Interview with Philip Lakin

Philip Lakin

Philip Lakin: I will say one thing 

Jeremy: I'm started, I'm starting to fill up. So do haven't started. So if you need, you're going to need to sign language. Oh, wait, videos off. You're going to need to message me the important stuff we can't include because I am too lazy to edit. 

Philip Lakin: No. You're all good. You're all good. Um, you're all good.

Jeremy: So fill up,

you want to get a little, a little background on yourself and then we'll quickly get into what the hell a seal is cause I'm very interested now. Sounds good. 

Philip Lakin: Uh, so Hey Ron, I'm Phil Blake in, uh, By day, I'm the solutions architect for national operations at compass and by nights, evening, weekends and during parental leave, uh, I have been building no code ops, um, and, uh, a little bit of background on myself.

Uh, actually before I was even in the tech world, I actually came from an acting background. So I was a professional actor for a bunch of years. I 

Jeremy: knew that I felt that by the way, Dude, you know what I need, you know what? I need to bring it on the show more is like recovering actors and actors that have started 

Philip Lakin: businesses.

Jeremy: Correct? Yeah, dude, like I get it. I wasn't once want to be a no joke. Like I want it to be enough that I probably will still get my theater, something in there. I want to be in something, some fucking chorus. I need to fucking belt out a song or something, you know, 

Philip Lakin: I believe in you, 

Jeremy: all right, you can help me do that.

So as you were saying, you're recovering. 

Philip Lakin: Uh, and when I, so when I lived in New York and, you know, I definitely had my stints of waiting tables, uh, for sure, but one of the things I did to support myself was working girl marketing and promotions. Um, and so I had like done this, uh, some are gay, like this like consultancy gig for a company called handy on-demand home cleaning service.

And I helped them transform their street team from just basically handing out flyers to actually swiping credit cards on the spot for like a voucher for people's first home cleaning. And, um, they offered me a full-time job just taking that team around the country. I wasn't ready to be acting yet, but I was like, man, there's something there, you know?

And so, uh, So I got all my actor buddies to get all my actor buddies together. I was like, Hey, listen, I'm just going to start a girl marketing promotions agency. Uh, it's going to be flexible work. What do you think? They're all like, sounds good to us. Um, um, and so I know what I was doing, man. So I just like, I just set up a landing page and reached out to, um, uh, to all these companies.

And just said, Hey, I just called them on the phone and found phone numbers. I was just like, Hey, I'm starting like a real marketing campaign for B to C uh, tech startups in New York. Uh, I'm launching in like a week and like, eh, there's no contract. Like it's just commission only you give us download code.

We drive downloads a new pass. What do you think? And um, apparently a companies really like that. 

Jeremy: Wow. How much were you able to make sense? 

Philip Lakin: So we did like, uh, around them and just a few months we did like 40 K in revenue. Um, Jesus Christ. Wow. Yeah, it grew really fast. And then, so we had a bunch of clients like Siki fever, uh, get table as 

Jeremy: served by state Phil just on the goddamn closing on the phone, dude.

Yeah, dude, I love that 

Philip Lakin: closer, man. I, I am the opposite of every other millennial. I know. I love when all my phone. I love calling 

Jeremy: dude. I'm with I'm with you. Like I'll get it on video where I'll get on it and you ain't, you, you're not getting away from my gravitational force. That is not charisma. You know what I mean?

Get back on stage.

Yeah, man. Like you're not getting my, my thing is like, you aren't, you aren't leaving this meeting without me selling something. You know what I mean? It's selling you on the idea to like, be my friend, you know what I mean? Something you're walking away, walk 

Philip Lakin: away from a friend, you know, as a friend I want, plus, you know, it was funny.

My dad would have asked me, he was like, how do you, uh, learn sales? Like you went to school for acting, you know, like you did this block. Like where did you, you know, I was like, well, I got, I think it was a combination of the fact that like rejection means nothing to me. Um, set up for it, um, with acting stuff and be like, I've been selling myself bullshit for so many years on so many levels that like, I know how to talk to people.

Jeremy: Well, so often so many people, um, and I'll take so much shit from [00:05:00] like SAS, founder, friends of mine, and they're like, yeah, You should have asked for this upfront and should have got this and a pullout clause for that. And I'm like, dude, what is more ever apparent to me is that I can personality sell and I can sell, and I can turn the pants off of someone, right.

