Nick helps solo-entrepreneur or pre-Series B company founders grow their business beyond themselves through his industry knowledge, operational excellence, and coaching.
But that’s not it. He uses his consultancy to bootstrap his other businesses.
So, we asked Nick to share his secrets, processes and frameworks for managing his various businesses with the Mylance community.
Nick’s secret sauce recipe when working with clients
You mention on your LinkedIn bio that you ensure that what you build for your clients is self-sufficient after you leave. That's such a great value add! Can you share what systems you have for doing that?
My goal with everything I do, whether it’s when I worked at Uber and Lime, my clients businesses, and my own businesses is to create systems that are as efficient as possible while not requiring a founder or employee to be the linchpin of the entire thing. This is honestly a lot easier than it sounds.
The key is to understand your client’s business and also coach them through understanding that SOPs are necessary at every stage of a company. If you can’t hand someone a document that explains how to do something that’s necessary to your business, what happens if the person who’s the linchpin gets sick, leaves, or just plain old wants a vacation?
Founders will often fight against this concept, as it makes it feel like they aren’t needed to run their business, that’s where the coaching comes in of making sure they understand that the greatest achievement you can have as a business owner is to build yourself out of day to day operations.
What’s the main way you’re bringing new leads for your consultancy?
At the moment I’m actually transitioning to a coaching/advising model that leverages affiliate marketing and funnels, but prior to this most of my clients come from word of mouth, LinkedIn posts, and Clubhouse.
On hiring and managing a Virtual Assistant
You use a Virtual Assistant to help you run your business. When starting something from scratch, when would you suggest bringing in a Virtual Assistant to replace things one can do himself/herself?
I think the timeline depends on ultimately what you’re looking for in an assistant. For me, I wanted someone who would grow to understand not only my businesses, but how my brain works - how I communicate, how I approach problems, etc.
So for me it made sense to bring someone on as soon as I could (I made many mistakes that led to 4 bad hire attempts over about 6 months). If you are looking for someone purely to do repetitive tasks I would say wait until you have an SOP and then outsource.
What types of tasks should I consider outsourcing?
The low hanging fruit is your social media management, customer support, website/funnel build and updates, notes during important meetings, making decks and graphics, and most importantly Project Managing. I may help clients with PM work but I would be lost without Rafael, my VA, project managing all the things I need to do for clients and for my businesses.
On using your consultancy to bootstrap other companies
You leverage your consultancy to fund your own businesses. What are those businesses?
Essentially I have three businesses.
- Eat Sleep Launch Repeat, which is my consulting/coaching/misc passive income plays company. That helped bootstrap.
- Freaky Foot Tours, which is a haunted history tour company I started that now runs with only 1-2 hours of my time a week, and about 10 hours a week from Rafael with social media and support. The guides are all 1099 and paid VERY well so it runs on rails, which helps me further bootstrap.
- Flight Club, which is a three sided marketplace for plane owners, pilots, and flight instructors. So far we’ve gotten to unit economics positive with no funding beyond my business partner and I’s bootstrap money and time, meaning the first round we’re looking to close gets to skip the angel and seed phase so we kept all that equity for ourselves.
Are there steps you take to actively mitigate risk when starting new businesses (especially when self-funding/bootstrapping)?
Well the main risk mitigation I use is that I’ve started with companies that are the easiest to turn profitable first. I’m essentially building a flywheel so that even if Flight Club were to not make it, I still have two profitable businesses bringing in money which allows me to either bootstrap another idea or expand existing companies.
I’m potentially an outlier here because I work in the startup space but at heart I’m a serial entrepreneur. So I’m really just always looking for the best new opportunities to bring in cash flow with minimal fixed time from me, experimenting with some crypto and vending machine stuff right now as well.
Money wise I divert a max of 50% of profits to bootstrapping new ideas. It’s just a riskier form of investing.
Every Mylance team member has done consulting. We're experts, and we've seen what consulting enables: more time with our families, traveling the world, more time on passion projects, or to start that business we've been dreaming about.