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Financial, location, and time freedom are the core desires of anyone trying to build an online business. The problem is that most people looking to achieve it are looking for a quick turnaround.

With the rise of SMMA, inevitably, you will get an ad or stumble upon an online creator talking about it and how good it is (probably selling his course.)

For someone who hasn’t a particular online skill, whether it’s graphic design, writing, marketing, or whatever it might be. SMMA becomes very appealing because of all the different promises that are being promoted.

  • No skills or prior knowledge needed
  • No investment
  • No employee
  • No office

8 out of 10 creators in the SMMA space sell a course, community or coaching program. One of the most known is Iman Gadzhi, with 1.8M subscribers on YouTube as of writing this.

For those who don’t know what is SMMA (Social Media Marketing Agency)

In a nutshell, it’s anything related to social media:

  • Run Fb/IG/TikToks ads
  • Create content for clients/brands
  • Email Marketing
  • Much more, but I’ll stop here

To be clear, this article isn’t about exposing the SMMA gurus or Iman.

It’s about putting back perspectives in place.

It's also about exposing their secrets (why they're successful and you're not.)

Stick until the end to learn about it.

I have mad respect for Iman. He has been a huge inspiration for me since his beginning. I witness his growth from 200k followers on YT. So, I’ve been following him for a long time.

Before diving in. If you feel or felt like SMMA was your only way out. It isn’t your fault. He is a marketing genius with a massive team behind him.

He also knows our pain points and taps deep into them.

You can fit in one of these two buckets:

  • You don’t give a shit about SMMA, but you want to give it a shot because you are inspired
  • You don’t know anything about online business, and SMMA is the first model you know

Well, that’s the problem. Their marketing tactics influenced your thinking and your decisions.

I would be lying if I told you I wouldn’t do the same thing because I would.

I would’ve created a course and would’ve used your pain points to sell you my product, but not for $2,000.

Because the truth is, there are a lot of success stories.

My only problem is the price, and what is crazy?

Everything is on YouTube.

Don’t be lazy.

There are also a lot of failure stories. The difference is people who fail are ashamed and don’t want to expose themselves.

They prefer to call it a loss and move on (or not.)

The difference with me is I won’t sell a course for 2k to someone who hasn’t a penny saved.

His goal was simple.

Run the agency → Build a Personal Brand → Build a course → Build a software → Scale his course → Sell his software to his students → Close the agency → Scale the software → Sell the software → Retire from the surface of the earth.

Don’t hate the man. Hate the game. He created massive opportunities for almost 60 people working for his company. Like it or not, he’s doing good for humanity.

It only depends on what you choose to listen to.

I admire him but didn’t and won’t buy his course.

The traditional SMMA Model

You probably heard it. You don’t need to know the skill you’re selling. You’ll only have to do “contractor arbitrage,” which consists of you finding a Media Buyer (someone who runs the ads) for you. Get paid by your client and pay your contractor at the end of the month.

My problem with that is you don’t even know how to do the fucking job.

It doesn’t make sense to me.

First of all. I don’t want to hire a team.

And lastly, I don’t want to do it alone for the rest of my life.

I want to be and stay a team of one. That’s the whole purpose of my mission.

So ask yourself a question, do you want to hire and manage a team?

It is a skill in itself that not many can master quickly, including me.

I found the solution to stay a team of one and generate practically the same amount of money without the problems of running an agency. In case you don’t know, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

For context, I’m not speaking from a blind spot. I’ve tried it myself and had early success with it because I had prior knowledge of FB ads, but nothing fancy.

The New Model

I was on my way to building up this “appointment-setting” agency for Med Spas, but I stopped because I spotted many red flags.

  • I need to keep up my promise, or I don’t get paid
  • Dealing with setting the appointments by myself or delegating it
  • Dealing with the ads by myself
  • Dealing with a lot of other BS

It didn’t sit well with my vision. So, I iterated on how I could approach this opportunity.

As you can see from this screenshot. I’ve brought 180 leads in 1 month and one week, while the first three weeks were only tests.

In the last seven days, the ads generated 43 leads for $185.64. That’s $4.31 per lead.

Every lead is valued between $250 to $500. But, for the sake of the maths, I’d say $250.

