Running a service-based business is something we don't often talk about here. Our focus is usually on passive income streams that can scale and create more free time for us.
Could applying a passive income mindset to services unlock a hidden revenue source? You bet, and that's exactly what we talk about in today's game-changing episode!
My expert guest, Chase Buckner, will absolutely blow your mind! He is the Director of Marketing at HighLevel [affiliate link], a suite of incredibly powerful white-label software tools you can pick and choose from and resell to your clients as a subscription. With no coding required, you can tap into a profitable SaaS model and create passive recurring revenue!
I had no idea this was even possible, so you'll hear my excitement throughout the interview with Chase. He and I dive into specific use cases to inspire you — this could be the strategy that finally helps you stop trading time for money.
Listen in on this session to learn how you can tailor HighLevel to your needs and automate your business. For more, go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel to get started with a 30-day trial!
Chase Buckner is the Director of Marketing at HighLevel, the all-in-one, white-label sales & marketing platform for agencies. Prior to joining the team at HighLevel, Chase and a partner built a full-service agency from scratch that they grew to over 7-figures in ARR. The agency was one of HighLevel's first customers!
- Find out more about HighLevel and get a special 30-day trial [affiliate link]
- An untapped revenue stream for service-based businesses
- Why saying no will put you on the fast track for success
- Why software revenue is the holy grail of business models
- How to become a utility bill for your clients
- Packaging and selling white-label software tools as your service
- Exploring HighLevel and finding the right tools for your clients
- Recurring revenue versus trading your time for money
- Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman [Amazon affiliate link]
- Subscribe to Unstuck—my weekly newsletter on what's working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox
- Connect with Pat on Twitter and Instagram
SPI 711: A Hidden Revenue Source for People who Have Clients with Chase Buckner
Chase Buckner: If you are talented, you can typically do a broad range of things. But just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. I have seen a lot of folks succeed much faster than I was. And I would almost step back and be, like, "How's that happening? I know I'm smarter than that person." And it's because they just had such a focus of what they couldn't do. So all the energy was just spent on, a limited offering. And so saying no is a skill that is hard learned, but often fast tracks success, I would say.
Pat Flynn: Many of the guests here on the podcast have been recommended by other people, people like you. And I want to continually ask you to offer great recommendations for who should be on the show. Somebody who has a great story, somebody who has something unique to share. And that is definitely what our guest Chase Buckner brought to the show today. Something unique.
And in fact, this was a recommendation by several people. Several people who I met. around the March of 2023 timeframe, which was right when I went to Social Media Marketing World. And I met this person's team. I met a lot of others who spoke so highly of what this company and what this person was doing that I explored it a little more.
And I said, I don't know about this. Because the truth is, I don't know about this. I don't know about the world of having an agency, right? So you have a service based business and you have clients, right? You have people who pay you monthly to do a certain thing for them, right? And this isn't the business model that I typically work with, which is the exact reason why I wanted to bring Chase here on the podcast, because I think he could help you if you have a business model like that, again, where you have clients.
However... This did not go where I thought it was going to go. The agency model and taking a skill that you have and sharing it with others on a monthly basis, for example, is not very passive, right? You have to continually work in order to get continually paid. The only way to scale that, I thought, was to then hire a team to help do a lot of that stuff for you and then you become manager versus the person doing the thing and you kind of fall out of love with that thing that like this is a very common story.
This interview went a completely different way because there is a hidden revenue stream that I did not know about and using a tool like GoHighLevel.com, this is absolutely mind blowing what's possible. I want you if you have an agency again if you are just one person doing this or you have several people, there is an untapped resource that this episode will introduce you to. So thank you, Chase, for this. You'll hear my excitement by the end of this podcast, and hopefully you'll see what the possibilities are too. So here he is, Chase Buckner from High Level. This is definitely a high level podcast, so I hope you enjoy.
Here he is.
Announcer: You're listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he's been an entrepreneur for over 15 years now, Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: Chase, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.
Chase Buckner: Thank you Thank you for having me.
Pat Flynn: You know, I'm excited because we haven't really featured somebody who went really through the agency model quite like you have before. And I want to dive into that story, but why don't we get back into the, like the early history of Chase and kind of where you all started with, with all this before you got into agency and of course, then working with higher level after that.
