How To Make $1 Million In Revenue In 2021

How To Make $1 Million In Revenue In 2021

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

Why?

Disclaimer

In this post, I explore how to make $1 million in revenue in 2021. To keep it simple, that will be $1 million USD.

I don’t really like wanting or needing to do this in my life. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve been extremely anti-capitalist. I am a bad businessman and owner. It pains me to focus on maximizing revenues.

I’m still working through my own mindset to understand why I am doing what I am doing. Why do I need this money? Why am I participating in something I don’t fully support?

Build an Amazing Team

People need money to live. Our CTO, Vatsal Shah, not only pays for himself but his family back home in India. He took on a loan to get his Masters at Western University so he could have an opportunity for a better life.

I want to work with smart people! Smart people know their worth. They know what other opportunities are out there. They know how to make their own money.

Ego

Ahh, always the ego. Why does it have to be $1 million? Because it’s a cool number so many of us have dreamt of. It’s the number you hear in the movies (even though in Social Network there’s the famous “billion” moment). 

I’ve wanted to be a millionaire by 30. That’s been a goal for a long time.

Impact

On the flip side of that, once you have money and the team, you can do a lot with it. I hope to do good with the resources.

Debt

Student loans. Car lease. $60,000 Business loan (BDC + Futurpreneur). $40,000 Canada’s no-interest loan for the pandemic. 

Personal Expenses

Living in Toronto. Rent is ~ $2,000 a month.Truck with lease with insurance. 

Business Expenses

I am also paying for employee’s and their rent. Payment to the DMZ for the office and their resources. Software expenses for marketing, financial management, servers and more.

How

Revenue

I actually started the title of this as just “How to make $1 million in 2021”. But, I decided I wanted to specify. I actually want to hit that in revenue. Revenue is the best form of growth. I want to build a sustainable and profitable company. Profit is separate from revenue. Maybe once I figure out this first part, I can figure out the profit part 😂 

Other Ways To Generate Capital

For the sake of a resource, and because it might be necessary to even help generate the revenue, here are other ways to generate capital.

Investment

Venture Capital

We actually received our first term sheet this year. We had connected with a few venture firms and one really took a liking to us. We went through an exploratory process and were offered an investment at the end of it. 

Because of the terms, we said no. We’re still not sure if we did the right thing or not. However, this showed that there is potential here. If we want to grow the company we could focus on raising some money to help us accomplish what we need.

But, for now, I think we just want to focus on getting customers. I’ll be back to add more on this later and in other posts. 

Private Investment

Instead of going the venture capital route, there are private investors who may be interested in supporting us. We’ve had several reach out to us. However, it comes down to the same thing: how much do you value our company at, what other benefits can you provide besides the money, and is giving the equity up worth it?

Grants

IRAP

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

You can learn more about IRAP here

Financial support for technology innovation

If you’re a small or medium‑sized Canadian business pursuing technology‑driven innovation, you may be eligible for financial support from NRC IRAP. We provide this funding to eligible firms under our technology innovation projects and youth employment strategy programs.

NRC IRAP provides funding to support research and development projects at various stages of the innovation cycle.

https://nrc.canada.ca/en/support-technology-innovation/financial-support-technology-innovation-through-nrc-irap

NRC IRAP funding to hire young graduates

Young talent offer fresh perspectives that can fuel innovation. IRAP’s youth employment program provides financial assistance to companies so they can hire young talent to contribute to their innovation needs.

https://nrc.canada.ca/en/support-technology-innovation/nrc-irap-funding-hire-young-graduates

SR&ED

Also known as Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program. 

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program uses tax incentives to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. These tax incentives come in three forms: an income tax deduction, an investment tax credit (ITC), and, in certain circumstances, a refund.

The SR&ED Program provides more than $3 billion in tax incentives to over 20,000 claimants annually, making it the single largest federal program that supports business R&D in Canada. The program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Corporations, individuals, trusts and members of a partnership can use these Government of Canada incentives.

You can learn more about SR&ED here

Mitacs

Mitacs powers research & development by connecting industry with the best post-secondary institutions to solve business challenges — in Canada and internationally. For 20 years, Mitacs has funded cutting-edge research, created job opportunities for graduate students and helped companies reach their business goals, achieving results that have bolstered the Canadian economy.

