You have money buried in your business somewhere. It doesn’t require you to gain more followers, run more ads, or hustle further to get your hands on it, either. It just involves taking advantage of the lowest-hanging fruit in your business.
Today wraps up this series on ending hustle culture, burnout, and entrepreneurial poverty. In this episode of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, I reveal the third and final strategy to grow your business sustainably. I can’t wait for you to unlock this one!
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
4:13 – I share a quick story and reveal the final secret to sustainable growth for your business.
7:51 – I expose the huge problem not being discussed in the business world right now. What could be the culprit?
9:36 – You need to nail these things to form the foundation for finding hidden money in your business. I see too many people ignore the last one.
14:33 – What simple offers can you provide your clients behind the scenes? I reveal one way to ensure your 1-on-1 clients fit perfectly for you.
19:02 – If you have past clients, what should you do next? Here are some other ways to discover hidden income opportunities.
22:55 – I sum up all of the main strategies I’ve highlighted in this episode series.
Mentioned in Avoid Hustle and Burnout With the Hidden Money In Your Business
- “Why Hustle Culture Creates Entrepreneurial Poverty”
- The CEO Collective
- Racheal on Instagram and TikTok
- Rate and review on Apple Podcasts
What if I told you that there was money hidden in your business? In order to tap into it, you do not need to go out there and get more followers, you don't have to run ads, and you don't have to go into hustle mode. You want to hear more about that? Well, in this episode, we're going to talk about the final, third strategy to sustainably grow your business. I can't wait for you to unlock this one.
Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
Hey there, CEO. Welcome to the final installment of this very special series all about how to put an end forever to the burnout, the hustle culture, and end entrepreneurial poverty for women business owners. We are putting an end to the poverty of time, energy, and money by looking at how we can simplify, by looking at how we can streamline, how we can systematize our businesses.
These growth strategies I have been talking about are so back to basics, back to foundational business strategy. I hope that's getting you excited because I think we have found ourselves as a collective in this world where we are so focused on the vanity metrics, we are so focused on what looks good on our Instagram and we lose sight of what we're really here to do, which is to get amazing clients who we can actually support and help, and help them see the transformation, the results that they are looking for in their life, their health, their relationships, their business, whatever it is that you do for them.
In the first episode, we talked about laying the foundation here, why I'm so passionate about this, and how all of the self-care in the world is not going to make a difference if your business is not designed to be sustainable as you grow it. We want to make sure that our business design is aligned with what we want our life to look like.
If we're going to break free from entrepreneurial poverty, entrepreneurial poverty, meaning when women have zero time because they're hustling nonstop, they're working crazy hours, they have no breaks from their business, they have no energy because they are just going hard all the time putting off their life, putting off their health, putting up their relationships until they are someday successful, finally, the entrepreneurial poverty of money where they are focused on the things that aren't actually getting them the results are looking for, not actually helping them pay themselves, not just a livable income, but an income that allows them to have the lifestyle they really, really want, we need to think about how we're breaking free from all the hype, how we're letting go of the FOMO, and starting to tune in to some core business strategy that will make the difference.
Hopefully, by now, you already know everything we talked about in the pricing episode, and why premium pricing is so powerful, and how making sure your prices are correct will be the fastest lever you can pull there to make a quick difference in your business. We talked about why we need to get more clients and have a plan, that profit plan to get more clients in the next episode and today, I want to talk about the hidden money in your business.
To get started, I want to share a quick story about my friend Emily. My friend Emily used to live here in Richmond, Virginia with me and she has been a professional commercial-level makeup artist, hairstylist, beauty expert for such a long time. Up until she moved to California a couple of years ago, she was my go-to, anytime I was doing new photos for the business. In fact, if you go on my website and see the photoshoot, she's in the photos with me because she was one of the extras for my photo shoot.
Such a dear, dear friend. But I remember when she went through this transition in her business where she wanted to go from being a freelance commercial makeup artist to having her own salon, not like a full-on salon but kind of like a boutique, she had her own studio, I guess you would say, we have this whole conversation about how many people she would really need to have in her client docket in order to make that successful for her.
One of the conversations we had as we started digging into what was going on in her business was she didn't really need a ton of clients. She didn't need to be in front of thousands of people. What she needed was a handful of people a day who were all coming in for cut and color and would come back every six to eight weeks. If they came back every six to eight weeks, then the annual value of each customer was suddenly $1,000 to $1,500. The lifetime value of that customer was in the thousands.
That was such a huge lightbulb moment for me because I realized, so often, we're so focused on getting in front of more and more and more people, we're so focused on growing our audience, growing our email lists, and all these things that we forget that sometimes the profits aren't in getting newer and newer and newer clients, they’re actually in getting our existing clients to continue working with us.
