When Megan Everett left home at 17, she was choosing a better future for herself and her family— today, as the founder and CEO of Perfrm, a sales forecasting software company, her story will inspire you.
Megan’s in depth understanding of connection and relationship building are the driving force behind Perfrm. Valuated at 27-million dollars within 2-years, their unique take on CRM is undoubtedly positioned to boost businesses everywhere.
Listen in to get her take on overcoming some of her life’s most difficult challenges. She dives into her background and shares the lessons she’s learned along the way to where she is today. Hear about her experience with raising capital as the owner of a new business as she shares what it’s been like at the forefront of a company that’s skyrocketing.
“I was raised with this idea that the more you do, the more you give.” -Megan Everett
“We all have a different path and I think that I have so many friends that grew up in that church and stayed in that victim, this is the way my life is always going to be… So I see the two paths very clearly but I think we always have a choice and we get to choose and not be our parents and to heal and to forgive so I think in that… you get to heal and forgive all of it and that’s when you really get to grow from it.” -Megan Everett
- [00:00] Episode Overview
- [01:12] Intro
- [01:44] Meet Megan Everett
- [02:57] Who has had the greatest impact on her life
- [03:56] One thing that’s had the greatest impact on her success
- [04:36] Her greatest setback and what she learned from it
- [05:14] The advice she finds herself sharing the most
- [06:32] Growing up in a small town and leaving home
- [08:45] Making her first move towards safety
- [13:24] Giving back and helping others
- [14:28] The more you do the more you give
- [15:57] Getting involved with the Mark Cuban company
- [17:25] Her epiphany moment and the birth of Perform
- [23:46] Connections and building an 11,000 contact list
- [26:25] Shifting the perspective on relationship-driven sales
- [29:36] The importance of customer relationship management
- [31:41] CRM recommendations for small businesses
- [32:49] Earning a 27 Million dollar valuation for Perfrm
- [33:58] Managing rapid growth
- [36:50] Her superpower as CEO
- [38:20] The next 12 months and thoughts on working with family
- [40:50] Lessons about raising capital as a woman in software
- [47:01] Burnout and self-care
- [49:58] Finding Megan Everett
- [51:14] Get a free year with Megan’s program
- [51:51] Outro
(Free for the first 5 emails firstname.lastname@example.org subject: “Perfrm”)
Find | Megan Everett
Mike: Today on the investing for freedom podcast I have Megan Everett on their show. You guys are going to really appreciate Megan. She’s just such a master at building relationships and just keeping track of important information in people’s lives. And I think the information and strategies that she brings to you today is just going to be inspiring to you. So I would encourage you to dig into her past and what she’s currently working on a little bit deeper. I think you’re going to learn a lot from her, and I think that Megan’s going to show up big in the world. I think if you watch Megan over the next few years, you’re really going to see something amazing. I’ll save the information for the show, but I think she’s just going to do big things in the world. And just some of her background. She just loves helping companies who strive with great culture reach full potential. She’s been part of companies with Mark Cuban’s team in the past. She’s worked with fortune 500, fortune 100 companies and it was impressive to me she launched this company recently, which I won’t steal her thunder, I’ll let her tell about it in the show, but as I was talking to her in a mastermind group that I’m part of she was talking about what she did to launch this and it really just came down to having built amazing relationships over the years. And obviously she’s got a great business model and business idea, but also just the way she’s nourished her contacts and relationships over the years really just helped her come out the gate and just do something amazing in business. So I won’t delay any longer. Here’s Megan Everett.[INTRO] Are you looking for freedom, freedom from the daily grind and hustle, or just finding a way to live the life you always wanted? Then join us on the investing for freedom podcast. Our hosts, Mike Ayala, will help you discover new ways to find freedom with tips, insights, and interviews. You’ll learn the exact systems he’s used to travel the world and live his best life. True success and happiness are all about freedom. And here’s your roadmap on how to find freedom on your own terms. Welcome to the investing for freedom podcast. Here’s your host, Mike Ayala.
Mike: So Megan, thank you for coming on the show. I’m happy to have you here. Megan: Thanks for having me. I’ve never heard my bio read out loud before, so
Mike: Yeah. Sit here and be like, Oh, that’s me. Yeah, totally. So let’s just dig in, just give us a little bit high level about you.
Megan: Yeah, I grew up in a really small town, 1500 people, so literally no stoplights. Yeah in County of like 50,000. So like very much like Americana’s
small-town girl. But none of that is really what I wanted, so it’s not what I did. Went away to college and all of that. And then right around 30, I decided to change careers from healthcare and went into sales. And four years later I’m starting my own company.
Mike: That’s such a crazy ride. What a journey. I’m excited to get into it because having seeing where you’re at today and just kind of knowing a little bit about that. I can’t wait for our audience to just kind of hear the journey you’ve been on and how fast it is. You’re just like grabbing life and going forward. It’s amazing.
Megan: Running at brick walls, that’s what I call it.
Mike: Running at brick walls. I love that. So here’s really quick, we’ll get into four
questions that I ask all the guests. So who’s had the greatest impact on your life?
