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How to optimise and improve your business quickly without friction

How to optimise and improve your business quickly without friction

Streamlining operations and removing bottlenecks is key for scaling any business. But trying to overhaul everything at once or make changes based on limited data often backfires. You risk decreasing quality or frustrating your audience rather than helping them. This is why it’s important to understand how to optimise and improve your business quickly without friction.

So how do you upgrade what you offer without constant friction? How do you smooth out processes to boost efficiency without overextending resources on unnecessary revisions?

What This Post Covers:

  • The 10-step methodology for rapid, seamless business optimization
  • Understanding your core purpose and audience before innovating
  • Avoiding reactionary changes based on outlier feedback
  • Taking an iterative, phased approach to major improvements
  • Launching upgrades in small batches to test responses
  • Creating alternative options once minority needs grow more common
  • Knowing when to fully overhaul based on shifting majority preferences

Listen now:

Why it’s important for scaling businesses to streamline, change and optimise the right way

The idea behind this episode came from a conversation I was having with a client, actually, recently. We were looking at their current product suite and the different programs and inclusions that they have inside their product suite.

And we noticed that something isn’t sitting well. Things aren’t running as smoothly as they could, or the clients of the clients aren’t getting through things as well as they possibly could. And being impact focused businesses, we always want our clients getting the results they initially intended to get.

And so we were looking at how to make this journey easier for them or how to make the pathway clearer. And then as I was chatting to my client, they were talking about some of the different things they can see and the different ways they think that they could improve one of these programs or change it up.

And I paused for a minute and said, okay, hang on a second, because what we don’t want to do is create another big mess. Not that the one we have right now is a big mess. It served its purpose really, really well. And for the majority, it works. So what do we actually need to change? And then it got me to thinking, this is a conversation that I have with a lot of my clients, actually, and it stems from us wanting to improve something or optimise it.

So that our clients get better results or so that we can serve more people. And what we have a tendency to do is move too quickly. And by doing that, it doesn’t mean that you can’t move fast, but it means that you need to do it in the right way with the right thought. So today I wanted to discuss with you how you can conceptualise new ideas, initiatives, upgrades, or improvement to existing systems.

Follow this 10-step approach to optimise and improve your business rapidly yet seamlessly:

 

Step 1: Identify the Purpose. What are we trying to achieve with this improvement?

Clarify the purpose and audience before adjusting anything, revisit why it exists and who it serves. Before making any changes, it’s important to identify the purpose of the system, process, or program you’re looking to improve. Ask questions such as “What are we doing?” and “Who does this impact?” This will help you determine the original purpose and ensure that any changes do not compromise it.

 

Step 2: Follow the Golden Rule for streamlining systems and processes

The golden rule of streamlined systems and operations is to concept and build for the majority, not the minority. Too often, businesses make changes based on feedback from a small group of clients rather than considering the needs of the majority. Remember, your goal is to serve the majority of your audience and meet the purpose and intention for the majority of people.

Always concept for the majority, not the minority.

Step 3: Brainstorm All Options for Improvement

Don’t limit yourself when you’re brainstorming potential improvements. Put all of your thoughts and ideas on paper or in a digital document. This will help you get all of your ideas out of your head and clear the way for new and innovative solutions.

Sometimes the best ideas and the best improvements come from getting everything else out of the way. Clearing out all the cobwebs.

Step 4: Focus on what matters to most people

After brainstorming, it’s time to get focused. Anchor down into the majority of the people you’re trying to serve and consider the desired outcome. Use a split template to organise your ideas and determine the solutions that will work best for the majority. A split template is a phrase I made up, it means draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper with information related to the majority on the left and the information or ideas related to the minority on the right.

 

Step 5: Refine and structure your ideas for improvement

Shape your upgrade approach relying on majority insights. Look at the first column of your split template and start forming a solid draft of the changes you want to make. Perhaps you change a process flow or program structure given their preferences. Outline what this looks like.

 

Step 6: Consider a phased rollout or an iterative approach to optimisation

You rarely need to overhaul everything simultaneously. Determine if a staggered launch works better, doing pieces of the upgrade over time.

If we can iteratively improve things, the whole thing gets better without it cannibalising all your other business efforts, without it weighing too much in on everything else you are trying to achieve.

Step 7: Build or implement the changes

Once you have a structured outcome in mind, know what you want to try and how you’re going to do it, it’s time to start building or implementing that change.

 

Step 8: Measure feedback with care.

Monitor the responses from your audience. Don’t change everything based on feedback from an outlier – there will always be oddities, and for these you either get comfy with your solution not being for everyone or you create a one-off option in that instance. Look for patterns and trends before making additional changes.

 

Step 9: Consider the minority

While the majority of your clients or customers may benefit from the changes, there may be a small group of people who don’t. Put all of the things from your brainstorm list that apply to a small amount of people in your second column. This will help you determine if there’s a need for a different pathway for these people. If you start to see multiple outliers who would benefit from a different approach, consider creating a patch. This is a way to improve the process for the minority without reinventing the wheel. Look for a solution that will meet their needs without fully re-engineering the process.

 

Step 10: Overhaul if Majority Needs Shift

If you start seeing a strong pattern, consistent recurring results and feedback from majority of people – it’s time to change the original plan – again, we’re not starting from scratch. We’re tweaking and upgrading based on data.

 

The impact of taking an iterative, bite-sized approach to upgrades in your business

By taking this phased, iterative approach to upgrades and innovation, you create positive change without complication. You streamline and scale efficiently, eliminating friction while still personalising for those needing extra support.

The process starts by understanding customers’ “why” and building on what works for most. Then you methodically enhance, avoiding reactionary pivots unless majority preferences demonstrably transform. Progress one piece at a time until collectively achieving optimisation.

Carefully listen to feedback but act strategically, creating alternative options for outlier groups only once their needs are more widely shared. Constantly realign to the core purpose and majority as the driving forces.

 

Over to you

What areas of your business need smoothing out or enhancing? Brainstorm ideas then narrow by what will help the majority progress even further. functionality over flash.

Stop being selfish and start asking more questions

Stop being selfish and start asking more questions

Stop being selfish and start asking more questions

The reason that I wanted to talk about the questions we should be asking is because I think that sometimes they can make or break the way we execute any project or any relationship or ongoing work with a client.

Questions are crucial and we need to get over our fear of asking them.

What I’ve found is when we don’t ask questions, or we don’t ask the right questions, things get disastrous pretty quickly. So I’m going to tell you a little bit of a story first, for some context.

We were working with a client, and this client had been referred to by somebody else, it was all going really well, had a conversation and seemed great.

Somebody else said to us, just don’t ask any questions. If you ask questions, they’ll get really defensive. They’ll get annoyed. You’re better off just not asking any questions.

So I thought, huh, okay, that’s interesting, but all right. I can definitely come with an approach where it is a matter of me coming up with a concept, or a solution first, or a recommendation, and then seeing what comes off the back of that, instead of asking questions.

Over the next couple of weeks, we kept creating different things, and there was this disjointed relationship happening, and what I ended up getting told by the client is, “I don’t understand, why didn’t you just ask me this?” And, “I would have told you all this stuff”.

I said, “oh, well I got told not to ask any questions.” 

The client replied, “No, I’m happy to answer questions. I don’t like questions that have no purpose. Questions that are relevant, 100% ask me all the questions, I do not mind”.

After that, it changed very quickly. I was able to do my job properly because now I didn’t have this pool of information being withheld from me because I couldn’t ask any questions about it.

So it was after the first few weeks that we really got the traction that we had been trying to get this entire time. Everybody got a lot less frustrated.

This has taught me that we need to ask the questions.

If we’re told not to ask the questions, we need to push back on that because it is an unrealistic expectation and it does not serve anybody.

So why don’t we ask questions? Insecurity. Ego. They’re the two core reasons why we won’t ask someone questions if we don’t understand or if we need more information.

We’re worried that we’ll be perceived as dumb, as not understanding when we should, as not being as competent or capable, as damaging our reputation by asking questions like that. We’re concerned someone will get annoyed because we’re asking too many questions, so we don’t.

But, can I tell you, the consequence of not asking those questions ends up reinforcing all those things anyway. People are going to get more annoyed if you don’t ask the question and then they don’t get the results because you never had the information first.

If you spend hours and hours trying to find an answer to a question that your client could have answered in one second, I guarantee you when you tell your client about that they’re going to come back and say, why didn’t you just ask me.

Instead, we’ve delayed this thing by a week or however long because you were looking for an answer you didn’t have and I could have solved that very quickly or we’re going to damage our reputation and our brand for being highly capable because we don’t know when to ask and when not to. Instead, the results that we get aren’t as good as they can be because we didn’t have the information up front.

So when we’re looking at these things, we really need to remember the questions are important more so than all of the fears and the stories that we have built up around those questions.

The impact of not asking questions hampers growth. You cannot grow without asking the right questions. It hampers creativity. Unless you ask questions and get a nice baseline, you don’t know what you’re working with and then you don’t know what you can springboard off.

How often have you had a meeting with a client where you’re trying to soundboard or you’re both trying to come up with a new idea to do something and there’s been no questions asked? Never. Questions breed creativity because they spark something in the other person that you’re speaking to. It gives them an idea to leverage off, even if the answer is, “oh, well, I definitely don’t want to do that. So that means it’s going to be the opposite. Let’s go this way”.

Then we come to another question and then that gives us more ideas.

Questions breed creativity. If we don’t ask the right questions, we increase free work and either our clients pay for that, or we pay for that. Both scenarios, we don’t want happening.

Without asking questions, we increase frustration and friction. We’re going to have these constant back and forth annoyance in conversation because we haven’t been able to ask the question, because we weren’t brave enough to ask the question, because we’re trying to work out creative ways to ask the question that we really want to ask, we’re not getting the answer that we need to actually do our job.

On the flip side, our clients are sitting there going, what is it they’re trying to ask me? They’ve asked me 15 questions and still are asking me more questions. When really, if we just asked the question that we needed the answer to originally, we’d be asking one question. Far better scenario. In saying all of this, I encourage you to ask more questions.

When we do not ask the questions, we are being selfish. We are prioritising our safety and our comfort, our reputation, our insecurities, over the outcome that we’re trying to achieve for our clients and that’s not fair.

I don’t want you to use questions as a cop out or a stalling tactic. Questions are not to be used as a cop out or a stalling tactic. What do I mean by that? I have noticed this pattern in people, where, if we feel uncomfortable or we’ve made a mistake, we use questions as a way to cover it. So for instance, if we are delayed in delivering something, and we know we’re delayed, and we know the client is going to ask about why we’re delayed if we take much longer, what I’ve seen some OBMs do is go back to the client and ask a really silly question. “Do you want this in purple or green?” “Well, where is the backlog of titles I can use?” These questions aren’t terrible questions, but in the context of what you’re doing, they absolutely are, because they’re being asked so that then the OBM, a week later when the client comes back and says, where’s this up to?, the OBM can then say, “oh, well, I’m still waiting for your answer on this before I can even start it”. It’s just not true. Both of those questions, you could have got 99% of the job done without the answer to that question. It is not an excuse. Then you’ve created a question to give you the breathing room that you needed to catch up and then all of a sudden it becomes the client’s  fault and responsibility that they didn’t answer that. That is not what questions are for. Do not create scenarios like that where you can flip the blame or ditch the responsibility because someone hasn’t answered the question that you had that you really didn’t need the answer for right now.

Don’t do it. Because then what also happens is when you ask real questions, you’re greeted with someone who’s annoyed. Because then we never know if questions are genuine or not.

In saying all of those things, ask better questions. Ask good questions. Lots of them.

What is a good question? A good question is clear and it’s current.

We’re not using lots and lots of different words or bridges in our question so that then when we’re asking it, it’s confusing to answer. We want to know exactly why we’re asking a question before we ask it. If you know why or the answer that you’re trying to get, your question will be a lot clearer because you won’t be trying to come up with the question as you’re saying it.

You won’t be finishing the idea in your head while you’re asking it and then that just makes it harder for someone to answer. So you know the answer you’re trying to get to when you’re asking a question, it needs to be clear. Questions need to be concise. Do not use lots and lots of words when a few will do.

Each question should have a specific purpose. Use the words that will get you to that purpose. If you’re wanting to know if the colour that you’re going to use, if you’re going to use the primary blue color from the brand, or if you’re going to use the secondary blue color from the brand, ask that, do you want it to be the primary blue or the secondary blue?

Don’t ask, “Hey, I’m doing this new design and I’ve got to pick the colors for it and I’m wondering which color I should use”. That’s not the question that you really need an answer to. The client is going to say, “Hey, go back to the brand palette”. And you’re going to say, “I already did that. But I don’t know which blue.” See how it’s totally different now? Ask the question that you want to ask, and be concise.

Questions should be contextual. If you’re having a conversation with someone, make sure the questions that you’re asking are relevant to that conversation and if they’re not, wait until the end of the conversation to ask about something else. If someone is talking to you about designing this amazing PDF, and you have a question about how it’s going to be delivered, wait until you’ve finished the design aspect of the conversation to ask that question.

Otherwise, it’s too disjointed, and our brains jump everywhere and we get confused and then, you don’t get the answers that you need. So make sure they’re contextual and make sure they’re current. Don’t ask questions about things that don’t matter anymore. Think about the questions that you have and go, Okay, I know that five years ago we used to write meta descriptions that had to be 240 words long.

What 240 words do you want me to use? Don’t ask that question if you know that now meta descriptions need to be 120 words long. It’s out of date information, and regardless of how we used to do it, we need to frame questions in the way that is current. Hey, I know these used to be 240 words, but it’s changed to 120.

What’s our process for doing that? And do we need to retrospectively go and change all the old ones from 240 to 120? It’s that simple. It becomes current. We’re not just talking about previous things for no reason, or we’re not just asking questions about things that don’t matter anymore. We’ve eliminated that process, so we don’t have that product.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

Now that we have our pattern for good questions, and we know that we need to ask more questions, what kind of questions do we need to ask? I’ve come up with eight, and if I’m honest with you, I could have come up with more. I actually found this quite fun and I just thought about the different types of questions that I ask my clients regularly.

Like everything else, I’ve put them in categories because I think if you can have categories, you can always work from that to customise it for yourself. Whereas if I just gave you a list of really specific questions, they’re a one time use thing. So I’d rather give you the principle.

This episode shares:  

  • Unblocking Questions: Keep projects on track by identifying bottlenecks and seeking solutions from your clients.
  • Improvement Questions: Refine your deliverables by gathering feedback and iterating based on client preferences.
  • Decision Questions: Get clarity on crucial choices that require client input.
  • Strategic Questions: Collaborate on a winning strategy by understanding your client’s vision and desired outcomes.
  • Clarifying Questions: Ensure you’re on the same page by summarising key points and confirming your understanding.
  • Historic Questions: Gain context for current situations by learning about past decisions and actions.
  • Perspective Shifting Questions: Help clients overcome hesitation and see new possibilities by reframing challenges.
  • “I Give a Crap” Questions: Build strong relationships by showing genuine interest in your clients’ well-being and goals.

8 questions you should be asking your clients on a regular basis

Unblocking questions

Unblocking questions are that will stop the bottlenecks and that will keep work progressing. These can be questions that are for you specifically. These can be questions that you’re asking so that you can keep a team moving forward. It’s going back to your client and saying, Hey, I know that your days are booked back to back for the next week.

What that means? is that you’re not going to be able to review this piece of work that I need reviewed in two days. What are we going to do here? Because I can’t move forward with that. Unless you’ve reviewed it and I can’t see a gap, is there something we can move? Can you move this thing so that you can review this so that I can keep going?

Otherwise the team is going to come to a standstill. Or, hey, I really need to know where you’ve saved this file because I can’t keep working on it without it. I’ve done as much as I can and now everything is going to stop unless you give it to me. So an unblocking question. Questions that literally are going to stop everything unless they get an answer.

Tip💡: Get as much questions that will stop the bottlenecks and that will keep work progressing.

Improvement questions

These types of questions come from when we’re looking at something and we want to improve it, or when we’ve done something and the feedback that we get isn’t, this is 100 percent amazing, which is fair enough. 100% is a pretty epic result and very rarely are we going to nail it like that every time.

So we need questions that we can ask to get closer to that 100% as we’re working with people. These are improvement questions. It might be when you show your client something and then you say, is this what you had in mind? Then that gives them the ability to say yeah, mostly, but I would really love it if we had used the secondary blue.

If they’ve come back and they don’t really like the process you’ve created, or the tool that you’ve used, or, some piece of it doesn’t quite fit and then you get to ask in the future, would it be better if I tried this approach? Is that going to work better for you? And we’re creating improvements with each thing we’re delivering.

I’ve noticed this in this process. Is it cool with you if we change it to this? Because it’s more efficient. It means that it’s going to take this person on the team half the amount of time and then we hand it over to the next person because they’re heaps better at it. Improvement questions. Making things better.

Tip💡: Make questions that we can ask to get closer to that 100% as we’re working with people.

 

Decision questions

These are questions that you ask to get an executive decision. Hey, I really need to know if we’re launching in May or if we’re launching in June.

Because we’re getting way too close to the deadline and we are not going to be ready in time. I need the decision. I need the decision on whether we’re going to price this at $97 or $497.

It’s decisions that you cannot make without your client. So it’s that executive weight and that someone needs to lead here and it needs to be the client. So I need you to answer this question for me.

Tip💡: Make your client know that he needs to lead executive decisions.

Strategic questions

Love me a little bit of strategy. I love when things have purpose. I love when things have planning. Strategic questions are questions that you ask to come up with a strategy or to improve a strategy. In an ideal world. What would your role be here? It gives your clients freedom to create their role in that strategy. It gives them a door to vent all of their thoughts and feelings or their vision of what they want and fill you in at the same time.

Are we wanting to go in this direction when we create this product or are we wanting to go in a different direction? Which one did you have in mind? It’s telling you information so you can ask follow up questions.

