Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
I'm Andrew Davison ,a Zapier Certified Expert and I built my agency Luhhu to help businesses solve process problems with automation.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
I’m the founder of Luhhu - we’re Zapier certified experts.
I’d leart to use Zapier while creating a previous business and later found myself trying to sign up to Upwork as a writer. After being rejected because they had too many of those, I thought I’d see if there was any demand from businesses for a Zapier freelancer.
There was - plenty of demand in fact - and my freelance career and eventual agency grew out of that.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
I first joined Upwork in late 2017 and spent 2018 perfecting my Zapier skills as a freelancer. Towards the end of the year I realized demand was continuing to grow and I realized there was potential to build a team and serve more clients.
So, at the end of 2018 I founded the company, paid someone to build the website in Webflow and started working hard to build the brand on social media and push the site up Google with some focussed SEO work.
Since then, working with two other people, we’ve worked hard to build the infrastructure of the business, win business via SEO and social media and put in place developed marketing strategies to grow the brand.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Defining the ‘model’ client for us. We’ve always had plenty of demand from clients that have one or two smaller problems they want to fix - an hour or two of work at the most. While to some, any work might seem like a bonus, small projects can be draining on time and resources and there are certain aspects of managing those clients that can’t be billed for.
We’ve been working hard at articulating via our website and other marketing materials, what sort of clients we can be beneficial to. Those are businesses looking to scale, with operations that are outgrowing what can be managed by just one or two people and where significant time and money can be saved in the long run by spending 5 - 10 hours with us automating things.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
In early 2019 we were certified as experts by Zapier which was a big marketing boost for us, not to mention a new source of clients via their experts directory.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Most of our clients find us via Google or the Zapier directory. They typically come to us with a single problem or aim that they want us to help solve with Zapier. I make a point of learning as much as I can about a client and their business so I can make proactive suggestions on other areas and processes they can automate.
I’d say at least 50% of our clients return - usually within a few weeks or months - with additional things for us to work on. This cumulative effect has meant as time goes on we’ve been able to rely on a steady flow of work without needing to do any real outbound sales work.
Describe the process of launching the business.
It was a steady process of not being a freelancer anymore and instead being an agency. The website was launched, I started promoting on social media and put myself out there for interviews and guest posts with the aim of improving SEO.
More recently I’ve invested a lot of time in developing the company blog - bringing in an outside agency to create content and coming up with a devised strategy to promote that in places where our potential customers spend their time - like LinkedIn.
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
Nope, as we’re not a product business.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
We keep it simple and charge by the hour. When we started, that was $100/hour but has now grown to $175/hour. We’re experimenting with offering discounts for multi-hour retainers and so far this seems to be increasing client spend.
Let’s talk about your marketing strategy -- how do you market Luhhu and grow the service?
We’ve deliberately positioned ourselves as a one-stop-shop agency. Rather than using Zapier to extend our work on other platforms as some other Zapier experts do, we take client’s abstract problems and find ways that Zapier can be used to solve them.
The has had the benefit of making us relevant to clients of pretty much any size and from any sector or industry. Given that Zapier integrates with thousands of other apps, there are very few situations in which we can’t help businesses make any meaningful gains with Zapier.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
When developing Zapier-based solutions for clients, I’ve realised the importance of setting expectations early in the process about what can and can’t be achieved and what input I’ll need from the client along the way. And, if and when problems inevitably come up I’ve learned the importance of clearly communicating what’s causing a roadblock and approaching the client with workarounds already in mind.
With something as complex as Zapier there always has to be some nuance and flexibility in the way it’s implemented and it’s crucial to keep the client in the loop so they get a positive outcome.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Not surprisingly, we’ve got dozens of zaps setup to help us automate our processes and I’m constantly refining them - even if it’s to automate stuff that might only save me a few moments a day. It’s fun - and as they say, every little bit helps!
Airtable is another app that’s the backbone of our business. Our CRM is built on it, we manage all our projects from it and plan our social media outreach with it. We now have four heavily customised Airtable bases - plugged into the rest of our system via Zapier.
Finally, Slack deserves a shoutout. We still use email, but when it comes to working on zaps with team members, I appreciate how quick and easy Slack makes it.
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
I wouldn’t say I follow any particular founders in that sort of way, although I always enjoy reading about various businesses, current and historical - their history, their business models, how they faced and overcame various problems, and the people that lead them. I find it useful to look outside the IT industry for case studies that I can learn from.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
It pains me to say that other than the news, I don’t really read much - and as for podcasts, I’ve yet to find one I like that can play nicely with my fragile attention span!
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Don’t struggle too hard trying to think of a grand plan for starting your business and don’t lose yourself in trying to come up with the million dollar strategy.
Being an entrepreneur is about finding an effective, scalable, profitable way to solve a real word problem. The scope of that problem can be quite small and local. If people in your network are having a problem and you fix it for them at a profit - you’ve flexed your entrepreneurial muscles.
The real talent is putting the pieces in place that let you keep solving that problem for more and more people while still making money doing it, fixing the problems that come up, getting the right people on the team to help and finding a way to do it all better than any competitor that might come along.