Understanding my Stress to Dollar Ratio has completely transformed the way I approach my business, everything from how I market my business, how I run my business behind the scenes, to which offerings I keep available and which ones I decide to cut.
For every single offering that you have, there is a level of stress associated with it. If it’s low stress, it’s really easy for you to offer this product, program, or service: it doesn’t take a ton of your time, it doesn’t take a ton of your energy, or it’s just very, very aligned with what your zone of genius happens to be. And then there’s a dollar amount associated with that offering, so how much revenue is that offering generating you, how profitable is that offering.
When you bring these two things together, you get a very clear picture of the return on investment for your offering. Is this offering worth it? Is it worth keeping in your business? Is it causing you more stress than it’s worth, and if it is, how could we improve it or just eliminate it from your business?
Before we dive into how you can determine your stress to dollar ratio, I want to share a little bit about how this concept came into my life.
A few years ago, I started working with Mark Butler at BudgetNerd.me. He really stepped in as my CFO, my Chief Financial Officer. He serves as more than just a bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper and your accountant, they tend to look at the numbers after the fact. They’re looking at the end of the month, at the end of the year, at what went on in your business.
If you’re looking to grow your business and you’re looking to make big investments in your business, you need to know more than what has happened. You need to be able to forecast into the future. You need to be able to plan and budget for big investments or big expenses that you will have to take on in order to grow your business.
As I’ve been growing my business and shifting away from one-on-one services into my business being more and more and more online programs and information products, there are some major expenses we had to consider, some big budget considerations we had to think about especially because launching can take a lot of time and energy and money.
Every single time I’ve been launching anything over the past couple of years, it seems like the month after the launch, the first thing out of Mark’s mouth to me is, “Rach, we need to talk about your stress to dollar ratio“, and that’s because if you have been in this world of launching online products or programs, then you understand launches can be incredibly stressful, not just energetically, but on your business.
They often require a big, upfront investment of design, of Facebook ads, of your time in order to make sure you can fill that product or program, and because my business had shifted more and more in that direction, Mark could see that we were at the point where most of my revenue was heavily dependent on the results of just two or three launches a year – which is a pretty stressful place to be at. It means that the impact of a launch going really great or really poorly would be felt by everybody involved.
As we started breaking it down this year, we really looked by offering at the individual stress to dollar ratios for each thing that I offer my business, whether it’s one-on-one consulting work in my Business Accelerator, or Sweet Spot Strategy, my online mastermind program, or Get More Clients, a standalone information product.
As we started to look at the stress to dollar ratio, we were able to make better decisions about what was working and what wasn’t so that we could make more informed decisions about how we were going to move forward.
What is your stress to dollar ratio? How can you determine it?
I’ve created a special workbook just for this episode to improve your stress to dollar ratio, and that’s where I’m going to walk you through this exercise I’m going to share with you right now about how you can determine the stress to dollar ratio for each offering, and then once you have all of this information in front of you, you can make better choices about what you want to be focused on in the year ahead.
When I looked at the stress to dollar ratio, there were really five things that we looked at to determine what was going on with each individual offering.
The first was the revenue that the offering was generating.
How much did we earn with this particular offering in the past year, in the past 12 months? Now, your revenue is total revenue. This is exactly what came in through your payment process. There’s what everybody page you for that particular offering.
The next part of it is how profitable was that offering?
Profitability is revenue minus expenses, and when you think of revenue minus expenses, there’s a lot you have to consider there. Some offerings are much more profitable than others.
For example, offering a one-on-one service is generally high, high, high profitability because you don’t require a huge amount of overhead in order to keep a one-on-one service going. When I’m doing my one-on-one consulting, I pay $25 a month to Satori App which manages my scheduling and invoicing, and managing my private clients, and I might pay my assistant for a couple of hours a month, and I might pay for individual gifts for my private clients. Other than that, the biggest expense is simply my time, so I would say that my one-on-one consulting offerings are about 90% profitable. It really does not take much for me to run those and for me to deliver an incredible experience.