You can learn more about Mitacs here

Interactive Digital Media Fund Grant

Ontario Creates support provides opportunities for producers of interactive content to create new products, access existing and new markets and grow their business.

Support is also available to established trade and event organizations for activities that stimulate the growth of Ontario’s interactive industry.

Research grants are also available to incorporated not-for-profit industry organizations undertaking research initiatives that support or complement the mandate of Ontario Creates.

https://ontariocreates.ca/investment-programs/marketing-promotion/interactive-digital-media-fund

Some valuables links:

Ontario Creates IDM Fund Guidelines

Ontario Creates IDM Fund Budgeting and Financing Guideline

Application Form/Online Application Portal

Application Portal

Ontario Creates IDM Fund Budget Template – Concept Definition

Ontario Creates IDM Fund Budget Template – Production

Career Launcher

Career Launcher is a grant to help you hire paid interns. 

Employers, get up to $30,000 to hire skilled students and grads to strengthen your business. Students and grads, find a paid internship and launch your career with exciting work experience.

The Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Career-Launcher Internships program connects employers with skilled students and grads by providing up to $30,000 towards an intern’s salary and training expenses.

Career-Launcher Internships have streams in digital tech, cleantech and natural resources in addition to the ImpAct Internships. These facilitate the transition of highly-skilled youth to a rapidly changing labour market. This program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.

You can learn more at the Career Launcher website here.

What do I need to change?

I haven’t made a million dollars in revenue yet. I don’t even think cumulatively over my career yet. So, why do I think I can do this next year? And, what have I been doing “wrong” that has stopped me from doing it before?

“Wasting” Time

This one is difficult for me. What is wasting time? 

I struggle to look at this so black and white. But, I must ask myself:

What am I wasting time on?

People

Unfortunately, one of these for me is looking at the people I’m spending my time with. Are they getting me closer or further away from this goal of making $1 million in revenue in 2021? 

Consuming 

Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. I struggle because I can rationalize and say “I need to stay connected with what’s going on”. But, that’s not always true. And, I definitely waste a lot of time. 

RescueTime

How will I do this? I am going to add a better tracking platform for what apps I am spending my time on. That way I can optimize much better. I will be using RescueTime which I have used in the past:

https://www.rescuetime.com/

Speak Ai

Business-to-Consumer

We have a front-end web application (with iOS and Android applications coming soon!) that anyone can sign up and use. It starts with a free plan and goes up to $99.99 USD per month. We have an annual discount when you pay upfront for the entire amount. 

Pricing

Business-to-Business

Organization packages starting at $500 USD per month. 

Phone Apps

Our phone apps will be coming! This means that we will be featured in the Play Store and Apple Store. This will open up new avenues for awareness, new sign-ups, and customers.

APIs

Our APIs are slowly coming out and will enable anyone to embed the power of Speak Ai into their own applications. We’ve already had a few leads ask and have even sold our first package with APIs!

Sales Channels

Search Engine Marketing

Organic and paid. I will be using BrightLocal soon to disseminate listings across the web. Google Ads are already working a bit! Very exciting. I’ve left it only on North America for now for people who have visited our sites. Also, I’ve created some audiences which are working too! They have been people who are visiting Otter.ai and Evernote.com, two of our competitors and inspirations.

Social Media Marketing

Our social media is growing slowly but surely. The LinkedIn page is getting more followers. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are pretty shit lol. I would like to see if I can find someone to dominate Twitter for us as it is popping right now. 

Inside Sales Development

Here is a resource on inside sales. 

“The definition of inside sales refers to any type of sales that are handled remotely. Over the past decade, inside sales has come to be the dominant sales model for reps in B2B, tech, SaaS, and a variety of B2C industries selling high-ticket items. An inside sales model routinely involves high-touch transactions over phone and email.

Contrary to telemarketers, inside sales professionals are highly skilled and knowledgable. Thanks to advances in communications technology, inside sales reps can give presentations, conduct demos and perform most of the functions traditionally handled by reps in the field.”

Email Marketing

Such a powerful channel. One that you own. One that you can connect directly with customers and prospective customers. We’re using SendGrid and ActiveCampaign

What Do I Need To Do?

Understand Our Users

We have people signing up but we’re not sure why lol. We’ve got to get to the root of this. A lot of this will change with our onboarding process.

