Sam Ovens is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur and the founder of Consulting.com and SnapInspect.
His flagship Consulting Accelerator training has produced 25 millionaires, nearly 500 six-figure earners, and allowed over 3,000 people to quit their jobs and work full-time as consultants.
Sam Ovens’ Consulting Story
Hi, I’m Sam Ovens, and I’d like to share a bit of my story with you.
I grew up in New Zealand to a normal, blue-collar, working-class family, and I didn’t know anything else. I was taught to keep my head down, live frugally, and pursue the traditional white-collar path of college into a corporate job.
In fact, when I landed a job at Vodafone at 21 years old, while I was still attending college, I became the family “success” story.
And that’s what my view of success always was. You “made it” if you were in an air-conditioned office. I thought I was doing pretty well, and I thought I knew quite a lot about everything.
But all that would soon change...
The First Epiphany
One weekend, my girlfriend at the time invited me out to her friend’s “beach house”. Envisioning a little shack somewhere five minutes from the beach, I said, “Sure, why not,” and we were on our way.
You can imagine my surprise when we ended up on a private island, complete with a helicopter pad.
I don’t know if other people who didn’t grow up rich have this same type of experience, but being exposed to the type of wealth that can purchase a private island completely opened my eyes to a world I had never even imagined.
Up until this point, I thought if you were making $50k per year, you were doing well, and if you were crossing six figures, you were basically a king.
Fly first class? Have a nice car? Go out to dinner whenever you want?
That was “rich” in my world.
And here I am at the home of a guy worth $500 Million.
There was a statue on the island, so I asked how much it cost. I realized that it would take me 17 years working at my job to pay for the statue. This was wealth unlike anything I had ever encountered.
Over the course of my weekend here, I noticed a few things.
First, the owner of the island had no time for negativity. If something negative came on the television or became the dominant topic in conversation, he would simply walk away. When I asked him about it he said, "Sam, I don't listen to or watch or put into my mind anything that is negative."
At first, it struck me as rude and even a bit selfish, but the more I dwelt on this comment, the more I realized how much of my own time was consumed with focusing on negative things in the world I would never be able to change. It was wasted time and energy, and this revelation continues to shape my focus to this day.
The other thing that stood out to me was how differently a wealthy person approaches day to day life versus someone like me who was raised to be frugal. All the lights in six houses left on? No problem. Windows down with the air conditioning on? Why not?
And it wasn’t so much of a frivolous spending thing, as much as it was a preference thing. This man could afford to pay for his day-to-day preferences, no matter what they were.
By the time I left the island, I no longer was satisfied with a corporate desk job and salary. I now knew how much more was available and I wanted it. I didn’t want a life preoccupied with saving money. I wanted the freedom to live however I wished.
I asked around about what the island owner did to make money. They told me he was an entrepreneur and owned his own business.
At the time, I didn't even know what an entrepreneur was, so I had to Google it. That's really where my journey began. I'd never ever considered that there were other options to having a job.
After a bit of research, it became really obvious to me that this entrepreneurship way of life was what I needed to pursue.
If At First You Don’t Succeed
I think if there is one thing that defines me it’s that when I identify what I want, I go after it completely.
As soon as I had identified that entrepreneurship was what I wanted, I quit my corporate job, moved into my parent’s garage, and got to work.
The first business I started was called PromoteYourself, a New Zealand focused job seeker network.
It failed miserably.
12 month. $15,000. Zero revenue.
But if at first you don’t succeed...
So I started a second business called ToTheDesk. This business delivered meals from local restaurants straight to office workers so they wouldn’t have to settle for fast food or miss out on most of their lunch breaks waiting for food.
And this time... I failed again.
12 months. $10,000. Zero revenue.
Back to the drawing board.
At this point, I was all out of money and $30,000 in debt. If I wanted to take another stab at entrepreneurship, I was going to need some capital.
One skill I had picked up while running my first two failed businesses was creating websites, so to chip away at my debt and begin building some capital for my next venture, I started creating and selling websites to businesses. This was my first introduction to the emerging gig economy, and it began to reshape my idea of what entrepreneurship meant.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
For now, I had a 3rd business to launch...
My First Successful Business
My third business was SnapInspect, a property inspection app for property management businesses.
Now at this point, you might think that I’m just shotgunning business ideas and hoping something sticks, but in reality, I was learning a tremendous amount with each failed business.
By the time I was ready to launch SnapInspect, I had made some very important strategic changes in how I launched this 3rd business.
With my first business, my target customer was anyone in New Zealand. It was way too broad. With my second business, my target audience was anyone working in an office... still too broad.
With SnapInspect, I got specific. My app was for property management businesses... only.
I knew exactly who my product was for, and as a result, I was much more effective at targeting them with my marketing.
But that wasn’t the only key change in how I approached launching SnapInspect.