Now on the other hand, my more passive income programs like Get More Clients are less profitable. For Get More Clients, when we are trying to fill that specific program, we have it set up so that people can go buy it via my Work With Me Page, but there is also an automated funnel in place so people can go check out the free webinar that we have, and then they’ll learn about the program.
So how do we get people into the webinar? We pay for Facebook ads. That’s been the biggest way that we continue to get more people into the Get More Clients program as we run this webinar and we fill the webinar through paid Facebook ads.
We know right now that for every $1 that we spend on Facebook ads for Get More Clients, we see about $3-$4 back. That means that by the time it’s all said and done, by the time you look at the expense of Facebook ads, and we look at the expense of my team managing the customer service (I’m not including the sunk cost right now of what it cost to actually create the program – I’m just looking at what it cost to promote and run the program), when I start to look at all those things together, I would say that Get More Clients is overall about 70% profitable. That means there’s a lot more expenses associated with selling that than something like a one-on-one service.
More expenses upfront, less profitability.
You have to consider how much of your time is required to deliver that offering, and not only to deliver it, but to market it, to sell it, to fill that offering.
These are things you have to consider because some take a lot more time and energy than others.
For example, my one-on-one consulting doesn’t take me much time at all. It takes me maybe two days a month or if I’m doing a VIP day with somebody, maybe I’ll have a third day in that month, and overall, when I literally looked through my calendar to figure, “Okay. How many coaching days did I have over the course of this year?” It was about 25 total coaching days, so basically, one month out of every 12 was dedicated to coaching, but spread over the entire year. That’s how much time it took me to run that program or to run that offer.
On the other hand, Get More Clients doesn’t take me a full day even every month. It might take me an hour a week to run, and that hour is really coming from jumping into our Facebook group and answering questions in the Facebook group, maybe doing a quick Facebook Live, sharing some insights from all the different questions I’ve been getting, and continuing to add more value to the people already in that program, but it doesn’t take me a whole lot of time and energy to run that program because it’s more automated. It’s more hands-off for us.
Now, the next part we have to consider is the stress level.
This is really important because a lot of us tend to only look at, “How much time is it taking us and how profitable is it?“, but we have to consider our stress level in order to make sure that this offering is a perfect fit for us, for the person running this business.
Is this in your wheelhouse? Is this in your business’ sweet spot, and if not, how can we improve it?
The stress level for working one-on-one in my business is probably medium to low. I say medium to low mainly because for me, I’m an extreme introvert, and I know that when I come off of a coaching day, especially a coaching day or maybe I’ve had three or four calls which is a lot for me, I am wiped. I often have to go take a nap and get outside. I really can’t focus on anything else. I am just exhausted at the end of that day.
On some days and I’ll honestly, I’ll wake up the next morning and still be a little tired and a little wrung out.
I’ll have to do something completely different. I’m not in my best creative space the day after I have a full coaching docket, so I would say the stress level for one-on-one coaching for me is actually around a medium to medium low. Somewhere in there. It’s not that it’s hard – it just takes so much of my energy.
Now, on the other hand, running a completely hands-off program like Get More Clients at this point is pretty low stress. It’s actually non-existent stress for me because my team has taken on so much of it that all I have to do is stay focused on showing up for the group, delivering value. I know that we’ve built out the systems, and my team is empowered to take care of our clients and any little snafus that might arise along the way, so for me, that’s an incredibly low stress program.
When we look at it all together, we look at the revenue, the profitability, the time required, the stress level, then we can figure out your stress to dollar ratio.
Compare all of those things, and is your stress to dollar ratio for this particular offering low, so it’s very low stress for the return on investment, or is it high? It’s a lot of stress for the return on investment.
