Rich: Good morning, everyone! I have William Hackett-Jones here this morning with me. William has flown in from Russia. Today I am bringing you secret British love from Russia. William and I met four years ago while I was teaching a course at the Wizard Academy. William had flown over from Russia. His business was struggling a little at that point and I was delighted to shared several insights that made a real impact in William’s business.

I’m so proud of him and I take real delight in hearing William’s story as he applied the principles and of course worked his guts out. He was able to take his business, which was basically at the point of failure, and turn his business into one of the most profitable translation services in all of Russia. He owns a translation service at the highest margin. Last year he did over a million dollars and will come close to that this year. Now, without further ado let me bring you a Brit and his secret love tips from Russia.

William: Well, Rich, thanks for being very wonderful and for hosting me. I spent the whole day yesterday picking his brain and asking questions so he got his revenge over dinner when he got his whole family to ask questions back. And thank you so much for the course as you said four years ago.

We had just started the translation business at that point and we didn’t really know if we were doing things right or if it was going to work at all. I saw the course advertised and I knew this was either going to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re doing it right’ or ‘No. This is how you should do it’. Some of the things we were doing right and some of the things we didn’t have a clue. I think the very first thing was my previous company had gone bust. We set up with no money and basically no clients. One of the initial precepts of Bootstrap Business is you don’t need initial investments, you don’t need loans, you don’t need those kinds of things. 

You need your intellectual capital, your relationship capital, and maybe a tiny bit of capital. We used my business partner’s credit card with a limit of $2,500 and we used that card to pay our freelancers for the next few months until cash started coming in.

Rich: I love that. Bag the $5,000 I usually start with. You did it with $2,500. I think we have the new gold standard.

William: I think if we’d had $5,000 it would have made it easier. A second one would be very much don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s fine to do your own thing and be completely different. All the translation companies were competing on price and we said, ‘Well, what’s the point of trying that market? Let’s triple the price to stand out and say that what’s far more important is the quality.’ And it has worked. People come to us because they’ve heard about us and they need it, not because we’re trying to sell it to them.

Rich: That’s a great point. I think so many people do tend to think that the only competitive advantage you can have is price, but you’ve proven that is just not the case. You can differentiate actually set yourself above if you say, ‘No! We refuse to compete on price’ and then people actually want it more.

William: You may lose some clients, but those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Those tend to be the problem ones. And I think the other great thing is the zigzagging thing. The concept where we started thinking, ‘Well, we’ll translate a bit and build up some boot capital’ and we got there and we didn’t know what to do next. You pointed it out. First get a bit of money, then add some resources, then scale a bit, then get back to money.

Zigzagging in that sense as well brought us some good money translating and then we had a huge opportunity to do some transcription, which is probably one of the dullest jobs in the world, but we learned quickly how to do it really well. Basically there’s nobody else doing it at the level we’re doing it at the level we’re doing it so we’ve sort of cornered the market and that is what took us to a million dollars last year. Transcription and not translation, although the translation is doing very well.

Rich: That is absolutely brilliant and so fun to see is the intense fire and confidence in your eyes now verses four years ago. Absolutely everyone, you can do it. $2,500 and not $5,000 to a million dollar business accomplished by a Brit in Russia. I’m so proud of you and so respect you and thank you for sharing that.

William: Thank you for the help.

Rich: Thank you.