This is the third and final secret for you, the secret to sustainable growth is to think about lifetime customer value. Why is this so important? It is important because it is seven times easier to keep a client than to go out there and find a new client. This is one of the reasons in the last episode I talked about the three core systems we need to have in place in our business.
We need to have a marketing system. Of course, that's all about getting in front of new people and bringing them towards our offers. We need to have a sales system to actually convert that person in our community to a paying client. Then we need to have a customer experience and delivery system.
This is where you really make the money in your business. This is where we really need to shift our attention. Because if we not only deliver what we promised, but we really pay attention to the experience we are giving our clients, we really are intentionally making sure that we are taking them through this process, that we are clearly communicating to them, that we are addressing their needs, that we are offering the level of support that they want, and ultimately, that we are doing our very best to make sure they're getting the results that they signed up to work with us in order to get, when we do that, when we have excellent delivery of our product, program, or service, a few things start to happen: One, we retain those customers, they don't drop out halfway. This is a huge problem that is not talked about in the entrepreneurial world right now. There is a huge problem of churn in a lot of businesses. Churn is what happens when somebody signs up to work with you but then quickly churns out of the product, program, or service that they started with.
We see this as a word that's used a lot in the startup world. You sign up for a service, and they'll have a churn number, like how long somebody will try out that service before they quit. Maybe it's software as a service like an online scheduler or something like that. But this also happens quite often with online courses. We see a huge amount of churn in online courses.
In fact, some of the stats I have seen have said that even though you might only get something like 5% to 10% refunds, you might have another 5% to 10% of people who just stop paying, who drop off, who quit, who leave the program. So churn is a major problem. If we have that as the industry average of people who are either refunding or quitting the program before it's completed, then we need to look at our delivery, at our experience, and make sure that we're doing our very best to retain those clients through the completion of the program, or if not completing everything, as in they did every single video and every single assignment, at least through results, let's say.
We want to retain those clients through all of our offer. The next part is once we've retained them, we want to make sure we're getting the results that we promised. This can be a little bit subjective but for each offer that you have, you have to be able to define what is success of this offer.
If we can't define success in that offer, and your clients can't define if it was successful or not, what ends up happening is we have what we currently have, which is a lot of people who are disillusioned with online courses, online coaching programs, and feel like they spent a lot of money to sign up for these things but didn't really get the results they were looking for, or they can't identify what results they got out of it.
We have to be able to identify results, what results actually mean, and help people see the results that they did get. Because not everybody is going to have the big dramatic results. That's why we all have disclaimers saying, “Hey, results are dependent on you,” but we have to help them see what those results are.
If all we're doing is marketing and promoting the result is not typical, but not helping the people who do sign up to see what results they're getting, then there's a disconnect and they're not going to want to continue working with us or hire us again. But if we can help them see results, we can help them track results, that's when we start keeping customers for life.
We want to retain people, we want to get results, we want to get rave reviews. This is so important and it's not just for marketing. We talk a lot in the world about testimonials and how important testimonials are for your marketing but you know who else testimonials are important for? Testimonials are important for the people who are still in your program because it helps them see that they can continue doing the work, that they can continue getting the results if they continue putting in the effort. We want to get those rave reviews as well.
Then we want to make sure we're getting referrals. If we have a great experience, people will start talking about it. This is such an important thing that has been so downplayed. There have been people who actually say, “You can't grow a successful referral-based business.” I'm just like, “Watch me.”
Watch me grow a business that has in many ways been successful, not because I'm a celebrity entrepreneur because I most definitely am not. Not because I have a massive email list because I most definitely do not, especially compared with a lot of my peers. Not because I have a huge social media following because I really don't, but it's because I am referrable. I have people who refer their friends, their colleagues, their peers again and again and again to me.
That doesn't mean that we're setting up some big affiliate program or anything, that we're doing all these JV partnerships. It means my clients are seeing results, they're talking to their other business peers and colleagues about it, and saying how they worked with me. That is leading to more people coming my way. Being highly referrable is one of the most important things that we can focus on as entrepreneurs long term.
The final one is repeat business. This is where the hidden money in your business comes from. Because chances are if you have been in business for a while, you have worked with people who have gone through your process, so you got them through, you got them results, they were excited about the work they did with you, and chances are if you were to follow up with them, there's more that you could do together.