It’s telling you information so that when you go and create a strategy for whatever you’re creating it for, you have some foundations there.

Why are we even doing this activity? What results do we want to get here? Without that, how are you going to create a strategy? If you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re trying to achieve, how can you work out the best way for this client to get there? So there’s strategic questions.


Tip💡:
 Make questions that you ask to come up with a strategy or to improve a strategy.

Clarifying questions

 

This 100% is something that OBMs do not do enough of. It’s quite simple. When you have a conversation with one of your clients, clarify what you’ve heard and what you’re going to do based on that. From what you’ve said, I’m hearing that I’m gonna grow, I’m going to create six months worth of socials.

The copy, the graphics, I’m going to create a system for which that all happens so that next time someone else can do it, I’m going to create a process for the scheduling, and I’m going to create a process for the approval, then I’m going to walk you through it. Does that sound good? Or is that right? It’s that simple.

Repeating back, based on the things we’ve talked about, this is what I’m hearing and this is what I’m going to do, or this is what you’re thinking and feeling. Is that correct? Because if we’ve missed a piece, we’re going to save so much time up front by clarifying. Communication is an art.

There’s so many different courses that you can go and do, even in university level, around communication, because we all communicate differently.

Therefore, clarifying things is really important.


Tip💡:
Communication is an art. Clarify everything as much as possible.

 

Historic questions

Historic questions are when you ask questions about things that have happened previously in the business. So what series of events led us here? Why did we choose to do webinars? Why is this person’s file totally different to everybody else’s?

Trying to get context based on the past, you need historic questions and it’s okay to ask them. Because it gives you the context to make better decisions for the future, which is what we want

 

Tip💡: Get context about the business past, to make better decisions for the future.

 

Perspective shifting questions

These are my favourite and the reason for that is that it gives us the opportunity to  expand with our clients.

If we’re noticing something, or we notice hesitation, or we notice a roadblock, or we notice a hesitation towards an opportunity, we can ask perspective shifting questions to see where the block really is or to open more doors for them. What that means is if we’re saying, I would really love to go and do that.

I can see the value that it would bring to the business, but I just don’t have the time. You could say something like, but what if we found the time? If we could find the time, is it still something that you would want to do? Yeah, but I’m scared. Okay, so what are the ways we could find the time?

Let’s just pretend and then we start thinking about ways we could find the time. You can do this for all different types of objectives and all different types of hurdles. What if, instead of it being the person on the other end of the line being an idiot, it’s because we haven’t clarified what the process is at the beginning.

So what if we just fixed the process? Then maybe we would get less of these calls and you wouldn’t be as stressed. What do you think of that? That we’re helping them look at things in a different way that opens more doors and solves more problems. Perspective shifting questions. They’re fantastic. Use them.

Tip💡: Clarify what the process is at the beginning of the project.

I give a crap questions

I am a peopler, and if you don’t have good relationships with your clients, then what on earth are you doing working with them? You cannot work that closely with a business and not feel connected to them or be invested in what they’re doing.

It’s just not the way it’s going to work well. These questions are questions like, how are you? How is your son feeling? Hey, how did your daughter go in the grand final? Hey, are you feeling less wobbly today? Is there something I can do for you? Hey, that sounds like an amazing idea as long as it’s not going to be too much for you to do because then you’ll be stressed and I don’t want you to end up stressed.

Questions that show you care. Questions that show you give a crap, just like the toilet paper.

 

Tip💡: You cannot work that closely with a business and not feel connected to them or be invested in what they’re doing.

And… that’s a wrap!

There are eight categories of questions you should be asking. I hope this has well and truly given you enough to ask better questions, the right questions, to know that you need to ask questions. Now my challenge for you is to go and do it.

From tomorrow, start asking more questions.

Send me a DM if you’re listening to this and you’re going to start asking more questions and tell me which category you think you need to work on. 

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Follow along with the transcript

E41 Well, that’s a terrible idea: How to lead clients into making well-informed, future focused decisions.

Leanne Woff:[00:00:00] Hey, hey, hey, lovely. Today’s episode is all about terrible ideas. [00:01:00] No, it’s not really, but it’s called, well, that’s a terrible idea: how to lead clients into making well informed, future focused decisions. Let me tell you a little story. I know you love stories.

My team and I have been working with some clients and there’s this phenomenon that we see. And it happens all the time, really. And it’s a bit of a flip flop. And I want to dive in with you to look at why this flip flop happens. What’s with the wobble? My team and I spend a lot of time overhauling systems, processes, creating more efficient ways to do things, thinking outside of the box, extrapolating things out and then pulling them all back into a condensed machine way of operating.

And when we’re looking at overhauling [00:02:00] anything in a business, that means change. And can I tell you, humans don’t like change. Generally, that’s the way it goes, because it feels uncomfortable and it tells us that we’re not safe. So we’re working with the client. We’ve improved one of their core systems in their business.

We’ve presented it. We’ve walked them through in detail and they have raved. On the call, they’re saying this is amazing. We’ve never seen anything like it. How cool is this? Fantastic. So from this point, usually we would go on to then integrate that system into the business. Get the team to know what the new way of working is or what the new process is, make sure they’re confident and keep this business growing.

 But, a few days later, the client comes back. We’re not feeling [00:03:00] confident and excited anymore, team. We’ve had a bit of a wobble, and now we’re a little bit worried about all these new things, this new way of doing it.

We had two options. The first is to go, not a problem. That’s totally okay. We’ll just change it all back. No harm done. We’re here to help you. And if you’re not comfy, we’re in your corner. Or there’s option two. And that is, let’s think about what’s really going on here and lead. In one way, we’re operating in a manner that is of service and support and considering the safety of our clients and the way they’re feeling and protecting that.

The [00:04:00] second is leading and trying to understand. at a higher level what’s really going on. Because there was a reason we decided to change things, and that reason would have been valid and important or we wouldn’t have made the choice to go down this pathway of change. So is it really fair on our clients if when they have a little bit of a wobble for whatever reason, we just say, yep, no worries, if that’s what you want to do, cool, cool. I don’t think it is, because they’re not seeing it clearly right now. At one point they were, at one point they saw that something needed to change. And whatever drove that was big enough for them to [00:05:00] go, even though I don’t like change or this might look different, I’m happy to do it. But in the moment then we’ve done a wobble. We need to be able to reflect that back. And we need to be able to help them explore this.

That’s your job. You are being of service when you’re able to bring the outcome back to the forefront of the conversation and say, Hey, I recognise that this might not be easy, or I recognise that previously we really wanted to change this so that we could achieve X, but now we seem to be saying something different.

Is there a reason we’ve changed our thought process? And open a conversation to talk about it and make sure we’re [00:06:00] still working towards our goals. Regardless of how we feel right now, we need to look at the bigger picture and re-evaluate if it’s worth listening to this feeling or rationalising that feeling.

So I’m going to explain how you can do this. The first step is to dig deeper, and you’ll hear me say this all the time. Dig deeper, always. Get as much information as you can. People don’t just change their minds with no thought process or no incident that’s happened. If we have gone from, woohoo, this is awesome, to, oh, this is a real bad idea, or I want to run away, or I’m scared now. Something has happened and it can just be I’ve taken time to think about it and here’s all the thoughts that came up [00:07:00] or it can be I’ve noticed something else or someone else has asked me a question or I’m just having a really rough day, something has happened and usually if it is causing us to lean towards safety and not make a logical choice or a growth decision and it’s pushing us towards a poorer choice or a less efficient or effective choice.

One of two things are at play. One is fear. We are worried about something and we’re worried about what that something might lead us to. If we do it this way and someone else stuffs it up, is my business going to go down in flames? I’m scared. If I let someone else do it, they’re not [00:08:00] going to do it the same way as me and then my business is going to go down in flames.

If something is posted at the wrong time, It’s going to damage my brand and my reputation and my business is going to go down in flames. We start all of these little cycles in our brain that lead to something big and scary. And if we’re feeling that, more often than not, we’re not rationalising it. We’re feeling it, we’re trying to find a quick solution to fix it, and we’re moving forward.

And where there’s not fear, there’s lack of knowledge. We can come up with brilliant ideas, solutions, abstract thoughts, innovative ways to do something as OBMs. But sometimes we miss filling in our clients on why we [00:09:00] made that decision and what that looks like for them. And so they walk away and then they start to think about all the what-if scenarios.

Or the, no, we’ve always done it this way. Why should we change that? Why? I’m confident with the way we’ve done it. I can get in myself and I can do it. I know what that looks like. It feels safe. It feels familiar. So why would we change it? You’re an OBM. If you’ve made decisions, Or you’re suggesting a different way to do something, there’s a reason behind that.

I know that. And we need to help our clients understand the reasoning. To do that, we need to give them the opportunity to voice their thoughts. So that we can answer them just as they need them. The things that pop up and they think and feel. We need to support them through that. So as part of all of this, we’re trying to [00:10:00] work out where the wobble happened, and you need to be able to open a conversation and have the discussion to find that out so you can help fix it.

When you’re doing this, you need to tread carefully. Be gentle and be tactful with the aim of acknowledging the elephant in the room, the emotion. This is the bit that we shy away from. We don’t explain to our clients, Hey, you might be thinking or feeling this way, or we’re going to do this. And this is what a lot of my clients experience when I’m doing it.

And that’s normal. Hey, are you making this decision because you’re worried about something? Because what it looks like to me is that we might be feeling unsure, or we might be forgetting why [00:11:00] we wanted to change this in the first place. Acknowledge the emotions, name them, normalise them, bring them into the conversation.

We’re making the big scary things less scary.

All with the aim of getting our clients the impact and outcome that they really want. And our role isn’t always practical. It’s not always to come up with the solution that is a process. It’s to help them make choices that will lead to the outcome and impact they want. It’s helping them see their thought process And assisting them on finding a way that feels easier.

That’s part of our job.

And remember, no one likes getting [00:12:00] told their idea isn’t any good. So we don’t ever want to do that. What we want to do is explore the reasoning for why we would do it that way or not do it. There are always 14 different ways to do something. And sometimes the only difference is preference, and that’s okay.

But, when the difference is efficiency, or effectiveness, or it’s going to mean different results, we need to get comfortable with discussing options, in a non threatening manner.

As you wear your tact, you need to listen to what your clients are saying, understand what’s happening underneath, and what the driving thoughts and feelings are for what you’re looking at, and then consider what options you have. What options [00:13:00] can you see and present them? Carefully think about each of the options that have been discussed.

And then talk to your client about the pros of each one and the cons of each one. What could the positive impact of doing it this way be? What does it mean? And that could be I’m used to doing it that way, so it’s easy. There’s no learning curve. Awesome. And what could the possible consequence be?

I’m going to stay where I’ve always been. Because if I keep doing the same thing, nothing’s going to grow. I’m going to get the same result. Okay. And what if we look at a different option? One of the cons is I don’t know how that plays out. I’ve not done it before. I can’t see how it would work. And then one of the pros could be, it means that we’re going to [00:14:00] be able to achieve our goal faster because the process is more streamlined and it’s going to save us an hour every time we do it.

We’re building the reasons why we should take this step of bravery and we’re looking at it from a point that includes our thoughts and feelings and how easy it is for us to adopt new ideas or how hard. Then we get to make a decision that does cover all the parameters. We’re helping frame things in a way that goes back to the outcome our clients want, but considers the journey of getting there and lays it out in an easy to discuss manner. So once you’ve done that, you’ve put out all the options on the table. [00:15:00] We’ve got really good discussions. I want you to tackle your own alarm.

If you feel strongly about something, a certain way to do something, whether or not we should choose path A or path B, there’s a reason for that. And you need to know what the reason is. So if you’re having a reaction that says, no, no, no, we can’t go back to what we were doing, or no, please don’t pick that way.

We need to pick the other way. You need to work that out within you and you need to think about, okay, why is it? My guess is because you’re invested and that means you care about the outcome. So your knowledge that you’ve got, your experience that you’ve had. We’ll kick in and say, no, that’s a bad idea.

That’s a bad idea. We can’t do that. That’s going to ruin [00:16:00] everything, but it doesn’t kick in and say why. So we need to dig into that a little bit more. And then we need to explain that to our clients. I’m really invested in the results that you’re going to get. And I’m concerned that if we do it the way we’ve done it before, these are the things we’re going to experience.

You’re going to end up burnt out again. You’re going to have too much to do. You’re not going to be able to launch the new thing that you want to launch. And that’s all you’ve talked about for six months. And we’re jeopardising it because we don’t want to change. Be honest and be truthful. Explain why it matters and why it matters to you and why you’re even bringing it up.

Then make your recommendation or suggest a new [00:17:00] pathway. You might go back to what you’d already planned or you might say, based on this conversation, maybe we could do it this way and come up with a whole new approach. But you have to set the scene first. You have to give them the opportunity to think and you have to show your reasoning and your investment in a way that’s not scary and that’s honest.

Then you want to reinforce a collaborative approach. To do that, you go back to your client and you say, based on this conversation, what do you feel more comfortable with? What are you happy to do? Do you want to go this way or do you want to go this way? Or, do you want to have another chat in a few days, once you’ve processed a bit more, and see what we can come up with [00:18:00] together.

We’re giving them options that aren’t by default to go back to the way that things have always been. We’re giving them opportunities to create safety with knowledge. Plans that will help them grow at the same time. And then the final thing is you need to be happy and content no matter what the outcome is.

When we’re dealing with anything that is big and scary as people, we need to be ready to take the steps to change them. And sometimes even if we understand the logic, we’re still too scared to do it. And if we’re not in that right place, That’s okay. If now is not the time, that’s okay. We can do our best to help our clients through this and we can give them a glimpse [00:19:00] into the mindset and the emotions and how other people have tackled those things.

But if they’re not ready to take on a new way or try a new thing, It’s not going to work anyway. They have to be on board. And so if they choose, No, I need to go back to the way I’ve been doing it. That’s what makes sense for me. It’s okay. No worries. And then we park it, and we look at it again in a few months time.

That’s your job. It needs to be done in the right way, and in the right time. And it’s okay. It’s okay to not need to catapult forwards all the time. It’s doing the right things in the right timing. And so you need to be secure enough to know that it wasn’t your approach that was wrong [00:20:00] and it wasn’t their idea that was wrong.

We’re dealing with people and emotions and big, scary things, especially when there’s change. And it’s okay. It’s not one idea is good and one is bad, but we do need to do the journey with our clients. And we need to support them, even if it goes against what we think. As long as we’ve voiced our concern, we’ve given them options, we’ve done everything that we can to positively support them, you’ve done your job.

Your job isn’t to fully overwhelm them or intimidate them. Be in their corner and be okay with that. So I hope that this has given you a little bit of a framework to work towards when you’re dealing with clients who are trying to make choices. And sometimes they’re a bit wobbly or they’re making what you just think is [00:21:00] the wrong one.

And especially if you’ve got that alarm going off in you that’s saying, this is a bad idea. We’re going to go back to square one. This framework is how you can tackle it with your clients. Generally, you get a pretty amazing outcome from it. I hope you found this helpful. Don’t forget, leave me a five star review if you enjoyed this episode.

Send me a DM and tell me if you’ve experienced situations like this. Tell me how you’ve handled it. I’d love to know. I’ll see you next week guys. [00:22:00] 

Well, that’s a terrible idea: How to lead clients into making well-informed, future focused decisions

Well, that’s a terrible idea: How to lead clients into making well-informed, future focused decisions

Let me tell you a little story. 

My team and I have been working with some clients and there’s this phenomenon that we see and it happens all the time, really.

It’s a bit of a flip flop. I want to dive in with you to look at why this flip flop happens. What’s with the wobble?

My team and I spend a lot of time overhauling systems, processes, creating more efficient ways to do things, thinking outside of the box, extrapolating things out and then pulling them all back into a condensed machine way of operating.

When we’re looking at overhauling anything in a business, that means change. I can tell you, humans don’t like change.

Generally, that’s the way it goes, because it feels uncomfortable and it tells us that we’re not safe. So we’re working with the client, we’ve improved one of their core systems in their business. We’ve presented it. We’ve walked them through in detail and they have raved. On the call, they’re saying this is amazing. We’ve never seen anything like it. How cool is this? Fantastic.

So from this point, usually we would go on to then integrate that system into the business. Get the team to know what the new way of working is or what the new process is, make sure they’re confident and keep this business growing.

But, a few days later, the client comes back.

We’re not feeling confident and excited anymore, team. We’ve had a bit of a wobble, and now we’re a little bit worried about all these new things, this new way of doing it. We have two options:

1. The first is to go, not a problem. That’s totally okay. We’ll just change it all back. No harm done. We’re here to help you. If you’re not comfy, we’re in your corner. Or there’s option two. And that is, let’s think about what’s really going on here and lead. In one way, we’re operating in a manner that is of service and support and considering the safety of our clients and the way they’re feeling and protecting that.

2. The second is leading and trying to understand. at a higher level what’s really going on. Because there was a reason we decided to change things, and that reason would have been valid and important or we wouldn’t have made the choice to go down this pathway of change. So is it really fair on our clients if when they have a little bit of a wobble for whatever reason, we just say, yep, no worries, if that’s what you want to do, cool, cool. I don’t think it is, because they’re not seeing it clearly right now. At one point they saw that something needed to change. Whatever drove that was big enough for them to go, even though I don’t like change or this might look different, I’m happy to do it. But in the moment then we’ve done a wobble. We need to be able to reflect that back and we need to be able to help them explore this. That’s your job.

You are being of service when you’re able to bring the outcome back to the forefront of the conversation and say, Hey, I recognise that this might not be easy, or I recognise that previously we really wanted to change this so that we could achieve X, but now we seem to be saying something different.

Is there a reason we’ve changed our thought process? And open a conversation to talk about it and make sure we’re still working towards our goals. Regardless of how we feel right now, we need to look at the bigger picture and re-evaluate if it’s worth listening to this feeling or rationalising that feeling.