Some executive somewhere. But like at the end of the day, I don't know the techniques to sell. Right. 

Philip Lakin: Yeah. Well, like I've never, and like here, here's the, here's the way I view sales in that like sense. Um, uh, very much view it, like, uh, Look, I have a product that I believe in, okay. Job to get it out in the world and get it in front of the right people who we can bring value to as kindly and as efficiently as possible.

And if you are not the right person for that thing, Cool. Let's have a good conversation. Let's see if I can like, potentially add value in any way that I can. And let's just keep it moving. But if you are the right person and it is the right fit for you, well, then I view it. Like I'm doing you a favor by reaching out to and bumping my email up in your inbox or like texting you, right?

Like I'm doing you a favor because you're busy, you know, I'm not your number one priority, but I only push on folks in that sense. If I truly believe. That the thing that I want to give them value in is something that will truly be a game changer for them. If it's not, if it's just like another MarTech, freaking bolt-on bullshit thing.

They're like, like I don't get jazzed about that, you know? 

Jeremy: Yeah. So I feel, I feel, I feel you on that. No, cause it's like. It really is me like learning the technical. It's just, I want it to be natural, right? Like that hustle. But on the flip side of it, it's like the hustle piece and I've been told this constantly.

It was like, well, let me take you so far, right? Yeah.

Philip Lakin: Like, hold that again. Like how much lipstick can you put on a pig? Right? Like it doesn't. Yeah. If the thing doesn't work. Like, no matter how much you try to sell it. And like th and that's for a lot of like, look, I built no code ops to solve my own problems and like productize all my own battle scars. And so what I find the right person, the organization, like the larger organizations, we do manage services for, with like no good deployments when I find the right person.

It's like a, it's a, you know, to get to a second conversation is like, it starts with a ten second conversation, but they're just like, yep. We're like, like w we, we launched our newsletter and we didn't even tell the world we were doing managed services and like large corporate clients started approaching us proactively because 

Jeremy: it's how, how did you do that?

How did you do that? Like tell me how you did that. Like, because I'm on the, I'm on the no code ops.com website. Everyone's check this out, but you've already, you're already working with some fucking logos dude, right? Like candies people 

Philip Lakin: have signed up for our website, right? Like folks with no code operators, those companies have signed up for our newsletter a month and a half.

We've grown to over 360 subscribers, no paid ads, all organic, just me being. 361 ethically to be exact. Okay. Yeah. Um, and that's all been organic growth, all word of mouth. Uh, so I think. P, you know, people ask them about how did it grow that fast? How are you inclined to reach out the fast? And for me, all of the work began way before launching it.

So it began with talking with people on Twitter about no-code finding out what my niche was in the no-code space was realizing that talking to no-code about people who care about no code is. Uh, is fun, but will get me nowhere. 

Jeremy: Yeah. And that's true. It seems to be the same people. Talk to me about it. You know what I mean?

Philip Lakin: It's great, but it's not, none of them are going to be my clients. They're going to be my, my friends and my, uh, colleagues and my support group. But they're not the people that I should be spending the crux of my day talking to.

So, yeah, so I not only talked to those folks, but I know when it comes to any kind of product or service. It took me a long time to realize this. Cause I'm really hard on myself, you know? And I always thought that I had to have the best thing or be the best offering. And I found it over time. That is absolutely not true.

The thing is I have to be the best, most reliable option. That's close enough in somebody's orbit that I'm the first person they reach out to. 

Jeremy: Yeah, go ahead. So we'll see. Yeah. So what is. What exactly is the value offer of knowing code ops or like what, what, who is your ideal, your ICP, your ideal customer profile 

Philip Lakin: in a few ideal, uh, like client profiles.

Um, so the newsletter, so th think of it like just the newsletter and the media. We created the YouTube and eventually the podcasts we work on, those are for anybody and they're free to always be free. Um, the, uh, the next kind of level up is the community. So it's a, it's a private and vetted and paid community for no-code operators, uh, around the globe.

