It’s really easy for you to add complex layers to your business as it grows. But sometimes you gotta pause and simplify things in order to amplify your results and ramp up your business. This has been the secret to success for so many of my clients, including yoga studio owner Letitia Walker. In this episode, she shares how she simplified her business’s infrastructure to maximize her results.
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
4:35 – Letitia talks about her business journey. What is her yoga business, and how did she get started?
7:50 – Initially, Letitia didn’t see herself as a CEO. She discusses how being part of the CEO Collective changed that.
13:35 – Letitia reveals how she found virtual assistants for her studio and the mindset that makes it easier.
17:44 – What has forgoing the $10 and (most of) the $100 tasks allowed Letitia to focus on these days to help grow her business?
22:41 – Letitia discusses the two things she’s most excited about in her business right now.
Mentioned in How Taking It Easy Can Ramp Up Your Business Success with Letitia Walker
- The CEO Collective
- The CEO Planner
- The CEO Retreat
- Racheal on Instagram and TikTok
- Leave a review on iTunes
Racheal Cook: Simplify your business to amplify your results is one of my favorite sayings. Because as your business grows, it's really easy for layers of complexity to appear. We continue to add things here and there, we test lots of things but sometimes we need to press pause and simplify things so that we can re-chart our growth path. This truly is the secret for so many of our clients including today's guest, Letitia Walker. She owns Purna Yoga 828 in Asheville, North Carolina. I cannot wait for you to hear her story about how she was able to simplify the insides of her business, the infrastructure of her business in order to amplify her results.
Are you ready to grow from solopreneur to CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook. I've spent the last decade helping women entrepreneurs start and scale service-based 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, CEOs. Welcome to another interview. I do not do these very often on the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast but I do feel like there is so much value in hearing from entrepreneurs with very different types of businesses that are able to implement the exact same strategies that we just covered in the Fired Up & Focused Challenge and see amazing results.
I think one of the misunderstandings of business is that it needs to be complicated, that it needs to be something that you have to have an MBA in order to understand, in order to get results. This honestly is one of the biggest reasons why I feel like the online marketing and online-business space has just confused so many people because they keep adding layers and layers and layers of complexity to business when truly, business doesn't have to be that complicated, things don't have to be that complicated, but we do need a plan, we need a clear plan that we can implement, we need to follow through with that plan and consistently take action on the strategies that we have determined work for our business, our unique business.
That's why I wanted to bring Letitia to talk with you here on Promote Yourself to CEO. Letitia Walker is the founder of an incredible yoga studio in Asheville, North Carolina, Purna Yoga 828, and I think like many business owners over the last couple of years, she was truly shaken and not sure if it made sense for her to continue her studio. She had to make a lot of pivots and shifts.
Ultimately being on the other side of that, it's really exciting to hear from her the results that she's seen by implementing the same strategies we just talked about, by implementing the CEO Date, implementing the model calendar, focusing on achieving her CEO score each and every week. Once you layer that in with the 90-day CEO system that we teach that's truly the foundation of our work inside of the CEO Collective, it is such a game changer.
A year might seem like a long time but I promise to you, it truly is not. A year goes by so incredibly quickly in business. I want you to listen into this episode. If you have been struggling to stay consistent, to follow through, to plan your work and work your plan, hopefully, this will give you the inspiration, the motivation you need to make it happen in your own business.
Hey, Letitia. I'm so glad you're here.
Letitia Walker: Oh, Racheal, it's just such a joy to be on your show. Thank you so much for asking me.
Racheal Cook: I am thrilled to have you here with us because over the last few years, I've gotten to know you pretty well and see the growth that you have made as a business owner, as a CEO. It's been awesome to have you be able to come up to Richmond for all the CEO retreats and dive even deeper about what has transpired in your business. But to get started, I would love for you to share with everybody what is your business and what was your journey to starting this business.
Letitia Walker: Oh, what a great question. I always love starting with that what's-your-story question. My business is Purna Yoga 828 which is a yoga studio in Asheville, North Carolina. We are a lineage-style studio. Purna Yoga is not the name of my studio, it's the name of a style of yoga and so everything we do here is Purna Yoga.
We've been in business as a studio here for five years but I have been teaching since 2004. In 2013, I made the decision to actually commit to teaching yoga full-time. That's actually the first time that I did the Fired Up & Focused Challenge, when I was making that shift and I wanted to be able to have a little bit more business tool in my back pocket.
But as I continue to teach and continue to be successful, as my thing that I was doing, I didn't really consider myself a CEO at that point at all. My classes just kept filling up and I didn't have more space that I could rent so it was time for me to actually have my own studio and do my own thing.