So we'll, we'll, we'll get into that, but how did this all begin for you?
Chase Buckner: Yeah, for sure. I feel like my agency journey was kind of typical. You start out as sort of like a tech family member or friend, like, Oh, that's the, you know, the person I'm going to go to when I can't figure out how to program the DVR recorder or, and then it's like, Oh, I need a website for my small business.
And, and then at a certain point, you kind of realize like, wow, maybe I could make money off of this. And then you make some money off of it. And you're like, maybe I could, like, quit my job and do this full time. And so I did that and I started an agency and which, which actually quickly flamed out. So I was a failed agency founder and CEO pretty fast, but what I learned in that was that I was not the salesman stereotypical CEO role.
I was more the operator. And so I partnered with the opposite of me, a true salesman. And together we grew an agency to over seven figures. And at the end of that journey is when we found High Level and we were one of the first customers. And so, as I was like building out the SOPs for that, and we can talk about this later, I got the opportunity to join the team in that first year.
And and that's when I made the jump.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that's amazing. And we'll talk about High Level for sure. I got to meet the CEO and some other team members at Social Media Marketing World, which was super fun. Just a great team, a wonderful tool. And anybody who's doing any agency work should obviously look into High Level.
But I want to talk about that first failed agency business that you had. I'm curious, what was that specifically that you were offering and why do you think it failed?
Chase Buckner: A bunch of reasons looking back. So one, you sort of jumped right to it. We didn't have a defined offer. We were just basically going out to businesses in the community and saying we can help you and then we would sort of let them sort of vomit all over us as far as what they thought they needed and we would go try to like fix all those problems instead of, you know, the alternative of having a very defined offer, taking it to people where it makes sense and doing one thing over and over again.
I think the other challenge was we were in Mexico, so I another long story, but I was on a road trip that sort of never ended. And so I've been living in Mexico since 2009. And we were trying to build the agency down here with local clients and local businesses in Mexico typically don't have much of a marketing budget.
So we were sort of fighting an uphill battle from the beginning in our area as well.
Pat Flynn: So what were the kinds of things that you were getting asked to do? So building websites, it seems like was part of it. What else was being vomited on you, if you will?
Chase Buckner: Yeah. So like what we were good at was building websites and running Facebook ads.
But yet we would get all sorts of requests for like logo designs and business card designs and, you know, random stuff like networking within the office or, you know, just sort of all the, Oh, could you do this? Could you do that? Could you do that? And I think if this is a lesson that I feel like is a hard learned lesson, if you are talented and technical, you can typically do a broad range of things.
But that often is a slippery slope into sort of like a trap where just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. And, and I have seen a lot of folks succeed much faster than I was. And I would almost step back and be like, how's that happening? I know I'm smarter than that person. And it's because they just had such a focus of what they couldn't do. So like all the energy was just spent on, you know, what made sense or, or a limited offering. And so saying no is a skill that is hard learned, but often fast tracks success, I would say.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that makes sense. We have to say here that, you know, the riches are in the niches, but at the same time, if you are a skilled individual or, or, you know, you have a company that can help with a lot of things, like it's hard, it's hard to imagine saying no, like we want to help people.
So we're going to do all the things for them. If you could kind of talk to yourself back then. What would you say to yourself who did want to help everybody, but now knowing what you know, you shouldn't.
Chase Buckner: Well, you know, and this went on for a long time at the agency, this, the, the successful agency that we built because our CEO, my partner would sell everything and anything, right?
If somebody is waiving money, it's very hard to say no to that. And I remember lots of battles of me being like, the team is not built to fulfill that thing. That's a brand new thing. You know, why are you selling that? And it wasn't until I read a book called Rocket Fuel that fleshes out that dynamic. And it actually it was really enlightening because it's basically it talks about how most of the major, major, huge companies that have been built are a tandem at the top of a salesperson and an operator person. And they have sort of, they understand that dynamic and the final say lies with the operator. And that's when I sort of felt vindicated and empowered and I took that book back and I said, you know, Matt, you need to read this and we need to be on the same page because it is me who should get the final say of whether or not we're going to sell that.
And so once we sort of aligned around that, it wasn't an internal battle anymore. And we were able to sort of scale more quickly because the fulfillment team was in line with the sales team.
Pat Flynn: I'm very familiar with that book. Is that, is that Michalowicz, I think?
