abuvala: Yeah, that’s an awesome question, Theo. Originally, when I first started working on this, it was pretty industry-specific… Because I don’t want to say that I was just doing like tricks and hacks, but it was something similar to that. But then as we kind of started growing, I started investing more time really studying the foundations of copywriting, Dan Kennedy, The Ultimate Sales Letter, and really understanding the foundations of advertising, some of the largest SaaS companies built today, and I actually started understanding what product-market fit was, I started understanding how to be profitable from day one, I started understanding how to write sales letters that convert, how to run advertising on a seven-figure per month basis.
So to answer your question, specifically this is going to be for service-based businesses. I’ll be honest with you, when it comes to products, it’s not something that I kind of specialize in. I’m sure you can take some of the advice here if you have some kind of e-commerce or product-based business, but specifically, the stuff that we’re talking about today, at least in my experience, will be helping service-based businesses, whether you’re brick and mortar or you’re online.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Let’s dive into some of the tips. So if someone came up to you and you had 10 minutes to talk to them, and they asked you for the best tips that they could implement right now, what would you tell them? …for starting their business, obviously.
Ravi Abuvala: Great question. So I’m going to go ahead and really quickly just assume that they might be thinking of starting a business or they might barely have a business; most people play around at a 15% range when it comes to traffic for their business. That’s like the warm range – so your friends or family, your referrals… And you can grow a relatively successful business that way, but realistically, it’s tapping into that 85%, which is what I help my clients do, that you can actually start to really see leaps and bounds, double-digit, month over month growth. That’s going into people that don’t know the difference between you and a hole in the wall. And really, the only way that you can do that is by following a few simple steps.
Number one, you have to have just a massive product-market fit. You have to make sure that whatever you’re offering is a need in your marketplace, not just something that’s nice to have, but is an absolute need. We call it the whisper test inside of my company. You should be able to wake your prospect up in the middle of the night and whisper in their ear what you’re promising to do for them, and they should perk up, grab their wallet off of the counter and pay you immediately, because it’s that big of a pain point. And I’m not even being dramatic when I say that.
So the first thing is to make sure you have that product-market resonance. The easiest way that we’ve been able to find that is to pretty much bring your product or your service to total strangers and try to sell it to them. It seems simple, but most people are relying on inbound traffic. People that are on their Facebook, people that are on their Instagram, people that come to their website… Instead of actually going out and trying to attract traffic, whether it’s outbound messages, cold calls, going to fairs, or even running paid traffic. Because the cold market doesn’t really care how nice you are, what you look like, what you sound like, as long as you can deliver for them.
So the first thing you have to nail down is that product-market fit, and making sure that your messaging resonates with your market. There’s a really, really great book called The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy. I’d recommend it to people; if you’re interested in more of this stuff, look that up. He tells you how to craft that messaging and how to resonate with your marketplace.
The second step, once you have proven product-market fit and you know that people are interested in what you’re doing, is to collect some kind of case study or testimonial that shows some incredible results that you can make a claim about. So for us, we help services-based businesses scale to multi seven figures in under 12 months. Now, the reason I’m able to say that is because I’ve done it for myself, and I’ve done it for other clients as well. So that’s our massive claim that I’m able to say on podcasts, I’m able to say on ads, I’m able to say on my organic stuff, because we’ve done it.
So you need to go out there and find one of the best case studies that you have… Like, I can help people make more money, and then obviously, that’s always the best way to do it. If let’s say you’re in weight loss, or you’re in real estate, or whatever else it is – we call it trading apples for apples. I usually recommend having some kind of transformation that does involve money, because you’re not going to ask them to pay you in weight loss, so you should be able to exchange back to the money. You kind of should be able to tie, “Hey, because you lost 15 more pounds, you’re able to stand up longer, you’re able to work longer without less energy, an average of two more hours a day. Your ad time is worth about $200 an hour, so we essentially made you an additional $400 a day by losing those 10 pounds.” Something along those lines, so that you’re able to take that case study and then go to that cold market place and say, “Hey, somebody just like you, that’s in the exact situation that you were in, I worked with, and I took them to that exact stage that they want to be in”, which I know because I did my research beforehand, I know the product-market fit. “So they’re in this end state that you want to be in. Would you be interested in learning a little bit more about how we can maybe do this for you?”