 

This episode shares:  

  • Identify the source of client hesitation: People don’t just change their mind with no thought process. And usually if it’s a poor choice there are two things at play – fear and lack of knowledge. You need to work out where the wobble happened.
  • Open a productive conversation: Acknowledge the elephant – emotions. No one likes getting told their idea isn’t the best.
  • Consider the options and present them: Carefully think about each one, the positive impact of each, the possible consequence of that.
  • Collaborate on a solution: Guide your client towards a decision that feels safe and effective.

Identify the source of client hesitation

The first step is to dig deeper, and you’ll hear me say this all the time. Dig deeper, always. Get as much information as you can. People don’t just change their minds with no thought process or no incident that’s happened. If we have gone from, woohoo, this is awesome, to, oh, this is a real bad idea, or I want to run away, or I’m scared now.

Something has happened and it can just be I’ve taken time to think about it and here’s all the thoughts that came up or it can be I’ve noticed something else or someone else has asked me a question or I’m just having a really rough day, something has happened and usually if it is causing us to lean towards safety and not make a logical choice or a growth decision and it’s pushing us towards a poorer choice or a less efficient or effective choice.

One of two things are at play. One is fear. We are worried about something and we’re worried about what that something might lead us to. If we do it this way and someone else stuffs it up, is my business going to go down in flames? I’m scared. If I let someone else do it, they’re not going to do it the same way as me and then my business is going to go down in flames.

If something is posted at the wrong time, it’s going to damage my brand and my reputation and my business is going to go down in flames. We start all of these little cycles in our brain that lead to something big and scary. And if we’re feeling that, more often than not, we’re not rationalising it. We’re feeling it, we’re trying to find a quick solution to fix it, and we’re moving forward.

Where there’s not fear, there’s lack of knowledge. We can come up with brilliant ideas, solutions, abstract thoughts, innovative ways to do something as OBMs. But sometimes we miss filling in our clients on why we made that decision and what that looks like for them.

So they walk away and then they start to think about all the what-if scenarios.
Or the, no, we’ve always done it this way. Why should we change that? Why? I’m confident with the way we’ve done it. I can get in myself and I can do it. I know what that looks like. It feels safe. It feels familiar. So why would we change it? You’re an OBM. If you’ve made decisions, Or you’re suggesting a different way to do something, there’s a reason behind that.

I know that and we need to help our clients understand the reasoning. To do that, we need to give them the opportunity to voice their thoughts. So that we can answer them just as they need them. The things that pop up and they think and feel. We need to support them through that. So as part of all of this, we’re trying to work out where the wobble happened, and you need to be able to open a conversation and have the discussion to find that out so you can help fix it.

Tip💡: Get as much information as you can from your client.

Open a productive conversation

When you’ve an open conversation with your client, you need to tread carefully. Be gentle and be tactful with the aim of acknowledging the elephant in the room, the emotion. This is the bit that we shy away from. We don’t explain to our clients, Hey, you might be thinking or feeling this way, or we’re going to do this. And this is what a lot of my clients experience when I’m doing it, that’s normal.

Hey, are you making this decision because you’re worried about something? Because what it looks like to me is that we might be feeling unsure, or we might be forgetting why we wanted to change this in the first place. Acknowledge the emotions, name them, normalise them, bring them into the conversation.

We’re making the big scary things less scary.

All with the aim of getting our clients the impact and outcome that they really want and our role isn’t always practical. It’s not always to come up with the solution that is a process. It’s to help them make choices that will lead to the outcome and impact they want. It’s helping them see their thought process And assisting them on finding a way that feels easier.That’s part of our job.

Remember, no one likes getting told their idea isn’t any good. So we don’t ever want to do that. What we want to do is explore the reasoning for why we would do it that way or not do it. There are always 14 different ways to do something and sometimes the only difference is preference, and that’s okay.

Tip💡: Be gentle and be tactful with the aim of acknowledging the elephant in the room (the emotion).

 

Consider the options and present them

 

When the difference is efficiency, or effectiveness, or it’s going to mean different results, we need to get comfortable with discussing options, in a non threatening manner.

As you wear your tact, you need to listen to what your clients are saying, understand what’s happening underneath, and what the driving thoughts and feelings are for what you’re looking at, and then consider what options you have. What options can you see and present them? Carefully think about each of the options that have been discussed.

Then talk to your client about the pros of each one and the cons of each one. What could the positive impact of doing it this way be? What does it mean? That could be I’m used to doing it that way, so it’s easy. There’s no learning curve. Awesome. What could the possible consequence be?

I’m going to stay where I’ve always been. Because if I keep doing the same thing, nothing’s going to grow. I’m going to get the same result. Okay. And what if we look at a different option? One of the cons is I don’t know how that plays out. I’ve not done it before. I can’t see how it would work and then one of the pros could be, it means that we’re going to be able to achieve our goal faster because the process is more streamlined and it’s going to save us an hour every time we do it.

We’re building the reasons why we should take this step of bravery and we’re looking at it from a point that includes our thoughts and feelings and how easy it is for us to adopt new ideas or how hard. Then we get to make a decision that does cover all the parameters. We’re helping frame things in a way that goes back to the outcome our clients want, but considers the journey of getting there and lays it out in an easy to discuss manner. So once you’ve done that, you’ve put out all the options on the table.

Tip💡: Put out all the options on the table to discuss strategically.

Collaborate on a solution

Once we’ve got really good discussions. I want you to tackle your own alarm.

If you feel strongly about something, a certain way to do something, whether or not we should choose path A or path B, there’s a reason for that and you need to know what the reason is. So if you’re having a reaction that says, no, no, no, we can’t go back to what we were doing, or no, please don’t pick that way. We need to pick the other way. You need to work that out within you and you need to think about, okay, why is it? My guess is because you’re invested and that means you care about the outcome. So your knowledge that you’ve got, your experience that you’ve had. We’ll kick in and say, no, that’s a bad idea.

That’s a bad idea. We can’t do that. That’s going to ruin everything, but it doesn’t kick in and say why. So we need to dig into that a little bit more. Then we need to explain that to our clients. I’m really invested in the results that you’re going to get. I’m concerned that if we do it the way we’ve done it before, these are the things we’re going to experience.

You’re going to end up burnt out again. You’re going to have too much to do. You’re not going to be able to launch the new thing that you want to launch. And that’s all you’ve talked about for six months. And we’re jeopardising it because we don’t want to change. Be honest and be truthful. Explain why it matters and why it matters to you and why you’re even bringing it up.

Make your recommendation or suggest a new  pathway. You might go back to what you’d already planned or you might say, based on this conversation, maybe we could do it this way and come up with a whole new approach. But you have to set the scene first. You have to give them the opportunity to think and you have to show your reasoning and your investment in a way that’s not scary and that’s honest.

After you have given the oportunity to think to your client, you want to reinforce a collaborative approach. To do that, you go back to your client and you say, based on this conversation, what do you feel more comfortable with? What are you happy to do? Do you want to go this way or do you want to go this way? Or, do you want to have another chat in a few days, once you’ve processed a bit more, and see what we can come up with together.

We’re giving them options that aren’t by default to go back to the way that things have always been. We’re giving them opportunities to create safety with knowledge. Plans that will help them grow at the same time.

Be happy and content no matter what the outcome is.

When we’re dealing with anything that is big and scary as people, we need to be ready to take the steps to change them and sometimes even if we understand the logic, we’re still too scared to do it. If we’re not in that right place, That’s okay. If now is not the time, that’s okay. We can do our best to help our clients through this and we can give them a glimpse into the mindset and the emotions and how other people have tackled those things.

But if they’re not ready to take on a new way or try a new thing, It’s not going to work anyway. They have to be on board. And so if they choose, no, I need to go back to the way I’ve been doing it. That’s what makes sense for me. It’s okay. No worries. And then we park it, and we look at it again in a few months time.

That’s your job. It needs to be done in the right way, and in the right time. And it’s okay. It’s okay to not need to catapult forwards all the time. It’s doing the right things in the right timing. And so you need to be secure enough to know that it wasn’t your approach that was wrong and it wasn’t their idea that was wrong.

We’re dealing with people and emotions and big, scary things, especially when there’s change. And it’s okay. It’s not one idea is good and one is bad, but we do need to do the journey with our clients. And we need to support them, even if it goes against what we think. As long as we’ve voiced our concern, we’ve given them options, we’ve done everything that we can to positively support them, you’ve done your job.

Tip💡:  Be happy and content no matter what the outcome is..

And… that’s a wrap!

Your job isn’t to fully overwhelm your clients or intimidate them. Be in their corner and be okay with that.

So I hope that this has given you a little bit of a framework to work towards when you’re dealing with clients who are trying to make choices.

Sometimes they’re a bit wobbly or they’re making what you just think is the wrong one.

Especially if you’ve got that alarm going off in you that’s saying, this is a bad idea. We’re going to go back to square one. This framework is how you can tackle it with your clients. Generally, you get a pretty amazing outcome from it. I hope you found this helpful, if you want to get more check out OBM Academy. Don’t forget, leave me a five star review if you enjoyed this episode.

Send me a DM to start a conversation.  Tell me how you’ve handled it. I’d love to know.

Want more OBM tips & tricks leads?

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Follow along with the transcript

E41 Well, that’s a terrible idea: How to lead clients into making well-informed, future focused decisions.

Leanne Woff:[00:00:00] Hey, hey, hey, lovely. Today’s episode is all about terrible ideas. [00:01:00] No, it’s not really, but it’s called, well, that’s a terrible idea: how to lead clients into making well informed, future focused decisions. Let me tell you a little story. I know you love stories.

My team and I have been working with some clients and there’s this phenomenon that we see. And it happens all the time, really. And it’s a bit of a flip flop. And I want to dive in with you to look at why this flip flop happens. What’s with the wobble? My team and I spend a lot of time overhauling systems, processes, creating more efficient ways to do things, thinking outside of the box, extrapolating things out and then pulling them all back into a condensed machine way of operating.

And when we’re looking at overhauling [00:02:00] anything in a business, that means change. And can I tell you, humans don’t like change. Generally, that’s the way it goes, because it feels uncomfortable and it tells us that we’re not safe. So we’re working with the client. We’ve improved one of their core systems in their business.

We’ve presented it. We’ve walked them through in detail and they have raved. On the call, they’re saying this is amazing. We’ve never seen anything like it. How cool is this? Fantastic. So from this point, usually we would go on to then integrate that system into the business. Get the team to know what the new way of working is or what the new process is, make sure they’re confident and keep this business growing.

 But, a few days later, the client comes back. We’re not feeling [00:03:00] confident and excited anymore, team. We’ve had a bit of a wobble, and now we’re a little bit worried about all these new things, this new way of doing it.

We had two options. The first is to go, not a problem. That’s totally okay. We’ll just change it all back. No harm done. We’re here to help you. And if you’re not comfy, we’re in your corner. Or there’s option two. And that is, let’s think about what’s really going on here and lead. In one way, we’re operating in a manner that is of service and support and considering the safety of our clients and the way they’re feeling and protecting that.

The [00:04:00] second is leading and trying to understand. at a higher level what’s really going on. Because there was a reason we decided to change things, and that reason would have been valid and important or we wouldn’t have made the choice to go down this pathway of change. So is it really fair on our clients if when they have a little bit of a wobble for whatever reason, we just say, yep, no worries, if that’s what you want to do, cool, cool. I don’t think it is, because they’re not seeing it clearly right now. At one point they were, at one point they saw that something needed to change. And whatever drove that was big enough for them to [00:05:00] go, even though I don’t like change or this might look different, I’m happy to do it. But in the moment then we’ve done a wobble. We need to be able to reflect that back. And we need to be able to help them explore this.

That’s your job. You are being of service when you’re able to bring the outcome back to the forefront of the conversation and say, Hey, I recognise that this might not be easy, or I recognise that previously we really wanted to change this so that we could achieve X, but now we seem to be saying something different.

Is there a reason we’ve changed our thought process? And open a conversation to talk about it and make sure we’re [00:06:00] still working towards our goals. Regardless of how we feel right now, we need to look at the bigger picture and re-evaluate if it’s worth listening to this feeling or rationalising that feeling.

So I’m going to explain how you can do this. The first step is to dig deeper, and you’ll hear me say this all the time. Dig deeper, always. Get as much information as you can. People don’t just change their minds with no thought process or no incident that’s happened. If we have gone from, woohoo, this is awesome, to, oh, this is a real bad idea, or I want to run away, or I’m scared now. Something has happened and it can just be I’ve taken time to think about it and here’s all the thoughts that came up [00:07:00] or it can be I’ve noticed something else or someone else has asked me a question or I’m just having a really rough day, something has happened and usually if it is causing us to lean towards safety and not make a logical choice or a growth decision and it’s pushing us towards a poorer choice or a less efficient or effective choice.

One of two things are at play. One is fear. We are worried about something and we’re worried about what that something might lead us to. If we do it this way and someone else stuffs it up, is my business going to go down in flames? I’m scared. If I let someone else do it, they’re not [00:08:00] going to do it the same way as me and then my business is going to go down in flames.

If something is posted at the wrong time, It’s going to damage my brand and my reputation and my business is going to go down in flames. We start all of these little cycles in our brain that lead to something big and scary. And if we’re feeling that, more often than not, we’re not rationalising it. We’re feeling it, we’re trying to find a quick solution to fix it, and we’re moving forward.

And where there’s not fear, there’s lack of knowledge. We can come up with brilliant ideas, solutions, abstract thoughts, innovative ways to do something as OBMs. But sometimes we miss filling in our clients on why we [00:09:00] made that decision and what that looks like for them. And so they walk away and then they start to think about all the what-if scenarios.

Or the, no, we’ve always done it this way. Why should we change that? Why? I’m confident with the way we’ve done it. I can get in myself and I can do it. I know what that looks like. It feels safe. It feels familiar. So why would we change it? You’re an OBM. If you’ve made decisions, Or you’re suggesting a different way to do something, there’s a reason behind that.

I know that. And we need to help our clients understand the reasoning. To do that, we need to give them the opportunity to voice their thoughts. So that we can answer them just as they need them. The things that pop up and they think and feel. We need to support them through that. So as part of all of this, we’re trying to [00:10:00] work out where the wobble happened, and you need to be able to open a conversation and have the discussion to find that out so you can help fix it.

When you’re doing this, you need to tread carefully. Be gentle and be tactful with the aim of acknowledging the elephant in the room, the emotion. This is the bit that we shy away from. We don’t explain to our clients, Hey, you might be thinking or feeling this way, or we’re going to do this. And this is what a lot of my clients experience when I’m doing it.

And that’s normal. Hey, are you making this decision because you’re worried about something? Because what it looks like to me is that we might be feeling unsure, or we might be forgetting why [00:11:00] we wanted to change this in the first place. Acknowledge the emotions, name them, normalise them, bring them into the conversation.

We’re making the big scary things less scary.

All with the aim of getting our clients the impact and outcome that they really want. And our role isn’t always practical. It’s not always to come up with the solution that is a process. It’s to help them make choices that will lead to the outcome and impact they want. It’s helping them see their thought process And assisting them on finding a way that feels easier.

That’s part of our job.

And remember, no one likes getting [00:12:00] told their idea isn’t any good. So we don’t ever want to do that. What we want to do is explore the reasoning for why we would do it that way or not do it. There are always 14 different ways to do something. And sometimes the only difference is preference, and that’s okay.

But, when the difference is efficiency, or effectiveness, or it’s going to mean different results, we need to get comfortable with discussing options, in a non threatening manner.

As you wear your tact, you need to listen to what your clients are saying, understand what’s happening underneath, and what the driving thoughts and feelings are for what you’re looking at, and then consider what options you have. What options [00:13:00] can you see and present them? Carefully think about each of the options that have been discussed.

And then talk to your client about the pros of each one and the cons of each one. What could the positive impact of doing it this way be? What does it mean? And that could be I’m used to doing it that way, so it’s easy. There’s no learning curve. Awesome. And what could the possible consequence be?

I’m going to stay where I’ve always been. Because if I keep doing the same thing, nothing’s going to grow. I’m going to get the same result. Okay. And what if we look at a different option? One of the cons is I don’t know how that plays out. I’ve not done it before. I can’t see how it would work. And then one of the pros could be, it means that we’re going to [00:14:00] be able to achieve our goal faster because the process is more streamlined and it’s going to save us an hour every time we do it.

We’re building the reasons why we should take this step of bravery and we’re looking at it from a point that includes our thoughts and feelings and how easy it is for us to adopt new ideas or how hard. Then we get to make a decision that does cover all the parameters. We’re helping frame things in a way that goes back to the outcome our clients want, but considers the journey of getting there and lays it out in an easy to discuss manner. So once you’ve done that, you’ve put out all the options on the table. [00:15:00] We’ve got really good discussions. I want you to tackle your own alarm.

If you feel strongly about something, a certain way to do something, whether or not we should choose path A or path B, there’s a reason for that. And you need to know what the reason is. So if you’re having a reaction that says, no, no, no, we can’t go back to what we were doing, or no, please don’t pick that way.

We need to pick the other way. You need to work that out within you and you need to think about, okay, why is it? My guess is because you’re invested and that means you care about the outcome. So your knowledge that you’ve got, your experience that you’ve had. We’ll kick in and say, no, that’s a bad idea.

That’s a bad idea. We can’t do that. That’s going to ruin [00:16:00] everything, but it doesn’t kick in and say why. So we need to dig into that a little bit more. And then we need to explain that to our clients. I’m really invested in the results that you’re going to get. And I’m concerned that if we do it the way we’ve done it before, these are the things we’re going to experience.

You’re going to end up burnt out again. You’re going to have too much to do. You’re not going to be able to launch the new thing that you want to launch. And that’s all you’ve talked about for six months. And we’re jeopardising it because we don’t want to change. Be honest and be truthful. Explain why it matters and why it matters to you and why you’re even bringing it up.

Then make your recommendation or suggest a new [00:17:00] pathway. You might go back to what you’d already planned or you might say, based on this conversation, maybe we could do it this way and come up with a whole new approach. But you have to set the scene first. You have to give them the opportunity to think and you have to show your reasoning and your investment in a way that’s not scary and that’s honest.

