When I first met Gina Kearney & Rob Kenney, they were two masters of their craft–digital marketing strategy for manufacturing businesses–who needed help focusing. They had the know-how, skills, and connections to refine their business and move from controlled chaos to meaningful management, but not the big picture view.
We worked on picking out what really set them apart–a focus on strategy that produces results companies actually care about–and making that the cornerstone of their business model so that they could generate incoming leads beyond mouth-to-mouth referrals.
After 4 months, they had service packages that more accurately represented their unique strengths, messaging that set them apart in a crowded market, and more confidence to tackle the kind of projects that really turn them on.
Concept 5 Case Study
As the owners of Concept 5, we were guilty of violating our own rules. We routinely said “yes” to any client work, without considering if the engagement made any sense for our company to take on. As a result, we worked with B-to-B and B-to-C brands, with local and national businesses, with agencies and directly with clients.
In short, we lacked focus.
As big fans of the E-Myth series, we knew our business wasn’t working how we had planned. Sure, we were paying the bills, getting things done and pleasing our clients, but there wasn’t much focus on the big picture, and therefore an inability to scale and grow our business.
As subscribers to Tara’s email, we had admired how astutely she seemed to understand businesses just like ours. All her advice rang true. And so, last summer when the 10ThousandFeet sign-up appeared in the inbox, we took the plunge.
We had taken several coaching or guidance programs and always finished disappointed. But Tara got to the heart of things like no one else. The solid structure of 10ThousandFeet and all of the “homework” drove us to take a long, hard look at Concept 5 and, over time, chart a new course.
And now, we’re heading towards right where we want to go. Thanks to 10ThousandFeet, we have:
- Sharply defined our most valuable clients; and everything we do speaks directly to them
- Distilled our core offering down to the work we want to do
- Created organized service packages, enabling us to streamline our sales and execution processes
- Completely re-branded the Concept 5 website and sales materials
- Created a plan to grow our business in a smart, focused, sustainable way
But there’s something even more important than these achievements: we both completed the program feeling excited, energized and recharged. We have the confidence, and now the tools, to meet our objectives and better manage the business that we love.
Working with Gina & Rob on the next phase of Concept 5 has been a real treat. Check out their fresh new website
(as well as their award for Best of Long Island: Best Web Services).
If you’re interested in joining out next round of 10ThousandFeet, click here.
I’m finding more and more clients open to starting their online business offline. Yes, the freedom that comes with building an online business is second-to-none, but often, it’s easier to gain traction right in your home town (really!).
Betsy Ogden, who already had a thriving business call Upper Valley Pilates, came to me wanting to build out her online brand, The Art of Going Gray. I immediately saw the potential for this to be a lucrative, freedom-driven brand, as well as for Betsy to be a media darling.
But without hustling her way from sale to sale, how could she launch an online offering? Well, the key was starting offline. Read her story below.
The Art of Going Gray Case Study
I had been reading Tara’s work for a while and liked her no-nonsense, outside the box approach to building businesses. I had been encouraged by another coach to offer 1:1 Pilates training to women over 50 via Skype. In my heart I knew it was not what I wanted to do but more importantly, it didn’t seem to ring a bell for my potential clients. And when I launched the program it landed with a thud.
For the life of me I couldn’t see my way to another option.
Enter Tara and 10ThousandFeet. By moving step by step through the Customer Perspective Process and Business Model Review, I was able to see that my business model as it stood, offered no option for growth. The turning point for me was to finally declare the one thing I wanted to work on for 2014, my Chief Initiative. It rolled out of me easily because of the work I did in 10ThousandFeet. Finally, I was able to envision a business model that would leverage and layer my business offerings in a way that served my Chief Initiative and felt right for me.
It had never occurred to me to use my strong bricks and mortar presence in my community to test a potential online offering. But with Tara’s help I stepped outside of the proverbial box and created The Pilates Gone Gray 6-Week Fitness Challenge. The response was amazing!
I sold out with a solid sales page (Tara helped create) and a very bare bones launch. The attendees were spot on my ideal clients. The success of this workshop has given me confidence that I am on the right track and can move forward and create a successful online offering.
My next step is to create an offering that logically brings my clients into the workshop and then another offering that will allow them to continue beyond the workshop on their own. It was a stroke of ‘Tara genius’ that allowed me to see the potential that lay right in front of me in my bricks and mortar business, and to realize how extremely lucky I have been to have the option to beta test my ideas before putting them online.