But I will say that I don't think I really considered myself a CEO until joining the CEO Collective and seeing the shifts and changes that I've made in the last year and a half by really implementing all of your very simple, practical, easy-to-follow systems. I have a completely different mindset around running a studio now.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. It's been so fun to see because I think your story resonates with so many people. So many of the women that we have in the Collective or in my community in general all started their business out of a love for the work, a love for what they're doing, a love for the people they're serving. Being the business owner is like, “Well, that's just something you have to deal with.”
Nobody said, “What's the big business opportunity? Yoga in Asheville, North Carolina seems like the right fit.” That wasn't the approach. It was always the passion, the work, the people first. I think that's something that is really interesting about our community. Sometimes it can even feel a little bit like, “Well, I don't really want to be too businessy, I don't want to be too marketing, or I don't want to be too corporate. If I start thinking of myself as a CEO, does that mean I suddenly have to change everything, get more rigid, and wear a suit?”
But that's not what the role of CEO is meant to be at all for businesses like ours that are heart-centered, that are focused on the work that you love to do. As you have worked with us in the CEO Collective, I'd love to hear from you, what has changed in your mind seeing yourself now as a CEO? What happened?
Letitia Walker: I feel like as a CEO, what I really have right now is the ability to take that bird's-eye view on my business. Whereas when I was just a studio owner and a yoga instructor, I had a general sense that over the course of the year, we're focusing on our group classes, we'll have a couple of workshops here and there, and we'll maybe have one big workshop that an out-of-town teacher comes in and leads.
But I didn't have that 50,000-feet view of, “Okay, this is what the business is going to look like for the year, this is the way in which all of the revenue streams are going to come together to give you the salary that you want to have, and to know that you have the resources to get support and have people help you honestly implement your dreams and be able to serve the dreams of your clients.” To get that bird's-eye view just really shifted everything for me.
Racheal Cook: Absolutely. I think it's so powerful when you zoom out and get out of that day-to-day. Instead of winging it and feeling like you're always putting things together on the fly like, “What are we doing this month? I don't know. What does the schedule look like this month? I don't know,” constantly trying to fill in the gaps, instead, zooming out and having that clarity. How has that made you feel for your business?
Letitia Walker: I feel more in control of my business rather than reacting to my business. You really hit on it just there when you use the word clarity. That's actually one of the things I love about the Plan Your Best Year Ever Challenge, that was one of the things that allowed me to have that bird's-eye view was, “Oh, okay, what have we done? What's worked? What hasn't worked? How is our marketing working with all the different offers that we have? What do we need to be selling? What price points do we need to have? How does this fit into my life and the fact that as a former workaholic, I want to be able to have more downtime?” That was a real game changer for me.
Especially that one chart that you have where you're like, “Okay, here are your offers, what's your price point? How many people do you have to sell to to make the amount of money that you want to make to be able to pay yourself and be able to pay your support?” That shifted things for me.
Because let's be real, I know a lot about yoga but most yoga trainings are not also business trainings. You might get a module here and there that touches on things and even though the yoga industry is a multi-million dollar industry, let's get real about that, most of that is clothing. That's not people like me and my fellow yoga teachers that are, as you said, doing this for the love of it.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. It is really challenging when the industry is very much—and this is so common in women-dominated fields—it's very much an afterthought, thinking about things like pricing, thinking about things like marketing, sales, and even worse in the yoga industry, I see a lot of, “Well, this is what everyone else is charging so this is what I should do” instead of actually looking at, “Okay, here's what I need to pay myself. Here's what it's going to cost for me to have this studio.”
Sometimes that math is never math. It's like I see people who are like, “I'm going to go get a studio,” and they never think about what is it going to take for them to run that studio, they just start pulling prices out of thin air. That is a recipe for disaster. It's a recipe for a whole lot of stress when you're worried about “Can I make the rent on the studio this month?” and making those other big decisions, much less being able to have the money to pay yourself at the end of the month.
Letitia Walker: Absolutely. That's one of the things that's really shifted. I am paying myself more than I ever paid myself before and I also have two assistants that are providing such great support for me and for the studio to be able to do the things that we all, as a community, want to do.
Racheal Cook: I think this is huge because hiring support is one of the things we talk about so much inside of the CEO Collective. It's so hard, women, we need to take off the superwoman capes like we don't have to do it all ourselves and it's really hard to grow a business when you are so busy with the day-to-day like $10-an-hour tasks, $100-an-hour tasks, and you never have a chance to look up and do the higher-level strategic work. Tell us a little bit about your journey to finding an assistant, how has that shifted for you?
Letitia Walker: Well, with both of my assistants, I have been so fortunate to have found great people immediately on the first attempt. My first virtual assistant, once March 16th, 2020 happened and we closed the studio and then March 17th reopened as an online studio, someone who was a front-desk worker at the studio but also was a freelance writer, and she just worked the desk at the studio to just get yoga classes and be a part of the studio, when we shut down, I said, “Hey, okay, so you're also a writer and you also do all of the tasks that I ask you to do so efficiently and so well. I really want to just straight-up hire you to take care of the inbox, to take care of most of the studio correspondence, and to also help write some copy, Google my business posts and for blog posts so that we can make this work and see if we can survive through the pandemic.”