Then you want to reinforce a collaborative approach. To do that, you go back to your client and you say, based on this conversation, what do you feel more comfortable with? What are you happy to do? Do you want to go this way or do you want to go this way? Or, do you want to have another chat in a few days, once you’ve processed a bit more, and see what we can come up with [00:18:00] together.

We’re giving them options that aren’t by default to go back to the way that things have always been. We’re giving them opportunities to create safety with knowledge. Plans that will help them grow at the same time. And then the final thing is you need to be happy and content no matter what the outcome is.

When we’re dealing with anything that is big and scary as people, we need to be ready to take the steps to change them. And sometimes even if we understand the logic, we’re still too scared to do it. And if we’re not in that right place, That’s okay. If now is not the time, that’s okay. We can do our best to help our clients through this and we can give them a glimpse [00:19:00] into the mindset and the emotions and how other people have tackled those things.

But if they’re not ready to take on a new way or try a new thing, It’s not going to work anyway. They have to be on board. And so if they choose, No, I need to go back to the way I’ve been doing it. That’s what makes sense for me. It’s okay. No worries. And then we park it, and we look at it again in a few months time.

That’s your job. It needs to be done in the right way, and in the right time. And it’s okay. It’s okay to not need to catapult forwards all the time. It’s doing the right things in the right timing. And so you need to be secure enough to know that it wasn’t your approach that was wrong [00:20:00] and it wasn’t their idea that was wrong.

We’re dealing with people and emotions and big, scary things, especially when there’s change. And it’s okay. It’s not one idea is good and one is bad, but we do need to do the journey with our clients. And we need to support them, even if it goes against what we think. As long as we’ve voiced our concern, we’ve given them options, we’ve done everything that we can to positively support them, you’ve done your job.

Your job isn’t to fully overwhelm them or intimidate them. Be in their corner and be okay with that. So I hope that this has given you a little bit of a framework to work towards when you’re dealing with clients who are trying to make choices. And sometimes they’re a bit wobbly or they’re making what you just think is [00:21:00] the wrong one.

And especially if you’ve got that alarm going off in you that’s saying, this is a bad idea. We’re going to go back to square one. This framework is how you can tackle it with your clients. Generally, you get a pretty amazing outcome from it. I hope you found this helpful. Don’t forget, leave me a five star review if you enjoyed this episode.

Send me a DM and tell me if you’ve experienced situations like this. Tell me how you’ve handled it. I’d love to know. I’ll see you next week guys. [00:22:00] 

How to review your products to make bigger profit

How to review your products to make bigger profit

Who doesn’t want to make a bigger profit?

Who doesn’t want to do it with resources we already have?

So you’ve made it to seven figures. You’ve had success along your journey. You’ve got pieces that are working. But a question for you, what if you could use what you’ve already got as the basis to make more profit from those things?

This is when we start looking at product suites and ascension ladders.

I’m going to explain what each of these things are and then I’m going to tell you how to use those to leverage to make bigger profit.

This episode shares:

 

  • What is a product suite? It’s a fancy way of saying – The group of products or services my business offers. 
  • What is an ascension ladder? The pathway your audience follows from purchasing one product to the next.
  • The cost of not spending your time planning:  Even though you don’t see the impact immediately of planning, it’s worth it.
  • Controversial opinion: Match your audience to your product. 
  • The piggyback off vs multiples products creation: We want maximum leverage 
  • Get help: It’s your business and you’ve likely been captain of the product ship since the dawn of time. You’re too close to see things objectively, you see the whole story and history. You need someone who doesn’t have that context to find the gaps, to highlight the obvious.

 

What is a product suite?

When I’m working with seven figure business owners, I’ll talk to them about their products and I’ll talk to them about how they got the idea for these products.

They look at me a little bit funny and then they start telling me the history of their services, which is great.

Then I ask them about their product suite and they look at me a little bit confused.

“What do you mean? I’ve just told you the history of my products. What is a product suite?”

Your product suite is a fancy way of saying the group of products or services that your business offers.

But it doesn’t stop there.

It shows the inclusions of each of those products or services and it shows the linkages between them. Which then helps you price better and helps you give you transparency in terms of planning what inclusions and what value each of those products play in your entire business model. When you put it all together, that’s your product suite.

What’s an ascension ladder?

Then we look at your Ascension Ladder, or your Value Ladder, or your Products Ladder. It has so many names. And what this means is the logical pathway that you want your audience to take to buy one product to then the next product. It’s that order piece that matters here.

What am I buying first? What am I buying second? What am I buying third? Now yes, this will look a little bit different for every human being, but what we’re designing here is a pathway that we believe the majority will take. And we start leading them down that journey. Because something that we know about human behaviour is we like to be told what to do next.

We want it to be really clear and really easy for us to understand the steps we need to take to get the results that we want. Even when it comes to purchasing a product or a service, tell me what’s the right one for me right now. And then once I’ve done that, tell me what the next one is. Tell me what to do.

Tell me where my money is best spent. You tell me, you know your service and your products better than anybody, so I can go and I can guess. Or I can go to the expert, which is you.

Something I’ve also noticed working with people who’ve ticked off their seven figure milestone is that very rarely have they sat down and looked at what their product suite is and what their value ladder is in comparison to that product suite and how it all ties together.

Which again, we might be thinking, hang on a sec, if we’ve made it this far, obviously our products are working, or we wouldn’t be here. 100%, you’re right. This isn’t about whether your products are working. This is about the way that they were created and with what intent they were created. Because something else I know is that we can make it to seven figures with products that are disjointed because they’re built based on inspiration or based on audience feedback.

People want them so you create them, your audience consumes them, they love them, voila. But if you follow that model as you continue to scale, you’ll be forever creating new things, which isn’t the aim of the game. We don’t want to have to be creating new, pitching in different ways to sell more stuff.

What we want is to capitalise on what we’ve got and create a really solid map for our audience. So we want to leverage the effort that we’ve already put in. Sounds good, right? So why don’t we spend time looking at product suites? I find that A lot of business owners are happy to map out a value ladder or a product ladder and go, Oh yeah, this is the order I think that people should buy these things in.

But when it comes down to strategically looking at that whole suite and how your ladder ties in, we jump ship. We don’t want to do it. So why not? One of the reasons is we like to be guided by inspiration. When we are guided by inspiration, things feel fun. They feel like we get something back. We have excitement around it.

It feels easier. So why not just follow that high and create? There’s nothing wrong with being led by inspiration, but what you don’t want to do is that be your only mode and never map your inspiration thought process with your logical thought process. We need the two to boost each other and so when inspiration guides us, we usually create something amazing. By jumping to the next thing that inspires us, at times we can cannibalize that first thing. We’re not actually letting the logical side do its work to create the most leverage from that first product. Is it getting in front of the right people? Is it doing the work it was designed to do? My guess is that product or service exists to help create your impact.

While your impact is going to stop short, if you don’t give that first product and service the tactical pieces it needs, to expand its reach. And if you’re consistently just moving to the next exciting thing, those things might still be very successful, but not as much as they could be. The other reason that we tend to shy away from reviewing our product suite and putting in these pieces is because it takes time.

The cost of not spending your time planning

It’s another thing that we have to do where we don’t see the impact immediately. With anything that is strategic, we spend our time and our energy up front and it can take a while to get the pay-off from that. There’s no instant gratification, but when we do get the result, usually it’s a much better one than in the scenarios where we get an immediate result.

So it’s worth it, even though it feels like it’s taking up more of your brain space, it’s taking up some more of your time that you’ve been wanting to use somewhere else. This has the potential to save you more time because if you get this balance right and this mix right, you won’t have to work as hard.

Your impact and your reach will grow. Your profit will grow because it’s like a mathematical formula. All the pieces of the equation are there for it to succeed rather than for some things to fall through the cracks because we’re missing some pieces. And then the final thing is we won’t spend the time doing it because we don’t know how to do it.

This is an interesting concept because it’s not complicated. It can be. But at its simplest form, I think that anybody can do this. When we don’t know how something is meant to look, we tend to shy away from it. It goes in the too hard basket. It goes in the I don’t really know what I’m trying to achieve here.

I don’t know what it’s meant to look like. I don’t really know what the result is that I’m going to get for it. I just know that someone told me I should do it. So I’m just going to park that and I’m going to do this thing instead. Because that, I feel more confident in. Which is all valid. But instead of not doing it, maybe we can just get a little bit more education and information around what it is and what it can look like so it doesn’t feel so hot.

I like to do it in a visual manner, so I’m big on the whole, you know, visual versus analytical. I have this conversation with clients all the time too. Which way do you think? How do you learn? Because you’ll be one or the other. If you can work to your strength, this can be done really easy. You’re analytical, put things in a list, get a spreadsheet and start there.

If you’re visual, put things in a map, use colored blocks and build on the blocks until you see a nice picture of how everything fits together.

Now, what is the cost of not doing this? So I’ve given you some reasons why we tend to not do it and the things that hold us back. But why should we push past that? And the reason is, without doing this, we’re creating silos.

In the same way, that we want to create communities and have groups of people that are all connected together or create one to many communication models so that we’re not saying the same thing over and over again to all these different individual people or in a community where we want to open a conversation up so everybody can share their perspective and their opinion on one topic.

Eventually, everybody gets the benefit of seeing that opinion or feeling validated because somebody else has seen it the way they do. And they’re not alone.

We spend a lot of time trying to build these connections and networks, and we understand its role in that place. We see the value. So we put the effort in. The same thing happens with your products. If you don’t spend that effort in connecting all the pieces. You just end up creating silos and you’ve got all these pockets of product silos, things that serve a certain person for a certain purpose to a certain person at a certain time.

And then another one over here that does a different thing for a different person at a different time. And another one over here that does a different thing for that same person at a different time. And we create these silos. But we’re never leading people to see how they connect together, to see what the benefit would be for them if they had access to all the different silos.

The same way we wouldn’t be showing them the benefit of being in a community. We wouldn’t be saying to them, hey, you can actually get more support in a group of people. There’s different benefits here. Maybe it’s worth it. Same concept. We don’t want to silo everything. Because then we have to work harder.

Because then our impact is stifled. Because then, Our audience is confused. It’s not easy anymore. Now, what I’m not saying is that we can’t have lots of different products. You 100 percent can. What I’m saying is how can we connect them and what might be missing to be able to connect.

Controversial opinion

You do lots of marketing courses, you watch masterclasses, you go to workshops, you watch webinar after webinar of all the gurus who say to you, create your thing, then find the audience that it suits.

How we do that is by first looking at the audience. It’s all about the customer. The customer is always right. Who, what does your audience want? What do they need? Who is it that’s listening to you already? You’ll find oodles and oodles. For people telling you this is the way, the only way I actually think it should be the opposite. And I’ve said this for a while and it wasn’t until I was watching a training by Aaron Fletcher.

The reason that then I have gone, okay, I really like this guy, was because of his whole approach to product.

Audience and marketing. when he talks about starting with a product and the problem that product solves and how that problem becomes the audience that you pitch to.

Instead of looking at the people first, the people that are already interacting with us and going, what do you want? What do you want? How can I help you more? We look at the products that we have. And then we go, what problem does this solve? Who else has that problem? Who are the people that would get the most benefit from this problem being solved?

And I loved it because it’s something that I’ve been talking about for so long. I never wanted to build a business that was completely created and driven by other people. You know, I want to make an impact on the planet. I want to make an impact on the world. I want to do my bit. I want to see life be better.

But I want to do it in a way that makes my life better at the same time. I want to do it in a way where my business feels fun and easy and profitable. And if I’m constantly trying to stretch myself too far or think like another person or create something just because somebody else wants it. Even though I really don’t like it or disagree with it, it’s never going to be fun and it’s never going to be easy.

Always going to be that stretch. And so from the minute that I started my business, I always had this factor when looking at this whole, but what do the people want? Now I am a people first, always kind of person. So I care about people a lot, but there had to be a way that my business could include me.

It’s mine! Why can’t I be a factor here? And then, when I looked at why can’t I leverage the things that come naturally to me and the products I find easy to create or the service I find easy to deliver and then find the people that get the most benefit. To find those people, you work out the problem that you’re solving.

And who’s going to benefit most. Now, here’s the beautiful thing. When you’re looking at your audience first, and then building for them, you’re looking at one type of person. This fits one little group, one avatar. When you flip it, you’ve created something that can work for all different kinds of people.

So let’s take a look at bookkeeping software, for example. There are all different kinds of businesses. There are people who are tradies. There are people who are marketing agencies. There are people who own cake shops. Something that they all have in common is that they need a way to track their finances, to be able to interpret them easily and make better decisions.

If I create a bookkeeping software that does that, I now have the opportunity to enter three different markets. I can go with tradies, I can go with marketing and agency and service based, I can go with product based, brick and mortar, e commerce, and serve a whole lot of different markets. Because I’m not focused on who I’m creating it for, I’m focused on the problem it’s going to solve and what it gives.

And it’s the same for you, which means we can look at the products that we’ve already created. And change the way we think a little bit and go, who does this product really benefit? And it might be more than one kind of person and that’s okay. But it means that then we can create different maps. And the first thing that we do is plot our products on our map.

What have we already got and how do they connect? We have to be objective. And sometimes. It’s our lack of objectivity that makes this hard for us, because we know exactly what went into creating each of those products and services. We know the emotions that went into it. We know the time, the money, the energy, the questions that we asked.

We know the inspiration and why we created that thing and we’re really attached to it. And that’s totally okay, but you need to be able to be objective at the same time to go, what have I missed? And it’s those missing bits that are going to give you the maximum leverage. So when we’re creating new thing and new thing and new thing, it takes us more time, more energy, more money, more effort to market.

The piggyback off vs create multiple product

When we piggyback off something that we’ve already created and create a stepping stone, we’ve already set the foundation here. So that’s how we can really get more bang for our buck.

When we’re doing this, we want to start with one of our products and then we want to look at the next step that someone would take. If this is this product and this is point one, what problem does this product solve? And once that problem is solved, me as a consumer, what’s the next problem that I have now that I’ve solved that?

Because very rarely do we ever have no problems, or do we ever not have a bigger desire. Once we’ve got that first thing, what’s the next thing that we want? And we start to think of it like this. We go, okay, and what I think will happen is when you start mapping your products out and then you try and draw these connecting lines, you’ll see that maybe you’ve missed a few steps in the middle.

Or maybe you’ve created some things that solve a problem in this category and a problem in a different category and they don’t quite match. You can’t connect them. And again, that’s okay. That’s because you create them for different purposes and different people. So they become their own mini maps. And that’s something I see a lot as well.

We create multiple product suites or multiple Ascension models based on the most likely pathways that people are going to take and how we can fill those gaps to make it a smooth transition. Because when we can create these clear pathways, it’s easier for people to make decisions. It’s easier for people to see what we want them to do next.

They can self serve, solve their problem, and you make more money. We’re making it easier for them to buy. But if we never look for those gaps, we won’t be able to do it.

A key thing to remember here is not to overcomplicate it. I can create a product suite that could take 50 hours, 100 hours, and could have so many pieces. Probably isn’t going to have. The same level as impact, as if I simplified it. And for you, how that looks, is just pick one thing. Get two of your products, put them next to each other, and go, what’s the piece in the middle that might be missing?

What’s the question that people keep asking? And that’s the reason they drop off between one product and the next product. Start small, and then test it. See what happens when you implement it. See what happens when you ask people, hey, have you ever wondered about this? And see what people say. And then, once you’ve made those connections, do it again.

Look at another product on the end. Are there gaps there? Does that product even fit in this suite? Or does it need to be pulled out and put somewhere else? And then what is the little map that we’re creating around that? And then after we’ve done that, that’s when we can start creating funnels that actually can fit.

That’s when we start getting recurring revenue. That’s when we start getting more sales for things we’ve already created purely because we’ve bridged that gap and we’re losing less people. So we spend all this time and energy marketing and getting people to be aware of what we’re doing and then we lose them because we haven’t made those clear pathways.

So what if we plugged the holes? What if we built those bridges? And usually, it doesn’t take a lot to build those bridging products. Because they’re usually a hybrid of something you’ve already done. And that’s where it gets fun. You get to be creative and you get to look at different ways that you can solve these problems without it being too much effort.

You’ve already done the foundation work.

Another thing would be to focus on consistency. Once you have a pattern of how you’ve done something once, so let’s say you do this for a few products, Follow the same steps that you took and do it for the others. If you created a mini course for something to fill the gap somewhere and you have another map that has a hole, fill it with a mini course in that same similar spot in that client journey on your product ladder.

Try to keep things consistent because that’s how things become easy. It gives you that starting point and it takes the unfamiliar element away. And it means that you can get things up faster to a higher quality because we’re not guessing. We’ve got a tried and tested method now and we’re going to redo it, but for something else.

And then you test a new shape and you tweak rather than trying to consistently start from scratch. Thanks. Gives you the starting point. Starting point is everything.

Get help

My final piece of advice for you is to get help. So, like I said before, you’ve gotten your business to this far. It’s been successful.

And my guess is it hasn’t been successful in spite of you. You have been captain of your product ship since the dawn of time. You’ve been fully embedded and invested in that and you’re proud of it and you should be, like I said before, you know, and you feel the emotion that went into it, you know, the history, you know, the different choices that led to those decisions that created these things, you know, the feedback you’ve gotten good, bad and ugly, everything is all there.

So how can we be objective when we’re looking too far into the picture? And so if you have trouble looking for any of these gaps, ask someone else. Because the other thing that I have noticed with my clients is that for me, it’s really obvious where the gaps are because I haven’t walked each step with them.

And so I can see this picture starting and I can go, hang on a sec, how does someone get from here to here? If that was me, I wouldn’t know how to do that. As a user, just as someone in your audience, I wouldn’t know which way to go. I wouldn’t know what that term meant, or I wouldn’t know how to choose which way, this way or that way.

