Before 2020, Stephen and Melissa were running a million-dollar Airbnb business. They were on their way to replacing their corporate income.
…But then Covid hit, and their business suffered. So much so, that they ended up with zero cash flow and a family to support.
It was then they realized they needed something else that would support their existing business and can make money online regardless of the surrounding market conditions.
That’s when they discovered our Champions program. And within 2 short years, Stephen and Melissa have now replaced their corporate income and built a successful digital agency.
WATCH THE VIDEO or read the transcript below to see how their lives have changed by building an online business…
Discover how Stephen & Melissa have built a digital agency that has replaced their corporate incomes and given them the freedom to work from home online…
Matt Raad: Hi again, everyone. It’s Matt Raad here from the eBusiness Institute, where we teach beginners how to build and buy websites and replace their corporate roles.
Today I have an incredible couple joining us. These guys are ex-corporates and are absolutely blitzing it online and in their journey.
Stephen and Melissa recently shared at one of our private bootcamps about what they’ve been doing over the last year and the money they’re charging now for website builds. And there are some really inspirational lessons here, especially for those of you who are starting out. Or if you’re thinking about quitting your corporate role, getting online, and working from home full time.
So, I’m really excited to have Stephen and Melissa with us today to share and inspire our whole community.
Stephen: Thank you, Matt. Glad to be here.
Melissa: Hi, everyone. Thanks for the chance to have a chat with you, Matt.
Stephen and Melissa have created recurring monthly income of up to $3,000 per client
Matt: First and foremost, I would love to have you share with us your recent online success.
At our recent Champions Bootcamp, you talked about the ongoing recurring incomes you’re now making. So, we’ll talk about your primary strategy for doing that. And we’ll also look at why.
To put everything into context, what is the main strategy, and how much are you charging?
Stephen: Well, we’re all about creating website assets for businesses.
To do this, we come in, meet the clients, and look at how we can help them online. We take a look at what are their goals and what are their targets?
By doing that, we get to understand each other to see if we’re a good fit. This allows us to charge anywhere up to $3,000 per month for SEO, depending on the client’s targets.
On average, we’re charging clients $1,500 a month, but we’re starting to pitch more and more at the $3,000 level, and all this has happened in the past 12 months.
How they achieved their first online income milestone of $10,000 per month
Matt: That’s awesome. And remember, we were talking at the Bootcamp about our freedom goal of hitting our first $10,000 a month income.
So, what Stephen and Melissa have decided to do, is to follow our strategy. They build websites for businesses, generally charging between $3,000-$5,000 for a website build. Is that correct?
Stephen: That’s right. So, at Kee Web Designs, our leading digital agency in Lane Cove, we do three things:
- We do website builds for businesses that don’t have a website.
- We do website redesigns to give a new look and improve user experience.
- And then we do SEO.
As part of those three core propositions, $3,000-$5,000 is the once-off fee for the website builds and redesigns.
We typically do two or three jobs a month on builds and rebuilds. That takes us halfway towards our freedom goal, and then we’re building our SEO clients.
Over the next 12 months, we are looking for 10 SEO clients averaging $1,500-$2,000 a month.
Matt: You were telling me earlier that you just did a quote for $5,000 a month for SEO. So, you only need two of those, and you’ve hit your first freedom goal.
Stephen’s digital journey from shaking in his boots to becoming Mr Confident
Matt: It is super exciting to hear what you’re doing now. I know you both well, and it was lovely to meet you both face-to-face the other day.
For those of you reading this, Stephen really is Mr Super Confident now. I call these two The Glamour Couple. Look at them; they look beautiful. They’re in their suits and look so confident.
Stephen: You’re going to make us blush!
Matt: Well, I mean, looking at you, everyone thinks, “Oh wow, this guy is just rocking it.” You’ve got to remember a lot of us reading this are total beginners, and this is the part I want to bring up.
As you shared at the Bootcamp, you weren’t always this confident doing all of this. Only a year ago you were a very different person.
Stephen: Yes, a year ago, I was shaking in my boots! And what a difference now.
It all started with a 10-day website build challenge…
Stephen: As our mentor, Matt, you threw us out there and got us out of our comfort zone. You said to us, “This challenge is mandatory.”
We had to build a website in 10 days. So, this time last year, I was shaking in my boots because I didn’t know how to build a website. When I was in my corporate background, I would have IT on my speed dial as number 1. If my screen’s not working, call IT.