Betsy went from idea to sold-out in less than 45 days, all by leveraging what was already in front of her. I can’t wait to see the program evolve into a signature online brand. Find Betsy and The Art of Going Gray right here
And if you’re ready for similar support in taking your idea to “sold out,” click here to learn more about 10ThousandFeet.
How much more is possible when you build a business on your strengths? Today, meet 2 10ThousandFeet
alumna who are finding out. Meet Christine, who has made the shift from freelancing to true business ownership, from hustling to ease. And then meet Natasha, who has created a system for earning more than she possibly could trading her time for money.
Christine Thatcher, founder & creative director of Christine Marie Studio
I used to refer to myself as a freelance web designer. I was the one always working hard on what’s right in front of me, without time to think about to what and where I wanted to be 6 months from now. Tara’s reference to “getting out in front of my business” hooked me.
Having been a “freelancer” off and on the last 20 years, I wasn’t sure if this was possible. I’d never achieved it.
Now, on the other side of 10ThousandFeet, I’m beginning to experience it. During the course of the mastermind:
- I rebranded my business under a name I liked better.
- I have created a business model that works for me. I no longer feel compelled to do things a certain way, just because everyone else does.
- The Customer Perspective Process™ helped me get inside my client’s head and understand what she’s thinking and feeling. I’ve tailored my offerings to be more relevant to what she needs.
- I wrote an “about” story that feels true to me. As a result, I’ve gotten several notes of encouragement from potential strategic partners and booked a new client who identified with my story. (Understand that I used to stare at the screen for days, trying to write about myself and it never felt “right”. Tara and Brigette’s formula made it an almost effortless process and I did it in one evening.)
- I recognized where I could leverage my time further, created a job description and hired a second administrative team member.
- I’m looking forward to implementing referral and communication strategies, many of which came directly out of coaching calls with Tara and Brigitte.
I now say that I own a web design studio. I have a legit business with dedicated team, I am no longer an overworked freelancer. By shifting my perspective and delegating away what I don’t enjoy, I have more energy for the parts I really love and where I can make the biggest impact. I’m working less, more-focused hours, designing for clients that inspire me.
I’m grateful for the effort that went into creating a mastermind packed so full of value, tools and lessons relevant to my business right now.
The heart of Christine’s business transformation was based on getting clear on her strengths: she feels most masterful creating immersive web experiences for her clients, not branding or business strategy. She also got clear on her goals and how her strengths support her in those goals. After plenty of back & forth, we crafted a business model plan that would give her the time off she craves and the income she desires.
For Christine, leverage isn’t so much about “passive” income but income that is based on her working at the highest levels of mastery and finding others to do the work that drains her. And in the end, that creates a much better experience for her clients.
Find out more about Christine & the beautiful websites she designs at christinemariestudio.com.
Natasha Vorompiova, founder of Systems Rock
I am eternally grateful to 10ThousandFeet–to Brigitte and Tara.
When I first started my online business, I got hooked on buying one online program after another, trying to fill the huge gaps in my knowledge of how to grow it. Then I got completely overwhelmed and torn between all the contradictory advice.
It was so frustrating to have this amazing vision but to be stuck in this giant gap between where my business was and where I wanted it to be.
I felt so inadequate. . .especially because I’m a systems person! I create systems for my clients every day. Why, then, couldn’t I get my own business together?!
When Brigitte mentioned that she and Tara were accepting applications for 10ThousandFeet, I was immediately intrigued.
After three months in the course, I emerged with an even more precise sense of where I wanted my business to be heading. Even better, I learned exactly how to make my vision a reality.
Having gone through Tara’s Customer Perspective Process,™ I learned precisely whom I need to be targeting, with what messages and what kind of offering will help them get to their goals faster. With Tara’s help I mapped out the plan of action and with Brigitte’s guidance, an outreach strategy.
I’ve never felt so grounded and in control. The painful tension between all that conflicting advice has dissolved, and information overload is a thing of the past.
There is so much ease when you’re running a business in this way! I feel so inspired as I take each and every step to transforming my vision into a reality.
