Recurring Income Case Study: $13k in 90 Days

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - January 16th, 2015


Recurring income blog post image

How do you go from struggling to make ends meet to over $10,000 in recurring income in 3 months?

Today you’ll learn how one entrepreneur and Videofruit coaching client followed the Santa Claus formula to do just that.


AND he was able to do this despite having:

No inside connections.

No past clients.

No website.

Exclusive Bonus Material: Click here to download the free bonuses that will help you reach $10,000 in recurring monthly revenue. (click to download )

How Devesh changed his life and increased his recurring revenue 10x with the Santa Claus formula

We all know somebody like this…

Someone who is stuck in a relationship with a girl that isn’t going anywhere, but they’ve been dating so long that breaking up seems more painful than staying together.

That was Devesh.

Except he wasn’t having girl problems.

He was stuck in a bad business.

When I first met Devesh, he was working in a struggling real estate startup.

He was making no money from the startup and had to work side jobs to pay the bills.

He hired me to be his coach and help him figure out how to fix things.

Our first conversation was 8 months ago.

Since then he has…

• Quit his job at the real estate startup

• Started his own company helping online businesses optimize their websites

• Generated monthly recurring revenue of over $13,000 per month (from scratch)

• Discovered the secret to working with some of the biggest names online

He did this by following the three steps of the Santa Claus Formula.

Step 1: How to create an irresistible service

First thing you need to do is identify the service you are going to offer. The easiest way to do this is to make a list of your skills. Think broadly. (We’ll get more specific later.)

Let’s look at how Devesh and I found his irresistible service.

He had a background in design. He enjoyed design and wanted to continue using that skill.

Step 1: Write down your broad skill set.

Devesh’s brainstorming process

So we looked at how he could apply his skill set in design to things he was interested in by brainstorming specific applications of his skill set to his interests.

Step 2: Write down 2-4 specific applications of your broad skill set.

Four ways that Devesh could use his design skills

Now that we’ve identified four higher level business ideas we had to narrow our focus to one very specific service to offer.

To do this we asked one question…

What is the expected result for the customer?

For example…

What is the expected result of re-designing my prospect’s website?

Answer = Collect more email addresses (and ultimately sell more products).

By going through this simple exercise for each of his four interest areas, we were able to identify prospective customers’ pain points and develop a service offering that solved them.

The service we chose?

Conversion rate optimization.

That is the art of designing websites to induce a visitor to take a desired action. More specifically, Devesh wanted to help online businesses grow their email lists by tweaking their website designs.

Want help?: If you’d like to join my one-on-one coaching program and have me personally help you just like I did with Devesh, click here to join. (There are 3 remaining spots in the program.)

Pro Tip: Instead of selling your service as a one-off project, make it a monthly service so that you get recurring income.

For example…

You could offer dog training for $100 per session.


You could offer dog training coaching for $100 per month (10 months) that takes both the dog and owner through a set curriculum.

What is so nice about a monthly service is you customer commits to a longer time period increasing their chances of seeing real results and you don’t have to constantly search for new clients.

Win. Win.

Devesh did this by creating a monthly conversion optimization service where he constantly tests new conversion tactics for his clients.

Step 2: Identify prospects who will beat down the door to buy

Now that you have an irresistible service to offer, you need someone to buy it.

To find your first customer, make a list of potential prospects to offer your service to.

Devesh followed three basic criteria:

Criteria #1: Be familiar with their work

Why is it important to pitch people you are familiar with?

Because customizing your sales pitch is the key to winning their business when you have no experience or past clients. And it’s easier to customize a pitch for someone that you are already familiar with.

This was Devesh’s initial list…

Criteria #2: Verify that your service will actually help them.

If you are offering a service that trains dogs how to obey their owners but the owners you are trying to sell to already have obedient dogs, then it will be impossible to convince them to buy your service.

So, spend 15 minutes to examine your prospects’ businesses and ensure that they actually need the solution you are providing.

In the case of Devesh, he was able to review their websites and see multiple things that the owners could improve to convert more readers into subscribers.

Criteria #3: Find the decision maker and determine their availability.

This step is key.

Selling your services to a large cooperation is possible. It’s just going to take longer. In the sales world they call this the sales cycle. The sales cycle is how long it takes to go from first contact to closing the sale.

In the beginning stages of your new business you want that sales cycle to be as short as possible. By focusing on small companies or single-owner companies, you can cut the sales cycle down significantly.

For example…

Devesh was able to get a response from his first three prospects within hours of contacting them.

And these were people he had NEVER talked to before.