Chase Buckner: I don't know. It's, it's on my shelf.
Pat Flynn: Your shelves look very similar to mine, actually.
I'm like, I thought you were in the same room with me. It's funny. Rocket Fuel has been a book that we've recommended here before for sure. And that sort of visionary and the integrator component is, is, is really key. Why do you think that the operator is the one that should have the final say? I mean, oftentimes the CEO is the one that who's more of the creator or the visionary, but why the operator, what, what makes that become precedence for like what we should say yes to or what we should say no to?
Chase Buckner: Because I think if you talk to successful people that have built big businesses, a common thread will be that you need to build systems that scale. So to build a system, you have to create an offering and then the system gets built around it, right?
Like, okay, to produce this widget, we need X, Y, Z machines or people or whatever, and then we can produce this widget very quickly at a high margin, let's say. But if you have somebody who goes out and then sells a, a non widget, all of a sudden the factory is in turmoil. It's like, Oh my gosh, we need to disassemble this machine and build another one over here.
And, but wait, I thought we were making widgets. And so there's just chaos. And so the operator is the one who's in charge of the factory, the machines, the people, so they know what the team is prepared to do. And can do at scale, so it's just very easy for salespeople to get people to say yes to things because it's easy to promise whatever.
But again, just because the team technically could do it doesn't mean it makes sense to sell at that time.
Pat Flynn: That makes sense. Now I'd love to speak to the person who is, you know, getting asked to do a lot of the work for their friends and their family. They're actually making a little bit of money doing something on their own, but you know, they want to grow bigger.
They want to scale up and an agency model can help you do that. Can you help us define like what, what does an agency look like exactly? And speak to that creator on the other end who's thinking about, you know, growing beyond themselves to offer this service to more people.
Chase Buckner: Yeah, that's an interesting term, right?
We use agency at high level a lot because we, you know, our platform is built for agencies. But oftentimes we'll be speaking to an agency or an agency owner who doesn't call themselves that, right? They're like, Oh, I'm a creator. I'm confused. Or, Oh, I'm a freelancer. I'm confused. And essentially, we look at it as the same thing.
If you're basically servicing clients, you're an agency of some sort. Maybe you're a social media marketing agency, maybe you're a design agency, or a consultant, advisor agency, whatever that may be. But, essentially, if businesses are paying you for your services, we would consider you to be an agency.
Pat Flynn: Got it.
Or if you, on the other side, if you have, like, clients, essentially.
Chase Buckner: You have clients, yeah. I mean, you may very well be an agency of one. That's very common, but, yeah, we would look at you and would consider you an agency.
Pat Flynn: What is unique about the, sort of, business model of an agency versus, you know, what a lot of our creators are also doing is like they're creating their own online courses and they have students instead of clients.
What, what, what are the specific things that agencies that, that make it special, unique, but also maybe there are drawbacks to that model as well.
Chase Buckner: There definitely are. And I think there probably is a distinction between creator and agency. I think agencies are more people that service other businesses or other individuals that have clients, like you said. I think a drawback is that traditional agency services and we, we have tons of data around this at a High Level because we've, we've got, I don't know, 30 something thousand agency customers at the moment is they have very high churn rates.
So traditional agency services are things like SEO, ad campaigns, social media management, these types of things. They churn at a rate of about 64%, which is really high, which means basically if you get a new client today, they're going to be gone within three months. And that creates this rollercoaster growth, which is very hard to predict.
And it's very chaotic and it's very stressful. And we did that for five years. And, you know, we went through a lot of phases that I used to call scaling sideways. I'd say, Hey, we're scaling sideways again, meaning you had a really good month, so you sold all this work. So you have to hire some more people to do the work.
But then all of a sudden you lose a big client or two clients or whatever. And now it's, Oh my gosh, we don't have enough money to pay these people we just hired. And so it's a very painful place to be, but it's very common in the agency space. And so I think a big part of High Level's growth has been empowering agencies to open a SaaS arm of the business, which is, you know, SaaS has a churn rate on average of somewhere around five or six percent. So drastically different. And that's really been the game changer is agencies waking up to the fact of like, wow, recurring revenue, software revenue is really the, the sort of the holy grail of business models. Whereas the traditional agency stuff, it's, although we love it, I still love to build websites and, you know, I love that world. It's a, on paper, a bad business model.