That was my mindset 12 months ago, but Matt’s telling me to build this website in 10 days. How am I going to do that?
And to see where we’re at now, we are repeating our Champions course.
Matt Raad is still our mentor today because we’re seeing this tremendous growth.
You reissued the same 10-day website challenge this year, and this time we’re aiming to build two or three. One is a new website that I will submit within 10 days. The other is Melissa’s site, which I originally built in the first challenge. We haven’t touched it since, so it’s still a brand-new build for us.
…Now they’ve learned the value of outsourcing when building websites for profit
Stephen: It’s all about confidence. We’re now at that stage where we’re outsourcing our work to continue to deliver value to our clients.
Melissa: I just wanted to add that it was so amazing because we got to the point where we knew we had to start outsourcing.
When we realised this, the subject of outsourcing was covered at the Bootcamp. We got so much inspiration from that session that we took it all on board. We outsourced our first website portal to somebody, and that’s one of the websites we’re submitting for the challenge.
Matt: It’s unreal to see what you guys are achieving here.
Discovering the Champions Program changed Stephen and Melissa’s life
Matt: I coach Stephen and Melissa personally, and they’re on our Champions program, our highest-level program. They’ve been with us for two years now.
These guys look like absolute legends now. Just a year ago, you heard that they were so nervous about building websites.
But let’s look at their journey because there have been some challenges!
From the highlights of owing a multi-million dollar business…
Matt: You’ve mentioned all the technical stuff, but there was another big challenge for you too. So, let’s go back to when you first came onto the Digital Investor Program to start learning new digital skills. Where were you at then? What were you doing?
Melissa: Before we started the Digital Investors Program, we had an Airbnb business. And within the first 2 years, that business did pretty well.
Stephen: It was 18 months. We went from a start-up with zero turnover to a million-dollar turnover business. That was from 2018 to the end of 2019.
Matt: Well done, that’s awesome. You guys are go-getters already. You’re a high achieving professional couple.
Stephen: And we built that business whilst both in corporate jobs.
As soon as the Airbnb business replaced Melissa’s income (or was close to that), Melissa quit her job to focus more on the business, and the business continued to grow.
At the time, I got a promotion and changed companies in the corporate world. Then, when we hit a million dollars turnover, I said, “Ok, that’s my turn. Now I’m going to quit.”
…To the lows of losing the business due to Covid
Stephen: But low and behold, we experienced the bushfires in the summer of 2020, followed by COVID. We survived the bushfires, but unfortunately, COVID knocked us out.
And so, in our first year of Champions, there were a lot of mindset issues on a subconscious level. I needed to go through phases of disappointment because we’re go-getters. We’ve had a successful corporate life and built a successful business, only to have that taken away from us.
But thanks to the Champions program, we managed to overcome that, and I feel like I’m getting my mojo back.
We’ve built new digital skills in multiple facets now.
Matt: I can definitely see that in you, Stephen.
Digital Investors taught Stephen and Melissa there’s another way to make money by building websites
Melissa: When COVID hit, we were scrambling to figure out, “Ok, what are we going to do? What’s our new next strategy?” That’s when we came across the Digital Investors Program.
When we came across it, I thought, “Ok, let’s build ourselves a website.” I wasn’t going to pay someone else to build our website because cash flow was a real problem at that point.
And so, I said to Stephen, “Let’s do this program, and I can build my own website.”
Stephen said to me, “Honey, are you sure you want to do that? You’ve already talked to two people who don’t even know how to use the latest apps, download them etc.”
Stephen: And I’ve got IT on speed dial at work!
Melissa: I said to him, “Well, we’ve got to try.”
And so, I went through the Digital Investors Program. It is a fabulous program because it’s step-by-step. It just showed me how to do it, and I managed to create our first website.
They then discovered the benefits of the Champions program at the annual Digital Investor Summit
Melissa: Once we built our first website, I had a strategy call with Matt, who said, “Ok, where do you want to go from here?” And we said, “Look, we know so much about Airbnb and we did so well. We want to carry on with it and engage our marketing agency to do it.”
We told Matt about our beautiful plan about how we’re going to do this, and he says, “Well, I think I’ve got something that might be better than that. Why don’t you come to our 3-day workshop? Just have a look.”