With my first two businesses, I created things I thought the market would want. When I finally went to sell them, the market responded with “I don't need this”. These words burned into my brain, and I thought over this for months on end until I figured out a process to find out what the market wants in advance of starting the business, essentially avoiding the risk altogether.
With SnapInspect, I made absolutely sure there was demand for my product by pre-selling it. Before the first line of code was even written, I contacted property management businesses and pre-sold $5,000 worth of software licenses.
By the time the app was built and live, I had a real customer base, and I was making real revenue.
If you want to get a more in-depth look at my SnapInspect journey, check out my first interview with Mixergy:
The Second Epiphany
As anyone who has run a software business will tell you, it’s not cheap. It takes a lot of cashflow to keep up, and you rarely reach profitability within the first year or two. Even though I was getting some great revenue with SnapInspect and we were on the path to success, I needed funding to keep pace.
Rather than attempting to source 3rd party funding, I simply continued creating and selling websites on the side and ultimately expanded that side business into a digital marketing consultancy.
Digital marketing, like website building, was a skill I picked up from building my software businesses, and as I began offering it as a service, I was astounded at how big the demand was.
By the time SnapInspect had achieved profitability, my digital marketing consultancy was actually making significantly more revenue and with drastically lower overhead.
I began to see that customer acquisition was a huge problem that almost everybody had but hardly anybody knew how to fix. If you could find the recipe for getting customers, you could basically write your own checks.
And then one day, it clicked.
I realized that the key to success for virtually every business on the planet is to identify the niche you are targeting, figure out their pains and desires, and help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.
This was my second big epiphany, and I knew instinctively that it was my ticket to that private island.
And so, I sold SnapInspect and used the money to aggressively scale my digital marketing consultancy while working tirelessly to master the art of customer acquisition.
Coaching & Consulting
One side effect of mastering a skill that everyone needs is that everyone wants to learn it or benefit from it in some way.
Some businesses would of course hire my consultancy to run their marketing. But what I found particularly interesting was that a lot of business owners simply wanted my advice. They would pay me increasingly larger sums to help them accomplish certain goals and get over certain hurdles.
As my consultancy reached multiple six figures, I also began having people approach me to teach them how to build their own profitable consultancies. At first I would coach 1-on-1, but as demand increased, I expanded to coaching groups of 5 and then 10 at a time.
Rather than teaching people how to offer digital marketing services, I focused more on the real money-maker: customer acquisition. Armed with the knowledge of how to identify a niche, target niche customers, and sell to them, my students were experiencing success regardless of their business niche.
Basically I was teaching people how to become consultants and build their own consulting businesses.
And I knew that if I wanted to expand past groups of 10, I would need to create some form of training that would be valuable to students without my direct involvement.
Accordingly I began working on creating a course that anyone could take online and learn how to build their own business in a relatively short period of time.
The Consulting Accelerator Training
Similar to my app businesses, I didn’t hit a homerun on my first at-bat. I wasn’t outright failing at this point, and the first few training products and courses I created succeeded in bringing in a solid profit, but I wasn’t quite hitting the mark either... at least the mark that I envisioned.
There are thousands of people out there offering online training, and one thing that many of them have in common is that they just give people a piece of the puzzle. Some of the richest sellers out there will break up the value they offer into 10 different pieces and then just string customers along, using psychology to get them hooked without actually leaving them better off.
That’s not how I wanted to run my business.
I wanted to give people everything they needed to legitimately succeed in one package, where they know the price upfront, and if they follow through and put the work in, they will inevitably succeed.
I wanted to go above and beyond and be known for delivering the most valuable course online.
And in the pursuit of this ideal, the Consulting Accelerator training was born.
I knew when I first launched the Consulting Accelerator to a group of 50 students that I had created something special, but even I couldn’t have predicted just how popular and successful this course would be.
Within 3 years, this single course created 25 millionaires, nearly 500 six-figure earners, and allowed over 3,000 students to quit their jobs and work for themselves fulltime.
It also brought in $20 Million in revenue for my business, allowing me to move to New York City, setup a downtown office, and launch Consulting.com with the new Consulting Accelerator 2.0.
If you’d like to get a better feel for what the Consulting Accelerator is all about, check out this video: Sam Ovens - How I Started A $20,000,000 Consulting Business.
Looking To The Future
Nothing makes me happier than seeing other people change themselves and change their lives for the better. People aren't just “the way they are”. They're built one piece at a time, and you can build yourself into whoever you want to be.
My students have become my best friends and I like to celebrate their success at each stage of the journey. When somebody reaches 6-figures, I send them an invite to come hang out. When somebody reaches 7-figures, I charter a private jet and we takeoff somewhere for the day.
What began as a struggle, became an idea, which struck a nerve and became a movement. The Consulting Revolution is here, and I’d love for you join me!