Uh, we, our first cohort of 10 and we were onboarding cohorts and everyone's in the same community, but I'm a big fan of, uh, like conscious and structured onboarding. Um, and so our first cohort of 10 sold out in under 48 hours. Um, we're four folks into the next 10, uh, for our second cohort, uh, who have reserved a spot.

Um, and that's, uh, basically we offer you, uh, like a community brain, like chat with like everybody in it. Um, we do workshops there's and fireside chats that are specifically geared. Towards, uh, towards no good operators, um, which is really hard content to find it's not vendor owned. So I think like this, like a worker for speakers will be Kat Cole.

Who's, uh, you know, the COO from his former CEO of focus brands, former CEO of Cinnabon. Um, you know, she's talking to us about how to get, you know, our, our, our group about how to get executive buy-in for operational no-code projects. Um, We're now talking to, uh, Robbins, Patrick of, um, uh, who wrote the mom test to come in and do like a, how to talk to customers, but internally, right?

So like all internal Benz. So that's the community side. So workshops, content, private vendor demos, virtual dinners, community chat. Uh, getting into each other's workflows throughout the day, shutting off internal winds, because I'm just, if I read another tech crunch article about someone who raised like, I don't care, cool shit doing with that product, that's what I want to learn about.

And I want to celebrate that. Um, and so that's the community. Um, it's a pretty easy entry point, right? It's $45 a month, four 50 a year. A lot of people are using other learning budgets for it. So, uh, totally makes sense for the operation of the no-code operators. Then there's the executives that are reaching out to us, right.

From these bigger companies. Uh, and that's where the managed services comes in. So. We're not like super public men or managed services because we have, we have a lot of demand on that front. Um, and so we're figuring out how to prioritize that and how to scale that. But 

Jeremy: is that for the, that's an offering for like what you would call enterprises?

Yeah, 

Philip Lakin: so, uh, enterprise, but like our me scene right now is like a hundred to 500 person. Plus a growing company funded a ton of operational [00:13:00] debt. Devs are solely focused on product, no internal tools structuring or building. That's like our that's like our core, bread and butter right now. Uh, but all the way, and you 

Jeremy: just work on.

Implementing no code solutions to fix those problems. 

Philip Lakin: So what happens is like, so typically companies grow super fast. They have a ton of operational debt. Um, the dev team has no time to do any of this stuff. Um, and the people on the ground, they don't have the time to become no-code experts, uh, overnight.

So yeah. What happens is, and they reach out to, so the Sergeant reached out to us and what we do is we say, look, we are a vendor agnostic managed services solution. We know the vendors in the space, we'll work with you on getting your exact needs. Met from security to compliance, to legal, to technical.

We'll look at your legacy stack, we'll interface for your engineers, for you interface to your it team for you. So, you know, uh, this could be a translator internally for you to get your needs across the table. Um, and so we come in, we, we do all that learning and discovery work. We figure out that, you know, the problems that make the most sense to solve.

Um, and then we present to demo, you know, vendor options. We demo them with you and for you, like, you're not just getting like hard pitched by vendors. Um, and they're folks that we've vetted and think are really good fits. We limit your options. We get you really good deals. We negotiate on your behalf. And then when it comes to implementation, we do everything from a requirement gathering process mapping.

Uh, implementing, uh, interfacing with your technical team, integrating your legacy stack monitoring, um, documentation, updates, support requests, bringing it to other departments, internal marketing. How 

do 

Jeremy: you, how do you and D you said your price was 45 a month? No, 

Philip Lakin: sir. That's for the community? Um, yeah, our, our pricing is a lot higher on the medical 

Jeremy: she got here.

I was like, yeah. Okay. Cause that seems like a lot of manual consulting. Yay. Yeah. So, 

Philip Lakin: so, um, and the goal is that we help you implement and then we're there with you the whole, like, we stay with you the whole time. So we are literally the, how I like to call it like one sentences for internal teams. We are the product management and development shop of your dreams for internal tools.

Jeremy: Got you. Okay. And how do you go about, how did you go about getting your first customer in the door and how did it flood from there? 

Philip Lakin: I kid you not. Um, uh, an old colleague who is on the newsletter, saw our video on Tanya again, uh, um, uh, Tonkin that we did, which is a no-code business process automation tool, uh, kicked out and was just like, Hey, I love this.

