My Pc Friends
MSP News

MyPcFriends – THE ROAD TO $1M

Content provided by: MyPCFriends / SuperOps

When you hear that a 6-person MSP that transformed into the MSP business mo­del only post the pandemic is on track to reach $1 million in revenue in 2024, do you assume that it has been a smooth journey so far? For Mariana Arrieta and Alexis Villamizar, the husband-and-wife duo behind Florida-based MyPCFriends, the journey to $1 million hasn’t been easy. Theirs is a tale of grit, determination, struggles, and perseverance.

Mariana’s and Alexis’ story embodies the spirit of the American Dream. About a decade ago they were running a break-fix shop in Venezuela, and were making a comfortable living off it. However, the political situation in the country made them decide to move to the USA.

“When I moved here, I thought we were going to do the same thing I did in Venezuela. But no, it’s totally different, the taxes, the calculation for taxes, everything is different. They need servers, SQL, a lot of things. Here, when I tried to do the same, it didn’t work,” recalls Alexis. So the couple took up other jobs and started building out a life in their new home.

In the meantime Alexis continued to take up break-fix jobs on the side, he changed the name of the break-fix operations to MyPcFriends, and even tried to create an app that the retirees in Florida could use to get computer repair support. But the latter didn’t take off.

By then the pandemic hit, Alexis was furloughed and Mariana started working from home. This gave Ale­xis time to research what type of business model he wanted to create because he was sure he wanted to focus on IT, but didn’t want to continue the break-fix shop.

That’s when a business partner told them about an MSP Summit in Miami. The Summit was all about building an MSP business model, and it was the Eureka moment that Alexis was waiting for. Armed with this information, Alexis went about building MyPcFriends into an MSP, and eventually, Mariana too joined full-time. In 2023, they tripled their revenue, and as mentioned earlier, this year they are on track to reach $1 million. This is how they did it.

Moving from break-fix to monthly recur­ring, cold turkey
The first year was all about learning the new business model, getting the tools in place, crafting the right service packages for customers, and trying to convince their break-fix clients, mostly family-run businesses, to move to a monthly recurring model. This meant educating the customers on why the model worked for them. It also meant learning to have tough conversations. Marianna remembers Alexis telling customers, “We want you to grow, but we want to grow too.” It was a nerve-wracking scenario for them, because they didn’t know if customers would opt for retainerships. Eventually, they realized they had to stop offering break-fix services entirely. And, work it did; break-fix clients opted for the monthly retainer model. “That was a total game changer for us,” says Mariana.


Focus your attention and services
In the beginning, they were not selective. While cyberse­curity has always been an area of specialization, MyPcFriends has also narrowed its industry focus to Insurance and CPAs, because of the high regulatory and compliance requirements, which translates to such businesses needing more support. The focus has helped Alex­is and Marianna improve their expertise in these areas.

Don’t be shy to ask for help.
Mariana and Alex­is say there is only one secret to how they built a successful business, and that was reaching out to anyone who was ready to give advice and help. Apart from guidance, they also found support. “Someone was always telling us, Oh don’t worry, two years ago I was worse than you. You are doing just fine, and that made us feel not alone,” says Mariana. The support has also translated to significant business impact, as can be seen from the points below.

Don’t try to buy a Ferrari, when you can only afford a Corolla
One of the best pieces of advice they got was there is no need to splurge on building a suite of tech tools for customers when there are multiple other options that are equally good but are more affordable and are a better fit for their custom­ers. Alexis and Mariana went down the rabbit hole of trying to get only the most expensive tools for their clients in the initial days. But, after an advisor correct­ed this misconception, they opted for tools that could be from lesser known brands, were less expensive, but did as good a job as the expensive alternatives.

Understand your Client
Alexis is a firm believer in staying close to the customer, and knowing what the client’s pain points are so they can support the clients better. He believes field managers are necessary, and they need to visit client offices, and spend time working with the client on-site. He is also a proponent of educating and training clients, especially in areas of compliance and cybersecurity, because the end users’ choices and knowledge are part of the arsenal of weapons at the MSP’s disposal to prevent breaches.

Increase prices when you need to, but communicate
One of the most stressful decisions an MSP takes is to increase prices. Alexis knew they were undercharging their clients for their services, and, late last year, he was considering increasing prices by about 15%, which was still much lower than the market. Alexis spoke to one of his advisors in the industry, who told him to go the whole hog, and charge full price. “This was like going from 250 to a thou­sand. I was hyperventilating,” says Alexis. The plan was to communicate to 10 of their clients on January 5th, but due to worry and stress, Alexis sent out the communication only on the 15th. By March 1st, which was the last date for the clients to move to the new pricing or move away, only the three smallest clients had moved away. The rest remained. Gross revenue had gone up by 80%, and a majority of clients stayed put – this was a big win for Mariana and Alexis.

Alexis and Mariana, who have four employees now, are fully committed to swift growth. But, Alexis is also keen on building a long-term organization that takes care of its employees, a business where employees enjoy working and want to stay. The most important goal, though, is to leave a legacy for their young daughter, and to make their American Dream come true.

Content copying is restricted!