Megan: Oh there’s a few, but mostly the women in my family. So I come from a family of really strong kind of like wave making women. Both of my grandmothers were executives in like the fifties and sixties when women weren’t executives. My mom’s mother was the first ever female manager at TWA. So I come from interesting stock. We kind of push our way into things. But I think that’s been the greatest impact. And they all did it with such kindness and social responsibility, which I also trying to mimic. It was important to, and I was raised with this idea that like the more you do, the more you give.
Mike: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. The more you do, the more you give. That’s so great. If you could narrow it down to one thing that has had the greatest impact on your success, what do you think it’d be?
Megan: I think it’s my like, Lacks of be in reality, which sounds a little weird, but I think all great entrepreneurs have this, but like we actually believe we’re all going to be billionaires and I think when you actually believe something so crazy, it’s just you become pretty unstoppable.
Mike: I love it. I actually heard you say that on something awhile back that, I saw you posted on social media. You’re like, I’m going to be a billionaire. I’m like, that is so amazing. So awesome. And you just fully believe it, don’t you?
Megan: I do.
Mike: Yeah. No question. What was your greatest setback and what’d you learn from it?
Megan: There’s been a few, in recent years with my company, the greatest setback I had was signing a contract without a lawyer looking at it. And it was for a quarter of a million dollars and equity in my company and the person I signed it with, ended up being a con man. So it costs us a lot of money, a lot of time.
Mike: There’s probably a million lessons we could unpackage in that, at least 250,000.
Mike: So what is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most?
Megan: I think I share the most is that people should go after what they want without worrying about what other people think. Almost everyone in my life thought I couldn’t do this and thought it was crazy and a bad idea. But I think that, we know what we want in our lives and even if we fail, at least we try. So my piece of advice is to always just do what you want. Like go after the life you want. There’s nothing to really lose. You can always get your old life back. And this is what I tell people, like you can always go and get a job. I can always go and do sales for another tech company. Like at the end of the day, I guess I lost some time and my own money that I put into it, but I gained a ton of experience.
Mike: You learned a ton of lessons. We align in so many areas. When I started my first company in 2004 that’s what Kara and I, basically we looked at each other and said, I can always go back to the company that I was currently working for if this doesn’t work out. So many people I think spend so much time thinking about all the bad stuff that could happen rather than just going for it. So I love that attitude about you and I’m just looking forward to really getting into all this. It’s going to be great.
Megan: I’m excited.
Mike: Yeah, it’s cool. So let’s dig way back. You said that you came from a small
town. Tell me where that town was again.
Megan: It is Milwaukee village, California, which no one has ever heard of. But it’s in the middle of Stanislaus National Forest and like basically [06:47 inaudible]
is our backyard. Not like a horrible place to grow up. Lots of leg running through woods and making potions and girl stuff.
Mike: Making potions, I love that. So how’d you get out of there? Just tell me, did you go off to college? What kind of led the journey out of there?
Megan: I did go to college. I grew up in a really fundamentalist Christian home. Super strict, like cult-ish church and at 17 I left. So I left the church and then ended up leaving home because of it. And I had an amazing family and my boyfriend’s family at the time was so supportive and they actually paid for all SATS and my college applications and they paid for my first semester of college, which is insane. So I went away to college.
Mike: When you said you left home because of it, you left home because you left the church. Was there like, because your family was still there or…
Megan: So I wasn’t welcome to be there anymore. What was that. Mike: We’ll just cut that out.
Megan: Yeah, it was, I knew that that was going to be the consequence of not going to church anymore was not living at home.
Mike: So is that all kind of mended? You guys all good from that whole situation or?
Megan: Yeah, their church has changed a lot also, they’ve had a change in leadership and it’s just as fundamentalist but not as straight. So my family is still there but we are closer now.
Mike: That’s cool. Yeah, sometimes you just have to agree to what to disagree on.
Megan: Right. I mean it also makes it easier when you’re dating somebody who’s both of their parents are doctors and you can just go live there. So it’s not like Megan was on her own on the streets. Like I never want to give that impression. I definitely had a safe place to land.
Mike: And so just follow me up on that. So you left there. Tell me the next steps.
Megan: So I actually graduated on independent study and then walk with my class, which I also knew might happen. So I made a series of decisions that at 17 I knew were right for me. But probably not right for a lot of people and not what most people would do.
Mike: Dig into some of that a little bit.
Megan: Deciding at that point, going on independent study and moving two hours away and removing myself from a pretty abusive situation was more important than not feeling uncomfortable. So that was really the first big decision I made to do something uncomfortable in my life. And little did I know that that’s actually what I was doing. For me, it felt very much like rebellion. And it was a little rebellious, but it was also like, this is a safe move to take. So I think a lot of people when they grow up in abusive homes really grow up really and faster than they should have to. And so for me it was just, I made a series of decisions. My dad had been removed from our home by CPS and there was just a lot going on and I knew that like I couldn’t stay. So that’s where I was at.