Or, I would be wanting this type of thing to consume now. Or my brain has been so overloaded with this awesome in depth training that now I need something lighter. But you, as the creator, likely miss all of that because you’re in the depths of it. So get someone else to help you do your math.

Someone who doesn’t have that much context. And then once you’ve done that, Then you add the context back in. So we’re not saying that we need to remove all of our knowledge and expertise and all of the information we have. But what we want is for somebody else with fresh eyes to be able to look at it and go, hang on a sec, have you thought of this?

More times than not, you know the thing, but you’ve discounted it. No one will ever really want that because it seems simple. But the truth is, it’s simple for you because you’re you. It’s not simple for your audience. And you need somebody who’s not you to be able to give you that perspective. And find some quick wins.

And look at these gaps. And reflect it back to you. And then you create. a really, really solid plan and you start to plug those gaps and build those bridges and then watch how people move through. That’s how you can do it in its simplest form. It doesn’t have to be over complicated, but if you put in the time and effort into doing it, you will see the result.

Wrapping it Up

I encourage you to give it a go. If you’ve never looked at your product suites or if you just haven’t looked at it in a long time, do it see what happens. Play with it. If you try it, please send me a DM because I want to know about it. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re enjoying it and you’re finding it useful, please leave me a review. So you notice how I’m giving you the exact next step I want you to take. To make it easy.

Please give me a review. That’s how I know I’m on the right track. If you have other topics you want me to cover, again, send me a DM – @audaciousempires – on Instagram or Facebook. Send me an email audaciousempires.com and tell me. Because I would love to spend my time creating content that actually benefits you where you are now. 

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Follow along with the transcript

Ep 9 How to review your products to make bigger profit

Hey, hey, hey, Rockstar. Welcome to today’s episode of the [00:01:00] Audacious Empires podcast. Today, we are talking how to review your products to make bigger profit. Now, it’s a sexy title. Who doesn’t want to make a bigger profit? And even more so, who doesn’t want to do it with resources we already have? So you’ve made it to seven figures.

You’ve had success along your journey. You’ve got pieces that are working. But a question for you, what if you could use what you’ve already got as the basis to make more profit from those things this is when we start looking at product sweeps and ascension letters. I’m going to explain what each of these things are and then I’m going to tell you how to use those to leverage to make bigger profit. The first is a product suite. A lot of the time when I’m working [00:02:00] with seven figure business owners, I’ll talk to them about their products and I’ll talk to them about how they got the idea for these products.

And they look at me a little bit funny and then they start telling me the history of their services, which is great. And then I ask them about their product suite. And they look at me a little bit confused. What do you mean? I’ve just told you the history of my products. What is a product suite? So your product suite is a fancy way of saying the group of products or services that your business offers.

But it doesn’t stop there. It shows the inclusions of each of those products or services and it shows the linkages between them. Which then help you price better and helps you give you transparency in terms [00:03:00] of planning what inclusions and what value each of those products play in your entire business model.

And when you put it all together, that’s your product suite. Then we look at your Ascension Ladder, or your Value Ladder, or your Products Ladder. It has so many names. And what this means is the logical pathway that you want your audience to take to buy one product to then the next product. It’s that order piece that matters here.

What am I buying first? What am I buying second? What am I buying third? Now yes, this will look a little bit different for every human being, but what we’re designing here is a pathway that we believe the majority will take. And we start leading them down that journey. [00:04:00] Because something that we know about human behaviour is we like to be told what to do next.

We want it to be really clear and really easy for us to understand the steps we need to take to get the results that we want. Even when it comes to purchasing a product or a service, tell me what’s the right one for me right now. And then once I’ve done that, tell me what the next one is. Tell me what to do.

Tell me where my money is best spent. You tell me, you know your service and your products better than anybody, so I can go and I can guess. Or I can go to the expert, which is you.

Something I’ve also noticed working with people who’ve ticked off their seven figure milestone is that very rarely have they sat down and looked at what their product suite is and what their value ladder is in comparison [00:05:00] to that product suite and how it all ties together.

Which again, we might be thinking, hang on a sec, if we’ve made it this far, obviously our products are working, or we wouldn’t be here. 100%, you’re right. This isn’t about whether your products are working. This is about the way that they were created and with what intent they were created. Because something else I know is that we can make it to seven figures with products that are disjointed because they’re built based on inspiration or based on audience feedback.

And so, yeah, people want them. So you create them, your audience consumes them, they love them, voila. But if you follow that model as you continue to scale, you’ll be forever creating new things, which isn’t the aim of the game. We don’t want to have to be creating new, pitching in different [00:06:00] ways to sell more stuff.

What we want is to capitalise on what we’ve got and create a really solid map for our audience. So we want to leverage the effort that we’ve already put in. Sounds good, right? So why don’t we spend time looking at product suites? I find that A lot of business owners are happy to map out a value ladder or a product ladder and go, Oh yeah, this is the order I think that people should buy these things in.

But when it comes down to strategically looking at that whole suite and how your ladder ties in, we jump ship. We don’t want to do it. So why not? One of the reasons is we like to be guided by inspiration. When we are guided by inspiration, things feel fun. They feel like we get something back. We have [00:07:00] excitement around it.

It feels easier. So why not just follow that high and create? There’s nothing wrong with being led by inspiration, but what you don’t want to do is that be your only mode and never map your inspiration thought process with your logical thought process. We need the two to boost each other. And so when inspiration guides us, we usually create something amazing.

And by just jumping to the next thing that inspires us, at times we can cannibalize that first thing. We’re not actually letting the logical side do its work to create the most leverage from that first product. Is it getting in front of the right people? Is it doing the work it was designed to do? My [00:08:00] guess is that product or service exists to help create your impact.

While your impact is going to stop short, if you don’t give that first product and service the tactical pieces it needs, to expand its reach. And if you’re consistently just moving to the next exciting thing, those things might still be very successful, but not as much as they could be. The other reason that we tend to shy away from reviewing our product suite and putting in these pieces is because it takes time.

It’s another thing that we have to do where we don’t see the impact immediately. With anything that is strategic, we spend our time and our energy up front and it can take a while to get the payoff from that. There’s no instant gratification, but when we do get the result, [00:09:00] usually it’s a much better one than in the scenarios where we get an immediate result.

So it’s worth it, even though it feels like it’s taking up more of your brain space, it’s taking up some more of your time that you’ve been wanting to use somewhere else. This has the potential to save you more time because if you get this balance right and this mix right, you won’t have to work as hard.

Your impact and your reach will grow. Your profit will grow because it’s like a mathematical formula. All the pieces of the equation are there for it to succeed rather than for some things to fall through the cracks because we’re missing some pieces. And then the final thing is we won’t spend the time doing it because we don’t know how to do it.

This is an interesting concept because it’s not complicated. It can be. But at its simplest form, [00:10:00] I think that anybody can do this. And when we don’t know how something is meant to look, we tend to shy away from it. It goes in the too hard basket. It goes in the I don’t really know what I’m trying to achieve here.

I don’t know what it’s meant to look like. I don’t really know what the result is that I’m going to get for it. And I just know that someone told me I should do it. So I’m just going to park that and I’m going to do this thing instead. Because that, I feel more confident in. Which is all valid. But instead of not doing it, maybe we can just get a little bit more education and information around what it is and what it can look like so it doesn’t feel so hot.

I like to do it in a visual manner, so I’m big on the whole, you know, visual versus analytical. I have this conversation with clients all the time too. Which way do you think? [00:11:00] How do you learn? Because you’ll be one or the other. And If you can work to your strength, this can be done really easy. You’re analytical, put things in a list, get a spreadsheet and start there.

If you’re visual, put things in a map, use colored blocks and build on the blocks until you see a nice picture of how everything fits together.

Now,

what is the cost of not doing this? So I’ve given you some reasons why we tend to not do it and the things that hold us back. But why should we push past that? And the reason is, without doing this, we’re creating silos. So in the same way, that we want to create communities and have groups of people that are all connected together or create one to many communication models so that we’re not saying the same thing over and over again to all these different individual people.

Or in a community where we [00:12:00] want to open a conversation up so everybody can share their perspective and their opinion on one topic. And then everybody gets the benefit of seeing that opinion or feeling validated because somebody else has seen it the way they do. And they’re not alone.

We spend a lot of time trying to build these connections and networks, and we understand its role in that place. We see the value. So we put the effort in. The same thing happens with your products. If you don’t spend that effort in connecting all the pieces. You just end up creating silos and you’ve got all these pockets of product silos, things that serve a certain person for a certain purpose to a certain person at a certain time.

And then another one over here that does a different thing for a different person at a different time. And another one over here that does a different thing for that same person at a different [00:13:00] time. And we create these silos. But we’re never leading people to see how they connect together, to see what the benefit would be for them if they had access to all the different silos.

The same way we wouldn’t be showing them the benefit of being in a community. We wouldn’t be saying to them, hey, you can actually get more support in a group of people. There’s different benefits here. Maybe it’s worth it. Same concept. We don’t want to silo everything. Because then we have to work harder.

Because then our impact is stifled. Because then, Our audience is confused. It’s not easy anymore. Now, what I’m not saying is that we can’t have lots of different products. You 100 percent can. What I’m saying is how can we connect them and what might be missing to be able to connect.

Controversial opinion.

You go, you do lots of marketing courses, you watch masterclasses, you go to workshops, you watch webinar after webinar of all the gurus who say to you, Create your thing, then find the audience that it suits.

How we do that is by first looking at the audience. It’s all about the customer. The customer is always right. Who, what does your audience want? What do they need? Who is it that’s listening to you already? You’ll find oodles and oodles. For people telling you this is the way, the only way I actually think it should be the opposite. And I’ve said this for a while and it wasn’t until I was watching a training by Aaron Fletcher. And the reason that then I have gone, okay, I really like this [00:15:00] guy, was because of his whole approach to product. Audience and marketing. And he talks about starting with a product and the problem that product solves and how that problem becomes the audience that you pitch to.

And so instead of looking at the people first, the people that are already interacting with us and going, what do you want? What do you want? How can I help you more? We look at the products that we have. And then we go, what problem does this solve? Who else has that problem? Who are the people that would get the most benefit from this problem being solved?

And I loved it because it’s something that I’ve been talking about for so long. I never wanted to build a business that [00:16:00] was Completely created and driven by other people. You know, I want to make an impact on the planet. I want to make an impact on the world. I want to do my bit. I want to see life be better.

But I want to do it in a way that makes my life better at the same time. I want to do it in a way where my business feels fun and easy and profitable. And if I’m constantly trying to stretch myself too far or think like another person or create something just because somebody else wants it. Even though I really don’t like it or disagree with it, it’s never going to be fun and it’s never going to be easy.

Always going to be that stretch. And so from the minute that I started my business, I always had this factor when looking at this whole, but what do the people want? Now I am a people first, always [00:17:00] kind of person. So I care about people a lot, but there had to be a way that my business could include me.

It’s mine! Why can’t I be a factor here? And then, when I looked at why can’t I leverage the things that come naturally to me and the products I find easy to create or the service I find easy to deliver and then find the people that get the most benefit. To find those people, you work out the problem that you’re solving.

And who’s going to benefit most. Now, here’s the beautiful thing. When you’re looking at your audience first, and then building for them, you’re looking at one type of person. This fits one little group, one avatar. When you flip it, you’ve created something that can work for all different kinds of people.

So let’s take a look [00:18:00] at bookkeeping software, for example. There are all different kinds of businesses. There are people who are tradies. There are people who are marketing agencies. There are people who own cake shops. Something that they all have in common is that they need a way to track their finances, to be able to interpret them easily and make better decisions.

If I create a bookkeeping software that does that, I now have the opportunity to enter three different markets. I can go with tradies, I can go with marketing and agency and service based, I can go with product based, brick and mortar, e commerce, and serve a whole lot of different markets. Because I’m not focused on who I’m creating it for, I’m focused on the problem it’s going to solve and what it gives.

And it’s the same for you, which [00:19:00] means we can look at the products that we’ve already created. And change the way we think a little bit and go, who does this product really benefit? And it might be more than one kind of person and that’s okay. But it means that then we can create different maps. And the first thing that we do is plot our products on our map.

What have we already got and how do they connect? We have to be objective. And sometimes. It’s our lack of objectivity that makes this hard for us, because we know exactly what went into creating each of those products and services. We know the emotions that went into it. We know the time, the money, the energy, the questions that we asked.

We know the inspiration and why we created that thing and we’re [00:20:00] really attached to it. And that’s totally okay, but you need to be able to be objective at the same time to go, what have I missed? And it’s those missing bits that are going to give you the maximum leverage. So when we’re creating new thing and new thing and new thing, it takes us more time, more energy, more money, more effort to market.

Then when we piggyback off something that we’ve already created and create a stepping stone, we’ve already set the foundation here. So that’s how we can really get more bang for our buck.

When we’re doing this, we want to start with one of our products and then we want to look at the next step that someone would take. If this is this product and this is point one, what problem does this product solve? [00:21:00] And once that problem is solved, me as a consumer, what’s the next problem that I have now that I’ve solved that?

Because very rarely do we ever have no problems, or do we ever not have a bigger desire. Once we’ve got that first thing, what’s the next thing that we want? And we start to think of it like this. We go, okay, and what I think will happen is when you start mapping your products out and then you try and draw these connecting lines, you’ll see that maybe you’ve missed a few steps in the middle.

Or maybe you’ve created some things that solve a problem in this category and a problem in a different category and they don’t quite match. You can’t connect them. And again, that’s okay. That’s because you create them for different purposes and different people. So they [00:22:00] become their own mini maps. And that’s something I see a lot as well.

We create multiple product suites or multiple Ascension models based on the most likely pathways that people are going to take and how we can fill those gaps to make it a smooth transition. Because when we can create these clear pathways, it’s easier for people to make decisions. It’s easier for people to see what we want them to do next.

They can self serve, solve their problem, and you make more money. We’re making it easier for them to buy. But if we never look for those gaps, we won’t be able to do it.

A key thing to remember here is not to overcomplicate it. I can create a product suite that could take 50 hours, 100 hours, and could have so many pieces. Probably isn’t going [00:23:00] to have. The same level as impact, as if I simplified it. And for you, how that looks, is just pick one thing. Get two of your products, put them next to each other, and go, what’s the piece in the middle that might be missing?

What’s the question that people keep asking? And that’s the reason they drop off between one product and the next product. Start small, and then test it. See what happens when you implement it. See what happens when you ask people, hey, have you ever wondered about this? And see what people say. And then, once you’ve made those connections, do it again.

Look at another product on the end. Are there gaps there? Does that product even fit in this suite? Or does it need to be pulled out and put somewhere else? And then what is the little map that we’re creating around that? And then after we’ve done that, that’s when we can start creating funnels that actually can fit.

That’s when we start getting [00:24:00] recurring revenue. That’s when we start getting more sales for things we’ve already created purely because we’ve bridged that gap and we’re losing less people. So we spend all this time and energy marketing and getting people to be aware of what we’re doing and then we lose them because we haven’t made those clear pathways.

So what if we plugged the holes? What if we built those bridges? And usually, it doesn’t take a lot to build those bridging products. Because they’re usually a hybrid of something you’ve already done. And that’s where it gets fun. You get to be creative and you get to look at different ways that you can solve these problems without it being too much effort.

You’ve already done the foundation work.

Another thing would be to focus on consistency. Once you have a pattern of how you’ve done something once, [00:25:00] so let’s say you do this for a few products, Follow the same steps that you took and do it for the others. If you created a mini course for something to fill the gap somewhere and you have another map that has a hole, fill it with a mini course in that same similar spot in that client journey on your product ladder.

Try to keep things consistent because that’s how things become easy. It gives you that starting point and it takes the unfamiliar element away. And it means that you can get things up faster to a higher quality because we’re not guessing. We’ve got a tried and tested method now and we’re going to redo it, but for something else.

And then you test a new shape and you tweak rather than trying to consistently start from scratch. Thanks. Gives you the starting point. Starting point is everything. And then my [00:26:00] final piece of advice for you is to get help. So, like I said before, you’ve gotten your business to this far. It’s been successful.

And my guess is it hasn’t been successful in spite of you. You have been captain of your product ship since the dawn of time. You’ve been fully embedded and invested in that and you’re proud of it and you should be, like I said before, you know, and you feel the emotion that went into it, you know, the history, you know, the different choices that led to those decisions that created these things, you know, the feedback you’ve gotten good, bad and ugly, everything is all there.

So how can we be objective when we’re looking too far into the picture? And so if you have trouble looking for any of these gaps, ask someone else. Because the other [00:27:00] thing that I have noticed with my clients is that for me, it’s really obvious where the gaps are because I haven’t walked each step with them.

And so I can see this picture starting and I can go, hang on a sec, how does someone get from here to here? If that was me, I wouldn’t know how to do that. As a user, just as someone in your audience, I wouldn’t know which way to go. I wouldn’t know what that term meant, or I wouldn’t know how to choose which way, this way or that way.

Or, I would be wanting this type of thing to consume now. Or my brain has been so overloaded with this awesome in depth training that now I need something lighter. But you, as the creator, likely miss all of that because you’re in the depths of it. So get someone else to help you do [00:28:00] your math.

Someone who doesn’t have that much context. And then once you’ve done that, Then you add the context back in. So we’re not saying that we need to remove all of our knowledge and expertise and all of the information we have. But what we want is for somebody else with fresh eyes to be able to look at it and go, hang on a sec, have you thought of this?

And more times than not. You know the thing, but you’ve discounted it. No one will ever really want that because it seems simple. But the truth is, it’s simple for you because you’re you. It’s not simple for your audience. And you need somebody who’s not you to be able to give you that perspective. And find some quick wins.

And look at these gaps. And reflect it back to you. And then you create. a really, really solid [00:29:00] plan and you start to plug those gaps and build those bridges and then watch how people move through. That’s how you can do it in its simplest form. It doesn’t have to be over complicated, but if you put in the time and effort into doing it, you will see the result.

