How Bradley Jacobs of Mylance.co Started a Bootcamp Helping Freelancers Build Their Businesses

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  • Who: Bradley Jacobs
  • Website: mylance.co
  • Course Topic: Helping Freelancers
  • Interesting Stats: August cohort revenues over $13k

Who are you and what course have you created?

My name is Bradley Jacobs. After graduating from Duke in 2012, I became a management consultant for ~2 years. In 2014, I joined Uber in Operations, eventually working there for 4.5 years across the Rides, EATS, and Freight business lines. After I left Uber, I started helping start-ups on a part-time, contract basis, making ~$20,000 per month in half the number of hours than my previous full-time job. This allowed me to manage my own time, more than support myself, and work on high-value projects that I genuinely enjoyed.

I became passionate about making this possibility a reality for everyone. The freelance life enables you to pursue a passion, start a business, or spend more time with your family.

At Mylance.co, we help talent find flexible, fulfilling work that helps people make room for the other amazing things in life. This Bootcamp is just the start to enable the freelance life for everyone.

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What market does your online course serve?

Our online boot camp is for experienced tech professionals (5-15 years of experience growing a successful start-up), who are interested in flexible, fulfilling independent work helping the next generation of start-ups. Often, this can look like monthly retainers at 10-20 hours per week advising / consulting at attractive rates that can range from $5k – $20k per month.

What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?

Unlike many online courses, our live boot camp leaves you with the actual tools (your proposal, your niche, your rate, your pitch) and the knowledge (negotiation techniques, ways to find and land clients, setting up your business) to successfully launch your freelance business, allowing you to skip 6-9 months of research, and trial & error.

  1. We provide examples of proposals, negotiation techniques, and contracts, that have all worked in the past across dozens of clients and hundreds of thousands in revenue
  2. You’ll run through live simulations with our expert coaches and get 1v1 feedback on your deliverables/pitches
  3. You get access to experts, CPAs, lawyers, and other experienced freelancers to get your questions answered

In sum, you’ll have the confidence to put yourself out there in front of potential clients, and close high-paying gigs.

How did you get into the market?

The idea came fairly organically. I was running a lucrative freelance business earning $20k per month on average in about 25 hours per week, and I started helping friends and colleagues with their freelance businesses. As I continued to help more people, I couldn’t keep helping everyone for free. So, during one conversation, I asked if I could take a cut of her revenue to help get her freelance business off the ground. One thing led to another, and I started to charge colleagues for helping them navigate their freelance businesses. All of a sudden, I had a course and was iterating on it from there.

Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?

I created it to provide structure to the people I was helping. As I helped friends navigate their freelance businesses, I’d create modules for them to go through. As I made module after module, I realized I was creating a course, and so with each new person I’d talk to, I’d tell them I had this course.

All of a sudden, I had a full-fledge course that I eventually re-branded as a boot camp, and started launching monthly cohorts to improve the engagement of our customers. - Bradley Jacobs Click To Tweet

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Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?

Of course. It’s natural to think to yourself, what makes me capable of teaching others? What gives you the confidence is when people come back to you and tell you that tactic worked for them. That they closed a client based on your proposal template, your feedback, your negotiation techniques. I knew this stuff worked for me so that gave me some confidence, but what kept me going was the feedback from our initial customers.

What's your online course like?

It’s a few different parts. It contains readings, assignments for our customers to do, live daily sessions with our expert coaches, and 1v1 simulations. One of the biggest aspects that people love is that they’re going through the Bootcamp with a small cohort (7-12) of talented peers. That gives them accountability, social pressure, and great feedback from a talented group.

How long did it take you to create your course?

Originally I was writing up all the modules, which took about 45 minutes per module. Then, as we’d run customers through the boot camp, we’d collect feedback from them and iterate from there. The initial set-up only takes a few hours, but the real work is getting feedback, and iterating to improve it.

Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).

This happened from talking to friends and colleagues about what I was doing. I got those calls from posting stories on Linkedin. I realized Linkedin was an amazing channel for me to get the word out there. So I essentially told my network what I was doing, and they started reaching out to me asking how I did it, and then I’d tell them my story and about our boot camp, and they’d often sign-up.

Do you have a lead magnet?

I didn’t. We’re actually working on that now. I’d just tell my story, and that would be enough most often for them to sign-up.

What's the traffic strategy that works best for you?