Mike: If we don’t want to dig into this too far, that’s fine. But I’ve come to realize just even, I don’t think you and I have talked about this Megan, but I grew up in a home that was abusive. My dad left when I was eight. He left on his own. Probably after my mom kicked him out for like the 18th time. But I realized in the last like year, I really didn’t deal with a lot of that. There’s a lot of who I am today that is because of that in a positive way. Like, the marriage that I have in and the relationship that I have with my children, a lot of times in those negative situations, you really get to learn what you don’t want to become. And I think we all have some choices. Like you can either go down a certain road and become a victim and fall into that with the victim mentality. And then kind of I guess mirror those patterns. Or you can say, you know what, I’m going to learn from this
experience, I’m going to move on and I’m going to become better because of it. And I just want to, I think just by knowing you a little bit, it looks to me like you’ve chosen the route of I’m not a victim, I’m going to go grab life by the horns and make something badass out of this.
Megan: Absolutely. I mean now my life reflects so much of what an adult does and the decisions that you make and like to better your life. And I don’t ever want anybody to think like that was an easy path. I definitely did go down like a little bit of the victim road at points and had crazy partying going on in my twenties. Somebody said the other night I met their children and they were like; we joke that this daughter is going to build a table that this daughter dances on. And I’m like,
Oh, I build the tables and then danced on them. But I think it’s, we all have a different path and I think that I have so many friends that grew up in that church and have stayed in that like victim, this is way my life is always going to be. And they’ve gone into addiction and they are the friends that are always going to be in poverty.
And so I see that you pass very clearly. But I think we always have a choice. And we get to choose to not be our parents and to heal and to forgive. So I think in that, when you actually start, whether it’s therapy or you’re doing like your own kind of process, you get to heal and forgive all of it. And that’s when you really get to grow from it.
Mike: We’re going to get into the show around investing for freedom and the business success and all that. But I think this is really valuable and powerful if you’re okay, just stay in here for a few minutes. So for somebody that’s in a situation like that, I mean you’re kind of on the other side of this, so how would you encourage somebody to just grab it and get the heck out of there and move on? I mean, you said it’s not easy.
Megan: It’s not easy. I mean and mine was very different than a lot of people. I had actually called CPS on my dad, so I’m the one that’s reported him. And part of that was that I knew that I was leaving for college and I had two little sisters. So it was a really big decision and a hard decision. I also had a lot of support in doing it. I think your option is to always be safe. And I don’t know that we’ve talked about this, but the way that I always give back is I volunteer at domestic violence shelters and then I donate to either a specific shelter or I donate to, centers for nonviolence communication, which is nationwide and they’re amazing. So there is domestic violence shelters in almost every city in the country. And if there’s not, there’s one close by and there are resources and phone numbers to call and it’s as easy as like Googling domestic violence shelter near me and you can get amazing crisis advice there. And then, and if you need to leave a situation, then there are shelters to go to. There is emergency placement for foster care and things like that.
Mike: That’s awesome. I really commend you for number one, getting out of that, but then also helping other people. So hats off to you. Yeah, it’s cool when you come out and you can give back. So you made a statement about the more you give, how did you say that?
Megan: The more you do, the more you give.
Mike: Yes. One of my, I really believe, and this is one of the things that I kind of live by, if you want to live more, you have to give more, which is kind of the same principle, right? There’s something, I won’t go into this too far right now, but I grew up in 1976 one bedroom, one bath mobile home with five of us. Those were some of the best times of my life. I didn’t really know what I didn’t have at that point in time. But then you fast forward, all of a sudden one day you wake up and you know, we’ve got 2,500 spaces across the country, we’re in manufactured housing, we’re providing affordable housing in 13 different States. And then one day I just wake up and I realized this is why I’m doing this. And sometimes you don’t even know that, but it’s just so cool to hear this story. I’m sure there’s so many more that we could talk about, but you’re making a difference while also being successful. So I really appreciate that.
Megan: I think that’s amazing that you guys do that. I actually, I knew you owned mobile home parks, but I didn’t know that you were doing affordable housing.
Mike: Yeah, it’s totally, we don’t have the pools in the community centers, any of that. It’s purely affordable housing. Our average lot rent is $285 a month. We can get people in a brand new 2020 home for less than $700 all in. So that’s really our, that’s our niche.
Mike: It’s pretty cool. So tell me by the way, the fact that, I mean just your heritage, the successful women is cool. We’re going to circle back to that. So how’d you get involved with the Mark Cuban companies? That’s kind of a cool story.
Megan: So I had [16:06 inaudible] tech company and try to kind of start something with some friends that didn’t work out. And I actually, they rejected me at first. And I was like, F**k this, sorry. But I was like, no, this isn’t happening. I remember telling the boyfriend at the time, I was like, I’m getting this job. And he’s like, there are so many jobs in San Francisco, why this one? And I was like, I am working for Mark Cuban, this is happening. So I emailed them back and I knew they had major conferences coming up. One of them was actually ICSC recon, which is like 40,000 people in Vegas. And I was like, you will not meet a person that’s better at sourcing meetings and just bring me on as a contract for a month. And so they did. And they let me go almost the entire month without offering me a job, which was so stressful. But I was like, I’m getting this job, like this is happening. So I basically like begged my way into a job. Which is funny. But I
also, I’ve always been very clear about what I want.