Pat Flynn: I love the idea and I love what you're doing at a High Level too to encourage agencies to look at more reliable forms and longer forms of, of, of income, like a software much higher lifetime value of a customer when, when you get them into a, to a sequence like that.
So can you give me an example of maybe a few of your own clients or users who are agencies? We can understand that agency, but how are they injecting software? Like what, what might that look like? Give it, give us a few examples. We can get a sense for that.
Chase Buckner: Yeah, it's interesting. And I'll sort of talk you through sort of my journey.
Cause it's pretty typical of, of how an agency comes into the world of High Level and then usually does a slight pivot. So in the agency world, we went through, I would say 10 years ago, eight years ago, we went through this phase where a bunch of agencies got really good, but we all realized, man, we are just stacking all this tech together, right?
We're tying six or seven apps together through Zapier to deliver a system to our clients. And it's just never efficient enough, right? Like Zaps misfire, things break, things disconnect. And so, an agency will get to a point where it's like, man, should we just build our own software that can do all this in one?
And some people learn that painful lesson of how hard it is to build a software company and how much money that costs. But luckily we found High Level right at that moment. And it was like, as soon as I saw it, I was like, this is exactly what every agency is going to want because it's all the things that we tie together in one place.
And so the first sort of game changer of that is lead automation. So most agencies are helping businesses generate leads. The problem is that businesses can't follow up fast enough. There's basically a bunch of statistics on this, but you basically have five minutes to engage a new lead. And if you don't, the odds of ever closing it fall off a cliff.
Businesses just can't respond that fast to every lead that you send them. And so agencies find themselves, especially if you've run Facebook ads in this scenario where, you know, I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation, it's the end of the first month, you hop on the review call and you're like, Pat, I see we generated, you know, 150 leads for you at eight bucks a pop.
You must be thrilled. And you're like, what are you talking about? I haven't sold any of these people. I don't even know who they are. These leads stink. And then I'm the agency and I'm saying, what you must stink at sales, right? You don't know what to do with leads. And, and so the truth is the agency's right.
Businesses are used to referrals, not leads off the internet. And so they don't follow up and they don't follow up fast enough. So tech comes around. High Level comes around and it's like, wow, all of a sudden we can automate emails and text messages and phone calls to leads soon as they come in. So that was the game changer off the bat.
Like when we implemented it at our agency, we saw the lead to booking rates jump by like 60 to 70% across our entire client deck. Wow. So that was like the first epiphany, I think. And in the early days, that's why agencies were like flocking because it was lead automation.
Pat Flynn: That's right. This was the second agency that you created.
The one that was niched down. What was the main offer there and how are those leads coming in initially?
Chase Buckner: Yeah. So we ended up niching down medical and then we went even further into med spa specifically, and we would basically run Facebook ads for them of some sort of low ticket offer, like a Botox deal of some sort.
We would, I'll use automation to immediately follow up with the new leads to engage them and then nurture them into booking a visit to the to the spa and then they would have an upsell program into some sort of body sculpting thing like cool sculpting or whatever. That was a huge step in the right direction.
But what was most interesting to me was there was a time when I was auditing our hosting platform. So we used to host WordPress websites with a company called WP Engine. And we had to buy blocks of like 500 websites at a time or something like that. So it was important for us to go back and like get rid of the ones that were no longer in use so that we'd have to go buy another huge block.
So I remember going and auditing and going this light bulb moment of like, holy smokes, there are hundreds of websites in here that pay us 50 a month for a hosting package who we haven't talked to in years. This is incredible, like thousands of dollars in MRR from folks that literally we haven't even heard from in two, three years.
And I remember saying to Matt, if we were smart, we would stop selling everything else and just do websites with the goal of getting him into a hosting package. And I remember it being like, yeah, that's interesting, but we got fires to put out, like, let's go. And then we never went back to the conversation.
So it was that moment when I realized that a utility bill is what you want to become for your clients. And so as soon as I saw High Level, the automation stuff was amazing. But what was really incredible was the white label, the fact that you could white label it. Because I was like, that's the utility bill that every agency needs to become.
Right? Like every business should have a CRM and it should have some automated things happening, like a chat widget on their website and stuff. And so if you just start there, you can be this utility bill that just gets paid every month for years and then you can upsell the services that have really bad churn rates, right?
