Our March 2020 Weekly Revenue Numbers Show When Businesses Started Freaking out Around the World
It’s been about five or six weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly started having a large impact on businesses in the U.S. and the rest of the world. JPG Legal’s clientele is about 50% U.S.-based and 50% international, representing virtually every industry, so our revenue serves as a sort of microcosm of the global economy.
Our monthly gross revenue for March ended up at $123,538, down from February’s record monthly revenue of $143,478. But when March is broken down into two halves, the numbers are much scarier.
If you look at the above table I made, you can see things kind of collapsed in mid-March, but then went back up in late March. We were also experimenting with Microsoft Ads during the month, which was spending roughly $3,000 per new client, much higher than we get with Google Ads, so the green part of the graph is artificially smaller than it would be because of the ineffectiveness and poor artificial intelligence of our Microsoft ad campaigns.
You can probably guess, based on that massive drop from the second week to the third week, that I got very worried in mid-March. Look at how tiny the green part is! And that’s before government filing fees (which are about 30% of total revenue), payroll, office rent, etc.
The thing scaring me the most was that I had just given a job offer to an attorney who had accepted the offer, and he was actually going to leave a pretty cool job at a large professional services firm to come to JPG Legal! I was having trouble sleeping knowing that I would not only be responsible for the livelihood of an additional attorney, but that he would be leaving a stable job to come here even though we had just experienced such a large drop in revenue.
Luckily for me, and to his credit, my new recruit called me up and told me he hadn’t actually put in his notice at his current job. He asked me how things were going and wanted to have an honest talk about JPG Legal’s capacity to bring him on. We both decided that the best move would be to defer his offer until we have a better idea of JPG Legal’s financial situation. I’ve been checking in with him periodically since then.
Things have picked up a bit since I made that graph, though we’re still not where we were in February and early March. For April, our revenue is down a bit, minus one outlier.
Because one client just spent $59,000 on 79 trademarks two weeks ago, April may end up being our best month ever. But we’ve never had something like that happen before. We’ve had maybe five clients who have ever spent more than $8,000 on us total, and no single entity had spent more than $15,000 total on us before this guy whom I’ll call “Outlier Client.” Outlier Client, if you’re reading this, thank you so much!
If we adjust for Outlier Client by counting his order as just one premium trademark package, we’re on track for around $115,000 in non-outlier revenue for April, which would be a decrease of about 20% from February. $115,000 in monthly revenue is enough to keep our current staff of two attorneys, one paralegal, and me, but it’s right on the edge of the revenue needed to have an additional attorney on staff.
Before I put the job listing out, I had actually calculated that we could afford an additional attorney without straining ourselves as long as our gross revenue was at least roughly $110,000, which we’ve been meeting every month since August 2019 except September. Outlier Client obviously gives us a cushion, but it’s still not clear whether our numbers are temporarily low, whether this is our new normal, or whether the numbers will drop.
I do think the country is likely to keep declining into a bad recession, but I’m not sure how that will affect JPG Legal, which I see as a recession-proof business, or possibly even a business that might benefit from a recession, given that our fees are dramatically lower and more predictable than those of conventional small business attorneys.
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