Mike: That’s cool. And how long were you there?
Megan: Almost two years.
Mike: Yep. And so was that the last thing you did before launching your company?
Megan: It was the last thing I did.
Mike: Yeah. So tell me about the epiphany moment. Did you just wake up one day and say, I’m going to launch Perfrm or just walk me through that process and then we’ll get into what it is?
Megan: So I actually left my job, and this is, I was just talking to the person that runs our mastermind about this. And everybody’s so shocked when I say this, but I left my job after like a huge blow up argument with my CEO about commission and walked out. Which is just so not me, but also it was just crazy. So I was super scared but also convinced they were going to come back and give me my job back. And instead I woke up the next morning to an email with a severance offer and I was like, Oh, they’re not giving me my job back. So I started emailing customers and asking for jobs and, or whether they had available and I was interviewing, and I was getting some good offers, but I really didn’t want to work for anybody. And I kept turning down offers and was finding reasons to turn everything down. While I’m like paying to be unemployed in the Bay area, which is insane. And so, I think somebody had texted me about whether or not I was taking a job and I was like, no, I’m not taking it. Something’s wrong with this $200,000 a year, whatever. Which was all just BS. Like nothing was wrong with the job. And I was like, what if I was just like created my own consulting agency. Like what if I was a sales consultant and they were like, you should do that. Do something. Anything besides interviewing for the last month and not doing anything.
So I was in a grocery store parking lot and I started like texting everyone I knew and asking what they thought. And someone texted me back that I worked with previously and was like, Hey, that Google sheet that you made for forecasting
would make an awesome software. Why don’t you do that? And I was like, huh, that would make a good software. But I also was really kind of skeptical that people would pay for it. So it was like people can do this on their own. Like why would anybody pay for forecasting? But the more people I talk to, the more they said they would pay for it. So that’s how Perfrm was born.
Mike: Isn’t it funny how sometimes we think that what’s so second nature to us, like this Google sheet that you just thought was whatever. But most people don’t understand your genius. And so we get in our heads sometimes, like most people don’t even know how to forecast.
Megan: Well in most companies actually don’t. I was just talking to somebody yesterday that used to work for Salesforce and he’s like, yeah, we still sat in boardrooms for a month to forecast for the year.
Like an argued about forecasts. And I was like, that’s not the way you forecast.
Mike: And so you’ve solved this with your software company essentially to some degree.
Megan: So we take each rep’s data and then we take, we actually go all the way down to like the number of leads that takes them to close each type of lead. So we are having an API to your CRM and we tell you what each rep does very well and what we recommend you give them for the year. So we’re basically structuring your sales team for you tailing what kind of reps that you have. Then we’re you where you are missing out. So we’re saying like you’re not giving these reps enough leads because they need this many to close. The problem with traditional sales as we’ve always said, this is what the team does. And so we expect everyone to close a deal. Every 10 people they call or whatever it is. And not everyone’s going to be the same. And you actually don’t want hard closers as every position on your team, because that’s where you create like the most toxic sales teams.
Mike: Okay. So I just feel like we just skipped like so much information. We just went straight from a Google sheet to like solving every business in the entire world’s problem. And I don’t think we can unpackage that in 30 minutes. So help me from, just rewind me. So what size company can you help?
Megan: We can help anyone. So we do everything from small startups that have a few people on their sales team and then we have MLMs that use us that have thousands of people on their sales teams.
Mike: And if I remember right when we were having a conversation, you can tap into like so many hundreds of thousands of different types of CRMs or?
Megan: Yeah. So we have basically pre-built APIs to HubSpot, Salesforce and Outreport, and then some MLMs that we’ve be done. And then our team will actually just custom API and it’s really easy. Most CRMs have an open API, so all we need is your pipeline and your data history.
Mike: Wow. And what’s kind of like the timeline? Do we start getting information like immediately? Does it take a few months to ramp up? What’s that look like?
Megan: Depending on the size of your team, we say within five days. Normally if you have HubSpot, Salesforce or Outreport, it’s immediately, it’s within 24 hours for everything to get aggregated. If we have to build it, it’s five to seven.
Mike: In your mind, what length, what timeline of back data does somebody need in order to get some really good analytics on their team?
Megan: We like to have at least a year. Not everybody comes in with that and the other, a lot of what brings in people that don’t have that already is the education platform.
Mike: So you guys have an education platform.
Megan: We give a recommended education path to every rep. And we have a hundred hours of courses right now.
Mike: Wow. That’s impressive. Okay. So we’re going to circle back on all that because I think you know who the ideal client is and all that is extremely important. I think you can bring so much value to the business world. But I want to rewind. So what really got me interested in just your business in general. And more so you, you made a comment about your list that you, I don’t know how you said it but basically, you’re of people that you’ve had for years.
Megan: Yeah. So I am kind of, I love connecting people and I love connecting with people. So as I am a passionate human connector. It’s kind of the way I’ve coined it. But I made a point like somehow staying in touch with every person I either sold to or had a conversation with in the last five years, which is super difficult. But it’s also as easy as like scrolling through Instagram and liking people’s stuff or like watching their stories or liking their articles on LinkedIn. So when we launched, I had 11,000 people on my contact list. Which was awesome. Yeah. And I spent two months sending personal emails to each one about the company and what I was doing.