And that's when sort of I knew that this was going to be a big deal. And that's what's really changed the game for us and for the industry is enabling agencies to say, Oh, we have a software offering that we need to start you on, whatever you want to sell it for $0.97 to $2.97, whatever, $3.97 a month, branded as whatever they want to brand it as.
And then we can talk about ad packages or SEO or whatever. Cause the software is like the low hanging fruit that you're, you don't have in place yet, Dr. Bob, let's solve that first. And then what happens is when they cancel your Facebook package, cause they inevitably will within three, five months, they keep paying for the software.
Right. The utility bill carries on. And so what I think was really smart with the co founders is that they recognized every business needs software to succeed in today's day and age. Most business owners have no idea which software they need, and they definitely don't know how to set it up. It's this layer of agencies and consultants and tech, you know, family members who pick the software and implement it, but it's the software company that gets paid for years.
And so High Level sort of recognized that right away and said, well, let's not do what every software does and sell directly to the business that doesn't know what to do. Let's sell it and build it for this layer of of agency owners and let them white label it and resell it as their own. That is what changed the game.
And so when I talk to it doesn't matter what kind of agency or consultants you are, that's the light bulb I tried to spark is, Hey, are you on a financial rollercoaster? Yes, I know you are. I've been there. The answer is SaaS, like whether it's High Level or whatever, you have to figure out how to have a software as a service offering because it's just a utility bill.
Pat Flynn: And so you're not encouraging these agencies to essentially even create their own software. It's just, the software's already there. Just put your name on it. And so what does that software do exactly? If you have this software to offer me, Dr. Bob, what is, what is this software ultimately going to help me, Dr.
Chase Buckner: High Level is like the ultimate Swiss army knife for a marketer, right? We kind of think of it like Home Depot for builders. You know, you, you're going to walk into Home Depot and see literally a million tools, but you're just going to grab the ones that you need to do to do the job that you know how to do.
And, and you do that job over and over again. Right. So that being said, there's like a subset of tools that we always encourage people to start out with. And that really is the utility bill, which is things like a missed call text back. So most businesses don't even know that you can do this. Right, but I can say, Hey, Dr. Bob, I know you miss a ton of calls because statistically small businesses miss more than half of their inbound phone calls every day. Our system will just text message back everyone who doesn't get an answer with a message that just says, Hey, sorry, I missed your call. How can we help? So right off the bat, I know I'm going to generate you money just by saving missed calls that are going to go call your competitor.
I mean, I'm sold already at this point. And it's automated, right? You set it up. It takes you five minutes to set it up for Dr. Bob. And now Dr. Bob will pay you forever. Because every month he's seeing text messages that are real businesses ask, or sorry, real customers asking to spend money that came from the message that went out.
So there's a bunch of, there's a handful of those where it's like, just, just, let's just get these implemented for you, watch what's going to happen. And then if you want to add fuel Facebook ad packages or SEO or maybe, maybe you should get a new website, you know, these types of things.
Pat Flynn: I mean, at this point, it's like, maybe you don't even offer those service based things.
You're just literally offering the tool specific to that particular niche, right? The Dr. Bob and other people like him.
Chase Buckner: And I see this all the time, right? People come to me and they're like, Oh man, when we signed up for High Level, we didn't want to hear about the SaaS mode stuff because we were here for the tools.
But I got to tell you, we don't even do those services anymore. We just focus on, you know, selling the software. Yeah, that's wild. Because again, you start seeing the difference in churn and what that does for your business. And at a certain point you go, this is just silly. Like, why are we killing ourselves when we could just... No, it's a different ticket, right? That's the big hang up. Because traditional services, you're selling them for $1500, $2500 a month, so it's like, Oh, we only need to get 20 clients and we'll be cruising. Problem is they churn really fast. Whereas you're going to go sell the software for 300-400 bucks a month.
It's a slower build. But after, you know, a couple of months, you start to see the light.
Pat Flynn: Right. And it's recurring and it's, you know, higher longevity with with each of those customers. I mean, it's it's similar to like if I were to like if Dropbox allowed white labeling and then I was serving a particular audience that said, Hey, you need storage for all the things that you're doing.