Sarah, my first virtual assistant, was just an absolute godsend because she already knew the studio too. She already had been a part of the studio for three years so she knew our point-of-view, she knew our mission, she knew our tone. It was very easy to just pass those tasks over to her. She also knew many of the students that we were then communicating with.
Then my second assistant, I've just taken on very recently and she has been taking care of social media and some more of the studio software back-end tasks and she's also helping me with a new website that we're putting together for our Great Yoga Wall Training.
That has been a little bit more of a training process but boy, I just knew she was going to be a good person and it was going to be a training process but I knew she was the right fit. I think honestly, I am really good at hiring people. I have a good detector for whether someone's going to be a good fit with me or not and I also always up front make it very clear that our first month to two months together is a trial period where we are both sorting each other out and making sure that this is a fit for both of us.
It's really important for me that all of my relationships be collaborative and supportive, and not just merely transactional. I think if you go into it with that mindset, you're going to attract the people that are going to be a good fit for you.
Racheal Cook: Yes. This is such a great point you bring up because I think often when we look at things like even going through the Fired Up & Focused Challenge and looking at “Are you doing the $10-an-hour tasks, $100-an-hour tasks versus the higher-level tasks?” it can seem like, “Okay, I'll just shift my focus, I'll just hire somebody.” It takes time to build out the system, to teach the person, it takes time to hire the right person.
You're lucky that you've managed to find two great people, but sometimes you have to go try a couple different people in the role and see if they're a fit, it's a process and it's giving yourself a little bit of grace that when you're working with other humans, you're going to deal with human issues, we're going to take some time to get to know each other and they're going to take time to get to know you and vice versa. What has that allowed you to do? What has that freed you up to focus on now?
Letitia Walker: Well, you said it's really, really hard to run a business when you're having to focus on the $10 and $100 tasks and I want to go even further, I actually think it's impossible. I think it's impossible to run a business focusing on $10 and $100 tasks. I don't focus on $10 tasks at all, I never do those. I do some $100 tasks but I'm working on getting away from that. That's actually my own control issues, it's not because my assistants can't do it, but if you don't set aside those $100 tasks, you're never going to get to the $1,000 tasks that are really going to move the needle in terms of bringing ease and joy to your life and your business.
Because I'm not working on those $10 and $100 tasks, I'm able to really dive into our Great Yoga Wall Trainings. We had already had the level-one training put together. I already had the manual for that done but I don't think I would have been able to put together level two if I hadn't had two other people who are helping me with the day-to-day of the business so that I can free up my mind to just even spend two hours thinking, “Okay, what are the poses I want to make sure that we include in this new manual and what are the things that I've been learning from my students that I want to make sure I pass on to other yoga teachers, other physical therapists, other yoga therapists that are going to use this tool that's going to be helpful for them?”
You've got to be able to have that space in your mind to just let your mind wander, daydream, and become curious. If you're always thinking, “Okay, we've got to make sure that we write back to Mary about changing her membership and I need to also write the blog post for this upcoming workshop,” and “Oh my gosh, nobody made the flyer for that thing,” that's not going to give you the dream space that you need in your brain to really be able to do these bigger tasks.
Racheal Cook: Exactly. It's that deep work. When we're trying to do this higher-level creative thinking, you cannot do it well with too much going on. You need the space to create. The more I get into learning about creativity and the process of it, coming up with new intellectual property is a creative process, coming up with a new offer is a creative process, coming up with new marketing is a creative process. If you're so stuck in these five-minute tasks, you'll never have the bandwidth to go after the things that are going to take a considerable amount of time, energy, and focus.
Letitia Walker: Then add to that the fact that you also need to just have downtime that is just strict downtime. Again, if you are the person in charge of all these day-to-day tasks, how are you taking a day off?
Racheal Cook: Yeah. Many people aren't and that's what I love hearing from the women in the CEO Collective is when they come in and they're finally like, “I went on vacation. I didn't even take my laptop,” I'm like, “Yes, high five. You need it.” As a CEO, it sounds so counter-intuitive I feel like because our culture is so hustle-hustle, always on, always plugged in, always on your phone, but the higher-level work you need to do, the more brain space you need, the more downtime you need.
In a lot of ways, part of your job as CEO becomes taking that time off so that your brain can make those connections. Because I swear, every time I have the biggest insights is when I'm unplugged. I'm like playing on the beach with my kids and then it's like, “Oh, idea,” and I'm running back to my notebook to write it down real quick.
But that's when it happens, that's when the clarity happens, that's when the inspiration happens is when you give yourself that time to really allow your brain to make those connections because they won't make it if you're constantly in the busy work.