Out of these 43 leads. With minimum effort, only 12 will book and show up for the appointment. That’s $3000 per week for $185.64… a 16x return on investment.

I want to keep my clients for as long as they run their businesses. The typical model pisses them off after four-five months max.

I HATE this retainer model where they must pay you 1k,2k or 3k per month. Instead, I want to upsell the software I use that runs the automation, workflows, follow-ups, SMS campaigns, and Email campaigns.

The software costs me $497 per month if I want to white-label it, and I will price it the same price for my clients, $497.

I want to create a value vault for my clients who only need to push a button.

Everything plays by itself.

This model is easily scalable to 10k per month and compounds over time. Clients keep using the software because it brings them leads consistently very cheaply.

What the client pay:

  • 497$ for the software
  • $200 per week on ads for a decent amount of leads = $800
  • Additional Virtual Assistant (optional): $150 per week = $600
  • No $2000 BS retainer fees

That’s only taking into consideration $200 per week in ad spend. $1000 could triple the results easily.

Total expenses: $1897

Potential earnings:

  • 12 leads per week at $250 = $3000 x 4 = $12000

In the 1k ad spend scenario:

  • $1000 per week x 4 = $4000

Total expenses:

  • 4000+497+600= $5097

Potential earnings:

  • 36 leads per week (12x3) at $250 = $9000 x 4 = $36000

How much I can get paid:

This is where it gets interesting. The possibilities are endless. My goal is to automate it as much as possible! It’s as if I own a SAAS and market it directly.

Client pay:

  • Software: $497
  • VA: $600 → $200 is for me

Total earnings per client: $697 per month

10 clients = $6970

20 clients = $13940

30 clients = $20910

I’m not even trying to scale it to a point where I have to have a team. 3 VAs to do the job and handle the customer service sounds about right. I want to cap it at 30 clients, generating roughly 20k per month.

When I say a team of one, I mean not having a full-time employee that I need to pay weekly.

I have no obligations.

You still can hire VAs and consider yourself a Solopreneur.

My Discovery

For the past two years, I have been freelancing with branding and web design. It didn’t work out well for me because I was terrible at marketing and sales (getting better.) I pivoted toward Med Spas and offered web design services that work well for me.

I decided to combine these services and scale them slowly.

Instead of trying to sell 10k websites, it was far easier and less complicated to make websites from my templates at $3500.

One service led to the other. If the client needs a website, I can do that.

And vice versa, if the client uses my software, I introduce him to optimization for his website.

Landing pages are also a fantastic opportunity where  I can easily incorporate value-based. The reason is that landing pages are typically used for ads.

All of that to say, look for cross-opportunities where you can stack 2 or 3 services together and offer them separately or together.

For me, it is:

  • Web Design
  • Landing page
  • Branding (brand identity, logo, social media branding, etc.)

I almost forgot. The secret!

Have you skipped from the top to learn what it is?

Hum, I know you didn’t.

What no one is telling you is: Build a Personal Brand! That’s what I’m doing in front of your eyes.

Iman Gadzhi understood that from the very beginning. His success wouldn’t be close by a shred if he didn’t document his journey from the start on YouTube.

I’m saying it very openly. I won’t offer my current services for the rest of my life.

I want to get out of it as fast as possible.

I have days where I put in 8-10 hours of work. It’s part of the process, but it’s not for what I aspire to be forever.

Like you, I want to achieve all types of freedom.

But, time freedom is the most important for me.

That’s why I’m writing this.

I hope I opened your eyes and made you understand that SMMA isn’t the only way.

If I had to start from scratch, I would’ve learned about copywriting and marketing.

That’s what I’m actively studying.

The online world is changing every year.

The only things that will grow and keep you on the map are your personal brand and your email list.

  • Learn a valuable skill
  • Put your skill to fucking action
  • Use it with an SMMA opportunity as I did (if possible)
  • Build your personal brand

I’m not an expert with personal branding by any means. But I love Katie Xu on TikTok and Dan Koe on every platform for this particular topic.

Start now.

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About imed djabi

I explore the intersection of passions and business.

I am a minimalist, and multi-passionate currently obsessed with the creator economy, branding & web design.

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