Right. Like I help photographers and I help them with their stuff. It's like, Hey, you need this place to put your, your photos. Like if Dropbox wasn't already like the thing that everybody had, then I could just take that and say, Hey, this is, this is my storage software that you can put your photos in for, let's say Dr. Bob, like has a specific. set of things to do in the business that's specific to like dentists, for example, and I need, you know, specifically a follow up checkup in six months. And, and I want to automate that. And there's specific things that we need to collect from a person like, you know, their insurance and all that kind of stuff.
Like, is that like, that's very specific to dentistry. Like how well can High Level be tailored to like, the specific things that an industry really needs.
Chase Buckner: Incredibly well. And so you just pointed out, I think, a, a fact that often goes overlooked, which is when you said Dropbox. Dr. Bob could care less if he's using Dropbox, Google Drive, whatever storage.
Like, he doesn't care the brand of the storage. He just wants the outcome. And so, if you can now all of a sudden offer yourself as the, the outcome provider, they say, sure, like, I'm just here to trust you, the marketer to tell me what I need and get me set up. Like, I don't care if it's called Dropbox or Blue Box or whatever.
And so if you take High Level. And again, start with the low hanging automated stuff, but you can totally take it because we have all the tools, right? So we have online scheduling and we have a incredibly robust workflow builder. So you could totally say, Oh, what are you using to schedule your patients?
We can also do that for you. So you could get rid of that bill if you wanted to, and we can probably do it a little better, right? Because, for example, they're probably using something that has like a fixed regiments reminder system. So you book an appointment and it'll probably say it sends three emails or maybe it sends one text message, but they can't reply to it.
Right? So I could say, well, we could build you a customized flow. They can reply to the text messages if they want, which means we can do things like, you know, Hey, our appointment is in, you know, 20 minutes, please reply, yes, that you're still available to be here, dah, dah, dah, dah. And then you can automate off those replies.
And so you can do all sorts of things that most of these traditional vertical softwares can't do. And it's really fun to see the creative things that folks in the community do along those lines.
Pat Flynn: I was gonna say, it's probably like, there's a video game right now called Tears of Kingdom, which is like the new Zelda game.
And they, the developers built in like these things that you can build and fuse different objects with. And it's like, the rules are there. People are creating things that you would have never thought. They could create because they have access to the tools now and they're building it in a very specific way.
Anyway, maybe this is not the best analogy, but I would imagine like, like you said, there's like, you can create the experiences that you want now because you have the tool and you know, what I'm curious about is like just the white labeling of this might be of curiosity to a lot of listeners. This is, you know, for a lot of new entrepreneurs, this is a new thing.
So I could use the software, High Level, but it's, I can call it something else. I can change the colors and I can, I can make it my own. And like, all I need to do is pay High Level. Like what's, what's the deal there? How does that work? How much, if I'm going to charge my clients, you know, $300 a month to use it, like, does high level take a commission on that? Or like, like, how does this work exactly?
Chase Buckner: So that's the other big differentiator between us and competitor softwares is because we sell to agencies, we built the pricing for agencies, right? And so most softwares charge you by the amount of contacts that go into the system or the amount of users that you need.
Right? That's just the way it works. We're a flat rate. So basically on our highest tier plan, it's $500 a month. So you pay us $500 a month. You brand the app yourself. You give it your own name. You, it lives on whatever URL you want it to live on. And then you could literally go sell a thousand people at $300 a month and you still pay us $500.
Then, then that never changes. So we have folks that do over a million dollars a month. And they pay us $500 a month. So I think a really good example, cause I know that you probably have a lot of creators in your community. Let's say I wanted to serve as creators. Those are my clients, right? Those are the people that I want to help.
I can take High Level, ignore all the other stuff it does. And I can say, Hey, Pat, you have a ton of followers on your Instagram. The problem is statistically when you post to them, only 6 or 7% of them actually see the posts. You need to turn your followers into contacts in a database that you can directly reach out to.
And that's what my system, The Social Dominator, whatever I want to call High Level, does. Right, I'm going to change your bio that says, you know, what do you have to offer Pat? Like, Oh, I have this cool, like course I've got this course that I give away. Great. Let's update your bio to say, Hey, if you want my free course, DM me this code word.