Mike: That’s awesome. And what I loved about that too, I mean in your mind, this isn’t just an 11,000-person list. Like you really keep track of these people. Like it’s not just.
Megan: I said I try to. I probably very well keep track of a few thousand. Which is weird and I have very weird memory, which makes it easier. But for the most part I use, really utilize my CRM. Anytime like, I’m in a conversation with someone and I know they may potentially be a client in the future. I go into our CRM and I actually make a note about what’s going on in their life.
Mike: So we obviously have, you know, sales professionals, people that are trained and were taught, you’ve got an entire education piece around how to use a CRM and keep track of your contacts and all that. But for the average person out there, do you think that most people genuinely keep track of their contacts or is this kind of like a foreign thing that a small group of people do?
Megan: No, I think most people don’t, I think most sales reps don’t. Getting in sales reps to use a CRM is like pulling teeth if you’ve ever tried to do that. So it’s a little bit difficult. So I think it’s a different type of person that really connects with people. But I also think that we’ve overlooked these people on sales. Like, we overlook our relationship people and we put them in customer service because we’re like, Oh, they manage relationships, they’re really nice. They’re not going to like close our deals. And they actually make the best salespeople because then you get people that get referrals. So like keeping track of your contacts and staying in touch or your clients also starts to build your referral network.
Mike: So that’s interesting because I would agree with you conceptually. Most people don’t look at people that are just are good at building relationships as salespeople. So that’s a mindset shift. Can you give us some advice on, like how do we shift that perspective?
Megan: I think it’s a shift that’s happening in sales and business that we want more relationships and I think our clients are requiring of us. But I still don’t think most of us are hiring for it. So I think when you’re hiring, I normally put out ads for sales and customer service and we bring them in an interview them as both. And so we’re really finding people who have been stuck in like account management or customer service and they’re like, I’d really like to try sales. And I’m like, if those people that are really good at those two things want to try sales, I want them to try it. So I think it’s a different type of hire and it’s really like, our clients don’t want hard sales anymore.
If somebody starts giving me, and we’ve all heard them now, but if somebody on the phone or in person, starts trying to hard close me or use like scarcity tactics. Like I only have two spots left. I’m like, awesome. And those two spots can go to somebody else in the next week while you think about it, but I know you still have 20 or unlimited spots, like whatever. You know what I mean? Like it’s, they’re old tools and I think that they’ve been passed down and a lot of our companies are still being run by the men that started out 2030 40 years ago. And so they’re still teaching this.
Mike: That’s crazy. Wow. I completely 100% agree with your logic and philosophy. And I’ve kind of always felt that. I really believe at the end of the day,
when I used to sell, my first company was a plumbing and heating company and I’d go in somebody’s house and I don’t care when you buy an air conditioner, I don’t care what air conditioner you buy. We’ll give you a bid today and you can start saving for it. Like I’m not a hard sell guy. I’m more interested in the outcome and the long-term relationship with you. I’ve never understood how people cannot take that approach. It’s a weird, do you think some people are born hard closers or is it just because like we’re programmed through that sales process?
Megan: I think there’s definitely people that are more empathetic than others. And I think that’s where you find your relationship builders. Those people are also harder to manage. So it’s easy to hire people that are only money driven. And those are your people that are going to be hard closers and are going to, they’re also the ones that are going to probably lie about what your product does or what you can do for them just so that you can get a sale. Which doesn’t, none of that translates into long-term customers or into customers that are going to introduce you to other people. Like I have corporate clients who, one of them did it last week, they actually just sent an email with an introduction to another MLM CEO and I was like, Oh, this is super cool. For us, that’s a few million dollars a year that comes in. It was a huge referral.
Mike: Yeah. So for the person out there, a lot of our audience I think is probably going to fall into this. They’re good at building relationships, but they don’t really have a CRM. They haven’t really, I think a lot of times when people hear CRM, I think a lot of people wouldn’t even know what a CRM is.
Megan: So it’s a customer relationship manager and it literally tracks all of your communication with a client and where they are in your sales cycle.
Mike: That’s awesome. And so for the person that doesn’t currently have a CRM, all their contacts are in there iPhone, How, how does somebody get started and what’s the real value of keeping track of what are we keeping track of? Is it just their name and phone number?
Megan: So it’s all of their contact information and then you’re keeping track of things like when was the last time, I contacted them, and did they get back to me?
So many things fall through the cracks and we have a coaching service and we’re actually branching off this year into another part of our company that’s going to set up CRMs and coach people. So I’m really excited for that. But it’s a little bit of like a, so many people, especially solopreneurs or smaller businesses, don’t keep track of people reach out for information and they give it and they never ever follow
up. They leave it on like me who reached out to Mike [30:59 inaudible] about an investment. Mike sends me some information. I may have never even opened it and Mike never calls me again. That’s probably a lost sale. Especially at that point if I’m asking about investing in something, I’m obviously like have a thought. So you know it’s, you’re leaving money on the table and there’s a ton of studies on HubSpot and Salesforce have done quite a few of them where over the period of a year you’re actually, once you start actively using a CRM, you increase your revenue by 20%. Which is huge.