So, we went to the workshop, and it was a no-brainer. At that point in time (with cash flow being nearly zero), we said, “Ok, let’s just see where this takes us.”
How the Champions program helped Stephen and Melissa with their mindset challenges
Melissa: However, even though we made that decision, there were many mindset issues that we didn’t even realise we had.
Stephen: At a subconscious level.
Melissa: Yes. We thought we were fine. We were just trying to be on time every week with the webinars and the bootcamps, but we found it so difficult.
Then at the third Bootcamp, Matt said, “You need to get your mindset right.” He introduced us to Louise Hayes’s book called “You Can Heal Your Life”.
So, we read the book, and the penny dropped. We realised, “Oh my goodness, we have so many mindset issues.” We spoke to Matt, and he mentored us on it. It really helped us a lot, and this is what turned us around.
By working on their mindset, they were able move past their challenges and make more money online
Matt: It’s easy when you’re in a course like ours to focus on the technical skills. You see all these other amazing students in our community doing great things. But now, you guys are doing what they’re doing and reaching your first $10,000 a month from your websites.
People don’t often realise that there are a lot of mindset issues going on in the background. So, I’m really proud of what you guys have done. It was a tough time for you both. COVID hit your million-dollar Airbnb business, and you ended up at zero cash flow.
I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever been in that position?
But I remember the call I did with Stephen and Melissa, and it was just like chalk and cheese. You two just changed on a dime! Melissa’s always out there and pushing everything, but Stephen, we also saw a huge change in you.
Other ways the Champions program helped Stephen and Melissa grow their online business quickly
1./ Champions showed them how to grow their business fast through Networking
Matt: Within the first two weeks you joined BNI, I remember that you had your first paid client. And it was a $3,000 website build?
Stephen: Yes, that was our first client, and it was two weeks into BNI.
We gave them a 50% discount because we were still building our visibility and trust. I wanted to feel confident that I could deliver the value. We just didn’t know how at that stage, but they liked what they were hearing and how we could help them.
2./ It showed them how to value and charge for their digital skills
Stephen: That’s where we saw the potential of this course as well. There are so many businesses out there that we can help with our new digital skills.
So, we quoted them $5,500 for a once-off redesign, and they also signed up for ongoing SEO at $1,000 a month.
That was our very first client two weeks into joining the BNI network, and there’s a story behind that. We got to that point because you issued us another challenge called the 100 Call Challenge.
Again, this challenge really threw us out of our comfort zone. But that’s how I refined my messaging. Every call, I got better. That was a foundation that I used when I joined the Business Networking group, and the rest is history.
3./ Additional support offered by Champions gave them confidence to get out there and build their business
Melissa: I also want to add another thing that really gave us confidence. We knew we had the support we needed by being in the Champions program.
We knew that if we become stuck anywhere, there’d always be somebody that could help us. Especially the wonderful team at eBusiness Institute. We had such as great experience with Calem, Toni, yourself, and Liz. It’s just so much fun.
Matt: Thank you, that’s awesome to hear! Well, it’s all certainly made a difference, and I’m really proud of your mindset change.
What can you do today to start building your online business?
Matt: I want our readers to understand that it’s taken Stephen and Melissa two years to do this. The last Bootcamp was so much fun for them, but they were shaking in their boots only a year ago. Mindset wise, they’ve got their mojo back today.
I’m thinking back about your journey through the Digital Investors Program. And I think it was at one of our 3 Day Workshops that we featured one of your first site builds.
This was a website that you built as a total beginner from the WebDev course for your Airbnb business. And I remember our whole community loved it! Everyone said in the comments, “Wow, that site looks so glamorous.”
For people starting out on Digital Investor Program, is there anything key that you could advise them to do? More just in strategy and any mindset things that you could offer?
One step at a time – build your confidence by building your first website
Stephen: I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. But when COVID hit, we couldn’t see it. We had tunnel vision, just trying to survive.
But then, Melissa built her first website, and it’s still one of our featured websites. When we’re talking to clients and doing our proposals, we still use it as an example of something we’ve built, and it still gets leads because of it.
So, that gives us confidence. And to have that kind of positive change in your life, it needs to be one step at a time.
That’s the advice I can give. Take those little steps, no matter how hard they are. If you feel it in your heart, that’s the right thing for you. Take those little steps, and it’ll be ok.