And then with High Level, I can make a workflow that says, okay, if Pat gets a DM on Instagram that has this code word in it, automate back a DM. It says, Hey, thanks for claiming my free course or whatever. What's your email? So I can send it to you. They enter their email, we grab it and store it. So now you've got a contact record with their name from Instagram, their email.
You automatically send them the email that has access to your course. And now you're converting followers into contacts. So if Instagram blows up someday, you have these people's name emails, maybe you get their phone number too, so you can text them and you could go make a whole business just by doing that one thing, right?
Because every influencer has that same problem. They're reliant on the platform and the platform only gives them a fraction of the reach. Whereas if they had these people in a database where they could communicate directly, whenever they want to, your, your brand is worth exponentially more. So I think that's a good idea of how you could ignore 99% of the features of High Level, but go build a huge software business, tailored to one specific use case.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean, it almost feels like High Level's, not even a agency software. It's, it's like a, it's literally like a no code coding system.
Chase Buckner: And that's the way we like to look at it. We're trying to help people think of us like that as like an OS we want to be like the, you know, the marketer, the, the builders OS almost like the new WordPress in a way where it's like, we're just this huge Swiss army knife of, we're the Home Depot of everything that you could need, pick and choose what you want, and then go, you know, service the folks that you want to service.
Pat Flynn: That's crazy. It's like we could at SPI create that tool, call it something and charge, you know, a dollar amount per month, you know, for something like what you mentioned, maybe like $99 a month, right?
To automatically bring your leads from Instagram and Facebook over to your email list. And, you know, it's called the SPI Super Software or whatever.
Chase Buckner: Call it whatever you want. We could, you could do that. We've got courses in the platform, so you can build courses for yourself. You can help people build courses for them, right?
Like you can be the course platform. Communities just rolled out. So you can literally be school for the folks that you want to service. Invoicing proposals, estimates, all that stuff, payment tools. We just, we're, we're about to roll out, like we have text to pay invoices. So, which is folks that service home service people, right?
They're always out on the job. They can just text you an invoice. And then with Apple Pay, you can just literally scan your face to pay the invoice, but now we're rolling out tap to pay. So you could be the software that turns everyone's phone into a credit card terminal. So imagine what that opens up, right?
Like every Etsy creator or whatever that sells things in real life could be at the farmer's market taking credit card payments on their phone, right? They don't need a dongle or some, you know wonky way to do it. So there's just a million ways to service business owners and we're just trying to build all the tools, so that people can package them up and then go help the folks that they want to help.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that's crazy. I mean, I've never really heard a better example of, you know, like in the gold rush. Like, sure, some people got rich, you know, getting the gold. But the ones who did well were the ones who created the pans and the shovels and the pickaxes.
Chase Buckner: Like that's on steroids though, right? It's like, okay, your shovel is going to break every 30 days and we're just going to automatically rebuild you for another one.
Right? Like that's the magic of, of SaaS and I think the example I love to use is, I don't know if you saw this, but BMW announced recently that they're going to get into SaaS and the way that they're going to do it is by charging you a monthly subscription to the software that turns on the seat heater.
So if you want heated seats in your Beamer, you're going to have to pay a monthly software subscription. And so to me, that just illustrates like every company on the planet is trying to figure out how they're going to have a SaaS offering and you know, sometimes it's ridiculous like that.
Pat Flynn: I mean, Tesla definitely led the charge there for software for for vehicles, but it feels like you guys are leading the charge for agencies and creators to even create their own stuff to then create a software that can generate recurring revenue.
I mean, I don't feel like I've like that's so much easier than finding a developer to create something from scratch that, you know, may or may not even work. This is wonderful. Where can people go to check out High Level? I mean, I think we have an affiliate link for anybody who wants to go and check it out through through us, SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel is that and again, I got really excited when I learned about this and even hearing it from you and your perspective first as a user, right?
You used this. What was the software that you created when when with your successful agency when you saw that opportunity? What was it now that you were offering?
Chase Buckner: So we were stacking softwares together. So we would build websites in WordPress, right? So then we would use like Gravity Forms plugin to build the form.
And then we would use Zapier to connect the forms to ActiveCampaign. This sounds familiar. ActiveCampaign would function as the CRM. And we would run some automation and active campaign. We used Call Rail for call tracking. We used what else do we use? A couple other Send Line to send text messages. So we're tying all these things together and it was just a mess.