Mike: Just over the course of one year. Megan: One year.
Mike: Wow. And so the person that isn’t currently using a CRM, now we’ve kind of defined what it is. What’s your advice for that person to go out and get started and whether it’s a specific platform or whatever, how do we begin nurturing those relationships and moving from where we’re at?
Mike: It’s my advice. I am a HubSpot user and love them and love their free platform. There are plenty of free ones or low-price ones out there. Find one that connects with your email and then that has an app. So these are my two things that I always recommend for smaller businesses. If it connects your email, then you can set up contacts through your email and you don’t have to go set them up individually and you can make notes from your email. Most of them have, make sure they have like a Chrome extension for your Enote. So that’s number one. Two is an app. And make sure you can make phone calls and make notes in the app. I make phone calls through the HubSpot app and then I hang up and it immediately pops up with a screen to ask me, like what happened. I can quickly just text in and out and move on with my day.
Mike: Nice. I like it. So let’s get into something really exciting. The reason why you first originally mentioned that you had this 11,000-person list. So you launched Perfrm two years ago, right?
Megan: April will be two. Wow. April 14th is two years.
Mike: So, not even two years.
Megan: Not even two years. We’re almost there.
Mike: Okay. So let’s talk about that journey. You just closed a round of funding.
Megan: Yeah. We closed our first round in January. We close at a 27 million valuation.
Mike: Wow. That is impressive. Megan: It’s insane.
Mike: Yeah. That is huge. Congratulations. And so to hear the backstory and just see like where you’ve come from that is amazing.
Megan: I always say it’s a ton of hard work and a lot of luck because there’s so many people, especially in tech that work really hard and they never get funding and they close and not because they didn’t have a good product or they didn’t try, they just, funding is a little bit of block and a lot of tenacity. You have to keep asking the same people and keep getting told no.
Mike: So one of the things that I believe fully, as a real estate investor, I believe in leverage. That’s a big thing we talk about a lot, but I also even more than that, my
first company, I didn’t have a $27 million valuation, but I exited in 2014 and we were, just our crazy growth trajectory. I was 24 years old when we started it. We’re doubling sales, we are doubling employees every single year and as a 24-year-old with some leadership experience. But I’d never ran a company. I didn’t know anything about accounting, any of that. I quickly learned that I needed to leverage other people’s time and talents and their abilities or else I was going to crumble. So I can only imagine coming from where you came from and the time, this evaluation is huge. And so can you peel back the curtain on that a little bit? How are you managing all this?
Megan: I would be lying if I said I’m not like overwhelmed and stressed and sometimes cry. Cause I think that all happens with most of us. But I have a ton of support. And the cool thing about bringing in ambassadors is they support you and have teams that can support you. So I get a ton of advice all the time. Some of its welcome and some of it I really don’t care about. But that’s just the way it goes. I also recently hired a company that’s going to coach our entire senior team and vet everyone before we interview them. So that for me is huge and takes a ton off of my plate. And I think you just have to take it day by day.
Like even when I say 20 million, it feels like this, like whatever number because that’s not actually what’s in the bank. Tech valuations are very different. But it feels insane and it feels that alone feels overwhelming. So I normally just like, I talk about revenue instead of valuation. But I think it’s just managing it is a day by day. Like stay humble. You’re not better than anyone else. And just to really like I do a ton of our sales still. I answer customer service calls and I give a lot to other people. Like I don’t do any of our finances because I’m not good at that. So I see them once a week and I make sure that invoices are paid and somebody else manages all of our finances and somebody manages all of our contracts. We’re hiring a COO, so I don’t have to have like the firing conversations or the hard conversations that just kind of like drain me. And I prefer to be the CEO who’s implementing ideas and supportive and I will have the hard conversations, but I’d prefer not to.
Mike: So your current role, you’re the CEO. So what is your core competency or what is your superpower?
Megan: Sales and probably project management, which I didn’t know until I started this company. I am really good at talking to customers and varying out what they need and then mapping it out for development to make it.
Mike: So do you think you’ve always been good at like leveraging other people’s talents and all that? Or is this something you’re having to learn now because you’re just exponentially growing?
Megan: Oh no, I’m having to learn it. I still get in like that right almost of like, it’s faster for me to do it on my own. Or I don’t want to deal with other people’s mistakes, so I’m just going to do it. So that happens and I think that happens with all of us on, I also will overschedule and overwork myself a ton instead of delegating.
Mike: Yeah. I was literally sitting here thinking probably 10 minutes ago on this podcast, like, I appreciate you being here and giving back to our audience, but you have so much going on. I was like sitting here thinking like, this is so amazing that she’s even sitting here talking to us right now. So I appreciate that.
Megan: We all have a lot going on.
Mike: Yeah, we definitely do. But you’re in it right now. Like you’re in it. Yeah, it’s exciting though. So what are you excited about? What’s most exciting to you about the next 12 months?