And that’s obviously a really dumbed-down version of it, but that’s what you do when you start sending LinkedIn messages, you start sending cold emails, you start running Facebook ads, you start doing Facebook messages, Instagram messages. People that that’s going to resonate with are going to respond back, your calendar starts filling up, and then you pretty much start scaling from there.
Then the final thing I recommend is – for our clients, I have a training center in the Philippines, so we’ve interviewed and placed over 1,000 virtual assistants for our clients (that’s some of our secret sauce) and we train them for our clients. So once you have that product-market fit and once you have that case study, and you have some resonance, then what we’ll do is we’ll pretty much just pour gasoline on the fire. They will take this messaging we’ve built together and they’ll just start sending that out to everybody.
So there’s one thing you’re taking on in that last stage there – you shouldn’t be doing that kind of lead generation if you’re the business owner, because you’re going to get tired of it, it’s going to get annoying, it’s going to get repetitive, and it’s going to get mundane. So you should essentially as quickly as possible delegate that out to somebody else. We like virtual assistants because it’s pretty mundane, and virtual assistants are great employees, in my opinion. They’re going to be able to keep your calendar packed and full, and you can grow easily a seven-figure business just by doing that, without even touching the paid ad side.
Theo Hicks: Thank you so much for breaking that down into those quick three, easy steps. First, I was just going to follow up on each of those steps, but as I said in the intro, you’ve got two examples… So do you mind taking one of the examples of these businesses you’ve scaled to seven figures, and then kind of walking us through it from the perspective of these three steps?
Ravi Abuvala: Yeah, I think that’s an awesome question. I’d love to do it. My first ever company, that advertising agency, the first eight months of business, we did about $6,000 total. $5,550. So it wasn’t a great start for us, to be honest with you. But the reason was, was because I didn’t have a product-market fit, I wasn’t listening to my marketplace, and I was just reaching out to total, cold strangers and saying, “Hey, I can get this for you. I can run ads for you. I can run ads for you. I can run ads for you.” What I didn’t realize was that no one really gives a “you know what” about running ads. What you have to be looking to promise is that transformation, not “I can run ads for you.” But for me, specifically, I was in the real estate industry, and I was saying “I can get you two to three more closings a month guaranteed, without you ever having to call another cold lead again.” That was what my messaging shifted to once I started listening to my marketplace and I started saying “Why are you not renewing with me? Why are you not responding back to me?”
I started actually reaching out to them, and I started learning that everyone offers leads, no one offers closings, everyone offers leads, no one offers booked appointments, and no one offers to actually prequalify these leads for our clients. So long before some of these large companies out there like Zillow and Redfin are doing these qualification centers, I was one of the first advertising agencies for real estate to do it. I actually got on Fox News for it. We essentially took the system and then we started selling that to real estate agents.
My first real estate agent was a lady out of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where I’m originally from, and we just knocked out of the park for her. I took that case study and then I went out and we immediately started blasting it out to every single real estate agent that was pre-qualified in the United States. I’m saying “Hey, not only am I going to take cold leads for you and generate them for you, but I’m going to take them all the way through the qualification stage and figure out if they a buyer or a seller, are they pre-approved, what’s their timeframe? And then only once they match your qualification statuses am I going to pass them over to you as a booked appointment. I know you think that sounds too good to be true, so here’s a case study of one of my clients named Judy, who we knocked this out of the park for.”
I went from making, like I said, less than $1,000 a month, to the next month we did about $10,000, a month after that we did about $30,000, and within 90 days from the $30,000 month, we had our first $100,000 month. It was just because — it was like a sink or swim; I had to figure out what was actually a need in the marketplace and what was the real transformation that they wanted. As soon as I nailed that down, it was pretty much hammering messaging on that every single day until our calendars were full.
Theo Hicks: Something that you said in the beginning that was interesting… So you talked about the product-market fit. You said that for the agent, rather than saying, “Hey, I can do advertising for you” you said specifically what you would do for them to transform their business, and you’ve mentioned how you’ve found that need was based off of having conversations with different agents. Could you maybe go into a little bit more specifics? Were you just reaching out to just every single agent you could find and ask them what they wanted? I am still trying to figure out exactly what you did to find out exactly why your messaging wasn’t resonating with them.