We thought about building a software and luckily our WordPress team was full of a bunch of smart people who told us we are not software developers, right? Like you guys don't know what you're talking about. This is going to cost a fortune. We should not do this. And so luckily we listened to them and we were like, okay, well, someone has to be working on this.
Yeah, I actually first found an early competitor to High Level. And it was really buggy. And I remember they were having a conference. So I flew to the conference and it turned out not to be a conference. It was like a mastermind thing, sat down with the owner, asked him some questions, quickly realized he had no idea what he was getting himself into.
He had never built software before. He had like two developers. He was a real estate guy. So we pulled out of that software, but I met an agency owner there who I messaged and said, Hey, we're, we're dropping this thing. Are you guys going to keep using it? And they said, no, we're going to switch to this thing called High Level.
And I said, what's that, who's behind it. And he, the three co founders, two of them are engineers and one of them is an agency owner. So I was like, okay, now we're talking. As I dug into it, I was like, this is incredible. I told my team, Hey, I'm, I'm basically going to go into a cave for a month and build out our SOPs on this.
So next month, every new client that we take is going to be onboarded into the software. And as I was doing that, Sean, our, our one co founder and CEO, call me every week and say, show me what you built. Show me, you know, what are we missing? It got to a point where he was like, wow, the trainings and the SOPs that you're building, like we could use these for all of our customers.
You know, would you consider joining the team? And so I leapt at the opportunity cause I was like, this is going to be a rocket ship.
Pat Flynn: That's cool. How many years ago was that?
Chase Buckner: It'll be four years ago in October. In that time period, man, I can't even remember how many customers we had back then, but we've grown at a pace that very few softwares ever have.
And so we currently have almost 40,000 agencies, and then through them, over a half a million businesses use it every day, but they don't know it, right, because they're using it through a white label of someone.
Pat Flynn: That's incredible. And now you are a director at the company, which is amazing. So you've continued to grow with it and just very grateful for your time today.
Thank you for being here and introducing us to this, you know, software that when I first heard about it, I was pretty blown away and it was, it's great to hear a user story now user turned director, which is, which is amazing. So SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel. If you want to check it out. Man, just, Chase, thank you so much for your time today. Final words of wisdom or tips for any agencies of either one or 100 out there that are working to, to help their audience, but also, you know, want to get into some more recurring or at least reliable income.
Chase Buckner: Yeah, I would say, you know, whether you, you try high level or not, we obviously would love you to try.
And, and I should point out, I think Pat's link probably has a 30 day trial. Normally it's 14 days. Ah, thank you. So if you go through Pat's link, you'll get an extended trial there. But I would say again, whether you, whether you try us out or not. I, I would just consider the mindset of what we're talking about, recurring revenue versus service trading time for money, right?
Whether you use us or not, you've got to figure out a way to productize your offering. So it's the same thing every time, and hopefully it's recurring. And so if you can get there, I think you'll, you'll make a big leap forward because time for money is, you know, you do it long enough and you'll realize what I'm, what I'm saying is consistently the truth, the churn rate, the stats are just against you.
And it's always going to be sort of this rollercoaster ride. So if nothing else, I hope that we've sort of illustrated the difference between those two models.
Pat Flynn: Thank you, Chase. Appreciate you and hope to chat again soon.
Chase Buckner: Likewise. Thanks so much for having me.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Chase and oh my gosh, like I said in the intro, it definitely got my gear spinning for sure. And if you want to check out High Level head over through our affiliate link, you could check it out, SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel, no spaces, no dashes, SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel. You can check out what the company's doing there. And again, just the ability to create something that serves your people in a way that would allow you to generate monthly revenue, in that way, like a software is just beautiful. And to not have to code to do that is, is absolutely incredible. So well done, you guys. Thank you so much for being here. If you want all the links and the mentions here in this podcast and one convenient spot, head on over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session711.
That's this episode, SmartPassiveIncome.com/session711. And again, that affiliate link is SmartPassiveIncome.com/highlevel, go ahead and check it out and high five to all of you for being here. Thank you again, Chase.
Thank you for listening all the way through. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the podcast, which is pretty amazing because it's not just me coming on.
It's a round table of amazing entrepreneurs to talk about hot topics in entrepreneurship today. So make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out. And I'll see you soon.
Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!