Contrast that with bigger companies that have taken 30-90 days to respond to the first contact.

How can you apply this? Once you have defined your service, make a list of your best prospects. Go through the people you follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Examine your email for newsletters you are subscribed to. Search for the top blogs in your industry. Search for the top podcasts in your industry.

Then filter all of those prospects down by using the 3-step criteria listed above.

Step 3: Create a sales pitch so good that your customers will ask to pay you more money

Lastly, you need your prospects to hire you and pay you money.

That’s the hard part…right?


If you’ve done your homework in steps 1 & 2, this part is simple.

Your job at this point is to show your prospects how hiring you will result in them making more money (or whatever the net result of your service is. That could be more time, less headaches, money, more happiness, better self image, etc.).

To do this, you need to create an incredible proposal.

An incredible proposal has 3 main elements…

1. It is customized for one specific prospect.

2. It highlights the end results of your work with them.

3. It is incredibly detailed.

Most people are lazy. Most people apply for a job by sending in a one-page resume with a boring set of bullet points and self-aggrandizing adjectives.

Guess what happens to those resumes.

They blend in. And when you are trying to get your business off of the ground, blending in is equivalent to dying.

You need to STAND OUT.

You need to blow their minds.

Take a look at how Devesh blew Brian Dean’s mind by creating an incredible pitch.

First, the email he sent:

Devesh’s cold email to Brian Dean

Second, in his email was a link to his incredibly detailed and mind blowing proposal:

Results: This one email has resulted in over $10,000 of income for Devesh.


What does this mean for you?

It means that you can do this too.

It means you can be struggling in your crappy day job or in your flailing real estate start-up and change that.

Just do what Devesh did.

Use your skills. Find a real-world problem that you can solve. Then go solve it.

That’s the first step towards generating recurring income for your business.

Devesh and I recorded one of our 45-minute private conversations and he agreed to make it available for you to watch.

Inside you’ll learn…

• The email and video sales pitch Devesh used to close another client that has generated DOUBLE the income of his first client

• Why the Santa Claus formula works extremely well in the internet marketing niche (and the one tweak you need to make in order to make it work in ANY industry)

• How to make incredible pitch videos that convert 50% of your prospects

• Why even he got turned down by more than 10 clients (and how he overcame the rejection to sign)

• The one little mind tweak he used to raise his rates from $100 per month to $1,500 per month

• The #1 thing that everyone thinks you need when starting your online business but that you actually don’t need at all

• How a friend of Devesh was able to get an incredibly exclusive internship by using the Santa Claus Formula

…and a lot of other juicy details.

To download our private conversation as well as see another one of Devesh’s pitch videos, click here .


  • Zummies

    Another great post, Bryan. One of these days when I have time off from my bigger business projects I’m going to run with one of your ideas. Thanks again for the case studies. Always appreciated!

  • Boom!

    I did something very similar for my copywriting service. I bought a list of a certain business segment via – created a general video and sent it to 1,000 leads… then, for those who showed interest in the first video, I sent a specific video geared to that respondents website. Net result? Small $5,000 project right off the bat and a few more who are very interested.

    Whole thing took about 90 minutes max.


    • Interesting. Good work Jason!

    • Jay Soriano

      Thanks for the tip, are the leads good quality?

      • The way I use them is to penetrate a niche. For example, my last niche was for churches. I ordered a bunch of leads (they give you both email and snail mail). I sent out an email for my offer first. Then, anyone who didn’t respond I sent a postcard to… after that I sent another email a week later saying, “Did you receive the postcard I sent?” It got tons of replies and a bunch of orders. I think I spent a few hundred dollars total and brought in somewhere around $4,000 in first-time orders.

  • Hey Bryan – I am still working through your last challenge (the $1000 in 14 days) with decent results. You can’t keep piling these awesome challenges on dude!! 🙂

    • Ha. Good work Brian.

      many of the tactics in the post were used by Devesh here.

      • Yeah, planning to digest this one, too. I guess I’ll be the next case study 🙂

        Love seeing the coaching videos. Thanks for sharing!

  • Fey

    Bryan, loved this post – very similar to the 1000 USD / mth post.

    I definitely see the value when it comes to specific business problems (attracting new leads, converting leads, making more money etc) but not when it comes to other problems, such as health & fitness. Most of the time it’s too difficult to find out enough about the prospect to give value in advance. How would you approach that?

    • Thanks Fey.

      Yea…it applicable to nearly industry.

      I’ve used the exact strategy to sell lumber packages to contractors. Mult million dollar conveyor systems to large corporations.