Ravi Abuvala: Yeah, that’s an incredible question. We actually call it The Research Method inside Scaling With Systems, because we’re helping people do this themselves… But essentially something really similar to that. I actually just edited the document today… But pretty much what you’re doing is you’re reaching out to people in the industry that you want to be in and you want to work in and you say “Hey, look. I’m putting together a report on the top industry experts inside real estate. Your name came up when I was talking with some other people. I’d love to interview you and talk to you a little bit about what makes you tick, why are you so successful, that kind of stuff.” And I’ll tell you what Theo, everybody loves to be interviewed; everybody loves to give their opinion. Look at just the world we live in today. Everybody loves to give their two cents. So you say, “Look, I guarantee you, I’m not going to pitch you anything on this call. I just want to learn a little bit more about you.” And let’s just say six times out of 10, conservatively, they say yes.
When you conduct 10 to 20 of those interviews, what you’re going to notice is a lot of these questions that you’re asking, like, “Hey, what are your top three daily frustrations? What is a service that you paid for in the past 12 months that didn’t work out and why did it not work out? What’s a service you’ve paid for in the past 12 months that worked out and why was that working? What made you happy about it? What keeps you up at night? What do you secretly desire most in this world?” You get these answers and you’re thinking, “Oh, all these people are going to have these drastically different answers.” You put it on this chart and you start seeing they may be worded slightly different, but they’re all virtually saying really similar things. Then you can start taking and plugging those little points that they set in into some kind of messaging template to understand, “Hey, I help real estate agents get ___whatever they said in this bucket that they wanted___”, and then we’ll see what the kind of resonance on that message is. And they get that without whatever they said is the thing that they hate, or that one company that failed them, what was the reason why they failed them.
So it’s almost like a scientific experiment. But yeah, you’re literally going out and reaching out. And then the coolest part about it, if you’re thinking of doing this, is that after you’ve collected that report, which is essentially a Google Sheet, then you reach back out to all those people that you’d originally spoken to, even the people that turned you down, and said, “Hey, it’s been a week, it’s been two weeks. I’ve actually conducted this report, I got some really interesting findings. I’d love to hop on the phone with you and walk you through what I’ve found.” And I’ll tell you what – a lot of times, that’s where our clients close their first deals, is hopping on that call, explaining to them what I’ve found, and then saying, “I have the solution if you’re willing to give me a shot.” They’ll get their first clients just from that.
Theo Hicks: Well, I love it. Where did you get all these ideas from? Did you just come up with these yourself? Or is this all in that book you’re talking about?
Ravi Abuvala: Oh, no, no. It’s not all in the book. It’s probably the combination of 50 different books I’ve read, from a bunch of different coaching programs I’ve been a part of it, from my own insights, and from my own experiences of, like you had said, trial and error. Definitely, that part right there that I just told you was just from my own experience from trial and error.
There is a gentleman, Ryan Levesque — I forget the name, but he did come up with something called The Ask Method, which you guys can Google; it is something really similar to that. It doesn’t go in-depth and talk about selling them after you’ve done it, but it’s something really similar to that, asking people that question. And his is more B2C instead of B2B. But yeah, it’s essentially from me, from learning from other people, and then just my own experiences or learning from other people and then applying it, and then re-teaching it through my own lens or my own perspective.
Theo Hicks: Got it. So using that research method you were talking about, once you conduct these interviews, and then you have that chart you said, to kind of figure out what it is they’re wanting, and then you’ve got your messaging template – so the purpose is actually to take what they say they need and then do that. That’s going to be your business.
Ravi Abuvala: Yeah, it’s really funny, right? I work a lot in the SaaS world as well, software as a service, and you see some of these people, absolute genius. They’re engineers from some of the top schools in the nation, and they spend six months, eight months, a year, tens of thousands of dollars building this product, and they think it’s perfect, their friends, their colleagues, or mom, they all say “You’re doing a great job.” Then, like I said, they go out to the cold, cruel, unforgiving marketplace, and the marketplace says “I don’t really need this. They’re kind of solving not a really big problem of mine.” So they don’t really see crazy growth.