When I look at one-on-one coaching, overall, it’s incredibly profitable. 90% are higher profitable. It’s only taking me maybe 25 days a year, but it is draining for me. It is tiring for me, so overall, I would say the stress to dollar ratio is probably low to medium. It’s on the lower end of that scale.
Now, when I look at Get More Clients, it’s not as profitable because we have more expenses associated with getting people into that program. We’re running Facebook ads, we have a lot of overhead associated with the automated sales system, so we have more expenses upfront, but we know from the numbers that we’re at about maybe 65 to 70% profitability once it’s all said and done. How much time required? Maybe an hour a week for me. Maybe another hour or two a week for my team, but the overall stress level is incredibly low. We’ve built out the system. We know exactly how it needs to work so the stress to dollar ratio for Get More Clients, incredibly low. It’s a great program to have in our suite of offerings.
Now, I just shared with you two examples of pretty low stress to dollar ratios. Now, let’s flip it and look at a higher stress to dollar ratio.
This is the point Mark was making with me when we had this conversation at the end of our last launch, and it’s really going to shift the way that I approach running this particular program, Sweet Spot Strategy in the year ahead.
We were talking after this last launch of Sweet Spot Strategy, and he was like, “Rach, this is stress to dollar ratio is too high. We have got to change it“, so we started going through this process with Sweet Spot Strategy.
Revenue, great. This is one of my biggest programs of the year. It makes a good probably 60 to 70% of our total revenue, so it’s a great revenue generator.
Profitability is something we are working on and I say that because there are a lot of expenses associated with running a higher end online program. Now, some of these are fixed expenses. Some of them aren’t going to change, so I have the same expenses to run SamCart and to run WishList and to run our membership site. Some of those expenses increase as we have more people coming into them, so it costs me more to have my team be a part of it, and we’ve seen that as we’ve enrolled more and more people, it takes more time for my team to help us support all those people behind the scenes.
The other big expense for a big program like this is the launch.
Now, the big reason for this at this point is because so much of the launch is no longer coming from organic launching. In fact, when I was first getting started, a lot of the launch was organic launching, meaning, I was just launching to my list. I was doing a lot of personal reaching out to people, a lot more high touch launching where there’s more 1×1 conversations.
As you start to grow and you start to scale, you start to spend more money on launching, on getting people in front of this particular offering, so we were at the point where now, we’re spending a lot of money on Facebook ads upfront, and we are also spending a lot to take care of all the clients in there, so when we started looking at the overall profitability this past year of the program, we realized, “Okay. The profitability is starting to drop a little bit. Our expenses have gotten higher as we’ve been shifting this launch model towards more ads, towards different things that are costing us a little bit more money upfront“, so our profitability was going down just a little bit, and our time required had gone up.
Our time required had gone up because my team was spending a lot more time. When you have more people on a program, you’re just going to have your team spending a lot more time in there, and my time had increased in this program.
My time inside the Facebook group, my time inside the community answering questions and jumping on Facebook Lives, and offering weekly live calls, all of that was adding up to basically a full day a week of me being in there, adding value, answering questions, supporting and encouraging everybody inside the program which was fine. I actually love that, but where the time required was getting tricky was the time required of my team especially during the launch.
During those launch times, we were seeing all of our team members spending three times more time during a launch than any non-launch months, so there’s an area of opportunity here for us to improve that. I’m going to talk about that in a second.
Finally, our stress level, so it’s stress to dollar ratio. time of this particular offering. Finally, we got to consider the stress level.
Now for me, overall, I would say running the program, the stress level is very low, but launching the program? The stress level was a lot higher because it started to get to the point especially as my business model had shifted towards more online courses, more group programs, more information products.
When you run a launch-based business model, you feel like everything is riding on this next launch. That one launch could determine what the next four months or five months of your personal paycheck is going to be.