I’ve never seen or worked with a business who’s done this and then not seen the impact. So I encourage you to give it a go. If you’ve never looked at your product suites or if you just haven’t looked at it in a long time, do it

see what happens. Play with it. And if you try it, please send me a DM because I want to know about it. And if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re enjoying it and you’re finding it useful, please leave me a review. So you notice how I’m giving you the exact next step I want you to take. To make it easy.

Please give me a review. [00:30:00] That’s how I know I’m on the right track. And if you have other topics you want me to cover, again, send me a DM. At Audacious Empires. Send me an email audaciousempires. com and tell me. Because I would love to spend my time creating content that actually benefits you where you are now.

Have a great week, everybody. 

Scaling smartly – if you’re comfortable, you’re doing it wrong

Scaling smartly – if you’re comfortable, you’re doing it wrong

Scaling smartly – If you’re comfortable, you’re doing it wrong.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my amazing empire-building clients, and it got me thinking there is a whole aspect of scaling and growth and working on systems and operations that no one really talks about. That is the thoughts and the feelings and the emotional journey we go through when we look at things at this level.

I’ll give you a little bit of a backstory.

This episode shares:

 

  • Mindset that comes with growing and changing: If we want to grow, we need to change our mindset.
  • Survival Mode: When we are faced with change, we feel unsafe.
  • People and process friction: Changing something can feel uncomfortable which can cause friction.
  • Tunnel vision: When faced with something new or different, we flip back to comfortability.
  • Consult for the solution: Long-lasting solutions require a collaborative approach.
  • Be open and honest: Having these conversations will help your business grow.
  • Money: Every minute you spend on that ad-hoc task because “it’s quicker if you do it”, is money lost.

 

Mindset that comes with growing and changing

 

We created a new way of doing something and in creating this new method, we thought about all of the different moving pieces, all of the potential problems, all of the potential outcomes, the impact that we wanted to have, what this system needed to do, and the different areas it needed to cover. We took that away, we formulated a new way of doing it, considering all these things, covered all the bases. We came back, and then we presented this to our client and we walked them through step by step. The client loved it. They were excited. They were happy. Totally on board.

Then a few days later, we had another call. The client got a little bit wobbly and let us know they had been thinking about this and could we change it back to the old way of working. 

This is an interesting flip that happens but it’s not uncommon.

There is something very limiting about that mindset. We quite often will default back to what’s comfortable. A lot of the time, we’re not actually looking at all of those factors that went in to making this improved system. We’re not making sure all the criteria has been covered, all of the different avenues that this new system or new approach has to work for have been covered. Usually, it’s because we found a problem. This is where it can all fall over.

It can all fall over so easily if we don’t communicate properly because I tell you, there is a reason that you’re feeling the way you’re feeling or that you see a problem that is there and you want fixed. That’s fair enough. There is a reason that whoever you’re working with has presented a new approach, the way that they have. If there is a flip, more often than not, it’s because there’s some information missing in the middle. But, like I said earlier, it’s a common flip. I see it all the time. When we see something all the time, usually that tells us something about human behaviour.

Because all businesses are different, but the consistent element is people. People and human behaviour. So, where does this flip come from?

It comes from our need to feel safe and to be protected.

Human behaviour underpins a lot of the tactics.

So think about this. You go to work with somebody to help grow your business or improve your systems or manage your operations. You’ll ask about the tactics. What does this look like? What am I going to get? What will the outcome be? How long will it take? What different things do you know how to do? A lot of service providers will answer all those questions and then they’ll stop, which is great until something like this happens.

Because the bit that’s not getting spoken about is all of the thought processing and the process of filtering your emotions and the different feelings that you can expect as you’re making improvement.

When we change things, we feel unsafe. That’s why we want to default to what’s comfortable. Our body and our brain is saying to us, “this is scary and it’s different.”

Survival Mode

I’ve met quite a few people in my life who have said, “I hate change. I don’t like new. I don’t like different.”

There’s a few that love it, but majority don’t, especially if they can’t see the reason for it. When we’re faced with some kind of problem, we immediately go back to, okay, how do I retreat? I can see a danger or I can see a potential danger. This could be an issue. What am I going to do about it? I’m going to go back to where I know it’s safe.

And that’s logical except when we’re looking at business growth and improvement. We’re not trying to keep what’s always been done that way, which is where safety is. We want to push that little bit because that’s where we get innovation. That’s where we get improvement. If we’re going to stay the same, you’re not going to improve. You’re going to stay the same. So you can’t expect growth and therefore scalability and leverage, if you’re not going to change anything, but for us to go through this friction of change, it’s got to be worth it.

People and process friction

“Why should we bother? It’s not comfortable. Give me a reason to do that.” How it plays out is in people and process friction. When we have to change something with people, we feel uncomfortable. When we have to change something with the process or the way it’s always been done, we feel uncomfortable. This is how our survival mode and our survival instincts show up when we’re improving systems and processes when we’re trying to grow a business.

So how do we handle that?

Tunnel vision

This is something that I do talk about with my clients. When I stand back and I see something happening or I know it’s coming, I’ll say it first, “hey, when we get there, you might feel like this or it’s going to look like this. It’s gonna look wobbly before it looks amazing and that’s normal. It’s okay.”

Because then we can preempt that wobble and we have perspective and we have reason as to why we should bother changing this. So what is the problem? The problem is when we’re faced with an issue, we’ve been given a new idea or a new way to do something and at first it makes so much sense and it’s exciting but then the flip happens.

“Oh, but what about this factor?” Now we got tunnel vision. 

Consult for the solution

To come up with a solution that’s going to be long-lasting, we need a collaborative approach, especially if someone else has gone through the effort of looking at all of the factors. The likelihood is they’ve already got the solution for the problem that you see. They’ve already factored it in and they haven’t told you yet, which is where the communication comes in and why we need to be able to have these conversations without offense. What we want to be doing is acknowledging that we’re uncomfortable and then we want to start looking at why we’re uncomfortable.

“I was happy and then all of a sudden I wasn’t anymore.” Why is that?

“Because I realised this piece and then it means I’m going to have a damaged reputation if that happens that way and I don’t want to risk that and then we consult for the best solution.” More brains are always better, especially when you’re looking for a solution and one that will serve your business and help it grow.

What we want is to keep you as safe as possible, but not too safe, because we will default to saying everything is an emergency and our insides won’t feel great. But in reality, it’s not that bad. You stay stuck because you only ever find the solution that you were going to find and can I tell you, if you’re going to get people on board to help your business grow or to systemise or to find new ideas and to innovate so that your life can be easier, you want to take their advice. This doesn’t mean agreeing every time but it means when you see an issue, leverage their knowledge. That’s what they’re here for.

If you’re having a wobble or if you’ve noticed something, talk about it. Get them on board. See what their solution could be and maybe it’s something you haven’t thought of before. Maybe it’ll make that flip go back and you’ll get your confidence back.

Be open and honest

We need to be honest and we need to be open and have that ability to go, hang on, where is the balance here between safe and growing? Because we want to be safe, but not too safe.

We want our logic to reign.

If you don’t know why something has been done the way it’s been done or why a decision has been made in that way, ask. Always ask.

I’ve had so many conversations with clients before where they have said to me, “I’ve been thinking about this…”, and then they’ll tell me their thought process. Then they say to me, “but I don’t know if that matters in this situation. Does it matter? What impact will it have? Because I’ve never done this before.” And I have the ability to have that conversation with them to explain why it matters. Having conversations like this is what will help you grow your business. It will help you get better systems, better processes, better ways of operating, which is what you want. The other thing that you need to be able to do is know yourself well enough to think about why you’re making the choices you’re making.

What might be driving this decision or hesitation that might not be so obvious? You know who you are as a person. You know how you process information. You know whether you’re quick to jump on board with things and then to later go, oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Or whether you take a long time to make a decision and feel confident about it. Or whether you never want to move forward if you feel like you’ve got questions that aren’t answered. You have that insight. Take that insight and use it as a growth tool. If I know I’m not going to be able to confidently make a decision, if I still have these questions, take those questions and ask them. Get the answers you need from the people you need them from so you can make a clear and confident decision, so you don’t have to do the flip-flop, and you don’t have to stay uncomfortable. You’re choosing to move forward.

The other piece of this is our need to stay comfortable because we’re trying to protect someone. Whether that’s ourselves, or whether that’s someone else, we live in a world with other people. We have businesses with other people and with people is joy and conflict. Majority of us don’t like conflict.

Sometimes we see conflict where there is no conflict and it just adds another layer of complexity, doesn’t it? If we’re put in a position where we have to change the way we’ve done something, and it means somebody else is going to do some of it, we have to let go of some control and that’s uncomfortable.

We have to be able to be confident in someone else doing it and somebody else using their knowledge and understanding, they might not do it the same way as you, or what if the quality is really bad and now I’m going to have hard conversations and potentially have conflict with another person. But if I do it myself, I can avoid all that and I’m safe, and that person doesn’t have to feel offended by me when that’s not what I’m trying to say to them. I can avoid all that conflict and I can stay here, but there’s no boundaries there. We need to be able to put in safe boundaries and boundaries that are gonna work for us, for the other people and for the business as a whole.

Money

If you want to keep expanding, your business can’t operate as if you can just step in and do the thing all the time, or you’ll just keep that piece because right now it feels too hard to hand it over in case something else happens. We need to challenge those thoughts a little bit, and we need to consider what another perspective might be.

I want you to think about the cost of time. You doing all of the things won’t ever help your business grow. It’s not sustainable. It’s just not.

It’s not going to help you improve.

Putting more and more knowledge and information into your bucket won’t build a scalable business. It builds your knowledge and your perspective and gives you more things to learn, understand and develop, but it will always be you in the center of it.

There’s money. If you’re spending all your time, or some of your time, doing things that don’t need to be you, you are losing out on revenue. Potentially you’re paying someone who can’t really do their job properly because you haven’t been able to nut this out yet.

Imagine what it could be like if you had the space and you had the time to think innovatively. What would the revenue impact be then?

What about the freedom cost?

If I keep accumulating more knowledge and building my internal knowledge pool, I’m putting myself in a box. I’m taking away my freedom layer by layer because instead of building into a business system that can sustain itself, regardless of who the people are, I’m putting everything in one bucket, me. More often than not, it gets stuck there. And then, we get frustrated because why does it always have to be us? Why does it have to be us to get it done right? Why can’t I figure out a way where I can just have some time and have some peace and do what I want with my life? There has to be a better way to do this.

There is. But staying comfortable won’t get you there. 

Ultimately, there’s burnout. Burnout appears so often when we put more on our plate and put more on our plate or think that we have to do something or if we see a consequence as bigger than it actually is.

If a blog gets published on the wrong day, I can choose to have a really big meltdown about it and think that’s it, business is over. What if an extra 10 people had clicked that link today? What process has failed? What system did that live in? Who did it? What do I need to do to fix this? Maybe the person that was meant to put the date in, put it in wrong. Is it ideal? No. Is it something that can be fixed in the future? Yes. Is it worth me then saying, okay, I’m going to do that bit from now on, just in case? Absolutely not. Because why would you want to risk burning out over potentially going back to someone and saying, hey, we had this break in the chain. How can we stop this from happening again?

The impact hasn’t cost you millions and millions of dollars. It just hasn’t felt very good and the second we acknowledge that feeling, we can push past it.

Wrapping It Up

So, when you’re making decisions or when you notice your opinion has quickly changed, look underneath. Usually, you’ll find something missing, or a question you have that needs to be answered, and ask yourself if this is serving you. Does this support growth, or does this support staying the same?

Where are you investing your time, money and knowledge? Is it in the direction that you want it to go? If the answer is yes, then it’s fine. Sometimes there are two options and they’re just as good as each other. Your preference might be one. Someone else’s preference might be the other. It doesn’t matter which one you pick.

It’s not good if you’re making choices or feeling hesitation, but you haven’t really thought about the impact and whether it’s serving you, because that’s what we want. A business that serves you and goes in the direction that you want it to go in.

Be brave, Empire Builder. I know you can be.

 

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Follow along with the transcript

AEP E7 The top five issues successful empire builders face today (and how you can fix them)

Hey, hey, hey! Welcome to this week’s episode of [00:01:00] the Audacious Empires podcast. Today, I want to talk to you about five of the big issues that I’m seeing successful empire builders face and how you can fix them. In my role as an OBM and an integrator, I talk to a lot of business owners. And successful ones.

So I’m not talking today about issues that, only happen when you’re in a startup phase. These are issues that I see coming from seven figure, eight figure businesses. And they’re all really easy to fix. But I wanted to give you the insight so that if you are facing some of these, you don’t feel like you’re alone.

Because that’s another question I keep getting asked is, do you see other people that have this same problem? The answer is always, yes. The likelihood is if you are facing a big issue, someone else is facing it too. And there are all different [00:02:00] ways that you can go about fixing that issue. It is not just a you thing.

So let’s dive in. The first of the issues that I want to cover is the battle between impact and money, as Empire Builders we want to create a big impact. Usually, this is what started us on the journey that we are on now. We have a big purpose. We want to change the world. We want to make a difference. We have a fire in our belly that fuels us. and very rarely does it have to do with us. 

Most of the time, it’s about other people.

And the impact that we have on them, the world around them, the relationships that they have, the life that they live. And so with that, we feel a big responsibility. We want to do everything that we can to support them, to create that impact, to grow that impact, to help more people, and for us, it does not feel optional.

We’re driven. We, it’s something we must do. If we can’t do it, we feel like we’re not doing the right thing. We’re not living up to what we’ve been called to do.

So how does that impact when it comes to money? What I see so often with empire builders is they have this desire to create the impact and they know that they need money from a business perspective. The two don’t always align. In fact, the two are tug of warring. If you’re focused solely on impact, then the money side tends to fall over.

If you’re focused solely on money, the impact side tends to fall over.

Which means we’re left in this place. Where we feel like we’re in a battle all the time of having to choose and it is frustrating. But I want you to think about it this way. When we’re in this battle, our focus is split. We’re either looking at impact or we’re looking at money and we see them as opposing forces.

But what if we flipped it a little bit? And what if we shifted our mindset so that we looked at the two as a collaboration, the impact needs the money. So it is Batman and Robin. One can’t really exist without the other. If you are focused on impact and you don’t look at the money side at all, what you will find is you will burn out very quickly.

[00:05:00] Or you won’t ever be able to make the kind of impact at the level that you want because you don’t have the money that supports it. This isn’t about greed or just revenue generation or anything like that. This is about, we need to have the resources to create that impact. Otherwise, We will end up having no impact.

I will say it again. If we don’t consider the money and the role the money plays, the vital role the money plays, on creating a big impact, we will have no impact. Because you will burn out, and if you burn out, You’re not helping anybody. There is no business, there is no you. There is no showing up, there is no sharing what you know, there is no getting the cut through that only you can get to, because [00:06:00] there’s no fuel for that fire.

And then if we look at it in the other way, There is no money without the impact. That is because you’re an empire builder. You don’t do things in halves. You don’t do things, just to take the first step and run away. If there is no impact, there’s no money. And that’s because without the impact, you’re not in it.

That impact needs you, and the money will only come if that impact is being made, because that impact is what fuels you. It’s what keeps you going. It’s what keeps you seeing these are the opportunities in front of me. If you’re in a place where all you have to focus on is money or making money, you’re not going to sustain what you’re doing, because that’s not why you started doing this.

It might be part of the reason. But I bet you it’s not the sole [00:07:00] reason. And so if we don’t show you the impact that you’re having and you can’t see it unfolding, there’s going to be no money because you’re not going to back it and the money needs you.

When we’re looking at this battle of impact versus money, you need to flip your mindset and see it as it’s not a battle. They feed each other and each is just as important. And that means we need to give each the right amount of attention. They both need our time and our commitment so that we can keep growing.

And if we just focus on one, that’s when things get wobbly. So remember, we need to cover both bases. Make the time to cover both bases.

The second issue that I see is keeping pace.

Empire Builders tend to have [00:08:00] two modes. That are default. So this is in terms of, without trying, one is moving too fast, the other is moving too slow. They’re the default. Until we start to rationalise and until we start to really commit to changing the way that we operate, that’s just the status quo.

But both of these have issues and have consequences. When we are moving too fast, we lose strategic perspective and we generally lose quality. Our focus becomes on speed or our focus becomes on immediate impact, immediate outcome. And that just adds pressure. The faster that you’re moving, the more pressure that gets added, especially if it’s not backed with strategy.

And there’s a whole lot of reasons that we move quickly. We’re excited. We feel like this is urgent and it needs to be solved right [00:09:00] now. We can see an opportunity and we don’t want to miss it. There are lots of reasons. Sometimes we just feel anxious or we just want to feel like we’ve achieved something, so we move faster.

But very rarely is the outcome as good as what it could have been if we took a breath first. And then, on the flip side, if we’re moving too slow, we start to lose opportunities. And when I see empires moving too slow, most of the time it has to do with a decision. They need to make a decision about something, or they’re procrastinating doing something.

And it’s that delay that misses them opportunities, and it actually causes mental exhaustion. Because even if you’re not doing it, you still know that you need to. You still know that there’s a choice that needs to be made, or there’s a thing that needs to be done. And in your [00:10:00] mind, in the background, that’s still sitting there.

And it takes that little bit of your energy. Now imagine that. Ten choices. Fifteen. Twenty. That little bit of energy isn’t little anymore. Because it’s happening across all these different areas. And so then we’re suffering the consequences of moving too slowly, of being unsure. So what we need to do is work out a better balance.

We need to know when to move quickly and when moving a bit slower is okay. And the way that we do that is to know your core drivers. When I’m working with a lot of my clients, I usually am in on what all their goals are and I know them as people. So I know as people what’s important to them and I know from a business perspective [00:11:00] what’s important to it.