Natasha is finally creating her own system for revenue growth. She’s working on two leveraged income offers that pinpoint both the results her clients want and how they want to be served. She’s building on her strengths–analysis and systems–to create a model that will serve her & her customers infinitely better than a 1:1 service model.
That said, offering those more leveraged offers means that she can position her 1:1 service at a higher level, attracting clients that excite and challenge her, pushing her further & further into her realm of mastery.
Find out more about Natasha and systematizing your business at systemsrock.com.
Part of understanding the way your business works is understanding the costs associated with the way it generates revenue. For a low overhead business–most online or service-based businesses are–costs can be an afterthought.
How much does it cost to hop on Skype with a client? How much does it cost to produce an ebook or a teleclass? Beyond initial investments in design or tools, there is little monetary cost and almost none in terms of distribution or production.
But it’s a mistake to discount the softer costs of this work.
What are soft costs?
They’re the costs that can’t be measured in money. Soft costs could be felt in time, energy, or reputation.
Soft costs are the ones that eat away at your lifestyle, your relationships, and your personal satisfaction.
While the work you produce might be profitable financially, is it profitable energetically? Relationally? Temporally?
In 10ThousandFeet, we work to make sure each business is investing in creating products and services that are profitable across the board. We measure all the costs. We consider whether revenue streams are really worth the soft costs they demand.
Can you reduce the soft costs of your current revenue streams?
Soft costs often add up when a revenue stream demands you to exercise one of your (or your business’s) weaknesses instead of leveraging one of your strengths. That happens when you try to create a service that doesn’t fit the way you like to work or when you create a product that’s popular but not suited to your creation style.
Where are you losing profit to soft costs based on your business’s weaknesses or working style?
Soft costs also accrue when you make a decision that’s either out of integrity or out of alignment with your brand or big idea. It doesn’t even have to be a “bad” decision, it could just be unexpected or a little confusing for your customer base.
Where have you incurred soft costs due to decisions or directions you’ve taken in your business?
Sure, you want to optimize the bottom line just don’t forget the soft costs in your calculations.
Here’s another case study from a 10ThousandFeet participant. Deirdre Walsh discovered how to organize her long-term vision into actionable steps she can take now, while reducing the stress of holding on to such big ideas.
Deirdre Walsh, Integrative Health Coach
Spool back to December of last year. I was seriously frustrated with pulling my business together. Maybe frustrated is too cheery a word for what I was feeling. I couldn’t see what my business needed me to see.
A savvy client captured it when she said: “You’re an amazing coach, but you can’t sell worth sh*t.”
I didn’t know what to sell. I didn’t see the structure and dynamics of the business. I didn’t have a handle on the skills that were required. I thought I understood who my best clients were, but they weren’t picking up what I was putting down. My business was whispering encouragement to me, but I couldn’t bring it together into focus.
My eyesight scores high on the near-sighted scale–think Coke-bottle lenses. I need to leave my glasses in the same place every night so I can find them in the morning. And when Tara emailed me last December about 10KFeet she found me, sans metaphorical glasses, standing in the room of my business, squinting and listening, but unable to focus on what I needed to see.
Now, one thing that has served me well over the years is to recognize genius and listen when it calls. So when Tara asked me if I’d like to be part of this mastermind I jumped.
Here’s a short list of what Tara taught me to see and hear:
The strength and uniqueness of my business.
This was a game-changer for me. I’d been looking for a market niche to fill. The most sensible-looking niche met clients where they were stuck. The business opportunity was to drag, cajole, and coax them to stay status quo and not move backwards. Talk about tiring – like Sisyphus-type tiring. Tara helped me see that the strength of what I do is in moving forward with my clients, seeing what they don’t see for themselves.
The conversation my customers want to have about how my business can serve them.
A handful of clients popped up as soon as I got really clear on this. I’ve heard that before and thought it was hype but that is what happened to me. Half of them said: “I’ve been waiting for you, but I didn’t know how to find you.” It’s been much less resource-intensive to connect with, and convert, the clients who make my business hum.
The plan for growth
I have a two-year plan that is unique to my business. I can’t even begin to describe how much stress this has taken away from me. (And managing stress is my thing!) My plan is not hoping that someone else’s plan will work for me. My plan is the plan my business was trying to whisper to me. I’m not second-guessing the choices I’m making, the posts I’m writing, the courses I’m prepping. They all fit into a bigger plan that will unfold over the next couple of years. Wow.