I think this is one area where I see a lot of people totally skip over this. When they're thinking about growing their business, they already have their signature offer, and if you have been writing your signature offer, you're feeling really good about it, what tends to happen is we get caught up in the online marketing hype about whatever is the most popular thing and sometimes that can actually pull you away from what's going to help you grow your business.
But if I find again and again that my signature offer is like a premium level, and I've been getting people through that process, they've been getting great results, if I go back to those people and say, “Hey, how can I continue supporting you?” if I'm in communication with those people, if I'm in community with those people, I can then design what the next right step is for them. It takes them to the next level in their journey with me.
It's not about going out there and recreating the wheel or creating a whole new complicated offer. Let's talk about some simple things behind the scenes that you could be offering to your client. If they finished working with you in one way, could they repeat the process? This is something that I think we tend to feel like, “Well, if they've already gone through it, why would they go through it again?” But sometimes, you can get so much by going through the process again.
We found this with The CEO Collective. We had the founders who had originally started with us in April of 2020, which is beginning of the pandemic, we also launched a brand new program, but we had a 90% retention rate of our founders; 90% of the people who signed up with us and got through their first year with us decided to continue working with us and they continued working with us in one of two ways.
We gave them the opportunity to renew as a second-year member where they got an additional bonus working with me, an additional call that was just for second-year members to have their own mastermind level, and we gave some of those members also the opportunity to work with me one on one. And 90% of the people who worked with us last year decided to take one of those two options.
Now the best part about doing this is there was no big need to do a whole marketing system about it. The marketing system for this was literally sending them a couple of emails, letting them know what the options were. The sales system was telling them, “Hey, let us know which one you want to do. If you want to jump on a call, here's where you can book that call.”
The delivery system was just making sure that we had all of our ducks in a row so that as they renewed their second year or started working with me one on one, it was an easy transition for them. So amazing and this is how I know long term I will build this business is continuing to renew those people.
I've had this happen before in my mastermind level The CEO Accelerator. I've had people in the past who would join me for one year and then renew for a second year. I know that on average, some of these people will stay with me for two or three years. I think that's really powerful.
That means that there's more for them to dig into and the container that I'm providing is giving them the support and the structure that they need in order to thrive, which is I think something we can all think about in our business. How can we invite people to renew what they have been doing with us to go through it again?
Do we need to offer them just to renew? Do we need to offer them renewal plus an additional level of support? Do they graduate to a special new group, like what we did with The Collective group? Or if we feel like they're finished with this one container, maybe you have a group offer, maybe if they're finished with that group offer and they need more one-on-one accountability and support, you invite them to work with you one on one.
Working with people one on one on the back end of a group program is honestly one of my favorite ways to make sure that my one-on-one clients are an absolute perfect fit. I think this is something that those of you who are shifting from working one on one into a group, but you still want to keep some one on one clients on, this is a great way to do it.
Because now as people come through, it's like step one of working with you is working in this group container that you've created. Then step two where they get more access to you, more support from you is from people who already have that common foundation, that common language. They already have a lot of the structure that you want them to understand of whatever your process is.
A lot of the foundation has been laid. Then when you're actually working one-on-one, you can go into such a deeper level and you're not having to explain the same things over and over again. I find that to be a great behind-the-scenes offer to have people continue working with you.
I hope this was helpful for you to think about the different ways you can get more cash flow coming into your business. It's not about complicating this. If you are at the point where you have clients who have worked with you in the past, one of the best things you can do is start going through that former client list and think through what could I potentially offer these people that would be valuable, that would help them continue getting the results that they're looking for, help them meet the objectives that they have.
If you are a straight-up service provider, let's say you are a brand strategist, you're a website designer, maybe you're a photographer, or you're doing more creative work, maybe you did a creative project for them, you did a website, you did a whole brand overhaul, strategy, photoshoot, and all of these things, people who worked with you a year, two years ago, they need a refresh. They need to hear from you. They need to make sure that they haven't outgrown the strategy that you created for them.
This is something that I think we forget. We tend to feel like, “Well, we already did the work for them. We can't do it again.” But a year or two years goes by really fast and you'll be amazed how much people's businesses and brands will change. Reach out to them. You might find that they need to have a refresh, they need to have a little tweak or adjustment or maybe they need to do a whole overhaul again. You never know.
Maybe you did a huge project with them and there's ongoing work you could continue doing with them. I had this experience with a copywriter who did a one-time project for me and she did such a great job that I was like, “Look, over the course of a year, I know I'm going to need more copy. Can I get you on retainer? Here's how I want to do this.” It ended up being a great way for her to go from a one-off project writing sales copy for me to being on retainer and having that ongoing work for me.