      The exact approach may need to be tweaked.

      Lets take fitness for instance…

      What is the problem? People want to loose weight and get fit.

      What is your unique solution? Lets say it’s to come to their house for 1 hour 3 days a week and to personally work out with them.

      You charge $800 per month to do this.

      How would I sell this?

      Step 1: Make a list of people you know that are potential clients.
      Step 2: Create a unique video for each person showing them how easy it is when you are there working out with them. Take your iphone with you and go do this for free for one person and show the whole process. Also, include a PDF of the workout your going to do with them
      Step 3: Send the video to each person.

      That would be my general approach.

      As with any tactic you can find 1mil reason why it wont work for you. OR you could figure out how to make it work for you.

      I’d challenge you to do the later.

      • lakeisha


      • Nicole Silliman

        I am in the fitness industry and I am so going to do this! I already started building my email list so I will start there! Thanks!!

        • Hey Nicole. I work in the financial coaching industry (real similar to fitness). Can you tell me how this worked for you?

  • Great stuff as always Bryan.

  • William Cosentino

    I watched the video proposal and Devesh KILLED!! I love that idea of a video proposal showing exactly what the project will look like using the prospects own info.

    • Yea, can’t believe I’ve never thought of doing that!

    • Agreed. Devesh is the man!

    • Thanks William!

      • William Cosentino

        Kudos Devesh, Outstanding work!

  • Mind blown!

  • This is amazing! Its a service we just launched with our business couldn’t have been better times.

    I’ve just left you a tweet as well regarding taking you on for coaching on a different business. I look forward to hearing back from you.

  • Great post Bryan!

    Super inspiring to see that these systems work for regular people.

    I’ve been in a rut lately and your content always seems to inspire me. My problem seems to be second guessing my niche before I even dive into it.

    Super excited about your List Building course. I’ve tried to register, but I’m not sure if it’s gone through. I shot you an email.

    Have a great day!

  • Mridu

    That videos was amazing!! Ingenious. Thank you, thank you for sharing it.

  • Bryan Leeds

    Hugely helpful information Bryan

  • Bryan,

    I came across you from listening to Nick Loper’s podcast and I have been hooked ever since.

    I am sure you’ve been told this but you are a GENIUS. I signed up to your list and I am learning so much. I am going to put this to use in the next 1-2 weeks and get back to you with my results.

    Thank you so much.

    • Thanks Gertrude!

      Def report back on your results. (perhaps we can feature you here at some point as well)

  • I assume in this instance he charged like a consultant does, correct?

    Questions for you Bryan – when you sell either a product or your coaching online, how do you setup the payment process? (Like do you use a plugin, use stripe API, something built into infusionsoft, etc.)

    I really want to create products/courses to sell. I have lots of ideas to test .. But when it comes to actually assembling it all with signups, payments, ensuring the content is stored securely … I get overwhelmed !

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated 🙂 and thanks again for another awesome article.

    • Laurence, not sure what you by “charged like a consultant does.” (I just negotiated a monthly rate with the clients and sent them an invoice…if that helps).

      • Sorry – I was writing on my tablet and wasn’t too specific.

        Yes, I meant like they paid you directly after invoiced. (Whether they paid you by Check, PayPal, Direct Deposit — etc.)

        I am concerned with setting up online payments, such as for selling an online product, course or related. For instance, Bryan’s Vault. I was wondering if he used a special software to do this or if he hired a developer to build it out.

        I mentioned infusionsoft bc I noticed how on his coaching page it redirected to a form hosted on infusionsoft:

        Wondering if they handled the payment processing.

        • Oleg Starko

          Laurence, I checked this for you – Infusionsoft don’t do payment processing, they just have shopping carts and order forms, you need a business PayPal account or a payment gateway to collect.

          Here’s the info:

          So yes, your best option is PayPal or ACH deposit if you’re in the US (cheaper than PayPal, I think).

        • I would second the Gumroad suggestion, or simply looking back a few posts where Bryan talks about how he works with his developer for the Chrome extension app.

          Hire someone on elance to do the more technical stuff.

          Getting overwhelmed and not taking action is similar to a car spinning its’ wheels in mud.

          Get a general concept of what you want, even if it is just the screenshots of what Bryan did – Open an elance project.

          Let several devs bid on the project – compare their ratings/reviews and select one.

          In my experience – You should just make the project be a fixed one and set the custom range budget in elance.

          $40 – 100 is what I would suggest.

          (some people will still bid higher and lower, but this is how you could limit people from taking advantage.)

          I personally think it is really good to have outside people to help you along the way versus building it all yourself.