Letitia Walker: Agreed. It's like that shift between sympathetic mode of your nervous system and parasympathetic mode of your nervous system.
Racheal Cook: Yes, absolutely. What are you the most excited about in your business? You've been in the CEO Collective for a year and a half, what are you most excited about in the next six months or so?
Letitia Walker: There are two things that I'm really jazzed about right now. First off, we've just been making lots of traction in a particular offer that we are having at the studio of really positioning ourselves as a studio that is targeting students who are now in their 30s or 40s and realize that they have no physical activity that is supporting their body, and reaching out to those folks who've never done yoga before but want something that's not just body oriented but also has the mental and emotional components that yoga has.
We started that in January of this year and it's just been taking off like gangbusters and it's just going to be the thing that continues to bring new students into the studio that again are the right fit for us. Then I'm so excited to be doing level two of the Great Yoga Wall Training and letting that training live again because I just wasn't even sure at the beginning of the pandemic if I was ever going to be able to teach group trainings in the studio ever again.
Now we're also doing it as a hybrid training. We have people from Germany, England, and Canada, and from all over that are joining us. I'm so glad that I get to work with brand-new students that have that “Wow, I never knew this was possible” experience in their bodies and in their minds with yoga.
Then I also get to work with people who've been doing yoga often for decades and that are learning how to use this new prop, this new tool, to better serve their clients and themselves. I get to work two ends of the spectrum in very different ways and I'm really excited about that.
Racheal Cook: It's so fun to see how your creativity is ignited and your enthusiasm is there. I think for anyone who's listening, if you have been in a position where you've been in that daily grind and you're starting to lose that enthusiasm and that energy, that comes back when you step into the role of CEO because you get to be the creative leader for your business, you get to have the space that you need to do that stuff, you have to get out of the daily grind.
Letitia Walker: 100%. I couldn't agree more. The daily grind is not going to serve you. I mean it's going to serve you, obviously, you gotta have the daily grind but you can't be the one cranking the wheel all the time.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. There comes a point where either you'll just get tired of it or you'll just shut it down. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of people just decide to shut it down over the last few years. If you're looking for your business to be sustainable long-term, putting these types of systems that we teach in the CEO Collective in place in your business are what give you that freedom and flexibility that you look for.
Letitia, thank you so much for jumping in and sharing your story with everybody. I know I'm inspired whenever you share how much things have changed for you as you've been getting support, putting the systems in place, really leveling up your own CEO mindset, and being radically self-accountable to focusing on staying in that CEO zone. It's amazing and I'm just so happy that you are in our world so thank you.
Letitia Walker: Oh, it is my pleasure. If there's anything I want to say to anyone who is thinking about getting involved in this, just use the techniques. Do your Best Year Ever, do your CEO Date, do your 90-Day Plan, and things will happen.
Racheal Cook: Absolutely. Thank you so very much.
Letitia Walker: Oh, thank you.
Racheal Cook: Oh my gosh. I loved having this conversation with Letitia. I cannot wait to see her again at the next CEO Retreat. I hope that we're going to see you too. If you loved this conversation and it inspired you, motivated you, to truly take action on all of the strategies you learned in the Fired Up & Focused Challenge, to do that CEO Date, to follow your model calendar, to hit your CEO score each and every week, amazing things will happen.
If you want to amplify that, if you want to turn the volume up on that result, then come learn more about the CEO Collective. We are opening the doors for a limited period of time in August for our September cohort. Doors do close on August 25th.
If you want to get the full details about the CEO Collective and how you can layer the 90-day CEO operating system on top of everything you just learned about to get incredible results, get more consistent clients and cash flow in your business, and say be gone to the feast-or-famine cycle forever, if you are ready to have the infrastructure that can handle the scaling of your business, and doing all of that in a sustainable way without the hustle and burnout, we would love to support you.
This is a one-year program unlike anything many people have ever experienced. It is not an online course. It is not solely group coaching. It is full of mentors that are dedicated and watching your plan to make sure you're staying accountable to it. We have masterminds that you can jump on at any point facilitated by someone from our team. We have live strategy and support calls. We have weekly calls on the calendar, multiple calls on the calendar. You can get support at the speed of your business.
We have additional trainings always coming up. We're bringing in experts to fill in the gaps of your CEO knowledge so that you can understand what needs to happen in order to grow your business sustainably. We would love to have you come get all the details. Again, we are getting ready to open the doors at theceocollective.com/join.
If you happen to miss this enrollment cycle, no worries, we do open the doors on a regular basis and you can hop on the waitlist to be the first to hear about the next cohort. But I do encourage you, if you want to see results like Letitia has seen, don't let the next quarter go by without putting these foundational systems in place in your business. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode and I'll talk to you next week.
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