And I want to talk to you more about it. He works at like a very large well-known company in the tech space, not being super public about it yet, but it is a very exciting company. Um, with a ton of compliance and security needs. Um, and he had reached out to me just saying, Hey, like we need to chat about this.

And within one phone call him and his team saw clearly we were a fit for them. So we have another conversation coming up this week and we'll most likely lock in and engagement within the next two weeks. 

Jeremy: And then from that customer, you get the second customer. 

Philip Lakin: So we have other folks who are already reaching out to us too, because you have to remember, like, at my role at compass, I've purchased over a million dollars in B2B SAS.

So I'm very close with like a lot of vendors and they know my work and I know theirs. And so. Sometimes they would have clients that they would like ask me to talk to anyway, cause there's some products that I know, like not a lot, but there's some products I know on the same level or somebody doing better than some CSMs for certain companies.

And so I'm a huge advocate for some of those products. And so they're getting requests for professional services and they don't want to get into that line of business. So other clients that we're talking to come directly out of those relationships, 

Jeremy: I love that. So like, if you were like a pro tip piece here for the other no-code CEOs out there, um, and you've done this fairly successfully, which is I try to educate them, dude, getting your first customer, your first paying customer, that first dollar in the door is such a drug.

If you don't, that is such an amazing feeling. Yup. That if you, if you don't, if you feel nothing, get the fuck out of bonds, 

Philip Lakin: dude, I, I kid you not the first person that signed up for the F to hold their place for $45 for the $45 a month community. I literally printed that Stripe invoice and I'm in the process of getting it framed and putting it on the wall.

Jeremy: Oh my that's it. That's it. That is, that is different. Yeah. Yes, it is. Dan. I should go back. Uh, it's been years now. You got to print it. I need to, now I need to, I need to find whoever won now. I forget, dude. You want to know? 

Philip Lakin: What's funny on the internet is just a very powerful thing. 

Jeremy: Yes, it is. Yes it is. And it's what do you, what advice do you have for all the other no-code CEOs out there to get finding that first dollar?

Philip Lakin: So I think that if you're ever in a position where you're looking for your first customer, Right. You've you've already failed in my mind, like, uh, because you should have been the whole time communicating with people about your product, getting feedback from potential customers, looping them in you shift people, banging down your door.

By the time you're ready to even sell something, incentive to Stripe invoice. That's my philosophy on your first sale. So engage with the community, be an advocate. People sometimes forget that you don't like, let's say you're a legal tech. Okay. You're building like a legal technical solution, right. And no code or whatever it is.

Okay. You don't understand the power you have with the attorneys that are on the younger attorneys that are on the ground that want to change things in their, in their law firm, you could potentially be the first person they have ever talked to that understands their problem, that empathize with them that wants to listen to their concerns.

That will turn their feedback into something actionable and they can actually like bring their law firm into the 21st century, realistically, like full. And so if you're not finding those people to have those therapy sessions with early on, even pre-product or early product, you've already kind of lost in my, in my mind.

Jeremy: Yeah. I get that. So how do you find the right community if that's the first step? Because I'm learning, right. Like, um, And you're so enjoyable. I'm going to have to bring you back on here. Cause we're already going over the 20 minutes. I like to keep.

So for me, it's about finding the right community and I haven't even, dude, I love, I have a love, hate relationship with the current Twitter no-code community, where it's like, it's the same people talking about the same shit. Right. Like where it's, it almost feels like it's a exclusive, good old boys club where you're like any new entrance feel intimidated.

And I felt like a lot of the people who have, you know, used a V1 and they're like, they know nothing. Right. They're like they don't, they just go app. Build easy. Cool, cool. But like 

Philip Lakin: the audience, the audience. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The audience for V1 is not no coders. Like anyone that tells me they're a no coder, unless it tell me there are no code operator, then I'm interested.

Right. Because they're typically very underserved market and that's why we started no-code ops. Um, but if you're telling me you're a no coder, you know, like I'm an OD or no code right now. Right. None of those people are my customers, 

Jeremy: not one of them, then that's fine. But 

Philip Lakin: you know what? It's the community does serve its role in the stuff that I do.

Because guess what? Now, look, I'm a big fan also in marketing yourself and that the more people that know what you do, the more power it is to you. So now a hundred and something people in a, you know, this fellowship. No, that when it comes to operations and no-code fills the guy to go to great, that's powerful.