          The sooner you start delegating tasks, the more you will stick with the project. Instead of being overwhelmed – You begin to just see every obstacle as another project to manage.

          Keep in mind that you shouldn’t delegate everything and not learn anything about the process, but if you spend more than a week on anything without taking any forward action. Hire someone or reach out to me – I’ll give you any advice that I can.

          Take care and hope that helps.

          • Hey,

            Thanks for sharing your insights. Funny you mention elance because I used it for the first time ever a couple days ago. Basically, just had someone do some basic graphic work for me.

            I’ve been **slowly** trying to outsource tasks. I know it’s an important thing to do. (BTW – have you ever used a service like Fancyhands?)

            However, since I am fairly technical — I have this sense of guilt with the thought of outsourcing a technical task … I’m the kind of person who wants to build it themselves. I know, I know .. that’s a feeling I need to start getting over.

            Anyways, I am going to use some of Bryan’s resources on finding product ideas. (Have a few, just need to validate them.)

            I just have a few things on my plate I need to wrap up before I go full-fledge into this! ^-^

    • Oleg Starko

      Hey Laurence,

      For products, try Gumroad (, they are super-easy to set up AND they support subscriptions. For service payment, just try PayPal.

      No need to get bogged down in the finer details if you haven’t sold anything yet. 🙂

      Once you have, you’ll figure everything out a lot faster – you’ll have a VERY good incentive to do so.

  • Smart Cloud Income

    Congrats Devesh for actually implementing the idea, as the execution is most difficult part.

    Hi Bryan,
    I am a reader of ur blog since last 3 months and read the $1,000 in 14 days post but never executed it. I am trying to create affiliate websites and earn money but so far it is pretty less. I sometimes feel I keep running from one project to another without actually completing the first one, people call this ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’.

    I wanted to ask recently you mentioned you are moving away from services which you started for Kissmetrics etc. and focusing on ur email list only. I wanted to ask since providing services is not a hands free exercise as compared to maybe creation of digital products/affiliate websites/authority sites where my focus lies. But it is the fastest and easiest way to start making money online.

    Since I am struggling what would be ur advise to focus on creating assets in form of website or start with services for next year and gain some experience/money and later move to creation of personal blog/affiliate sites/authority sites?

    • Oleg Starko


      Thought I’d try to answer some of your questions before Bryan gets here.

      Offering a service is a great way to validate if people even want what you’re offering. That’s why Bryan started that way, and gives advice to others to do what he did. Once you know if works, you can develop a system, package it into a product and start generating passive income.

      I know next to nothing about your niche (creating authority / affiliate sites), but it seems that there are two major catches: a – many people prefer to bootstrap their first site or blog, not pay to set it up; b – it’s harder to find prospects because you can’t just target “John from”.

      Maybe you can shift gears to consulting / optimization services for existing websites that you feel fit your niche? There’s specific value to be provided there: a better site would grow faster and be more profitable.

      In your shoes, I’d do this:

      1 – find a website featuring affiliate offers.

      For example, here’s a recent one I’ve seen, (just look at the “Resources” section). You will see that the owner, Sean Kim, is affiliated with quite a few companies (Bluehost, GoDaddy, Mojo Marketplace, 99Designs, Wix).

      2 – see if the owner can benefit from your expertise.

      At first glance, there seems to be room for improvement in the way these resources are displayed and marketed. For one, the dedicated pages aren’t even set up yet (I’ve tested them, all except Bluehost aren’t going anywhere). Here’s your opportunity.

      Also, at this stage validate if the guy can afford you.

      3 – go over every inch of the site, put together a Devesh-style proposal and make contact.

      I hope this helps. One final tip: I have struggled choosing a good prospect on many occasions (paralysis by analysis :), so maybe someone choosing for you would give you the little push needed to take action and reach out.

    • 1. Start with one specific service (like devesh)
      2. Max that out
      3. Start teaching what you are doing
      4. Build a product.

      (That is my exact path and the most ‘sure thing’ path I’ve seen)

  • lakeisha

    you are like this angel guru giver that popped up out of no where lol i love that you are simple to the point and all about the reader! you give so much value its insane! I’m a singer getting ready to launch a song and i think that this method is what I’m going to use when i reach out to bloggers and brands for support with the movement. thanks for sharing!!!

    • LOL. “Angel guru give”

      Love it.

      Let me know if I can help you Lakeisha.

  • Oleg Starko

    Seeing the actual proposal is so helpful here. I most recently pitched several prospects who I thought would be interested in my service (improved / highly customized content upgrades to boost opt-ins).

