Sam the SaaS Man: Case Closed

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Sam reclined on his veranda, sipping a margarita, and watching the sun set over the Pacific, when his wife, Carol, stepped out to join him.

“What are you thinking about, honey?” she asked her husband.

“I’m adjusting to this newfound…freedom.” He wiggled his toes, and felt traces of sand between them.

Sam and Carol were high-school sweethearts, and none knew his mind better than she. 

Success was hard to embrace for Sam. His was a temperament that relished trial and hard work. He enjoyed struggle, and immersed himself in it, often at the expense of his family, his health, and his happiness. 

But Carol supported Sam unconditionally – was his silent partner in all that he did; from every bold idea to every failed venture, she stood by him to the last, because she knew that one day their dreams would come true. They would have their home by the ocean, and finally be at liberty to reconnect, unencumbered by the obligations of work and the duties of normal life.

That day had come, but it had come much sooner than either expected, and Sam, especially, was having a hard time of it.

“Retired at 48,” he said to Carol, “it just doesn’t make any sense. It feels like I should be doing something…”

“You’ve busted your ass for 30 years, dear. And don’t forget that 27 of those years were, excuse my language, practically a living hell.”

Sam chuckled. “Yeah – I figured it out at the end there.” He paused, then added: “I just wish I had figured it out faster.”

“Yeah,” replied Carol, “but then you’d have retired even sooner, and you wouldn’t have liked that either.”

They both laughed, heartily, and topped up their drinks. The sun was by now almost invisible beyond the horizon.

“Maybe that’s what you’ll do now,” suggested Carol.


“Teach others what you’ve learnt. Help prevent others from making an already difficult journey even more difficult.”

Sam liked the sound of that – idle hands begone, he thought, in a moment of private humor. He told his wife as much; they finished off the last of their drinks and went to bed.

The Pilgrimage

That night, Sam lay in bed, unable to sleep. He thought about his career in the world of marketing and advertising. He thought especially about the last five years, in which he faced both his greatest challenges and achieved his most significant breakthroughs. Five years ago, Sam broke from the corporate mold, started his own agency, and became his own master.

He was not at first prepared for the problems he would have to solve, the speed with which the ground underneath his feet would continuously change, and the inevitable exhaustion of solo-preneurship. 

Sam studied constantly, substituted his weaknesses for the knowledge of experts, and surrounded himself with a capable team, but couldn’t seem to keep pace with the digital landscape, and the developing needs and evolving expectations of his clients and prospects.

The Hardships

He remembered the joy of landing a new client.

“For Google and Facebook ads, that’ll be 3k a month and 5% of commissions.”

He remembered equally vividly the pain of that client’s departure.

“It’s taking too long to see results,” the client would say.

He remembered the late hours spent learning how to operate the various technologies his clients required – for email marketing, for customer relationship and communication, for lead generation and appointment booking, for pipeline management and prospect nurture, for reporting and analytics, and for tying it all together into one functional ecosystem.

He remembered equally well the pain of having all that he’d built ripped away from him when clients churned, and he’d be forced to start fresh, with new accounts from the same software companies his former clients continued to pay. 

But Sam forged on, and addressed his focus to the problems that had kept his company locked in uncertainty, and had suffocated his agency’s growth.

He discovered a fledgling software company that in its infancy harbored great promise as an all-in-one marketing platform for agencies.

The Remedies

He knew that he needed to deliver quick wins if he was going to have sticky clients – to consolidate their communication channels, make it easier for customers to reach them, make it easier for them to respond to their customers, and automate as much of this communication as possible – before ads are even launched.

He knew that with these touch points all resolving in one location, he would have ready and reliable access to important behavioral metrics, stages of opportunity, and a unified data lake for informed decision making and crystal clear reporting.

He knew that a centralized organizational system with website hosting, landing page builders, form builders, survey builders, calendars, and email marketing interconnected through internal logic and triggers would streamline the process from ideation to execution, contribute significantly to operational efficiency, and turn his traditional lead generation model into an appointment booking machine.

Sam saw only the upside with this new platform, but still he hesitated.

Countless hours he had spent learning the intricacies of Active Campaign and MailChimp, of Wix, WordPress, ClickFunnels, Calendly, Zapier, and everything in between. The infrastructure he had established for himself and for his clients was not perfect, but he was proud of it, and to abandon it now would be a waste of so much precious time.

Little by little, however, his stubborn allegiance to the old, patchwork approach gave way. One by one he bade farewell to the pieces of the complicated tech stack he had come to depend on, and watched as his problems departed with them.

The time saved was money earned. The energy saved was a blessing for creativity. Sam’s agency mastered their core service offerings, established efficient and replicable processes, identified their niche and came to dominate it.

They had minimized churn, and were full steam ahead.

The Holy Grail

Sam could at last step back, come up for air, take a breath, and consider fresh opportunities for scalability and sustainability. 

The platform he had fallen in love with had lately announced the long-awaited arrival of SaaS mode:

“Smart, recurring revenue – this is the future for agencies. Clients don’t leave the systems that fuel their business and drive their profits, but they do leave the people that put them in place to begin with. We’ve changed that. Now, you own the system. Everything we offer under the HighLevel name we give to you – to rebrand and resell as you wish.”

Along with this announcement, Sam heard the final nail hammered into the coffin of client churn; in his mind’s eye he saw a new, dependable profit center open up for business, which would yield consistent revenue, without nearly the same demands for labor and fulfillment. 

He called his version of HighLevel as he saw it – “Solutionly” – and sold it to existing and new clients for $397 a month, along with a surcharge of half a penny on texts and emails sent. Within a few months, Sam had added over $10,000 in recurring revenue to his bottom line – billings entirely independent from the agency services he was already accustomed to provide. 

The power of this was not lost on Sam. 

He realized that ‘Saas Mode’ represented a unique but complementary business venture in its own right, and should be expanded beyond the scope of the traditional agency retainer. Businesses don’t always need an agency, but they always need software to facilitate their growth.

Sam shifted some of his internal outreach and sales resources to support the progress of this new venture. Sam’s agency would have a tech consultancy arm. They would sell and maintain their software as a service. 

Sales targets were set, and targets were smashed. Soon, ‘Solutionly’ had over 1000 users, and recurring subscription fees, along with the hundreds of thousands of micro-conversions from text and email, made for a total exceeding several million dollars a year. 

Carol shifted in her sleep, murmured some pleasantry under her breath, and fell into a new dream. Sam remembered what it had all been for – the sweat, the setbacks, the tears – for this right here, his favorite person in the world lying beside him, and the cool, ocean air that fluttered over them in the night.

He would wake in the morning, he vowed, and begin the next chapter of his life. Carol’s idea, he thought, was a good one. 

Before he slept, Sam rolled over and withdrew pen and paper from the drawer of his nightstand.

When the sun rose, he woke, and read the title back to himself.

“HighLevel: The Lead Generation Playbook.”

Yeah – he liked the sound of that.


Agencies that deliver exceptional service outperform most of their competitors. Agencies that deliver exceptional service and software as a service outperform all of their competitors. Master your services, establish systems that work, and sell both. Smart, recurring revenue is the future for agencies, and the final stepping stone on the path to 7 figures.

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