15 Year Old Sells Company, Creates and Sells 3 More for Almost $1M with Cody McLain of SupportNinja

Cody McLain

In Episode #341, Nathan interviews Cody McLain, the founder of Support Ninja. Cody launched his first business at 15, and sold it 18 months later, having made $150k in revenue. He’s an entrepreneur with incredible drive who’s been featured in Forbes, Mashable, Entrepreneur and more. Tune in to hear how Cody sold two businesses before he was 24, why he’s set up and outsourcing company, and why this relentless entrepreneur thinks that everyone just needs to slow down.



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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Book? – The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster
  • What CEO do you follow? — Ben Casnocha
  • Favorite online tool? — Droplr
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—Yes
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — It’s not always about making money. Slow down and explore the connections you can make with other humans.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:56 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:25 – Welcoming Cody to the show
  • 01:30 – Starting your first business at FIFTEEN?
  • 02:01 – His friend proposed starting a hosting company to pay for the new XBox
  • 02:40 – It took several years to move from on-selling HostGator’s services to starting their own hosting company
  • 03:17 – At 16 or 17 he merged with another partner, having made $150k in revenue
  • 04:41 – He was in foster care when he started his first business
  • 05:11 – Aged 19, was screwed over by a potential business partner who ended up in a litigation battle
  • 06:00 – Lost customers because the buyer damaged the company’s reputation
  • 07:09 – Servers were shut down and customers quit
  • 07:55 – Cody walked away and moved to Seattle
  • 08:29 – He started a new business, PacificHost
  • 09:40 – Put around $30k of his $70k savings into the business before it was profitable
  • 10:11 – PacificHost was making around $650k in annual revenue when he sold it
  • 10:51 – Margins tend to be low in the hosting industry.
  • 12:06 – Sold PacificHost for a little under $1 million aged 24
  • 12:35 – Started an outsourcing business with a partner in India
  • 13:11 – “I always wanted to be a startup…but I’m very risk-averse. So I took the opportunity to work with startups”
  • 13:53 – Support Ninja was founded to provide outsourcing services for small startups
  • 14:09 – 14 months in, they have over $1 million in contracts
  • 15:23 – First-year revenue in 2015 was less than $500k
  • 15:44 – “We didn’t even know what we were selling the first few months”
  • 16:01 – “I would say we provide Outsourcing As A Service”
  • 16:37 – Support Ninja uses similar metrics to SaaS and they expect a 40% net margin
  • 18:38 – Cody’s eager to use the skills and platform of Support Ninja to launch new projects
  • 19:05 – They currently have 10 clients
  • 19:30 – Average annual contract size is $100k – $400k
  • 19:40 – Team size is 5 in the USA, 100 in the Philippines
  • 20:20 – Follow Cody on Twitter or check out his website
  • 22:05 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. It’s not all about making money. Slow down. Connect with the people around you.
  2. Know your own skills.
  3. Always be looking ahead. Know where your current project can take you.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.