Instead, what we do is something I call just “sell before you create”, which is pretty much what that method was. It is, “Hey, go out there, figure out what their biggest pain points are by just simply asking them” and then you’re going to see that kind of pattern. And “Okay, they don’t just need leads, they need close deals.” Then you’re going to come back to them, and you’re going to say, “Hey, if I could get you closed deals, would you pay me $1,000, $2,000…”, whatever the price point could be relative to the ROI. That makes it pretty much a no-brainer, because they’re taking a risk on you, you’re taking a risk on them. So “Hey, would you pay me $1,000 if I was able to make you an extra $10,000 a month?” They go, “Yeah, probably, if you can show me you can do it.” And then I go, “Okay, great.”
So then I come back and then now I’m starting to say, “Okay, this is something that the marketplace actually wants. Can I prove that I can do it?” So then I’m doing a little bit of research on my own. You can go online, there are websites like SimilarWeb, you can look at Facebook Ads library, and you can just see what your competitor’s websites are doing, and just figure out what’s working in the marketplace right now, and then you just make yours better, faster, and cheaper.
Once again, we’re still not building out this entire system yet. We’re just getting the ideas of how does this work. Then we’ll compile that together in some kind of pitch deck or presentation; it does not have to take too long. My original pitch deck was five screenshots; it was not pretty at all, I promise you. Then you go back to the person say, “Hey, I found out how to do it. It’s going to involve this, this, this, and this. If you did all this separately without me, it would cost you about $15,000 a month. I’m going to do it now, because you are my first client, for $1,000. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll give you all of your money back.” At that point, they’re like, “Okay, well, sure.” You probably can afford to give that money back, because you’re not really building anything at this point. You’re being profitable from day one by taking that money and then trying to solve it.
That’s when you kind of figure out what the mechanism is, which is, “What is the thing that’s going to give them that promise that I made them?” Then you give it to them. Does it work? Yes or No? No. Okay, that doesn’t mean his need doesn’t exist in the marketplace, it means this his mechanism is wrong. So now you need to go back to the drawing board and try a new mechanism. You pretty much just try mechanisms until one of them hits. Then there you go, you have a need in the marketplace, you have a messaging that captures their attention and slices the noise, and then you have a mechanism that actually delivers what you promise. And now you’re almost cheating. Now it’s too easy to scale.
Theo Hicks: Wow, I love it. Ravi, is there anything else you want to mention before we end the interview? Where people can learn more about you and the other call to action you have?
Ravi Abuvala: No, I really seriously appreciate you having me on here. I think that’s probably the fastest I’ve ever gone through that entire agency process. So I was like, trying to keep it under 30 minutes… So hopefully that was helpful for everyone on here, Theo. Thank you so much for having me on.
If you guys do want to learn a little bit more about Scaling With Systems, some of the stuff I talked about, because obviously, this was like the tip of the iceberg and I couldn’t cover everything, I do have a totally free course. It’s a few hours of content where I go a lot more in-depth; I have product-market fit, and a lot more in-depth on what your messaging should look like, etc. I actually made a landing page for this podcast, so if you just go to scalingwithsystems.com/best, then you’ll be redirected to the free course. You just give us your email, and you can get access to a few hours of the content there. Or you can feel free to find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, just type in my first and last name Ravi Abuvala. Thank you, Theo.
Theo Hicks: No, thank you so much for that landing page, and also thank you so much for sharing all the knowledge you shared with us today. I think this is probably the most unique information that I’ve gotten from just these quick 30 minutes. I really appreciate that.
Ravi Abuvala: I appreciate that. Theo.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. Best Ever Listeners, make sure you listen to this again. He went over his three-step process, starting with making sure you’ve got the right product-market fit, and then doing that case study, and then the virtual assistants… He also went into specifics on that first step, which was the research method to figure out what the right product is.
Then you walked us through an actual case study of yours and how you presented that case study. You also talked about how you actually create that service on the back end, and then a lot of other things, too. Again, super informational show. I really appreciate that, Ravi. Thank you for joining us. Best Ever listeners, make sure you take advantage of that free course; that was scalingwithsystems.com/best. We’ll have that in the show notes. Thank you for listening. As always, Best Ever listeners, have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
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