To date, it’s just using my network mostly through Linkedin. We’re working to get additional channels up and running, like customer referrals, using a lead magnet, social media, and content marketing through a blog. We’ll see how those go!

mylance.co product sales page

What online course platform are you using?

Right now we’re using Kajabi for the online course platform, and likely switching to Mighty Networks in the coming months. When I first launched, I was simply using Google Docs and Slack.

Do you like it?

Kajabi gets us 80% of the way there, which was plenty for me. The problem and why were switching is it’s too expensive. For the “Pro” plan, it’s $400 per month.

Are there any features you wish it had?

I wish it was more flexible in the design and logistics of rolling out the course. For the design, you can’t really customize colors on all the pages. For rolling out the course, you can’t pick a course “start date” and then drip content from there. It’s based on when you assign customers to the product. It’s a bit weird how they do it, but you can make it work for you with some creativity.

What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?

Mostly it came recommended to me from a trusted colleague, and they gave us a few free months to check it out. It had the functionality we needed, so we went with it.

What other tools do you use to run your online course business?

We use Webflow for the website, Mailchimp for emails, Zapier to connect everything, Airtable for the backend, Slack for communicating with our customers, Zoom for calls, Calendly for booking time, and Stripe to collect payments.

What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?

Right now I’m reading Traction which is about the 19 marketing channels to get “traction” in your business. So far it’s been great, and I’d recommend it to anyone starting a course or company.

Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?

The biggest mistake was not collecting emails for a newsletter from when we first launched the website. We’ve received over 3,100 unique users to our website in the last 6 months, and we didn’t start collecting emails for a newsletter until recently. I think we could have an email list of 600-800 by now if we had started collecting this from the beginning.

mylance.co benefits

Please share some idea of revenue.

We charge $1249 for our boot camp, and keep our class sizes to 10-12 per month. When we first started, we charged $299 + 7.5% of their first 6 months of their consulting revenue. We changed to the upfront payment because 1) we learned customers were willing to pay >$1,000 for this product, and 2) collecting on the revenue share model proved difficult. We had 6 customers in June, 9 customers in July, and 11 customers in August. So, the revenue from our August cohort will come out to be a little over $13k.

Please tell us a little about what the money you've earned from your course has done for you.

For Mylance, the Bootcamp is really just the first product. We’re thinking about how we take the value proposition from the boot camp and build a lower-cost, scalable offering that helps hundreds and thousands of people. The revenue from the boot camp has enabled us to bring in talent to help build the next phase of the business. We have an email marketer, we have a branding expert, we have talented coaches, website developers, etc. We’re able to piece together a freelance team to build this business from the Bootcamp revenue, without fundraising. The Bootcamp is essentially our VC 🙂

In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?

We’ve had 32 customers go through the course to date, and in the process of signing up the next cohort for September. To date, the course has brought in $36.7k, and we had our first-course customer in April. I’m proud of the results we’ve gotten over the last few months, but I also know this is just the beginning.

What has creating your course done for you personally?

I love creating and I love helping people. I get incredible fulfillment when customers leave our Bootcamp and sign high paying clients. We get customers coming back to us saying things like “Two weeks after taking the June boot camp, I booked my second client! This one is for $5k/month at 10/hours per week. It hasn't been 2 months since I was let go from Uber and I'm now making more than I was and working half the time. Thanks, Bradley and Mylance crew!”

There’s nothing more powerful to me than hearing that from our customers. It validates the long hours and hard work it’s taken to get here.

Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?

Absolutely. We have a number of them. We have had a bunch of tech professionals, including those from Uber comes to us hoping to replace their income. We’ve had an SEO expert come to us who’s now working across a number of clients, making way more than his previous salary, and working with the largest music streaming service. We have a Brand Partnerships specialist who’s making over $10k per month in half the hours per week he used to be working.

70% of our Bootcamp customers have landed high-paying consulting clients within weeks of finishing the boot camp. I couldn’t be happier with these results, and I hope to see these success stories continue to come through. Our testimonials webpage has more stories.

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

The biggest piece of advice is to just get something out there.

Talk to potential users, get an idea for what they want, and then launch it. Once you launch it, stay incredibly close to your users. - Bradley Jacobs Click To Tweet

Find a way to get their feedback consistently and reliably.

Before I started, I wish I knew the incredibly high willingness to pay for this product. I would have immediately started charging $1000 and would have collected much more revenue at the beginning.

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