This also works for those of you who are in the health or wellness space. You might have somebody who's gone through a program with you and you might be like, “Well, I don't necessarily want to take people one on one.” They might not need to go one on one with you. They might just need the support system. They might need the accountability. They might need the structure of the group or of the course.
I tend to find that if you are helping people through anything that requires behavioral change, that is an opportunity to continue working with them long term even if they only signed up to work with you through an online course or for a short timeframe, just because behavior change takes time.
I hope this was helpful for you to think about whether you're offering a one-on-one offer to people after they've done your program, you're re-offering the program, you're offering a VIP day, you're offering a new service, going through your client list and thinking about where are they? What could their potential needs be? How can I continue serving these people?
If you can identify a handful of people who you feel like you could offer something new to, you would probably find that it could be as simple as spending a couple of weeks sending out some emails saying, “Hey, so and so. I wanted to touch base with you. I noticed on your social media that you're currently working on this, that, and the other, how can I help? How can I support you?”
Those quick emails, those personal touches, sometimes are the easiest way to get the next client in the door, the next premium level of service that you can offer to them without having to go out there and getting in front of a ton of people. Sometimes focusing so much on getting in front of more and more and more people just becomes such a huge distraction when you can go so much deeper with the people who already know, like, and trust you.
I hope this was helpful. I want to sum up for a second everything that we've talked about in the last few episodes because I know these strategies might sound very simple, and they are. They are simple, but that doesn't mean that they're always easy to implement just because we have to get out of our own way as we are thinking about these things.
Sometimes, getting out of our own way is the hardest part. The first thing we want to think about is pricing. Are we appropriately priced for the product, program, or service that we are delivering? We really want to go through this and make sure that the numbers work. If the math does not work, if you can't serve enough clients to achieve your revenue goals, because you just don't have the bandwidth to do it or you don't have the time on your calendar to do it, if you have really underpriced yourself to the point where you would have to max out your complete calendar, then we need to adjust that.
We need to make sure that we have the right pricing for the right product, program, or service signature offer for the right people. If we can dial that in, it will solve so many problems. Again, if you need to increase your prices, even a 20%-25% increase can free up 20%-25% of your time and at least give you the bandwidth you need in order to make decisions on the next level of growth in your business.
The second thing we talked about is making sure that you are getting more clients. If you don't have enough clients on your docket, then you need to make sure you are intentionally planning in your calendar when you are going to promote your offer. We want to make sure that two to four times a year, you're proactively promoting your signature offer.
That includes making sure you have the marketing system dialed in; how are you attracting, engaging, nurturing, how are you inviting them; the sales system, and then your customer delivery system dialed in.
When we can dial those in and 80% of it is done each time you go to promote that offer and then you only have like 20% you need to do tweaking dates, adding additional things, jumping on phone calls with people, it makes it so much easier to continue getting those clients in the door and to stabilize the cash flow in your business. If you haven't downloaded the Profit Plan, make sure you go get it.
The final strategy here, once you have the right price point in place, you've made sure you have a strategy to get more clients in the door, the final is taking advantage of lifetime customer value. This is often the hidden money in the business. This is the lowest-hanging fruit. This is the sales that you can usually make from a couple of emails or a quick phone call versus having to put together a huge marketing or sales campaign.
This is where I see my clients able to sell out high-end one on one, mastermind, VIP days, completely behind the scenes in just a couple of weeks versus having to spend two months to plan a big promotion.
Think about your former clients, people who've worked with you in the last year or two, literally go through a list and think about, “What is the next thing I could offer to them? Do they need to repeat this program? Do they need that ongoing container and support? Do they need next-level support? Do they need a VIP day? Do they need a new group program? Do they need one on one?”
There are so many ways you can continue supporting those clients. As I said, if they have had a great experience with you, they got results, they believe in the work you're doing, and they believe in you, they trust you already, this is a huge opportunity for you behind the scenes to be making sales without having to do a ton of launching, a ton of hyping people up, a ton of social media. It's a great way to continue having people hire you and work with you and your business.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you loved this episode, I have a feeling you'd love learning more about The CEO Collective. As I mentioned, if you're listening to this the time the episode goes live, we are now open for the next cohort starting in September of The CEO Collective. The CEO Collective is the only way to work with me and my team of mentors to help you to scale a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
If you feel like you have been working way too hard, struggling with all the FOMO, all of the hype out there that you have to be some sort of social media influencer, you have to be on all the things, you have to spend all your time creating content and really what you want to be doing is great work for your clients, then I encourage you to come check out The CEO Collective. We would love, love, love to talk with you. Head over to theceocollective.com to learn more. Take care and I look forward to talking to you next time.