That means that when we’re having conversations I already know what the crucial pieces are here. I know where we’re headed. I know where we’re headed based on a business front and based on a human front. And because those are clear for me. When there’s a decision that needs to be made or when there’s a really exciting opportunity that lands in our lap or a new thought that pops into our minds and the things that could develop to be, I have something to go back to because I can measure.

Every opportunity or every decision against these core drivers. Is this something that is moving with us in alignment with those drivers and these goals? Or is it something completely off to the side? Because every time we choose something that is off to the side, it means that something’s taken away from one of our core [00:12:00] drivers.

And are we okay with that? So often we can’t make a decision until we understand the consequence of that decision. And sometimes the answer might be, yeah, it’s actually okay in this scenario to take that opportunity and to do it and to do it quickly, because that actually feeds straight into what we’re doing.

But sometimes it just means you’re taking away focus, energy, and time. From the things that really need it now, that you’d already decided without emotion, without urgency. The more that we can come back and have that tangible, measurable plan to go back to, you’ll make far better decisions and you’ll be able to keep a better pace.

Because you won’t be constantly going between fast, fast, fast, or slow, slow, slow. The third thing is reinventing the wheel. *This is something I hear from people that I work with a lot. I feel like I’m reinventing the wheel. I’m [00:13:00] organised, but even if I’m organised, I still feel like I’m doing the same things that I’ve already done.

There has to be an easier way. Usually, this stems from empire builders trying to be organised and creating processes. Now, I’m an OBM and an integrator, so I love processes. But I also know that the second that you create a process, the second that you document it, it’s pretty much out of date because time has moved forward and time changes things.

I also know that processes that are contained within a system have context and context is what makes your processes longlasting. So we’re constantly reinventing the wheel and doing the same things over and over again, even though we have processes, because those processes have no context. They don’t know how to [00:14:00] function and be of use without you or the person that wrote them.

So we need to start looking at what are the systems in our businesses. That these processes support because that’s when we start to see systems of scale. That’s when we start to see a reduction in the impact of people changing roles or leaving or coming in. The impact of that. The reason being that the systems are not built for any one person.

They’re built for the business as a whole. And the processes tie back into those systems. The two feed each other and that’s what makes them last longer because they can be done by anyone with any knowledge of that role because the context is there. They don’t have to know when to use this process, why to use this process, whether it’s this process or the other process.

If I change something in this process, is it going to affect a different process? Will it [00:15:00] affect a different team? What will that do to the bottom line? There are all these things that happen within processes if you leave them without a system. Put them in systems and then the systems work together and the picture makes sense.

It’s that clarity that will keep your business driving forward and you won’t be reinventing the wheel anymore. The wheels are already there in motion, you might just support them and improve them.

The fourth thing is being busy but not strategic. We’re Empire Builders. We like to be busy. Usually, it’s because being busy makes us feel like we’re closer to the impact we want to make, or we feel productive. But, being busy and being strategic are not the same thing. And you might be doing a lot. Let’s be honest.

Most of our Empire Builders [00:16:00] out there are doing a lot. But it might not be the right things. When we’re not focused on the right things, we go round in circles. At least that’s what it feels like. Whenever really moving forward, sure, we’re getting a lot done. We’re getting through a lot. I’m not really seeing the outcome of that.

And that’s because we’re being busy. I also want to add the context of what is business today might not be in a month. The things I do today that would be counted as busy things, that I’m not going to see the impact for, in a month’s time, they might be the right things, and I’d see the impact very quickly.

Therefore, in that scenario, they’re not busy anymore. The difference is the timing and the priority. This is how we fix our constant lack of time, [00:17:00] even though we’re doing lots. We start to look at prioritisation. Priorities fix everything. If you know what to do when to do it, and why that we have to do it in that order, in that way.

You will get to your outcomes far quicker. It’s methodical. It’s planned out. And you won’t burn out as easy. You’re seeing impact faster. You’re jumping a lot of hurdles when you do things in the right order. That’s just how project rollout works. That’s how operations work. If you prioritise properly, things run a lot smoother and you reach your goals faster.

So if you’re in that position, what I really want you to do is take a look at where all your time is going. Really, where’s your time going? And before you go to do the next thing, go do the [00:18:00] next thing, think about why you’re doing that. What is the purpose? And what do you want that thing to get you? And is that something that’s going to happen soon?

Or maybe is there something else that you That your time is better served doing and then shift. It’s okay to shift. It’s okay to change the scope of different things. Nothing ever has to be set in stone, especially if we wanna be constantly moving. Nothing ever stays still if we’re moving. So you’ve gotta be flexible and that’s okay. And then the last thing that I wanna talk to you about is owning the role of CEO.

Now you might be thinking, that doesn’t really sound like an issue. That just sounds like a dream, but can I tell you, I see empire builders [00:19:00] spending way too much of their time doing other people’s jobs, not being CEO. Not because they have to, but they do.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Just because you can do it well, doesn’t Doesn’t mean that you should do it just because you can do it faster than someone else also doesn’t mean you should do it. Not if you want to be the CEO, getting the opportunity cost in a business, there is only ever one CEO. There’s lots of workers. There’s lots of people in the organisation and they all have their part to play. There’s only ever one CEO. That means you have to choose. And that means every time you do something that isn’t in your CEO role that someone else could be doing, you’re choosing not to do your CEO role.

Your time and energy are getting taken up by something that isn’t serving you. Someone else can do it. Whether they’ll do it as good as you, whether they’ll do it as fast as you, whether they’ll do it in the same way you would. Totally different story. But the truth of the matter is, only one person can be the CEO.

And if that person isn’t you, no one else is doing it. And what will happen to your business if they have a CEO who’s there most of the time but then sometimes just [00:21:00] disappears? Things won’t stay on track. Things won’t get to where they could be as quickly as they could if they had a CEO who was leading.

And every time we choose to jump into somebody else’s job, someone else’s task, something that someone else can do that is not a you only thing. 

We often desperately want to be CEO, but the reality is it’s harder for us to stay there. Or to work our way up to staying in that role, because it’s a new way to operate. It’s not the same as it’s always been. If I’m an admin assistant, there’s four admin assistants. There’s four of me. There’s more wiggle room for my role.

If you’re the CEO, there’s only one of you. There’s no fallback here. So, we have to operate differently. To do that, [00:22:00] you need to start looking at your capacity. And look at all the things that you’re doing. Can anybody else do any of those things? What are the things on there? Only you can do, nobody else, because they’re the things you need to be aiming to do all of the time.

It doesn’t mean that you have to be doing it all tomorrow, but you’re setting yourself a baseline and you’re understanding, hey, this is what my role should be. And you’re starting to see the gaps and the opportunities to grow. Because if you’re doing things that other people could be doing, it means that you’re not spending that time looking at growth.

Or impact or new opportunities. And none of those things will happen unless you’re managing it. So as much as we can, we want to start building our team and bringing in the right people in the right [00:23:00] roles where you’re not needed. And then we equip those people to do the best that they can do. And it might look different to you.

And you know what? Most of the time, the results they get. They’re going to be better than the results you would have gotten because that’s their jam. Your job is to be at the head of the table. And so we want to own the CEO role, but we need to understand what that really means and be practical about getting there because it won’t happen overnight.

Just like success doesn’t happen overnight. And creating a little bit of a transition plan is okay. It’s practical. It’s saying, all right, I want to move forward. One step forward is still one step forward. So they’re the five big things that I talk to my clients about, that I talk to empire builders about, that I’m seeing right now in 2024.

And hopefully this episode has given [00:24:00] you the starting points on how to overcome those issues and not stay stuck in them. Because the world needs you to be the best you that you can be. That’s where the impact happens. That’s when the world changing happens. I’ll see you next week, everyone bye. 

How much does an Online Business Manager charge?

How much does an Online Business Manager charge?

How much does an Online Business Manager charge? A question I get asked all the time.

I know, it’s all scary sounding. Mostly, because every time you ask someone that question. They don’t answer you. They give you a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo, or, there’s so many variables, but you never get a clear answer.

This means our industry suffers because a lot of us start with guessing and we guess too low. Then our clients or audience start to assume Online Business Managers should be cheap or cheaper than what we should be charging.

Let me give you my thoughts on how much an Online Business Manager can charge. This is my perspective. I know that people will charge more. I know that people will charge less. But I’m going to explain what my reasoning is and hopefully it will give you a solid starting point, and it will boost your pricing confidence, which really is the secret to good pricing.

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This episode shares:  

  • How much should you charge as an Online Business Manager: The right value for an OBM
  • Figuring out what feels right for you: The sweet spot where you’re not undervaluing yourself but you’re also competitive.
  • The cold hard facts: The expenses faced by the business.
  • Sneak peek: You’re worth more than you think
  • The magic of packages: Showcase the full range of value you bring.
  • The damage undercharging does: Charging what you’re worth, you’re not just helping yourself, you’re helping the whole OBM game level up.

How much should you charge as an Online Business Manager?

When we are talking about our price and what we can charge, there are two core questions, the first one is:

1. How much do you want to charge?

It sounds a little bit like, I want to know how much I should charge, but you’re asking me how much I want to. That’s not exactly what I came for. But it’s important because you need to know what feels good for you. Otherwise, you’ll eventually close your business. Doesn’t matter how good you are. If you feel like you’re working hard for nothing, that’s not a very good business model. So my question is, based on what you do now, what feels like you’re taking advantage of yourself? What feels like a good rate? What feels like it would be intimidating or too much? Just get a gauge on where you are right now and then do the same thing, but think about it in two years.

Tip💡: You need to know what feels good for your business to make sure you’re charging the right fee.

Figuring out what feels right for you 

This is the second core question:

2. What do you need to charge?

Your business has expenses, your brain has expenses, your life has expenses. All of these things factor into how much you charge. You need to understand what those factors are and consider them when setting your price, especially because it will change how you answer question one.

If all of a sudden you knew that it costs you 476 an hour to run your business and you’re charging a $100 an hour, it’s not feasible from the get-go. Every single second you spend working, you’re going to feel like I am losing money, this is not good. But without any context, it makes it harder for you. You have no baseline, not even at the bare minimum.

Now I know you’re not going to have costs of 476 an hour. You get what I mean. You need to at least know  because it helps us rationalise.

I want to give you some perspective. So before I go through and I give you another figure, I want to give you something to hold on to. I did a super quick Google to my friend Glassdoor, and I looked up how much an operations manager earns a year in Australia. The answer is on average, so this wasn’t the lowest amount. It wasn’t the biggest amount, it was the average amount, $144,000 a year for ops. Now that’s for a full-time person. When we’re looking at pricing, we’re not looking at how much we’re putting into our pocket.

So this number is that pocket number, but it also is the amount that your clients or potential clients could go and pay for someone like you in an employed role. Now let’s break that down a little bit so it’s more tangible.

If we were to say work part-time, it was, one and a bit days a week. When we break that 144k down, that works out to be about $3,000 a month for one and a bit days a week. If you’re an operations manager, if you’re an Online Business Manager doing operations, that one and a bit days is going to give you the ability to do that job successfully, dependent on the client.

At bare minimum, an employee is getting paid $3,000 to do that and they’re an employee. The reason I keep saying that is because it is easier to be an employee than it is to be a business owner. There are fewer factors to consider. When looking at wages and how much you’re willing to work for, the price you give a client to say, this is how much it will cost to work with me is not the money that goes into your pocket.

It is the amount that all of the expenses and the money that’s meant to go into your pocket come from. So in this scenario, the $3,000 a month is already too cheap because of business, but also. It doesn’t factor in how much we get paid. How much do you want to get paid? So there’s just some perspective for you, it can help too if you’re, willing yourself to talk to someone about pricing or tell a potential lead how much it is to work with you. You’ve got an anchor. Use it as an anchor. Well, that’s okay. If you think that it is too expensive to work with me right now, it’s not in your budget, that’s totally fine.

You have other options. You can go and hire a full-time Ops Manager for $144,000 a year if that works better for you. Or, you can pay me a fraction of that because I’m not going to be full-time. Plus, I have the benefit of having more experience and more versatility. You don’t have to pay me super or tax. The list goes on. So now you’ve got a baseline.

When we are setting our price, these are the things that we then have to add on top. So let’s say, as an online business manager, you wanted to earn $144,000 a year. You have to work out your rate based of $144,000 plus insurance, now this can be a big one.

There are so many different types of insurance now such as public liability, professional indemnity and cyber insurance. Everyone needs insurance, particularly because a lot of subcontractors if you want to work as a subcontractor, the people that you are working for will ask you for your insurance details. And that is because insurance companies, more often than not, have a little thing on their form.

So that when the business goes there and says, yes, I want insurance. They have, do you use subcontractors? Do you require them to have their own insurance? It’s a factor that matters. So even if you’re subbing, you still need insurance. It’s a cost. Then there’s marketing. Well, if you’re going to run a business, you have to be able to promote it.

Whether that’s in time or money or learning how to market, there’s skill development. You cannot stay stagnant with what you know. We are online business managers and the land of online evolves too quickly. If you stop learning, you will stay stuck. Tech upgrades are a big one that I just want to cement in because we don’t have a ton of overheads as OBMs

Tip💡: Set your baseline to define your fees.

 

The cold hard facts

 

We don’t have to pay rent. We don’t have to pay for electricity. We don’t have to pay for building insurance. A lot of these things we don’t experience as OBMs and other businesses do, but we also seem to get very shocked when we need to consistently upgrade our computers and our laptops and our webcams.

That baffles me a bit because it is our overhead. Your tech is the biggest thing that you use to actually connect with your clients and do your job. So build in the fact that you’re going to need to upgrade it regularly. That should be considered in your price. So it’s not a sting or a shock when then you go, Oh no, now I’ve got to come up with a few thousand dollars to do this.

If it’s built into your price already, you’ll have the money. There’s registrations, business registrations and certifications. Then there’s other fun things like super, tax. The uh-oh factor. So what if the economy takes a dive? If the economy dives tomorrow, you want to make sure you have the ability to survive that.

That only comes with building a buffer and a buffer only comes if your price is higher. What if the cost of living rises? You have to factor that into your price. What if you want to grow your business? You have to factor that into your price. All these things cost money. So when you are saying this is how much it costs to work with me, remember that here’s a big list of things that go into that cost.

It is not how much money goes into your pocket and the reason I keep saying that is because as OBMs we tend to struggle with that difference.

We feel like we’re telling people you’re paying this much just for me to sit and type and do my brain thinking behind this computer. It’s not true. So we need to cut that tie or we will forever undercharge.

Another thing that matters is location. Everything I am talking about today is based on Australia. I live in Australia, I understand the Australian market, and I know that it’s different in other places in the world. A lot of these principles you’ll still be able to apply, but the figures might not quite be there.

 

Tip💡: Build in the fact that you’re going to need to upgrade your tech, which is the biggest thing that you use to connect with your clients and do your job.

Sneak peek

More perspective. How much can an Online Business Manager charge?

Five years ago I decided to put my Online Business Manager cap on and offer that as a service. I charged $70 an hour. That was five years ago. That was when I started. So I had been in the VA industry for a few years. I knew what I was doing. Highly skilled person.

I knew how to run a business. When I started offering online business management services, I charged $70 an hour. We’re five years ahead now. So now in that same circumstance, I would want to be charging $90 an hour, $100 an hour. Five years is a long time, and that was without the experience I now have.

So I want to give you that context. That’s the number I’m giving you to hold on to. If you’re charging $50 an hour in Australia and you’re an OBM, it’s too cheap. If you’re charging $100 an hour in Australia, calling yourself an online business manager, but not doing that role, you shouldn’t be charging anything.

Go and work out how much it is to charge for your role. But as that starting point, if you’ve got some experience. You know what you’re doing, you are capable, then 90 to 100 dollars an hour is not a lot. If you know that right now you’re not charging that much, and you should be, or you could be, it’s okay.

Do what you need to do to take steps to increase your price. You don’t have to do it overnight. You can. I know I did at one point in my business. I went from charging two grand a month to four grand a month to people, but I understand that pricing can be scary. So if you’re in the under charging bucket, which generally the majority of us are, put some steps in place to increase your price, knowing that five years ago it was $70 an hour.

Tip💡: Do what you need to do to take steps to increase your price.

 

The magic of packages

 

If you’re an OBM and you package your services, you will earn more and I’m going to explain why.

As Online Business Managers, we squirm when it comes to talking about money. I have worked with a lot of OBMs now and in OBM Academy with my clients in there and it’s the same thing. We all struggle with the money conversation. We all struggle with splitting out our worth from the amount we charge and that’s okay.

But, if that’s you, let’s stop working against that and start working with it. If you know that when it comes to saying your price or your hourly rate, your belly does flip flops and you don’t want to or you have a panic attack, stop saying it. To make hourly pricing work as an OBM, where you actually get the balanced value, you need a massive hourly rate.

It needs to be high. To be able to pull that off, you got to be able to confidently say what that hourly rate is. Confidently enough to be able to sell it and explain it. Now my gut feel is you probably don’t want to do that. If we’re working with the fact that yeah, we wobble a little bit around price and money, we’re working on it, we’re getting better, move away from the hourly rate.

Because that’s just going to bring more wobbles. When we come to packaging, it gives us different options. If I say to someone, my hourly rate is $100 an hour, and I’ll be your OBM. And they take that, and they compare me with somebody else, who charges $70 an hour to be an OBM. All they have to compare in these two cases is that dollar figure.

$70 an hour, $90 an hour. Well, let’s go with the $70 one and see how that goes. That’s all we’re giving them to compare us with. And if you’re like me, you do not like getting compared based on price alone. Especially when they don’t have a full picture. 

If we put the effort into creating packages, all of a sudden, we have more pieces to play with when it comes to comparison.

In a package, you will have all of the inclusions, and you have to spend time thinking about those inclusions, coming up with them, and listing them out in a way that makes sense. Now when you quote how much it’s going to cost to work with you, you have a list of things to give that person. It’s going to cost you a thousand dollars to do this.

Here’s why. Here are the ten things that are included in that and then you add in the conversations around your experience. You add in things like turnaround time. In phase one and phase two, you give more context and packages need that. So they take more work upfront and we invest more work upfront.