And that's why talking to the community is good because it's, we are so in our, in metallic stages that you want to get to know these people because they will be your advocate. So yeah. You know, when I, when I think about the no code kind of Twitter space, if you are looking at it as a potential source of buying your product, you're screwed.

But if you, as a potential set of advocates and almost like influencer marketing, you're, you're nailing it. If that makes sense. 

Jeremy: No, I agree. I see you there. Right. W well, okay. We'll have to do a part two. Okay. Because, uh, me and you were, this is a great cast. We'll call it UNO. 

Philip Lakin: We are an excellent cast. Uh, the residuals on this are gonna, you know, I'm looking forward 

Jeremy: to collecting.

It's funny. I used to work for the studios doing like backend participations. I'm like counting that shit. Come the residuals. I would cut those checks. Well, I still get, 

Philip Lakin: I still get dollar and 72 St. Checks from law and order.

Jeremy: That's wonderful. That is wonderful. So what I love, I love carrying that check to Wells Fargo. Okay. So last, last, I just, we've got to end that on a tip. Give us give the know that well, let's not even call them no coders, right? Like. But like, let's give the people listening to the not boring business podcast, a tip for maybe starting a no-code or getting your feet wet or finding your community, whatever you, some are, one of this uplift.

Hmm.

Philip Lakin: You know, one thing I like to talk with folks a lot about is how to not feel gross about doing sales because every CEO has to. And I think sometimes we feel gross or weird about sales because it's easier to sell other people's stuff. It's hard to sell our own stuff. Um, and sometimes for me, at least I didn't realize for Royal and time, and I still struggle with day-to-day man.

It's not like a I've arrived. Right? Like I still struggle with imposter syndrome. I still struggle with all that stuff. But you know, it took me a long time to realize that I don't and I put it on Twitter the other day too. And I really believe in it. If I'm comparing myself to the other, really, really smart people in my industry.

Like, you know, like I'm not the best note coder, right. And I'm not the best operations professional, like, you know, but when you combine the two on top 1% in the world, hands down. And so finding that Venn diagram for me and believing in that, like, There will be people in the world that find value from what I do.

And it's my job to find them make sales a lot easier of a pill to swallow. If that makes that's, that 

Jeremy: really does do it. I think a lot of people are going to walk away with this going damn 

Philip Lakin: growing people over by not sharing some of the knowledge that I have in this space with them. 

Jeremy: I, I believe that, you know what I mean?

Like I have. Now I have built like that. Why I like no code CEO and my that's, my thing is, dude, I've built three, six figure, no code companies with no technical found, no founder. No co-founder at all. Nothing. Right? Like in the last five years, thinking. Not dude, I haven't shared one bit of any piece that I've done any of it with.

And I did it all with no dude OJI tools like WordPress. I had 84 plugins on my very first six.

Philip Lakin: Go back and forth all on Twitter. Go back further on word, press all the time. He loves it. I think it's like so old school. 

Jeremy: Yeah, dude, Isaac, Isaac going like, dude, if you, if you don't know where press you, ain't a no coder to me. You know what I mean? Like we just kept going back and forth and dig in. He did tell me how much he talks about it.

Philip Lakin: He was great. Right. Just the man. Um, but dude, listen, I'm so like stoked and pumped to do part two. So keep me posted, man. Don't 

Jeremy: make dreams. I love it. Thanks for coming on Phil. Oh, wait, where can people find you? Oh 

Philip Lakin: yeah. Uh, on Twitter. I'm at Phillip Blaken on, uh, on Twitter. So Philip with one L Lake and LA K I N on Twitter.

And then our website is no code ops.com on there. You can learn more about our community, read past newsletter, sign up for our newsletter. Uh, newsletters completely free or YouTube videos are completely free. We put them in the newsletters every time we dropped them. And, uh, yeah, if you've ever have any questions about no code at all, um, uh, you can just reach, you can just reach me through Twitter DMS.

My DMS are open. 

Jeremy: Sounds good, dude. I just followed you so like a good follow ladies and gentlemen. 

Philip Lakin: Thanks Phil. 

Jeremy: Thanks man.


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