It’s not just about making money online, you also need to grow your mindset
Melissa: I totally agree with Stephen. And to add to that, mindset really is the number one thing in anything. The biggest hurdle is when you decide to do something and set your mind to it.
In your first year of Champions, you understand the reason why you have to sit and go through all the learning. It’s because you need to have the foundation first, and then you can start stepping it up.
That’s fantastic because once you go in with the right mindset, you realise, “Right, I’m going to be here.”
Matt: That’s awesome. Congratulations to you both. I think you embody the changes that can occur so rapidly.
We all learn the same digital skills, so then it really comes down to your own mindset. And I think that’s been a big factor in your success. So, I’m really proud to see what you guys are doing.
How Stephen and Melissa’s digital agency has replaced their corporate income
Matt: So, let’s give your digital agency a bit of a shout out as the best SEO agency on Sydney’s North Shore. That’s where you guys are based, isn’t it?
Based on the conversations I’m having with clients, our competitors aren’t nearly as proactive as we are when it comes to looking after them. We’re connected with our clients because we know we do a good job and deliver results.
They earned $12,000 for their first client website build!
Matt: And the type of client sites that you’re building, they’re not all necessarily massive, big corporate sites, are they?
Your first big site was for a removalist company, and you were paid $12,000 for that. And you also have a good corporate website build in a nice niche that’s going really well too?
Stephen: It has, and it’s been a big learning curve. But with all the training and the community, we are able to deliver the results.
Why Stephen and Melissa focus on building websites for medium-sized businesses
Matt: Now, you are running this digital agency based on the North Shore of Sydney (Lane Cove). What’s the main target of people you want to build websites for?
Stephen: We’re focusing on start-ups and medium-sized businesses now. Businesses that can see a return for the money they invest in SEO. We see SEO as an investment, and as I said, we build assets for the business.
We’ve found that medium-sized businesses are willing to invest $3,000 a month on SEO to generate content and build those assets for their business. This not only generates revenue immediately once it starts working but also becomes a long-term asset that gives options to the owners. They can expand, they can sell, or become an entrepreneur etc.
Matt: So, you are targeting slightly bigger-sized businesses with around 20 employees?
Stephen: Yes, anywhere between 5-25 employees.
Matt: Ok, they’ve got the money to pay for your awesome SEO services.
Stephen: In fact, today, before this podcast, I was pitching to a potential client that’s employing 20 people, and they’ve managed to keep their employees throughout COVID. So, that’s an amazing business to be working with.
Now they’re able to charge clients a minimum of $1,500 per month for SEO services
Matt: On that note, tell us how much you’re quoting them?
This is pretty cool because you would never have done this a year ago. So, tell everyone what you’ve quoted?
Stephen: We’ve quoted a minimum of $1,500. We still have a follow-up call, and it can go towards $5,000, depending on their needs and goals. So, we’ll have a follow-up meeting on that.
Matt: So, you are quoting anywhere from a minimum of $1,500. Then you’ve offered them a $3,000 pack and up to a $5,000 pack per month?
Melissa: Per month, yes.
Matt: That’s awesome guys; seriously impressive. You only need two more of those clients, and you’ve hit your financial milestone.
And that’s cash flow compared to your Airbnb strategy. Not that I’m saying anything bad about Airbnb. Obviously, it’s very lucrative. But when you hit a time like COVID, it can really knock you around. Particularly for you guys financially.
The digital agency has allowed them to grow their family home and spend more time with the kids
Matt: And now you’ve moved into a new home. You’re in a much bigger place which is better for your family. You’ve got young kids, don’t you?
Stephen: Yes, two young kids aged two and seven. So, we’re definitely juggling multiple hats.
Matt: Lots is happening in your lives.
That’s unreal. I want to say a big thank you for agreeing to come along today and help inspire so many people. Our community love hearing you at the bootcamps. And Melissa, all of us loved seeing your Airbnb website all those years ago when you built your very first site.
So, a big thank you for coming along today and sharing your story.
Stephen: Thanks for having us, Matt.
Learn how to create your online business and replace your corporate income
Matt: So, if you want to replace your corporate income with an online business, like Stephen and Melissa, make sure you check out our masterclass where you’ll learn our 3-step strategy and the Digital Investor Program.
For more inspirational stories of couples who have done the same as Stephen and Melissa, check out our YouTube channel.