    Even though my proposals were personalized and fairly detailed (core benefit + outline of content ideas w/ drafts for each idea), I got lukewarm responses. Now I see that I have been stopping halfway, basically. I was under-selling the potential results from the service, and not specific enough on what I could do for the prospect.

    So it came off not as a proper proposal but more like “hey, here’s how you could do better by doing X, Y and Z, let me know if you need help with it”, whereas the correct positioning is “here’s how you will benefit from X, Y and Z, here’s how I can help, here’s what I will do, and here’s what type and amount of results you can expect”.

    It’s such a profound shift in perception: you have to connect the dots for the prospect, even if they are as incredibly intelligent as Neil Patel or Brian Dean (or you, Bryan). Not because you won’t figure it out, but because it’s my job to communicate that I know exactly what I’m talking about, that I know what you want, and that I don’t suck. 🙂

  • Well done…yet again, Bryan!!

  • Great post! I’m all for actually providing value when selling.

    Whenever I run into websites that are lacking in the conversion department and I figure they are a possible client and fire up Monosnap (it has screen recording built in) and record a short 5, 10 min video. Nothing scripted, just explaining best practices in terms of CRO.

    I then just shoot them a e-mail, no pitching, not nothing telling them I found some leaks on their page. I ALWAYS get a response (perceived value in the video is strong I think) and conversion is is HIGH compared to just an e-mail or even phone. For those that don’t convert I know we have a great standing straight of the bat and sending them a reminder doesn’t feel forced.

    HINT: Check peoples PPC landing pages. Many videos originated on those! 🙂


  • Okay – I spent a snowy Saturday researching services I could offer and potential clients based on the criteria you’ve outlined in this post. I just sent off my first video pitch (12 slides of screenshots, detailed recommendations, and a recorded demo of my service in action — give, give, give).

    It turned out to be just over 10 minutes long, which I think is not too shabby 🙂 It’s not even 1AM and I have my pitch sent out!! Productive day all around 🙂

    I’m hoping to crank out a few more over the next few mornings now that I have the process down. I’ve been collecting potential clients that I think might need this service (again, based on the criteria here and in the $1000 / month post from a few months ago).


    • Awesome Brian! Let us know how it goes!

      I’ve found it gets faster as you do more pitches (you can reuse a basic formula that works)

      • Exactly what I was thinking! Thanks again Devesh 🙂

      • Okay – I got rejected on my first proposal! the silver lining is that I have some feedback on where to take this next. Looking forward to getting my next “No” 🙂

      • Just sent out my second proposal. I went way outside the “online marketing industry” so I’m hoping I can deliver the goods here 🙂

        Thanks again Devesh!

  • Already an awesome post – REALLY informative – but then the video just blew Me AWAY.
    Went to bed an hour late because I was transfixed by the sheer amount of information there is all over here!
    Turns out I started doing a weak variant on the Santa Claus Formula this week before reading, just by identifying what my clients already needed (it HAS produced sales and – very importantly – their deeper trust), now you and Devesh have given me the tools to SERIOUSLY refine it for greater success!
    Thanks Bryan and Devesh, so awesome!

    • That’s cool Tim! Good to hear you’re taking action. What’s you find most useful in the video?

      • Hey Devesh,
        I’m actually re-watching the video now because after chatting with an ex-colleague (and budding freelancer) yesterday I wouldn’t shut up about it! Haha.
        The great thing about the video is that you mention so many different WAYS the Santa Claus formula can be implemented, like your cousin’s work, Bryan’s experience when he was a salesman, as well as how great it was to see your actual pitch video for Growth Everywhere.
        I think these kind of things need to be shown in varying examples like that for some people just to spark that flame in the individual’s mind.

  • Guest

    That’s cool Tim! Good to hear you’re taking action. What’d you find most useful in the video?

  • Hey Bryan, Thanks for the great value post. Pure gold here! I sent out around 20 of those Santa Claus offers over the last month, got several positive replies and few people interested. However, I was unable to close any sales, mainly due to price concerns.
    Is there a strategy
    – to pitch the high value of your service (to justify your price)?
    – to pitch your expertise (to avoid that they ask your competitor or do the job themselves)?

  • Chris

    Great article, but the video download was painful to watch. I couldn’t make it past 5 mins.

  • No one seemed to ask below, so what happened with your military friend who pulled out Saddam? I MUST have an ending to this great beginning. #hookinme

  • Bob Anderson

    Great Video! I am now compiling a list of propects. I am not really tech savvy. What software did you use to make your video proposal?