Megan: We are launching an app, which I am so excited about. We are taking all of our courses off of course form and putting them into an app, gamified and interactive where you’re learning really quick skills in seven to eight minutes where you’re actually interacting and learning it and then you get to take it and go do whatever that is, implement it and come back the next day and learn more. So super excited about that. And then my little sister is actually going to run our new branch for me, which is really exciting. So she’s going to run the like CRM implemented and coaching side for me.
Mike: Nice. Have you guys worked together before?
Megan: No. And she’s a teacher, so we’re going to see how this goes. But she’s
incredibly organized and like one of the best people I know. So I’m excited.
Mike: I’ve worked with a lot of family over the years. And you’ll have a lot of people that draw the hard line, like don’t work with family. Don’t Have partners in business that’s X, Y, Z. But I’ve worked with a lot of family and I think as long as, it’s like anything else, as long as the ground rules are set ahead of time and we’re not brothers and sisters are moms and dads are sons and whatever from nine to five, as long as you can like separate that, I would much rather work in help each other prosper. With people that I know, like, and trust, then you don’t bring in somebody from the outside. So I think it’s exciting as long as you guys can balance that out. How do you feel about it?
Megan: I’m really excited. She’s actually in Tanzania right now volunteering at a school. So she’s there for three months. She’s 24. There’s a huge age difference. So it’s also like we’ve never had that like the sister [40:19 inaudible] anything that you get with kids that are close in age. I fully trust her to be able to run it. It’s also something that I have to be, as we’re implementing these new branches of our company. I can’t be hands on with everything. I have to really oversee them and almost hire like junior CEOs for them, which you see in a lot of companies where you kind of have this like operations manager that’s over something else and you have to let them run it.
Mike: Great. That’s exciting. So we raise capital on the real estate side. It was kind of fun having a conversation with you about capital. I made a comment in a conversation we had about a credit investor and you said, I understand. So just talk to me a little bit about, is this your first-time raising capital?
Megan: Yeah, it’s my first time. At previous tech companies I had been in rooms and talk to investors, but I didn’t know, like the naive part of me thought you put together a pitch stack and went and talked to a whole bunch of people and I was
like, Oh, I can do that. That’s not really what you’re doing. It’s part of what you’re doing. But it was a long process. It took us about 10 months to close. So in the middle of raising is when everything happened with our vendor and like the con artist stuff happened. So we were in a lawsuit and had to stop raising. Which was crappy. Cause [41:51 inaudible] do not give money when you’re in the middle of a lawsuit. So we went back to them in September and actually closed pretty quickly, but it was a long like, it felt really long and exhausting. And it was a constantly asking for money, which is already uncomfortable. And then also saying like, can I have your money for a part of my company, and I don’t know you. There’s these pieces of like giving away pieces of your company where you’re like, can I actually trust this person? Which is totally different and new?
Mike: So did you have to, did you go out to like one place and they organize the money, or did you have to go out to a bunch of different investors?
Megan: No, I talked to, conversations total we talked to like 200 BC firms. Which is a lot. It’s also very difficult for women to get funding in software. So we were up against that. So we ended up with a really good, I can’t talk. We ended up with a really good group of investors. We haven’t released any of their names yet, so I won’t say them here, but we have five investors. And I’m really excited about it.
Mike: Wow. That’s pretty amazing. Yeah. I’m excited for you. What’d you learn through raising money?
Megan: That is totally to different to be in board rooms full of billionaires, like that is a different ball ballgame. And sometimes like at some point I had to just kind of, I had this idea that we are going to have all female investors. I was like, this is what I want. Like I’m so excited about this. And I ended up with no female investors. So I think there’s points where you have to really decide, especially when you’re young and new in whatever you’re doing, how much or where the money comes from matters to you. I think a lot of us are very idealistic about this. Where it’s like, I want them to be liberal and I want them to be women and I want like them to have all these values in their company. And it’s like at the end of the day, like are they good businesspeople and are they good humans? Like who cares about the rest of it and they’re also giving you millions of dollars, so stop being so picky.
Mike: Yeah. That’s an interesting point. So it’s I mean, principle-based, they’re good humans. They are good at business. You got these certain principles. At some point ideology goes out the window to some degree. It’s not really about that.
Megan: I think it has to, and I talked to a lot of people who were trying to raise or thinking about raising and they’re like, well, they have to be this or that, or like they can’t be invested in anything that’s not ethical to me. Whether that’s like, I don’t want them to be reinsurers or I don’t want them to be invested into clothing lines aren’t ethical. And I’m like, you’re narrowing yourself down to one firm and that one firm is never going to raise an entire round. And when you tell them those things, they’re going to be like, we can’t work with her.
Mike: That’s such an interesting point because if we went to a bank and we got a million-dollar business loan, we wouldn’t necessarily care what the investors in the banker in ranching or whatever.
Megan: But I do think it’s that idea of trading percentages of your company for money. And then a lot of times you’re giving board seats. Like I gave two board seats with this round.
Mike: That was going to be my question. Do you think it’s because now you’re legitimately partnering, you’re going to spend time with these people?
