Brady Shearer is the founder of Pro Church Tools and the host of a popular podcast on iTunes called Pro Church Tools. Pro Church Tools is an organization Brady founded to help small, medium and big churches go professional with their media, communications, and videos. The organization was built on his passion for church media and announcements, and has grown exponentially over time to become sizeable.
Listen in to get all the juicy details from Brady Shearer in this episode.
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Type of business
His business is entirely online, they don’t do anything in-person. When he started the business it was entirely laptop-based (laptop lifestyle) for a long time. The business now has 8 full-time employees plus Brady, and has room for about 3 or 4 more people. It has at least 6 to 12 freelancers, contractors and remote employees.
Period in full-time business and core revenue streams
Brady says he has been 3 or 4 years in full-time business and their main product since the beginning is producing video announcements (Pro Video Announcements) for churches. They currently work with about 150 churches each week producing their video announcements. He says what drives the entire business is their brand “Pro Church Tools”.
Since the very beginning he has been releasing videos, articles and podcasts every week to teach people everything he knows. That has enabled them to build an audience called the “Pro Church Nation” which has in turn allowed them to experiment with new products including Nucleus (A boutique church website builder) and Story Tape (An unlimited stock footage site). They are a fully bootstrapped business. Pro Video Announcements has been funding everything.
Starting out in business
Brady started out as the media director in his church while also attending bible college. He didn’t have any video, social, web or design skills at the time but he had a knack for going into something he had never done before, and learning it very quickly. He did that with recording software and learnt everything he could. The more he learnt, the more he did for his church and his work was eventually noticed by other churches, that kept asking him to do freelance work for them.
The more he did the work, the more he started to focus mainly on doing church specific stuff and that’s when he decided to launch Pro Church Tools. The business brought together his interest in online business and the audience he was passionate about serving including churches, ministries, pastors and church leaders. He started www.prochurchtools.com and just began teaching everything that he had learnt about producing church-specific video announcements.
Knowing he could succeed with it
He was full-time in school and also worked 20 hours a week at his church so he didn’t really have time to work on the business. To make time, he started waking up very early every day to work on the business. From 5am to 8am, he would work on the business before going to school. To date, he does his best work in the early mornings.
He didn’t know the business would work but he had money saved up from his freelance work to put into starting Pro Church Tools. He then gave himself 4 months to work on the business but nothing happened in the first 3 months. He was starting to lose hope when in the following next 2 weeks he had 6 churches sign up. It turned out that churches go into hibernation especially with big purchase decisions throughout the summer and that’s why he was not getting any sign ups in the first 3 months. With the first clients, he was eventually able to replace the income that he was earning from church. That gave him the confidence to move forward.
Video announcements for churches
He says church services have 3 elements including the music time, preaching time and announcements time. Announcements time is the worst time and some announcements can take up to 20 minutes. Pro Church Tools takes those announcements and turns them into quick 2 to 3-minute videos that can be replayed every single week through social media or a church’s website. The video enables churches to reclaim 10 to 15 minutes in service time.
Making the video announcements involves Brady and his team hosting and presenting to the different churches’ members.
Doing the initial outreach to the target market
Brady did a lot of content marketing by producing videos, recording podcasts, writing articles and basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He had also built an email list from the very beginning. Every week he would email out new valuable content.
At the beginning, he was doing a lot of YouTube videos and articles on the website. He then started doing podcasting a year after that. He has never done paid advertising.
Current state of business
Within the first 2 years of running Pro Church Tools, Brady says he had developed a 6-figure income. From there he achieved 7-figures and now the business is at multiple 7-figures. His goal is to achieve 8 figures, run a $5 Million to $10 Million business and maintain a team of up to 10 to 12.
Brady says that to this day, 90% of their clients are living within the USA despite Pro Church Tools being a Canadian company. From the early days, it was a while before they had any churches outside of the USA sign up for their video announcements service.
Finding the sales funnel
He says they have a very simple and elaborate pricing table on their homepage for the pro video announcements. That enables interested churches to immediately sign up online and get their preferred service.
Pro Church Tools offers pre-written announcement scripts for those who don’t know how to write their announcements but most churches submit their own scripts. Within the online form, the churches can choose between 5 different audio backgrounds, 9 different actual backgrounds where the host stands, the graphics, intros, and outros. It’s all highly customizable and systemized. Pro Church Tools receives each client’s order in template form which makes their work easier.
Fear of failure
The time Brady was starting out and not getting clients was one of the moments when he felt like he had failed. There have been other such moments but they all teach him very valuable lessons.
Nucleus is a website builder for churches and with it, Brady is trying to change the way churches approach building their websites. They launched the software in April 2017 and managed to have 1,000 chartered churches sign up in the first week after which they shut down enrolment to focus on those 1,000 paid beta members. They have been working with the churches for the last 5 months and plan to eventually open the product publicly within the next 1 to 2 years.
The beta churches have been very patient with them as they have been building up the product. The software is functional but not as robust as they would like it to be. The churches have been funding the project and in return they will get a 50% life time discount once the project is live. Brady expects to put in about $500,000 into the project before it goes public but he is fully convinced that it will be very helpful to many churches.
Biggest breakthrough with Pro Church Tools
Brady says it has been a slow compounding effect from not making any money to actually making money online. That was the biggest breakthrough for him.
Tip: Nothing is as big as having zero dollars and then having a dollar
He says the podcast enables them to go really deep with their audience. That is proven when people approach him, email or chat him online about how connected they are to the podcast.
This is big because their audience is on Facebook more than any other social media platform and so it gives them the opportunity to reach more people than other platforms. They go a lot deeper on Instagram than other platforms but with Facebook they have the most reach because their audience is generally older. He doesn’t love Facebook as much as he does Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter but their audience is on Facebook more than any other platform, so they have to figure it out regardless.
He says that he invests in mentors through podcasting. He consumes a lot of podcasts.
Tip: When you are in online business, there aren’t too many things on it already except for stuff that is online and that’s what makes niches. When you have access to the internet and you are able to reach the whole world, you can create a really small niche because you have enough market worldwide.
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
- E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
- Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk
- Crushed It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion – Gary Vaynerchuk
To ensure his family can always do what they want to do and have complete control over lives – Brady.
Best way to connect:
www.prochurchtools.com – Brady’s Business website
@bradyshearer – Brady’s Twitter and Instagram Handle
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