We put a bigger dollar figure on it, but it’s easier to anchor that price because it’s easier to explain what someone’s getting for it. Whereas when we just say an hourly rate. We can’t really explain, that means I’m going to do these four things. It makes it harder to compare things when you do packages, because majority of people don’t have packages that are exactly the same.

Therefore, clients start looking at other things, like what is it that they actually need? Does this person have that included in a package, or does this person? Cost is one thing, but they start to rationalise a little bit more. That might seem a bit cheaper, but this one has twice as many things, so maybe I’ll do that.

This person seems to have really good knowledge around the area, they’re including strategy, I’m happy to pay a higher price for that package. We’re not just looking at dollar for dollar without any context.

So that’s why I always encourage my OBM clients to move with packaging. I think that you’ll end up with more value once you get into the groove of doing it.

What’s fair and what’s not

I was chatting with one of my clients in OBM Academy this week, and they were talking about this epic client journey that they created for one of their customers.

They were telling me what was involved. When they said it, they said, I created a client journey. We went through the client journey. When I listened, they didn’t just go through the client journey. There was like 10 different services involved in going through that client journey. This is this big, big piece of work.

My client had thought about things that other people wouldn’t have thought about. This was an incredible job, an incredible effort, and well considered. And then I told my client how much I would have charged if I was doing that service for someone and I watched their face change. Then I told them how much a marketing consultant would have charged to do what they had just done and more face changes, because my client had charged such a tiny fraction of that because they didn’t see what they’d done. Getting that level of knowledge, experience and understanding at a low hourly rate that customer got a huge bargain, and my OBM client had no idea. This is the pattern that we want to stop.

When you package things properly, you can stop this, because then, at the beginning, you start thinking about the scope. You start thinking about what’s included. You start communicating that. When you go with Ali, you just go, oh yeah, I’ll try this and I’ll try that, and maybe we’ll do this. And this is one example of how that can eventuate.

You would have just lost out on thousands and thousands of dollars. That’s the level we’re talking about. So you have choices either up that hourly rate or get some packages happening.

Tip💡:  Package things properly and start thinking about the scope.

The damage undercharging does

 

What happens when we undercharge? Lots of businesses don’t survive, purely because people undercharge. And when you’re an online business manager, and you undercharge, even by $10 an hour, $20 an hour, you ruin the whole industry. And it is because of that, that each time I’ve increased my prices, I’ve had a little bit more confidence.

Because I know it’s the right thing to do for everybody else that’s in my boat. 

Sometimes I can’t do things for me, but I can do them for other people. And I know that when we undercharge, we reinforce this idea that all of our work experience isn’t that valuable. All of our life experience isn’t that valuable.

Tip💡:  Charge accordingly and make the life experience valuable.

And… that’s a wrap!

Our unique ability and skill aren’t that valuable. Our capability and our way of being when under pressure isn’t valuable. Because if you have all those things and you’re charging less, and then someone next to you also has those things and is charging far more, someone’s going to start looking for why.

The only why is they were brave enough to charge that much and you weren’t yet. You didn’t know yet. You hadn’t taken the steps you needed to take yet, or you hadn’t factored in all the things that really come with a price. If you are going to be an OBM or continue being an OBM first, you need to have the skill and confidence to own the role, and you need to charge the price to back it up.

That is what I’m going to leave you with. If pricing is something that you struggle with or you’re trying to get your head around or you’re trying to find just the next step with, check out OBM Academy. We focus a lot on pricing and I walk you through profitable pricing strategies so that you don’t stay in this cycle of working too hard and getting underpaid.

Or if you want to dip your toe in packaging, I have a masterclass that is for sale it comes with a template and I walk you through how to create powerful packages so you can move away from hourly if that’s what you’re interested in.

Send me a DM to start a conversation. Tell me what your biggest pricing struggle is. I want to hear from you. 

 

 

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Follow along with the transcript

E40 How much does an Online Business Manager charge?

Leanne Woff:Hello, hello, hello. How are you guys? Today we are talking about one of [00:01:00] my favorite things. Money. A question I get asked all the time. How much does an online business manager charge? Dun, dun, dun. I know, it’s all scary sounding. Mostly because every time you ask someone that question. They don’t answer you.

They give you a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo, or, there’s so many variables, but you never get a clear answer. What that means is that our industry suffers because a lot of us start with guessing and we guess too low. And then. Our clients or audience start to assume that online business managers should be cheap or cheaper than what we should be charging.

 Today, [00:02:00] I’m going to give you my thoughts on how much an online business manager can charge. This is my perspective. I know that people will charge more. I know that people will charge less. But I’m going to explain what my reasoning is. And hopefully, if you’re listening to this, it will give you a really solid starting point, and it will boost your pricing confidence, which really is the secret to good pricing.

Alright, so first thing, when we are talking about our price and what we can charge, there are two core questions. The first one. How much do you want to charge? I know it sounds a little bit like, I want to know how much I should charge, but you’re asking me how much I want to. That’s not exactly what I came for.

But it’s important, because you get a say. And you need to know what [00:03:00] feels good for you. Otherwise, you’ll eventually close your business. Doesn’t matter how good you are. If you feel like you’re working hard for nothing, that’s not a very good business model. So my question is, based on what you do now, what feels like you’re taking advantage of yourself?

What feels like a good rate? What feels like it would be intimidating or too much? Just get a gauge on where you are right now. And then do the same thing, but think about in two years time.

Then, the second core question,

what do you need to charge? Because your business has expenses, your brain has expenses, your life has expenses. All of these things factor into how [00:04:00] much you charge. And you need to understand what those factors are. And you need to consider them when setting your price

especially because it will change how you answer question one.

If all of a sudden you knew that it costs you 476

an hour to run your business and you’re charging a hundred dollars an hour, it’s not feasible from the get go. Every single second that you spend working, you’re going to feel like I am losing money, this is not good. But without any context, it makes it harder for you. You have no baseline, not even at the bare minimum.

Now I know that you’re not going to have costs of 476 an hour. You get what I mean. You need to at least know [00:05:00] because it helps us rationalise.

I want to give you some perspective. So before I go through and I give you another figure, I want to give you something to hold on to. Now I did a super quick Google to my friend Glassdoor, and I looked up how much an operations manager earns a year in Australia. The answer is on average, so this wasn’t the lowest amount.

It wasn’t the biggest amount, it was the average amount, $144,000 a year

for ops. Now that’s for a full time person. And when we’re looking at pricing, we’re not looking at how much we’re putting into our pocket. So this number is that pocket number, but it also is the [00:06:00] amount that your clients or potential clients could go and pay for someone like you in an employed role. Now let’s break that down a little bit so it’s more tangible.

If we were to say work part time, and it was, one and a bit days a week. When we break that 144k down, that works out to be about $3,000 a month for one and a bit days a week. If you’re an operations manager, if you’re an online business manager doing operations, that one and a bit days is going to give you the ability to do that job successfully, dependent on the client. At bare minimum, an employee is getting paid $3,000 to do that. And they’re an employee. And the reason I keep saying that is because it is easier to be an employee than it is to be a business owner. There are [00:07:00] less factors to consider. When looking at wages and how much you’re willing to work for, the price that you give a client to say, this is how much it will cost to work with me is not the money that goes in your pocket.

It is the amount that all of the expenses and the money that’s meant to go into your pocket comes from. So in this scenario, the $3,000 a month is already too cheap because business, but also. It doesn’t factor in how much we get paid. How much do you want to get paid? So there’s just some perspective for you.

And it can help too if you’re, willing yourself to talk to someone about pricing or tell a potential lead how much it is to work with you. You’ve got an anchor. Use it as an [00:08:00] anchor. Well, that’s okay. If you think that it is too expensive to work with me right now, it’s not in your budget, that’s totally fine.

You have other options. You can go and hire a full time Ops Manager for $144,000 a year if that works better for you. Or, you can pay me a fraction of that because I’m not going to be full time. Plus, I have the benefit of having more experience and more versatile. You don’t have to pay me super. You don’t have to pay me tax.

The list goes on. So now you’ve got a baseline.

When we are setting our price, these are the things that we then have to add in on top. So let’s say, as an online business manager, you wanted to earn $144,000 a year. You have to work out your rate based o$144,000 [00:09:00] plus insurance, now this can be a big one. There’s so many different types of insurances now.

Public liability, professional indemnity, cyber insurance. And everyone needs insurance, particularly because a lot of subcontractors, if you want to work as a subbie, the people that you are working for will ask you for your insurance details. And that is because insurance companies, more often than not, have a little thing on their form.

So that when the business goes there and says, yes, I want insurance. They have, do you use subcontractors? Do you require them to have their own insurance? It’s a factor that matters. So even if you’re subbing, you still need insurance. It’s a cost. Then there’s marketing. Well, if you’re going to run a business, you have to be able to promote it.

Whether that’s in [00:10:00] time or money or learning how to market, there’s skill development. You cannot stay stagnant with what you know. We are online business managers and the land of online evolves too quickly. If you stop learning, you will stay stuck. Tech upgrades. This is a big one that I just want to cement in because we don’t have a ton of overheads as OBMs.

*3*We don’t have to pay rent. We don’t have to pay for electricity. We don’t have to pay for building insurance. A lot of these things we don’t experience as OBMs and other businesses do, but we also seem to get very shocked when we need to consistently upgrade our computers and our laptops and our webcams.

And that baffles me a bit because it is [00:11:00] our overhead. Your tech is the biggest thing that you use to actually connect with your clients and do your job. So build in the fact that you’re going to need to upgrade it regularly. That should be considered in your price. So it’s not a sting or a shock when then you go, Oh no, now I’ve got to come up with a few thousand dollars to do this.

If it’s built into your price already, you’ll have the money. There’s registrations, business registrations and certifications. Then there’s other fun things like super, tax. The uh oh factor. So what if the economy takes a dive? If the economy takes a dive tomorrow, you want to make sure you have the ability to survive that.

That only comes with building a buffer and a buffer only comes if your price is higher. What if the cost of living rises? You have to factor that into your price. [00:12:00] What if you want to grow your business? You have to factor that into your price. All these things cost money. So when you are saying this is how much it costs to work with me, remember that here’s a big list of things that go into that cost.

It is not how much money goes into your pocket. And the reason I keep saying that is because as OBMs we tend to struggle with that difference. We feel like we’re telling people you’re paying this much just for me to sit and type and do my brain thinking behind this computer. And it’s not true. So we need to cut that tie or we will forever undercharge.

Another thing that matters is location. Everything I am talking about today is based on Australia. I live in Australia, I understand the Australian market, and I know that it’s different in other places in the world. A lot of these [00:13:00] principles you’ll still be able to apply, but the figures might not quite be there.

More perspective. How much can an online business manager charge?

Five years ago? Would have been at least five years ago. And I decided to put my online business manager cap on and offer that as a service. I charged $70 an hour. That was five years ago. That was when I started. So I had been in the VA industry for a few years. I knew what I was doing. Highly skilled person.

I knew how to run a business. And when I started offering online business management services, I charged $70 an hour. We’re five years ahead now. So now in that same circumstance, I [00:14:00] would want to be charging $90 an hour, $100 an hour. Five years is a long time. And that was without the experience I now have.

So I want to give you that context. That’s the number I’m giving you to hold on to. If you’re charging $50 an hour in Australia and you’re an OBM, it’s too cheap. If you’re charging $100 an hour in Australia, calling yourself an online business manager, but not doing that role, you shouldn’t be charging anything.

Go and work out how much it is to charge for your role. But as that starting point, if you’ve got some experience. You know what you’re doing, you are capable, then 90 to 100 dollars an hour is not a lot. And if you know that right now you’re not charging that much, and you should be, [00:15:00] or you could be, it’s okay.

Do what you need to do to take steps to increase your price. You don’t have to do it overnight. You can. I know I did at one point in my business. I went from charging two grand a month to four grand a month to people, but I understand that pricing can be scary. So if you’re in the under charging bucket, which generally majority of us are, put some steps in place to increase your price, knowing that five years ago it was $70 an hour.

Now, if you’re an OBM and you package your services, you will earn more. And I’m going to explain why.

As online business managers, we squirm when it comes to talking about money. I have worked with a lot of OBMs now and in [00:16:00] OBM Academy with my clients in there and it’s the same thing. We all struggle with the money conversation. We all struggle with splitting out our worth from the amount we charge. And that’s okay.

But, if that’s you, let’s stop working against that and start working with it. If you know that when it comes to saying your price or saying your hourly rate, your belly does flip flops and you don’t want to or you have a panic attack, stop saying it. To make hourly pricing work as an OBM, where you actually get the balanced value, you need a massive hourly rate.

It needs to be high. To be able to pull that off, you got to be able to confidently say what that hourly rate is. Confidently enough to be able to sell it and explain [00:17:00] it. Now my gut feel is you probably don’t want to do that. If we’re working with the fact that yeah, we wobble a little bit around price and money, we’re working on it, we’re getting better, move away from the hourly rate.

Because that’s just going to bring more wobbles. But when we come to packaging, it gives us different options. If I say to someone, my hourly rate is $100 an hour, and I’ll be your OBM. And they take that, and they compare me with somebody else, who charges $70 an hour to be an OBM. All they have to compare in these two cases is that dollar figure.

$70 an hour, $90 an hour. Well, let’s go with the $70 one and see how that goes. That’s all we’re giving them to compare us with. And if you’re like me, you do not [00:18:00] like getting compared based on price alone. Especially when they don’t have a full picture. 

If we put the effort into creating packages, all of a sudden, we have more pieces to play with when it comes to comparison.

In a package, you will have all of the inclusions, and you have to spend time thinking about those inclusions, coming up with them, listing them out in a way that makes sense. Now when you quote how much it’s going to cost to work with you, you have a list of things to give that person. It’s going to cost you a thousand dollars to do this.

Here’s why. 

Here’s the ten things that are included in that. And then you add in the conversations around your experience. And you add in things like turnaround time. And phase one and phase two, [00:19:00] you give more context and packages need that. So they take more work up front and we invest more work up front.

We put a bigger dollar figure on it, but it’s easier to anchor that price because it’s easier to explain what someone’s getting for it. Whereas when we just say an hourly rate. We can’t really explain, that means I’m going to do these four things. It makes it harder to compare things when you do packages, because majority of people don’t have packages that are exactly the same.

Therefore, clients start looking at other things, like what is it that they actually need? Does this person have that included in a package, or does this person? Cost is one thing, but they start to [00:20:00] rationalize a little bit more. That might seem a bit cheaper, but this one has twice as many things, so maybe I’ll do that.

This person seems to have really good knowledge around the area, they’re including strategy, I’m happy to pay a higher price for that package. We’re not just looking at dollar for dollar without any context. So that’s why I always encourage my OBM clients to move with packaging. I think that you’ll end up with more value once you get into the groove of doing it.

 The next thing that I want to talk to you about when we’re talking about charging and pricing things and working out what’s fair and what’s not is a story. So I was chatting with one of my clients in OBM Academy this week, and [00:21:00] they were talking about this epic client journey that they created for one of their customers.

And they were telling me what was involved. When they said it, they said, I created a client journey. We went through the client journey. Okay. When I listened, they didn’t just go through the client journey. There was like 10 different services involved in going through that client journey. This is this big, big piece of work.

My client had thought about things that other people wouldn’t have thought about. This was an incredible job, an incredible effort, and well considered. And then I told my client how much I would have charged if I was doing that service for someone. And I watched their face change. Then I told them how much a [00:22:00] marketing consultant would have charged to do what they had just done.

And more face changes, because my client had charged such a tiny fraction of that, because they didn’t see what they’d actually done. And really, getting that level of knowledge, experience and understanding at a low hourly rate that customer got a huge bargain, and my OBM client had no idea. And this is the pattern that we want to stop.

When you package things properly, you can stop this, because then, at the beginning, you start thinking about the scope. You start thinking about what’s included. You start communicating that. When you go with Ali, you [00:23:00] just go, oh yeah, I’ll try this and I’ll try that, and maybe we’ll do this. And this is one example of how that can eventuate.

You would have just lost out on thousands and thousands of dollars. That’s the level we’re talking. So you have choices either up that hourly rate or get some packages happening.

The final thing that I want to talk to you about is what happens when we undercharge. Lots of businesses don’t survive, purely because people undercharge. And when you’re an online business manager, and you undercharge, even by $10 an hour, $20 an hour, you ruin the whole industry. And it is because of that, that each time I’ve increased my prices, I’ve had a little bit more confidence.

Because I know it’s the right thing to do for everybody else that’s in my boat. 

And sometimes I can’t do things for me, [00:24:00] but I can do them for other people. And I know that when we undercharge, we reinforce this idea that all of our work experience isn’t that valuable. All of our life experience isn’t that valuable.

Our unique ability and skill isn’t that valuable. Our capability and our way of being when under pressure isn’t valuable. Because if you have all those things and you’re charging less, and then someone next to you also has those things and is charging far more, someone’s going to start looking for why.

And the only why is they were brave enough to charge that much and you weren’t yet. You didn’t know yet. You hadn’t taken the steps you needed to take yet, or you hadn’t factored in all the things that really come with a price. [00:25:00] So if you are going to be an OBM or continue being an OBM first, you need to have the skill and confidence to own the role, and you need to charge the price to back it up.

That is what I’m going to leave you with. If pricing is something that you struggle with or you’re trying to get your head around or you’re trying to find just the next step with, check out OBM Academy. We focus a lot on pricing and I walk you through profitable pricing strategies so that you don’t stay in this cycle of working too hard and getting underpaid.

Or if you want to dip your toe in packaging, I have a masterclass that is for sale and it comes with a [00:26:00] template and I walk you through how to create powerful packages so you can move away from hourly if that’s what you’re interested in. The links are in the show notes. Send me a DM. Start conversation.

Tell me what your biggest pricing struggle is. I want to hear from you. Thanks so much everybody. I’ll see you next week.

 [00:27:00]