Megan: Yeah. I think it is. I mean the idea that I was going to have all female ambassadors went away really quickly when I realized how few female VCs there actually are, which goes back to like accredited investors. I really thought I could just like raise money from friends and family and other founders that I knew and very quickly found out but like a traditional VC round won’t allow those people to keep their equity.
Mike: Yeah, you made a comment. What do you mean I can’t let my friend invest in my company?
Megan: Right. I was like, wait, so my friend can’t invest. And they’re like, I mean accredited investors, I think it’s something, I don’t remember the exact number, but what is it you have to have? $200,000.
Mike: For the previous two years, $200,000 for the previous two years or a million dollars of net worth minus your home, without your home.
Megan: Yeah, being an accredited investor is not an easy thing to do. And most people that are going to give you 5,000 or 10,000 or even 20,000 don’t have that.
Mike: Was there a minimum?
Megan: Well, we were going for five to 7 million with VCs. So like, yes, and no,
but we went all VCs, so not really.
Mike: That makes sense. What else have you learned through the process? It’s pretty impressive. It’s just amazing what you’ve done.
Megan: I think I’m having to learn this is that actually invest in myself again, I spent a solid two years on nothing but Perfrm from September 2017 to this previous September. And really hit burnout, especially when we got conned. Like, I knew this person for a year and all of a sudden was out over a hundred grand and then ended up spending almost a hundred grand on lawyers. And just, I felt like I was fighting so hard and I still had to keep the business going and it was all just like, I didn’t spend any time taking care of myself and then I gained weight and felt crappy and wasn’t eating right and wasn’t working out. There’s all these series of things that happen and I think at some point you wake up and you’re like, Oh, I feel like crap because I’ve been doing things for everyone else. And your company becomes like a separate person almost at some point. Where like, this is an actual human you’re taking care of even though it’s not. And it can suck the life out of you.
Mike: So you feel like you’re getting that all figured out. Coming back to yourself.
Megan: I feel like I am. I feel like closing the round was huge. But also joining the mastermind and the hiring the coach and doing these things are actually really good for me and my mental health and it’s not ideal to be a way for four days on a mastermind, that doesn’t like make my team happy that they can’t reach me. But for me, like that’s, I’ve learned so much in that room and also like gains and confidence back that I lost last year. So I think it’s really important to you those things.
Mike: That’s awesome. Yeah. We’d probably be a miss if we didn’t mention Chris and Lori Harder.
Megan: I know they’re amazing.
Mike: Yeah. That’s where Megan and I connected and anybody that’s looking to, just getting in a room that brings you higher and makes you better than yourself. Chris and Lori are just phenomenal.
Megan: [49:23 inaudible] Do you know?
Mike: I think yeah, I think so. It’s over her birthday, I think. So she was kind of
debating, but yeah, I think she’s going. Megan: My birthday is the week before.
Mike: I knew I liked you for some reason. Well Megan, I really appreciate your time here and just your transparency. It’s been so awesome. There’s so many great takeaways. I just, I can’t wait to even just get back through this, so congratulations on just all the success and I really appreciate your give back projects to the
domestic violence and all that. Just not forgetting where you came from. That’s so huge. So where can people reach out and find you?
Megan: Well, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate this. I’m most active on Instagram and it’s at @megseverett, and then Perfrm, is www.perfrm.com. But because we’re in tech, we leave out letters. So it’s www.perfrm.com.
Mike: Awesome. So if we go to www.perfrm.com, what are we going to find there?
Megan: So you will find a lot of information on why we started and what it is and then sign up. So we’re on a subscription base so you can either sign up annually or monthly and it’s $24.99 a month per user.
Mike: Awesome. I think did you mentioned to me at one point in time that you had a video about the importance of a CRM.
Megan: I have a course. It’s part of the whole package of Perfrm.
Mike: What’s that course called?
Megan: So it’s a CRM course, but everything is in and people think we’re crazy for doing this. So all of our courses are included in the monthly fee. So you just signup for $24.99 and you have access to all of them.
Mike: So Megan, just again really appreciate your time and I love what you got going on over there. Would you be okay if we gave away some free subscriptions to your program?
Megan: That would be amazing.
Mike: So I think we want to do five. How’s that sound?
Megan: That sounds awesome. I will match it with five. So we will give ten.
Mike: That is so exciting. Thank you for doing that. And I’m pretty excited to see the outcome on this. So if you’re listening and you’re interested, just send an email to email@example.com and in the subject line put Perfrm and then we’ll send you a code for a free course and the first 10 people that do that, so they’ll get a free year with Megan’s program. So that’s awesome. Well, thank you for your time and appreciate you being so transparent and open, your stories are inspiring and just hope that people get a ton out of this.
Megan: I hope so too. Thank you so much for having me.
Mike: If you found value in this episode and you know someone who’s wanting to start or move further along in their journey toward investing for freedom, I would be forever grateful if you would share this show with them and help me get this message out to more listeners. Also, if you enjoy what you’ve heard, I would appreciate it if you’d take 30 seconds and leave me a five-star review and share this with your friends. And until the next episode cheers to moving further along in your journey of investing for freedom.