That next launch could determine if you’re going to be able to invest in the next big phase of your business, so one launch going bad could have really detrimental effects to your business. One launch gone right could be incredible, but if for some reason it didn’t go great, it could be very, very, very stressful, even if you just simply didn’t hit the numbers you were hoping to hit, and that’s a stressful place to be in as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, when you are depending on just two or three big launches a year.
What compounded this probably for us is that this year, we decided to take off our summer launch. Previously, I have launched Sweet Spot Strategy three times a year which helped to spread around the launching throughout the year, but this summer, we decided to take it off because my kids are at the age where I really wanted to just enjoy summer with them and not feel that I had to spend all summer working. I really wanted to take more of that time off for my family.
What did that stress to dollar ratio end up being this year for the business for this particular offering, for Sweet Spot Strategy?
We saw that it moved from being probably a low to medium stress to dollar ratio to a medium to high stress to dollar ratio all because we had shifted to a model where we were now depending on two launches a year for a good 75% of the business revenue.
Even if the profitability was there, even if the time level was fine which it really was for everything, the overall stress of depending on the outcome of just two launches to feed your family and keep a roof over your head, Mark could tell that I was a little bit too stressed out about that.
Once we had this information in front of us, and we went through this with every single offering and again, you can go through the process too. Get the workbook that I’ve created for you below!
After we looked at each offering and we saw the stress to dollar ratio, we asked ourselves two big questions.
First, Should you keep, eliminate or evolve this particular offering?
Should you keep it? Is it highly profitable? The stress to dollar ratio shows you that it is giving you a great return on investment for the amount of your time and the stress, the energy it takes for you to deliver and fill this particular offering.
Should you eliminate it? Is it just not giving you the return on investment? Is it taking too much of your time? Is it too stressful? It’s just not worth it at this point anymore.
Then finally, should you evolve it? Do you love a lot of the aspects of this particular offering, but there’s a part of it that you need to change, you need to make work better?
If you need to evolve it especially, the next part of this, the second question, “What are the two to three changes you should make this year to improve the stress to dollar ratio on this offering?“
When we started to look at the primary offerings in my business, Get More Clients, one-on-one consulting, Sweet Spot Strategy, I realized that Sweet Spot Strategy is my baby. It is my signature program. I love it so much. I love every single person in there, and the biggest stressor of that program is launching, but this year, we learned a lot about creating a more automated launch process by creating Get More Clients which eliminated so much of the stress associated with running an online program.
That gave us so much insight into what we could do to change that offering, what we could do reduce the stress to dollar ratio, move it from being like a medium to high stress simply because of the stress of launching and trying to earn the bulk of your income in just two launches a year, and how we could improve it overall and drop the stress and keep the things that we love about the program, working with our clients, being live in the group delivering value, adding more into the program which I absolutely love. Almost every other month, I’m adding something new in there and continuing to deliver great value to my students.
So what can we do to make that better and improve the stress to dollar ratio?
We realized we could shift the way that we open enrollment for this program, to be more similar to what we have going on for Get More Clients. We could automate more of that sales process. Instead of two huge launches a year where everything is depending on those launches, we could spread it out through the year and enroll small groups throughout the year, and that spreads around our expenses, that spreads around our Facebook ad spend.
That just makes it a lot easier for us to make sure that one launch won’t dramatically impact how the business goes forward if the launch doesn’t hit its numbers or for some reason something happens which always almost happens. We would have more control over the revenue and the profitability in that launching process. It was so eye-opening for me to go through this exercise and make these big decisions, deciding what to cut, deciding what to keep, and deciding how we were going to evolve some of our favored offerings so that they were less stressful, so that they were easier for me and my team to run, and so that overall, they could continue to add to the business, help me reach and serve more people, and be manageable, be sustainable for the long-term.
I hope this was helpful for you to hear about the stress to dollar ratio, and these five questions you can ask yourself for each offering to make sure that that particular offering truly is giving you the greatest return on investment for your time, for the energy it takes you, and for whatever it cost for you to run that offering.
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