Select The “Right” Customers

Yes, I want to help as many people as I can. But, unfortunately, not everyone is able to pay for the technology and work we are doing. So, I need to be selective about the right customer segments so that we can be successful. 

Different customers require different amounts of support. There is a balance here. A price point that is low can be quite self-serve and hands-off, but that means that we would need a lot of those people to reach our goal of $1 million in revenue in 2021. 

At high price points, the relationships might be much more hands-on. That means we would need account representatives and people to help implement the scope of the work. At some point, a million in revenue may not be enough. And, how much capacity do we actually have? Depending on the size of the companies, projects over $20,000 could be considered a lot. Are these the right companies?

Additionally, we need to take into consideration the sales cycle. Some companies even have certain times of the year where they make investments in technology and projects. If you miss those times you may not be able to work with them until the following year. So, we need to identify that and accommodate it. 

There is just such a big difference. One simple example to get us to $1 million in revenue in 2021:

10 sales at $100,00.00 or 100,000 sales at $10.00. Which is better? What is our breakdown of sales? What is that breakdown currently? What is our ideal breakdown?

Enterprise Sales

Keeping in mind the breakdown above, we may need to prioritize enterprise sales. We’ve built a front-end for consumers and pro-sumers. But, how can we connect this to large teams? What would be the use case? What features are we missing? Are we marketing this right or will it turn them away?

Identify Legitimate & Urgent Pain Points

This again sucks sometimes. I’m focused on innovation and cool things. One of my theses right now is that unforgettable experiences are just as valuable as deep pain points, but with a pandemic, with an economy that is being affected, we really need to make sure we are actually solving problems.

I hope companies are still investing in innovation and experimenting. We will be there for that. But, we need to convert our excitement for innovation into actual paying customers.

Features to Benefits

This connects with the point above. Our platform has a lot of features. But, what are the benefits? Who are those benefits for? Will they pay for those benefits? Who already offers tho benefits? Are we doing anything worthwhile differently? 

Sales Pipeline

Crucial. How many leads do we have? How much revenue will they possibly generate? How likely are we to close the deal? This really needs to tighten up in terms of tracking and execution if are going to successfully achieve $1 million in revenue in 2021. 

Scaleable vs Unscaleable Sales

This is a tough one. Right now, we’ve been asked to do a bit of custom work to give a customer some features they want quicker. How do we sell this? Is it a good idea? Is it repeatable? Do we do the “unscaleable things” in the first years as we grow?

Block Out Time

I have already started to do this. I use my Calendly link to schedule meetings. I only leave Wednesday and Thursday afternoons open. For exceptional cases, I will do meetings at other times. That affords something nice too: you can let the person know you usually block off days but are willing to meet them anytime. That adds a layer of connection, respect, and helps the person you are meeting with feel special. 

Exercise

Exercise always makes me operate better. I’m letting that go way too much lately. If I want to make $1 million in revenue in 2021 I am going to have to be at my highest performance level. Anything less will significantly harm my chances at accomplishing this goal.

Understand Myself

What do I want? Why do I even want this? What am I going to have to sacrifice? What positive or negative things can occur because of this choice?

Focus

I love so many things. I get distracted all the time. It’s led to a lot of good things, but it hasn’t always meant I’ve been successful in business. Investors and advisors often tell me to narrow my focus. Only do one thing at once. I take that to heart. 

One of the things I struggle with is that I’ve found being involved in a lot of things is stimulating and reinvigorating for the main work you are doing. Right now, for me, something that stands out is my volunteer work for psychedelics. I think that psychedelics are a profound medicine that will help change the world for the better. How can I continue to contribute to the movement without sacrificing the goal of making $1 million in revenue in 2021? Is this possible? Do they conflict? 

The Math

In the past, I’ve just said I’ve wanted to accomplish a big goal but never really how. To be successful in making $1 million in revenue in 2021, I need to be much more logistical. 

How many plans do I need to sell? What plans are selling most? Who are those people? How many do I have to connect with to hit a quota? How many plans do I need to sell a day? How much advertising do I need to do to hit those numbers? Do I have the budget for that?

$1 million in a year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes.

$83,333.33 per month.

$19,230.76 per week.

$2739.73 per day.

$114.16 per hour.

$1.90 per minute.

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This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical

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This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical

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